Source: Internet Archive; "The action programme of the Czechoslovak Communist Party, Prague, April 1968," Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, Nottingham, 1970;
Translated: for marxists.org by Zdravko Saveski;
Online version: July 2018.
The social movement in the Czech lands and in Slovakia during the 20th century was carried along by two great currents - the national liberation movement and socialism.
The national liberation struggle of both nations culminated in the emergence of an independent state in which, for the first time in history, the political unity of the Czechs and Slovaks in a single state was realized. The founding of the Czechoslovak Republic marked important progress in the national and social development of both nations. The democratic order eliminated the old monarchist remnants and created favourable conditions for fast progress in all spheres of national life.
The pre-war bourgeois order, however, did not solve the onerous class antagonisms and was not able to lay reliable foundations for the lasting prosperity of the new economic entity and to guarantee the workers and employees full employment and a secure existence. Its nationalist regime, though liberal towards the minorities, ignored the individuality of the Slovak nation and did not succeed in eliminating the influence of extreme nationalism and in introducing the harmony desirable among all nationalities of the Republic. Under the conditions prevailing at that time in capitalist Europe, not even the independence of the Czechoslovak Republic could be permanently safeguarded.
The progressive forces tried to give an answer to these shortcomings. Their most energetic component was the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia which was striving for a socialist conception of the Czechoslovak society.
In the broad wave of the anti-fascist movement which was born in connection with the breaking up of Czechoslovakia as it existed between the wars, and especially in the course of the national liberation struggle, the integration of socialism with the national and democratic movement began to take shape.
During the national and democratic revolution of 1944-45 the national and democratic values of socialism were united for the first time. The democratic and national movement began to be socialised and socialism became a really national and democratic affair. The road to socialism taken by Czechoslovakia, at the beginning of which, in 1944-45, stood the Slovak National Uprising and the Prague Uprising is the source of the most progressive traditions of modern Czech and Slovak history.
The Republic, whose liberation was the result of the heroic fighting of the Soviet Army and the national liberation struggle of the Czechoslovak people, was restored on new foundations. These facilitated the solving of the most acute national problems in the country; the existence of the Republic as a State was ensured by close alliance with the Soviet Union; by nationalization the Republic gained an economic system providing conditions not only for rapid restoration but also for further development of the economy towards socialism. The considerable expansion of informal political freedoms was the true culmination of the whole democratic tradition of Czechoslovakia's development. Socialism became the embodiment of the modern national programme of the Czechs and Slovaks.
Czechoslovakia was the first industrial country to realize socialist reconstruction. The policy of Czechoslovakia's road to socialism, as pursued from 1945 to 1948, was an expression of the endeavours to respect the complexity of the specific internal and international conditions of Czechoslovakia. It contained many elements the understanding of which could contribute towards achieving our present aim of democratizing the socialist order.
We identify ourselves with traditions of the liberation struggle in which patriots participated at home and in various parts of Europe and the world, 375,000 of whom gave their lives for these ideals. We will support a scientific examination of the history of both nations, the conclusions of which cannot be decreed by anyone, but can only be the result of the study of history itself. The February victory of the working people was an important milestone in the socialist development of post-war Czechoslovakia, which created preconditions for accelerating the advance to socialism. After February 1948 the Party took a new road of socialist construction with a fund of great confidence and support of the broadest strata of the population.
This was a difficult road. In a divided world in the grips of cold war, our nations had to increase their efforts to safeguard their hardly won national existence and had to concentrate on reinforcing their own defence and that of all the other socialist states. The building up of the new Republic, which was far from having the internal resources essential for developing the economy, was closely connected with the progress and problems of the whole socialist camp. The inclusion of the Republic in the system of socialist states brought substantial changes in the direction of development of the national economy and also in its internal structure, in the character of the state and the social order. This was a matter of respecting the joint tasks of these countries in which the combating of economic and cultural retardation interwoven with the creation of new forms of ownership, played a leading role.
These connections and tasks influenced the speed, form and content of the profound economic, social and political reconstruction which the Republic was going through during the building of socialism. They impelled an exceptional exertion of energy of the working class and the whole people, great sacrifice of communists and the dedicated work of tens of thousands of functionaries.
With the size, exceptionality and challenge of the changes, however, correspond the contradictions of development, the grave shortcomings, unsolved problems and deformations of socialist principles which are known as the personality cult.
The construction of the new social system was marked by insufficient experience, lack of knowledge, by dogmatism and subjectivism. Many signs of the times, conditioned by the sharpened international situation and compulsory acceleration in building up industry, were understood as the generally valid forms of the life and development of a socialist society. The stage of development of the socialist states at the beginning of the fifties and the arrest of the creative development of knowledge concomitant with the personality cult, conditioned also a mechanical acceptance and spreading of ideas, customs and political conceptions which were at variance with Czechoslovak conditions and traditions. The leading bodies and institutes of the Party and the State of that time are fully responsible for that acceptance. The centralist and directive-administrative methods used during the fight against the remnants of the bourgeoisie and during the consolidation of power under conditions of heightening international tension after February 1948 were, in this situation, unjustifiably carried over into the next stage of development and gradually grew into a bureaucratic system. Sectarianism, suppression of the democratic rights and freedom of the people, violation of laws, signs of licentiousness and misuse of power appeared in the internal life of the Republic, which led to undermining the initiative of the people and, what is more, gravely and unjustly afflicted many citizens - communists and non-communists. The irreparable losses suffered by our movement at that time will remain for ever a warning against similar methods.
The extraordinary exertion of the energy of our people brought great historic successes. Basic socialist social changes have been accomplished and the socialist order has sunk its roots deeply and firmly into our land. Our society, in which the means of production are mainly in the hands of the socialist state or of workers co-operatives, has got rid of capitalist exploitation and the social wrongs connected with it. Every citizen of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic has the right to work and enjoys basic social security. Our society has gone through a period of industrialization and now disposes of an extensive industrial base. We have achieved noteworthy successes in the advancement of science and culture; the possibilities of the broadest strata of the people gaining appropriate education have increased to an unheard of extent. The international status of the Republic among the socialist countries is firmly secured.
At the end of the fifties our society entered another stage of development. On this fact was gradually formed the political line which we want to apply in a creative way and to develop. Characteristic of the present stage are:
antagonistic classes no longer exist and the main feature of internal development is becoming the process of bringing all socialist groupings in the society closer together.
methods of direction and organisation hitherto used in the national economy are outdated and urgently demand changes, i.e. an economic system of management able to enforce a turn towards intensive growth;
it will be necessary to prepare the country for joining in the scientific-technical revolution in the world, which calls for especially intensive co-operation of workers and agricultural workers with the technical and specialized intelligentsia, and which will place high demands upon the knowledge and qualifications of people, on the application of science.
a broad scope for social initiative, frank exchange of views and democratization of the whole social and political system - becomes virtually the condition for the dynamics of socialist society - the condition for us being able to hold our own in competition with the world, and to honourably fulfil our obligations towards the international workers movement.
Already at the time when this Party line was being formed and starting to be applied, it ran up against lack of understanding for the new tasks, with recidivism of redundant methods of work which arose at the time of sharp class struggle in Czechoslovakia, with the opposition of those who in one way or another found the deformations of the socialist reality convenient.
We want to disclose frankly what these mistakes and deformations were and what were their causes so as to be able to remedy them as soon as possible and to concentrate all forces on the fundamental structural changes in our lives which we are facing at the present time.
Already after the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the USSR, which was an impulse for revival of the development of socialist democracy, the Party adopted several measures which were intended to overcome bureaucratic-centralist sectarian methods of management or its remnants, to prevent the means of class struggle being reversed against the working people. Many communists and whole working collectives tried to open the way to progressive development of the economy, the living standard, science and culture.
The more definitely was the class antagonism overcome and the foundations for socialism laid, the more urgent was the stress placed upon promotion of co-operation of all working people, of all social strata, groups and nationalities in Czechoslovakia and on fundamental changes in methods employed during the time of sharp class struggle. At the same time, there was rightly seen in the development of socialist democracy the main social conditions for realization of the humanistic aims which are characteristic of socialism. However, they met with lack of understanding, inhibitions and, in some cases, even with direct suppression. The survival of methods from the time of the class struggle evoked an artificial tension among the social groups, nations and nationalities, different generations, communists and non-party people in this society. Dogmatic approaches impeded a full and timely re-evaluation of conceptions of the character of socialist construction.
The measures adopted did not therefore bring the anticipated results. On the contrary, over the years, difficulties piled up until they closed in a vicious circle. Subjective conceptions were not overridden in time, as if construction of the new society were dependent only upon accelerated extensive development of production. This led to a precipitated expansion of heavy industry, to a disproportionate demand on labour power, raw materials and to costly investments. Such an economic policy, enforced through directive administrative methods, no longer corresponded to the economic requirements and possibilities of the country and led to exhaustion of its material and human resources. Unrealistic tasks were placed upon the economy, illusory promises were made to the workers. This orientation served to intensify the unfavourable structure of production which did not correspond with the national conditions in which local skilled labour could be not sufficiently applied, caused considerable technical retardation in Czechoslovak production, put a brake on development of public services, upset the equilibrium of the market, worsened the international status of the Czechoslovak economy, especially of the exchange of Czechoslovak products of labour abroad and finally, had to end in stagnation and, in certain cases, even in the reduction of the living standard of the people.
These shortcomings were directly caused by the maintainence and constant restoration primarily of the old directive system of management: Economic means, forms of supply and demand, and marketing ties were replaced by directives from the centre. Socialist enterprise did not expand. In economic life, independence, diligence, expertize and the initiative of the people were not appreciated, but, rather the contrary, subservience, obedience and even kow-towing to higher ups were.
A more profound reason for keeping up the outlived methods of economic management were the deformations in the political system. Socialist democracy was not expanded in time, methods of revolutionary dictatorship deteriorated into bureaucracy and became an impediment to progress in all spheres of life in Czechoslovakia. And so, political mistakes were added to economic difficulties and mechanism was created which resulted in helplessness, conflict between theory and practice. Much endeavour, activity and energy of workers of the Party, the State, the economy, science and culture was squandered away. When to this was added the adverse external circumstances of the early sixties, serious economic crisis followed. It is from there that the difficulties with which the workers are still confronted daily, emanate: the slow increase in wages of many-years standing, stagnation of the living standard and especially the constantly increasing retardation of the infrastructure in comparison with advanced industrial countries, the catastrophic state of housing and insufficient building of houses and apartments, the precarious state of the transport system, poor quality goods and public services, lack of cultural standard in living environment and conditions in general which tangibly affect just the human factor, possibilities of developing human energy and the activity of man, all of which are decisive for a socialist society. Embitterness grew among the people and a feeling that despite all successes which had been achieved and despite all efforts exerted, the socialist society was making headway with great difficulty, with fateful delay and with moral political defects in human relations. Quite naturally, apprehensions arose about socialism, about its human mission, about its human features. Some people became demoralized others lost perspective.
The main link in this circle was that of remnants or reappearance of the bureaucratic, sectarian approach in the Party itself. The insufficient development of socialist democracy within the Party, the unfavourable atmosphere for the promotion of activity, the silencing or even suppression of criticism - all of this thwarted a fast, timely and thorough rectification. Party bodies took over tasks of State and economic bodies and social organisations. This led to an incorrect merging of the Party and State management, to a monopolized power-position of some sections, unqualified interference as well as the undermining of initiative at all levels, indifference, the cult of mediocrity and to unhealthy anonymity. A consequence of this was the spreading of irresponsibility and lack of discipline. Many correct resolutions were never fulfilled. This adversely affected theoretic thinking, making it impossible to recognize in time the shortcomings and the danger connected with the outdated system of management. Amendments in the economy and politics were held up.
All of these questions became a focus for clashing of those forces which were insisting upon fundamental changes with the bearers of the old conception. At the same time, this led to a clarification of the position, and essential social progress was pushed ahead. At the December sessions of the Central Committee, thorough and factual criticism was made of the main causes of the aforementioned shortcomings, and their bearers, and corrective measures were instigated in the leading bodies of the Party themselves. One of the immediate causes was said to be that inside the Party there was too great a concentration of decision, that there arose an extraordinary status of individuals, in the first place of A. Novotny. This criticism allowed the whole Party and the society to start overcoming the old approach and sectarian bureaucratic practice on the basis of self-critical evaluation of the work to date, from top to bottom, so as to create real unity of the society on the same basis of social democratism, thoroughly to put into practice the principles of the new system of economic management, to modernize and rationalize life in Czechoslovakia, to open up long-term perspectives of gradually including Czechoslovakia in the process of the scientific-technological revolution - so that in all spheres of this society the power of socialism will be revived and will start out along a new road of socialist development.
Decisive for the socialist development of this country was the creation of the broad reliance of progressive forces of the town and country headed by the working class and the unity of the Czech and Slovak nations.
The resolution of the 13th Congress of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia set the task: "In the internal life of the country to continue strengthening the union of the working class which is the leading force in the society, with the agricultural co-operative workers and the socialist intelligentsia as the political base of the State, to help the mutual rapprochement of classes and strata of the nations and nationalities in Czechoslovakia and to consolidate their unity." The sense of the present policy is to stimulate continuously democratic relations of co-operation and confidence among the various social groups without differentiation, to harmonize their efforts, to unite their forces on the basis of the development of the whole society.
All social classes, strata, groups, both nations and all nationalities of the society agree with the fundamental interests and aims of socialism. One of the big advantages of socialist development to date is, that a decisive factor in assessing the standing and activity of the people in this society is their working merits and progressive social activity and not their membership of this class or that stratum. The Party resolutely condemns attempts to put the various classes, strata and groups of the socialist society in opposition to each other and will eliminate everything that creates tension among them.
On behalf of unity and the interests of the whole society, there can be no overlooking the various needs and interests of individual people and social groups according to their work, qualification, age, sex, nationality and so on. In the past we have often made such mistakes.
Socialism can only flourish if scope is given for the assertion of the various interests of the people and on this basis the unity of all workers will be brought about democratically. This is the main source of free social activity and development of the socialist system.
The Party is backed, and will continue to be backed, by the working class which has shown that it is able to carry the main weight of socialist endeavour. Under prevailing conditions, we rely especially upon those, who, with their awareness i.e. profound understanding of the real interests and tasks of the working class in the revolutionary reconstruction of the whole society, with their qualifications, and their cohesion with modem technology, the high effectivity of their work, their social activity, contribute markedly to the further progress of Czechoslovak production and to the whole society as such. The working class began the revolutionary struggle so as to abolish every sort of exploitation, to erase all class barriers, to facilitate the liberation of people and with them to transform the conditions of human life, the character of human labour, to make way for the full self-realization of man, and by all this to change even itself. These long-term interests of the working class have not yet been fully realized. The workers, however, now have in their hands new technical, social and cultural means, which allow them to continue changing their working and living conditions, to expand the elements of purposeful creative endeavour in their activity. We are determined to open up wide the road to the assertion of all creative and by far not fully utilized energy which the working class has for these tasks.
In the past, the workers did not always have the possibility of asserting their immediate and specific interests. Therefore the Party will strive to activize the social life of the workers, to provide scope for making use of all their political and social rights through political organisations, and trade unions and to strengthen the democratic influence of collective teams of workers in the management of production. It will strive for the alleviation of exhausting labour, for the humanization of work and for improving the labour conditions of workers.
One of the most significant results of the transformation of the social structure was the creation of social groups, organically cohering with the workers - agricultural co-operative workers. This fact must be appreciated politically. The Party will strive for the absolute economic equalization of agriculture with industry and for appraising the social importance of agricultural work. In accordance with the conclusions of the 7th Congress of Agricultural Co-operatives we shall support the setting up of all-state agricultural co-operative organisations and raise their political authority; we want to abolish all administrative, bureaucratic obstructions which impede the independent initiative of agricultural enterprises, everything that endangers the security of co-operative venture and that emanates from lack of confidence in the ability of the agricultural co-operative workers to act independently and in a socialist way.
Likewise it will be necessary to understand that the character of our intelligentsia has gradually changed, it has become an intelligentsia of the people, a socialist intelligentsia. It represents a force, which takes part, in a creative way, in the development of the society and makes the wealth of science and culture available to all people. Today the workers will find in the intelligentsia their integral component part and their own inner force. The constantly closer collaboration of the technical intelligentsia with the workers in productive collectives simultaneously records the process of surmounting former class barriers. The Party will support the growing unity between the intelligentsia and the other working people, it will combat underestimation of the role of the intelligentsia in this society, which was the case of late, it will combat everything that upsets relations between the intelligentsia and the workers. It will strive for just remuneration of complex and creative mental labour.
Just as with the working class, so with the agricultural workers and the intelligentsia, the Party will rely mainly upon those who best understand and most actively assert social interests and who, by effective work, most markedly contribute to social progress. Co-operation of all groups of the socialist society will be effective and possible only providing everyone becomes aware of his responsibility to the other, and does not give preference to narrow professional interests.
The fundament of Czechoslovak statehood is the voluntary and equal co-existance of Czechs and Slovaks. By the forming of socialist relations, pre-conditions will be given for the strengthening of the fraternal co-existence of our nations. Our Republic can only be strong providing, there will be no sparks of tension, or signs of nervosity and suspicion in the relations of the Czech and the Slovak nations and all nationalities. We must therefore resolutely condemn all expressions which would undermine the principles of the equality and sovereignty of both socialist nations and which occured in the past. The unity of the Czechs and Slovaks can be strengthened only on the basis of an unhampered development of their national individuality in harmony with progress made in economy, with objective changes in the social structure of both nations and on the basis of absolute equality and voluntariness. Our Republic will be that much stronger, the more developed will be the two nations, the greater will be the use made of the enormous economic and cultural resources of Slovakia, in the interests of the progress of the whole Republic. Indifference to national interests or even endeavours to suppress them, is considered by the Party to be a gross distortion of its programme, of its political course. The Party will consistently defend the Leninist principle that the overlooking of the interests of a smaller nation by the larger is incompatable with socialist relations between nations. It will oppose any kind of endeavour to place the continuous searching for the best methods of development in the constitutional relations of our nations, established on equal rights and voluntariness, in the light of weakening of the Republic. Communists of both nations and all nationalities in this country defend the principles of internationalism; the communists of every nation and nationality are themselves surmounting nationalistic relics in their own surroundings.
Under socialist conditions, each of the national minorities - Hungarian, Polish, Ukrainian, German and so on - have the right to their own national life and consistent fulfilling of all other constitutional rights.
The Party stresses it will oppose all expressions of anti-semitism, racism and any anti-humanistic ideology, which would set the people against each other.
Various generations of our society have grown up under different conditions and naturally vary in their outlook on many questions of our life. The Party strongly rejects endeavours to put into contradiction the interests of these generations, it will devote special care to harmonizing and satisfying the needs of the different age groups.
It is true that our system, on the basis of the dedicated work of the older generation, as compared with the pre-Munich Republic has provided better conditions for the young people. Nevertheless, we have still remained greatly indebted to the youth. Shortcomings and mistakes in political, economic and cultural life, just as in human relations, affect the young person especially strongly, contradictions between words and deeds, lack of frankness, phrasemongering bureaucracy, attempts to settle everything from a position of power - these deformations of socialist life must painfully affect students, young workers and agricultural workers, arousing in them the feeling that it is not they, their work, their efforts which are decisive for their own future life. An urgent task is that of restoring contact with young people everywhere and of making them responsible which pertains to them for their independent work under socialism.
This especially applies to improving working conditions, and possibilities of young people being active in social and cultural life and of consistently erasing everything that evokes non-confidence towards socialism in young people. We are all glad about the enthusiasm of the youth, their positive and critical initiative, which is a condition for them finding their cause and future in socialism and communism.
Neither should we overlook the material conditions, the social necessity, respect for and social assertion of the old people, which makes possible for them a dignified and well-merited retirement. This society should give great attention to ensuring the active participation of members of the resistance movement to whom the respect of everyone is due.
The deformations of the Party and State policy also include the fact that in the past the problem of women, especially those in employment was not considered a serious political matter. In State, economic and cultural policy, women should have access to such positions which comply with principles of socialist democracy and the significant role taken by women in creating material and spiritual values of the society.
In the further development of our society we must reckon with the activity of all strata of the population in public life and constructive endeavour. We can say quite openly that we are calculating with believers too, who, on the basis of their faith wish, as equals, as builders of a socialist society, to take their part in helping to fulfil all our exacting tasks.
The assertion of the manifold interests of the social groups and individuals, and their unification, calls for the elaboration and implementation of a new political system in our lives, a new model of socialist democracy. The Party will strive for such a development of the State and social order as will correspond to the actual lay-out of interests of the various strata and groups of this society, as will give them the possibility of expressing their interests in their organisations and of voicing their views in public life. We expect that in an atmosphere of mutual confidence between people and their institutions civic responsibility will grow at the same time and that norms of human relations will be respected.
Meanwhile, the Party will strive to link the democratic principles of the social system with expert and scientific management and decision. In order to be able to judge responsibly what is in the interest of the whole society, we must always have before us other alternatives for appraisal, expertly justified proposals for solving all disputable matters, and we must ensure that the people get much more information, more candidly.
Today, when class differences are being erased, the main criterion for evaluating the status of people in society is how the person contributes towards social progress. The Party has often criticized equalitarian views, but in practice levelling has spread to an unheard of extent and this became one of the impediments to an intensive development of the economy and to raising the living standard. The harmfulness of equalitarianism lies in the living standard. The harmfulness of equalitarianism lies in the fact that it puts careless workers, idlers and irresponsible people to advantage as compared with the dedicated and diligent workers, the unqualified compared with the qualified, the technically and expertly backward people as compared with the talented and those with initiative.
When attempting today to do away with equalitarianism, to apply the principle of actual achievements in the appraisal of employees we have no intention of forming a new privileged stratum. We want in all spheres of social life, the remuneration of people to depend upon the social importance and effectivity of their work, upon the development of workers initiative, upon the degree of responsibility and risk. This is in the interest of the development of the whole society. The principle of actual achievement raises the technical standard, profitability and productivity of labour, respect and authority of the managers responsible, the principle of material incentive, it stresses the growing importance of qualification of all workers.
One of the key conditions of the present and future scientific, technical and social development is to substantially increase the qualifications of managers and experts at all levels of economic and social life. If the leading posts are not to be filled by capable, educated socialist expert cadres, socialism will be unable to hold its own in competition with capitalism.
This fact will require great changes in the existing cadre policy in which for years the aspects of education, qualification and ability have been underrated.
Application of the principle of remuneration according to the quantity, quality and social usefulness of work calls for a de-levelling of incomes. It does not however mean neglecting the interests of citizens in the lowest income group, the interests of families with many children, citizens with reduced working ability, pensioners and certain categories of women and youth. On the contrary, consistent application of the principle of differentiated remuneration according to actual work achievement, is the only effective means for such a development of resources which would enable a raising of the standard of living and, according to the spirit of socialist humanism, determine and ensure good living conditions for all strata of the society. We want to make it quite clear that honest work for the society and efforts to improve qualification are not only duly remunerated but they must also enjoy due respect. The socialist society respects those who achieve exceptional results, who are active and show initiative in advancing production, technical, cultural and social progress; it respects the talented people and creates favourable conditions for their assertion.
At present it is most important that the Party practices a policy fully justifying its leading role in society. We believe that at present this is a condition for the socialist development of the country.
The Communist Party, as a party of the working class, won the struggle with capitalism and the struggle to carry out revolutionary class changes; with the victory of socialism it becomes the vanguard of the entire socialist society. Especially during the present time has the Party proved its ability to lead this society, when from its own initiative it launched the process of democratization and ensured its socialist character. In its political activity the Party intends to depend particularly on those who have understanding for the requirements of the society as a whole, who do not see their own personal and group interests against those of socialism, those who use and improve their abilities for the benefit of all, who have a sense for everything new and progressive and are willing to help advance it.
The Communist Party enjoys the voluntary support of the people; it does not practice its leading role by ruling the society but by most devotedly serving its free, progressive socialist development. The Party cannot enforce its authority but this must be won again and again by Party activity. It cannot force its line through directives but by the work of its members, by the veracity of its ideals.
In the past, the leading role of the Party was often conceived as a monopolistic concentration of power in the hands of Party bodies. This corresponded to the false thesis that the Party is the instrument of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This harmful conception weakened the initiative and responsibility of the State, economic and social institutions and damaged the Party's authority, and prevented it from carrying out its real functions. The Party's goal is not to become a universal "caretaker" of the society, to bind all organisations and every step taken in life by its directives. Its mission lies primarily in arousing socialist initiative, in showing the ways and actual possibilities of communist perspectives, and in winning over all workers for them through systematic persuasion, as well as by the personal examples of communists. This is determined by the conceptional character of Party activity; Party bodies do not deal with all problems but should encourage activity and suggest the solution to the most important ones. At the same time the Party cannot turn into an organisation which would influence the society only by its ideas and programme. Through its members and bodies it must develop the practical organisation functions of a political force in society. The political and organizational Party activity co-ordinates the practical efforts of the people to turn the Party line and programme into reality in all respects - in the social, economic and cultural life of the society.
As a representative of the interests of the most progressive part of all the State - and thus also representative of the perspective aims of the society - the Party cannot represent the entire scale of social interests. The political expression of the many-sided interests of the society is the whole National Front, as an expression of the unity of the social strata, groups of interests and of the nations and nationalities of this society. The Party does not want to, and will not take the place of social organisations, but, on the contrary, it must take care that their initiative and political responsibility for the unity of the society is revived and flourishes. The role of the Party is to seek such a way of satisfying the various interests which would not jeopardize the perspective interests of the society as a whole, but which would promote them and create new progressive interests. The Party policy must not lead to non-communists getting the impression that their rights and freedom are limited by the role of the Party. On the contrary, they must see in the activity of the Party a guarantee of their rights, freedom and interests. We want, and shall achieve, a state of affairs when the Party right at basic organization level, will have informal, natural authority based upon its working and managing ability and the moral qualities of communist functionaries.
Within the framework of democratic rules of a socialist state, communists must over and again strive for the voluntary support of the majority of the people for the Party line. It is necessary to alter Party resolutions and directives if they fail to express correctly the needs and possibilities of the whole society. The Party must endeavour for its members - as the most active workers in their spheres of work - to have corresponding weight and influence in the whole society, to hold functions in State, economic and social bodies. This, however, must not lead to the practice of appointing party members to functions, without regard to the principle that leading representatives of institutions of the whole society are chosen by the society itself and by its various components and that functionaries of these components are responsible to all citizens or to all members of social organizations. It is necessary to abolish the discriminating practice and the creation of a "Cadre ceiling" for people not members of the party.
The basis for the Party's action ability is its ideological and organisational unity based upon broad intra-Party democracy. The most effective weapon against introducing methods of bureaucratic centralism in the Party is the strengthening of the influence of Party members, of forming the political line, reinforcing the role of really democratically elected bodies. Elected bodies of the Party must first of all guarantee the application of all rights of its members, the making of decisions collectively, and, that all power will not be concentrated in a single pair of hands.
Only down-to-earth discussion and exchange of views can be the pre-condition for responsible deciding of collective bodies. Confrontation of views is an essential expression of a multilateral responsible attempt to find the best solution, to advance the new against the obsolete. Each member of the Party and Party bodies has not only the right, but the duty to act according to his conscience, with initiative, criticism, with different views on the matter in question, to oppose any functionary. This practice must become deeply rooted if the Party is to avoid subjectivism in its activity. It is impermissible to restrict communists in these rights, to create an atmosphere of distrust and suspicion of those around who voice different opinions, to persecute the minority under any pretext - as has happened in the past. The Party, however, cannot abandon the principle of requiring the fulfilling of resolutions once they are approved. Within the Party, all its members are equal regardless of whether they hold any function in Party bodies or in bodies of State and economic organisations. Nevertheless, he who occupies a higher position, also carries greater responsibility. The Party is aware of the fact that there will be no more profound democracy in this society if democratic principles will not be consistently applied in the internal life and work in the Party itself, among communists. Decisions on all important questions and on the filling of posts by cadres must be ensured by democratic rules of negotiation and by secret ballot. The democratization of Party life also means the strengthening of work contacts between the Party and science. In this line we shall make use of consultations, exchange of opposing and contrary views since the role of science does not end by preparing analyses and documents.
It should continue on Party grounds, by observing the processes evolved by the various resolutions and by contributing to their materialization and to the control of the correctness of the resolutions in practice.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia set out on this road at its December and January sessions and it will make sure that in the months to come the questions of content and democratic methods of Party life, of relations between elected bodies and the Party apparatus are clarified throughout the Party and that rules will be elaborated defining the authority and responsibility of the individual bodies and links of the Party mechanism, as well as the principles of the Party's cadre policy which, among other things, will ensure an effective, regular change of leading officials, guarantees of the standard of information of members and relations of Party bodies to Party members in general. In preparing the 14th Party Congress the Party will make sure that the Party statutes correspond with the present state of its development.
In the past decade, the Party has many times put forward the demand for a development of socialist democracy. Measures taken by the Party were aimed at enhancing the role of elected representative bodies in the state. They emphasized the importance of voluntary social organisations and of all forms of popular activities. The Party policy initiated a number of laws which increased the protection of rights of every citizen. It was clearly stated in the theses of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia prepared for the 13th Party Congress that "the state of working class dictatorship had fulfilled its main historical mission in our country" and the guide line for further development of our democracy was given no less clearly - "the system of socialist democracy - the state, social organisations, and the Party as the leading force - purposefully endeavours to bring out the differing interests and attitudes of working people to social problems in a democratic way and to settle them inside the socialist society organisations correctly and with regard to nationwide needs and goals. The development of democracy must proceed hand in hand with strengthening of a scientific and professional approach to social management."
Nevertheless, harmful characteristics of centralized directive decision-making and management have survived up to the present day. In relations among the Party, the state, and social organisations, in internal relations and methods within these individual partners, in the relations of state and other institutions to individuals, in the interpretation of the importance of public opinion and of people being informed, in the practical effect of personnel policy - in all these fields there are too many things souring the life of the people, while obstructing a professionally competent and scientific decision-making, and encouraging highhandedness. The reason may be sought, first and foremost, in that these relations in our political system have been built up for years as the instrument for carrying out the orders of the centre, and hardly ever made it at all possible for the decision itself to be the outcome of a democratic procedure.
The different interests and needs of people not foreseen by the system of directive decision-making were taken as an undesirable obstacle and not as new needs of the life of people which have to be respected by politics. That was why the often well-meant words of "an increase in the people's participation in management" could not help as in time this "participation of the people" came to mean chiefly help in carrying out orders and not in settling the correctness of the decisions. Thus it was possible that views, measures and interventions were enforced that were highhanded and did not comply either with scientific cognition, or with the interests of the various strata of the people and of individuals. Centralized decision-making put into effect in this way could not then be effective either and, on the contrary, led to a number of resolutions not being fulfilled and weakening of the purposeful management of social development. This, in turn, has in many cases kept such people in functions that are not capable of any other way of "management", who consistently revive the old methods and habits, who surround themselves with people who humour them and not with people whose capacities and character would be a guarantee of the successful carrying out of the functions. In spite of consistently condemning the "personality cult" we are still not able, therefore, to eradicate some characteristics of our society typical for that period. This undermines the people's confidence in the Party being, in fact, able to change this situation, and old tensions and political nervous strain are again raised and revived.
The Central Committee is firmly determined to overcome such a state of affairs. As said above, it is necessary to prepare, for the 14th Congress, the fundamental issues of the development of the political system into a concept meeting the demands of life, just as we have elaborated the fundamental concept of the new economic system.
The main thing is to reform the whole political system so that it will permit the dynamic development of socialist social relations, combine broad democracy with a scientific, highly qualified management, strengthen the social order, stabilize socialist relations and maintain social discipline. The basic structure of the political system must, at the same time, provide firm guarantees against a return to the old methods of subjectivism and highhandedness from a position of power. Party activity has, so far, not been turned systematically to that end, in fact, obstacles have frequently been put in the way of such efforts. All these changes necessarily call for commencement of work on a new Czechoslovak constitution so that the draft of the new constitution may be thoroughly discussed among professionals and in public in all important points and submitted to the National Assembly shortly after the Party Congress.
But we consider it indispensable to change the present state of things right now, even before the 14th Congress, so that the development of socialism and its inner dynamics are not hampered by the outdated factors in the political system. Our democracy must provide more room for the activity of every individual, every collective, every link in the management, both at lower and higher levels, and in the centre too. People must have more opportunity to think for themselves and express their opinions. We must radically change the practices that turn the people's initiative and critical comments and suggestions from below into words that meet with the proverbial deaf ear. We must see to it that the incompetent but adaptive/to anything/people are really replaced by those who strive for socialism, who are concerned with its fate and progress, with the interests and needs of others, and not with their own power or advantages. This will affect people both "above" and "below". It is going to be a complicated process taking some time. It is necessary to make clear everywhere - at all levels of management, in the Party, in state and economic bodies and in social organisations - which body or which official or which worker is really responsible, for what, where to look for guarantees of improvement, where to change institutions, where the working methods, and where to replace individuals. The attitude of individual Party officials to new tasks and methods, their capability of carrying the new policy into practice, must be the basic political criterion.
Who, which body and which official is responsible for what, what are his rights and duties, must be perfectly clear in all our system of management for the future, and we consider this to be the basic prerequisite for correct development. To this end, each component part should have its own independent position. Substitution and interchanging of state bodies, agencies of economic and social organisations by Party bodies must be completely stopped. Party resolutions are binding for the communists working in these bodies, but the policy, directing activities, and responsibility of the state, economic, and social organisations are independent. The communists active in these bodies and organisations must take the initiative and see that the state and economic bodies as well as social organisations /notably the Trade Unions, the Czechoslovak Union of Youth, etc./ take the problem of their activities and responsibilities into their own hands.
The whole National Front, the political parties which form it, and the social organisations, will take part in the creation of state policy. The political parties of the National Front are partners whose political work is based on the joint political programme of the National Front and is naturally bound by the Constitution of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, is fully based on the socialist character of social relations in our country. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia considers the National Front to be a political platform which does not separate the political parties into the government and the opposition in the sense that opposition would be created to the state policy as the policy of the whole National Front and a struggle for political power in the state were to exist. Possible differences in the viewpoints of individual component parts of the National Front, or divergency of views as to the policy of the state, are all to be settled on the basis of the common socialist conception of the National Front policy by way of political agreement and unification of all component parts of the National Front. Formation of political forces striving to negate this concept of the National Front, to remove the National Front as a whole from political power, was ruled out as long ago as 1945 after the tragic experience of both our nations with the prewar political development of the then Czechoslovak Republic; it is naturally unacceptable for our present republic.
The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia considers the political management of the Marxist-Leninist concept of the development of socialism as a precondition for the right development of our socialist society. It will assert the Marxist-Leninist concept as the leading political principle in the National Front and in all our political system by seeking, through the means of political work, such support, in all the component parts of our system and directly among the masses of workers and all working people that will ensure its leading role in a democratic way.
Voluntary social organisations of the working people cannot replace political parties, but the contrary is also true: political parties in our country cannot exclude common-interest organisations of workers and other working people from directly influencing state policy, its creation and application. Socialist state power cannot be monopolized either by a single party, or by a coalition of parties. It must be open to all political organisations of the people. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia will use every means to develop such forms of political life that will ensure the expression of the direct say and will of the working class and all working people in political decision-taking in our country.
The whole existing organisation, forms of activities, and incorporation of the various organisations in the National Front must be revised in principle under the new conditions and built up so that the National Front may carry out the qualitatively new tasks. The National Front as a whole and all its component parts must be allowed independent rights and their own responsibility for the management of our country and society.
Voluntary social organisations must be based on really voluntary membership and activity. People join these organisations because they express their interests, therefore they have the right to choose their own officials and representatives who cannot be appointed from outside. These principles should be the foundation of our unified mass organisations the activities of which are still indispensable but which should meet, by their structure, their working methods, and their ties with their members, the new social conditions.
The implementation of constitutional freedoms of assembly and association must be ensured this year so that the possibility of setting up voluntary organisations, special-interest associations, societies, etc. is guaranteed by law to meet the actual interests and needs of various strata and categories of our citizens, without bureaucratic interference and without monopoly of any individual organisation. Any restrictions in this respect can be imposed only by law and only the law can stipulate what is anti-social, forbidden, or punishable. Freedoms guaranteed by law are applicable in this sense, in compliance with the constitution, also to citizens of individual creeds and religious denominations.
The effective influence of views and opinions of the working people on all our policy, opposition to all tendencies to suppress the criticism and initiative of the people, cannot be guaranteed if we do not ensure constitution-based freedom of speech and all political and personal rights of all citizens, systematically and consistently, by all legal means available. Socialism cannot mean only liberation of the working people from the domination of exploiting class relations, but must make more provisions for a fuller life of the personality than any bourgeois democracy. The working people, who are no longer ordered about by any class of exploiters, can no longer be prescribed by any arbitrary interpretation from a position of power, what information they may or may not be given, which of their opinions can or cannot be expressed publicly, where public opinion may play a role and where not. Public opinion polls must be systematically used in preparing important decisions and the main results of the research are to be published. Any restrictions may be imposed only on the basis of a law stipulating what is anti-social - which in our country is mainly the criminal law. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia considers it necessary to define more exactly than hitherto in the shortest possible time by a press law, when a state body can forbid the propagation of certain information /in the press, radio, television, etc./ and exclude the possibility of preliminary factual censorship. It is necessary to overcome the holding up, distortion, and incompleteness of information, to remove any unwarranted secrecy of political and economic facts, to publish the annual balance sheets of enterprises, to publish even alternatives to various suggestions and measures, to extend the import and sale of foreign press. Leading representatives of state, social and cultural organisations are obliged to organise regular press conferences and give their views on topical issues on television, radio, and in the press. In the press, it is necessary to make a distinction between official standpoints of state, Party and journalist bodies; the Party press especially must express the Party's own life, development and criticisms of various opinions among the communists, etc., and cannot be made fully identical with the official viewpoints of the state.
The Party realizes that ideological antagonists of socialism may try to abuse the process of democratization. At the present stage of development and under the conditions of our country, we insist on the principle that bourgeois ideology can be challenged only in open ideological struggle before all of the people. It is possible to win over people for the ideas and policy of the Party only by struggle based on the practical activity of communists for the benefit of the people, on truthful and complete information, and on scientific analysis. We trust that in such a struggle, all sections of our society will contribute actively towards the victory of truth, which is on the side of socialism.
At present the activity and responsibility of publishing houses, chief editors, of all Party members and progressive staff of mass communication media, must grow to push through socialist ideals and to put into effect the policy of the Party, of the National Front, and of the State.
Legal norms must guarantee more exactly the freedom of speech of minority interests and opinions also again within the framework of socialist laws and in harmony with the principle that decisions are taken in accordance with the will of the majority/. The constitutional freedom of movement particularly the travelling of our citizens abroad, must be precisely guaranteed by law; in particular, this means that a citizen should have the legal right to long-term or permanent sojourn abroad and that people should not be groundlessly placed in the position of emigrants; at the same time it is necessary to protect by law the interests of the state, for example, as regards the drain of some categories of specialists, etc.
We must gradually solve in the whole legal code the task of how to protect in a better and more consistent way the personal rights and property of citizens, we must especially remove those stipulations that virtually put individual citizens at a disadvantage against the state and other institutions. We must in future prevent various institutions from disregarding personal rights and the interests of individual citizens as far as personal ownership of family houses, gardens, etc. is concerned. It will be necessary to adopt, in the shortest possible time, the long-prepared law on compensation for any damage caused to any individual or to an organisation by an unlawful decision of a state organ.
It is a serious fact that hitherto the rehabilitation of people - both communists and non-communists - who were the victims of legal violations in the past years, has not been always carried out in all its political and civic consequences. On the initiative of the Communist Party Central Committee bodies, an investigation is under way as to why the respective Party resolutions have not been fully carried out, and measures are being taken to ensure that the wrongs of the past are made good wherever it has not been done yet. No one having the slightest personal reason from his own past activity for slowing down the rectification may be either in the political bodies, or prosecutor's and court offices that are to rectify the past unlawful deeds.
The Party realizes that people unlawfully condemned and persecuted cannot regain the lost years of their life; it will, however, do its best to remove any shadow of the mistrust and humiliation to which the families and relatives of those affected were often subjected, and will resolutely ensure that such persecuted people have every opportunity of showing their worth in work, in public life, and in political activities. It goes without saying that even in carrying out full rehabilitation of people, we cannot change the consequences of revolutionary measures made in the past years in accordance with the spirit of class law aimed against the bourgeoisie, its property, economic, and social supports. The whole problem of a rectification of past repressions must be approached with the full responsibility of the state bodies concerned, and based on legal regulations; the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia supports the proposal that the procedure in these questions and the problems of legal consequences be incorporated in a special law.
A wide democratic concept of the political and personal rights of citizens, their legal and political safeguards, are considered by the Party to be a prerequisite for the necessary strengthening of social discipline and order, for a stabilization of socialist social relations. A selfish comprehension of civil rights, an attitude to social property according to the principle "it's not my concern", a preferring of particular interests over those of the whole society - all these are features which communists will oppose with all their might.
The real purpose of democracy must be the achievement of better results of practical work based on wider possibilities of purposeful activity, in order to carry out the interests and needs of the people. Democracy cannot be identified with general speechmaking, cannot be understood in opposition to discipline, professionalism, and effectiveness of management. But arbitrariness and obscure stipulation of rights and duties makes such a development impossible.
It leads to irresponsibility, to a feeling of uncertainty, and hence also to indifference towards public interests and needs. On the other hand, it is a more profound democracy and its measure of civic freedom that will help socialism to prove its superiority over the limited bourgeois democracy and will make it an attractive example for progressive movements even in industrially advanced countries with democratic traditions.
Our republic, as a joint state of two equal nations - Czechs and Slovaks - must consistently ensure that the constitutional arrangement of relations between our fraternal nations and the status of all other nationalities of Czechoslovakia develops as required to strengthen the unity of the state, the development of the nations and nationalities themselves, and in keeping with the needs of socialism. It cannot be denied than even in socialist Czechoslovakia, in spite of outstanding progress in solving the problem of nationalities, there are serious faults and fundamental deformations in the constitutional arrangement of relations between the Czechs and Slovaks.
Let it be stressed that the assymetrical arrangement alone was not suitable, by its very character, to express and ensure the relations between two independent nations, as the respective standings of the two nations were necessarily expressed in different ways. The difference was mainly in the fact that the Czech national bodies were identical with the central ones which, having jurisdiction over all the state, were superior to the Slovak national bodies; this prevented the Slovak nation, to all means and purposes, in taking an equal share in the creation and realization of a country-wide policy. The objective shortcomings of such a solution were underlined by the existing political atmosphere and practice, adversely affecting the standing and activity of Slovak national bodies.
Under such conditions, the activities of Slovak national bodies were weakened, both in the fifties and in the fundamental ideas of the 1960 Constitution of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. Thus the Slovak national bodies got into a position from which their influence on the state machinery could be only of peripheral importance. These shortcomings, especially in view of the unsound elements of the political atmosphere of recent past could not be overcome even by the joint document of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Slovakia of 1964 on a strengthening of the role of the Slovak National Council.
This development necessarily caused misunderstanding to arise between our two nations. In the Czech lands the non-existence of their own national bodies gave an impression of superfluity of Slovak national bodies. In Slovakia the people were convinced that it is not the Slovaks who govern their own house but that everything is decided in Prague.
In the interest of the development of our socialist society it is therefore absolutely necessary to strengthen the unity of the Czechoslovak people and their confidence in the policy of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, to effect a crucial turn in the constitutional arrangement of the relations between the Czechs and Slovaks and to carry out the necessary constitutional changes. It is now essential to respect the advantage of the socialist federal arrangement as a recognised and tried state form of the co-existence of two equal nations in a common socialist state.
For reasons of organisations, the final federative arrangement must be preceded by the removal of the most pressing shortcomings in the existing unsatisfactory state of things in the legal relations between the Czech and Slovak nations as its integral part and development stage. It is therefore necessary to draw up and pass a constitutional law which will embody the principle of a symetrical arrangement as the goal to which our development after the 14th Congress will aim in the new constitution and which in a new way, on the basis of full equality, will solve the status of Slovak national bodies in our constitutional system in the nearest future - before the elections to the National Assembly and the Slovak National Council. It will have to
constitute the Slovak National Council as a legislative body and the Slovak Council of Ministers as a collective executive body, and ministries as individual executive organs of the Slovak National Council, extending the real powers of all these organs so that the division of legislative and executive powers between the state and the Slovak bodies may basically comply with the principles of the Kosice government programme;
entrust the directing of national committees in Slovakia to Slovak national bodies and, in connection with an efficient arrangement between the state centre and the Slovak national bodies, set up a Slovak ministerial office for internal affairs and public security covering the full extent of responsibilities;
adjust the competence of Slovak national bodies so that they may draw up and approve the economic plan and budget for Slovakia in all its items including the relevant economic tools. Set up a suitable structure of ministerial economic and executive bodies of the Slovak National Council and adapt the organisational pattern of the material and manufacturing basis in Slovakia accordingly;
renew state secretaryship in central ministries, especially in the ministries of foreign affairs, foreign trade and national defence, the secretaries being members of the government;
exclude, politically and constitutionally, the possibility of outvoting the Slovak nation as far as the state relations between the Czechs and Slovaks and the constitutional status of Slovakia are concerned;
in addition, outside the scope of the constitutional law, to effect in real political practice the principle of equal rights of both nations in appointments to central bodies, diplomatic service, etc.
In preparing the 14th Congress of the Party and the new constitution it is necessary to submit, on the basis of all-round professional and political preparation, a proposal for a constitutional arrangement of relations between our two nations that will fully express and guarantee their equality and right of self-determination. The same principles shall be applied to the pattern of the Party and social organisations.
In the interests of strengthening the unity, coherence and national individuality of all nationalities in Czechoslovakia - of Hungarians, Poles, Ukrainians, and Germans - it is indispensable to work out a statute stipulating the status and rights of the various nationalities, guaranteeing the possibilities of their national life and the development of their national individuality. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia realizes that, in spite of indisputable achievements in solving the problems of nationalities, serious shortcomings exist. We deem it necessary to stress that the principles of our programme in respect of our two nations extend also to other nationalities. To that end, it is necessary to stipulate constitutional and legal guarantees of a complete and real political, economic and cultural equality. The interests of the nationalities will have to be safeguarded also from the point of view of the pattern of state, regional, district, municipal, and local state power and administration. It is necessary to see that the nationalities are represented, in proportion to their numbers, in our political, economic, cultural, and public life, in elected and executive bodies. It is necessary to ensure an active participation of the nationalities in public life in the spirit of equality of rights and according to the principle that the nationalities have the right to independence and self-administration in provinces that concern them.
The coming elections are to be the onset of implementation of the principles of this Action Programme in the work of the elected bodies of the state.
Although efforts were made in the past few months to improve the preparation of elections, it proved that it is not possible to effect the elections in the originally proposed term while meeting the requirements of the principles of advanced socialist democracy. It is therefore necessary to work out such an electoral system that will be in harmony with the changes in our political life. By means of the electoral law it is necessary to lay down exactly and clearly the democratic principles for the preparation of the elections, the proposal of candidates and the method of their election. The changes in the electoral system must be based, in particular, on the new political status of the National Front and the elected bodies themselves.
It is the national committees that make the backbone of the whole network of representative bodies in our country as democratic organs of state power. It must be in the national committees that state policy is formed, especially in districts and regions. In their work the principle of socialist democracy is to be fully applied: to bring out various interests and requirements of the people and to mould them into the general, public interest of communities, townships, districts and regions.
The Party regards the national committees as bodies that have to carry on the progressive traditions of local government and people's self-administration. They must not be taken for local bureaucratic offices supervising local enterprises. The essential political mission of national committees is to protect the rights and needs of the people, to simplify the process of settling all matters with which the people turn to the national committee, to pursue public interest and oppose efforts of some institutions to dupe the people and ignore their requirements.
The Party regards the National Assembly as a socialist parliament with all the scope of activities the parliament of a democratic republic must have. The communists-deputies must see to it that the National Assembly works out a number of concrete measures before the new electoral period that will put into actual practice the constitutional status of the National Assembly as the supreme organ of state power in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. It is necessary to overcome formalism in dealings, the unconvincing unanimity concealing factual differences in opinions and attitudes of the deputies. From this point of view it is necessary to solve, in the nearest future, the relations between the National Assembly and Party bodies, and also a number of problems of internal activities of the National Assembly, particularly those concerning organisation and competence. The result must be a National Assembly which actually decides on laws and important political issues, and not only approves proposals submitted. The Party supports a strengthening of the controlling function of the National Assembly in our entire public life and more concretely, in respect of the government; from that point of view, it is necessary to subject the controlling machinery fully to the National Assembly, to establish it as its own body. Together with closer bonds between the National Assembly and our public opinion, all of this may, in a short time, increase the role and the prestige of the National Assembly in our society.
The communists in the government, too, must ensure as soon as possible that the principle of responsibility of the government towards the National Assembly covering all its activities is worked out in detail. Even under the existing practice of political management, the opportunity afforded for independent activity of the government and of individual ministers was not sufficiently made use of, there was a tendency to shift responsibility on to the Party bodies and to evade independence in decision-taking. The government is not only an organ of economic policy. As the supreme executive organ of the state it must, as a whole, deal systematically with the whole scope of political and administrative problems of the state. It is also up to the government to take care of the rational development of the whole state machinery. The state administration machinery was often underrated in the past; this machinery must consist of highly qualified people, professionally competent and rationally organised, it must be subject to a systematic supervision in a democratic way it must be effective. Simplified ideas as if such goals could be attained by underrating and decrying the administrative machinery in general were rather detrimental in the past.
In the whole state and political system it is necessary to create, purposefully, such relations and rules that would, on the one hand, provide the necessary safeguards to professional officials in their functions and, on the other hand, enable the necessary replacement of officials who can no longer cope with their work by professionally and politically more competent people. This means to establish legal conditions for the recall of responsible officials and to provide legal guarantees of decent conditions for those who are leaving their posts through the normal way of replacement, so that their departure should not amount to a "drop" in their material and moral-political standing.
The Party policy is based on the principle that no undue concentration of power must occur, throughout the state machinery, in one sector, one body, or in a single individual. It is necessary to provide for such a division of power and such a system of mutual supervision that any faults or encroachments of any of its links are rectified in time, by the activities of another link. This principle must be applied not only to relations between the elected and executive bodies, but also to the inner relations of the state administration machinery and to the standing and activities of courts of law.
This principle is infringed mainly by undue concentration of duties in the existing ministry of the interior. The Party thinks it necessary to make of it a ministry for internal state administration including the administration of public security. The schedule that in our state was traditionally within the jurisdiction of other bodies and with the passage of time has being incorporated into the ministry of the interior, must be withdrawn from it. It is necessary to elaborate proposals as soon as possible passing on the main responsibility for investigation to the courts of law, separating prison administration from the security force, and handing over of press law administration, of archives, etc. to other state bodies.
The Party considers the problem of a correct incorporation of the security force in the state as politically very important. The security of our lives will only benefit, if everything is eliminated that helps to maintain a public view of the security force marred by the past period of law violations and by the privileged position of the security force in the political system. That past period impaired the progressive traditions of our security force as a force advancing side by side with our people. These traditions must be renewed. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia deems it necessary to change the organisation of the security force and to split the joint organisation into two mutually independent parts - State Security and Public Security. The State Security service must have such a status, organisational structure, numerical state, equipment, methods of work, and qualifications which are in keeping with its work of defending the state from the activities of enemy centres abroad. Every citizen who has not been culpable in this respect must know with certainty that his political convictions and opinions, his personal beliefs and activities, cannot be the object of attention of the bodies of the State Security service. The Party declares clearly that this apparatus should not be directed and used to solve internal political questions and controversies in socialist society.
The Public Security service will fulfil tasks in combatting crime and in the protection of public order; for this its organisation, numerical state, and methods of work must be adapted. The Public Security force must be better equipped and strengthened; its functions in the defence of public order must be exactly laid down by law and, in their fulfilment, the service will be directed by the national committees. Legal norms must create clearer relations of control over the security force by the government as a whole and by the National Assembly.
It is necessary to devote the appropriate care to carrying out the defence policy in our state. In this connection it is necessary to work for our active share in the conception of the military doctrine of the Warsaw Treaty countries, the strengthening of the defence potential of our country in harmony with its needs and possibilities, a uniform complex understanding of the questions of defence with all problems of the building of socialism in the whole of our policy, including defence training.
The legal policy of the Party is based on the principle that in a dispute over right/including administrative decisions of state bodies/the basic guarantee of legality is proceedings in court which are independent of political factors and are bound only by law. The application of this principle requires a strengthening of the whole social and political role and importance of courts of law in our society. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia will see to it that work on the complex of the required proposals and measures proceeds so as to find the answer to all the necessary problems before the next election of judges. In harmony with and parallel to that, it is also necessary to solve the status and duties of the public prosecutor's office so that it may not be put above the courts of law, and to guarantee full independence of barristers and solicitors from state bodies.
We regard young people as those who are to continue in the socialist transformation of the society. The present political activity and the part young people take in the social process of revitalization proves the reproaches often addressed against them to be without any foundation. The decisive part of the working and student youth is, by its energy, critical approach, matter-of-factness, and initiation a natural ally and important factor in the creation and implementation of the programmed aims of the Party. For this reason, it is indispensable to open wide and confidently doors of our Party to young people.
At the same time it is necessary to give young people of all social categories, in proportion to their age and abilities, full possibility of co-deciding on all their own and public matters in elected bodies; their organisations should be recognised as partners of Party and social organisations, economic bodies, national committees, and administration of schools in solving social, working, study, and other urgent problems of youth and children. Young people must be given the opportunity of timely application of their knowledge, qualifications, and talents in appropriate places including leading positions. Cultural, sporting and recreation facilities must be built with their co-operation for them to spend their leisure in a healthy and effective way. The work of voluntary and professional trainers, coaches, instructors and other workers who sacrifice their time and devote their abilities to children and youth as socially highly beneficial and praiseworthy must be appreciated.
In this connection, let us say a few words of self-criticism on the relations of the Party and the Czechoslovak Union of Youth. Until recently, we expected the latter or its representatives to pass on to the young people more or less ready made instructions, often the result of subjective opinions, which tactlessly interfered with the internal affairs of the youth organisation. We did not sufficiently influence young communists to take part in the creation of Party policies by making them consistently defend, develop, and express the interests, needs, requirements, and viewpoints of the youth as a whole and of its individual categories. Thus the initiative of the youth and the role of its organisation was impaired in public and political life. This tendency was strengthened by the incorrect principle of direct Party Control of the Czechoslovak Union of Youth.
However, the independence of the youth and children's movement does not eliminate, but in fact presupposes ideological guiding, a systematic interest of the whole Party in the problems of youth and of children's education, the practical help of communists to children's and youth collectives and tactful attention to young people in everyday life.
The multiformity of needs, interests and frequently changing inclinations of young people, which itself is internally differentiated as regards age, social strata, qualifications, etc., requires also a diversified and differentiated organisation of children and young people. Apart from partial interests and inclinations of the moment of individual categories of young people, there are the pressing immediate and prospective needs and interests affecting the whole younger generation, which can be expressed and pushed through only by joint action of all the important youth categories; this calls for a suitable form of organisation and social representation of young people. We are of the opinion, without, of course, wanting to prescribe any pattern of youth organisation, that a form of federation would be most fitting for the present needs and situation of youth and children's movements.
It will depend, to a great extent, on the present officials of the Czechoslovak Union of Youth and of other social organisations to assist this process, to prevent both a suppressing and an unnecessary diversification of the sound initiative of young people, to make use, purposefully, of all experience and opportunities in the search for the best formed development of our socialist youth and children's movement.
The 13th Congress approved conclusions stating that the improvement of our economy and the transition to intensive economic development cannot be achieved by traditional approaches or partial improvements of the directive system of management and planning, but by a basic change of the mechanism of socialist economy. The idea which prevailed was the idea of an economic reform based on a new economic system, the revival of the positive functions of the socialist market, necessary structural changes of the economy and a profound change in the role of the economic plan which would cease to be an instrument for issuing orders and would become an instrument enabling society to find the most suitable long-range trends of its development by scientific methods; a change from an instrument designed to enforce subjectively determined material proportions into a programme of economic policy, ensuring an effective development of economy and the growth of the standard of living. The implementation of the first important steps of the economic reform has met with the active support of the working people, experts and the broad public.
Certain features of the economic development over the past two years, better utilization of production factors, the drop of the share of material costs in the social product, the growing demands placed by consumers on the technical level and the quality of products etc., fully confirm the correctness of the conclusions adopted by the 13th Congress. These positive features of the economic development have not so far resulted in a better satisfaction of the needs of society and have not led to reducing the tension of the internal market. This is objectively caused by the fact that the former tendencies are still strongly apparent, that the old structure of production and foreign trade still survives and that production is being only slowly adapted to the changes and the growing demand of the market. This is connected with many inconsistencies and gaps in implementing the programme of economic reform.
Instead of a consistent effort to establish more objective market criteria which would expose the economic backwardness and old deformation of the economic structure and gradually eliminate their existence, there are still considerable efforts to deform these criteria, to adapt them to the given conditions and thus create an easy situation in which the backwardness and the deformations would remain concealed, could survive and thrive at the expense of us all.
The system of protectionism applied will regard to economic backwardness, connected with the policy of prices, subsidies and grants and mainly with the system of surcharges in foreign trade continues to prevail in the economic policy. The confused system of protectionism is creating conditions under which ineffective backward enterprises, managed in an unqualified way, may exist and are often given preferences. It is not possible to blunt for ever the economic policy by taking from those who work well and giving those who work badly. It is therefore necessary to objectivize value relations that the differences in the income situation between enterprises should really reflect actual differences in the level of their economic activities. Nor is it politically correct for the consumer to pay indefinitely for inefficiency by means of prices, taxes and indirectly by different forms of siphoning off means of effective enterprises.
Enterprises facing a demanding market must be given a free hand in making decisions on all questions concerning directly the management of the enterprises and its economy and must be allowed to react in a creative way to the needs of the market. A demanding market, together with the economic policy, will thus put pressure on production to become more effective and to introduce healthy structural changes. Economic competition, especially with advanced foreign firms, must be the basic stimulus for improving production and reducing costs. This competition cannot be replaced by subjective adjustments of economic conditions and by directive orders of superior bodies.
The programme of democratization in economy links the economic reform more closely with the processes facing us in the sphere of politics and the general management of society, and stimulates the determination and application of new elements which would develop the economic reform even further. The programme of democratization of the economy includes particularly the provision of ensuring the independence of enterprises and enterprise groupings and their relative independence from state bodies, a full and real implementation of the right of the consumer to determine his consumption and his style of life, the right of a free choice of working activity, the right and real possibility of different groups of the working people and different social groups to formulate and defend their economic interests in shaping the economic policy.
In developing democratic relations in the economy we at present consider as the most important task the final formulation of the economic position of enterprises, their authority and responsibility.
The economic reform will increasingly push whole working teams of socialist enterprises into positions in which they will feel directly the consequences of both the good and bad management of enterprises. The Party therefore deems it necessary that the whole working team which bears the consequences should also be able to influence the management of the enterprise. There arises the need of democratic bodies in enterprises with determined rights towards the management of the enterprise. Managers and head executives of the enterprises, which would also appoint them to their functions would be accountable to these bodies for the overall results of their work. These bodies must become a direct part of the managing mechanism of enterprises, and not a social organisation /they cannot therefore be identified with trade unions/. These bodies would be formed by elected representatives of the working team and by representatives of certain components outside the enterprise ensuring the influence of the interests of the entire society and an expert and qualified level of decision-making; the representation of these components must also be subordinated to democratic forms of control. At the same time it is necessary to define the degree of responsibility of these bodies for the results of the management of socialist property. In the spirit of these principles it is important to solve many concrete questions; at the same time it will be necessary to propose a statute of these bodies and to use certain traditions of our works councils from the years 1945-48 and experiences in modern enterprising.
This naturally in no way reduces the indivisible authority and responsibility of the leading executives in managing the enterprise which, together with their qualifications and managing abilities, is the basic pre-condition of successful enterprising.
In this connection it is also necessary to reassess the present role of trade unions. In the centralized system, their function of supporting directive management blended with defending the interests of the working people. Moreover, they performed also certain state functions labour legislation etc./. The resulting situation was that on the one side they took inadequate care of the interests of the working people and on the other they were accused of "protectionism". Even socialist economy places working people into a position in which it is necessary to defend human, social and other interests in an organised way. The central function of trade unions should be to defend with increasing emphasis employment and working interests of the workers and the working people, to appear from this aspect as an important partner in solving all questions of economic management; on this platform, the trade unions would develop more effectively also their function of organising workers and employees for a positive solution of the problems of socialist construction and their educational function connected therewith. Communists in trade unions will proceed from these principles and ensure in an initiative way that the trade unions themselves analyze their position, the functions and activities of the central and union bodies on the basis of the whole Action Programme of the Party, that they evaluate the internal life of trade unions as an independent democratic organisation and work out their own political line in solving these questions.
The enterprise must have the right of choosing its organisational integration. Supra-enterprise bodies /of the type of the present general and branch managements/ cannot be imbued with State administrative power. The individual branches must, with due regard to their conditions, be in future enabled to transform into voluntary associations, on the basis of the economic interest and requirements of enterprises. Enterprises must have the right to decide about the content of the activity of these associations, the right to leave them and become independent and to join such associations which will ensure in a better way the functions following from the concentration and specialization of production and from integration processes.
The withdrawal of enterprises from the existing supra-enterprise agglomerations and their free association cannot begin before the rules for this process are outlined by the government; during the transition period it will be necessary to ensure that even after becoming independent the enterprises should fulfil the precisely termed financial and co-operation obligations set to them before, and resulting from their previous membership in the supra-enterprise body.
It is necessary to put an end to the previous simplified, schematic approach to formulating the organisational structure of production and trade. The structure of enterprises must be varied, just as are the demands of our market. It is therefore necessary to count also with the development of small and medium-sized socialist enterprises, whose importance lies in the first place in the completization of production, in a fast supply of new items to the market and in a flexible reaction to the different demands of customers. In the development of the organisational structure of production and trade it is necessary to open up scope for economic competition among enterprises of all sorts and forms of enterprising, in the first place in the sphere of production and supply of consumer goods and foodstuffs.
Agricultural production contributes to a great extent towards the consolidation of our national economy. The latest period and particularly the future needs of the economy clearly emphasize this positive role of consolidation of agriculture whose composition should develop in a way which would gradually ensure a rational structure of nutrition to the population. This is why the Party considers it necessary to raise and concentrate the aid of the State and of all branches, especially the chemical and engineering industry, in ensuring the growth of crop and animal production. This is and continues to be the foremost task of our economic policy.
Co-operative enterprising in agricultural production is of exceptional importance for the development of our economy. The Party supports the conclusions of the Seventh Congress of the Unified Agricultural Co-operatives, particularly the creation of a national organisation of co-operative farmers, the right of the unified agricultural co-operatives to do business also in other branches and the possibility of selling part of farm products directly to the population and to retailers. The State bodies will help to ensure all-year employment for the farming population.
The Party considers the development of agricultural production in co-operatives and in State farms to be the decisive line of large-scale production in agriculture. It would be expedient for Communists to prepare proposals which will develop new forms of closer contacts of agricultural producers with supply and sales organisations of agricultural products so that these new forms may ensure direct contact of agricultural production with suppliers and the market and would be to a certain extent similar to the former farm co-operatives.
We shall support the development of different forms of credit in farming and recommend to examine the whole credit system in agricultural economy. At the same time, The Central Committee recommends that agricultural and other State managing bodies should seek and support also other forms of business in utilizing land in mountainous, hilly and border regions. In the border regions it is necessary to strive for the creation of further suitable conditions designed to intensify economic activities, i.e. to make better use of existing small workshops, to extend recreation possibilities and engage in further capital construction. This should help stabilize the settlement of the border regions and normalize their life. Even though the production of individual farmers constitutes a relatively small part of overall production, it is important to facilitate their work, to improve their conditions of economy and to enable their co-operation with co-operative and State enterprises.
In keeping with the proposals made at the 13th Congress of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, it is also necessary to create possibilities for co-operative enterprising wherever co-operatives earn the money for their activity. It will be expedient to make individual co-operatives independent economic and social organisations with full rights, to abolish inexpedient administrative centralisation of co-operatives and to create only such bodies superior to co-operative enterprises whose economic activity is advantageous for them. In connection with the development of co-operative enterprising, it appears to be expedient to elaborate more thoroughly the co-ownership relations of co-operative farmers towards co-operative property.
A serious shortcoming existing in economic life over a long period of time is the low standard and shortage of services of all sorts which reduces the standard of living and arouses justified discontent among the population. The improvement of communal services /water, gas, sewerage, municipal transport, road cleaning etc./ will require considerable investments and can be achieved only gradually while ensuring their profitability. The unsatisfactory state existing in other services is caused by the way of their organization and their exacting administration, by low interest of the workers in their economic results, by the fact that certain services are unprofitable, by bad supply of material and low and wrong investments.
Neither the standard of productive forces, nor the character of work in services, repairs and artisan production correspond to the present high centralization in their management and organisation which involves quite unnecessary administration and burdens the services with inexpedient costs. This is why it is necessary to take immediate measures for improving and extending all existing forms of services /co-operatives, communal enterprises/, to simplify their management and organisation in the spirit of the principles of the new system. In the sphere of services it is particularly justified to make individual shops independent and to remove unnecessary administrative links of management. Small scale individual enterprising is also justified in the sphere of services. In this respect it is necessary to work out legal provisions concerning small-scale enterprising, which would help fill the existing gap in our market.
The expansion of social wealth is the concern of our entire society. The actual tasks and responsibility fall both on enterprises and on managing bodies, particularly on the Government. It is therefore their common interest and task to make use of the growing political activity of the working people, which has been taking place since the December and January plenums of the Central Committee, and to win them over for the road which means the consolidation of the national economy.
To achieve this it is necessary to adjust the whole organism of the implementation of the economic policy of the State. The appropriate organisational questions must be solved by State and economic bodies. At the same time the Party considers it desirable that the final set up should correspond to the following principles:
Decision-making about the plan and the economic policy of the State must be both a process of mutual confrontation and harmonization of different interests - i.e. the interests of enterprising, consumers, employees, different social groups of the population, nations etc. - and a process of a suitable combination of view of the long-term development of the economy and its immediate prosperity. Effective measures protecting the consumer against the abuse of the monopoly position and economic power of production and trading enterprises must be considered as a necessary part of the economic activity of the State.
The drafting of the national economic plan and the national economy policy must be subject to democratic control of the National Assembly and specialized control of scientific institutions. The supreme body implementing the economic policy of the State is the Government. This presupposes such an institutional set-up of central management which would make it possible in the process of decision-making to express and unify special interests and views and to harmonize, in the implementation of the economic policy, the operation of individual economic instruments and measures of the State. At the same time, the institutional set-up of the bodies of economic management must not offer opportunities for the assertion of departmental and monopoly interests and must ensure a marked superiority of the interests of citizens as consumers and sovereign bearers of the economic movement. In all central economic bodies it is indispensable to ensure a high level of specialization, rationalization and modernization of managing work, to which the necessary changes in cadres must be also subordinated. All this must be the concern of a group of government bodies which analyse the national economy, work on alternative solutions of this development and the national economic plan, compare the planned development with the real development in the market, and proceeding from these findings, take effective economic measures etc., and thus consistently and purposefully influence the real movement in the economic sphere (i.e. the activity of enterprise and their associations) in the direction outlined by the economic policy of the State. State bodies approach enterprises and their associations and integrated groups in the same way as they approach other independent legal subjects. The means which are at the disposal of the State, are the result of the work of all the people and must be used for satisfying the needs of the entire society in a way which society recognises to be reasonable and useful. An important part of economic management must be a well conceived technical policy based on the analysis of technical progress in the whole world and on own conceptions of economic development. The purpose of this policy will be to regulate the technical level of the production base and to create economic conditions which would arouse strong interest in seeking and using the most up-to-date technology.
In this connection it would be useful for the State bodies concerned to examine all kinds of public expenditure and for the Government to work out a programme of State and public measures designed to reduce expenditure. The State budget must become an instrument for restoring the equilibrium and not for its weakening. The Central Committee considers it necessary and possible to reveal and reasonably utilize extraordinary internal and external resources for achieving a speedy restoration of the economic equilibrium.
At the same time, the Central Committee appeals to all enterprises, their associations, plants and workshops to work out and implement, in connection with their enhanced economic authority, a programme of rationalization of all managing, productive and business activity, in order to achieve a concerted harmonization of work and to reduce production costs. The programme of rationalisation is the precondition for an economic evaluation of existing capacities and for technical modernization of production.
We are putting great hope into reviving the positive functions of the market as a necessary mechanism of the functioning of socialist economy and for checking whether the work in enterprises has been expended in a socially useful way. However, we have in mind not the capitalist, but the socialist market, and not its uncontrolled but its regulated utilization. The plan and the national economic policy must appear as a positive force contributing to the normalization of the market and directed against tendencies of economic imbalance and against monopolistic control of the market. The society must do the planning with due insight and perspective, it must scientifically discover the possibilities of its future development and choose its most reasonable orientation. This, however, cannot be achieved by suppressing the independence of other subjects of the market/enterprises and the population/, since this would on the one hand undermine the interest ensuring economic rationality, on the other hand it would deform information and decision-making processes which are indispensably necessary for the functioning of the economy.
The economic structure of Czechoslovakia, its technical standard, concentration and specialization must be developed in a way enabling it to react quickly to economic changes at home and in the world.
The level of the adaptibility and flexibility of the national economy is also the result of the skill and the technical and cultural standard of the working people, their ability to adapt themselves quickly to the changing technical and economic conditions of production. From the point of view of the resources of economic growth in Czechoslovakia, manpower, their abilities and quality, technical and cultural standard as well as their adaptibility and mobility are of quite exceptional importance. Even from the point of view of future economic growth, the Czechoslovak economy does not possess more promising resources than are its great human resources. Czech and Slovak workers and farmers have always been known for their know-how, their skill and creative approach to work. As a result of the directive method of management, the new generation has only partly taken over these qualities from the older generation. Instead of the feeling of satisfaction from well done work, there frequently developed indifference, mechanical fulfilment of tasks, and resignation to situations caused by incompetent and uninitiative management. The Party believes that the prime condition for eliminating these losses is to put to leading positions people who are really capable and who are able to secure natural authority in working teams by their professional and human level.
Experience resulting from the many years isolation of economic units from the competitive pressure of the world market, has clearly shown that this creates exceptional conditions for the activity of economic units, conditions resulting especially in relative lagging behind the rate of technical progress and of structural economic changes this progress conditions, in the loss of competitiveness of our products on the world markets and in the creation of undue tension in external trade and payment relations. The limited raw material base of our economy and the limited size of the home market make it impossible to implement the changes in the material base of production carried along by the scientific and technical revolution without widely integrating our economy into the developing international division of labour.
The development of international economic relations will continue to be based on economic co-operation with the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries, particularly those aligned in the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance. At the same time, however, it should be seen that the success of this co-operation will increasingly depend on the competitiveness of our products. The position of our country in the development of international division of labour will strengthen with the more general convertibility of our products. In our relations with the CMEA countries we shall strive for the fuller application of criteria of economic calculations and mutual advantage of exchange.
We shall also actively support the development of economic relations with all other countries in the world, which show interest in them on the basis of equality, mutual advantages and without discrimination. We support the development of progressive forms of international collaboration, especially co-operation in production and in the pre-production stage, the exchange of scientific and technical know-how, business in licences and suitable forms of credit and capital co-operation with interested countries.
The opening up of our economy to the pressure of the world market makes it necessary to consistently rid the foreign trade monopoly of the administrative conception and methods and to eliminate directive management in foreign trade transactions. In this sphere, the Central Committee considers it necessary to carry out an effective State commercial and currency policy, based particularly on economic rules and instruments of indirect management.
The Central Committee considers it indispensable to raise the authority and responsibility of enterprises for the concrete implementation of international economic relations. Production and trading enterprises must have the right to choose their export and import organisations. At the same time it is necessary to formulate conditions under which, if they are fulfilled, enterprises would be entitled to act independently on foreign markets.
The many years isolation of our economy from the world market has divorced home trade price relations from price relations in the world market. Under this situation, we consider it necessary to enforce the line of bringing the home and world market prices gradually closer together. This practically means a more energetic elimination of various surcharges and subsidies to prices of the foreign market. Enterprises must be aware that this is only a temporary protection, they are receiving from the State and on which they cannot count indefinitely, and must therefore work out a programme of such changes in production which will enable them already in the next few years to do without subsidies and surcharges. Another side of this policy of eliminating price surcharges and subsidies must be a more broad-minded approach to those branches and enterprises in the national economy, which are from the point of view of the national economy capable of selling effectively their products in foreign markets. The Party considers it expedient to speed up the necessary changes in the present system of price relations and put them gradually in order both by the pressure of the market forces and by creating a proper rational price system through purposive economic policy of the State. This policy must be accompanied by energetic measures designed to ensure internal stability of the currency. This presupposes the development of the production of effective and good-quality funds of products marketable on foreign markets, the achievement of equilibrium in the internal market of commodities, money and labour, an effective restrictive investment policy, the achievement of equilibrium in the balance of payment and the creation of necessary currency reserves.
The phased opening up of our economy to the world market, whose final aim is to create conditions for the convertibility of our currency must be carried out in an extent that would not pile up too many social problems and would not endanger the growth of the standard of living. However, it must be realized that we are living in conditions of sharp competition and that every concession today will worsen the prerequisites of effective economic development and of the growth of the standard of living in the future.
The basic aim of the Party in developing the economic policy is the steady growth of the standard of living. However, the development of the economy was in the past one-sidedly focussed on the growth of heavy industry with long-term returnability of investments. This was done to a considerable extent at the expense of the development of agriculture and the consumer goods industry, the development of the production of building materials, trade, services and non-productive basic assets, particularly in housing construction. This one-sided character of the former economic development cannot be changed overnight. If, however, we take advantage of the great reserve existing in the organisation of production and work, as well as in the technical and economic standard of production and products, if we consider the possibilities offered by a skillful utilization of the new system of management, we can substantially speed up the creation of resources and on this basis to raise the growth of nominal wages and the general standard of living.
Greater stress in the growth of the standard of living must be laid on the growth of wages and salaries. However, the growth of average wages and salaries cannot be speeded up in the way that enterprises will raise wages regardless of the real economic results. It will be necessary to consistently apply the principle that the development of wages depends on really achieved production which will find its social utilization. The methods of influencing the development of wages will have to be in this sense elaborated. In keeping with the growth of wages in production, it is at the same time necessary to ensure the growth of wages in education, health services and other non-productive branches.
The present system of retail prices is markedly divorced from the costs of production, gives an incorrect orientation to the structure of personal consumption of the population including the consumption of food and in its consequences reduces the possible degree of satisfying their requirements. Under these conditions it is indispensable to be more energetic in removing existing disproportions in prices so as to create prerequisites for a faster growth of the standard of living. The solution of these questions will require opposite movements of prices of individual products and their groups - the prices of some articles will have to be raised and others will have to be reduced. Rational price relations cannot be fixed and proclaimed by a State authority, it is necessary to enable market forces to influence their creation. This naturally involves a certain risk that the changes of price relations will take place along with a certain growth of the level of prices; this risk results from the fact that in the situation we have taken over from the directive system of management overall demand is greater than supply. While opening up the required scope to internal price movements, the central bodies must therefore regulate general economic relations in a way preventing an excessive growth of the price level and ensuring the growth of real wages by at least 2.5 - 3 per cent per year.
It is not possible in the nearest future to substantially raise claims for appropriations from social funds, since this could not be done without substantially weakening remunerations for work. However, in the spirit of the resolution adopted by the plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in December 1967, it is possible to solve the most urgent problems of social policy, such as the raising of low pensions, the extension of paid maternity leave and aid to families with children. It is also possible to outline the principle that social pensions will grow in keeping with the growth of the cost of living. The Central Committee demands from State bodies to ensure the removal of obstacles which weaken the interest of citizens to permanently continue active work after qualifying for old age pensions. We also want to examine the justification of certain measures carried out in connection with the reorganisation of the social security system in 1964 /for example the taxation of pensions and the possibility of its gradual removal, the introduction of a higher basic qualifying for students' scholarships etc./. We consider it necessary to raise the social security allowances of those who participated in the national struggle for the liberation. We shall also elaborate the conception and the further course of improving the wage tax system so that it might be possible after 1970 to solve more justly the taxation of women, mothers and persons who have brought up children, and to further strengthen measures promoting a more favourable population development.
An important component determining the standard of living and the style of life is the care for the health of the people. In our society, we have introduced a number of measures in health care which capitalism was unable to solve. However, there are still many untopped possibilities in this sphere, both in the organisation of health care and of spa services as well as in the working conditions of doctors and health personnel. The Central Committee appeals to Communists in the health service and to other health workers to submit their initiative proposals designed to solve the problems which unnecessarily embitter citizens and health workers and which are the result of bureaucratic methods in medical care.
From the point of view of preventive care designed to strengthen the health of the people, particularly children and youth, and of effective use of spare time, we consider it indispensable to duly appreciate the social importance of all forms of physical and para-military training and recreation; we are in this respect expecting a principled stand from the government and the educational administration as well as initiative from social organisations.
An important qualitative aspect of the standard of living will be the general introduction of a five-day working week for which it is necessary to create technological, organisational, economic and political conditions in order to enable its operation already at the end of 1968.
It is a serious shortcoming that the programme of housing construction was not carried out in the past years. We at present regard the solution of housing construction as the altogether decisive question of the standard of living. We consider it necessary to concentrate forces in this sphere and to secure also the necessary support of the Government and of State bodies for substantially raising, the annual number of flats built by building organisations and for utilizing the initiative of the population in building family houses. At the same time, it is necessary to work out a conception of a long-term housing policy corresponding with the changing social conditions, which would gain the confidence and support of the population, promote the interest of citizens in building and modernizing flats and which would also influence the development of the material basis of the building industry and its capacity. For a transitional period it will be also expedient to endeavour to employ building organisations and manpower of other countries and concentrate construction to places where the need is most urgent.
It is characteristic of the bureaucratic and centralist tendencies, applied over and over again in our life in the past that one of the places most affected by insensibility towards people is the centre of our Republic, Prague. The capital city, with its experienced and highly qualified cadres of workers, technicians, scientists, artists, organizers of our construction and which comprises an immense wealth of monuments and cultural values, has paid dearly for sectarianism in economy and politics, for the low standard of responsible officials. Its facilities and amenities are not in keeping with its social functions, growing tourism and the requirement of the life of its inhabitants. It is indisputably necessary to speed up housing construction in the capital and, in addition, to concentrate efforts on at least some of the other problems which annoy the people in Prague most: municipal and suburban transport, as well as cleanliness in the city. It is necessary to solve similarly the problems of the capital city of Slovakia - Bratislava. To see to it that as many children as possible from these cities may be able to spend their holidays outside the capital in view of the present inadequate possibilities of recreation in Prague.
The Central Committee is of the opinion that despite the faster growth of the standard of living, the present results and these measures do not by far meet existing needs. Nor do they correspond to our real economic possibilities; however, the low effectiveness of our economy is creating barriers which in the process of the further satisfaction of personal and social needs can be overcome only by efforts to mobilize the reserves and to develop resources in production. The elimination of the shortcomings in economy will require time. But we are convinced that the consistent implementation of the economic reform and the activation of all Communists and non-party members will enable our country to embark upon the road of a fast, modern development of the economy.
The economy of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic is the integration of two national economies which makes it possible to multiply the economic potential of our entire society. This is conditioned by rational utilization of the resources and reserves of the growth of both our national political regions in the interest of an effective development of the Czechoslovak national economy as well as by the creation of a social and economic balance between the various regions. The new constitutional set up must definitely rely on the integration basis and further integration tendencies in the economy of the entire State.
The past development of Slovakia within the unified Czechoslovak economy was marked by major changes in the economic and living standard. Slovakia has become an advanced industrially developed agricultural part of the Republic. For the further development of the integrated Czechoslovak economy it is not decisive to make partial individual adjustments but to fundamentally elaborate the rational integration of the national political regions in the economic complex of the entire State.
However, the undeniable achievements were accompanied by the emergence of serious problems. Slovakia's share in the creation of the national income increased from 14.2 per cent in 1948 to 24.4 per cent in 1965, it is not adequate to the possibilities of growth which exist in Slovakia. Favourable geographic position, qualitative changes in the fund of manpower, possibilities of space concentration, new basis of chemistry, metallurgy, fuels and power, agriculture, natural resources.
The processes of creating a balanced social and economic level between Slovakia and the Czech lands are characterized by their internal contradictions. An undeniable success of the Party policy is the elimination of social and economic backwardness and the decrease of relative per capita differences. However, the faster rate of growth was not sufficient for reducing absolute differences. The process of creating a balanced level was not based on the conception of national economic effectiveness of the development of the Czechoslovak economy.
The existing problems are caused mainly by the fact that the extensive economic growth of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was markedly enforced also in the economic development of Slovakia. The potential source of growth was not used rationally, both in industry and in agriculture. The tertiary sphere, particularly the build-up of the scientific, research and development bases, has lagged greatly behind Slovakia's development was not sufficiently co-ordinated, it proceeded along departmental lines, without internal integration relations of modern economic entities.
The intensive development of Slovakia's economy is conditioned by a complex of measures connected with the solution of short-term factual problems, with the clarification of conceptual questions of long-term development, with the effective operation of the new system of management and with the definition of the competence and authority of the Slovak national bodies.
The measures designed to speed up Slovakia's economic development up to 1970 constitute the starting-point for a fundamental change in Slovakia's integration into the process of transition of the Czechoslovak economy to the road of intensive growth. At the same time it is necessary to seek possibilities of solving acute problems: employment, the lagging behind of micro-regions with special regard to those which are inhabited by Hungarian and Ukrainian fellow-citizens, specific problems of the standard of living, particularly the housing problem etc.
It is of decisive importance for Slovakia's long term economic development to raise substantially Slovakia's participation in the creation and the utilization of the national income and to solve the task of creating a balanced economic level essentially by 1980.
This necessitates faster economic development in Slovakia than is the national average. The prerequisite of this is to give strong support to progressive structural changes, to intensify agricultural production and the inter-connected processing industry; to develop the tertiary sector in all spheres; to purposefully concentrate production and the infra-structure.
The development of Slovakia is taking place within the new system of management. However, this system in its present form has not created scope for the development policy of national political regions. Past adjustments of the plan and of economic instruments are not sufficient. It is therefore necessary to elaborate the system of management in such a way as to ensure that also territorial and national aspects of development become an equal organic component of the system of management of the entire national economy.
At the present stage we must base the development of our society to a much greater extent on the progress and application of science, education and culture. It will be necessary that their wealth is used fully and completely to the benefit of socialism and that our people should understand the complicated claims connected with creative work in these spheres.
Socialism originates, lasts and wins by the connection of the working movement with science. There is no relationship of subordination and compromise between these forces. The more resolute and impartial is the advancement of science, the more is it in harmony with the interests of socialism; the greater are the achievements of the working people, the bigger is the scope opened up to science. In the relationship to the development and application of science in the life of socialist society is reflected how much the working people are aware of their historical tasks, to what extent they really enforce them. Socialism stands and falls with science, just as it stands and falls with the power of the working people.
Just now, at the beginning of the scientific-technological revolution in the world, the social position of science is changing considerably. Its application in the entire life of society is becoming the basic condition for the intensive development of the economy, care for man and his living environment, culture of the society and growth of the personality, modern methods of management and administration, the development of relations between people and the solving of various problems raised by the current period. It is in the field of science and technology where the victory of socialism over capitalism is decided in long-term perspective.
Therefore the Party regards it as one of its primary tasks to provide an ever greater scope for the promotion of creative scientific work and for a timely and more efficient application of its results in social practice.
Relatively complete foundations of basic, applied research and development unprecedented in extent and importance, have been built up in this country together with the construction of socialism. A number of qualified scientific workers have grown up, who made an important contribution by their achievements to building up this country and whose qualification is recognised all over the world. In spite of this the opportunities offered by socialism for the development of science and especially for the application of its results to the benefit of society are, for the time being, far from being fully used which is also because of the still existing branch barriers between science, technological development and production. The inflexibility of the system of management by directives, connected with the low-level qualification of managing personnel is the reason for this; in the sphere of research the reasons are mainly differences in the level of applied research institutes, caused by lack of scientifically trained staff.
To solve the existing state we shall continue making substantial improvements particularly in the material conditions of our basic research so that in the decisive branches it could remain permanently at a world level. The development of science must at the same time proceed from the real possibilities of Czechoslovakia as a middle-size country, which can ensure top-level scientific research only by efficient specialization and concentration of energy in connection with extensive international co-operation and exploitation of the results of world science as such. Therefore it is also necessary to develop the system of the evaluation of scientific workers in such a way that selected progressive, scientific and socially important directions of research be supported more fully by a system of moral and material incentives.
If the social sciences are really to become an official instrument of scientific self-cognition of socialist society, it is necessary to respect the principles of their internal life and to ensure such a position and conditions for them as would enable them to achieve high scientific standards. By means of its bodies the Party will take the initiative in encouraging the development of social sciences and contributing towards their orientation to important social problems; but it does not interfere with the very process of creative scientific work and in this respect relies on the initiative and social responsibility of scientists themselves.
In addition to creating favourable conditions for the very development of science it is an urgent task to strive for surmounting all the obstacles between science on the one hand and social practice on the other. Even though the full and more consistent application of the new system of management is expected to bring the fundamental solution, we shall help this process also by new measures at the level of central management. The Party will especially support the development of feasible stimuli for the application of the results of science in production and other social practice and for a rapid improvement of the qualification structure of slowly developing applied research institutes. At the same time we shall also support a more profound examination of the social function of science, especially the problem of its effectiveness and the relationship between science and economy in Czechoslovak conditions.
The development of socialist society is at the same time a process of constant increase of the social involvement and responsibility of science and its application in the management and shaping of the entire life of society. We shall strive on a broader scale than hitherto for scientific staff to take part in the work of representative bodies and in the activities of other bodies of social management; we shall intensify the active participation of scientific institutions and scientific workers in drawing up proposals for political and economic measures. We shall encourage the application of scientific workers in social management and the system of education on the broadest possible scale and create favourable social and economic conditions for their activity in these fields. We shall prepare without delay the introduction of a binding system of scientific expertise and opponency on important proposals. This will contribute towards qualified decisions at all levels of management.
The progress of the socialist society is conditioned by the growth in education of the people. This is a precondition for solving initial tasks of the scientific-technological revolution, promoting the relations and institutions of socialist democracy and further asserting the cultural and humanistic character of socialism and the development and employment of every man in it.
Therefore we regard further progress of education as a primary task. In this respect we proceed from the traditions of the education of our nations and from the good results by which the socialist stage of development has improved our school system, especially by its broad democratization and materialization of the principles of co-education. It is still necessary to surmount the consequences of past shortcomings, when the quantitative development of education was frequently achieved at the expense of the quality of teaching. Neither was sufficient care given to the qualitative training of teachers. The frequent reorganization in the past did not contribute to the desirable improvement of the standard of education. On the contrary, this was the reason why, in many respects, it was lagging behind the existing needs and future demands. Therefore it is a foremost task today to concentrate the main attention and strength towards a purposeful improvement of the standard, exaction and value of education and especially towards improving and raising the standard of general education of people, towards expanding the base for a more efficient choice and education of talents, and towards modernizing the content, forms and means of education.
The dynamic development of our economy and of the whole society requires an end of the underrevaluation of education and of the needs of schools and teachers; it requires that a much bigger proportion be set aside from social resources for the development of education. We shall ensure that educational bodies in co-operation with the broad masses prudently materialize projects which will enable our economy to fully keep pace with the dynamics of the development of science and technology and with the needs of the time. We consider the following tasks as the most urgent ones:
a) to work out a draft hypothesis on the long-term development of the educational system, which will make it possible to stabilise the development of the educational system at all levels, to solve its personnel and material base in advance so as to gradually eliminate the unevenness in the development of education in individual regions of the country.
To prepare a new concept in harmony with the long-term project of basic polytechnic education, which would be based on the logical grasping of the subject, to take advantage of the independence and initiative of students and make it possible to fully apply the principle of differentiation according to interests and talents; to solve the urgent problems of secondary general education schools by extending the base and time of secondary general education, thus to improve preparations for later university studies while providing conditions for those secondary school students who will not study at universities to take up practical jobs.
To form and to gradually introduce a system of additional education of young people who start working at 15 years. To increase the thoroughness of the preparation of young skilled workers in harmony with the technological and structural changes in our economy by improving the theoretical, specialised and general education of young apprentices. To take advantage to a greater extent of the resources of plants and enterprises for the construction and equipment of apprentice centres in the sense of the new system of management of the national economy and in justified cases also to grant state subsidies. Not to allow a further decrease of material investments in these establishments. The same criteria should also be applied by National Committees in the construction and equipment of apprentice schools.
b) To create material and personnel conditions at secondary schools and universities for all young people who fulfil the necessary requirements and proved it by their results during preceding education, to be enrolled for studies. Therefore the system of enrolment at secondary schools and universities should be made more flexible. Administrative methods should be replaced by economic and moral stimuli, a sufficient amount of information and improvement of educational advice, which will help regulate sensitively the influx of students to particular branches and bring closer the abilities and interests of individuals and the needs of society. Meanwhile secondary and university education should not be understood only as training for a certain profession, but as a means of improving the extent of education, the cultural level of man and his ability to solve new situations in the production process as well as in the economic, social and qualification structure of society. This requires simultaneously an increase in the social responsibility of economic, cultural and political institutions and of every individual for the application of education in practice.
c) At universities, democratic principles and methods should be consistently applied in their management. The prerequisites of scientific work, unity of teaching and research should be continually strengthened, the authority and autonomy of university scientific councils should be increased. Universities should be given preference regarding modern equipment, the possibilities of scientific work should be improved, all-round co-operation between research, universities and secondary schools should be intensified, expensive equipment should be taken advantage of jointly by research institutes and universities. Universities should be given broader access to foreign literature and more opportunities of study and training visits abroad in view of their pedagogical and scientific work, while understanding correctly the importance of acquiring knowledge for the development of science and flexibly applying the principles of profitability of foreign currency resources.
d) The structural changes in the national economy will also require re-training and complementing of the general or specialised education of adults. Therefore it will be necessary that schools, enterprises, social organisations and mass information media press, radio, television co-operate in order to improve and intensify the system of education for adults.
e) The complexity of education management should be safeguarded by legal arrangements so as to raise the role of school administration. In this connection it will be desirable to ascertain the effectiveness of university law so as to strengthen the democratic relations in the internal and external management and the social position of universities. The authority of Slovak National Council bodies in education in Slovakia should be applied fully in view of the importance of education as a basic element of national culture.
f) Equal study and development conditions should be consistently ensured for young people of all nationalities. An end should be put to the belittling approach towards solving problems of nationality education and legal and institutional preconditions should be created to allow the nationalities to have something to say on the specific issues of nationality education.
The Party appreciates the work of our teachers in educating the young generation. Teachers belong above all to school and young people and their work must not be disturbed by anything. Educational work is of nation - and society - wide importance. Therefore the social position of teachers must be safeguarded in the first place by the respective state bodies and National Committees. Efforts to provide conditions essential for their work must also correspond to this. This means to ensure a high standard of the training of teachers, development of wage relations of teachers and other school staff so as to be in harmony with the growth of the real wages of workers in other branches, and also to solve other urgent material needs of teachers so they can perform their responsible profession with full concentration. In projects and the materialization of school capital construction, it is essential to ensure its complex character including flats for teachers. The Party regards this as part of its policy to increase the prestige, authority and social importance of the educationalists of the young generation.
The development of culture in the broadest sense is one of the basic conditions of dynamic and harmonious development of socialist society. The culture of socialist Czechoslovakia consists of independent and equal Czech and Slovak cultures, together with the cultures of the other nationalities. The arts and culture are not a mere decoration of economic and political life, but they are vital for the socialist system. If culture lags behind, it retards the progress of policy and economy, democracy and freedom, development of man and human relations. Care for culture, material and spiritual, is not only the concern of the cultural front, but it must become an affair of the entire society.
It was an important tradition of the Communist Party from the start that it was able to unite the best men of culture and art around itself. This is proved not only by the socialist orientation of our pre-war artistic vanguard, but also by the fact that most of the cultural intelligentsia were standing on the left or were in the ranks of the Party after the liberation in 1945. Later, especially in the early fifties, certain representative of culture were discriminated, some were subjected to unjustified political repression and the cultural policy of the Party was also in demand.
The documents of the 13th Congress should have been a starting point of a new cultural policy, which would proceed from the best traditions of the past and from much positive experience acquired after 1956 and after the 12th Congress of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia. However, the surviving bureaucratic attitudes and old methods of management prevented the impetuses of the Congress from developing. The contradictions between the proclaimed and practiced policies were creating a conflict tension and restricting the involvement and development of socialist culture. The Central Committee will investigate all the reasons for these conflicts and will create favourable conditions to normalize the situation.
We reject administrative and bureaucratic methods of implementing cultural policy, we dissociate ourselves from them and we shall oppose them. Artistic work must not be subjected to censorship. We have full confidence in men of culture and we expect their responsibility, understanding and support. We appreciate how the workers in culture helped force through and create the humanistic and democratic character of socialism and how actively they participated in eliminating the retarding factors of its development.
It is necessary to overcome a narrowed understanding of the social and human function of culture and art, overestimation of their ideological and political role and underestimation of their basic general cultural and aesthetic tasks in the transformation of man and his world.
The Party will guard and safeguard both the freedom of artistic work and the right to make works of art accessible.
To socially administer culture means, first of all, to create favourable conditions for its development. Disputes, which will naturally arise, will be solved by discussion and democratic decisions. Independent decisions of cultural workers in the spheres of their activity must also be an expression of the necessary autonomy of culture and art. They must be indispensable partners for state bodies. We are convinced that communist intellectuals and all other leading workers in the sphere of culture and art are capable of co-operating in the formation of, and carrying out responsibly and independently, the policy of the Party in state, social, cultural and group-interest institutions, that they are a guarantee of the socialist, humanistic orientation of our culture.
Of course, the social effect of culture does not occur outside the political context. We shall ensure that the freedom of different views, guaranteed by the Constitution, is fully respected. However, the Communist Party cannot give up its inspiring role, its efforts that art, too, should efficiently help form socialist man in the struggle for the transformation of the world. The Party will apply consistently its political programme, it will stimulate the development of Marxist thinking.
Socialist culture is one of the primary agents of the penetration of socialist and humanistic ideas in the world. It helps unite the humanistic streams of world culture. It has the capacity of bringing closer the socialist nations and of strengthening the co-operation and fraternal relations of nations and nationalities. Culture is a traditionally important value for our nations, by the means of which we have always proved our vitality and individuality to the world. But the interpretation of the national traditions of the culture of the Czechs and Slovaks was one-sided in many respects, whole important periods were artificially omitted from it. We give our full backing to the humanistic traditions of national cultures and we shall support all efforts to endorse this heritage in the present psychology of Czechs and Slovaks.
We are supporters of both internationalism and national specificity of culture. We think it inevitable to take efficient measures without delay so that culture in Slovakia has the same conditions and possibilities as those in Bohemia, so that disproportions do not grow, but disappear. The equal position of national cultures also requires an equal position of national institutions. The competence of national bodies in Slovakia includes the management of the decisive instruments of national culture, such as radio, television, film, scientific institutes, artists' unions, book publishing, care for historical monuments, etc. It is necessary to secure the representation of Slovak national culture abroad; to increase the exchange of information and cultural values between the Czech and Slovak nations; to ensure the cultural life of the Slovaks in the Czech lands and of the Czechs in Slovakia in their native tongue.
Similar principles must be applied also towards the cultures of all the nationalities in Czechoslovakia, while realising that they are specific cultures and not Czech and Slovak culture translated into another language. The culture of nationalities is an organic part of Czechoslovak socialist culture, but it is also in context with the general culture of its own nation, with which it is inseparably linked. Material conditions and personnel problems of the further development of national cultures must be guaranteed institutionally, scientific and cultural institutions and offices must be established with a view to nationality needs. The decisive role and care for the material base of national cultures pertains to state bodies, National Committees, together with the cultural unions of the various nationalities.
We shall take care not only of cultural work, but also of the system of communication of cultural values, we shall strive for the active participation of citizens in the development of socialist culture and in their cultural education, in the closest possible co-operation and complex influence of mass and local culture. We consider it urgent to examine the reasons of the catastrophic shortcomings of cultural and aesthetic education and to take measures to rectify them; - to create sufficient material, organisations and other conditions of cultural activity, to loosen the organisational forms; - to allow the establishment of various cultural and hobby groups as well as their regional and national associations; - to complete an efficient network of cultural establishments with an active participation of National Committees, enterprises, social and group-interest organisations; - to purposefully build up new important regional cultural centres in addition to the capitals.
The entire sphere of culture must be decently and responsibly secured economically in view of its importance, and protected from the uncontrolled nature of the market and from commercialism. We shall recommend, in the spirit of the 13th Congress resolution, that the government should complete without delay the planned solution of the entire complex of culture economy. The planned expenditure on culture must be stabilised and must increase progressively in harmony with the trend of the national income. We shall also support voluntary combination of the means of industrial and agricultural enterprises, national committees and social organisations for culture. The means invested in culture can become an important instrument of its development, if he, who uses them, becomes a modern socialist customer.
We regard the following problems as the most urgent ones, dependent upon new distribution of the means for culture on a national scale: to guarantee material care for the creators of important cultural values; - to eliminate discrepancies in the royalties, wages, incomes and taxes system in culture; - to cover the whole territory of the Republic with a good-quality radio and television signal as soon as possible, to open the second television programme in 1970; - to overcome without delay the disastrous state of polygraphy; - to secure more polygraphic paper in desirable assortment for the press and publishing houses; - to improve care of historical objects of art and save handicraft among others things by making way for co-operative or private enterprise in this sphere.
The planned expenditure on culture must be concentrated in culture directing bodies which must distribute it to cultural institutions. To increase the economic independence and responsibility of cultural establishments, enterprises and groups is a prerequisite of the functioning economy of culture. Independent control will lead towards a more rational exploitation of means and possibilities, towards increasing the spirit of enterprise.
We shall be putting the Action Programme into practice during a complicated international situation and its further development will influence the realisation of certain important principles of the programme. On the other hand, the process of the revival of socialism in Czechoslovakia will make it possible for our Republic to influence this international development more actively. We stand resolutely on the side of progress, democracy and socialism in the struggle of the socialist and democratic forces against the aggressive attempts of world imperialism. It is from this point of view that we determine our attitude to the most acute international problems of the present, and our share in the world-wide struggle against the forces of imperialist reaction.
Proceeding from the real relationship of international forces and from the awareness that Czechoslovakia is an active component of the revolutionary process in the world, she will formulate her own attitude towards the fundamental problems of world policy.
The basic orientation of Czechoslovak foreign policy was born and verified at the time of the struggle for national liberation and in the process of the socialist reconstruction of this country - it is in alliance and co-operation with the Soviet Union and the other socialist states. We shall strive for friendly relations with our allies - the countries of the world socialist community - to continue, on the basis of mutual respect, to intensify sovereignty and equality, and international solidarity. In this sense we shall contribute more actively and with a more elaborated concept to the joint activities of the Council of Mutual Economic Aid and the Warsaw Treaty.
In the relationship to the developing countries, socialist Czechoslovakia will be contributing to the strengthening of the anti-imperialist front and supporting within its power and possibilities all the nations opposing imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism and striving for the strengthening of their sovereignty and national independence and for economic development. Therefore we shall continue supporting the courageous struggle of the Vietnamese people against American aggression. We shall also be enforcing a political settlement of the Middle East crisis.
We shall actively pursue the policy of peaceful co-existence towards advanced capitalist countries. Our geographical position, as well as the needs and capacities of an industrial country require that we should carry out a more active European policy aimed at the promotion of mutually advantageous relations with all states and international organisations and at safeguarding collective security of the European continent. We shall consistently proceed from the existence of two German states, from the fact that the German Democratic Republic, as the first socialist state on German territory, is an important peace element in Europe, from the necessity of giving support to the realistic forces in the German Federal Republic, while resisting neo-nazi and revanchist tendencies in that country. The Czechoslovak people want to live in peace with all nations. They want to develop good relations and co-operate with all states in the interests of strengthening international peace and security as well as mutual confidence in the economic, cultural, scientific and technological fields. We shall also take more active advantage than we have done so far of our Republic's membership in international organisations, especially in the United Nations and its agencies.
Our science, culture and art can strengthen and increase much more the international authority of socialist Czechoslovakia in the world. Czechoslovak foreign policy must provide conditions and extend the scope for the international application of our culture abroad. A broad application of our science and art abroad helps to prove efficiently the advantages of socialism and the possibilities of an active policy of peaceful co-existence.
Our foreign policy did not make use of all the opportunities for active work, it did not take the initiative in advancing its own views on many important international problems. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, the National Assembly, the Government and the respective ministry must overcome these shortcomings without delay and consistently ensure that our foreign policy should express fully both the National and international interests of socialist Czechoslovakia.
A full development of the international role of socialist Czechoslovakia is inseparable from the education of citizens in the spirit of internationalism, which comprises both the grasping of common interests and aims of the world progressive forces and understanding of specific national needs. This is linked with the necessity of making prompt and detailed information on international problems and the course of our foreign policy available to the public and thus creating conditions for an active participation of Czechoslovak citizens in the shaping of foreign political attitudes.
The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia will be more active in the sphere of the international communist and workers' movement. We shall put special emphasis on friendly ties, mutual consultations and exchange of experiences with the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, with the communist and workers' parties of the socialist community, with all the other fraternal communist parties.
The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia will continue taking an active part in the struggle for the unity of the international communist movement, for strengthening the action co-operation of communist parties with all the progressive forces while regarding a resolute struggle against the aggressive policy of American imperialism as the most important task. The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia will take full advantage of its specific possibilities of establishing contacts with the socialist, peaceful and democratic forces in the capitalist and developing countries. It will contribute to expanding the forms of co-operation and co-ordinating the work of communist parties, while attaching great importance to international party consultative meetings. From this point of view it welcomes and supports the outcomes of the Consultative Meeting of Communist and Workers' Parties in Budapest. With dozens of fraternal parties the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia supports the proposal for convening an international communist consultative meeting in Moscow, late in 1968.
We are submitting to you quite frankly all the main ideas which guided us and which we want to adhere to at the present time. Everyone will understand that the proposals comprised in this Action Programme are far-reaching and their realisation will profoundly influence the life of this country. We are not changing our fundamental orientation; in the spirit of our traditions and former decisions we want to develop to the utmost in this country an advanced socialist society rid of class antagonisms, economically, technologically and culturally highly advanced, socially and nationally just, democratically organised, with a qualified management, by the wealth of its resources giving the possibility of dignified human life, comradely relations of mutual co-operation among people and free scope for the development of the human personality. We want to start building up a new intensely democratic model of a socialist society which would fully correspond to Czechoslovak conditions. But our own experiences and Marxist scientific cognition lead us jointly to the conclusion that these aims cannot be achieved along the old paths while using means, which have long been obsolete and harsh methods, which are always dragging us back. We declare with full responsibility that our society has entered a difficult period when we can no longer rely on traditional schemes. We cannot squeeze life into patterns, no matter how well-intended. It is now also up to us to make our way through unknown conditions, to experiment, to give the socialist development a new look, while leaning upon creative Marxist thinking and the experiences of the international workers movement, relying on the true understanding of the conditions of the socialist development of Czechoslovakia as a country which assumes responsibility to the international communist movement for improving and taking advantage of the relatively advanced material base, unusually high standards of education and culture of the people and undeniable democratic traditions to the benefit of socialism and communism. No one could forgive us were we to waste this chance, were we to give up our opportunities.
We are not taking the outlined measures to make any concessions from our ideals - let alone to our opponents. On the contrary: we are convinced that they will help us to get rid of the burden which for years provided many advantages for the opponent by restricting, reducing and paralysing the efficiency of the socialist idea, the attractiveness of the socialist example. We want to set new penetrating forces of socialist life in motion in this country to give them the possibility of a much more efficient confrontation of the social systems and world outlooks and allowing a fuller application of the advantages of socialism.
Our Action Programme comprises tasks, intentions and aims for the immediate future, up to the 14th Party Congress. We are aware that many of the shortcomings and difficulties which have accumulated over recent years cannot be fully overcome in a short time. However, the fulfilment of this programme can open up the way to solving other, more complicated and important problems of the organisation and dynamic development of our socialist society in directions which could be only indicated until now; in the coming years, we want to start working out a long-term programme, which would give form and elaborate in detail the concept of the overall development of our socialist society in the stage we are entering, make clear the conditions and open up prospects of its communist future. After everything we have lived through over the past years we are obliged to give a reply to all our workers and ourselves as to how the Party imagines its aims can be achieved, how it wants to materialise the expectations and desires which are being invested by workers in their life and in their participation in the communist movement. We believe that our Marxist science has gathered and will gather now and in future such an amount of strength as to enable it to prepare responsibly scientific preconditions for such programme.
We are not concealing the fact that difficult moments and extraordinarily exacting and responsible work face us in the coming months and years. For the fulfilment of the forthcoming progressive tasks it will be necessary to unite as many citizens of our Republic as possible, all who are concerned with the welfare of this country, with its peace efforts, with a flourishing socialism. Confidence, mutual understanding and harmonious work of all who really want to devote their energy to this great human experiment will be needed. But the work and initiative of every communist every worker will be needed above all. We want to responsibly, consistently and without reservations make room for this, remove all the barriers which stood in its way, set the creative capacities of our man, all the physical and moral capacities of society in motion. We want to create conditions so that every honest citizen, who concerns himself with the cause of socialism, the cause of our nations, should feel that he is the very designer of the fate of this country, his homeland, that he is needed, that he is reckoned with. Therefore let the Action Programme become a programme of the revival of socialist efforts in this country. There is no force which could resist the people who know what they want and how to pursue their aim.