Left Reacts to Czechs


Fifth Estate # 62, Sept. 19-Oct. 2, 1968

LONDON, England—Liberation News Service—Europe’s left, new and old, has been brutally unanimous in its criticism of the Soviet military intervention in Czechoslovakia.

The Communist Parties of England, France, Italy and other nations issued long statements describing the Soviet action as an unjustified interference in the internal affairs of a Communist Party and socialist state.

Here in England, New Left groups, as well as Trotskyists and Maoists were among the first to react with anger to the intervention.

The leftists marched on the Soviet Embassy, where 19 were arrested in a clash with “bobbies.”

Banners read: “Hands off Czechoslovakia…Oppose Russian Imperialism;” “Lenin Si, Stalin, No;” “We Agree: Support Czechs, But What About Vietnam?”

A similar tone was adopted in West Berlin, where new leftists took to the streets with red flags and Czechoslovakia’s tricolor to condemn the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia and U.S. aggression in Vietnam.

In Paris, the Defense Committee of the National Union of Students of France issued the following statement:

“Twelve years after Budapest. the Stalinist bureaucracy, which through the policy of the French Communist Party betrayed the general strike of 10 million French workers in May, has shown its counter-revolutionary nature by its armed intervention in Czechoslovakia.”

The French students called for a withdrawal of foreign troops and urged self-determination “so that the Czech working class can determine its own political road in its fight for socialism.”

Communists and non-party leftists alike widely endorsed the Dubcek-Svoboda regime. A U.S. radical who left Prague just a few days before the intervention was effervescent with praise: “They were doing some beautiful things there.”