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View Diary: Literature for Kossacks: Vaclav Havel (54 comments)

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  •  Not everyone is a Havel fan (1+ / 0-)
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    Sure, he criticized the Soviets. But he also said that the revolution would not be finished until "everything is privatized". He had no problem with the sale of Czechoslovakian weapons to Pinochet. He fully supported Bush Sr.'s Gulf War. He needed no prodding to vote with the US to condemn human rights violations in Cuba, but never uttered a single word of disapproval toward the infinitely worse human rights violations committed by pro-US client states in El Salvador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Colombia, or anywhere else.
    While president in '92 he demanded that parliament be dissolved so he could rule by edict and push through "free market" reforms that he knew would result in profound economic inequality. He advocated for and then signed off on a law that stated that anyone who was a communist, even a pacifist communist, could be sentenced to up to 8 years in prison.
    Havel, a pampered one-percenter raised in a wealthy family with chauffeurs, tutors and servants was a trickle-down, union-hating corporate capitalist of the first order. Speaking out against Soviet oppression didn't make him the angel you think he was.

    "The corporatism that has overtaken our democracy is an ideology that insists on relentless positivism — that's why it opposes criticism and encourages passivity." --- John Ralston Saul

    by skunkbaby on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 04:09:39 PM PST

    •  Are you thinking of Klaus? (14+ / 0-)

      It was Klaus (as prime minister) who was pushing market privatization in 1992, and Havel opposed him; history proved Havel right when the Klaus economy barely escaped collapse.  Havel actually spoke out against the race to privatization, criticizing the notion that human beings are "mere profit-makers and expecting private initiative will automatically lead to public benefit."  (That's a direct quote: you can find it translated in Pontuso, p.136)

      After the USSR collapsed, it was Havel who protected former Party members by refusing to unseal documents related to their pre-collapse activities, and Klaus who criticized him publicly for it.  Are you sure you aren't getting the two of the mixed up?  Heck, the Communist party's been invoking Havel in their defense, since he's spoken out against "mafia capitalism".

      This is just wrong on every possible angle:

      He advocated for and then signed off on a law that stated that anyone who was a communist, even a pacifist communist, could be sentenced to up to 8 years in prison.

      It was Havel who refused to ban the communist party even in the face of overwhelming public support.  He's still criticized for it!

      I'd like to see where you're getting any of this information from, because it's just wrong.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Sun Dec 18, 2011 at 04:30:27 PM PST

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    •  Rather too harsh -- (1+ / 0-)
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      MT Spaces

      he was an anti-communist, after all.  And you may not know how much of what was good about communism survived.  The Czech Republic still  has a single-payor universal health care system, universal free public education through university (you can go to university tuition-free), a pension system, and i'm sure that homelessness and hunger are much less than in the western democracies - oh, did I mention 3 years of paid maternity leave?  Hardly harsh by the standards of the US - quite a generous safety net.  All in place still.  I lived there and had free health care as a resident alien - husband is Czech so have first-hand knowledge.

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