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This paper aims to provide an insight into how trade union activities in the Czech Republic have developed in the 15 years since the “Velvet Revolution” of 1989 and…
This paper aims to provide an insight into how trade union activities in the Czech Republic have developed in the 15 years since the “Velvet Revolution” of 1989 and discusses some of the important political, economic and cultural factors which have influenced that development.
The author shares with us his fascinating experiences as an activist in Czechoslovak and latterly Czech politics over a period, which spans some of the great events in the History of the Czech Lands. As an activist in the trade unions he was at the center of the events known as the Velvet Revolution of 1989 and for the 15 years that followed he has been President of Typograficka Beseda (the Print Trade Union) – and has lead the union through the troubled waters of reconstruction, transition to a market economy, democracy, privatisation and EU membership. This first hand account provides a welcome insight from an important “player” in the events that re‐shaped the system of employee relations in that region.
The paper compares the myth of democratic trade union institutions and workers rights under Communism with the reality of the Czechoslovak industrial relations system under the old regime where the trade unions were restricted to dispersing welfare and holiday club benefits. The author explains the major problems which faced the new democratic trade unions which were set‐up in the aftermath of the 1989 Revolutions – in particular the haemorrhage of members, the loss of experienced leaders to politics and business, privatisation and the general distrust of the trade unions which were still perceived by many as still being run by and in the interests of the Communist Party.
One of the main strengths of this paper is that being a player rather than a mere observer its author provides a study which is based on being at the center of the events that moulded the new democratic trade unions that emerged after Communism collapsed in the former Czechoslovakia. The frame work within the article provides a challenge and points the way to further research into the internal and external environmental factors which the author argues are the key to understanding the changes and which determined the political, economic and social structures that the Czech trade unions adopted.
The paper's main value is that it provides primary material – a first hand account of the events that are normally written by people who were not even born when they took place. These are the reflections based on actually being in the place at the time seeing hearing smelling and sharing the feelings of those who were there.
Disaster relief workers experience psychological and physical needsas a direct consequence of their disaster involvement. While this impacthas been acknowledged…
Disaster relief workers experience psychological and physical needs as a direct consequence of their disaster involvement. While this impact has been acknowledged, relatively little is known about the nature of the psychosocial demands generated by prolonged exposure. Developing both comprehensive preparatory and support programmes for relief workers will require that the nature of these demands, their impact on personnel, and their implications for disaster management are documented. Describes the experiences of a group of nurses who provided relief care in Romanian orphanages in the aftermath of the 1989 revolution in that country. Suggests that prolonged disaster exposure creates specific personal demands and operational problems. Problems were described in relation to operational practices and national issues (e.g. political and cultural factors). Describes the implications of these factors for relief worker wellbeing and relief operation effectiveness, together with suggestions for managing these demands.
How do transnational social movements organize? Specifically, this paper asks how an organized community can lead a nationalist movement from outside the nation. Applying…
How do transnational social movements organize? Specifically, this paper asks how an organized community can lead a nationalist movement from outside the nation. Applying the analytic perspective of Strategic Action Fields, this study identifies multiple attributes of transnational organizing through which expatriate communities may go beyond extra-national supporting roles to actually create and direct a national campaign. Reexamining the rise and fall of the Fenian Brotherhood in the mid-nineteenth century, which attempted to organize a transnational revolutionary movement for Ireland’s independence from Great Britain, reveals the strengths and limitations of nationalist organizing through the construction of a Transnational Strategic Action Field (TSAF). Deterritorialized organizing allows challenger organizations to propagate an activist agenda and to dominate the nationalist discourse among co-nationals while raising new challenges concerning coordination, control, and relative position among multiple centers of action across national borders. Within the challenger field, “incumbent challengers” vie for dominance in agenda setting with other “challenger” challengers.
The communist political system in Eastern Europe rested not upon consent but upon coercion. As an ‘important centre of administrative repression’, the secret police proved…
The communist political system in Eastern Europe rested not upon consent but upon coercion. As an ‘important centre of administrative repression’, the secret police proved vital in ensuring the survival of the regimes which they served. In the earliest phase of communist rule, during the late 1940s and 50s, the secret police were primarily employed as instruments of political and social change. Their task was to intimidate the population as a whole into accepting the fact of communist party rule. Once the communists had consolidated their power, the task of the police altered and became one of ‘political maintenance’. In this second phase, which lasted right up until 1989, the secret police no longer acted as agents of change but, instead, as guardians of the status quo.
Existing research indicates that collective identity is critical in sustaining social movements, especially in the face of significant opposition. We extend this…
Existing research indicates that collective identity is critical in sustaining social movements, especially in the face of significant opposition. We extend this literature by analyzing the ways collective identity evolves and develops over time to combat external barriers and obstacles. Drawing from a unique dataset on activists in the post-communist Czech environmental movement, we analyze how women rallied around their gendered identity to protest against nuclear power. Our analysis focuses on the case of the South Bohemian Mothers (Jihočeské matky), an organization that rallied specifically around the protection of children and healthy communities. The activists faced extensive obstacles including: post-communist patriarchal institutions and sexism; the South Bohemian Daddies, a male-dominated pro-nuclear countermovement; and pervasive anti-environmentalist sentiments. Our results highlight the complex and evolutionary nature of collective identity and the role it can play in sustaining activism in the face of external challenges.
Describes something of the history and geography of Czechoslovakia before describing, with photographs, some of the most interesting and important buildings in the country. Points to some opportunities (as at 1991) for west European property developers.
The purpose of this paper is to expose librarians, scholars and other interested parties to the numerous films available concerning the 1989 and 1991 European revolutions…
The purpose of this paper is to expose librarians, scholars and other interested parties to the numerous films available concerning the 1989 and 1991 European revolutions. The films that are discussed can potentially be used as ancillary sources that will lead to a more in-depth understanding of these topics.
This paper is a literature review examining films relating to the 1989 and 1991 revolutions in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The findings are presented in the form of an annotated bibliography.
A total of 24 films from eight countries are presented in this annotated bibliography.
In researching this paper, the authors have been unable to find any similar works, which makes this work of particular value to those wanting to learn more about this period of change in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.
The chapter draws on historical evidence from Central America to test two of the most influential theories of the development of democracy: (1) structural theories derived…
The chapter draws on historical evidence from Central America to test two of the most influential theories of the development of democracy: (1) structural theories derived from the work of Barrington Moore and (2) theories of the “political economy of democratic transitions.” The Central American evidence confirms Moore's theory in regard to the anti-democratic role of landed elites, but not the democratic role of the bourgeoisie. Contrary to some structural theories, the industrial working class was also not important in the development of democracy in Central America. Nor does the Central American evidence fit the political economy of democratic transitions model of negotiated or imposed “transitions from above.” A new model, termed the route to democracy through socialist revolution from below is proposed to account for the Central American evidence and the implications of the model are explored for the development of democracy generally.
This chapter offers a few stylized observations about the middle class and its role in the fall of communist regimes in East Central Europe. I claim that successive East…
This chapter offers a few stylized observations about the middle class and its role in the fall of communist regimes in East Central Europe. I claim that successive East European modernization projects during the 20th century (intrawar, communist, and postcommunist) were essentially middle-class “revolutions from above.” They occurred in a backward region among late modernizers keenly aware of their peripheral position and were based on and carried out by the state. Both a product of the state and dependent on it, the middle class was the main actor and supporter of these modernization efforts. I also argue that the Solidarity movement in 1980/81 and the 1989 collapse of communism were the last successful middle-class revolutions. Hopes for another political rebellion against postcommunist authoritarianism may be misplaced, since the transformational potential of the East European middle class, produced by the peculiarities of communist rule, has been exhausted. Fast progressing modernization, segmentation, and fragmentation of identity of the postcommunist middle class brought about by the economic, cultural, and political integration with the West undercut its mobilizational potential and its role as an agent of political transformations. The East European middle-class revolution against communist rule can offer four basic lessons. First, the middle class is a cultural and historical not economic phenomenon. Second, it is extremely rare for the middle class to become a collective actor, the class for itself. Third, the main competitors of middle-class identity are nationalism, ethnicity and religion. Finally, postmodernity with its fluidity, uncertainty, fractured identities, fragmented lifestyles, consumption patterns, and status configuration does not provide facilitating conditions for middle-class solidarity and mobilization, making it politically feeble.