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Czech Interior Ministry: Ultra-right movement activities "declining"

Prague, 15.2.2012 20:05, (ROMEA)
DSSS demonstration in Prague on 17 November 2011.  (PHOTO: Lukáš Houdek)

On Monday, 13 February, the Czech Interior Ministry released its fourth-quarter report on extremism in the Czech Republic for 2011, which describes the activity of the Czech ultra-right scene as declining. Anti-Romani crusades are currently in fashion with members of the scene, who are also focusing on the ongoing criminal prosecutions of their ideological fellows, which they compare to a "witch-hunt". The report says the ultra-right scene is also continuing to grapple with its own ongoing decentralization and fragmentation.

The report states that even though the situation in the north of Bohemia had significantly calmed down by the fourth quarter of 2011, the right-wing extremist scene took particular advantage of any anti-Romani manifestations there to shore up its position. The report also says that expressing disagreement with the imprisonment of their fellow members has become a central interest of the ultra-right movements, who often refer to those in prison as "martyrs" whom "the system" is doing its best to silence for voicing what they view as justified opposition.

The report found that extremist movement activity declined during October and November and was marginal in December 2011. One of the factors reportedly responsible were disputes inside the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS). The analysis says the DSSS is continuing to play the role of a political, representative entity for right-wing extremist movements and mentions the party's strategic effort to organize regionally. The party is reportedly doing its best to create party branches that will prosper in the long run at local, regional and state level and is particularly responding to the upcoming municipal elections. By creating structures similar to mainstream political parties, the DSSS hopes to win over voters who are not right-wing extremists. The party's repeated public statements distancing itself from descriptions of it as extremist or neo-Nazi also play a role in those efforts.

The analysis also reports that local National Resistance (Národní odpor - NO) cells are being incorporated into DSSS structures. NO elements are said to be frequently serving as the basis for the new local DSSS organizations.

The party says that even though the various local organizations did join forces to demonstrate "against political trials" on 17 November 2011 in Prague, there is a significant ongoing rivalry between some of them due to the local leaders' different ideologies and personalities. The report also describes the new directions in which the Czech right-wing extremist scene is heading: "Efforts at an innovative approach to the ideology, or rather, the application of new directions to it continue to be evident. Among the adherents of autonomous nationalism (the Autonomous Nationalists, the Free Youth - Svobodná mládež) in particular, a preference is growing for alternative streams of the extreme left that reflect on the current economic situation and emphasize the social environment. Paradoxically, this is leading to the promotion of Strasserism, nationalism through a social class understanding, and criticism of globalization and the political-financial system, a position that is rather close to ultra-left entities. Support for the independence of Palestine is a similar example, as it is based in these groups' original principle of anti-Semitism."

Gwendolyn Albert, lh, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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