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November 18, 2018
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Czech local election campaign slogan: "Poison alone is not strong enough for these pests" - meaning Romani people

7.9.2018 17:49
The hateful flier distributed by the group called
The hateful flier distributed by the group called "Open Town Hall - Most" (Otevřená radnice Most) during its campaign prior to the local and Senate elections in 2018.

Campaigns by various groups and parties in the run-up to the local elections have been launched in the Czech Republic. In addition to slogans that are either empty or populist, more slogans being used about which there can be no doubt that they are basically racist and would have fit right in with Nazi propaganda.

Human beings are being labeled in these slogans as "bugs", "parasites", or "pests", the "eradication" of which requires stronger-than-usual poison. An example of such a campaign is the one launched by a group called "Open Town Hall - Most" (Otevřená radnice Most). Candidate Pavel Kavický (who uses the name Adelante Pavel on Facebook) has posted an image of the group's campaign flier to its Facebook page reading "Poison alone is not enough for these pests!"

So as to not leave people in doubt as to which "pests" he has in mind, the image is captioned "Zero tolerance for inadaptables." The leader of the candidate list for this group is former Deputy Industry and Trade Minister Karel Novotný, who ended his membership in the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD) after the media reported on racist remarks he posted to Facebook about Romani people.

Novotný compared "Gypsies" to jellyfish, calling them "poisonous and useless". He did not associate his subsequent departure from the party with the scandal around his remark, but according to a quote from him published by news server iDNES.cz, he had previously alleged that, after completing his current term as a member of the local assembly and city council in Most, he would be leaving political life.

He was then charged with defamation for those remarks. In May 2018 that prosecution was conditionally suspended and he was given a year's conditional probation, during which he must not break the law.

Migrants no longer attractive - "inadaptables" works better

"There is no doubt that this racist content is an attempt to give voters fast solutions to the complex problems of speculators in poverty, the exploitation of the inhabitants of socially excluded localities, and the deteriorated relations among neighbors. There is no ambiguity about the fact that this slogan by the Open Town Hall - Most can be associated with Romani-related subject matter. At this moment the agitation around migrants has calmed down, and for that reason some politicians have played this card. In their electoral program, in actuality, they do not offer any alternatives, and for that reason they come up with this pathetic stuff," Petr Globočník, the lead candidate for the Association of the Greens, the Pirates and the independent candidates in the nearby town of Litvínov, told news server Romea.cz.

Globočník says the Greens are doing their best, in association with the independents and Pirates, to advocate for long-term solutions that may seem unpopular, but that they believe will have much better effects. This is not just about attractive slogans, though.

"As Greens we prefer solutions that will not bring about immediate change necessarily, but would take the route of education, of renewing relations between neighbors and of reviving lost values," Globočník said. "It is a well-known truth that many people feel the need to have an enemy."

"'Black' doesn't mean 'bad', 'white' doesn't mean 'good', and neither is it vice versa. Racism today is being called 'truth-telling' by some politicians," the candidate said.

"At the same time, many of the politicians who are waging such campaigns are themselves the owners of housing in socially excluded localities and benefit from [charging disproportionate rents to] the most impoverished people," Globočník told news server Romea.cz. Voters will choose new local councils at municipal level and, in some precincts, also new Senators on 5 and 6 October 2018.

voj, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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