Police Academy of the Czech Republic teaches recruits the Green Party is "extremist"
The Police Academy of the Czech Republic is teaching its recruits that the Green Party and the Greenpeace movement are "extremist". Students training to become police officers learn this from an Academy reader entitled "Extremism, Racism and Anti-Semitism" in the chapter on "New Extremisms". The Green Party thus finds itself placed in the same category as the neo-Nazi National Resistance (Národní odpor), the extreme-right National Unity (Národní sjednocení) or the ultra-left Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (Komunistická strana Československa). News server Aktuálně.cz has published an extensive article on the practice (available in Czech only at http://aktualne.centrum.cz/domaci/kauzy/clanek.phtml?id=704638).
Right after discussing the Greens, the text also mentions the environmental association Greenpeace. According to a co-author of the reader, Štefan Danics, who teaches at the Academy, the text does not imply these organizations are extremist. Czech Green Party chair Ondřej Liška believes otherwise, and the Rector's Office of the Police Academy considers the references unfortunate.
"Extremism, Racism and Anti-Semitism", by Štefan Danics and Tomáš Kamín, first came out in 2005. A second, expanded edition was released three years later. The Prague office of Greenpeace learned about the reader only a few days ago. That organization and the Green Party are discussed in a sub-chapter on "Environmental Extremism", which the authors say is one kind of new extremism that cannot be classified as either ultra-left or ultra-right.
"Today ecological extremism is coming to the fore; we prefer the term 'environmental' extremism. This is connected with destroying democratic principles and denying some fundamental human rights and freedoms," reads page 49 of the expanded 2008 edition.
" 'Protecting the Earth', according to the dictates of environmental extremists, involves the decline of Western liberal democracies and the suppression of some human rights. These dictates disavow the modern way of life and contemporary globalization."
In the next paragraph the authors say this kind of extremism is hard to define. They write: "This doctrine in and of itself includes a set of economic, political, religious and scientific opinions that sometimes 'infiltrate' into standard political ideologies. Otherwise, however, they remain external to such ideologies and act independently in the form of various pressure groups such as the Green Party, Greenpeace, etc."
Štefan Danics, the main author of the reader, rejects the assertion that he wants to make the Green Party and Greenpeace out to be extremists. "It is obvious that I am doing my best to specify a very vague doctrine of environmentalism that includes various streams of opinion by stating that in this context, that doctrine is first and foremost characterized by pressure groups such as the Green Party and Greenpeace (and was especially at the start of their formation in Europe)… If someone wants to deduce from this paragraph that extremism = the Green Party and Greenpeace, then that's not only their 'construct', but also a misunderstanding of the text, which does its best to approximate for the reader the wealth of differences within the framework of environmentalism," Danics wrote to Aktuálně.cz in an e-mail.
Green Party chair Ondřej Liška is convinced the reader harms the party and is preparing a complaint to the accreditation commission. "In my opinion, this does not meet the criterion of impartial education," Liška said, adding: "I gather the following from the text: Environmentalism is a dangerous (extremist) doctrine that makes itself felt through pressure groups such as the Green Party or Greenpeace… If this person is someone to whom the rules of academic work apply, then he must be able to prove that Greenpeace and the Greens are one and the same and that we fulfill the criteria of holding an extremist doctrine - which he can't."
The Czech branch of Greenpeace was also surprised to learn their association has turned up in a course reader on extremism. "For me, this is just one more slightly tragicomic characteristic of this country," Michal Komárek, director of Greenpeace's Prague office, said.
The Rector's Office of the Czech Police Academy called the mention of the Green Party in the chapter on "New Extremisms" unfortunate. "If possible we will correct that section of the reader," Academy Chancellor František Volevecký told Aktuálně.cz. He also said the school would most probably apologize to the Greens.
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