Workers’ Party ideologically and rhetorically linked to Nazism
Here in the Czech Republic, some journalists and lawyers have gotten used to taking the arguments of Workers’ Party chair Tomáš Vandas seriously. To a great extent, the positivistic approach of courts to the law, which focuses more on formal requirements than on the essence of a case, is responsible for this. Why this method of consideration has been taken on by journalists deserves a separate study. Let’s look more closely at the main arguments that have been made by Vandas during this ongoing trial.
The Workers’ Party (Dělnická strana - DS), according to Vandas, is not a neo-Nazi party. If neo-Nazis have appeared in its ranks, he claims he is not to blame, because he does not “screen” party members. The high number of party members who have been sentenced for racially motivated crimes (and run-of-the-mill ones) is said to be compensated for by the clean criminal records of some of the members of the party presidium.
According to Vandas, the National Resistance organization is an entity that cannot be legally defined, so if the government suspects him of contact with people from the National Resistance, it must first prove that the National Resistance even exists. "Can the government show who leads National Resistance, what its structure and membership base are? Can the government show a contract proving these connections between the party and National Resistance? I have never seen any such proof, these are just empty proclamations,” Vandas has testified. Another of his claims is that the DS is allegedly a “patriotic” party.
Journalists: Lazy, or just incompetent?
These claims are all obviously demagoguery of the coarsest caliber, but the commentaries of most journalists, commentators and bloggers here make a pretense of considering that Vandas’s claims might just possibly be correct. Some editors have invited him, without blushing, to participate in radio and television program discussions, and the print media quotes him as if he were a regular politician. Most writers do this out of either laziness or out of an inability to perform proper research, think deeply, or contextualize.
There is no sense in trying to prove things to Vandas which are completely self-evident – for example, that National Resistance exists. Whoever organizes demonstrations and other events under their rubric, whoever carries the banners reading “National Resistance” to these events, and whoever publishes their internet magazine exists without question, irrespective of what Vandas believes. However, the average court, or in this case the Supreme Administrative Court, will most probably not find such evidence sufficient, because their positivistic approach to the law professes only a formalistic attention to detail. The judges are not interested in the essence of the case. It is only a slight exaggeration to claim that what they are interested in is whether the official stamps appear in the right places. The publicly available evidence of the existence of National Resistance would certainly suffice for the Constitutional Court, which is governed by natural law considerations including common sense and a sense for justice, and which therefore usually concerns itself with the essence of a case, not with formalistic games.
The Workers’ Party attracts violent offenders
Let’s take a closer look at a few matters in the manner of the Constitutional Court. According to the government’s motion to ban the party, the interrelatedness of the Workers’ Party and National Resistance is evident from their participation in each other’s public events and from the detailed references to the party’s activities on the web server Odpor.org, which endorses National Resistance. The Workers’ Youth, which is officially connected to the party, has also registered a periodical entitled “National Resistance” with the Czech Culture Ministry. "Are those two words used in that order banned?" Vandas asked in court with his proverbial demagoguery. No, they are not, but they do prove the connection between the party and National Resistance.
Vandas says he will not screen members of the party in order to determine whether they participate in neo-Nazi events or whether they have spent time in prison for racist violence, attempted murder, robbery, shoplifting, or any other crime. Whether he screens them or not is not the point. The important question is: What kinds of people are attracted by the actions, program and rhetoric of the party leaders? The ideologies of the DS, National Resistance and other neo-Nazi groups are close, if not identical. The party offers the same “solutions” to problems as its fellow-travelers do, and attracts the same people: Aggressive brawlers and violent criminals.
For example, one of the arsonists in the Vítkov case is Jaromír Lukeš, a neo-Nazi for many years who in the past was engaged in the organization National Corporativism, where he worked as chair of the local organization in Opava and convened events. He convened a demonstration in Přerov in March 2007, at which Vandas also spoke.
The government has also shown that party candidates Jiří Švehlík, Patrik Vondrák, Simona Skoumalová, Mirko Musil, Ladislav Butz and Milan Hroch have all participated in the public concerts, events and marches of neo-Nazi associations in the Czech Republic and abroad. In the so-called “Protection Corps” of the Workers’ Party, which primarily attracts aggressive brawlers, the government has discovered other people who have spent time in neo-Nazi circles, such as Tomáš Kebza (a known violent offender), Jiří Tůma, Lukáš Rod, Jan Strnad and Petr Knor.
Very strange “patriots”
The government has demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that the party is connected to National Resistance and other neo-Nazi groups. Let’s take a closer look at the declared “patriotism” of the party and these groups.
Workers’ Youth is the party’s youth organization. Its program includes the statement that “our country belongs only to us, not to immigrants and people of different nationalities”. Another point of the program says the organization views faith in National Socialism “as the central idea determining the existence and actions of the nation”. Workers’ Youth is thus programmatically endorsing the legacy of Adolf Hitler. Moreover, this last point is number 18 on the program, a code among neo-Nazis that symbolizes Hitler’s initials.
Steffen Pohl, a representative of the German group Free Resistance – Dortmund, spoke at one of the 1 May gatherings convened by the Workers’ Party and National Resistance. Speaking in English, Pohl supported Hitler’s ideology by stating, for example, that 75 years ago (i.e., at the moment Hitler rose to power), Germany “liberated itself” from the forces of international financial capital. Vandas, who of course also spoke at this event, has now distanced himself from that statement – and he waited until yesterday in court to do so, when his party is at risk of being banned. During the intervening years Pohl’s statement did not bother him; on the contrary, as we will show below, he indirectly endorsed it.
The 1 May holiday is evidently a party favorite, as the following story shows. On that day, party demonstrators wielded a banner reading “National Resistance – Free – Social – National”. Next to the slogan, the figure of a young man is depicted with a proud, uncompromising expression on his face. Several of the demonstrators were later sentenced for carrying that banner, among other violations. Workers’ Youth chair Martin Zbela, a Goebbels-type propagandist who has made a clean sweep of working in editorial posts for extreme right-wing papers ever since the days of the “Republican News” (Republikánský listy) protested their sentencing as follows: “The words ‘National Resistance – Free, National, Social’ [sic] are just as legitimate and have as much right to be used as any other words, for example, ‘Communism – Classless, International, Socialist’.”
That might sound convincing to some – in fact, just as convincing as the Nazi propaganda of the 1930s. Zbela has somehow forgotten to mention, however, that the youth with the proud, uncompromising expression has already figured in previous occasions - namely, on a poster promoting “Triumph of the Will” (naturally, the Nazi will). This is the infamous documentary film about the 5th Congress of the Nazi NSDAP which took place from 1 -3 September 1933 in Nuremberg.
This piece of propagandistic trash was made by the documentary filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. At the time, the credibility of the film was enhanced by the fact that Riefenstahl was an artist recognized worldwide for her professionalism, and this was one of the many reasons that some well-known intellectuals in democratic countries remained unconcerned about Nazism for quite some time. The designer of the original poster for the film is the graphic artist Hans Schweizer, who preferred to be called Mjölnir, which in Norse mythology refers to Thor’s hammer of thunder (Thor was the warrior of the gods.) Mjölnir produced many posters as part of Nazi propaganda and was brought into the service of the NSDAP by that first Nazi propagandist, Josef Goebbels himself. As the court told the public when sentencing those who carried the banner in May: National Resistance is a demonstrably neo-Nazi organization, so whoever promotes it is also promoting neo-Nazism.
Ideological/rhetorical affiliations to Nazism
There is a great deal of evidence that the ideology and rhetoric of the Workers’ Party is that of Nazi fellow-travelers. For example: An anti-Semitic caricature by Filip Rupprecht, once published in the Nazi tabloid Der Stürmer, now republished on the front page of Dělnické listy (“Workers’ News” – the DS party newspaper); or the tattoo worn by DS media icon Lucie Šlágrová in the form of a drawing of a worker with the motto “My Honor is Loyalty”, which was the motto of the SS; or the fact that the party decided to call their updated version of the “People’s Militia”, organized to terrorize and attack Roma, its “Protection Corps” (Ochranné sbory) – in German, Schutz-Staffel or SS. An earlier logo of the Dělnické listy is also distinctive in that it is almost identical to an NSDAP election poster from 1932 featuring the slogan: “The Workers Vote for Hitler, the Soldier from the Front”.
To conclude this overview of the “patriotism” of the Workers’ Party, here is one more “tidbit” reported to Romea.cz by the monitoring section of the League against Anti-Semitism (Liga proti antisemitismu - LPA): The party’s current electoral poster is identical to that of the Nazi NSDAP. “The Workers’ Party poster was originally available on the web pages of the Autonomous Nationalists. However, about three days ago [Author’s Note: At the start of the court proceedings on banning the party] the content of those pages was changed; the Autonomous Nationalists admit the change on their Facebook profile. References to the party have also disappeared from the poster. However, an LPA member told us that the strange term "lžidokracie" [Translator’s Note: This combines the word for “lie” in Czech, “lež” and the word for “Jew”, “Žid”, and can be translated as “Lying-Jew-ocracy”] turns up in several other party materials (for example, here: http://www.delnickastrana.cz/Hlasmladeze0.pdf).
The “friendship” pact
Evidence on the National Resistance website also substantiates the Workers’ Party’s Nazi inclinations, especially a document entitled the “Founding Pact between Czech and German Friends”. The introduction to this pact demonstrates the existence of National Resistance: “As part of an informal meeting between friends from the Czech Republic and Germany/Austria we have agreed on the following basic principles and joint policy. This agreement concerns all friends and friendly clubs in active operation under the rubric of the National Resistance movement on the territory of the Czech lands on the one hand and the National Resistance of Germany and Austria on the other.”
What did these Austrian, Czech and German “friends” agree to? To abolish the Beneš Decrees, for which the Czech “friends” can “count on limitless support from the German side”. According to the pact, this is the only way to maintain collaboration in accordance with the strategic aim of creating a “Europe of nations”.
This pact then continues with these key points:
“3. In this sense we are intentionally building on the tradition of the German Reich and its allies as the buttress and core of Europe. Only our joint struggle can halt the adulteration of our nations by enemy powers through the biological and economic burden posed by these foreign influences.
4. We, the Czech and German friendship groups, have agreed to provide one another bilateral support and mutual aid wherever possible.
5. This treaty will serve to end the enslavement of our nations, into which we were plunged by the post-war domination of the victorious allied powers. It will also lead to the removal of the powers behind the scenes (supranational finance). This will then lay the foundation for mutual respect, for advocacy of policies that serve the people by paying attention to their independence and their national specifics, and for creating a pan-European responsibility.”
This is really interesting. These alleged patriots are “building on the traditions of the German Reich and its allies as the buttress and core of Europe” – the Reich that wanted to murder off one part of the Czechs and resettle the rest of them in Siberia. We can easily reconstruct how the “national specifics” might actually end up – after all, in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia the German Nazis thoroughly exterminated all such “peculiarities”. Notice also that once again the topic is the removal of “supranational finance” (in other words, Jews), just as in the speech by Steffen Pohl, the German neo-Nazi representing the Free Resistance – Dortmund group at the Workers’ Party 1 May gathering.
A clear aim is expressed in this pact: To recreate the German Reich, or rather a “Europe of nations”, under the leadership of Nazi Germany and as a part of it, on the basis of an ideology of anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia to be practiced by the state. Everything here irrefutably indicates Hitlerite Nazism. As can be seen, these “patriots” are planning an “old-new” future for us, even if the chair of the Workers’ Party has made his excuses a hundred times over and claims he has nothing to do with such an idea. "We have never endorsed the ideas of Hitler’s Germany, we have never endorsed the ideas of the Third Reich,” Vandas testified, calling the claims that he venerates Adolf Hitler an “audacious lie”.
Of course, it is easy to determine who the liar is here. All we have to do is remember that Tomáš Vandas spoke in the German town of Altenburg in September 2008 at the so-called “Festival of Nations”, organized by the German neo-Nazi NPD party. “We reject the vision of the architects of the world order who consider Fortress Europe to be the last obstacle to realizing their centuries-old dream of world domination,” Vandas said there (among other remarks), and thus he added his voice to this conspiratorial idea of Jewish world domination, which has been invented and reproduced by anti-Semites throughout history. As can be seen, Vandas actually does endorse the ideas of Steffen Pohl (ideas that are a component of the “friendship pact” between the Austrian, Czech and German neo-Nazis) from which Vandas formally distanced himself before the court. Vandas has also performed a remarkable, almost Cimrman-like “sidestep” in which, by temporarily taking up the argument of his opponent, he then attempts prove his opponent wrong.
A year after the September 2008 speech, this time in the Thuringian town of Pößneck, Patrik Vondrák, chair of the local Workers’ Party organization in Prague, gave a speech of his own. This man of Vandas’s, an adherent of the National Resistance movement, was arrested by police last October during a raid on right-wing extremists. In his speech, Vondrák called for solidarity between nationalists of different countries and for them to collaborate, as it would be important for the future of Eu ope and the preservation of their identities. Afterward he thanked all European nationalists for their help, solidarity and support. Once again, in other words, we are at the “Europe of nations” and the all-encompassing Reich.
A Workers’ Party regime
According to the government proposal to ban the Workers’ Party, the party wants to change the current democratic regime into a quasi-totalitarian or completely totalitarian one. This claim can be easily demonstrated by the rhetoric of DS representatives. For example, Tomáš Vandas told the Prague town hall officials and police officers who dispersed an unannounced DS demonstration last 17 November, in a Gottwaldesque rage: "I can assure you that your turn for all of this will come soon, don’t worry. Everything comes in its time.”
In conclusion, to emphasize
These are too many simultaneous “coincidences” for it not to be clear what is going on here. It is no longer necessary to demonstrate further, as the proponents of positivistic reasoning demand, what the “intentions” of the Workers’ Party are, as from the standpoint of common sense and a sense for justice, everything is clear. The party, beyond any doubt, is linked through its behavior, propaganda and rhetoric to Nazi ideology and symbolism.
Why is the ban on the Workers’ Party so important? These parties must be dissolved (the effort should be made) even if the exact same people will immediately turn around and set up yet another party. This is an important mechanism for society to show what it thinks of the ideologies and “politicians” of these parties. At the same time, it restricts their room for movement (their boundaries) to the fringe of society. This is why the Workers’ Party and other similar initiatives are considered the “extreme” right-wing.
Everything above would be more than enough for a court that honors natural law to ban the Workers’ Party (and there are many other pieces of evidence and arguments of this sort to be made). However, we can be sure of nothing with the Supreme Administrative Court. It depends on the degree to which the judges succeed in suppressing the bureaucratic, pedantic reasoning that, as proponents of positivism, is like a second skin to them.
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