Analysis: Czech ultra-right hates immigrants - except when they can use them against Roma
There is no doubt that the Workers' Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti - DSSS) and its related offshoot, the Workers' Youth (Dělnická mládež - DM), are a political force in the Czech Republic against immigrants, migrants and refugees. Even though the party has led a hate campaign against migrants for many years, it has now decided to make propaganda use of a Ukrainian family in Břeclav, exploiting their recent misfortune to foment hatred against Romani people as a whole. The DM is planning an anti-Romani demonstration in Břeclav tomorrow at which DSSS chair Tomáš Vandas will also appear.
In recent years, the DM and DSSS have made countless hateful statements about asylum seekers and immigrants. Let's take a look at some of the more extreme examples.
"Our beautiful Czech land is being deluged by a destructive wave of immigration that is destroying everything beautiful here. We do not intend to tolerate this filth," Vandas said at one of his demonstrations. Footage of him making this statement was broadcast in a report by TV Nova on its news program on 18 April.
This past week, Vandas telephoned Ms Oxana Živačovská, the mother of 15-year-old Piter (the Ukrainian form of the Czech name Petr), who was attacked and injured in Břeclav last Sunday. Vandas assured her that the DSSS supports her family. Ms Živačovská - who has no idea who the DSSS is - and her son are Ukrainians. She works as an interpreter and translator in the courts and elsewhere.
The DSSS political program is not favorable toward migrants, stating: "We don't want a country full of immigrants, migrants from the states of the former Soviet Union, the Balkans, Asia, the Far East, etc. Political asylum or residency permits should only be granted to persons meeting the criteria of moral quality and professional knowledge, people who we can assume will adjust themselves to the national customs and traditions of citizens of the Czech Republic, people for whom there is a guarantee that they will totally assimilate into the majority society."
Robin Siener of the German neo-Nazi NPD party, with whom Vandas closely cooperates, said the following about migrants at the DSSS demonstration on 1 May last year in Brno: "Let's look at the large European cities, where women are raped in the middle of the square..., where this human garbage can commit crime without the local population intervening... When will the nation finally receive its rights? … We send our blood to Lebanon, Iraq or Afghanistan, and in return we just get back the human garbage no one else is interested in ... I ask each of you, how far is this going to go with our countries before we take up sticks and torches and run those who are oppressing us and sending us their human garbage out of the European fortress and send them back where they came from? It would be best if we sent them immediately back to Israel or the USA with a one-way ticket... There are only two things that separate us, the border and our language, nothing else... "
Vandas and his fellow-travelers were sentenced in November 2010 by the Municipal Court in Brno for their racist and xenophobic speech against migrants. When Vandas was chair of the later-dissolved Workers' Party (Dělnická strana - DS), he spoke at a 1 May parade in Brno in 2009 of a "destructive wave of immigrants, a tsunami which is flooding our beautiful Czech land and destroying everything we hold dear". He was given a suspended sentence for defaming a nation, inciting hatred, and supporting neo-Nazism.
At that same demonstration, DS Vice-Chair Jiří Štěpánek said: "Foreigners in many professions have spoiled the wages, because today a Czech is hired for the same money as a newcomer from the trenches. ... Who is working now or has ever worked in the big factories? Czechs? No, only foreigners, who keep on increasing the amount of crime committed there. Let's not forget the diseases these hordes from the steppes bring with them. … We can see in the example of the Vietnamese what it will look like once the foreigners get out of hand here. That community, seeking to avoid paying taxes, has turned to drugs. They are starting to cultivate marijuana on a large scale and sell it here, but not to their own children, whom they send to study at university, but to Czech children. They are starting to create a sort of Vietnamese ghetto here, and the time is not far off when the Vietnamese will be throwing our people out of work… those laid off only get very little support… . They have the misfortune of being white here."
The DM is organizing a demonstration "against violence" in Břeclav. This militant, violent group of younger DSSS members is currently led by their chair, Erik Lamprecht, who already has a lot of activity behind him as the former chair of the Zbelo (Whitened) organization. As the Anti-Fascist Action website has reported, Lamprecht started his career with football hooligans and is now an activist with the neo-Nazi National Resistance (Národní odpor - NO) in Brno. In addition to other activities, he organized the recent neo-Nazi demonstration in Jihlava.
The Antifa.cz website reported on Lamprecht for the first time in May 2010 as a fellow-traveller of another significant Moravian neo-Nazi, Jiří Dudák. In a profile of Dudák published on the website, there are photographs of him with Lamprecht, as well as a photo of Dudák with a Nazi veteran of the SS Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler division, Herbert Schweiger. Lamprecht is in active contact with the German neo-Nazi scene, primarily with the NPD structure in Saxony. (Details and photos can be seen in the article, in Czech only, at http://www.antifa.cz/content/s-nacistickymi-pohrobky-proti-nasili).
Vandas has chaired both the DSSS and its predecessor, the DS, which in 2007 set up a "Protection Squadron". In addition to performing the role of officially convening party events, members of this squadron were to monitor "problems with immigrants". "They definitely will not be provoking fear on the streets, these are just young people who want to help address the dismal situation in some crisis areas, as well as the influx of immigrants," Vandas told the media at the time. "Protection Squadron" translates into German as Schutzstaffel, or SS for short, the name the German Nazis gave to their most sadistic armed forces.
The Czech Supreme Administrative Court dissolved the Workers' Party in February 2010. The court found that the party's ideology, program and symbols included chauvinistic, xenophobic elements as well as a racist subtext. The court ruling said the party had incited hatred and was striving for a radical transformation of the democratic order. According to the verdict, the party was artificially creating the sense that foreigners and immigrants pose a threat to others. The court's decision called the party by its real name: "The national socialism of the Workers' Party is carrying on the legacy of Hitler's national socialism, which is to say, neo-Nazism."
Miroslav Mareš, an expert on extremism who previously worked as an expert witness to the courts in this area, writes the following in his study on "Czech Militant Neo-Nazi Movements" (2011): "The anti-foreigner and anti-immigrant rhetoric is being maintained by the de facto successor party to the DS, the Workers' Social Justice Party (DSSS). Representatives of the DSSS have never distanced themselves from the statements discussed above - rather, they have done the opposite. In 2010, for example, the DSSS profiled itself as resisting the Vietnamese community in the Libuše quarter of Prague and even considered establishing a militia there. Such starkly anti-immigrant rhetoric could mobilize party members and sympathizers to commit excesses."
One can only agree with this summary. Of course, it only holds until the immigrants or migrants can be used to incite a hate campaign against Romani people. Vandas and his comrades will never be satisfied with the mere condemnation of a specific crime. They will exploit every such situation in order to espouse collective blame for the Romani people and to spread disinformation, generalizations, and lies.
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