Losers and Usurpers

Rudé právo (č. 9, r. 57, 12. 1. 1977)/ “Rudé právo” newspaper (nr. 9, y. 57, 12. 1. 1977)

Losers and Usurpers

In their dogged fight against progress, the international reaction is trying to create the semblance of some broad anti-communist front, into which they’re dragging overt traitors in addition to unstable and disoriented individuals and groups sometimes hiding behind a mask of “the left” or “the communists”. They often try to do the impossible — bring political corpses back to life, from among both emigrants from socialist countries and the rest of the class enemies in those countries, turncoats, even down to various criminal and asocial elements. One of the forms of this “touching” cooperation is fabricating all sorts of defamatory articles, letters, protests, and other mediocre slanders, which are then published in the voices of these or other “opposition” individuals or groups, with a lot of commotion and in a coordinated attempt to spread them across the globe.

Among these is the newest defamatory article, the so-called Charter 77, which a group of people from the failed Czechoslovak reactionary bourgeoisie and the failed organizers of the 1968 counterrevolution passed on to certain western agencies at the order of the anti-communist and zionist headquarters.
This is an anti-state, anti-socialist, anti-proletariat, demagogic, and defamatory article, which rudely and falsely slanders the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the revolutionary achievements of its people. Its authors criticize our society for not being organized according to their bourgeois and elitist notions.

These usurpers scorn our people and their interests; they claim the right to represent our people with their elected representative bodies; they request a “dialogue with political and state power” and they even want to play the role of some kind of “mediator in potential conflict situations”. The article takes the existence of socialism in our country into account in only one case — the name of the republic. It takes cosmopolitan positions, class positions of the defeated reactionary bourgeoisie, and it denies socialism as a societal system.

As though from outside time and space, the authors of the defamatory article demagogically call for ‘important civilizational values which the efforts of many progressive forces have been directed throughout history’, such as freedom and human rights. Yes, our socialist state has signed onto international treaties, guaranteed the laws of the country, and fulfills in practice the broadest rights and freedoms – for the working people, the stewards of this country. The people behind this article use the same words but have something completely different in mind – the “rights and freedoms” of what is left of the defeated bourgeois reactionaries. What they want are the “rights and freedoms” that would permit them to again freely organize subversive and anti-party activities, to spread anti-Soviet ideas and to resume their efforts to bring down the socialist state.

After the fiascos that the reactionaries put us through in 1948 and again 20 years later, these Don Quixotes want, in short, to sow the seed of a new counterrevolutionary escapade, throwing our socialist society into chaos and uncertainty.
The efforts of many progressive forces, with the communists at the front, the avant garde proletariat progress, actually won a lot of important “civilizational values”, but they in no way won them for the bourgeoisie, but over the bourgeoisie. Over imperialism, over colonialism, over fascist regimes — they won them for the people. So it was in our history.
Our people, trusting in the moral of the years of crisis, don’t intend to give anyone the right to a new chance at counterrevolution, and they won’t give it to them. As Comrade Gustav Husák has noted more than once, this is no place for a counterrevolution.


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  • What are the article’s the main arguments? How does it depict the authors of Charter 77?
  • What do you think is the purpose of the “Losers and Usurpers” article? What do you think are the goals of the person who wrote it?
  • What kind of rhetorical techniques does the writer use to accomplish his goals for the piece?
  • Are articles like this one common? Have you ever read something like this in your country?


This article shows the propaganda techniques that were used to take aim at dissent. The official newspaper of the Communist Party uses stereotypes and envy to denounce opponents of the one-party state, who had written a petition called Charter 77. The text of the petition was hardly as radical as the article suggests, as it demanded adherence to the basic human rights agreements that the regime itself had signed onto with the Helsinki Treaty. The article doesn’t say much about the actual content of the petition, instead focusing on denouncing the dissidents. The radically egalitarian arrangement of communism is contrasted with the undeserved advantages of the opposition representatives. It depicts their lives as a bankrupt existence supported by enemy Western states, which work against the interests of the people and are trying to sabotage society. While the persuasiveness of this propaganda was disputable, the regime nevertheless clearly used it to demonstrate its preferences and aversions, which could potentially be directed at anyone who joined the opposition or helped it in any way.