We Are Not Children!

Něžná revoluce (r. Jiří Střecha – Petr Slavík, 1989)/ Velvet Revolution (dir. Jiří Střecha – Petr Slavík, 1989)


  • Who do you think is the speaker at this gathering, and what is he trying to say to the people?
  • Who do you think are the people in the crowd? How are they reacting to the speaker? What do they like, and what don’t they like?
  • What kind of symbolic meaning do you think this event had? What does it say about the situation in the Eastern bloc in 1989?


Six days after the brutal suppression of the student demonstration, the highest representative of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia in Prague appeared before workers to explain the crackdown and reassure them.

The highest representative of the Communist Party in Prague, Miroslav Štěpán, appeared before the employees of a large machine factory in Prague on 23 November 1989. The Czech part of Czechoslovak society in particular was angry about the brutal police crackdown on the student demonstration on 17 November (link Voice of the People). In response to current trends in the reform of the Eastern bloc, the Communist Party tried to ease social tensions by sending its representative to assure the workers that the government was handling the crisis and would implement changes. At the same time, he tried to discredit the students in front of the workers. It is clear that according to the ideas of the Communist Party, any discussion about changes had to take place without a dialogue with civil movements (as was happening in Poland).

But the assembled workers unequivocally dismiss the speech of one of the foremost representatives of the Communist Party, symbolically showing the crumbling power of the communist regime. The clip is also a probe into the atmosphere of the time, when broad layers of Czechoslovak society seemed to suddenly express dissatisfaction with the communist regime and, although more slowly than in other countries, calls began to appear for a fundamental change in the political direction of the country.