Workers' Party (Czech Republic)

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Workers' Party of Social Justice
Leader Tomáš Vandas
Founded 18 January 2003 (as Workers' Party), 21 January 2004 (as a new political party, but with the same agenda and name)
Dissolved 17 February 2010 (as Workers' Party), the party continues, but under the name "Workers' Party of Social Justice"[1]
Headquarters Ciolkovského 853,
161 00 Praha 6
Ideology National Socialism,
Czech nationalism,
Anti-Zionism,
Antiziganism,
Right-wing populism,
Euroscepticism
Political position Far-right
European Parliament group None
Colours black, red and white
Website
www.DSSS.cz
Politics of the Czech Republic
Political parties
Elections

Workers' Party of Social Justice (Czech: Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti) is a Czech political party, often described as the major far-right extremist party in the Czech Republic. The party is not represented in any legislative body in the Czech Republic and its biggest electoral success so far has been a gain of 1,14% in the Czech legislative election in 2010. Some of the high-ranking party officials, including a Prague party leader, have been associated with neo-nazi groups such as Národní odpor, Czech subsidiary of international militant neo-nazi group.[2][3] In spring 2009 the petition for the ban of the party was dismissed by the Czech Supreme Administrative Court,[4] because, as the presiding judge stated, the applicant (Czech government) didn't manage to provide sufficient evidence in what was seen as a botched application.[5][6] Following violent attacks against Czech minorities by far-right extremists[7] (such as Vítkov arson attack of 2009), and the government has filled a more detailed petition for the ban, which was discussed by Czech Supreme Court in January and February 2010. The party was banned, making it the first instance of banning a party for its ideology in the modern history of the Czech Republic.[8] The party was transformed into a "Party of Citizens of the Republic of Czechia"[9] and the party was renamed to Workers' Party of Social Justice. Title amended and the program kept the same with small adjustments.[1]

Ideology and program[edit]

The program of the Workers' Party is not easily classifiable. On January 19, 2003, a day after the party was established, it published a press release that it planned to compete mostly with the Czech communist party[10] and as late as in early autumn 2008 the Workers' party program was considerably socialist, when the party's most important program point in the regional elections was an abolition of medical fees paid by Czech patients. The party received less than 1% of votes, but shortly afterwards attracted major media attention for organizing riots in quarters of Litvínov city with a significant Roma population.[11][12] Afterwards, the party has managed to maintain considerable publicity by organizing a march against homosexuals[13] in Tabor.

The party has then started to emphasize a nationalist dimension of its program, mostly effort to overhaul what they see as a favorable treatment of minorities, and in fact has started a radically anti-communist rhetoric, e.g. on the 20th anniversary of the collapse of communism in Czechoslovakia the party leader Tomáš Vandas has said: "So what is the state of the society nowadays? In one word: tragic. Communists still govern us.".[14]

The party claims that it is the only "real opposition" in the Czech Republic, since it is the only party opposing the Czech political system. The party has repeatedly called for the overthrow and subversion of Czech political system, which the party describes both as "liberal"[15] and "totalitarian"[16] The official slogan for 2009 European Elections was "Resist the totalitarian regime".

The party's program includes reducing national debt while increasing old age pensions and reducing the retirement age.[17] Some of the more concrete proposals include restrictions on foreign investment, including a total ban on purchases of real estate by foreign nationals[17] and nationalization of certain companies.[18]

The party also wants to restore the death penalty,[18] criminalize "sexual deviation", including homosexuality,[18] abolish registered partnership, reduce rights of the prosecuted[18] and in some cases create new crimes with a retroactive effect.[18] Some of the most controversial proposals include marking of ethnicity in ID cards[19] and giving the police discretion to treat the arrested person inhumanly.[18]

In international affairs, the party opposes NATO and European Union and requires the Czech Republic leave these organizations.[19] The party is strongly anti-American and seems to be pro-Russian,[20] going as far as stating that the Czech Republic must "immediately and strongly restore its relations with Russia"[21] Concerning other matters in international affairs, the chairman of the party arbitration commission congratulated Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the Islamic Republic of Iran after his victory in the 2009 presidential election.[22]

Accusations of neo-nazism[edit]

The party has never denied its ideology is national socialism, but states that it is not inspired by Hitler's variant of national socialism. However, political scientists who did a research about the party's ideology noted that "The party materials and works of its supporters feature, both implicitly and explicitally, religious symbols, that are strongly related to Germanic neopaganism, which is a characteristical feature of (neo)nazism".[23]

Election results[edit]

European Parliament[edit]

Year # of total votes Vote % Seats
2004 4,289 0.18 0
2009 25,368 1.07 Increase 0
2014 7,902 0.52 Decrease 0

Czech legislative election[edit]

Year # of total votes Vote % Seats
2010 59,888 1.14 Increase 0
2013 42,906 0.86 Decrease 0

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b DSSS New name,Old Agenda
  2. ^ [1]. Workers' party election candidates and nazi symbols (only in Czech, with photographs)
  3. ^ [2]. Workers' party has been taken over by neo-nazis (only in Czech)
  4. ^ [3]. Supreme administrative court judgment, 4.3.2009 (only in Czech)
  5. ^ [4]. Top court rejects government’s petition to ban extremist Workers’ Party
  6. ^ [5]. (only in Czech)
  7. ^ [6]. Czech Police arrested extremist leaders over Vítkov arson
  8. ^ Aktualne.cz: Soud zrušil Dělnickou stranu. Chtěla rozvrátit stát
  9. ^ http://www.lidovky.cz/zakazana-delnicka-strana-pujde-do-voleb-jen-pod-jinou-hlavickou-pvr-/zpravy-domov.aspx?c=A100220_101839_ln_domov_mk
  10. ^ [7]. Electronic archive of party press releases, January 19, 2010
  11. ^ [8]. Litvinov has seen a rough fight with the extremists, 15 injured. (only in Czech)
  12. ^ [9]. Journalist injured while covering rally
  13. ^ [10]. Saturday in Tabor: both gays and extremists (only in Czech)
  14. ^ [11]. Speech of the party chairman, November 17, 2009 (only in Czech)
  15. ^ [12]. Workers news: "Let's clean up our own country". (Official party newspaper, only in Czech)
  16. ^ [13]. Workers news: "Vandas: The post-November regime has discredited itself". (Official party newspaper, only in Czech)
  17. ^ a b [14]. Party program, article III
  18. ^ a b c d e f [15]. Party program, article II
  19. ^ a b [16]. Party program, article I
  20. ^ [17]. Workers news: "Nobody really wants a change?" (Official party newspaper, only in Czech)
  21. ^ [18]. Workers news: "Confession of a patriot and a good son of the Homeland" (Official party newspaper, only in Czech)
  22. ^ [19]. Workers news: "Who do you want to lecture?" (Official party newspaper, only in Czech)
  23. ^ Roman Míčka, František Štěch; Dělnická strana jako pseudonáboženský fenomén? (Workers' party as a quasireligious phenomenon?), Revue Politika 9/2009