By Rudolf L. Tőkés (eds.)
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Additional info for Opposition in Eastern Europe
Part V. 2 Challenge to Normalcy: Political Opposition in Czechoslovakia, 1968-77 by VLADIMIR V. KUSIN THE BACKDROP The most recent period of opposition to the Czechoslovak regime began with the onset of what has become known as 'normalisation' after the invasion by Warsaw Pact troops in August 1968. 'Normalisation' is here understood as an attempt to promote an ideologically motivated and consumer-orientated legitimation of an unpopular regime under the close supervision of the USSR which retains the prerogative of supreme arbitration and interpretation but prefers to work through domestic agents.
The major exceptions to this process of collective cooptation of highly skilled technical, cultural and scientific specialists are individuals whom Konriid and Szel6nyi call 'marginal intellectuals'. Although Konriid and Szel6nyi define the marginal intellectuals as internal regime dropouts, this classification should probably include those who were driven out of the ruling establishment over their own protests. To the latter category belong the victims of the 1968 antiSemitic witchhunt in Poland, the thousands of expelled, incarcerated and persecuted intellectual supporters of the Czechoslovak reform movement and of other party purges of the last several years.
Enterprise councils' were being formed despite the government's appeal that the 'experiment' should be discontinued. Jan Palach, a student, burned himseH to death in January, carrying a note which called for the abolition of censorship and discontinuation of a Soviet propaganda newspaper in the Czech language. And the trade unions adopted a reformist Charter and statutes in March in which, among other things, the right to strike was embodied. In retrospect, these were acts of defiance and resistance, not reform.