The times are bad and there is no place in the House because the Pirates have become a “fake left”. Isn't it worth crying over?
Yippie. It is true that by participating in a right-wing government, the Pirates are similar to the Greens in the second Tobolanek government. After all, even the Greens are considered left-wing in the world, but in the Czech Republic they behave in a right-wing manner. I still feel a certain calculation in Pirates.
The problem with social democracy is that since the end of Sobotka's government, voters began to perceive the ANO movement and the more extreme SPD as social democracy. That is why today's successors to the traditional left have such a difficult position. Smaller parties are more fractured, including the Communists. Along with other leftist parties, it should disband under the banner of social democracy. But it may be at long elbow.
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Why did ANO and SPD swallow the majority of left-wing voters?
Although in thirty years the electorate has been filled with young people, it is essentially the same people who managed to elect Miloš Zeman and Jiří Paroubek. It's about working people, families with children, the elderly. They were able to provide alternatives. Orientation towards non-essential priorities for these groups has led them to perceive the above two parties as social democrats. Also, commanding leaders are absent from the leadership of social democracy today.
Even former Social Democrat and Industry Minister Jan Mládek recently remarked that today's trade unions – the traditional backdrop of the left – are paper tigers. Do you agree?
It's complicated. I left the union myself, more precisely the KOVO union, which I still feel is very hardworking and beneficial to the employees. More complex relations exist at the headquarters of the Confederation of Czech-Moravian Trade Unions, where there are unions representing civil servants and workers in the commercial sector. I see a long-standing problem with union members, that instead of going into open conflict, they prefer to wait for someone to give it to them. They are full of worries.
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However, developments in Germany, France and elsewhere show that better-paid workers there are not reluctant to shut down entire states for a few days as part of negotiations for more favorable working conditions and higher wages. For example, railways and the like.
So is it time for unions to put their fears aside and take more radical action?
Certainly, given the arrogant behavior of the current government and its statements about the opposition and social partners. It is necessary to continue with expressions of domestic discontent. Unions can play a very important role in this. After all, even employers' associations are not very comfortable today and may support some such actions.
In the 1990s, when I led the trade unionists in Zihomorovska Armaturka, today VAG s.r.o. in Hodonin negotiated a collective agreement. About two hundred people gathered at the door and went to the administration building to negotiate. When we got there, there were five officers left. Others were simply afraid. However, even in our country, people need to work towards western union diligence and more stubbornness.
In election polls, SOCDEM is very close to the five percent threshold to enter the House of Representatives. Will he get over it in a year and go back there?
I really hope so. However, I also believe that the parliamentary elections will be earlier than the usual date. I hope that this government will be toppled soon and after a short reign there will be early elections. It can be seen that even the government representatives are starting to get nervous. What happened during the governments of Topolánek and Nečas. At that point, the coalition parties suddenly realized they could no longer enter parliament and brought down the government. I think Fialoa will change similarly, but it may take some time.
If SOCDEM, formerly ČSSD, understands the need to stand against the parties of the government coalition and clearly shows that it can better protect citizens' interests than ANO or SPD, it can win. Government parties are not popular, and it is wrong that social democrats in leading positions cannot take advantage of this. There is no point in talking against the opposition parties.
How are you prepared to help social democracy in this regard?
Children and especially grandchildren age quickly. We have four girls and one boy. All were under the age of ten. I want to enjoy them. Nevertheless, as one of the few old matadors, I participate in meetings with young people and share my experience with them. The majority of young and new social democrats do not enjoy our participation in government or our presence in the House of Representatives. In a way, I have become a symbol of young social democrats, and it is positive that they are willing to listen.
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I am a bit embarrassed by the management of SOCDEM, which in my opinion does not care enough about the promising workforce. After all, in our time there were dozens of great ministers, hundreds of great representatives, regional representatives and mayors. Today, these people with years of experience are standing in the background, not working. At the same time, like me, they don't want to be shortlisted because we have already experienced it. When I want to disturb the current leadership, I tell them that we won the election when they have a lot of wise words.
If SOCDEM would like to include you in the candidate list, would you accept?
Although I do not want to engage in political conflict, I do not rule it out. I want new faces and new leaders to emerge. They can make media headlines and draw attention to themselves.
What did you think when Jiri Barupek joined the Czech Sovereignty of Social Democracy (ČSSD), founded and registered by Jana Volpová?
Jana Volpova was once a member of Social Democracy and head of the Social Democratic Women's Organization. I remember when she came to Hodonsko many years ago and introduced her to the authorities here. She finally asked me: “But you're an MP, aren't you?”
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Regarding stealing the name, those who suggested changing it should question their conscience. In addition, they did not adequately treat the previous name, namely the Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD). This confusion of names is not pleasant, it evokes different associations, and I perceive it as a problem.
For Jirka Barubek, it's a story similar to that experienced by many officials, including Milos Zeman. Perhaps I have my own merit in this, because I have not emphasized enough, but unfortunately social democracy has not been able to retain these key figures who have led to better electoral results. This is ugly. This is similar to Václav Klaus regarding ODS. Only people can keep them. And Jirka Barubek is in his prime. But let's see what happens.
Author: John Rysetzky