Interview with persecuted Czech communist Josef Skála

‘Marxism is a genuine cathedral of knowledge.’

In this interview comrade Joti Brar talks with Dr Josef Skála, Czech communist and academic.

A stalwart of the antirevisionist communist movement, Comrade Skála is the author of eight books, and a communist of 53 years’ standing. Having formerly served as the president of the International Union of Students and in the central committee of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, he is now a prominent leader and theoretician in the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia. (KSCM)

Dr Skála was the Communist party’s intended presidential candidate last year, but legal proceedings brought against him by the Czech state effectively put an end to his campaign, making it impossible for him to complete the various preliminary stages and meet all the conditions.

The case brought against him was under a section of the criminal code that was introduced to the statute books in 2000 – shortly after the Czech Republic’s accession to Nato. It lumps together Nazi and communist ‘crimes’ and declares that “Whoever publicly denies, questions, approves or tries to justify Nazi or communist genocide or other crimes against humanity committed by Nazis or communists shall be punished by a term of imprisonment from six months to three years.”

Under this broad catch-all law, Comrade Josef was prosecuted for having pointed out the existence of inconvenient facts and evidence relating to the Katyn massacre – a WW2 Nazi atrocity that has repeatedly been attributed by anticommunists to the Soviet Union. This misdirection, explains Comrade Josef, was first carried out by the Nazis themselves, who wanted to distract attention from their defeat at Stalingrad. Although the Nazi narrative was debunked at the postwar Nuremberg tribunals, it has been resuscitated by western historians and politicians and elevated by the European Union to the status of ‘official truth’, denial of which is criminalised in many formerly socialist east European countries.

Nevertheless, the implementation of this law has not so far been frequent or consistent. What is particularly noticeable about Comrade Josef’s case is that he was not prosecuted at the time he made his simple statements of fact on a radio show (facts relating to incontrovertible evidence that is freely available in the public domain) but two years later – after he had announced his intention to run for the presidency, and in conditions of deep social turmoil in the country.

More can be read on the background to Dr Skála’s trial here: Medieval inquisition returns to Europe as historical truth-tellers are put on trial.

The massacre of Polish POW officers was carried out by the German army during the second world war – but Joseph Goebbels, the German propaganda minister, used it to slander the Soviet Red Army. History has been written based on the lies of Goebbels, and these lies are happily and regularly regurgitated by the bourgeois press. More can be read in this presentation to the Stalin Society: The Katyn Massacre: Presentation made to the Stalin Society by Ella Rule.

Josef talks here about the farcical proceedings of his trial and its extremely suspicious timing, which culminated just after he spoke at huge demonstrations in the autumn of 2022.

He and Joti discuss the significance of the imperialist bourgeoisie’s campaign of falsifying history – the very real outcome of which can be seen in the horrific numbers (now thought to have reached 400,000) of Ukrainian men being sacrificed today on the high altar of capital.

Comrade Skála gives a broad overview of some of the proud industrial, economic, cultural and social achievements of the Socialist Republic of Czechoslovakia and contrasts that experience with the current ignominy being suffered by the Czech people, whose economic, political and social life have been colonised and stunted by the EU and Nato.

Dr Skála remains an unrepentant communist, confident in humanity’s ultimate destiny, reminding viewers that “Marxism is a genuine cathedral of knowledge”.

Whatever reverses our movement may have suffered, and however strongly the bourgeois narrative may have taken hold of many minds for the time being, the truth will out and socialism will prevail.