John Keane | The Power of the Powerless
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The Power of the Powerless

The Power of the Powerless

Edited by John Keane
Citizens against the state in central-eastern Europe
Vaclav Havel et al.
Introduction by Steven Lukes
M. E. Sharpe, Inc. Armonk, New York


Editor’s preface

Introduction – Steven Lukes

1 The power of the powerless- Vaclav Havel

2 Spiritual values, independent initiatives and politics – Rudolf Battek

3 Catholicism and politics – Vaclav Benda

4 On the question of Chartism – Vaclav Cerny

5 The human rights movement and social progress – Jiri Hajek

6 Prospects for democracy and socialism in eastern Europe – Ladislav Hejdanek

7 Chartism and `real socialism’ – Miroslav Kusy

8 Who really is isolated? – Jiri Ruml

9 The alternative community as revolutionary avant-garde – Petr Uhl

10 Thoughts inside a tightly-corked bottle – Josef Vohryzek

11 On not living in hatred – Josef Zverina

Appendix Charter 77 Declaration

Notes on Czechoslovak contributors

See Contents with Page Numbers

Review Published on Foreign Affairs

The Power of the Powerless: Citizens Against the State in Central-Eastern Europe

Summer 1986
John C. Campbell

The pièce de résistance, on which the other contributions are essentially elaboration and commentary, is the title essay by Václav Havel. In the post-totalitarian state, as he calls it (the term describes his native Czechoslovakia under the “normalization” that followed 1968 but applies to all of Eastern Europe), he finds a profound crisis of human identity brought about by “living within a lie,” and real political significance in the individual’s moral choice for truth and in the creation of an independent life for society even though the system of bureaucratic coercion continues. It is a notable fact that all the contributors, early adherents of Charter 77, are distinguished men of letters in Czechoslovakia. The essays, newly translated, were written several years ago.

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