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Resolution of the CPCz CC Plenum, January 5, 1968, Electing Alexander Dubček as First Secretary
Our source: Navratil, Jaromir. "The
Prague Spring 1968". Hungary: Central European Press, 1998, pp. 34-36
Original source: Sb. KV. D IV – AÚV KSČ, F. 01
Translated by: Mark Kramer, Joy Moss and Ruth Tosek
Comment: In this resolution the CPCz CC Plenum decides to replace Antonín Novotný with Alexander Dubček as First Party Secretary.
/…/ The new stage of development places greater demands on the work of the party and on the assertion of its leading role. In this light the plenary session of the CPCz Central Committee discussed relations among party, state, and social organs and the working methods of the central party organs. The Central Committee carried out its work in a democratic and critical manner, with full responsibility for the concrete implementation within its own ranks of the conclusions drawn by its October session. The Central Committee again assessed the present situation within the party and highlighted existing shortcomings in the methods and style of work, in internal party management, and in the practical application of the principles of democracy centralism and intra-party democracy. /…/
/…/The Central Committee will create better conditions for thorough and open discussion at its plenary session on all items on the agenda so that each of its members has every opportunity to state and defend their position. Different positions on how to seek a correct solution are natural and objectively necessary. Members and candidate members of the Central Committee must take part in the preparation of resolutions and their implementation through the intermediary channels of commissions and in other ways in order to judge the correctness of decisions and measure them against reality. Members and candidate members of the CPCz CC and its organs must serve as an example to the lower echelons of party leadership, showing them how to promote intra-party democracy, how to ensure democratic centralism, collective leadership, criticism, self-criticism, and cadre work, and above all how to fulfill their tasks. /.../
Along with this, the members should specify analyses and proposals regarding the party statutes and the role of the CC Presidium, which bas to discuss fundamental issues pertaining to the elaboration, implementation, and preparation of Central Committee decisions. In its work the Presidium must concentrate more on dealing with conceptual and programmatic aspects of party policy. The Presidium is to inform the Central Committee regularly about all its activities and testify before the Central Committee plenum about the status of these activities. In the event of a dispute in dealing with certain matters, the Presidium is required to provide information about the views and positions of its members. It must ensure that the work of all officials is regularly and collectively assessed in their presence, especially on the basis of party discipline and performance while at work. Their activity must be assessed favorably and any mistakes that may occur must be criticized openly and in a timely manner. 'Rat is the only way to create comradely relations corresponding to communist’s ethics.
To that end, there must be far greater encouragement of an open exchange of views, and all officials must create the conditions for such an exchange. The qualities of a communist include a sincere, comradely attitude toward human beings and an awareness of and respect for the needs of fellow workers. Collective party leadership helps bond talent, knowledge, and popular experience, all to the benefit of the party's collective judgment.
Bearing in mind the great demands and complexity that the present stage of development is placing on the leading work of the party and its organs, and also bearing in mind the need for better application of Leninist standards of party work, the Central Committee has assessed the existing state of affairs and-in line with the decision of the October session of the CPCz CC that the "excessive commutation of offices docs not benefit the quality of work and that it is therefore necessary to eliminate that practice as soon as possible"-has decided to separate the post of president of the republic from that of first secretary of the CPCz CC and entrust these posts to two different persons. The growing complexity of socialist development in our country and the assertion of the leading role of the party are accompanied by rising demands on the leading activity of the central apparatus and of individual top officials. In the present complicated situation the combination of the highest party and state posts is beyond the capacity of a single official, no matter how qualified.
This decision is based on the overall concept of our policy of creating a profoundly democratic and advanced socialist society. 'Re-separation of the two highest posts is a logical part of the democratization process in the state and political spheres. It is motivated by the need for a division of labor and for new relations between the supreme party and state organs, while emphasizing the significance of the president's office as a symbol of workers' power and the socialist regime in this state.
For these reasons the plenary session of the CPCz CC approves Cde. Antonín Novotný’s personal request as president of the ČSSR to be released from the post of first secretary of the CPCz CC.
The CPCz CC simultaneously appoints Cde. Alexander Dubček to the post of first secretary of the CPCz CC, in the conviction that he will safeguard continuity of party leadership and in appreciation of his long years of experience in party work.
The current first secretary of the CPCz CC, Cde. Antonín Novotný, has been at the head of the party for several years. His personality is linked with important successes that the part achieved during those years both within its ranks and in the international communist movement. It was a period in which Leninist standards were renewed and the repercussions of the personality cult were dissipated, in which socialism was constructed and conditions were established for the general progress of socialist society. The CPCz Central Committee highly values the worthy and dedicated work which Cde. Novotný has accomplished at the head of the CPCz CC during this complicated and challenging period.
The Central Committee further decided that under present circumstances it is impermissible to accumulate leading posts in party, state, and social organs. This principle, however, must not be understood in the sense that leading representatives of state, economy, or social organs and organizations may not be elected as members of party organs. The Central Committee instructs the Presidium to prepare concrete principles on this matter.
The party's Central Committee further decided to increase the number of members of the Presidium of the Central Committee and elected Comrades Josef Boruvka, chairman of the Dolany United Agricultural Co-operative, Jan Piller, deputy minister for heavy engineering, Emil Rigo, chairman of the Slovak Communist Party factory branch in the East Slovak Iron Works at Košice, and Josef Špaček, a leading secretary of the South Moravian regional CPCz committee, as members of the Presidium. In addition, the future first secretary of the CPCz CC, who will replace Cde. Dubček, will also be appointed as a member of the CPCz CC Presidium.
In keeping with the conclusions of the October session of the CPCz Central Committee and with Leninist principles, relations between party and non-party organs will have to be elaborated in greater detail and adjusted: Necessary scope for initiative is to be given to communists working in non-party organs and their responsibility to the party is to be increased. Accordingly, the CPCz CC plenum instructs the Presidium to elaborate principles governing mutual relations, a division of labor, and other tics between central party and central state and economic organs and organizations of the National Front. The Presidium is to submit these principles to the plenary session.
The CPCz Central Committee has noted that the government and Presidium of the Slovak National Council will present concrete recommendations to the party Central Committee on how to improve their activity. In so doing, it will proceed from the conditions inherent in the new system of management and from the deliberations and proposals submitted by the December and January plenary sessions of the CPCz Central Committee.
The CPCz Central Committee further maintains that in the interest of preserving the unity of the Czech and Slovak nations during the further advance of the socialist society, and in the interest of pursuing a comprehensive expansion of tics between our fraternal nations and nationalities, all questions pertaining to nationality policies under the new conditions must conform to the spirit of a Leninist solution. Such an approach will be based on the preparatory work carried out by the CPCz CC Presidium, with pertinent analyses submitted to the plenary session of the CPCz CC.
To implement the conclusions of the October, December, and January meetings of the CPCz CC with purpose and consistency, the Central Committee will adopt an Action Program providing for the implementation of the stipulated tasks; it will do this with full responsibility and on the basis of a timetable for the implementation of these tasks. It also will create conditions for drawing up a long-term party program.