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November 26, 1989

List of Goals by the Civic Forum, 26 November 1989

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

What We Want


Programmatic directives of the Civic Forum


Our country finds itself in a deep moral, spiritual, ecological, social, economic and political crisis. This crisis is the result of the inactivity of the current political and economic system. Almost all the mechanisms necessary for society to properly react to the changing internal and external conditions have been eliminated. For interminable decades the self-evident principle has not been respected: who has the power must also carry the responsibility. All three fundamental powers in the state—legislative, executive and judicial power—have landed in the hands of a narrow ruling group, composed almost exclusively of CPCz members. Thus the principles of a legitimate state were overturned.

The CPCz monopoly on the occupation of all important positions creates an unfair vassal system, which cripples the entire society. The people are thus sentenced to play the role of mere executors of the orders of the powerful. A slew of fundamental human, civic and political rights are denied to them.


The directive system of the central leadership of the national economy has plainly failed. The promised recon-struction of the economic mechanism is slow, ineffective and is not carried out by the necessary political changes.

These problems will not be resolved by a substitution of persons in positions of power or by the departure of a few politicians from public life.


The Civic Forum is therefore pressing for these program goals:


1. Rights

The Czechoslovak Republic must be a legal, democratic state in the spirit of the traditions of Czechoslovak statehood and in the spirit of the internationally accepted principles, expressed above all in the Universal General Declaration of Human Rights and in the International Pact on Civic and Political Rights.


A new constitution must be worked out in this spirit, in which the relationship between the citizens and the state in particular will be revised in detail. This constitu-tion must, of course, be only accepted by a newly elected constitutional assembly. The enforcement of civic rights and freedoms will be reliably ensured by a developed system of legal guarantees. An independent judiciary must also constitute a constitutional and fair judiciary.


It will be necessary to gradually make the whole Czechoslovak legal establishment consistent with these principles, and ensure that it will be committed not only to the citizens, but also to the organs and functionaries of the state.

We insist on righting the wrongs done in the past as a result of politically motivated persecutions.


2. The Political System

We demand fundamental, effective and lasting changes in the political system of our society. We must create anew or renew the democratic institutions and mechanisms, which will enable the real participation of all citizens in public affairs and at the same time will become an instrumental barrier against the abuse of political and economic power. All existing and newly created political parties and other political and social groups must have the same opportunities to partake in the free elections of all the representational bodies. It is assumed, however, that the CPCz, will relinquish its constitutionally ensured leading role in our society and its monopoly over the media. Nothing stands in its way of carrying this out as early as tomorrow.


Czechoslovakia will be an equal union of both nations and all nationalities, observing the principles of a federative state order.


3. Foreign Policy

We are striving for our country to once again occupy a worthy place in Europe and in the world. We are a part of Central Europe and we want to therefore maintain good relations with all of our neighbors.


We are counting on inclusion into European integra-tion. We want to subordinate our policy toward our partners in the Warsaw Pact and COMECON to the idea of the “Common European home.” We respect our interna-tional legal obligations while fully reserving our state sovereignty. Meanwhile, we want to revise the agreements motivated by the excessive ambitions of the leading representatives of the state.


4. The National Economy

We must abandon the current economic system. It takes away the desire to work and wastes its results, plunders the natural resources, destroys the environment and increases the total backwardness of Czechoslovakia. We are convinced that this economic system is impossible to improve through partial improvements.


We want to create a developed market, not deformed by bureaucratic interference. Its successful functioning is contingent on the breaking of the monopoly on the positions in today's big businesses, and the creation of true competition. The latter can only be created on the basis of a parallel, equal existence of different types of ownership and the gradual opening of our economy to the world.


The state will, of course, retain in the future a series of irreplaceable functions. It will ensure universal economic conditions equal for all, and undertake macro-economic regulatory policies with the intent to contain inflation, the growth of foreign debt and impending unemployment. Only the state can guarantee the indispensable minimum of public and social services and the protection of the environment.

5. Social Justice

Decisive for us, is that conditions be created in the society for the development and the assertion of everyone=s ability. The same conditions and the same opportunities should be provided for all.


Czechoslovakia must be a socially just country in which people receive aid in old age, sickness and difficult situations. An important precondition for such a society, however, is a prosperous national economy.

Churches, communities, businesses and various state volunteer organizations can contribute to the creation of a vivid network of social services. Thus the possibilities for the assertion of a rare sense of human solidarity, responsibility and love for one=s neighbor will be expanded. These humanist principles are necessary for the cementing of our society.


6. The Environment

We must all look for a way to renew the harmony between the people and the environment. We will strive for a progressive repair of the damages which we have inflicted upon nature for the last several decades. We will try to restore our countryside and our dwellings to their original beauty, to ensure better protection of nature and natural resources. We will accomplish in the shortest possible time a significant amelioration in the basic conditions of human life: we will try to ensure quality drinking water, clean air and uncontaminated food. We will press for a fundamental amelioration in the system of environmental care which will be aimed not only at liquidating the current sources of pollution, but first of all at preventing further damages.


We will, at the same time, change the composition and objective of the national economy, and thus decrease in particular the consumption of energy and raw materials. We are aware that this will lead to sacrifices that will touch every one of us. All this requires a change in the hierarchy of values and in our lifestyle.


7. Culture

Culture can not be only something for the artists, scholars and teachers, but a way of life for the entire civic society. It must be extricated from the chains of any ideology and must overcome the artificial separation from world culture. Art and literature can not be limited and must be provided many opportunities for publication and contact with the public.

We will put science and scientific work in the place where it belongs in society. We will rule out its naive and demagogic overestimation, as well as its degraded position which makes it a tool of the ruling party.


A democratic school system should be organized on humanist principles, without a state monopoly on education. Society must respect teachers in any type of school and must provide them with a space where they can assert their personality. It is necessary to return to the universities the rights, which ensure their independence and the freedom of the academic soil, and this for professors and students alike.


We consider the education of society to be the most valuable national asset. Upbringing and education must lead to independent thought and morally responsible discussion.


This is what we want. Our program today is concise, we are working, however, on making it more concrete. The Civic Forum is an open coalition of citizens. We therefore call on all who can contribute to this task to do so.


In Prague on 26 November 1989—6:00 p.m..


The Civic Forum, the organizing voice for Czech opposition groups during the Velvet Revolution, outlines their goals for a future Czechoslovak Republic. This includes new program goals including individual rights, the political system, foreign policy, national economy, social justice, the environment, and culture.

Document Information


Ustav pro sodobe dejiny (USD), Akademie ved Ceske republiky (AV CR), Koordinacní centrum Obcanskeho fora (KC OF) Archive, file Dokumenty OF.


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