The Party of the Young, the Indifferent and the Unemployed? Changes Within the Membership of the Interwar Czech Communist Party

Strana mladých, indiferentních a nezaměstnaných? Proměny členské základny meziválečné KSČ

The Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KPC), established in 1921, was one of the most powerful parties around the world during the interwar period. Although a high degree of fluctuation was typical for its membership, its electoral support was quite stable. The article is concerned with a critical interpretation of the following questions: First: The rhetoric of communist propaganda emphasized the symbolic youth of the collectivist new world order proposed by the Marxist-Leninist ideology, and the party organizational tactics were aimed towards the recruitment of young members. Although the leading cadres became significantly younger after the year 1929, the membership did not (or only slightly). Second: The KPC constantly aimed its recruitment of new members at indifferent workers; less during 1920s, more profoundly during the Great Depression. The strategy was not successful enough to compensate for the loss of members. Third: Communist parties were parties of unemployed during the 1930's: 40 per cent of the members of the KPC were without a job in 1931.