The Power of the Powerless

With the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was not much mention of the Czech Velvet Revolution from around the same time period.  My connection to this involves the music of Frank Zappa.  His music was a sort of catalyst for the revolution.  The band Plastic People of the Universe, named for the Zappa song, became a rallying point that eventually led to the overthrow of the Czech communist regime.

The first Czech president after the revolution, and friend of Frank Zappa, was the playwrite Vaclav Havel.  I recently ran across his essay, The Power of the Powerless.  A bit long but the first half is eye opening and about they way the former Soviet Union controlled people by controlling access to information and enforcing a certain conformity.  I found a copy of the essay available on Amazon for $44 (for the eBook!).  Below is a link to the Time Machine version, badly scanned but still readable.

Václav Havel: The Power of the Powerless

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