Beyond the “Power of the Powerless“

The forgotten legacy of Political Thought in Czechoslovakian Dissent
Seminars and Colloquia

A closer look onto the intellectual context of Havel’s famous essay reveals that, among Czechoslovakian dissidents, there were more serious critiques of his piece than outspoken supporters. The fact that Havel became an iconic figure of the 1989’s revolution and the successive road towards freedom makes it difficult to look impartially on the discourse of political thought in the 70s. However, does that fact imply that Havel‘s ideas on politics were practically better and theoretically more valuable than that of his critiques? The presentation tried to show that a study of this neglected and almost forgotten discourse may reveal something valuable for the political theory of power, authoritarianism, and dissent.


Milan Hanyš is assistant professor of Philosophy at Charles University in Prague and researcher at the Masaryk Institute at the Czech Academy of Sciences. Currently he is a Jan Patočka Junior Visiting Fellow at the IWM.

Comments by Muriel Blaive
(Advisor to the Director, in Charge of Research and Methodology, Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes, Prague; EURIAS Visting Fellow, IWM)