Environment and Democracy in the Czech Republic

Environment and Democracy in the Czech Republic

The Environmental Movement in the Transition Process

Adam Fagan

Environment and Democracy in the Czech Republic offers a radical perspective on the democratisation process, revealing the extent to which the consolidation of a politically efficacious and diverse civil society is far more complex than the earlier generation of commentators acknowledged. The environmental movement has not flourished under political democracy; its radical activists have been marginalized and targeted by the state, their ideologies and strategies compromised and their critical voice silenced. Yet the book concludes that whilst the mainstream environmental movement has become institutionalised and appears incapable of representing community interests, the environmental issue retains the capacity to mobilise, this time against the neo-liberal agenda of the democratic government.

Chapter 6: The Czech Environmental Movement in 2003

Adam Fagan

Subjects: politics and public policy, environmental politics and policy, european politics and policy

Extract

INTRODUCTION This chapter will analyse developments that have occurred within the community of EMOs and the environmental movement from 2000 until the time of writing, early 2003. The discussion will return to what have been identified in the previous chapters as key determinants of EMO capacity: the political opportunity structure and process, resources and the issue of foreign donors, and the specific relationship between EMOs, global capital, multilateral and supranational agencies and the Czech state. The first issue to be considered is the extent to which EMOs remain dependent on foreign donors. This problem has started to be addressed by organisations themselves and the donor foundations that distribute US and EU-derived funding in the Czech Republic. This is undeniably a critical issue on which the future existence and capacity of EMOs ultimately depends. As foreign donors withdraw, the need to increase indigenous funding dramatically through fee-paying memberships is an imperative that EMOs have been slow to address. The second issue is one that was referred to in the previous chapter, but the full extent of the problem, corruption, has only been realised quite recently. In both theory and practice, the perceived benefits of a conducive political opportunity structure, access to decision-making arenas and support from within the political elite for environmental issues and campaigns are negated by political corruption. The practice of granting public contracts without environmental audits and the development of road schemes in order to favour and protect the commercial interests of local politicians make a mockery of...

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