At the heart of the left’s disappointment with Soviet bloc societies has been a paradox of individuality. Cuba, one of the only remaining ‘actually existing socialist’ societies, and Czechoslovakia, whose communist chapter was characterised by the struggle for ‘socialism with a human face’, provide valuable illustrations. On the one hand, communist states intruded on individual life, violated human rights, and were arbitrary in their decrees and interventions; they were overly, and arbitrarily, involved in citizens’ lives. On the other hand, communist states showed a callous disregard for human well-being, failing to provide the necessary constituents of a flourishing life. In this way, they were insufficiently or inadequately involved in individuals’ lives. In this chapter I seek to show how socialist law should both affirm the juridical yet go beyond it in order to inspire an invigorated socialist ideal worthy of the legacy of Prague 1968.
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