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Romania Table of Contents


Ideology and Party Program

In the early 1970s, the PCR carried on a campaign to strengthen the Marxist character of its ideological, cultural, and educational activities. Within limits Ceausescu encouraged "socialist democracy" and open communication between the masses and the party leadership. He defined "socialist democracy" as a spirit of social responsibility among the citizens to perform their duties in accordance with the needs and imperatives of society as a whole. Socialist democracy sought to stimulate the masses to support the cause of socialism by involving them in PCR programs so that the individual citizen's goals and values coincided with those of the party.

In the mid-1970s, Ceausescu announced a new ideological program and the tightening of party control over government, science, and cultural life. Some observers regarded this campaign as a response to Soviet criticism of Ceausescu's foreign policy. It may have been a reminder to Moscow that socialism was not endangered in Romania and that the Soviets could not use this pretext to justify intervention as they had done in Czechoslovakia in 1968. Others considered it an assertion of authority by Ceausescu to combat domestic ideological laxity and what he perceived as corrupting Western influences. Partially directed at the youth of the nation, the campaign included curbs on alcohol in the youth clubs and on the screening of foreign television programs and music.

Another objective was increased party control over literature and cultural life. New ideological guidelines were issued for writers, publishers, and theaters. Ceausescu declared that the arts must serve the single purpose of socialist-communist education. At the same time, he called for increasing guidance of the arts by all levels of the PCR and requested that works of art and literature be judged for their conformity to party standards and their service to the working class. Although Ceausescu ruled out repressive measures, he asserted that the party would rely on persuasion to implement the new ideological program.

In the late 1980s, the PCR ideological program consisted of two major components--the political and ideological education of the citizenry and the scientific study of Romanian history. The former entailed the thorough study of PCR experience, Ceausescu's theses and recommendations, and the classics of Marxism-Leninism. The scientific study of Romania's history was considered profoundly important in developing the population's awareness of their DacianRoman origin and the continuity of Romanian habitation of their homeland, particularly in the face of historical claims made by neighboring countries.

During the 1980s, the party's perception of its role in society changed. It no longer saw itself as the detached vanguard of the working class, but rather as the vital center of the nation and society. The party's identification with national interests was interpreted as rejection of the concept of "dictatorship of the proletariat," a phrase that was supplanted in party parlance by "state of the revolutionary workers' democracy." The policies pursued by the PCR were designed to maintain firm control of economic planning and administration. Party control was enhanced by the territorial and administrative reorganization of 1968, which set up commissions in all of the new judete to function under the direct supervision of the judet PCR committees. These commissions gave the party direct control over local economic programs.

Data as of July 1989