Milan Kohout is a thinker, performer, and professor. He was born in Czechoslovakia, where he lived before signing of ‘Charter 77’, and immigrating to the United States, where he became a naturalized US citizen. Mr. Kohout got thoroughly disappointed with capitalism, and the Western regime.
For years and decades he has been performing all over the world, confronting Western imperialism, racism, capitalism and all the world’s religions, particularly Christianity, frontally.
The Discussion took place on October 12, 2014, in Klikarov, a small village in West Bohemia. Vltchek came to Czech Republic in order to give a political lecture at the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts in the city of Pilsen, where Kohout teaches. Both of them drove to a tiny and remote village of Klikarov, in West Bohemia, where they sat by a fishpond, and engaged in a discussion about toxicity of Western imperialism, capitalism and European/US propaganda.
ANDRE VLTCHEK (AV): You are one of the few artists in the West who is taking direct action against Western imperialism, against unbridled capitalism, and against the religions. How and when did you choose this particular form of art?
MILAN KOHOUT (ML): It is obviously from the days when I was part of the so-called ‘Second Culture’, the Czech Underground; the era that was called by the West a ‘totalitarian system’ or, the Czechoslovak socialist system. ‘Second Culture’ was the movement that shaped our own creativity as well as the meaning of art. In those days we were expelled from the official culture, or from the ‘first culture’. So we rebelled. It was a deeply political movement by definition, and it produced political art.
AV: You often say, very correctly, that those of you who signed “Charter 77”, and those of you who were involved in the underground/opposition movement during the Cold War, were actually socialists, some even Marxists. That includes you. You are definitely a left-wing intellectual. That is a clear paradox: the West was ‘selling you’, promoting you, as a group of anti-Communists. Could you talk about this paradox?
MK: There has been, of course, such a paradox, a great paradox, because most of the people from the underground movement, of the ‘second culture’, were actually deeply supportive of leftist values. Like sharing everything, instead of collecting things. We believed in the common ownership of property and the means of production. But we never thought about it from a theoretical angle – we did not realize that our values were actually leftist, philosophically. So while we were fighting against the so-called Communist government, we were actually true Communists!
Btw, when I say this to my fellow ‘Charter-77’ comrades who have never left this country, they often get very pissed off – they don’t want to admit it.
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