Monday, 9 November 2009
Finally some balance on the GDR
For those out there who fail to adhere to ruling class version of history, sorry the story tale repeated in the news, concerning the German Democratic Republic (GDR), Bruni de la Motte's guardian piece came as a welcome bit of proper journalism, in a sea of ideologically charged, Cold-War propaganda.
Don't get me wrong there were many problems with the GDR, and these problems only fed the one-sided stories that persit to this day. The lack of political freedoms, freedom to travel and cowardly shooting of those attempting to cross the wall were a mistake and ultimately lead to the collapse of the country.
However, much like the Soviet Union, the GDR was relatively un-developed, it was born in the midst of war and constantly faced sabotage at the face of imperialism. These issues lead to the breaking of the laws of socialist democracy, often with terrible results, these issues also lead to unfair, one-sided critism from Cold-war warrior journos.
This ruling class ideology persists today and prevents contemporary journalists from mentioning several points;
1) The GDR came into being during the cold war. It was never the intention of the Soviet Union, which liberated eastern Germany from nazi dictatorship, to set up a separate state. Moscow intended that Germany should be united along the lines of Austria, which adopted military and diplomatic neutrality. This was demonstrated by Moscow allowing Berlin to be split into different areas of influence, hardly the moves of a state that intends to 'conquer' Germany.
It was the West that split Germany, when it set up the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) East Germany was not an example of the USSR extending its 'empire'.
2)Denazification in the East was systematically carried out, whereas, in the West former Nazi Party members were allowed to continue in the FRG as government ministers, teachers, judges, prosecutors, military officers and diplomats.
3)The FRG could not be described as a being a bastion of democracy, the Communist party was banned and Communists faced widespread repression.
As I have said, the restrictions on personal liberties, while they can be explained within that certain context, cannot and shouldn't be defended. Nonetheless, the great advances in jobs, housing, sport and the arts, support for anti-colonial movements...etc should not be left out of the picture.
These acheivements have been left out because they demonstrate how a government can make advances in equality and security for ordinary people, how governement could stand up to imperialism.
The fact that the media have not reported a balanced picture of the GDR represents the fear of socialism that persists in the aftermath of the 'end of history'.
Does our media keep up its principled opposition to walls? Do they keep up the same one-sided criticism of the apartheid wall in israel? Do they fuck!
(Read the article at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/nov/08/1989-berlin-wall )