Tevfik Taş, the Communist Party of Turkey’s (TKP) Party Council member, wrote on the German Democratic Republic (GDR) on the anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall. Taş discusses about how the GDR people have lost their gains following the end of socialism.
The German bourgeois politics made propaganda against the German Democratic Republic for years through the Berlin Wall, and it is still continuing to do so. Thomas Bauer, the CEO of Bauer AG, was one of the leading figures of this propaganda mechanism. Thomas Bauer went on to establish an association, the Ethical Management in the Construction Sector, in 1996 following the destruction of the wall, declaring that “constructing walls for political purposes is not ethical”.
THE WALL AND THE AESTHETICS OF STRUGGLE
It is necessary to look at some issues worth to discuss without questioning where the ethics is here. Like the concept of democracy, can the word “wall” be discussed independently from its class characteristics and its position within the class struggle? Can the aesthetics of struggle be discussed isolatedly from the obligatory tasks and goals of the struggle?
Of course, no.
Coining a universal “rule” by alienating the concept from the essential elements that define it, and more importantly, from its historical context would just lead to the ability of pulling a rabbit out of the hat. The Left cannot and should not use any concept set irrelevantly, which is confined to the field of human rights/freedoms, amorphous in the manner of class axis, and independent from the conditions of the struggle.
The most influential conceptual dual inherited from the repertoire of the Cold War is democracy and human rights. They used the denotative form of these concepts, and waged a war against real socialism. They have covered up the economic exploitation by means of the concept of democracy, and pumped a so-called discourse of liberty. The rhetoric of human rights has functioned as an argument to subjugate the sovereign states.
Turning down the Berlin War in the belief that “it is against the working class’ aesthetics of struggle” is tantamount to be alienated from the real needs of the struggle for political power in the name of the Left.
WHAT HISTORY PUNISHES?
During the 40th foundation anniversary of the GDR on October 7, 1989, Gorbachev told Erich Honecker in East Berlin: “Life punishes those who come too late.”
The traitor Gorbachev betrayed the Soviet socialism while he was offering Honecker to betray the GDR. The counter-revolutionary forces achieved to collapse the GDR one month after Gorbachev’s speech. When the Soviet Union, which had heavily contributed to the foundation of the GDR, withdrew its support from the GDR, the biggest barrier before the success of the counter-revolution was eliminated. In this context, Gorbachev and his clique left the GDR to the mercy of the counter-revolutionary forces waiting like ravenous wolves.
A couple of months before the road to the destruction of the Berlin Wall, the State Security Service (STASI) sent a report to the Political Bureau, describing the situation of the country as “worse than that of 1953”.
The promise for a better socialism was broken to set sail for capitalism. The social security system of socialism would be protected while the attractive consumption opportunities of capitalism would be increased. That was what was promised to the people.
However, it was nothing of the kind.
As there was no such “fair capitalism”, the available gains were gradually lost. Free education, right to work for everyone, free health, housing, social-cultural recreational fields, no concern for the future, zero unemployment, dignified life in retirement…
Soon, the people of the east felt that it was almost impossible to access to all these rights in capitalist Germany.
However, the failure of the GDR was also the failure of the Soviet Union. Gorbachev, the reckless actor of the collapse, handed the beheaded GDR to imperialist bandits on a silver platter.
History punished those peoples who did not protect their revolutions. That is certainly what happened.
WHAT DID GDR PEOPLE EXPERIENCE AFTER COUNTER-REVOLUTION?
In 1988, the GDR citizen women were entitled to be retired at the age of 60. Today, they have to work until the age of 65.
In 1988, retired people were earning 477 GDR Mark. They could afford their rents and food with their salaries as they could save more than half of (even two-thirds) their wages.
Since the public transportation system was not profit-oriented but was organized for the people, it was almost free of charge.
Since the country was full of rich libraries, theatres, concert centers, the people were not confined to the shopping malls or watch TV at home like today.
There used to full-day kindergartens for the children. The access to full-day kindergartens in today’s so-called powerful Germany is only possible for the upper-middle class people. And, those who build a “career” are generally composed of such people. For the rest, the life is composed of working and raising children.
Finland, the leading country of the PISA research, took many ways and methods of education from the GDR. Today’s Germany cannot go beyond the mediocre standards in the PISA research. With its three-class secondary education system and university system with loans and fees, today’s Germany is following anti-people education policies.
As the workers’ children can become hairdresser or machinist, those from the upper classes can go to elegant universities, but they are listed and eliminated as the future manager types.
There was not any church rate in the GDR. Secularism was being applied decisively in accordance with the definition of socialist enlightenment.
The church was never the biggest employer of the country in the GDR. The church was limited with religious things. The church did not possess schools and hospitals in the GDR.
No one could mention about becoming unemployed if the people did not pay church taxes. Today, however, the Catholic and Protestant churches are employing over 1.5 millions of workers, they are among the biggest bosses of the country. They are turning traditional “Christian charities” to profit through such institutions as CARITAS and DIAKONI that they are controlling.
The GDR citizens were no subject to two different wage systems for the same job. They never knew of the bosses. The factories, lands were really the public enterprises of labor. They witness the income gap in today’s Germany. They witness the subcontractor system, the worst of the modern slavery.
They witness and experience how to be cheated with rent contracts, to be robbed by insurance companies, the meaningless supply that incite the demand, the idiocy of advertisement and showoff and the fraud of telecommunication.