Revisiting the Berlin Wall
Published Aug 19, 2011 7:13 AM
On Aug. 13, the corporate media in imperialist Germany used the 50th
anniversary of the Berlin Wall to propagandize against communism and the German
The GDR had built the wall at a time when Germany and Berlin were divided
between a capitalist West and a socialist East. After Hitler’s defeat in
World War II — largely at the hands of the Soviet Union, which also
suffered the greatest casualties from Nazi aggression — the U.S. had
poured billions of dollars into West Germany to rebuild capitalism there. West
Berlin, where many of the capitalist elite were concentrated, was much richer
than East Berlin. Nevertheless, the socialist East offered free education and
health care to everyone. The wall was built largely to stem an exodus to the
West, known as the “brain drain,” of skilled people educated at the
expense of the workers’ state.
There are many in the united Germany of today who are not celebrating the fall
of the wall and the GDR. Their voices were heard on Aug. 13 when the
non-affiliated Marxist German daily newspaper, Junge Welt, ran a front-page
article along with a historical photo of army troops of the GDR defending the
Brandenburg Gate, one of the entry points between West and East. The headline
read, “At this time, all we can say is: Thank you.”
The article went on to give examples of what the GDR had achieved during the 28
years of the wall — much of which was lost once the socialist state was
overthrown and the GDR swallowed by West Germany.
The article thanked the GDR for “28 years of peace in Europe” and
“28 years without any German soldiers participating in wars.” The
united Germany, as a member of NATO, now has armed forces in Afghanistan, parts
of the former Yugoslavia and Sudan, as well as off the coasts of the Horn of
Africa and Lebanon.
It also thanked the GDR for 28 years without unemployment, homelessness and
soup kitchens and for providing education, child care and health care for all
“without a consultation fee or two-tier health care.”
Reflecting popular anger at German capital, it thanked the GDR for “28
years without hedge funds and private equity parasites.”
Germany today, like the rest of the capitalist world, is cutting social
programs while unemployment grows, especially in the east where workers used to
be guaranteed work under socialism. In the land of Karl Marx and Friedrich
Engels, many now know from bitter experience that capitalism can never bring a
better life to the majority of the people.
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