Is Nordic socialism really real?

With the GDR to socialism of the 21st century

Stefan Bollinger


It seems absurd after the defeat of Soviet-style real socialism to think about whether and to what extent these 70 or 40 years of history and the underlying state and social structures are still relevant to today's, and even future, struggle for a socialist perspective. For the victorious Western capitalist societies and many of their newly won disciples, it is clear that “in the 20th century European countries experienced two major totalitarian regimes, the Nazi and the Stalinist, the genocide, the violation of human rights and freedoms, war crimes and Crimes against humanity ”. [1] Leftists are also increasingly thinking about excluding this period as a wrong path or at least as a failure for further considerations. Some authors who argue in the spirit of Trotsky have it easy here if they allow real socialism to pass at best as state capitalist societies, albeit with an anti-capitalist orientation, due to its basic Stalinist structures, the lack of democracy and the consequent failure to socialize the means of production. This past is also obsolete for those arguing with grassroots democracy because the reality of GDR socialism was too market-oriented. [2] At the same time, for some, with the collapse of real socialism and the decline of social democracy in general, the old labor movement with its concept of the nation state as a battlefield for social improvement and power as well as the connection between technical-economic and social progress is being sidelined from history. In times of globalization that no longer works. [3] Therefore "the social democrats and left-wing socialists of Europe who emerged from the labor movement ... have to face this double challenge and adapt their traditional goods accordingly" [4] and fight for a "new social idea" that relies on the EU as well as on the positive Taking up those employment and regional structures that globalization is bringing about. Otherwise one would stick to defending the losers from modernization. However, that would mean ticking off precisely those traditions that are viewed as having failed as no longer connectable. What remains - so the logic - the clinging to the struggle for democratic freedoms and social justice, detached from the experiences and traditions of the left social movements of the working class. Thus, the times of attempted state realization of the ideals of the labor movement would not be an object of reconsideration and of looking to what is worth preserving, also to other left paths that are worth considering or difficult to solve. That would then apply to every historical-state manifestation. Given its minor involvement in High Stalinism, its developed economic power and social policy, the GDR would be an ideal image of real socialism, without the crimes, mistakes and errors, the repression, the integration into a block logic that can be experienced on the wall every day, the paternalism of intellectuals, are to be forgotten. But why go to this trouble when you have to respond daily to allegations of the “unjust state”, the “Stasi machinations” and “ropes”. Maybe it's easier to hit the Escape key and swear that today's left has nothing to do with it and wants nothing to do with it.


The political ruins left by the crisis of the SED and its state made it difficult for those SED members to reorient themselves as early as 1989/90 who acknowledged their historical legacy and continued left politics despite, or perhaps because of, the burden of the SED tried under the umbrella of a radically renewed party and broke with "Stalinism as a system" [5].

Dealing with the SED and the GDR remains difficult. The left cannot and must not ignore the self-critical insight that the GDR and its leadership were also responsible for terrorism, murder and repression. Establishing and naming the real dimension and evaluating specific acts remain a task that has to be performed again and again. Without understanding and accepting that real socialism had been subjected to a Thermidor since the Soviet turn of 1927/28 at the latest, since the implementation of Stalinism, which, as it turned out, deprived the socialist revolution of its democratic side and of individual freedoms and rights in the long run , no one will be able to do left-wing politics. But even in this time there is still the clinging to socialist ideals, to the idea and practice of social justice and equality, to the new role of liberated work, to a life in social security. To this extent, it is forbidden to set equal signs between the essence of the East German alternative state and the fascist dictatorship with the aim of totalitarianism. But the comparison to the German reality with its alleged freedom will also have to be differentiated. Although many leftists once and some still see themselves as coming from or influenced by Marx, they forget one core of his thinking: dialectics. Marx did not know the GDR or Soviet history, but he did know that “the dialectical movement ... (makes up) precisely the coexistence of the two opposing sides, their conflict and their merging into a new category. As soon as you only face the problem of stamping out the bad side, you cut the dialectical movement in two. "[6]

The legacy is the unity of the SED and GDR with their achievements and mistakes, their achievements and crimes. For the first time after 1945, a German left-wing party had the opportunity to implement its socialist program - albeit under the massive protection of the Soviet Union and thus under its massive influence and under the conditions of a systematic conflict that was often on the verge of war. The working class - and that meant the party as a representative for them - constituted itself as a state, as a ruling class (despite the bloc parties, which were aligned from 1948 and were only extended, if often enough, independent arms of the communists). The SED had - regardless of the initially fluctuating position of the Soviet Union, which would have been able to live with a neutralized, capitalist overall Germany [7] - created a state, identified with this state and structurally anticipated it as if it had been doubled. The legacy and tradition of the SED are inevitably identical, which only relativizes the shared responsibility and independence of the other political forces in the GDR, in particular the block parties CDU, LDPD, DBD, NDPD and the mass organizations, but does not nullify it.

In contrast to the Social Democrats in the Weimar Republic and in the Bonn Republic, the SED did not need to take any allies or votes into account. And she often enough and to her own horror because of the consequences did not take this consideration and received the receipt for it in the crises of 1953, 1961 and 1989. A no small part of their own people turned away from her. The class which the Labor Party pretended to represent and which it substituted often enough turned against it in part. Nevertheless, GDR and SED were one, in terms of performance as well as failure and failure. Tradition is the effort to realize socialist and humanist ideals, as they have been codified since the SED goals of 1946, but which are always associated with the famous undialectical "but". Traditions, however, are just as much those attempts that anti-Stalinist, democratic, emancipatory political approaches that emerge from the grassroots, from the functionaries, from the intelligentsia and occasionally from the narrower party leadership itself.


The lasting achievements [8] of the SED policy and the GDR include not only those that were achieved in contradiction to official policy through self-sense [9] and resistance, such as that reflected in parts of artistic production found.

These traditions, to be taken up by a modern left, cannot be reduced to those leftists and Marxists who wanted to free Marxism from its dogmas and who, with varying degrees of consistency, demanded elements of democratic socialism, such as Wolfgang Harich, Fritz Behrens and Arne Benary, Jürgen Kuczynski and Hermann Klenner, Robert Havemann and Rudolf Bahro or Peter Ruben and Lothar Kühne, and finally Rolf Henrich or the social scientists of the “Modern Socialism” project tried. It is not only those grassroots democratic, civil society structures, as they found their expression in the citizens' movements of the GDR at the end of the 1980s, that the majority wanted a democratic-socialist GDR. [10] This renewed and sovereign GDR no longer came about, but the anti-Stalinist, albeit "broken off revolution" [11] contributed significantly to the emergence of a democratic-socialist approach in the SED, which ultimately led to the PDS.

The traditions worth considering include essentially socio-cultural institutions, in particular parts of a broad GDR social policy, [12] in which - intentionally or through the creativity of those affected, even against rigid guidelines - structures and results were created that apparently not only for the GDR of Interest were and remain: a modern, uniform and polytechnic school system, a complex system of sporting and musical leisure activities for children and young people at different levels of difficulty, comprehensive public health care with cooperative structures in the form of polyclinics, extensive equality for women, the safeguarding of Compatibility of work, education and family for women, the opening of social leadership positions to members of the working classes, the development of solidarity working relationships, which often to the chagrin of the functionaries, pressure to perform and hierarchy ien undermined and could undermine. These were civilizing achievements of socialism, [13] which will also be indispensable for left, socialist politics in the future.

Above all, the history of the GDR with its great reform, the New Economic System (NÖS), offers an extensive field of experience of how, under the conditions of nationalized property, attempts were made to stimulate performance with market-economy elements and levers as a basis for social policy. Even if, in contrast to the Prague Spring, the democratization prevented this reform ultimately failing under the conditions of block logic and solidified Stalinist structures, essential experience was gained here for a connection between plan and market. [14]

The self-image of the real socialism practiced by the SED was contradictory and cannot be reduced to the administrative-centralistic character of the party and social model adopted by the Soviet Union. At its core, this model promised peace and security, social security and growing prosperity with socially recognized needs. The comprehensive social democracy was postponed into a more distant future and was usually reduced to an often enough actual grassroots democracy in the work collectives, without this being able to actively influence the processes of society as a whole. This always led to conflicts when the party and its leadership deviated from the interests of the citizens in determining politics. Then, at the latest, the very real dictatorship and repression of a “new class” and its security apparatus against their own party and society took hold, albeit in the GDR reality differentiated and weakening from decade to decade.

The realized elements of a socialist policy with a high degree of social equality, even a partial social leveling, the relatively even distribution of economic fruits such as the shortage, the broad access to education, culture and art for all social strata with rigid dogmatic frameworks and Last but not least, a foreign policy that was almost universally accepted by the majority of the population, understood as a policy of peace and solidarity towards peoples struggling for independence, corresponded to the original ideals of the workers' movement.

Apart from the short period of economic reform in the 1960s, a shortened Marxist understanding of socialist society dominated SED policy. Contrary to practical requirements, official politics understood real socialism more as a non-commodity production with no longer essential commodity-money relationships and a renunciation of performance criteria. This corresponded to the limits of the socialist ideas of a future state that, despite the democratization of social conditions and a comprehensive social policy, understood and had to understand itself as the de facto owner and organizer of the national economy. The decision as to whether the state has to regulate with its plan and directives or whether economic mechanisms with market or profit take effect had ultimately been made politically in the GDR. This dilemma pervaded the entire history of real socialism without a valid or even successful solution being found. The solution is certainly not to be found in an either / or. Such a problem was not and is not confronted by social democratic parties which, even in their most powerful positions in Scandinavia or in post-war Great Britain, only made very limited economic interventions in property relations. "The supporters of socialism have a good right to assert that what happened in Eastern Europe does not allow any theoretical conclusion with regard to socialism itself," as the Swedish social scientist Göran Therborn elaborates in a fundamental comparison of European societies in the 20th century. “Nevertheless, the social historian must not forget that the USSR and post-war Eastern Europe, however controversial their socialist legitimation may be, represented the most far-reaching and daring socialist attempts in Europe. As far as the concrete results are concerned - namely with regard to the equality of tasks, rights, means and risks - the achievements of the Nordic social democracies are not lagging behind those of their revolutionary rivals, on the contrary. (Whether the Nordic social democracy ever represented a realistic option for Eastern Europe, however, is another question.) "[15]

The SED saw itself in the tradition of the goals of the workers' movement since the “Communist Manifesto” - even if perhaps in a different reading of the “Manifesto” than the current one, which concerns the relationship between the individual and society / class, which a writer for the first time , Stefan Hermlin, [16] thematized in the more mature years of the GDR. "Instead of the old bourgeois society with its classes and class antagonisms, there is an association in which the free development of everyone is the condition for the free development of all." [17] The central sentence in Marx / Engels does not mean the negation of the individual but actually an expression of the liberation of the same from political, economic and ideological constraints and oppression, which is possible only through a socialist revolution. The promised “leap of humanity from the realm of necessity into the realm of freedom” [18] should have been dared in the GDR as well. In practice, the SED's commitment to socialism remained the commitment of a caring paternalistic and patriarchal system, an educating, punishing, forgiving and protective over-father. The problem of the lost “utopian surplus” (Frank Deppe) [19] necessarily had to manifest itself, which results from the inevitable gap between the promises and expectations and the possibilities such as the changing framework conditions. The utopian goal for the SED was the goal of the workers in the Weimar Republic. The last chairman of the State Planning Commission, Gerhard Schürer, had to admit with resignation: “Based on his life experience, Honecker had a very simple model of socialism in his head: people need a dry, warm apartment, cheap bread as a staple food, they need work to get them are busy and able to perform, and then socialism will flourish and prosper. ”[20] It was a condensed understanding of material needs that more and more supplanted Ulbricht's later, more realistic conception of the new man, his culture and his way of life. It was the reduction to the simple material needs - extremely in the "I do something, I do something" to a point.It referred to the limits of the driving forces of real socialism for a new person who acts out of enthusiasm and the need to ground it practically - but with losses and with the renunciation of a revitalization of the NES, which was precisely linked to this goal and in a complete system.


Recourse to the experiences of real socialism - and strictly speaking, the experiences of the reformist path in Western Europe should also be included here - remains difficult nonetheless. Achievements such as borders obviously not only have something to do with the tough Stalinist structures, with the workings of the system conflict or the power to define needs, which is not in real socialism. There are antinomies, irreconcilable contradictions that have consequences for the structuring of society. [21] This is especially true for the design of alternatives to capitalism. Here lies one problem, perhaps the central one, in understanding the failed and any future socialism. In this new society there are no decidable contradictions that place demands on the political formation of this society, not only on a party or the state, but also on civil society. This concerns, among other things, the interaction and contradiction between social security and dirigism, individual self-realization and collectivity, full employment and duty to work, self-determined work and individual management, grassroots democracy and centralism, free access to resources and economic efficiency, to name just a few. The fact that they were not controlled in the Eastern Bloc had often enough to do with the incompetence of the political leaderships, sometimes bad leaders. Only, even with better leaders, even in reform processes, it was always a question of better balancing the respective sides, which was often enough difficult enough in view of the continued effect of the genetic errors rooted in Stalinism. But also every future attempt will come before these antinomies and will have to find concrete answers to the situation. But, once given, answers will not be enough in the future either.


Leftists, including those in the party of the same name, are torn between radical “socialism of the 21st century” and the more artisanal, reformist “riding the tiger capitalism” in order to help people here and now, without them too much unsettling and facing existential challenges. It is the old - less and less pronounced - dispute between maximum and minimum demands of a force that wants to overcome capitalism and ultimately a socialist future. Even here it begins to become uncertain, it is not always clear what to think of socialist goals, even utopias, beyond the slogans of justice, solidarity, and democratization of all areas of life. Since quite a few left-wing politicians have rediscovered freedom in its individual-civic dimension, the way it is related to social freedoms and rights, even power, has been lost too often. Programmatic today will have to question history again and again. Because the left - like all other political actors - is in a historical context. But after their fundamental defeat they are less sure than ever about this story.

Almost every current, not only left-wing political discussion is linked to traditional results as well as experiences - regardless of whether the state is meant as an economic actor, the aim of social policy or cooperation with political competitors. Previous burdens make you shy away, some approaches seem to be confirmed as an error. The reference to one's own history remains problematic. On the one hand, today's left formations - in Germany at least the PDS and parts of the Left Party that emerged from it - had to win their raison d'etre out of criticism and rejection of the socialism practiced in the GDR, its Stalinist or late Stalinist model. The vast majority of them had only understood 5 minutes to 12 noon that this real socialism represented a betrayal of the socialist ideals of those who came before them and that an apology to their own comrades and citizens was just as necessary as the decision of the Extraordinary SED party congress with Stalinism break as a system. Some western leftists had this insight long ahead of them. On the other hand, more and more functionaries such as ordinary members and sympathizers believe that the claim to be able to act in the modern bourgeois society of the FRG requires a break with the attempted real socialist, generally left-wing class struggle past. Finally, it must be taken into account that with the former social democrats, an anti-communist, but thoroughly state-oriented, radical socialism legacy has entered the party.

The history politics of the rulers and their almost identical followers in the media ensure that the anniversaries of contemporary history become confirmation rituals of the victorious capitalist society, economy and politics. The left opposing and more and more keeping pace can only partially and marginally paint a more complex, more balanced picture of what has been real socialism, its fear of threats and its burdens, but also its mistakes, misjudgments and repression. This also applies to the more precise understanding of a critical legacy of the practiced socialism and even more to the discovery of traditions, of indispensable connecting lines to historically made experiences - in the name of the SED and GDR as well as in the contradiction to them at the time.

Even if it is hardly ever said: the politics of history are intervening politics in today's political disputes, especially against those who do not consider capitalism and the bourgeois order to be the end of history. The dominant history politics does not avoid leftists either, making it difficult for them to face the past. Above all, however, the semi-official history policy is directed against any historical alternative. Even serious specialist historians understand the dilemma and try to counter this: “The GDR review puts the historicization claim of specialist science in a permanent conflict with the delegitimization claim of the politics of memory, from which there is no escape if contemporary history does not fundamentally refuse to use it publicly. There are, however, ways to make the dilemma of coming to terms with the history of the GDR bearable. The top priority is the task of specialist science to insist uncompromisingly on adherence to professional standards in the sphere of commemoration politics and the culture of remembrance. Regardless of whether it is about the scientific department of the Gauck-Birthler Authority, the establishment of GDR museums or project-related research funding at memorials and learning sites, advice and appraisal from specialist science is required at all times and everywhere in order to ensure that this The publicly communicated GDR image corresponds to contemporary historical knowledge as well as to the didactic maxims of controversy and not being overwhelmed. "[22] This position of the Sabrow Commission at least somewhat contradicted the pressure of coming to terms with the past as defined by totalitarianism theory, but without really achieving a new beginning.

Nevertheless, it stays that way - and the commission of inquiry of the German Bundestag have plowed the anti-communist soil for a long time: Opposing actors hope to interpret history according to their taste, especially under the anniversary dates, and to legitimize today's action. However, it is no longer a question of actually rewriting history, as was possible and necessary after the end of the bloc confrontation. The Eastern Archives have revealed their secrets. Stereotypes and prejudices could be confirmed or buried, unpleasant, even criminal facts are almost all on the table. They are essentially the result of mainstream science, even if differentiated views, especially from the Potsdam Center for Contemporary History Research, somewhat limit the supremacy of totalitarian theoretical representations. From the pen of former GDR historians and leftist sciences there are interesting individual contributions in solid monographs and a broad “gray” literature. [23] Not least the large handbooks on German-German contemporary history, [24] on the GDR, [25] and on the SED [26] are part of it. The actual history books [27] on the history of the GDR, the SED and post-war Germany are pending despite some preparatory work and will probably have to be absent for a long time and will only be possible by a new generation of scientists and a different history policy of the RLS foundation landscape [28].

Because it is striking: despite the 44-year existence of the SED between 1946 and the Extraordinary Party Congress in 1989, there is still no real critical but prosocialist history of the SED, [29] let alone the GDR. [30] Even on the top functionaries of this party, there is only rudimentary critical historical literature. Instead, the book market is drowning in individual representations of pretty much every fart of the SED and the GDR. On the other hand, there is a lack of willingness to write a critical but balanced history of the state party and its state based on or even contrary to the findings of the Eppelmann commissions. In addition, the left (as a mass and as a party) is more afraid and worried than the willingness to really face this chapter of its prehistory. Often enough, the speech bubbles of the pragmatists remain, which can hardly be distinguished from those who represent the zeitgeist augurs or, contrary to this, just as one-sidedly from the eternal nostalgia speeches about the transfiguration of the GDR. The inability to look at the GDR and its party the way historians and today's politicians need them: safe in the facts, critical in assessments, but also in seeing the problems that one faced, leaves room for the next socialist attempt expect defeat. It should be noted that there is also no current and differentiated analysis of social democratic history in Germany, because even those social democrats who joined the new DIE LINKE party through the WASG have at best delivered criticisms of the neoliberal SPD under Gerhard Schröder.

The sober reappraisal of the Western Cold War [31], which began at the same time, had a similarly destructive effect on the historical nimbus of the former contrapart and today's triumphant. Certainly also because capitalism can only be remembered as bloodstained anyway and Eastern propaganda has now been confirmed from Western archives - but above all because nobody likes to ask uncomfortable questions to winners.

Anniversaries are not bad for the old-new vigilante West, because they occupy their themes with facts, clichés and media power - bourgeois democracy and order, the triumph of democracy and market economy over dictatorship and planned economy. For leftists, anniversaries are more thought-provoking and should encourage the rebirth of buried dialectical thinking. Because neither the bourgeois-democratic revolution of 1918/19 nor the "double founding of the state" under anti-fascist and democratic auspices in West and East in 1949, but geared towards contrary regulatory and bloc systems, nor the anti-Stalinist revolution and pro-capitalist reorganization of a capitalism that is now again operating worldwide in 1989 / 91 helped to really overturn those conditions "in which man is a humiliated, enslaved, abandoned, contemptible being". [32]

They brought progress, bourgeois-democratic achievements of capitalism, were the result of class struggles. Even more, however, they testified to successful modernization and manipulation by a shrewd ruling class, which was able to learn from its defeats in order to perpetuate its plus-making.

In this dispute, the left has both the need and the chance not only to critically examine the burden and results of the struggle of West German trade unionists, social democrats and plural leftists for social and democratic achievements. Because capitalism stayed, the elimination of the competing counterpart GDR opened the door to neoliberals with the help of the SPD agenda.

Just as and for more than 45 years it must critically review the radical left in power, the GDR socialism that has come into being. An easy exercise for the right-conservative Zeitgeist, because they can only recognize a wrong path from the start, an injustice and terror regime. Because here it was capital to the collar, often enough for a high price. Even if there are now more differentiated views of the “ruled society” with its diverse facets from “welfare dictatorship” [33] to “self-sense” in historiography, leftists are required. Not (only) because there are still co-builders of this non-capitalist society who vote on the left and who once shed heart and sweat, whether enthusiasm and courage should not be alienated. But regardless of whether some politically responsible people want to distance themselves from this GDR or not, the point of reference for demarcation or confession, for learning from history and searching for alternatives, remains its politics. Regardless of whether it is good or bad - this GDR will in the long run remain a synonym for a socialist attempt.

It should be beyond doubt that the GDR and SED were no longer wanted by the majority of citizens and party members in 1989/90. For the GDR, the fact that the crisis in 1989 (as in 1956 in Hungary, 1968 in Prague, 1970-80 in Poland and creeping over the 1950-80s after the 20th party congress, in the changing East-West Dispute, the socio-structural and economic consequences of the productive power revolution) put a renewed, finally democratized socialism on the agenda. Perestroika was the last comprehensive attempt at that time, although its practice was disappointing and the Soviet Union, due to weak leadership and emerging conflicts, pulled Eastern Europe and the GDR into the wake. Neither in Moscow nor in Berlin did the party, not even the reformers, master internal contradictions. The victory of the West in the Cold War required little, if more purposeful, external impulses.

This raises the question of what this new socialism would have to achieve, where it would build on real socialism and what it would have to reject from it: because it was not socialism because of its lack of comprehensive democracy, because it was no longer up-to-date and both repressive and administrative conflict solutions “Preferred because he lacked other, democratic civil society mechanisms, because he stagnated and refrained from reforms; finally because it collapsed ideologically and became anti-utopian, i.e. anti-emancipatory and anti-socialist.

The traditional hodgepodge of real socialism, the comprehensive legacy from which the diverse elements of tradition have to be plucked out and subjected to a dialectical consideration, cannot be explained without the starting conditions of real capitalism - in its dictatorial (imperial, fascist) and repressive (November revolution , Weimar Republic, West German everyday life), bellicose (First and Second World War, colonial wars, civil war) and militant anti-communist and anti-socialist approach (at least since 1844, 1848, socialist laws, etc.). The left, including the SED, wanted a different society free from exploitation and oppression, from injustice and the dictatorship of the economically powerful. For 40 years it was able to proclaim this claim, practice measures and at the same time not overcome the limits of this attempt in a cold war, in a Soviet-dominated bloc, in a Stalinist political and social model.

On the occasion of Biermann's expatriation, criticizing GDR intellectuals [34] held up a quote from Marx as a mirror to their party and state leadership, which is particularly linked to the critical, left-wing discussion of the legacy of the SED and the GDR and the search for lines of tradition : “Bourgeois revolutions, like those of the eighteenth century, storm from success to success more quickly, their dramatic effects outdo each other, people and things seem set in brilliant fire, ecstasy is the spirit of every day; but they are short-lived, they will soon have reached their climax, and society is gripped for a long time before it soberly learns to appropriate the results of its period of stress and storm.Proletarian revolutions, on the other hand, like those of the nineteenth century, constantly criticize themselves, continually interrupt themselves in their own course, come back to what has apparently been achieved in order to start again, cruelly and thoroughly ridicule the half-measures, weaknesses, and wretchednesses of their first attempts , seem to only throw their opponent down, so that he can suck new forces out of the earth and stand up again in a gigantic way, always shrink back from the indefinite enormity of their own ends, until the situation is created which makes any reversal impossible, and which Call relationships yourself:

Hic Rhodus, hic salta!

Here is the rose, here dance! "[35]

[1] Resolution on Divided Europe Reunited: Promoting Human Rights and Civil Liberties in the OSCE Region in the 21st Century. In: Vilnius Declaration of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and Resolutions Adopted at the Eighteenth Annual Session. Vilnius, 29 June to 3 July 2009 -http: // [7/19/2009].

[2] Representing such positions Klenke, Olaf: Kampfplatz Mikroelektronik. Rationalization and social conflict in the GDR, Hamburg 2008, esp. Pp. 31-39ff .; Gerhardt, Sebastian: The lever economy of the GDR - To the criticism of a moral economy. In: Gehrke, Bernd / Rüddenklau, Wolfgang (ed.): ... that wasn't our alternative. GDR oppositionists ten years after the fall of the Wall, Münster 1999, pp. 279-301.

[3] See Falkner, Thomas: Overdue? Social upheavals and the example of the Left Party. In: Berlin Republic. H. 4/2009 - http://b- Republik.php/cat/8/aid/1526/title/Am_Bedarf_vorbei_ [July 18, 2009]

[4] So in the long version of the above article: ders .: Social upheavals, DIE LINKE and questions about the future of the left in Germany, July 6, 2009 - Republik_072009.pdf [July 18, 2009 ]

[5] Schumann, Michael: On the crisis in society and its causes. In: Hornbogen, Lothar / Nakath, Detlef / Stephan, Gerd-Rüdiger in collaboration with Manfred Meineke and Marga Voigt: Extraordinary party conference of the SED / PDS. Minutes of the discussions on 8./9. and 16./17. December 1989 in Berlin, Berlin 1999, p. 179.

[6] Marx, Karl: The misery of philosophy. In: Marx / Engels: Werke, Berlin 1956ff (hereinafter: MEW Vol. 4, p. 133.

[7] See Loth, Wilfried: Stalin's unloved child. Why Moscow didn't want the GDR, Berlin 1994.

[8] For the term see in detail Bollinger, Stefan: Keyword: “Achievements of Socialism”. In: Haug, Wolfgang Fritz (ed.): Historical-critical dictionary of Marxism. Vol. 3 level to extremism, Hamburg 1997, p. 795ff .; general: ders./Vilmar, Fritz Hrsg .: The GDR was different. A critical appraisal of their socio-cultural institutions, (2 vol.) Berlin 2002.

[9] See Lindenberger, Thomas (ed.): Rule and Eigen-Sinn in der dictatorship. Studies on the social history of the GDR, Cologne-Weimar-Vienna 1999.

[10] On the critical view of the citizens' movements and the results of autumn 1989: Gehrke, Bernd / Rüddenklau, Wolfgang (eds.): ... that wasn't our alternative, op. Cit.

[11] See Bollinger, Stefan: 1989 - a broken off revolution. Obstructed ways not only to a better GDR ?, Berlin 1999; ders. (Ed.): The last year of the GDR. Between revolution and self-surrender, Berlin 2004.

[12] See Bollinger, Stefan: Sozialstaat DDR. Reflections on the past and the present. booklets on gdr history. H. 94, Berlin 2005.

[13] For more information on the approach and content of civilizing achievements, see: ders .: Civilizing achievements of socialism? Sketches at the expense and traditions. Pankow lectures. H. 74, Berlin 2005.

[14] See, among others, Roesler, Jörg: Between Plan and Market. The economic reform in the GDR between 1963 and 1990, Freiburg-Berlin 1990; ders .: The NÖS as an economic concept. Views, facts, interpretations. In: Germany Archive, Opladen. H. 3/1998, 3, p. 383ff .; Steiner, André: The GDR economic reform of the sixties. Conflict between efficiency and power calculations, Berlin 1999; offer a current comparative look: Boyer, Christoph (Ed.): Socialist economic reforms. Czechoslovakia and GDR in comparison, Frankfurt / M. 2006; ders. (Ed.): On the physiognomy of socialist economic reforms. The Soviet Union, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, the GDR and Yugoslavia in comparison, Frankfurt / M. 2007; on the place in the context of 1968 see Bollinger, Stefan: 1968 - the misunderstood turnaround, Berlin 2008.

[15] Therborn, Göran: The European Societies 1945-2000, Frankfurt / M.-New York 2000, p. 357.

[16] See Hermlin, Stephan: Abendlicht, Leipzig 1979, pp. 20ff.

[17] Marx, Karl / Engels, Friedrich: Manifesto of the Communist Party. In: MEW. Vol. 4, p. 482.

[18] Engels, Friedrich: Mr. Eugen Dühring's upheaval in science. In: MEW Vol. 20, p. 264.

[19] Frank Deppe: End or Future of the Labor Movement ?, Cologne 1984, p. 256.

[20] Schürer, Gerhard / Wenzel, Siegfried: We were the computers, always frowned upon. In: Pirker, Theo / Lepsius, M. Rainer / Weinert, Rainer / Hertle, Hans-Hermann: The plan as command and fiction. Economic management in the GDR. Talks and analyzes, Opladen 1995, p. 78.

[21] See in more detail: Bollinger, Stefan: Civilizational Achievements of Socialism? loc. cit., chap. 2.

[22] Sabrow, Martin: Historicization of the dual state. In: From politics and contemporary history - supplement to the weekly newspaper Das Parlament, Bonn (hereinafter: APZ). H. B 3/2007, p. 21; cf. in more detail the recent debate about a more differentiated, semi-official history policy: ders./Eckert, Rainer / Flacke, Monika / Henke, Klaus-Dietmar / Jahn, Roland / Klier, Freya / Krone, Tina / Maser, Peter / Poppe, Ulrike / Rudolph , Hermann (Ed.): Where are GDR memories drifting? Documentation of a debate, Bonn 2007.

[23] Particularly noteworthy are the "booklets on the gdr history" by Helle Panke - Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Berlin e.V.

[24] See Burrichter, Clemens / Nakath, Detlef / Stephan, Gerd-Rüdiger (eds.): Deutsche Zeitgeschichte from 1945 to 2000. Society - State - Politics. A handbook, Berlin 2006 (hereinafter: Handbook of Contemporary History).

[25] See Stephan, Gerd-Rüdiger / Herbst, Andreas / Krauss, Christine / Küchenmeister, Daniel / Nakath, Detlef (eds.): The parties and organizations of the GDR. A manual, Berlin 2002 (hereinafter: GDR manual).

[26] See SED manual.

[27] A subjectively colored attempt is Benser, Günter: DDR - remember them with indulgence, Berlin 2000.

[28] You owe at least the three handbooks on GDR, SED and German contemporary history mentioned and the fragmentary attempt at a collection of monographs on GDR history, of which three volumes have appeared: Badstübner, Rolf: Vom "Reich" zum doppelten Germany. Society and Politics in Transition, Berlin 1999; Badstübner, Evemarie (Ed.): Strangely different. Life in the GDR, Berlin 2000; Bollinger, Stefan (ed.): The last year of the GDR. loc. cit.

[29] If one disregards the pre-political revolutionary works that are true to the line: collective authors of the Institute for Marxism-Leninism at the Central Committee of the SED: History of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany Abriß, Berlin 1978, before this already: History of the German labor movement in eight volumes, Berlin 1966 and finally the large view of this which only reached the first volume: History of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany in four volumes - Vol. 1 From the beginnings until 1917, Berlin 1988. After that, only the already mentioned differentiated SED manual and a comprehensive sketch by Wilfriede Otto should be mentioned: this: visions between hopes and deceptions. In: Klein, Thomas / Otto, Wilfriede / Grieder, Peter: Visionen, Frankfurt / Oder 1996, p. 137ff. As a counterpart to this, the totalitarian theory view of the SED State research association of the Free University of Berlin is worth mentioning: Schroeder, Klaus with the collaboration of Steffen Alisch: The SED State. Party, State and Society 1949-1990, Munich-Vienna 1998.

[30] In addition to the already quoted handbook of contemporary history and the SED handbook, the following should still be mentioned: Kleßmann, Christoph: Die doppelte Staatsgründung. German history 1945-1955, 5th, revised. and exp. Ed., Bonn 1991 ,; ders .: Two states, one nation. German history 1955-1970, Göttingen 1988; Mitter, Armin / Wolle, Stefan: Downfall on installments. Unknown chapters in GDR history, Munich 1993; Staritz, Dietrich: History of the GDR. Extended new edition, Frankfurt / M. 1996; Judt, Matthias (ed.): GDR history in documents. Resolutions, reports, internal materials and everyday testimonies, Berlin 1997; Weber, Hermann: History of the GDR, Erfstadt 2003; Mählert, Ulrich: Brief history of the GDR, 4th, revised. Ed., Munich 2004,

[31] See especially Stöver, Bernd: The Cold War 1947-1991. History of a Radical Age, Bonn 2007.

[32] Marx, Karl: On the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right. Introduction. In: MEW, Vol. 1, p. 385.

[33] See Jarausch, Konrad H .: Real Socialism as a Welfare Dictatorship. On the conceptual classification of the GDR. In: APZ. H. B 20/98, p. 33ff.

[34] See the writers' protest against Biermann's expatriation on November 17, 1976. In: Judt, Matthias (Hrsg.): GDR history in documents. loc. cit., p. 329.

[35] Marx, Karl: The eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. In: MEW, Vol. 8, p. 118.

This article was published in line no.79, September 2009