Archive for the GDR / East Germany Category

U.S. bombing of Serbia, after 15 years [Workers World]

Posted in Fascism, GDR / East Germany, Germany, International Action Center, Kosovo, NATO, Pentagon, Serbia, UNSC, Wall Street, Yugoslavia - former FRY on March 29, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

March 25, 2014

by Sara Flounders

The following statement was issued March 24 by the International Action Center in advance of a demonstration outside the United Nations in New York set for 5 p.m. on the same day. It was 15 years ago on this day that the United States began bombing Serbia in its quest to break up Yugoslavia and further expand NATO. The demonstration will demand recognition of Kosovo as part of Serbia and U.S./NATO hands off the Balkans, Ukraine and Russia.


On the 15th anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Serbia, and as new, even more ominous dangers arise in Ukraine and Crimea, it is important to remember history.

Wall Street dominates peoples through the destructive strategy of “divide and rule.” In the Balkans and in Eastern Europe this has meant policies aimed at breaking solidarity among different nationalities and religions by imposing sanctions and economic destabilization and by funding right-wing and fascist organizations and granting immediate recognition to their regimes.

It was U.S. and European Union criminal policy that broke the Yugoslav Federation into six unstable, impoverished micro-states. They executed this crime by bombing Bosnia in 1994 and carrying out a 78-day bombing in 1999 of Serbia, especially the Serbian province of Kosovo. These wars aimed at expanding the U.S.-commanded NATO alliance into the Balkans, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Republics.

Despite U.S. and German commitments to the former Soviet Union not to expand NATO one inch further if Soviet troops were withdrawn from East Germany, NATO has now expanded to 12 countries in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and former Soviet Republics.

After the massive destruction of schools, hospitals, industries and communication in Yugoslavia in 1999, Washington still agreed, in the imposed ceasefire and in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, that Kosovo is historically part of Serbia and would remain an autonomous part of sovereign Serbia, although under U.S./NATO occupation and administration. In 2008, in violation of this signed U.N. agreement, the U.S. recognized the puppet government it had set up and that government’s illegal declaration of independence for Kosovo. The overwhelming majority of the people of Serbia of all nationalities opposed this theft of Kosovo by NATO. They continue to raise the slogan: “Kosovo is Serbia.”

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Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.


“Police States, Theirs and Ours” by Stephen Gowans [what’s left blog]

Posted in Anti-communism, Australia, Canada, Cuba, DPR Korea, FBI, GDR / East Germany, National Security Agency / NSA, New Zealand, NSA, U.K., US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USSR on July 2, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Bourgeois gatekeeper media, some of which are exposing unprecedented domestic and global NSA spying by imperial-fascist USA, have hedged their bets with anti-communism. Witness the repetition of the perjorative term “Stasi” as a kind of comparative domestic spying qualifier. I don’t know how to qualify the extremes of domestic spying — and it’s bleedingly obvious that what the NSA is doing is several orders beyond what the Stasi was ever capable of — but it would seem that “Gestapo” is much closer in political affinities of the US police state than that of the former GDR/DDR. (In fact, it’s highly ironic given the CIA’s viciously illegal campaign to promote subversion in that former socialist country through widespread sabotage [see historian William Blum]. It’s like the cliche of calling the US Guantanamo Bay concentration camp a “Gulag”; the political affinities of Gitmo are to fascism and not Stalin-era socialism. I don’t agree with every nuance of Gowans article (every state is a police state?) but it’s a useful corrective in this warped atmosphere of simultaneous disclosure and obscurantism in capitalist propaganda. – Zuo Shou

June 14, 2013

By Stephen Gowans

Anyone who’s shocked by NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s revelations that the US state is spying on its citizens shouldn’t be. Liberal democracies have routinely spied on their own citizens, long before Google, Microsoft, Verizon and the iPhone made the job easier. And they’ve done so while denouncing official enemies like the Soviet Union and East Germany — and today Cuba and North [sic] Korea — as police states. Indeed, what’s changed isn’t the fact of state surveillance, but its scope and reach.

Writing about Canada, political scientist Reg Whitaker and historians Gregory Kealey and Andrew Parnaby note that “the police showed quite remarkable energy and zeal in spying on large numbers of citizens. (An official) commission (of inquiry) discovered in 1977 that the RCMP security service maintained a name index with 1,300,000 entries, representing 800,000 files on individuals” [1] at a time the country had a population of only 24 million!

Interestingly, Whitaker et al don’t call the RCMP’s security service a “secret police,” or Canada a “police state,” though a secret police force that maintained dossiers on three percent of its country’s population might be termed such by someone not so concerned about stepping lightly around the myth that liberal democracies are bastions of political freedom. (They are bastions of political freedom, but of a certain type: that which leaves private ownership of the economy firmly in place and the owners firmly in charge…)

…Stasi informers who spied on their neighbors, workmates and acquaintances are reviled, but enmity isn’t heaped upon your neighbors, co-workers and acquaintances who are informers for Western police states. At least Stasi informers were defending a more egalitarian and humane society than the one it replaced and that has taken its place. Western secret police informers defend states that preside over growing inequality, intolerably high unemployment, a war on unions and wages, and which pursue predatory wars on foreign countries that refuse to allow the rape of their natural resources, labor and markets by the Western states’ ruling classes.

Canada’s NSA equivalent, the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC), has, like its better known counterpart south of the border, been scooping up “billions of bits of information transmitted around the world in cyberspace or on airwaves.” [3] Canada, along with the US, Britain, Australia and New Zealand, is part of a signals intelligence community, called the Five Eyes, which spies on the other partners’ citizens and then shares the data with them to circumvent laws prohibiting domestic spying. These laws allow the major English-speaking capitalist democracies to back up their rhetoric about political freedom, while the cozy sharing arrangement among their electronic surveillance agencies frees them from the inconvenience of actually having to live up to it. And like the NSA, CSEC collects ‘meta-data,’ information on the date, duration, location and recipients of phone calls, e-mails, and text messages transmitted in Canada. Today, rather than having files on only 800,000 of its citizens, the Canadian police state has the raw material to assemble files on the vast majority of them.

Whitaker et al call state surveillance of citizens in liberal democracies political policing, which seems far more legitimate (legitimizing) than the name used to describe (discredit) the same behaviour in communist countries. When Cuban or North Korean officials place their citizens under surveillance, they’re accused of totalitarianism and police state repression, though it seems very unlikely, in light of the Snowden and other revelations, that either state can match the scope of snooping that liberal democracies can use to police their own citizens’ political behaviour.

The term “political policing” in lieu of “police state repression” sanitizes the practice when it happens in liberal capitalist states, and is sanitized again when it is acknowledged that “policing politics….has been done and continues to be done” in every liberal democracy, but that it “is inherently anomalous in liberal democracies.” [4] This, of course, is an oxymoron. Spying on citizens and disrupting the activities of those who challenge the established order can’t be inherently anomalous in liberal democracies if it is done in every one of them. It must, instead, be an invariable trait of liberal democracies.

But then, so too is political policing an invariable trait of every other kind of state. Whether it’s North Korea or Cuba spying on its own citizens, or the United States, Britain and Canada doing the same, in all cases, political policing serves a conservative function of defending the established order against those who would challenge it. “[T]he political police,” argue Whitker [sic] et al, “are always on the side of the political/economic status quo…. [5]

The difference is that political policing in liberal democracies is “an activist conservatism on behalf of capital against its perceived enemies.” [6] Political policing in East Germany, the Soviet Union, or today in Cuba and North Korea, is likewise an active conservatism, though not on behalf of capital, but against it, and on behalf of capital’s enemies.

It’s naive, then, for anyone in a liberal democracy who poses a serious threat to the established order to believe the state is going to let them be, free to exercise political freedoms that exist largely as a rhetorical contrivance. Challenging the established order is like going to war, and anyone who goes to war and is shocked to discover that the enemy fights back is seriously deluded about war, the state, and the nature of the enemy. All states are police states [sic], including those most attached to rhetoric about political freedom.

In contrast, people who present no serious challenge to the state are typically indifferent to the state panopticon. They reason correctly that since they have nothing to hide, and that they identify with the state and have no inclination to challenge the class that dominates it, that the political police won’t trouble them.

Alternatively, there are people who, while they are not against the state, are in favour of reforms which would restrain the class that dominates the state from pursuing its interests to the fullest. From the perspective of the political police, these people must sometimes be subjected to surveillance to discover whether their quest for reforms is in reality a veiled challenge to the established order, and if not, to provide early warning if it metamorphoses into one. It is these people who are typically the most agitated by political policing, for inasmuch as they conscientiously keep their opposition within legal bounds and are not actively hostile to the state, they believe their privacy should be inviolable. In their view, their activities are “legitimate” (within bounds that do not seriously challenge the established order) and therefore are not fair game for surveillance. Hence, those who seriously threaten the established order know the state will spy on them, and accept surveillance as a reality of war; the apolitical are indifferent, because they know the state has no reason to disrupt their activities; while the reformers are agitated, because they’ve discovered the state isn’t neutral and may indeed disrupt activities they believed to be legitimate and legal.

British Labour MP Chris Mullen’s thought experiment, the novel A Very British Coup, explores the question of whether the British state would allow a leftist government to pursue far-reaching socialist reforms even if the government played by the formal rules. His conclusion: no. The political police, working with the United States, would orchestrate the government’s overthrow. It has typically been the case that left-wing movements that have come to power in liberal democracies either quickly abandon their agenda or actively pursue it and are replaced, as a consequence, by a military dictatorship or fascist coup. Under threat, capital shares none of the reverence for liberal democracy that moderate socialists so ardently display and believe in, to their detriment. Even Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, whose challenge to the established order within his own country was partial at best, was briefly toppled in a coup, and remained menaced throughout his tenure as president by the efforts of the United States and owners of the country’s private productive assets to disrupt his government—a government that scrupulously operated within the boundaries of liberal democracy.

Likewise, it’s naive to think that the state in communist countries will not spy on, and try to disrupt, the activities of those who seriously threaten the established socialist order, and who seek to bring about a return to a society of exploitation, or subordination to foreign tyranny, or both. To object to this practice would be to elevate abstract ideas about political freedom above freedom from exploitation, oppression, hunger, and insecurity; to make the freedom to politically organize for the creation of conditions of exploitation senior to freedom from exploitation. Objecting to the Cuban state spying on citizens who want to return to the days of Batista and US domination is like objecting to the machine-gunning of an advancing Waffen SS column. It may not be pretty, but is necessary to defend something better than the alternative.

To sum up, police state measures — the stock in trade of all states, whether of exploiters or the previously exploited — are neither intrinsically objectionable nor inherently desirable, any more than nuclear technology is. So long as societies are divided by class, there will be states, and so long as there are states, there will be political police. Political policing, like nuclear technology, can be used for good or ill, to protect or destroy, to advance or hold back. We should be for it when it’s used for good and to advance; against it when it’s not. And we should be clear too that as much as the states they revile, liberal democracies are police states, and will always be, so long as the parasitism of capitalist society produces a determined opposition to the parasites.

Excerpted; Full article link with footnotes:

Anti-communist propaganda crushed — Review of Anne Applebaum’s “Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956” [ /]

Posted in Anti-communism, CIA, Czech Republic / Czechoslovakia, GDR / East Germany, Hungary, Nazism, Poland, Stalin, US imperialism, USA, USSR on February 18, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Eric Walberg

Feb. 17, 2013


The period following WWII in eastern Europe is considered to be a black one, best forgotten. All the pre-war governments had been quasi-fascist dictatorships which either succumbed to the Nazi onslaught (Poland) or actively cooperated with the Germans (Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria). The Soviet liberation was greeted with trepidation by many – with good reason for the many collaborators. Within a few years of liberation, eastern Europe was ruled by austere regimes headed by little Stalins.

As in France and Italy, women who consorted with the Germans were treated with contempt. There was a rash of rape as millions of Soviet soldiers filled the vacuum left before the post-war occupation structures were established. The Soviet soldiers had been motivated by an intense hatred of the Nazis, and their revenge was worse than that of the American, British etc soldiers, none of whom at lost their loved ones and homes or had faced invasion of their homelands. The chaos did considerable damage to post-war relations and soured the prospect of building socialism to many who otherwise would have given the new order that was imposed on them a chance. ‘Imposed’ is certainly the operational word, as the Soviets gave security and policing to their local communist allies.

As in all wars, there were no winners (except those lucky soldiers who emerged unscathed with lots of booty). The east European communists had been decimated by Stalin’s pre-war purges. The liberal and rightwing forces were persecuted. War does not discriminate between good and bad property. As in all upheavals, farsighted bad guys step forward, play along on the winning side, and reap their rewards.

Given this deadly scenario and the subsequent Cold War, it is surprising just how much positive resulted from the Soviet occupation of eastern Europe, and despite author Anne Applebaum’s unremitting anti-communism (her “Gulag” won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003), it keeps peaking through her Iron Curtain.

Applebaum focuses on Poland, Hungary and East Germany, clearly because they experienced uprisings following Stalin’s death in 1953 (sparked by liberal reforms that spun out of control instigated by – of all people – NKVD chief Lavrenti Beria). They are very different cultures and their post-war experiences are very different, despite following a scenario written in Moscow, including both the good (social welfare and anti-capitalism) and the bad (‘red terror’ and dogmatic imitation of Stalinism).

She drew on dozens of personal interviews of east Europeans who were either key figures in the period of ‘high Stalinism’ as she calls it or simply people who lived their lives, worked and supported (or didn’t) the regime they lived under, and now in their waning years, were glad to reflect on what happened, how they functioned. Appelbaum’s husband is Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, and her treatment of Poland is particularly detailed.

Yes, people were persecuted unjustly, though it was mostly leading political figures who suffered, or people who refused to read the writing on the wall and spoke out (heroically or foolishly, a judgment call) during the wave of purges which began in the late 1940s…

…What comes through in the interviews is just how positive the whole post-war period was for the majority of the people, how the communist program gave great opportunities to the vast majority in education, work and health care. How despite the ‘high Stalin’ show trials and inanities of the period, such as the slavish naming of a new socialist town Sztalinvaros in Hungary, a then-young worker on a woman’s brigade now remembers trudging through the mud and living in damp barracks “with immense nostalgia”, though she later became somewhat disillusioned as an activist. (She protested – and was chastised for it – against the campaign to convince workers to go into debt to buy ‘Peace Bonds’ which she saw as just a hidden tax.)

Just as the communists created myths and enshrined them in their history books at the time, the victors in the Cold War are now writing their own version of history. Yes, Warsaw’s wedding cake Palace of Culture, a ‘gift’ from Stalin, and nearby dreary apartment blocks, spoiled the skyline. But the communists also had the old city in Warsaw meticulously reconstructed.

And how to explain Alexander Dymschitz, head of the cultural division of the Soviet Military Administration in post-war Berlin, who insisted that artists get the coveted “first” ration card, a larger piece of bread and more meat and vegetables? Asked why, Dymschitsz declared, “It is possible that there is a Gorki among you. Should his immortal books remain unwritten, only because he goes hungry?”

The whole socialist ‘experiment’ in eastern Europe lasted only four short decades, and considering the animosity of the West (and many locals), was a remarkable success in raising economic and cultural standards. Applebaum sneers at the trials of “wreckers” and saboteurs, but from day one, the US and its by-then subservient client states in western Europe repressed their own communists, and the CIA waged an undeclared war on the socialist bloc, parachuting in émigrés to blow up bridges, wreck equipment and even spread crop diseases.

Applebaum’s meticulous research stopped when it comes to any of this, though there is lots of documentation. For example, the CIA funded Ukrainian fascist leader Mykola Lebed (a Nazi collaborator and murderer of Jews and Poles) from 1949–91 to carry out black ops against the Soviet Union from his front organization Prolog in New York. According to CIA director Allen Dulles, he was “of inestimable value to this Agency and its operations”.

The most spectacular instance of US subversion in the Cold War was the 1980s CIA plan to sabotage the economy of the Soviet Union. A KGB turncoat gained access to Russian purchase orders and the CIA slipped in the flawed software, which triggered “the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space”. The KGB never practised this kind of black ops, despite hysterical propaganda to the contrary.

Neither does Applebaum admit the real state of opinion in eastern Europe about this whole period. An October 2010 poll in Berlin among former East Germans revealed that 57% defend the overall record of the former East Germany and 49% agreed that “the GDR had more good sides than bad sides. There were some problems, but life was good there.” Only 30% of Ukrainians approve of the change to democracy (vs 72% in 1991), 60% of Bulgarians believe the old system was better. The disastrous effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union on life expectancy, especially of men, which fell from 64 to 58, is well known.

Compare this with the 60% of Americans in 2010 who said they feel the country is on the wrong track (albeit down from 89% in 2008 during the closing days of Bush II rule).

Iron Curtain also ignores the devastating effect of the collapse of the socialist bloc had on the world at large. By unleashing the free market from the 1980s on, inequality between the richest and poorest nations increased from 88:1 (1970) to 267:1 (2000). The US was henceforth able to invade countries everywhere at will, as indeed it has done, killing millions of innocent people and patriots now dismissed as the ‘enemy’. But this is of no concern to Applebaum from her comfortable perch in Thatcherite London at the Legatum Institute, nor of her staunchly anti-communist hubbie in Warsaw. Nor of other rewriters, financed by the likes of Soros’s Open Institutes.

What is most irritating in Iron Curtain, apart from its cliched Churchillian title, is its assumption that all readers will accept that the term ‘totalitarian’ applies – uniquely – to the socialist bloc, that “totalitarian education would eliminate dissent; that civic institutions, once destroyed, could not be rebuilt; that history, once rewritten, would be forgotten.” A 1956 US National Intelligence Estimate made just months before the collapse of the Hungarian communist order, predicted gloomily (and a tad enviously) that over time dissidence in eastern Europe would be worn down “by the gradual increase in the number of Communist-indoctrinated youth”.

The alert reader, unburdened by “Intelligence”, will find many such glaring hints that ‘totalitarian’ really has much more to do with the West, with its seductive materialist ‘me’ culture, fashioning people oblivious to the welfare of their society. Post-WWII western Europe was promised apple pie in the sky, and got it thanks to the Marshall Plan aimed at winning the new Cold War. Once the socialist bloc was no longer, the apple pie disappeared, as we see in the collapse of living standards across Europe (the US as well), there being no competition anymore to the real totalitarian system, where protests are easily absorbed.

Not so the dictatorships of eastern Europe, which were brittle, far from totalitarian. The spontaneous re-emergence of unsanctioned institutions in Hungary after the death of Stalin is particularly impressive. The “totalitarian personalities” that Applebaum conceives of are rather found every day in Walmart queues or on 4th of July celebrations.

While young Poles, Germans and Hungarians were at the forefront of their new socialist orders, they were also – just as in the West – at the forefront of rebellion against what many saw as the stifling status quo. For the most part, Polish bikiniarze or Hungarian jampecek, the counterparts of American rockers and British teddy boys, hadn’t experienced the horrors of the war, had little sense of the 1930s as a period of communist ferment, and found western mass consumer culture much more appealing than the modest socialist one stressing personal responsibility and solidarity with the victims of imperialism around the world…

…When the baby boom hit especially Czechoslovakia in the 1960s, it resulted in an explosion of creative energy, and a delayed unraveling of the by-then tattered ‘high Stalinism’ there, but once again context intervened. In retrospect, if the Prague Spring had been allowed to blossom, Czechoslovakia would have been quickly absorbed by the West, and the Cold War eastern dominoes would have fallen much sooner.

But 1968 was the high point of European social democracy, and who knows what might have resulted from a melding of the two systems at that time? That the fall came in 1990 at the height of neoliberalism meant that capitalism at its totalitarian worst called all the shots, and there is little to crow about by the 99% of us – East or West. Alas, this is far from the minds of the neoliberal victors as they churn out their history books.

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August 14 – Bertolt Brecht Memorial Day [W. Bricke – Ansichtskarten]

Posted in GDR / East Germany, Germany on August 15, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手


JPG link here

The Olympics: Where communism wins []

Posted in Australia, China, Cuba, GDR / East Germany, USSR on August 10, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

July 30, 2012

by Joshua E. Keating


The Olympic motto, "Citius, Altius, Fortius" — faster, higher, stronger — might inspire athletes training for the Games, but for a nation looking for Olympic glory, a more useful dictum might be "Maior, Ditiores, Communistarum": bigger, richer, communist.

While upsets are always possible in any individual event, the factors that make a nation an Olympic powerhouse are pretty clear, and it’s surprisingly easy to predict which countries will come out on top.

Shortly before the 2000 Sydney Olympics, two economic papers appeared within days of each other looking at the determinants of gold-medal success. Remarkably, both came to virtually the same conclusion about what makes a nation an Olympic champion. Ever since, the lead authors of each paper, Andrew Bernard of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and Daniel Johnson of Colorado College, have been using these factors to make predictions before each Olympics, sometimes with uncanny accuracy…

..One…factor identified by both papers is a bit more surprising: communism. Throughout the Cold War, when medal counts became a matter of not just national but ideological pride, communist governments like the Soviet Union and East Germany were able to allocate government resources much more efficiently to build sporting powerhouses. They consistently outperformed predictions based on size and GDP alone.

This wasn’t true just for the Eastern Bloc. Cuba, for instance, has won more than twice as many Summer Olympics medals as Brazil, despite having only a fraction of its wealth and population…

Full article link here

“China and the Olympics” – Editorial [Workers World]

Posted in Anti-communism, Australia, Beijing, China, GDR / East Germany, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, U.K., USA on August 7, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

August 1, 2012

China’s Olympic triumphs prove once again the transforming nature of revolutions.

The People’s Republic of China sent its first delegation of athletes to the 1952 Olympic summer games in Helsinki, Finland. Arriving late, they were able to participate in only one sporting event. Due to the imperialists refusing to recognize the Chinese communist government in Beijing, and instead declaring Taiwan the representative of China in the Olympics, the PRC boycotted the summer games for the next 32 years.

It wasn’t until the 1984 games in Los Angeles that the PRC sent its first full delegation of athletes. And 24 years later in 2008, China hosted the XXIX summer games in Beijing, where it won 100 medals — more than any other country, including the U.S.

That was an astonishing achievement for a country that had only recently begun to emerge from semifeudal underdevelopment after a heroic socialist revolution achieved people’s power in 1949. Today China, with 1.3 billion people, has the second-largest economy in the world.

China showed at the 2008 games that it was a world sports power to be reckoned with. It shattered the myth that only teams from rich capitalist countries like the U.S. were invincible. The U.S. could not hide its displeasure with China’s achievements. Most notably, when the Chinese won the gold medal in women’s team gymnastics, beating the reigning world champions from the U.S., the latter accused the Chinese team of being underage because of their small stature. Women gymnasts are required to turn 16 in the same year as the games.

The U.S. was hoping that the Chinese women would be disqualified, but it never happened. Chinese coach Lu Shanzhen stated, “It’s unfair that people keep saying the Chinese are too young to compete. If they think they can tell someone’s age just by looking at them, well, if you look at the foreign athletes, they have so much more muscles than the Chinese. They are so strong. Do you then say that they are doping?” (New York Times, Aug. 13, 2008)

History is repeating itself four years later, at the 2012 XXX Olympic Games in London, where China sent the fifth-largest delegation of athletes. Only Great Britain, the U.S., Australia and Germany sent more. As of day three of the games, China is tied with the U.S. for the most medals won overall, and it has more gold medals than any other country.

The Chinese male gymnasts won their second consecutive team gold medal, with Japan winning the silver and Great Britain the bronze. The U.S. team came in fifth. Both Japan and Great Britain had brutally ruled China with an iron fist in the last century. Before China’s Olympic victories, the biased U.S. gymnastic commentators on NBC stated that the Chinese men were in danger of not winning any kind of medal, due to their “mediocre” qualifying scores (which are required to reach the finals).

The U.S. is once again expressing its anti-China bias by accusing a great Chinese swimmer, Ye Shiwen, of using banned substances. Ye won a gold medal July 30 in the 400-meter individual medley, setting a world record. U.S. coach John Leonard made the accusation in a Guardian interview, saying Ye’s performance was “unbelievable,” “outrageous,” “disturbing” and that she looked like a “superwoman.” Ye replied, “The Chinese team keep very firmly to the anti-doping policies, so there is absolutely no problem.” (July 30)

When it was reported that Ye swam faster over a 50-meter span than U.S. gold medal winner Ryan Lochte, Leonard commented that “a woman does not out-swim the fastest man in the world in the back quarter of a 400m individual medley that is otherwise quite ordinary. It just doesn’t happen.” However, the British Olympic Committee officially stated that Ye was clean. These accusations hark back to the anticommunist, sexist statements made during the 1980s about women athletes from the former German Democratic Republic.

What has infuriated the U.S. and other Western powers most of all is that in just three generations China, as a result of a massive revolutionary upheaval that lasted for decades, has come from being one of the poorest countries in the world, where only the most privileged got any kind of education or training, to a world power in so many areas, including sports.

Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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EDITORIAL: Revisiting the Berlin Wall – “Thank you GDR” [Workers World]

Posted in Afghanistan, Anti-communism, Engels, Fascism, GDR / East Germany, Germany, Marx, NATO, NATO invasion, Nazism, Sudan, USSR, Yugoslavia - former FRY on September 2, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Published Aug 19, 2011

On Aug. 13, the corporate media in imperialist Germany used the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Wall to propagandize against communism and the German Democratic Republic.

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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