Report from Germany - Answering Carlos's questions

Luciano Dondero DOND001 at it.net
Sun Feb 4 23:42:15 MST 1996


Carlos wrote: 
From: iwp.ilo at ix.netcom.com (CEP )
Date: Sat, 3 Feb 1996 12:36:12 -0800

<CEP> Certainly the unification of Germany was not a great success for
<CEP> workers as yet.  Specially workers in the East who, I understand,
<CEP> remained as a kind of second class citizens with a two-tier system
<CEP> for services and wages.

<CEP> But, in spite the recent posted news wire about all the economic
<CEP> woes of Germany ... isn't it true that unification, in terms of
<CEP> market, production levels and population will serve Germany's
<CEP> wishes to become the center of the European "unification"?

<CEP> In the long run, doesn't Germany benefit as an imperialist power
<CEP> from the unification?   Isn't it true that, today, Germany is
<CEP> not receiving the benefits of unification just because they are
<CEP> finishing to build the necessary infrastructure in the East but,
<CEP> soon enough, that investment will reproduce capital and businesses?

I believe that there are several levels to keep in mind when trying to
address the above questions. (A) Political (B) Economical (C) Social.
(Around this list I give for understood that Marxism is not economical
determinism).

(A) Political. This comes first, IMO, because the aims of German imperialism
to play a central role in Europe - to which end they took Europe and the
world through two world wars... - is somewhat hampered by that legacy. 

Poland is possibly the clearest example of this. Even during the honeymoon
period of the Walesa-Solidarnosc restaurationist government, when the hue
and cry for foreign capital investors was loudest, nobody wanted it from
those who were actually ready to put it in, namely the Germans.

Most of the subscribers to the list live outside Europe, and even fewer
would have gone through Central Europe. If you did, you would find that
there is a deep-seated hatred for Germany and most everything German. The
war-time occupation by Nazi troops, and the wholesale attempted
extermination of various national groupings, did not make them many friends.

In Britain (which was never occupied, but heavily bombed in the Southern
part) there is a common thread of anti-German patriotism, which is a
component of the continuous opposition (from the left and from the right) to
the European project. 

All together, therefore, German imperialism will have a real hard time
pushing the "European unification" agenda much further. And while swallowing
East Germany could be a launching pad for that, the real problems and
difficulties they are encountering - on the political level - mean that this
is not a real perspective. Fears of a Greater Germany are, so to speak,
greater...

(B) Economical. Had the West-German imperialists approached the situation
from the standpoint of what made most sense, they would have behaved quite
differently. I will give you one example. In Jena, not far from Dresden and
Leipzig, there was a beautiful plants, Carl Zeis. They used to make
wonderful optical instruments, one of the very few Eastern bloc productions
that were technologically really advanced. Once the Wessies took over, they
managed to take it over in order to dismantle it to bits, because it was a
dangerous competitors for the Western companies in the same field. (I don't
know its current status).

In other words, the destruction of planned economy  in East Germany - most
of which was not particularly efficient, at any rate - was approached in an
*ideological* way, very much like Thatcher did in Britain in her approach
toward anything vaguely resembling "socialism". Let's keep in mind that East
Germany was a rather successful economy on the world scale, that is, even
compared to the most advanced capital countries it still ranked somewhere in
the first dozen or so.

(C) Social. In Nazis' time the ideal behaviour of women was sussumed under
the slogan of the 3 K's - Kirche, Kuche, Kinder (Church, Kitchen, Kids) -
and I'm sure this is self-explanatory. The DDR used to have the highest
percentage of single mothers in the world. Why? Because women could very
well rely on the social fabric of that country to be able to go to work,
have a home and raise children without being economically dependant upon any
man. Again, in the "Marxism" list this should not require much description
or defence.

One of the first things that the reunification brought to East Germany, and
particularly to East German women, was loss of jobs, then sky-high rents for
houses that up until then had costed next to nothing, and the elimination of
a number of social gains. And after all, they are still in Germany, which
has a rather good system of welfare (it's not the United States, with no
medical care...)

So now, is all this going to change for the better?

For the workers, especially the female half of them in East Germany - (West)
German imperialism having a social programme rather resembling that of the
Nazis for them - that is a rather imprevious task. 

As for the capitalists and their imperialist aim of domination over Europe,
in the long run it should. But class struggle in Germany has gone up as a
result of capitalist unification, and there may still be hope that the
German proletariat would do us all a big favor...

Yours in revolution,
Luciano



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