[Marxism] German Democratic Republic against Racism , Apartheid and Colonialism (a reminder)

Dogan Gocmen dgn.gcmn at googlemail.com
Wed Nov 25 00:12:07 MST 2009

“The Role of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the international
struggle against Racism , Apartheid and Colonialism”

by Dr.sc.Phil.Alfred Babing
(Member of  Solidaritätsdienst International (SODI) Germany


It is an historical fact, that the GDR has  at all time supported the
international struggle against Racism and Apartheid and worked
constructively to implement this and all other basic principles and tasks
outlined by the United Nations, even when our country was not yet a member
of the world organisation. The GDR’s political and material Solidarity and
its practical efforts have clearly shown, that  for our people the struggles
against Racism and Apartheid was not just a tactical, but rather, questions
of principle.

This international recognition which this policy has won among many nations,
especially those in Asia, Africa and Latin America was reflected in the
decision by the UN Anti-Apartheid Committee, taken just month after the GDR
has been admitted as a member of the UN, to hold a meeting of its Committee
in May 1974 in Berlin, the Capital of the GDR.

Solidarity in the former GDR was more than a general slogan; it meant
personal human sympathy with the destiny and the need of other people, who
mostly suffered from racial and colonial  oppression or were living under a
constant threat of their life. Human dignity for those who had been degraded
to inferior people simply because of the colour of their skin; that was the

The GDR had no colonial traditions to cultivate or to restore, no old or new
claims for overseas possessions. Here there did not exist the personal
traditional bonds between old noble families, big landowners or bankers and
certain groups of the white population in "German South-West" / Deutsch -Süd
West Africa ore in South Africa ore other countries of the continent

Solidarity in the GDR was, of course connected with the socialist ideology.
But it was no "invention" of the GDR, its government or the ruling party.
More than 100 years ago it was, in many different forms, an alternative
vision of the people fighting against feudal and capitalist exploitation and

For the German Social Democrats solidarity was the most important tradition
in their fight against the German Empire. Their founders, Wilhelm Liebknecht
and August Bebel accused the imperial colonial troops for the crimes against
the people in the colonies. They protested against the suppression of the
Hereros in Namibia and the quelling of the liberation struggle of the people
in East Africa. So they contributed to the growing awareness of the German
population and the public worldwide and which led to a stronger interest in
the destiny of the suppressed people.

In the GDR solidarity and willingness to help as well as mutual interest
have been an important part of the life, at the workplace, in the society,
in the family. Participation in the destiny of the people next to you, the
readiness to help and lend support were positive customs, very important for
the majority.

Solidarity was a main element of the education, in the conscious imparting
of ethic-moral values to children in the kinder garden, school – and later
in the job and in all spheres of social life.

Every society is well advised to follow such goals in the education and to
support them as common norms of behaviour.

The GDR was too part and parcel of the international solidarity movement  in
the United Nations and other internal organisations for instance the
Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Organisation (AAPSO)

The history of the armed struggle in Southern Africa was closely connected
to the constantly changing “external” situation and the international
pressure on the racist and colonialist regimes and their allies, the
Transnational Corporations and Banks in the Western Countries. The picture
would be incomplete if one does not take into consideration the debates
which gained such great momentum in the international community concerning
the battlefield Southern Africa. In this struggle the freedom movements in
these countries where  able to convince the world, and accepted by the UNO
as the  authentic representatives of their people.

Dogan Göcmen
Author of The Adam Smith Problem:
Reconciling Human Nature and Society in
The Theory of Moral Sentiments and Wealth of Nations, I. B. Tauris,
London&New York 2007

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