German Democratic Republic

I was reading about the Stasi and I have to say it was pretty fucking insane the methods they used (instead of violence, they would move things around people's homes to fuck with their mind), the number of informants they had (1 in 63!) and their scheme to sell outdated radio equipment to Greece for cash.

But I've also heard that it was one of the better "Soviet" (I put it in quotes because they had quite a lot of autonomy) states. Also fun fact, many IKEA products in the 70s and 80s were manufactured in the GDR. In fact, Die Linke (extension of the communist party) still seems to get most of the votes in the former GDR.

What was the average person's life like? How "socialist" was it (workplace democracy)? How are East Germans doing now? WTF is Die Linke exactly, are they a good party? I know there are German posters on this board.

I'd appreciate any documentaries or readings about it. Everything I find is borderline propaganda BS like "My father sneezed at a party rally so I was born in a goo lag".


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Please stop framing socialism as workplace democracy. There is so much more to it.

Also, the DDR's surveillance is fucking nothing compared to what we have nowadays.
about the last one :

Democratically operated workplaces are a required aspect of socialism. Also, while the DDR's surveillance is insignificant by modern standards I don't see how that is irrelevant.

what else is socialism that the GDR had? Note: this isn't a provocation I'm just asking for your answer.

What is your ideology and how would you describe socialism? Do you think it was socialist? Why?
I used to be a Leninist and defined socialism as planned economy (except in Titoism?), elimination of private property and guaranteed social services (like Marx says in the manifesto) and that communism was the elimination of the bureaucracy after socialism.
Saying something like "USSR was socialist" really provokes leftcoms and anarchists here. I did more reading and I myself would define socialism as elimination of private property and co-operative ownership of the means of production.

I agree. I had a friend who worked for a startup company that collects analytics for stores like Best Buy. They have camera software that detects your age, race, likeliness of buying something etc. On top of that, PRISM, Vault 6, etc.
What's impressive about the GDR is they did all this WITHOUT computers, people willingly spied on each other.

Thank you. I am going to save these videos to my hard drive.

"Communists have better sex" documentary

Most documentaries you will find about this topic have been made from the liberal perspective of modern Germany. If you truly want to know what life in the GDR was like, you will probably have to ask someone who lived there personally. Responses will vary from person to person, but it is much better than watching a documentary. (Of course this will be difficult if you don't speak German. If you do however speak German, you could try asking someone on the Internet. You can also try to use a translator and read some threads in this forum, which are all about life in the former GDR:

East Germany is the poorer part of Germany. Its infrastructure is pretty bad. As you can imagine, East German cities barely attract any companies, therefore unemployment is a common problem. It is slowly improving to the levels of West Germany due to funding by the German government, but not very drastically.

Die Linke is a strange party. They have both socdems and actual communists within their rows, all in the same party. (This is the first version of their program for the federal election in September. If you don't speak German, you can try using a translator:
Basically, they want things like leaving NATO, special taxes for wealthy people, a single health insurance for everyone, a higher minimum wage and a reform of the European Union.
From my experience with Die Linke, I would say that they are pretty much extended social democrats. Some of the higher figures within the party seem to be "hiding" their true ideology however, esecially Sahra Wagenknecht. Many of the party members are openly communist.
The modern Linke is actually not just the successor party of the SED, but also that of a West German social democratic party called WASG. They merged to form the PDS, which is now known as Die Linke. This is probably why they have both actual communists and socdems.

Finally, if you want an article trying to argue why the GDR was better than the FRG, try this:
(It is in German, but I guess you can try using a translator. If you have questions, you can ask me.)

I do not deny this. But you have to demand much more as a revolutionary if you want more than socialized capitalism.

The GDR did not achieve socialism. This is not to put the blame on anyone, but a proper marxist analysis. Establishing socialism would've been impossible.

Ancom with leftcom characteristics. But the ideological supermarket is only fit for looting, I read what I like. Socialism the real movement which abolished the present state of things yadda yadda ya.

Ok cool, what's the more "revolutionary thing?" Is it democratically chosen distribution of resources? Are there wages? Is there money? Is such a structure centralized or local? How does one deal with ecology?

Thank you for the forum link. It translates surprisingly well using Google.

Interesting things I found:
Apparently it was common to have high end foreign (Sony, JVC) audio equipment
"Luxury things in the GDR were quite affordable, but now in the FRG things like transportation, rent, education are luxuries"
"There was no unemployment, but people who did not want to work worked at [???] which was not profitable for the economy"
"(Where I lived, inner city) was a 4 story appartment building, the roof and floor were very eroded (he makes a joke about geology), I believe if the GDR had continued the inner city would not be habitable"

(Pic 1, all from same thread, all translated)
Guy moved with his brother to West Germany, his brother joined the French Foreign Legion, he did shitty odd jobs and could barely afford food, moved back to the GDR, his uncle worked for the Stasi and died mysteriously after a "gas attack"
(Pic 2)
Describing the work hours, apparently they were not so great. 8 hours per weekday, and the once in a while (translation is not clear) a weekend shift. If the products had broken pieces their pay was adjusted lower (What the fuck!). But everything was highly subsidized, and children were scouted from a young age to become athletes.
(Pic 3)
I need help for translation with the first one, apparently the elections did happen but they were obviously faked (?)
Second part, a nostalgic annoyed guy saying that the GDR was not so terrible, jobs were guaranteed unlike the USA.

Also looks like they really don't like the unemployed, I remember reading on leftypol a while back that people in the GDR who didn't work were regarded as lazy and were social outcasts.

This is very, very interesting. It seems like the GDR had bad infrastructure and somewhat bad working hours, but guaranteed social services and people were generally happy.

No problem, I'm happy to help. This is the translation of Pic 3:

"Elections apparently looked like this:
You went into the local, piked up the ballot paper, folded it and threw it into the ballot box. You didn't actually tick anything, and the voting booth was not used. Everything was open. The SED was confirmed.
Who proceeded differently by actually ticking his ballot paper was suspocious and didn't make himself any friends, since there have been other parties [one could vote for]."
(I added the part in brackets myself, because this makes it clear what this person was trying to say. The original was written a little bit weirdly. It's also noteworthy that he used the word "apparently" when talking about the elections. Maybe this indicates that he did not actually experience what he is talking about himself?)

So many spelling mistakes, ugh… I'm sorry, I should probably go to bed now.

How can that be a good thing?

I didn't say it was…?

The GDR was more democratic, in the original and substantive sense of the word, than eastern Germany was before 1949 and than the former East Germany has become since the Berlin Wall was opened in 1989. It was also more democratic in this original sense than its neighbor, West Germany. While it played a role in the GDR’s eventual demise, the Berlin Wall was at the time a necessary defensive measure to protect a substantively democratic society from being undermined by a hostile neighbor bent on annexing it.

This article does a really good job of looking at the DDR, I reccomend it.

If even autistic krauts can't get something approaching socialism to work, what hope does the rest of the world have?

Wow, are you me?

Germans are a race of barbarians. Karl Marx was the last good thing to come out of that shit hole.

Capitalists build walls to keep people out, communists build walls to keep people in.

It was built to keep the CIA out. If someone wanted to defect they could easily find another way into Europe. Oddly enough this didn't really happen as most common folk preferred living under communism.

It was also the only way for army to not be at constant alert, before the wall every time the Americans moved the Soviet army had to scramble its tanks (and vice versa) that made a accidental war a huge problem as the soviet tanks were at a hair trigger before the wall where their standing orders where the first sign of a sneak attack, they were to drive to Paris, France as fast as possible killing everything in their path.

Then why didn't they let people freely pass through the checkpoints?

An accomplishment of communism that must be shown to the world! Which is why it had the most informants of any nation, for the happiness of the people must always be recorded, and if they aren't happy they are probably CIA anyway.

Two reasons, first there was the problem of a brain drain to the west that the US was openly subsiding. US tax payers were paying for West Germany to take in migrants from East German.

Next western spies used migrating to the west as a cover to get back to the west.

Why is this a valid reason to keep people as prisoners and why didn't the soviet bloc counter this by paying for west germans to emigrate to east-germany where everything was better for them even without these subsidies?

When communism is so good that you need to turn it into a prison that people aren't allowed to leave because otherwise the CIA would get info that would ruin the country.

Why not carpet bomb the place so that there isn't an inch of land to be used by capitalist pigdogs while they're at it?

Because Eastern Europe was a devloping economy starting off behind the west where western Europe had the advantage of US paying for its reconstruction.

You have to keep in mind when the Berlin Wall was erected the Comecon was growing over twice as fast as the west.

The GDR was better than the UK. Many English people went to the GDR for a better life.

"If you like Socialism so much why don't you live in East Germany"

Then it turns out a lot of people did and liked it better than life in the UK. They even have a word for it "Ostalgie".

and so on