The critical consideration of what was promised to the people of the GDR in 1990, as a rule, leads to the realization that these promises were not kept. The Powerful and the Ruled in the sub-system have been the collective victims of the new system. The question arises as to whether such an abridged approach is actually helpful to the challenges of the present.
Was there a change of system in the GDR from 1989 rather than a change of power? What did the GDR System differ from that of the FRG when we look at the actions of the people in detail?
When established power dissolves, there is also a whole new possibility of the lived role: autonomy. This role must, of course, have been considered and ideally rehearsed before, otherwise it is not perceived as a possibility at all or it is deterred from it.
In the political system of the GDR, the system change included a period of two months. Two months in which something actually seemed completely different in principle possible. This Other was quickly crushed. The turn towards the new power was decided when the old power had not yet been assigned. This acceptance of a new secure form of domination took place " above “as” below”. The belief in the previous System has been replaced by the belief in the “new” System. A religious conversion is only possible with much more lead time.
On 1 December 1989, the Volkskammer of the German Democratic Republic (DDR) decided to remove the right of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) from the GDR Constitution.
What is so hopeful of being interpreted as the dissolution of existing power relations, towards true grassroots democracy, was in reality only the necessary detachment to expand an already existing power. Power gains first in the minds and only then it determines real processes.
In the same people’s chamber meeting, it was already clear where the journey would go. The New “good” ventured in front of them and courted the Propaganda against the “Chinese Regime”, which is currently running at full speed in the West.
At the same meeting, member Richard Wilhelm requested that the people’s chamber distance itself from the China Resolution adopted by it on 8 June 1989.
Richard Wilhelm, a CDU member, said Literally:
That was one of the blackest days in the history of our house.
In this way, he made a statement by the GDR people’s chamber in June 1989, in which it had turned against the interference in the internal affairs of China. The declaration shall, inter alia,:
The deputies of the people’s chamber that in the current situation of the party and state leadership of the people’s Republic of China has persistently sought political solution of internal problems as a result of the violent, bloody riots Constitution first enemy. Elements has been prevented. As a result, the people’s power was forced to restore order and security by armed forces. Unfortunately, there are many casualties and deaths.
The Volkskammer was an association of Ja-Sagern in the GDR power system. Decisions were taken unanimously in 99 per cent of all cases, and each member of parliament adhered to the given position on the party and state. Nevertheless, this China Resolution was far from class struggle and Marxism-Leninism. They stuck to the rules of international law, and pointed to the violation. In addition, it relied on verifiable facts and presented the rough correlations of those days in China quite correctly.
The newly created Democrats in these weeks did not deal with the acute problems of the GDR state, which they still had to face. Instead, they brought themselves into the house on issues where they could rise morally without really having to face serious consequences in terms of their own role in the System. Appearing superficially and emotionally, they made themselves loudly noticeable for foreign power and power claims.
Power of opinion means being able to rewrite history. It is deeply entangled with those who produce the scenarios necessary for the creation of narratives.
What Richard Wilhelm did at that time is normality in German parliamentary democracy: he spread out in the management of outrage, produced himself as a facade Democrat and proclaimed to the world that he had understood. Eloquent, he had set a sign with this “courageous” step that he was ready to change sides painlessly. He served his new masters and, like many others, took care of his personal perspective.
Was it different downstairs? Or did they not act similarly on their level, because people are so knitted?
The largely completed change of the system manifested itself in the change of primary identification within society:
of the “We are THE people!” to “We are ONE people!”
When Helmut Kohl made his appeal to the “brothers and sisters in the east” on the ruins of the Dresden Frauenkirche in front of a sea ofGermany flags on 19 December 1989, the dice had fallen. This speech was one long performance, both for the people of the GDR and the FRG, as well as for the world public. But it was also a speech that was finally accepted gratefully by the vast majority. Even the so-called “Hochrufbrigaden”, about which GDR citizens rather enjoyed themselves, experienced that Dresden evening a new edition.
The social consciousness fell back to where it came from: in the role of sheep. Sheep who had now found a new Lord. The old men, however, had to seek new Gentlemen or arrange in the previous role with these new masters.
Sheep who had been looking for safety got the safety. They got her back. The Power was only of a different nature. She also distinguished herself in the doctrine, in her ideology. But what both systems offered was security.
However, security is not to be confused with freedom. For truly lived freedom manifests itself in autonomy.
The freedom to venture something new explicitly challenges leaving security. She means the venture to break out of which so much reassuring safety promising limits. Security is in a way also a prison, a self-chosen one.
The GDR gave security, especially Social Security, and it was above all the impending loss of precisely this, which drove the dissolution of the established power relations. To accelerate this, it only needed smaller, but still very powerful drives from outside. One hundred German flags in front of the ruins of the Dresden Frauenkirche in December 1989 were a worthwhile investment.
What did the opportunists promise, the parties of the now dissolved “National Front”, which were uprooted by the parties of the West?: No Experiments.
They played with the fear of a return of communists and Stasi and offered: security.
They did what is happening to this day in every election campaign within the parliamentary system. If we follow our emotions alone, we simply cannot exclude such an offer.
Sheep don’t. But with them is done.
The perspective of the tens of thousands who left the GDR at that time was never different anyway.
On 18 March 1990 early elections to the GDR people’s chamber took place.
Voter turnout is over 93 percent. The winner of the election is the “Alliance for Germany”, an alliance of CDU, Democratic departure (DA) and German Social Union (DSU). It receives 48 percent of the votes, while the SPD accounts for 21.9 percent. The PDS is the third strongest force with 16.3 percent. Alliance 90, the carriers of the peaceful Revolution received only 2.9 percent. The votes for German unity, Western democracy and the Social market economy.
The truly Courageous were always in the minority. The voters but WE were. Those who used their political responsibility at that time to make the cross where it was necessary. Because we wanted to quickly arrive at the port of the market economy. We were not deceived, but we decided to live in an elbow society in which career, fortune and Kicks are the elixir of life. For this we liked to tell the fairy tale about the flourishing landscapes.
But this was not a betrayal of the GDR, as the opponents of a rapid reunification of the two German states often called it. It was a betrayal of our deeply immanent aspiration to strive for a truly self-determined and collective life.
We in the GDR were dissatisfied with the rulers and simply wanted to be treated better. Now we have new gentlemen with whom we are also not satisfied. This is the deeply internalized discontent of not being Lord himself, Lord of himself.
In 40 years of the GDR, the ideology of Marxism-Leninism had not managed to “educate” a “new person”. She had only disciplined people. When faith in the institutional power of this ideology broke away, people no longer adhered to its rules.
The power of property-based ideologies lies in its focus on certain patterns of behavior that deeply ingrained and vital to us. It triggers losses and thus produces greed. This greed we feel deeply in us quite as contrary to our ethical principles. The resulting debt can be compensated with ideology. This results in a problem for the individual that is difficult to solve within the capitalist system.
However, there is an exciting perspective for every person to leave the System in their own thoughts and actions. When the GDR went down, we didn’t take the Chance.