As the hysterical propaganda against socialism goes into full-swing on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, November 9th 2009, I am posting this article, “Democracy, East Germany and the Berlin Wall” by Stephen Gowans, from his blog, What’s Left. The article cuts through the anti-communist distortions and presents the facts. For the view of the GDR itself, see their brief brochure, “What you should know about the wall” from 1962. For a more ideological look at the fall of the GDR, please see “Errors and Successes in the Building of Socialism: Strong and Weak Aspects of the Struggle Against Revisionism” by Kurt Gossweiler, in the collection Collapse of the Soviet Union: Causes and Lessons:
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 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.