East Germany, GDR, Life Under Socialism

DOCUMENTARY REVIEW: The Other Life – Ep 3 – Democracy and living together

The Other Life (Documentary)

A fascinating insight into the life of the GDR and it’s annexation by West Germany. What we see is a tense, fractured, individualistic society that bears little resemblance to the solidarity and cooperation that went on under Socialism.

By 2009, 20 years of the Free Market capitalist system, the Spiegel (a West German paper) was forced to report that a “Majority of Eastern Germans Feel Life Better under Communism”. 1

Today, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, 57 percent, or an absolute majority, of eastern Germans defend the former East Germany. “The GDR had more good sides than bad sides. There were some problems, but life was good there,” say 49 percent of those polled. Eight percent of eastern Germans flatly oppose all criticism of their former home and agree with the statement: “The GDR had, for the most part, good sides. Life there was happier and better than in reunified Germany today.”2

Further (from the Spiegel article)

“From today’s perspective, I believe that we were driven out of paradise when the Wall came down,” one person writes, and a 38-year-old man “thanks God” that he was able to experience living in the GDR, noting that it wasn’t until after German reunification that he witnessed people who feared for their existence, beggars and homeless people.

Today’s Germany is described as a “slave state” and a “dictatorship of capital,” and some letter writers reject Germany for being, in their opinion, too capitalist or dictatorial, and certainly not democratic.3

In a previous article we examined the numerous polls since the capitalist counter revolution in Russia and Eastern Europe with a vast majority saying life was better under their Socialist systems. 4

The documentary here is a further example and trip down the memory lane on how better the society was under Socialism.

Whilst it is obviously a tragedy that capitalist counter revolution happened this should be looked at the context of history. That no decent person or movement didn’t suffer serious setbacks that had to be overcome. The documentary covers a bit of this as anti-Socialist elements made their way into the party who were not comrades but joining purely for career aspirations/power and privileges.

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  1. Majority of Eastern Germans Feel Life Better under Communism, Spiegel, July 2009
  2. Ibid
  3. Ibid
  4. Diplomatic Post, Communist Nostalgia As The Reality Of Bourgeois Democracy Hits Home In Eastern Europe, April 2020

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