Question: The socialist democracy, says General Secretary Erich Honecker, is far superior to the bourgeois democracy. Doesn’t Mikhail Gorbachev’s restructuring of the relations between the citizens and the state refute this thesis? If the aura of real socialism really were so great, no changes in the model would be necessary.
Answer: The CPSU strives to perfect the socialist democracy in the Soviet Union. I know that it does not view the path it has taken as a model for the other socialist countries.
Question: So there is no reason to take action in the GDR?
Answer: With regard to the GDR, democracy here means that millions of citizens can participate and exercise their democratic rights in parties and mass organizations, in assemblies, various associations and interest groups, social commissions and party actives, and in house and residential collectives. This democracy is alive and is constantly being developed further. Let me mention just two examples: more than 260,000 representatives and successor candidates of the elected assemblies work together with another 450,000 citizens in commissions and committees to make sure that the preparation, implementation, and control of the implementation of all state decisions that are important to the lives of the citizens take place in close contact with the voters.
In the composition of our assemblies, from the Volkskammer to the smallest local assembly, the reality of our democracy finds expression, since it [this composition] precisely reflects the political and social structure of our population. Thus, the Volkskammer consists of ten caucuses, which represents all five political parties and the mass organizations. All social classes and strata, the workers and the farmers, the academic and artistic intelligentsia, as well as the middle class, youth, and women participate in exercising the power of the workers and the farmers.
A decisive characteristic of the socialist democracy in the GDR is that, in the national economy – that is, in the most important sphere of human life, the sphere of the workers – it expressly guarantees the comprehensive participation of the workers in the leadership and planning of all economic processes.
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Source: Neues Deutschland, April 10, 1987, p. 3; reprinted in “SED und KPD zu Gorbatschows ‘Revolution’” [“SED and DKP (German Communist Party) on Gorbachev’s ‘Revolution’”], Deutschland Archiv 20, no. 6 (1987), pp. 655-57.
Translation: Allison Brown