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Robert Havemann's "Ten Theses" on the Thirtieth Anniversary of the GDR (September 1, 1979)

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4. As late as 1968 – that is, nineteen years after the founding of the GDR – important basic rights, which were guaranteed in its first constitution, were abolished in a new constitution, including the right to strike and the right to an impartial court of justice, in which citizens can protest the measures of state organs. For the first time, the new constitution included a passage in which the party was declared the leading power and the foundation of the state. [ . . . ] With that, the SED became the state party. In the new constitution, Article 27 of the old constitution on freedom of expression was retained verbatim. [ . . . ] But Section 106 of the criminal code on “agitation against the state” – which was made more restrictive this June – virtually rescinds Article 27. Any “discrimination” as regards social conditions is punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment. Court practice has shown that almost any criticism whatsoever of the policies of the party and the government – i.e., precisely that which is understood as freedom of expression throughout the world – can be ruled as “discrimination.” Rosa Luxemburg once said, "Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.” The third amendment to the criminal code of June of this year also contains innumerable regulations threatening harsh penalties for [those who exercise] almost all of the remaining options for expressing public dissent.

5. It is difficult to estimate how many people in the GDR today yearn for the restoration of the old system of class-rule here in our country as well and prefer the capitalist system of the FRG over real socialism. The suppression of any criticism outside of the organs of the party and the state, the crackdown on critical writers, the prohibition of an opposition in the Volkskammer, the non-existence of even a single critical and independent newspaper, the conditions under which the candidates for legislative assemblies are nominated and elected, the virtual ban on travel to the West (except for pensioners and a limited number of privileged people and functionaries) – all of this and more gives rise to the impression that the party and state leadership in the GDR consider their opponents to be great and threatening in number. The “Wall” is still closed. There is great fear that the mass flight of 1961 could repeat itself otherwise.

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