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

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6. It is very obvious that all the repression and limitations on freedom bring about the opposite of what they were intended to achieve. They are supposed to serve the security of the state, but in fact they are the main cause of the increasing insecurity of the state. Under such conditions, even the last bit of trust between citizens and the state will ultimately fade away – from both sides, in fact. “He who does not trust will not be trusted in return” – this is how it was put by the Chinese scholar Lao Tse, who lived two and a half millennia ago. But the citizens’ trust of their government is the most valuable of political assets. This is the basis not only for internal but also external security, without which no state can survive in the long run. Because the trust it receives from allied and friendly states depends on the trust it receives from its own citizens.

7. The political system that exists in the GDR, as well as in some other eastern European countries, calls itself “real socialism.” This implies that “ideal socialism” exists only in the dreams of sectarian utopianists but not in reality. Whoever is dedicated to this dream and thus expresses his dissatisfaction with real existing socialism is only thought to be helping the opponents of socialism. But in this very contempt for and suspicion of the dream of an ideal socialism, both the opponents and enemies of socialism and the ideologues of real socialism are in complete agreement. They laugh at the simpletons who believe that socialism is possible without oppression, without a police system and a wall. Either freedom or socialism, they say, but never both at once. And their proof for this claim is real socialism.

8. The communist parties in Western Europe, which have developed a new political approach that could be called Euro-communism, find themselves in a difficult position in light of the growing tensions in the countries of real socialism, especially after the violent suppression of the “Prague Spring” in 1968. On the one hand, they have to make it believable that the socialism toward which they are striving upholds – and even absolutely guarantees – all the freedoms that have previously been won: freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the neutrality of the state in questions of worldview and faith, freedom of assembly and association, the right to freedom of movement and choice of employment, including the right to emigrate, the right to strike, the equality of all citizens before the law, and the elimination of all forms of privilege. But by drafting this picture of a liberal socialism, they assume precisely the position that the ideologues of real socialism ridicule as left-wing sectarian, petty bourgeois, utopian, illusory dreaming and that they suspect, moreover, of serving the interests of the class enemy, either consciously or unconsciously. [ . . . ]

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