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Erich Honecker on the "Unity of Economic and Social Policy" (June 15-19, 1971)

Upon taking over the leadership of the SED, Erich Honecker outlined his economic program in the new Five Year Plan. The plan continued the effort to encourage technological innovation but shifted priority to the production of more consumer goods, aiming to improve the standard of living in exchange for political loyalty.

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Report of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) at the 8th Party Congress of the SED. Report by Erich Honecker, First Secretary of the Central Committee of the SED

Honored Guests!

The Socialist Unity Party of Germany comes to its Eighth Party Congress with reports of good results in the buildup of socialism in the German Democratic Republic. Every comrade in our party, every citizen of our state can judge from personal experience that the path laid out by the Marxist-Leninist party of the working class is correct and successful. We know only one goal, which permeates all the policies of our party: to do everything possible for the good of the citizens, for the happiness of the people, for the interests of the working class and of all workers. That is the meaning of socialism. That is what we are working and fighting for.

[ . . . ]

Ever since socialist production relations [Produktionsverhältnisse] triumphed in our country, we have worked comprehensively and from all angles to shape the developed socialist society [die entwickelte sozialistische Gesellschaft]. That is a great and wonderful task to whose accomplishment our party and our people are dedicating themselves with great enthusiasm. To be sure, it will take some time, and much still needs to be done before we will be able to say: socialism in the German Democratic Republic is complete. For this to happen, productive capacity, socialist social relations, and the socialist consciousness of the people will need to be raised to a higher level. Every Five-Year Plan period, every party congress brings us closer to this goal. At this Eighth Party Congress we have significant progress to report as well.

We have increased socialist property considerably, developed socialist production relations, and continued to strengthen the state power of the workers and the farmers. The conditions in our country, the relationships between people, their thinking and their actions, the intellectual and moral atmosphere – all of this is becoming more and more profoundly determined by the principles of socialism. This is a testimony to the achievements of the working class and to our party as the leader of the people. This makes us happy and proud.

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