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[East Germany] Good Bye Lenin!

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Soviet cogitations: 9
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 09 Jun 2008, 15:20
New Comrade (Say hi & be nice to me!)
Post 11 Jun 2008, 15:39
We have watched this movie in German class. It's a good and relevant movie, so I'm sharing it with you.

In 1990, to protect his fragile mother from a fatal shock after a long coma; a young man must keep her from learning that her beloved nation of East Germany as she knew it has disappeared.
(Source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0301357/)

Did anyone see it? Do you think it's good? Is it accurate?

My teacher confirmed that DDR citizens didn't live in poverty or famine; they only didn't have access to Western products. However, she also confirmed that people's children could be taken away if they plan to move West and that some non-party members couldn't progress at work. What do you think? Are these things true, exaggerated or nonsense?
Vesennas
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Soviet cogitations: 301
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Jun 2008, 21:19
Komsomol
Post 11 Jun 2008, 16:02
Quote:
My teacher confirmed that DDR citizens didn't live in poverty or famine; they only didn't have access to Western products. However, she also confirmed that people's children could be taken away if they plan to move West and that some non-party members couldn't progress at work. What do you think? Are these things true, exaggerated or nonsense?

It is quite true.

Although I haven't seen the movie (yet) I have often heard former DDR citizens talk about their homeland.

It was a dictatorship. Not one of the "bad" kind, like the NS Regime or Pol Pot's Cambodia but it was dictatorship.
The people were living under ok circumstances but they were constantly being watched by "Big Brother".

The Stasi, East German equivalent of the KGB had files about every single citizen of the DDR and there were several so called IMs, undercover agents that worked for the nomenklatura and spied on their friends, relatives and even loved ones.

So there was this general feeling of being watched and mistrust wich made living in the DDR pretty tense.

Though most of the people I've talked to have admitted that there were some good things in the DDR they are currently missing in Federal Germany.
The health care was free for everyone, free housing and you didn't have to be afraid of falling through the system.

Of course the Stalin-controlled agents of the Kremlin destroyed the DDR from the beginning on and from a glorious idea - establishing Marx's vision in his birthplace became a horrible nightmare with people dying just because they tried to leave the country.

So the facts about the DDR are there, it is neither exaggerated nor nonsense, it was a dictatorship, instead of eradicating the classes the leadership just established their own new class and you were under continous surveillance, always under threat of imprisonment or even death if you criticized the state.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 11 Jun 2008, 17:05
I haven't yet seen this movie, but it looks to be well worth seeing. I don't think it will be easy to find unfortunately.

Vesennas:
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My teacher confirmed that DDR citizens didn't live in poverty or famine; they only didn't have access to Western products. However, she also confirmed that people's children could be taken away if they plan to move West and that some non-party members couldn't progress at work. What do you think? Are these things true, exaggerated or nonsense?


I don't know the specific State policies, but I wouldn't be surprised if heavy penalties were imposed on anybody who openly planned to defect to the West. This is because, back in Stalin's time, East Germany was losing a large proportion of it's skilled and educated workers to the West. This is what prompted the Berlin Wall. It was a last resort, but it worked.

As for non-party members having difficulty advancing in the workplace, I don't know. It shouldn't have been the case, but there is the possibility of corruption causing it. I can't see why the State would officially condone it.

Amadou:
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Although I haven't seen the movie (yet) I have often heard former DDR citizens talk about their homeland.


While I always acknowledge and respect the views of natives, they don't have a monopoly on factual knowledge.

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It was a dictatorship. Not one of the "bad" kind, like the NS Regime or Pol Pot's Cambodia but it was dictatorship.
The people were living under ok circumstances but they were constantly being watched by "Big Brother".


If you want to define Dictatorship of the Proletariat as a dictatorship in the Liberal sense, than yes. As for Big Brother, I have my doubts. How would it be possible for the government to constantly keep tabs on every citizen? It's not. Not even in the modern world where a person can barely go anywhere without being caught on a security camera.

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The Stasi, East German equivalent of the KGB had files about every single citizen of the DDR and there were several so called IMs, undercover agents that worked for the nomenklatura and spied on their friends, relatives and even loved ones.


Can you provide a source for this?

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Though most of the people I've talked to have admitted that there were some good things in the DDR they are currently missing in Federal Germany.
The health care was free for everyone, free housing and you didn't have to be afraid of falling through the system.


And people wanted to escape this? I don't at all question that there were people who did, but it puts doubt on a lot of Western media reports that most of the population were just waiting to escape the yoke of Communism
.

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Of course the Stalin-controlled agents of the Kremlin destroyed the DDR from the beginning on and from a glorious idea - establishing Marx's vision in his birthplace became a horrible nightmare with people dying just because they tried to leave the country.


Keep in mind that it was Stalin who originally proposed reunification of Germany. The Americans rejected his proposal - probably out of fear that instead of having half country align with the Soviet Union, a whole country would. I'm sure I can provide a decent source for this if you would like.

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So the facts about the DDR are there, it is neither exaggerated nor nonsense, it was a dictatorship, instead of eradicating the classes the leadership just established their own new class and you were under continous surveillance, always under threat of imprisonment or even death if you criticized the state.


I would contend that this is exaggerated and in some cases nonsense. The only thing you've said that I don't take issue with is "instead of eradicating the classes the leadership just established their own new class". According to Communist theory, class still exist under Socialism, only one Communism has been reached can it be said that class has been eliminated. The thing is that under a Socialist government, the inequality between classes (e.g. Party bureaucrats and the average worker) have been minimised. Even with corruption which was a big problem in the Soviet Union (I don't know about the DDR) I would still content that the effect of class is reasonably minimal. If you compare East Germany and West, you'll probably see what I mean.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Jun 2008, 21:19
Komsomol
Post 11 Jun 2008, 17:59
I was already preparing for answers like these when I wrote the last few sentences of my above post.

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While I always acknowledge and respect the views of natives, they don't have a monopoly on factual knowledge.


They were there, they experienced it themselves, it is in accordance with every historical source that is to be taken seriously. They all concur on some matters, most of them I have already addressed.

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If you want to define Dictatorship of the Proletariat as a dictatorship in the Liberal sense, than yes.


There were several old school communists that accused the DDR Regime of severe shortcomings regarding democracy. While I do agree that the proletariat has to seize the power I do not think that this negates the democratic process as a whole - including elections, which were nonexistent in the DDR. It was never a democratic dictatorship of the proletariat, it was always a dictatorship of the state apparatus, the party functionaries.

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As for Big Brother, I have my doubts. How would it be possible for the government to constantly keep tabs on every citizen? It's not. Not even in the modern world where a person can barely go anywhere without being caught on a security camera
.

You may have your doubts but there is well documented evidence. Similiar to the Nazis documenting the Holocaust, those DDR officials had files on their citizens and of course those files are still there today, there are large depots filled with those hundreds of documents.

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Can you provide a source for this?


As I mentioned before there even is a federal office, the so called Bundesbeauftragte für die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik (Office of the Federal Commissioner Preserving the Records of the Ministry for State Security of the GDR) in Germany that tries to handle every single one of those files. If you are a former DDR citizen you even have the possibility to look into those files. Of course a lot of people realized for example that they were under surveillance for years and they didn't go crazy when they had thought they were being observed by someone. Imagine this, you return home and things have disappread or changed their place but you can't possibly think of any explanation. This regime was driving people crazy.

A very popular Leader of the Socialist party in Germany has recently come under accusations of being a former IM, Informeller Mitarbeiter (informal staff). Currently he receives criticism for not acklowledging this earlier in his carrier and I too am deeply disturbed and saddened to see that a man of whom I only thought the best, a great speaker and leader of the German Left once delivered his clients (he was very active as a lawyer for regime critics) to the state apparatus.

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And people wanted to escape this? I don't at all question that there were people who did, but it puts doubt on a lot of Western media reports that most of the population were just waiting to escape the yoke of Communism


Yes there were some who wanted to escape, mostly the educated people. There was the so called Schießbefehl (firing order). The Army guarding the boarders was advised to shoot at dissidents after warning them.
This order (called Befehl 101 Schießbefehl) was issued by the East German Government, it came from the highest source.

The estimates of people killed by this very disturbing and uncomprehensible order ranges from 420 to 1000. And you have to remember this wasn't during any major war or crisis, this was 1960 - 1989 a time when human rights were already established and universally accepted things, there was no famine, no starvation, a time of relative peace. This barbary was tolerated - even ordered - by Honecker, Ulbricht and their companions, their cabal, their party: the SED. Those were the people that were taught by Soviet officials during the time of Stalin and the Second World War.

This order was used for propaganda in the west, it was the Cold War - this was to be expected by the regime in the DDR and it does not make this killing order any less cruel.

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Keep in mind that it was Stalin who originally proposed reunification of Germany. The Americans rejected his proposal - probably out of fear that instead of having half country align with the Soviet Union, a whole country would. I'm sure I can provide a decent source for this if you would like.


I know that, I am not talking about Germany being unified or not. By the way, Stalin majorly contributed to the division of the country when he started the Berlin Blockade on the 24 June 1948.
I was rather taling about implementing Stalinist and Cold War theories and bureaucracy into the framework of what was supposed to be a worker's state. The DDR state had already started wrong and it didn't get better through the years, there was never really a realistic possibility to build a just and economically succesfull state. And I am not even mentioning how the DDR missed out on handling the Nazi past in the right way, they just silenced everyone who dared to mention this forbidden time, this was certainly not the right way to get over the whole thing.
So you see, in my opinion there were so many things done wrong in the DDR, it was destined to fail.

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According to Communist theory, class still exist under Socialism, only one Communism has been reached can it be said that class has been eliminated.


Oh really? I didn't know that...


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the inequality between classes (e.g. Party bureaucrats and the average worker) have been minimised.


This did never happen in the DDR, from the beginning on the party officials and bureaucrats were able to afford better food, better living conditions, they were aloud to travel and could become everything they wanted. If you wanted to become something in the DDR you had to be a faithful party member, you had to be part of this state apparatus that was actually just exploiting the people. If you weren't, you had no possibility whatsoever to get the job you wanted and to live where you wanted to, with whom you wanted to.

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I would still content that the effect of class is reasonably minimal. If you compare East Germany and West, you'll probably see what I mean.


Well economically and socially the people in the BRD West Germany were better off, at least during the time of the Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle) the standard of living was very high in comparison to the DDR and I would prefer the former BRD over the former DDR anytime.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 12 Jun 2008, 15:14
Quote:
They were there, they experienced it themselves, it is in accordance with every historical source that is to be taken seriously. They all concur on some matters, most of them I have already addressed.


Let me give you an example:

I was there when the last major flood went through my home town. I saw it and experienced it for myself. That doesn't mean that I know everything about it or remember the details correctly and without bias. Although I would know more about it than the average person in say, Brisbane, I can't fairly argue that I have a monopoly on truth.

The same principle applies here.

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it is in accordance with every historical source that is to be taken seriously.


Which ones aren't? Everything that makes life in East Germany look reasonable rather than an Orwellian nightmare? It's hard to refute your argument without knowing what these sources actually are.

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There were several old school communists that accused the DDR Regime of severe shortcomings regarding democracy.


What is your source for this?

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While I do agree that the proletariat has to seize the power I do not think that this negates the democratic process as a whole - including elections, which were nonexistent in the DDR. It was never a democratic dictatorship of the proletariat, it was always a dictatorship of the state apparatus, the party functionaries.


And again, what is your source?

From: http://www.janda.org/ICPP/ICPP2000/Countries/1-WestCentralEurope/12-WestGermany/12-WGermany63-00.htm

"The communist regime, under the Socialist Unity Party (SED) maintained control up to unification in 1990. The National Front, composed of the SED and other satellite parties, won over 99% of the vote in every election. However, East Germans were only given the choice of being for or against the National Front: no other coalitions were ever on the ballot."

While I can't find any detailed info online. This sounds somewhat similar to the electoral system in Cuba, where over 50% of enrolled voters have to turn up in support of candidates. If less than 50% do, candidates cannot be accepted into government. While not democratic in the Western sense, the East German system looks to be "a form of democracy". You need not have multiple political parties to have a democracy in my opinion. To my mind, having multiple parties seems to limit direct community participation to marking which one they like more on a ballet paper.

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You may have your doubts but there is well documented evidence. Similiar to the Nazis documenting the Holocaust, those DDR officials had files on their citizens and of course those files are still there today, there are large depots filled with those hundreds of documents.


From my own research, the main goal of the Stasi was to keep an eye on the population. That is well established, but I can find no evidence that it "had files about every single citizen of the DDR". I agree they certainly had files on members of the population, however that in itself doesn't mean anything.

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As I mentioned before there even is a federal office, the so called Bundesbeauftragte für die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik (Office of the Federal Commissioner Preserving the Records of the Ministry for State Security of the GDR) in Germany that tries to handle every single one of those files. If you are a former DDR citizen you even have the possibility to look into those files. Of course a lot of people realized for example that they were under surveillance for years and they didn't go crazy when they had thought they were being observed by someone. Imagine this, you return home and things have disappread or changed their place but you can't possibly think of any explanation. This regime was driving people crazy.

A very popular Leader of the Socialist party in Germany has recently come under accusations of being a former IM, Informeller Mitarbeiter (informal staff). Currently he receives criticism for not acklowledging this earlier in his carrier and I too am deeply disturbed and saddened to see that a man of whom I only thought the best, a great speaker and leader of the German Left once delivered his clients (he was very active as a lawyer for regime critics) to the state apparatus.


I don't call that a source. Please provide one (something that I can find and read in my situation). Then, we can continue to discuss this point.

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Yes there were some who wanted to escape, mostly the educated people. There was the so called Schießbefehl (firing order). The Army guarding the boarders was advised to shoot at dissidents after warning them.


Sounds reasonable to me.

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The estimates of people killed by this very disturbing and uncomprehensible order ranges from 420 to 1000. And you have to remember this wasn't during any major war or crisis, this was 1960 - 1989 a time when human rights were already established and universally accepted things, there was no famine, no starvation, a time of relative peace. This barbary was tolerated - even ordered - by Honecker, Ulbricht and their companions, their cabal, their party: the SED. Those were the people that were taught by Soviet officials during the time of Stalin and the Second World War.


Watch the History Channel much? This sounds very much like the content of a HC documentary about the Berlin Wall I watched last year. According to you, 420 - 1000 people (over a 29 year period) were first warned and then shot when that warning was ignored. If they were simply shot on sight, I would have a problem, but they weren't - provided the soldiers were following their orders properly.

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This order was used for propaganda in the west, it was the Cold War - this was to be expected by the regime in the DDR and it does not make this killing order any less cruel.


While I regret the resulting deaths, I don't think it was cruel. The State had to prevent people from defecting and this required tough measures. Ideally they shouldn't be necessary, but they were. It was the West which originally rejected Stalin's proposal for reunification and it capitalised fully on the consequences (ie. The Berlin Wall).


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I know that, I am not talking about Germany being unified or not.


Maybe, but it's very important to any discussion of the East West divide. Had a plan for reunification been taken seriously, the Berlin Wall and the strong measures that went with it would not have been necessary.

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By the way, Stalin majorly contributed to the division of the country when he started the Berlin Blockade on the 24 June 1948.


By that time, Germany was already divided between East and West. I don't necessarily agree with that move in hindsight, bit Stalin didn't have that and I'm sure there was reasoning behind it.

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I was rather taling about implementing Stalinist and Cold War theories and bureaucracy into the framework of what was supposed to be a worker's state.


1. Why can't Stalinist theories become part of a workers state, especially at that time?

2. Bureaucracy is necessary, workers state or no.

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The DDR state had already started wrong and it didn't get better through the years, there was never really a realistic possibility to build a just and economically succesfull state.


Well they did. By the 1970's, East Germany had an economy of first world proportions and had to develop without the industrial base the West had. The Marshal plan is widely considered to be the Western response to the East's rapid recovery from WWII. This has been commented on in previous years on this forum.

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And I am not even mentioning how the DDR missed out on handling the Nazi past in the right way, they just silenced everyone who dared to mention this forbidden time, this was certainly not the right way to get over the whole thing.


That seems to be the case everywhere. East, West and in other countries. In most places, it's a crime and/or social taboo to say anything remotely pro Nazi. Given their ideology, I don't have much of a problem with it.

On a side note: I myself am of German decent and it shows quite clearly in my looks. When I was younger, I was often called a Nazi and for my Dad when he was a kid, it was worse. We didn't have to actually say anything and in actual fact, our views couldn't be any further away from Fascism.

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According to Communist theory, class still exist under Socialism, only one Communism has been reached can it be said that class has been eliminated.



Oh really? I didn't know that... :Roll eyes:


Than you should be more understanding of that fact that class still existed in East Germany and had not entirely been eliminated (assuming it can be) - only reduced.

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This did never happen in the DDR, from the beginning on the party officials and bureaucrats were able to afford better food, better living conditions, they were aloud to travel and could become everything they wanted. If you wanted to become something in the DDR you had to be a faithful party member, you had to be part of this state apparatus that was actually just exploiting the people. If you weren't, you had no possibility whatsoever to get the job you wanted and to live where you wanted to, with whom you wanted to.


Really? Where do you get this from? I would not at all be surprised if corruption existed which contributes to this sort of thing, but I suspect you are exaggerating at best.

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Well economically and socially the people in the BRD West Germany were better off, at least during the time of the Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle) the standard of living was very high in comparison to the DDR and I would prefer the former BRD over the former DDR anytime.


But that directly contradicts:
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Though most of the people I've talked to have admitted that there were some good things in the DDR they are currently missing in Federal Germany.
The health care was free for everyone, free housing and you didn't have to be afraid of falling through the system.


Economically, the West may have been better off, with things like better access to consumer goods and such, but given the choice, I would choose the East (which probably sounds like blasphemy to you). I'm sure sure life would have been simpler in terms of material conditions, but that's not always a bad thing in my opinion.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 13 Jun 2008, 13:33
On the subject of espionage, I suggest you have a read through this.

http://www.soviet-empire.com/ussr/viewtopic.php?t=42978

No one can deny that the East had an extensive spy network, but so did the West.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Jun 2008, 21:19
Komsomol
Post 16 Jun 2008, 20:42
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No one can deny that the East had an extensive spy network, but so did the West.


I never said anything different and I am well aware of this fact. Just because I am anti-DDR does not mean I am pro-BRD.

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Let me give you an example:

I was there when the last major flood went through my home town. I saw it and experienced it for myself. That doesn't mean that I know everything about it or remember the details correctly and without bias. Although I would know more about it than the average person in say, Brisbane, I can't fairly argue that I have a monopoly on truth.

The same principle applies here.


Oh come on, you know this isn't the same, I don't like any comparison that have nothing to do with the facts of the discussion, it doesn't advance it. This is all a matter of circumstances.


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Which ones aren't? Everything that makes life in East Germany look reasonable rather than an Orwellian nightmare? It's hard to refute your argument without knowing what these sources actually are.


Well there are hardly any historians who believe the DDR was a great country, simply because this is bogus.
There is this famous quote by Walter Ulbricht, the president of the DDR, he said "Nobody has the intention to erect a wall." at a press conference in 1961. Two months later construction began. (By the way he made other very interesting statements about the DDR system, for example: "Es muss demokratisch aussehen, aber wir müssen alles in der Hand haben." Translation: It has to look democratic but we have to control everything.)
In conclusion, government sources from the DDR time are not to be taken serious on the matter of the DDR and espionage, including USSR sources or any other Warsaw Pact states for that matter. And of course a political pamphlet by the MLPD (Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany) that tries to glorify and justify the DDR system is not to be taken serious if its arguments are built upon the official statements of the DDR leaders.

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What is your source for this?


Let's take Ernst Busch, shall we. He participated in the Wilhelmshaven mutiny that triggered the revolution that sweot aside the monarchy within a few days. He joined the KPD in 1919 and was the most famous communist singer and actor. He made a whole lot of songs about revolution and communism which I particularly enjoy.
He - luckily - made it through the Nazi regime while being imprisoned for high treason several times.

Anyways, in 1961 he was still one of the most famous and popular guys in the DDR and had the SED membership. But in this year he vanished completely nonetheless, formerly having been somewhat of an icon and figurhead for the SED. It was because he severely criticized Erich Honecker for not being a democratic leader but a dictator

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While I do agree that the proletariat has to seize the power I do not think that this negates the democratic process as a whole - including elections, which were nonexistent in the DDR. It was never a democratic dictatorship of the proletariat, it was always a dictatorship of the state apparatus, the party functionaries.



And again, what is your source?


Oh come on, this is a well known fact. You were only allowed to elect the Volkskammer who in turn would elect the politicans. There were neither free nor secret elections in the DDR. Every single historian agrees on this and to deny it is just plane humbug. From its founding in 1949 until the first free elections on 18 March 1990, all members of the Volkskammer were elected on a slate controlled by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, called the National Front. Despite the appearance of a multi-party system, all opposition parties were effectively controlled by the dominant SED.

From its founding in 1949 until the first free elections on 18 March 1990, all members of the Volkskammer were elected on a slate controlled by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), called the National Front. Despite the appearance of a multi-party system, all opposition parties were effectively controlled by the dominant SED.

There are tons of books by historians on this matter, although most of them are German. I shall not cite them to you however as I do not feel obliged to explain to you the DDR voting system which you can easily just inform yourself on Wikipedia.
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From my own research, the main goal of the Stasi was to keep an eye on the population. That is well established, but I can find no evidence that it "had files about every single citizen of the DDR". I agree they certainly had files on members of the population, however that in itself doesn't mean anything.


Again this is a well known fact, I already explained to you, if you are a former DDR citizen you have the possibility of accessing these files about you.

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I don't call that a source. Please provide one (something that I can find and read in my situation). Then, we can continue to discuss this point.


It is going to be quite difficult to provide a non German source for this but this was in every major newspaper lately, there were several interviews with the people who were involved.

I won't bother to search for a source in english for this, but I do not see how you can discuss facts.

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Sounds reasonable to me.


Excuse me?
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Watch the History Channel much? This sounds very much like the content of a HC documentary about the Berlin Wall I watched last year. According to you, 420 - 1000 people (over a 29 year period) were first warned and then shot when that warning was ignored. If they were simply shot on sight, I would have a problem, but they weren't - provided the soldiers were following their orders properly.


I do not watch television at all, especially not the History Channel, aside from the fact that there is no HC in German cable television.
If you find this order reasonable it is your own personal opinion, I call it inhumane and sick.


"Es ist eben schwer, wenn nicht gar unmöglich, ein Prinzip aufzustellen, womit man die Berechtigung und Zweckmäßigkeit der Todesstrafe in einer auf ihre Zivilisation stolzen Gesellschaft zu begründen vermöchte. Man hat die Strafe gemeinhin verteidigt als ein Mittel zur Besserung oder zur Einschüchterung. Aber welches Recht hat man, mich zu strafen, um andere zu bessern oder einzuschüchtern?"
- Karl Marx


I shall try and translate this for you:
"It is indeed quite difficult, if not impossible to establish a principle with which you are able to justify the authorization and the usefullness of the death sentence in a society that is proud of its civilization. One has commonly defended the death sentence as a means of improvement or intimidation. But what right do you have to punish me to improve or intimidate others?"

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Maybe, but it's very important to any discussion of the East West divide. Had a plan for reunification been taken seriously, the Berlin Wall and the strong measures that went with it would not have been necessary.


Comrade, could you please educate me about Stalin's plan to unify Germany? Or provide a source about it, I have not yet heard of any reasonable plans of unification of Germany during the years after the war.

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1. Why can't Stalinist theories become part of a workers state, especially at that time?


Well as I don't think this thread should turn into some sort of Stalin debate I shall not elaborate this further. Let's just say I am anti-Stalin.

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2. Bureaucracy is necessary, workers state or no.


Socialism is about workers' self management.
In the theory of historical materialism, the historical origin of bureaucracy is to be found in four sources: religion, the formation of the state, commerce and technology.
Bureaucracy rarely creates new wealth by itself, but rather controls, co-ordinates and governs the production, distribution and consumption of wealth. The bureaucracy as a social stratum derives its income from the appropriation of part of the social surplus product of human labor. Wealth is appropriated by the bureaucracy by law through fees, taxes, levies, tributes, licensing etc.

"The bureaucracy is a circle from which one cannot escape. Its hierarchy is a hierarchy of knowledge. The top entrusts the understanding of detail to the lower levels, whilst the lower levels credit the top with understanding of the general, and so all are mutually deceived." - Karl Marx

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That seems to be the case everywhere. East, West and in other countries. In most places, it's a crime and/or social taboo to say anything remotely pro Nazi. Given their ideology, I don't have much of a problem with it.


This is not about being pro Nazi or not. I am talking about handling the past. You can't just bury it. The west has - especially during the 60s and 70s handled the Nazi past in a better way, they didn't just bury it and never talk about it again, they tried to get over it. And you can only get over such a thing by talking about such a thing, evaluating the past, searching for the responsibles. In the DDR ideology it was always the just people who were betrayed by the Nazi warmongers and everyone who said anything remotely different was silenced. In the BRD they admitted that the German people had played a great role in the Nazi regime, that the German people widely supported the Nazis. They tried to look into the past and even found some things which were deemed as good or necessary without trying to justify National Socialism but rather trying to rob it of its mystic pretence. It is a bit hard to explain, I guess you just have to experience the handling of the Nazi past by the Germans themselves, it is quite interesting.

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I would choose the East (which probably sounds like blasphemy to you).


Now this is not blasphemy for you, I do not deem the BRD any worse or better than the DDR but you just have to take it for what it was: a dictatorial regime, certainly not of the proletariat.
I shall say, socially the DDR was better off but economically the BRD was way better off.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Nov 2005, 17:55
Party Bureaucrat
Post 17 Jun 2008, 03:58
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Comrade, could you please educate me about Stalin's plan to unify Germany? Or provide a source about it, I have not yet heard of any reasonable plans of unification of Germany during the years after the war.


It is an increasingly known fact that Stalin's original intent was to stick to the Yalta agreements, which stipulated the re-unification of Germany under a social democratic government following a brief post-war occupation by the Allied powers. Stalin was actually true to this, either out of the need to prevent another fascist outbreak, or his personal respect for Roosevelt, until it became apparent that the other three German sectors were to unite under one banner, subordinate to the US.

Check out "Stalin's Wars" by Geoff Roberts; it explains the situation more in detail.
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"History is a set of lies agreed upon."
--Napoleon Bonaparte
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 18 Jun 2008, 15:53
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I never said anything different and I am well aware of this fact. Just because I am anti-DDR does not mean I am pro-BRD.


Fair enough, but, given the situation I don't see how the DDR can fairly be called a "Big Brother" type state. The source I provided infers that it was responding to the espionage efforts of the West, a different thing than spying on its people solely out of mistrust as you seemingly would have believed.

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Oh come on, you know this isn't the same (FC: my analogy), I don't like any comparison that have nothing to do with the facts of the discussion, it doesn't advance it. This is all a matter of circumstances.


I wasn't comparing specific events, rather providing a simple example of the principle I was arguing. Declaring it irrelevant does nothing to refute it.

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Well there are hardly any historians who believe the DDR was a great country, simply because this is bogus.


If you read my previous argument again, take note that I was referring to bias, not the number of sources. A majority arguing a point doesn't make it accurate. Most historians in the West are heavily biased against Socialism. Another important thing to do is to look at their sources and more importantly who authored them. A perfect example of what I'm talking about is the number of deaths in the Soviet Union attributed to Stalin through his policies. Most Western historians put this figure at anywhere in between 10 - 60 million. Researches going through the Soviet archives (which have no reason to lie) have shown this figure to be highly misleading. The real death toll is closer to 2 - 4 million and this includes deaths which were not deliberate on Stalin's part (the toll from the Ukrainian famine for example).

See: http://www.etext.org/Politics/Staljin/Staljin/articles/AHR/AHR.html

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There is this famous quote by Walter Ulbricht, the president of the DDR, he said "Nobody has the intention to erect a wall." at a press conference in 1961. Two months later construction began. (By the way he made other very interesting statements about the DDR system, for example: "Es muss demokratisch aussehen, aber wir müssen alles in der Hand haben." Translation: It has to look democratic but we have to control everything.)


1. What is your source for those quotes?

2. In what context where they made?

The Black book of Communism is expert at taking quotes from Communists and Socialists and taking them wildly out of context. How do I know that you (and not necessarily deliberately I must add) aren't doing the same thing?

It should be noted Ulbricht was later dismissed. Although it was officially for reasons of poor health, it can be inferred that he was not popular within the party and other Socialist leaders (he had a troubled relationdhip with Brezhnev for example). His actions as leader would have had something to do with that no doubt.

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In conclusion, government sources from the DDR time are not to be taken serious on the matter of the DDR and espionage, including USSR sources or any other Warsaw Pact states for that matter. And of course a political pamphlet by the MLPD (Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany) that tries to glorify and justify the DDR system is not to be taken serious if its arguments are built upon the official statements of the DDR leaders.


You're conclusion, not mine. If you read the link in the source I provided on espionage in my last post, you'll find that it comes from Federal Germany, not the DDR.

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Let's take Ernst Busch, shall we. He participated in the Wilhelmshaven mutiny that triggered the revolution that sweot aside the monarchy within a few days. He joined the KPD in 1919 and was the most famous communist singer and actor. He made a whole lot of songs about revolution and communism which I particularly enjoy.
He - luckily - made it through the Nazi regime while being imprisoned for high treason several times.

Anyways, in 1961 he was still one of the most famous and popular guys in the DDR and had the SED membership. But in this year he vanished completely nonetheless, formerly having been somewhat of an icon and figurhead for the SED. It was because he severely criticized Erich Honecker for not being a democratic leader but a dictator


Again, that isn't really a source. For a start, one person doesn't equate to several. Secondly, his disappearance might seem convenient, but without seeing where you're getting your info from, I can only conclude that your making assumptions. There are many conspiracy theories around famous people vanishing and most ignore key facts. How do I know that this is any different?

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Oh come on, this is a well known fact. You were only allowed to elect the Volkskammer who in turn would elect the politicans. There were neither free nor secret elections in the DDR. Every single historian agrees on this and to deny it is just plane humbug.


And now I come back to my earlier point about bias. If I can't find any decent info on the East German electoral system (online at least) than I can't see how you're able.

As I argued earlier, a country does not need multiple parties to be a democracy or at least have elements of democracy. Multi- party democracy is merely one form of democratic government and not a very good one in my opinion. For puritans it isn't even democracy by definition (this goes back to Greek times).

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There are tons of books by historians on this matter, although most of them are German. I shall not cite them to you however as I do not feel obliged to explain to you the DDR voting system which you can easily just inform yourself on Wikipedia.


Wikipedia has an incredible amount of Liberal bias (seriously, it’s level of bias makes Conservapedia look good at times). How can I expect it to give a reasonable view? If you consider it to be comparable to the work of these nameless German historians, than I can't help questioning the validity and accuracy of their work.

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Again this is a well known fact, I already explained to you, if you are a former DDR citizen you have the possibility of accessing these files about you.


And I don't deny that, but that does not prove that there were files on all citizens as you have previously claimed and it doesn't argue anything. There is personal information of mine everywhere, held by all sorts of groups and I have no control over it nor have I always given my consent for it to be gathered. It isn't necessarily being used with ill intent. The only difference is that it hasn't been gathered by a central organisation.

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It is going to be quite difficult to provide a non German source for this but this was in every major newspaper lately, there were several interviews with the people who were involved.

I won't bother to search for a source in english for this, but I do not see how you can discuss facts.


How do I know it's facts if I can't verify it (my German is far from fluent) for myself? For example, how can I know that the accusations are based on good evidence?

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Excuse me?


I was referring to the soldiers orders. If people ignored the warnings given, they were shot. You call it inhumane and sick, I call it very unfortunate, even saddening, but a necessary evil given the circumstances. As I've alluded to before, it came only after a genuine effort to bring about the reunification of Germany (as Marshal's post supports).

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"Es ist eben schwer, wenn nicht gar unmöglich, ein Prinzip aufzustellen, womit man die Berechtigung und Zweckmäßigkeit der Todesstrafe in einer auf ihre Zivilisation stolzen Gesellschaft zu begründen vermöchte. Man hat die Strafe gemeinhin verteidigt als ein Mittel zur Besserung oder zur Einschüchterung. Aber welches Recht hat man, mich zu strafen, um andere zu bessern oder einzuschüchtern?"
- Karl Marx

I shall try and translate this for you:
"It is indeed quite difficult, if not impossible to establish a principle with which you are able to justify the authorization and the usefullness of the death sentence in a society that is proud of its civilization. One has commonly defended the death sentence as a means of improvement or intimidation. But what right do you have to punish me to improve or intimidate others?"


Ideally none, but the world is not ideal, especially not during the Cold War. Marx could not be expected to foresee that. I am not normally an advocate of the death penalty as a general policy (in fact, I prefer putting criminals into hard labour as punishment), but under certain circumstances it has been shown to be an effective deterrent. Things such as this need to be looked at on a case by case basis.

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Socialism is about workers' self management.
In the theory of historical materialism, the historical origin of bureaucracy is to be found in four sources: religion, the formation of the state, commerce and technology.


Exactly. You can not have a State without a degree if bureaucracy. It can be too extensive and needs to kept under control, but it is needed to some degree. No Socialist State (past and present) I can think of could have functioned without it.

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Bureaucracy rarely creates new wealth by itself, but rather controls, co-ordinates and governs the production, distribution and consumption of wealth. The bureaucracy as a social stratum derives its income from the appropriation of part of the social surplus product of human labour. Wealth is appropriated by the bureaucracy by law through fees, taxes, levies, tributes, licensing etc.

"The bureaucracy is a circle from which one cannot escape. Its hierarchy is a hierarchy of knowledge. The top entrusts the understanding of detail to the lower levels, whilst the lower levels credit the top with understanding of the general, and so all are mutually deceived." - Karl Marx


This is certainly true of Capitalist societies. However, in those societies, bureaucracy is often encouraged rather than controlled (especially during Marx's time). I stand by my point that it is necessary in a controlled form, so long as there is a state.

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This is not about being pro Nazi or not. I am talking about handling the past. You can't just bury it. The west has - especially during the 60s and 70s handled the Nazi past in a better way, they didn't just bury it and never talk about it again, they tried to get over it. And you can only get over such a thing by talking about such a thing, evaluating the past, searching for the responsibles. In the DDR ideology it was always the just people who were betrayed by the Nazi warmongers and everyone who said anything remotely different was silenced. In the BRD they admitted that the German people had played a great role in the Nazi regime, that the German people widely supported the Nazis. They tried to look into the past and even found some things which were deemed as good or necessary without trying to justify National Socialism but rather trying to rob it of its mystic pretence. It is a bit hard to explain, I guess you just have to experience the handling of the Nazi past by the Germans themselves, it is quite interesting.


Maybe, but this sort of story still seems quite common.

http://www.ejpress.org/article/11099

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In the DDR ideology it was always the just people who were betrayed by the Nazi warmongers


Which is not entirely incorrect to my mind.

Discussing an issue doesn't always mean it is being dealt with effectively. East and West certainly took two different approaches and while you go into some detail on the Western approach you remain quite vague on the Eastern approach. It's also important to note that official state ideology doesn't account for what people discuss in their private lives and dealing with this sort of thing is almost always personal.

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you just have to take it (the DDR) for what it was: a dictatorial regime, certainly not of the proletariat.


I assume you don't believe in the principle of "dictatorship of the proletariat". You appear to see dictatorship through Liberal eyes, I don't.

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economically the BRD was way better off.


Firstly, I'm not sure the BDR always had a stronger economy, especially during the 1970's. Regardless, I still contend that the East did very well, especially considering it didn't have the industrial base of the West to begin with (nor the benefit of something like the Marshal plan). Secondly, what's the point of having a stronger economy, if only a relatively small amount of the population can benefit from it?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Jun 2008, 21:19
Komsomol
Post 24 Jul 2008, 12:56
It has been quite a while and I have some time on my hands so I'll try to catch up where we stopped.


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Fair enough, but, given the situation I don't see how the DDR can fairly be called a "Big Brother" type state. The source I provided infers that it was responding to the espionage efforts of the West, a different thing than spying on its people solely out of mistrust as you seemingly would have believed.


I assume quoting BBC won't affect you much, but still, maybe the pictures of the Stasi archives will persuade you.

Calculations have concluded that in East Germany there was one informer to every seven citizens. Back-to-back, the files would have stretched more than 100 miles (161km)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6692895.stm

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Another very interesting report about the Stasi remains. It proves that they managed to destroy some files before they could have been read by the people they were about.

As the enforcement arm of the German Democratic Republic's Communist Party, the Stasi at its height in 1989 employed 91,000 people to watch a country of 16.4 million. A sprawling bureaucracy almost three times the size of Hitler's Gestapo was spying on a population a quarter that of Nazi Germany.

http://www.wired.com/politics/security/magazine/16-02/ff_stasi

If you're going to revoke these arguments on the ground of telling me it is western propaganda, then I shall be sorry for I will never be able to give you a critical source about the DDR by themselves. They were never critical of themselves.

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I wasn't comparing specific events, rather providing a simple example of the principle I was arguing. Declaring it irrelevant does nothing to refute it.


But it is easier and more credible to produce evidence that the people didn't thouroughly like the DDR. If you'll search for reports on the internet there will be much more people telling about an ambivalent relationship with the state, mainly for feelings of nostalgia and much less people actually stating they'd liked living under constant surveillance.

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If you read my previous argument again, take note that I was referring to bias, not the number of sources.
A majority arguing a point doesn't make it accurate.


But it does make it common ground. If this historical claim is agreed upon then it is true by historical standards. It is not like they would not have produced enough evidence.

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Most historians in the West are heavily biased against Socialism.


A shallow claim. I say they see Marxism as a dead theory, they are not that wrong. But even if they criticize the DDR doesn't necessarily mean they are biased against socialism in general. There are socialist historians, and many of them (especially Trots) would heavily disagree with you on the matter of East Germany.

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Another important thing to do is to look at their sources and more importantly who authored them. A perfect example of what I'm talking about is the number of deaths in the Soviet Union attributed to Stalin through his policies. Most Western historians put this figure at anywhere in between 10 - 60 million. Researches going through the Soviet archives (which have no reason to lie) have shown this figure to be highly misleading. The real death toll is closer to 2 - 4 million and this includes deaths which were not deliberate on Stalin's part (the toll from the Ukrainian famine for example).


The Stalin famine is something the adherents of Joe will always dispute. But this is not the matter right now and it doesn’t make sense to discuss the matter at this point.

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1. What is your source for those quotes?


At a press conference in East Berlin on June 15, 1961, only two months before the Berlin Wall went up he made those remarks.
Context: "The builders of our capital are fully engaged in residential construction, and its labor force is deployed for that. Nobody has the intention to erect a wall."

The other quote is from the following source:
http://kriegsende.ard.de/pages_std_lib/0,3275,OID1133598,00.html
When Ulbricht re-entered Berlin on May 2, 1945 he contacted the remaining leftists in what was left of Berlin and made them mayors. He told his party members the objective was to instate social democrats and bourgeois so it has the looks of a free democracy. Behind the scenes however, the CP has to control everything

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The Black book of Communism is expert at taking quotes from Communists and Socialists and taking them wildly out of context. How do I know that you (and not necessarily deliberately I must add) aren't doing the same thing?


I have never even seen that stupid book and I have provided the context to the quotes above.

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It should be noted Ulbricht was later dismissed. Although it was officially for reasons of poor health, it can be inferred that he was not popular within the party and other Socialist leaders (he had a troubled relationdhip with Brezhnev for example). His actions as leader would have had something to do with that no doubt.


One could possibly compare the fate of Walter Ulbricht during the Brezhnev era with that of Mao after the Great Leap Forward. There was indeed power taken away from him, he had however until his death the office of Vorsitzender des Staatsrates and Vorsitzender der SED. He was chairman after all.

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Let's take Ernst Busch, shall we. He participated in the Wilhelmshaven mutiny that triggered the revolution that sweot aside the monarchy within a few days. He joined the KPD in 1919 and was the most famous communist singer and actor. He made a whole lot of songs about revolution and communism which I particularly enjoy.
He - luckily - made it through the Nazi regime while being imprisoned for high treason several times.

Anyways, in 1961 he was still one of the most famous and popular guys in the DDR and had the SED membership. But in this year he vanished completely nonetheless, formerly having been somewhat of an icon and figurhead for the SED. It was because he severely criticized Erich Honecker for not being a democratic leader but a dictator



Again, that isn't really a source.


• Busch singt. Sechs Filme über die erste Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts. Akademie der Künste der DDR, Berlin 1982.
• Ernst Busch: Solidarität. Das Solidaritätslied (Bertolt Brecht, Hanns Eisler) in den von Ernst Busch gesungenen und gedruckten Fassungen. Albis International Bibliophilenverlag, Dresden 2000, ISBN 80-86067-37-8.
• Herbert Ihering, Hugo Fetting: Ernst Busch. Henschelverlag, Berlin 1965.
• Ben Leenders, Bernd Meyer-Rähnitz (Hrsg.): Der Phonographische Ernst Busch. Eine Discographie seiner Sprach- und Gesangsaufnahmen. Albis International Bibliophilenverlag, Dresden 2005, ISBN 80-86067-39-4.
• Carola Schramm, Jürgen Elsner (Hrsg.): Dichtung und Wahrheit. Die Legendenbildung um Ernst Busch. Trafo Verlag, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-89626-640-3.
• Karl Siebig: "Ich geh mit dem Jahrhundert mit." Ernst Busch. Eine Dokumentation. Reinbek, Rowohlt 1980, ISBN 3-499-25149-3.
• Karl Siebig, Ludwig Hoffmann: Ernst Busch. Eine Biographie in Texten, Bildern und Dokumenten. Henschelverlag, Berlin 1987 (Lizenzausgabe: das europäische buch, Westberlin 1987).

If you don't accept them, well your bad. You cannot argue against commonly known facts.

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For a start, one person doesn't equate to several.


It was an example after all.


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Secondly, his disappearance might seem convenient, but without seeing where you're getting your info from, I can only conclude that your making assumptions.


Facts. It's like saying Hitler died. It is a fact. He didn't completely disappear he was just silenced in a very typical way back then.

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There are many conspiracy theories around famous people vanishing and most ignore key facts. How do I know that this is any different?


Sources. Historians agreeing upon it. It was a different time and place, everybody knew what was happening but nobody dared to mention it.

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And now I come back to my earlier point about bias. If I can't find any decent info on the East German electoral system (online at least) than I can't see how you're able.


Well that's the stuff you get to know when you live in Germany. There are tons of books about it, it is taught in school, there are reports by witnesses. I can find decent info about East Germany because I live in Germany. And you could find sources online I guess, most of them German however.

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As I argued earlier, a country does not need multiple parties to be a democracy or at least have elements of democracy. Multi- party democracy is merely one form of democratic government and not a very good one in my opinion. For puritans it isn't even democracy by definition (this goes back to Greek times).


Nitpicking about the definition of democracy won't help this discussion to get anywhere. I am talking about a democracy by the whole people and not a few. This was never available in the DDR.

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Wikipedia has an incredible amount of Liberal bias (seriously, it’s level of bias makes Conservapedia look good at times).


Every liberal says wikipedia is conservative. Every conservative says it’s left wing. Every anarchist says it’s authoritarian. Wikipedia is neither of them. And if you don’t trust it itself just take the sources it provides.


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How can I expect it to give a reasonable view? If you consider it to be comparable to the work of these nameless German historians, than I can't help questioning the validity and accuracy of their work.


What the hell can I do about that? I can only give you the names and works of these historians. You can question the validity of everything that has ever but written on historical matters but it won't get you anything but ridicule.

Just to give you a few examples:

Hermann Weber, one of the most respected Historians in Germany. Born 1928, still alive, specializes on the DDR and Socialism, lived under the DDR regime.
• Die Wandlung des deutschen Kommunismus. Die Stalinisierung der KPD in der Weimarer Republik, Frankfurt: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1969 (2 Bände)
• Geschichte der DDR, ISBN 3-89996-026-2
• Deutsche Kommunisten, Dietz-Verlag, 2004. ISBN 3-320-02044-7
• Leben nach dem „Prinzip links“ zusammen mit Gerda Weber, Chr. Links Verlag, ISBN 3-86153-405-3
• Damals als ich Wunderlich hieß. Vom Parteihochschüler zum kritischen Sozialisten. Die SED-Parteihochschule, Aufbau Verlag, Berlin 2002, ISBN 3351025351
• Lenin-Chronik, Daten zu Leben und Werk zusammen mit Gerda Weber, Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, München 1974, ISBN 3-423-03254-5

A few others:
• Stefan Wolle: Die heile Welt der Diktatur. Alltag und Herrschaft in der DDR 1971–1989. München 1999, ISBN 3-612-26650-0.
• Ulrich Mählert: Kleine Geschichte der DDR. C. H. Beck, 5. Aufl., München 2007, ISBN 3-406-47550-7.
• Inga Markovits: Gerechtigkeit in Lüritz – Eine ostdeutsche Rechtsgeschichte. Verlag C. H. Beck, München 2006, ISBN 3-406-55054-1.
• Karl-Heinz Rother: Parteiverfahren für Marx. Hier irrten Kurt Hager und andere. Dietz, Berlin 1990, ISBN 3-320-01590-7.

There are many more.

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Again this is a well known fact, I already explained to you, if you are a former DDR citizen you have the possibility of accessing these files about you.

And I don't deny that, but that does not prove that there were files on all citizens as you have previously claimed and it doesn't argue anything. There is personal information of mine everywhere, held by all sorts of groups and I have no control over it nor have I always given my consent for it to be gathered. It isn't necessarily being used with ill intent. The only difference is that it hasn't been gathered by a central organisation.


Don’t you understand? How can you justify this. Every step of your life you were being watched by the state sponsored secret service. And if necessary the information was used to threaten you and blackmail you. That was the way the DDR worked.

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Excuse me? (on the matter of the death penalty)
I was referring to the soldiers orders. If people ignored the warnings given, they were shot. You call it inhumane and sick, I call it very unfortunate, even saddening, but a necessary evil given the circumstances. As I've alluded to before, it came only after a genuine effort to bring about the reunification of Germany (as Marshal's post supports).


Yeah right, because sometimes, when people don’t want to accept their luck you have to force them to accept it.

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"Es ist eben schwer, wenn nicht gar unmöglich, ein Prinzip aufzustellen, womit man die Berechtigung und Zweckmäßigkeit der Todesstrafe in einer auf ihre Zivilisation stolzen Gesellschaft zu begründen vermöchte. Man hat die Strafe gemeinhin verteidigt als ein Mittel zur Besserung oder zur Einschüchterung. Aber welches Recht hat man, mich zu strafen, um andere zu bessern oder einzuschüchtern?"
- Karl Marx

I shall try and translate this for you:
"It is indeed quite difficult, if not impossible to establish a principle with which you are able to justify the authorization and the usefullness of the death sentence in a society that is proud of its civilization. One has commonly defended the death sentence as a means of improvement or intimidation. But what right do you have to punish me to improve or intimidate others?"



Ideally none, but the world is not ideal, especially not during the Cold War. Marx could not be expected to foresee that. I am not normally an advocate of the death penalty as a general policy (in fact, I prefer putting criminals into hard labour as punishment), but under certain circumstances it has been shown to be an effective deterrent. Things such as this need to be looked at on a case by case basis.


You deflect. Very far from the subject. This wasn’t about any case that was able to be put before a court. Those people were trying to flee the country because it treated them like shit.
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Socialism is about workers' self management.
In the theory of historical materialism, the historical origin of bureaucracy is to be found in four sources: religion, the formation of the state, commerce and technology.

Exactly. You can not have a State without a degree if bureaucracy. It can be too extensive and needs to kept under control, but it is needed to some degree. No Socialist State (past and present) I can think of could have functioned without it.


The present and former Socialist states are heavily suffering under the degree of bureaucracy. In the DDR you had to wait 20 years to get a freaking car, because your plea had to go through so many institutions first. Bureaucracy paralyzes the state in a very deterring way.

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Bureaucracy rarely creates new wealth by itself, but rather controls, co-ordinates and governs the production, distribution and consumption of wealth. The bureaucracy as a social stratum derives its income from the appropriation of part of the social surplus product of human labour. Wealth is appropriated by the bureaucracy by law through fees, taxes, levies, tributes, licensing etc.

"The bureaucracy is a circle from which one cannot escape. Its hierarchy is a hierarchy of knowledge. The top entrusts the understanding of detail to the lower levels, whilst the lower levels credit the top with understanding of the general, and so all are mutually deceived." - Karl Marx


This is certainly true of Capitalist societies. However, in those societies, bureaucracy is often encouraged rather than controlled (especially during Marx's time). I stand by my point that it is necessary in a controlled form, so long as there is a state.


Then you disagree with Marx, not only on death penalty but also on bureaucracy.

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In the DDR ideology it was always the just people who were betrayed by the Nazi warmongers.


Which is not entirely incorrect to my mind.


But not correct at all to mine.

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Discussing an issue doesn't always mean it is being dealt with effectively. East and West certainly took two different approaches and while you go into some detail on the Western approach you remain quite vague on the Eastern approach. It's also important to note that official state ideology doesn't account for what people discuss in their private lives and dealing with this sort of thing is almost always personal.


Well now you can see the fruits of the handling of the NS past. East Germany is full of fascist scum.

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you just have to take it (the DDR) for what it was: a dictatorial regime, certainly not of the proletariat.


I assume you don't believe in the principle of "dictatorship of the proletariat". You appear to see dictatorship through Liberal eyes, I don't.


You appear to see dictatorship through Leninist eyes, I don’t.

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Firstly, I'm not sure the BDR always had a stronger economy, especially during the 1970's. Regardless, I still contend that the East did very well, especially considering it didn't have the industrial base of the West to begin with (nor the benefit of something like the Marshal plan).


During the 70s the BRD still had the Wirtschaftswunder.
But I concur, the East did pretty well if you take into account that they even payed reparations to the Soviet Union while building up a new economy from scratch.

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Secondly, what's the point of having a stronger economy, if only a relatively small amount of the population can benefit from it?


That's probably one of the main reasons were all leftists here. At last some common ground.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 24 Jul 2008, 13:39
I see no reason to continue this debate any further lest it go in circles. We're going to have to agree to disagree on most things when it comes to the DDR Amadou. I suspect this will have to be the case concerning a lot of issues.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 04 Jun 2008, 21:19
Komsomol
Post 24 Jul 2008, 13:48
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I see no reason to continue this debate any further lest it go in circles. We're going to have to agree to disagree on most things when it comes to the DDR Amadou. I suspect this will have to be the case concerning a lot of issues.


D'accord.

We agree to disagree.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Apr 2008, 01:32
Pioneer
Post 29 Nov 2008, 11:07
"While I regret the resulting deaths, I don't think it was cruel. The State had to prevent people from defecting and this required tough measures. Ideally they shouldn't be necessary, but they were. It was the West which originally rejected Stalin's proposal for reunification and it capitalised fully on the consequences (ie. The Berlin Wall)."

Human beings were killed because a government said that these people did not have the freedom to live where they wanted to. If that is not cruel to you, you're just a ridiculous person.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 07 Mar 2003, 02:29
Komsomol
Post 22 Dec 2008, 06:18
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My teacher confirmed that DDR citizens didn't live in poverty or famine;


I don't know of many people who claim this to be the case though. Hence the term "second world" to describe the Socialist European states of the 20th century as opposed to "third world".

They were regarded by the West as "in between" the third world and the West.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 22 Dec 2008, 12:10
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Human beings were killed because a government said that these people did not have the freedom to live where they wanted to. If that is not cruel to you, you're just a ridiculous person.


Cruelty requires malicious intent. I don't think many in the East German government wanted to erect the Wall, but came to the conclusion that it was the lesser of two evils. The DDR didn't start the Cold War, but it did have to fight in it and war always has tragic consequences.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 08 Jul 2007, 05:40
Pioneer
Post 21 Jan 2009, 06:45
Good Bye Lenin! is a really good movie. Its made more awesome by the soundtrack (composed by Yann Tiersen).

The normal communist/socialist hate messages in a lot of movies are mainly overlooked in Good Bye Lenin!. However, do not watch this movie expecting a theme that rallies together the downtrodden masses in an effort to restore the once great DDR. This is a pretty politically unbiased film that is mainly about the love of family and letting go of things long gone. The movie gets very emotional especially when they are tearing down the statues and the symbols of DDR :_;. Members of this forum will definitely find a meaning totaly different from the average veiwer while watching this film, but that's why its so well done. The film lets the audience form their own opinions instead of just telling them what to believe.

tl;dr version: good movie, good music, has funny, sad, happy parts, in all pretty well rounded.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 13 Feb 2008, 15:25
Ideology: Other Leftist
Politburo
Post 21 Jan 2009, 07:26
Quote:
However, do not watch this movie expecting a theme that rallies together the downtrodden masses in an effort to restore the once great DDR.


I'm not sure I agree with this. I thought it actually did have a pro DDR message on the whole. It just wasn't made obvious and had a few negatives thrown in so it wouldn't create such a big fuss with all the anti-Communists around in Germany.
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 29 Dec 2009, 04:10
I feel I should clarify some of the things that Amadou has said...


Quote:
It was a dictatorship. Not one of the "bad" kind, like the NS Regime or Pol Pot's Cambodia but it was dictatorship.


It was a dictatorship in the liberal sense, since the leading role of the workers' and peasants' Marxist-Leninist party was constitutionally guaranteed. What Amadou omits is the fact that there were far more opportunities for the common citizen to be involved in how the state was governed than there are in any Western democracy, except maybe Switzerland - and the constitution which granted the leading role to the Marxist-Leninist party was accepted by the people of the GDR in a referendum - unlike the constitution of West Germany, by the way.

The economy was directed by the people. The youth organization - the Free German Youth - was democratically controlled by the youth, who had an opportunity to take part in the government of the whole country through the FGY's seats in parliament. The unified trade union had a representation in parliament as well, and the delegates were elected by the workers. The same applies to women's organizations and cultural organizations. People in general were very aware that the GDR was their state in that it belonged to them and was controlled by them.

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The Stasi, East German equivalent of the KGB had files about every single citizen of the DDR


That is true. However, what is not true is that they were spying on them. Everyone had their Stasi file, but most files were empty. If you leave that little fact out, of course the Stasi will seem much worse than it actually was.

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Of course the Stalin-controlled agents of the Kremlin destroyed the DDR from the beginning on and from a glorious idea - establishing Marx's vision in his birthplace became a horrible nightmare with people dying just because they tried to leave the country.


Of course Amadou omits that it was possible to legally leave the GDR. People were shot at the wall because they entered a restricted military area, not because their state wanted to lock them up.

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including elections, which were nonexistent in the DDR.


This is just plain wrong. Of course there were no elections where people could have decided between the SED and another party - it was their party or none. But there were regular elections where they were given the chance to either accept the SED's leading role or refuse it. The SED never lost an election.

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Imagine this, you return home and things have disappread or changed their place but you can't possibly think of any explanation. This regime was driving people crazy.


That's just bullshit. Why would any secret service act in such a way?

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A very popular Leader of the Socialist party in Germany has recently come under accusations of being a former IM, Informeller Mitarbeiter (informal staff). Currently he receives criticism for not acklowledging this earlier in his carrier and I too am deeply disturbed and saddened to see that a man of whom I only thought the best, a great speaker and leader of the German Left once delivered his clients (he was very active as a lawyer for regime critics) to the state apparatus.


What an idiot. Gregor Gysi is awesome. The fact that he was an IM only improves my opinion of him.


IM's are painted in a very negative light anyways most of the time, and this pisses me off. There were about (probably much more than) 100.000 IM's. This implies two things. First: The Stasi had an extensive spying network. Fine, that's acknowledged by everyone. But it also implies that a huge part of the GDR's citizens was sympathetic to the Stasi and decided to actively support its work and protect their state from the imperialists' and counter-revolutionaries' treacherous interests. That's an interesting angle to look at the issue, amirite?

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There was the so called Schießbefehl (firing order). The Army guarding the boarders was advised to shoot at dissidents after warning them.


Yes. And everybody who continues running after receiving a warning that they're going to get shot deserves to be shot, if only for their stupidity.

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The DDR state had already started wrong and it didn't get better through the years, there was never really a realistic possibility to build a just and economically succesfull state.


I'm not going to discuss bourgeois notions of "justice" here, but I guess it's my duty to inform anyone who might read this thread that the GDR was economically successful as hell. In 1985, the GDR ranked at #15 in terms of GDP with a GDP of 150 trillion dollars, surpassing Switzerland, Sweden and Belgium. In 1989, the GDR spent energy worth 5860 kg of oil per capita. That means it ranked at #2, right after the US (7278 kg) and even surpassing the USSR (#3, 4885 kg) and Western Germany (#4, 4451 kg). When the GDR was annexed by the West, it had a per capita debt of 6930 marks, not even half of the West's per capita debt. Hell, even as the whole Eastern bloc was collapsing, the GDR was both able to pay its foreign creditors and to keep living standards at a satisfactory level, even though hordes of Western tourists were entering the country after the Wall had fallen. To my knowledge, the GDR was the only Eastern Bloc country that was able to outbalance the huge devastation of the global socialist economy until the very end.

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Well economically and socially the people in the BRD West Germany were better off


WTF? An average East German family had an income of 2,800 marks per month. That was indeed lower than the average family income in the West (~3,500 marks) but this comparison does not account for the fact that the most important goods were so heavily subsidized by the state that an East German family could indeed afford much MORE of those goods than a West German one. For instance, the annual consumption of meat per capita was 95 kg, while Western citizens got only 76 kg.

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all opposition parties were effectively controlled by the dominant SED.


There was no opposition, all parties were in a coalition called "National Front". And the other parties were even allowed to have links to their Western counterparts, which I, for one, would not have allowed.

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Socialism is about workers' self management.


Which existed in the GDR.

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In the DDR you had to wait 20 years to get a freaking car, because your plea had to go through so many institutions first.


6 to 8 years.

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Well now you can see the fruits of the handling of the NS past. East Germany is full of fascist scum.


That is not the GDR's fault. Tiny pockets of nazis did exist in the GDR, but when the Stasi got hold of them, they were in deep fragging shit. They could consider themselves lucky if they were even permitted a lawyer for their show trial.

The upsurge of extreme nationalism in the territory of the annexed GDR is mainly a result of the desperation of the people who live there. In some regions there, unemployment has reached 50% as a result of the biggest single theft in world history - the theft of 1,2 billion marks' worth of people's property by the Western bourgeoisie. As a result of this, most enterprises had to fire up to 90 per cent of their workers, and this still wasn't enough to keep most of them from collapsing as the Western bourgeoisie grabbed whatever its filthy hands could reach. The East's post-annexation economy was deliberately destroyed, completely ruining the region. And if you can't afford shit and only every second person has a job, of course it will seem tempting to have a go at "non-Aryans" for taking away "our" jobs.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
Loz
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 06 Dec 2009, 23:17
Philosophized
Post 02 Jan 2010, 18:24
Quote:
In 1989, the GDR spent energy worth 5860 kg of oil per capita. That means it ranked at #2, right after the US (7278 kg) and even surpassing the USSR (#3, 4885 kg) and Western Germany (#4, 4451 kg)


That doesn't mean that DDR had an advanced economy equal to FDR but it indicates DDR's outdated and low-productive factories that spent much more energy that their FDR counterparts for the same product
Soviet cogitations: 10005
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 14 Jul 2008, 20:01
Ideology: Trotskyism
Philosophized
Post 02 Jan 2010, 18:55
Well... no. That might play a role, but I guess the actual reason was that the GDR produced high-end commodities for the whole Eastern Bloc. More than half of the GDR's national income was realized through exports.

It is true that the GDR's productive assets were too old on average due to Honecker's economic policies that limited investment in renovation and modernization. Nevertheless, there were production segments and even enterprises and whole industries that were highly advanced. Those production areas included oil and gas processing, the chemical industry, steel processing, electronics, heavy engineering, shipbuilding and machine tool manufacturing, the upscale consumer goods industry and large-scale agriculture.
"Don't know why i'm still surprised with this shit anyway." - Loz
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