Donate to my Legal Action vs Oliver Kamm

Monday, November 09, 2009

Why people are so 'ostalgic' for communism and why western 'liberals' still don't get it


economic liberalism, a la Professor Hayek, because of its starkness and its failure to create a sense of community, is not a safeguard of political freedom but a threat to it...'
I think Sir Ian Gilmour, the old 'One Nation' Tory, had the answer.

Perhaps if the communism had been replaced with other forms of socialism post-1989 there would not now be so much nostaglia for communism in eastern Europe. But it was not. It was replaced by a system which put the interests of Goldman Sachs and international finance capital above ordinary people. The selfish, individualistic ‘elbow’ society, to use Bruni de la Motte's’s excellent phrase, came to eastern Europe and most people, surprise, surprise, don’t like it.

But of course, eastern Europeans aren’t supposed to say that. For so-called western ‘liberals’, it’s ok for anti-communists from emigre families to pen attack pieces on communism, but not for those who actually lived in the countries in question to write about how much they enjoyed their lives there as Bruni de la Motte does here and my wife Zsuzsanna did here.

As our good friend Olching puts in on this thread in replying to a western ‘liberal’ who castigates Bruni de la Motte for writing positively about her life in the GDR:

How dare they, eh, have any fond memories, when clearly they should remember nothing but the cliches we want them to remember!

Postscript: Isn’t it great to have this article published on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall- to remind people who have been the main beneficiaries of the political changes of 20 years ago.

UPDATE: There's a great post by former GDR citizen 'berlin girl' in the comments section to Bruni de la Motte's piece, which I think says it all.

Our lives in the GDR were not just about stasi and the wall, we had parties, got married had kids and had normal lives as well. We didnt take to the streets so that we could have mcdonalds and starbucks, we took to the streets for autonomy and self-determination. We didnt want to be just another part of West Germany, we wanted our own chance at a fairer society. That chance was taken from us by the likes of Kohl and the Western countries who thought they knew best. And the criticism of nostalgia, well, sorry, but how many of you feel nostalgic for your past? Why is it only the east germans who arent allowed to feel nostalgic? As for leaving in droves, yes, we all wanted to travel. But we almost all of us came back. Who wouldnt want to check out the eiffel tower and piccadilly circus, but it doesnt mean youd want to stay!


Louis said...

In Germany it’s the wessies who want the wall back up and of cause many in the east. When communism was overthrown people still expected a reformed version of socialism with healthcare, housing & jobs for life ect, there was no calling for privatization.

To mark the event the German government has invited Henry Kissinger a true figure of liberty, in a way I think they have summed up the west perfectly by having him there lies, greed, barbarity, ignorance and a refusal to except the unpleasent reliality of the western world.

Auferstanden aus Ruinen

jock mctrousers said...

All Olching's comments have been deleted from that CIF thread. Surprise! What a sick sham the Guardian is now - it was never much, but now...

DBC Reed said...

The BNP is always showing photographs of happy (British ) workers in a 1950's society largely at ease with itself and making an explicit contrast with the present.Never any mention of the mixed economy,full employment,flat house prices until 1973,affordable houses to rent ,some in new towns.We have thrown all this away for continual house price inflation.

Elmo Lindström said...

I think that a good model to follow would be the model that was followed in Sweden from 1935 until 1965. This involved an essentially minimal welfare system combined with a good public service infrastructure and tightly restricted immigration policy. It was during this time that most of our progress against poverty was made.

Then of course from 1965 onwards we introduced our "war on poverty" in which generous welfare payments were given to the unemployed and single mothers. Progress against poverty effectively stopped because people were suddenly rewarded for not contributing to society. Welfare increased poverty for those who would otherwise have gotten jobs and paid their own way.

This is just my opinion which I have as a result of being Swedish and seeing how welfare has destroyed our society. We used to have the strongest work ethic of the world. Now we are the welfare scroungers of the world. Our poverty problem is now only being made worse because companies prefer to hire immigrants instead of unemployed Swedes.

I would like to know your opinion on Sweden today. What do you think of its welfare model and immigration policy?

jack said...

@Neil Clark

Here’s the YouTube video version presentation by the leader of the Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine Natalia Vitrenko about the situation in Ukraine and the post economic policy implemented after the fall of the USSR if you want to post it on your blog.

olching said...

Thanks, Jock. No surprise that comments pointing out the thick nature of some commenters who insist on asking people who dare challenge the orthodoxy of 'everything is great under neoliberalism' to 'go to North Korea' were deleted.

I probably did stretch the insults a little, but why were the responses to my deleted comments allowed to stand?

Maria Todorova's article on remembering 1989 in Bulgaria is a great piece of writing by the way...

jock mctrousers said...

Jack - thanks for that video. I think Vitrenko's right about what's planned for Ukraine's future - engineered bankrupty, followed by a fire-sale of all its agricultural land. I hope the Russians stop it.

Gregor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil Clark said...

absolutely, Gregor, of course it couldn't happen here!
this is a great liberal democracy, where people have great freedom- though not to light up a cigarette/cigar/pipe in a pub, and not to drop a matchstick on a street. (not unless they want an £80 fine).

Anonymous said...

The West had more subtle methods of surveillance and repression because our technology was always better.

We can say what we like because if we ever decide to do anything the system's agents have more confidence in catching us before we do it.

- questionnaire

DBC Reed said...

Much is made of the increased freedom of movement afforded those who escaped to the West.Freedom to move around alright.But not to settle and find housing. The unemployed miners did not have the economic freedom to live in London with its greater chances of work,not if they had families.Uncontrolled house prices and rents make a mockery of capitalist so-called freedoms. Real movement is more difficult than in South Africa under the pass laws .Thank heavens for our adversarial political system ,all singing the Homeownerist anthem "Wage rises bad;house price rises good"

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be lovely if all the files and archives of MI5 MI6 Special Branch etc etc had to be up. Then we'd have some wonderful surprises about liberal democracy.

Anonymous said...

I think Philip K dick once asked "to have his FBI files reviewed", as soon as the Freedom of Information act came into being under Nixon.. he came to find out, sadly, his file was rather skimpy, with a one-page briefing listing him as a nut-case science fiction writer.. poor guy!