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This chapter is a review of the early debates on how best to do the transformation from socialist central planning to a market economy with private capitalist owners sets the stage. It is noted that the popular euphoria generated by the fall of the Berlin Wall permeated the world academic community with numerous papers and conferences on the subject, and a broad consensus on the main changes was reached; however, a wide rift occurred on two key points: should this be done rapidly or gradually, and what should come first: market liberalization or development of new institutions? An important clarification is made that criticisms of the Washington Consensus for ignoring social costs of liberalization and institutional development were unfounded straw-man depictions. All relevant documents or statements of international institutions clearly include both of these elements; at most, such criticisms could justifiably note IMF and others paid insufficient attention to these elements.
Chapter 3 examines how the SED leadership used “socialist human rights” in international relations. Seeking to break its diplomatic isolation outside of the socialist bloc, the SED decided to use the UN International Year for Human Rights in 1968 to launch a propaganda campaign aimed at the Third World to demonstrate East German solidarity against Western imperialism. Although this effort failed, the bureaucratic machinations surrounding the campaign cemented for SED officials that socialism and human rights were one and the same and that the GDR was on the right side of this global struggle. This paved the way for a series of treaties and agreements, including recognition from West Germany and entry into the United Nations, that included public commitments to international rights treaties and culminated in the GDR’s signing of the Helsinki Accords in 1975, which finally led to universal diplomatic recognition of East German sovereignty.
In 1989, those demanding human rights to reform the system versus those who fought to leave it combined to create an explosive crisis for the SED. Human rights served not just to rally a heterogeneous coalition of dissidents, but also provided an ideological justification for SED officials to dismantle their own power structure and abolish the party’s monopoly on power in the face of mass demonstrations and mass emigration. In planning for a new East Germany, former SED officials worked with dissidents to draft a constitution that would secure liberal democratic rights and freedoms alongside rights that would preserve the ideals of the socialist project. In 1990, however, the joint hopes of dissident activists and reform communists were dashed as the realities of East German economic collapse turned the population away from new utopian ideas towards realising human rights through reunification with the Federal Republic. The idealistic anti-capitalism of the dissident elite alienated a population that wanted both democracy and prosperity through human rights. While the dissidents were successful in ending state-socialist dictatorship through their campaign for human rights, they ultimately failed to expand upon the narrow and unsatisfactory human rights system of the capitalist West.
Although East Germany and its state security agency, the Stasi, have become synonymous with human rights violations, the ruling SED considered itself a champion of human rights. The introduction outlines the implications of socialist human rights theory and politics and how it requires us to reconsider the history of GDR foreign policy, the rise of the dissent movement and the collapse of state socialism in 1989/1990.
Chapter 1 examines the beginning of the ideological conflict over the meaning of human rights from the founding of the SED in Soviet-occupied Germany to the June 1953 Uprising. In 1946, elections in occupied Berlin forced the SED to face off against their Social Democratic (SPD) rivals. Aiming to mitigate hostility to the party’s Soviet patrons by presenting a moderate image to the German people, the SED ran on a platform of constitutionalism and democratic rights that recalled the rhetoric of nineteenth-century liberalism rather than Marxist revolution. The SPD was triumphant in the elections, however, denouncing the SED as seeking a return to dictatorship under the slogan “No Socialism without Human Rights!” In response, the SED ceased its efforts to find a democratic path to power and instead turned to coercion and authoritarianism. At the same time, it also adopted the language of human rights to legitimise its rule and the establishment of a socialist dictatorship, calling for “No Human Rights without Socialism!”
The end of the GDR in 1990 also resulted in the erasure of human rights alternatives to capitalist West German norms developed before reunification. The idea of “socialist human rights” collapsed in tandem with SED rule, and many of its own proponents evolved into democrats who renounced their earlier work on the subject. East German dissidents and feminists – who advocated for conceptions of democratic rights and rights to bodily self-determination in conflict with those established in West Germany – were deemed to be deviant and marginalised. While some dissidents saw reunification as the ultimate triumph of the mass demonstrations of 1989, others saw it as a lost opportunity to create a better form of democracy and human rights.
In the 1980s, many disillusioned East Germans dropped out of the official social system and created a parallel civil society within the Protestant Church, striving towards disarmament, demilitarisation and environmentalism. While these activists sought to eschew politics, the SED’s repression of a social sphere outside of party-approved organisations demonstrated to many that political reform was imperative to achieving even purely moral goals such as peace. In 1986, a small group of activists created the Initiative for Peace and Human Rights, sparking a rallying cry for disparate groups of disaffected East Germans, who invoked human rights not as the antithesis of socialism but as a core value forgotten and abused by the SED. Simultaneously, the SED’s ideological bulwark against such a movement began to crumble as it sought to create a socialist version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Despite initial enthusiasm from allies who saw it as a means to unify the socialist world against Western pressure, one country after another pulled out, scared off by various human rights guarantees contained within. Simultaneously, reformers began to see human rights as a rhetorical tool to liberalise sclerotic political institutions to save the socialist project as a whole.
By the 1950s, the SED had to compete with an independent West Germany for international recognition, while also contending with the global politics of human rights emerging out of the Third World. On the one hand, the SED created the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights to campaign against abuses in West Germany, including the imprisonment of Communist Party members who had been deemed a threat to the constitutional order. On the other hand, legal scholar Hermann Klenner developed a philosophy of “socialist human rights” in response to the Third World’s struggle to place self-determination at the centre of the UN agenda. Klenner integrated the idea of self-determination into a Marxist interpretation of rights, claiming that state socialism, human rights and the realisation of state sovereignty in opposition to the imperialist West were, in fact, a singular unified political goal. By the mid-1960s, the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights – using Klenner's new ideological formulations – shifted its focus from West German prisoners to international human rights campaigning.
Richardson-Little exposes the forgotten history of human rights in the German Democratic Republic, placing the history of the Cold War, Eastern European dissidents and the revolutions of 1989 in a new light. By demonstrating how even a communist dictatorship could imagine itself to be a champion of human rights, this book challenges popular narratives on the fall of the Berlin Wall and illustrates how notions of human rights evolved in the Cold War as they were re-imagined in East Germany by both dissidents and state officials. Ultimately, the fight for human rights in East Germany was part of a global battle in the post-war era over competing conceptions of what human rights meant. Nonetheless, the collapse of dictatorship in East Germany did not end this conflict, as citizens had to choose for themselves what kind of human rights would follow in its wake.
In 1963, the UN Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities published a study that found that more people were ‘effectively confined behind their national boundaries today than in previous periods of history’.The study, written by Filipino Judge José D. Inglés in his capacity as Special Rapporteur, represented the first attempt within UN institutions to examine the emerging right under international law of individuals to leave any country including their own, and to systematically document how various states were recognising – or failing to recognise – this right in their domestic laws and regulations.
examines the decade following the building of the Berlin Wall, from 1961-1971. After partition, which resulted both in increased jazz activities in the East and the clandestine transfer of jazz materials across the border, party leadership authored a pivotal “jazz resolution” that sought to steer the course of jazz in the socialist state. Examining this landmark policy in detail, this chapter shows how socialist leaders claimed jazz as a genuine folk tradition once more and called for its recognition as an art form that protested racial oppression. The chapter also details the pivotal 1965 tour by Louis Armstrong of the eastern bloc, which the GDR used to demonstrate its solidarity with the civil rights movement in America, and which permanently changed the trajectory of jazz in the GDR. In this light, the East German cultural establishment aimed to recruit one of the world’s most famous jazz musicians not just as a critic of American racial policies but furthermore as an ideal socialist-realist artist. Armstrong’s tour had many impacts, including the founding of the Dixieland Festival in Dresden, which continues to the present day.
Examines George H. W. Bush’s efforts to establish a new world order and reliance on traditional Cold War strategies and alliances. Assesses Bush Sr.’s successes (e.g. German reunification) and failures (in Yugoslavia and Iraq). Documents beginning of post-Cold War US wars of Muslim liberation, a pattern continued by the presdients that followed him.
Germany has a vivid and thriving street art and graffiti scene. 1 Its beginnings can be traced back to the late 1970ies, early 1980ies when hip hop culture became increasingly popular throughout Europe. 2 The Bavarian capital Munich can be seen as the cradle of graffiti and street art in Germany3 though all large cities, such as Frankfurt, Cologne Stuttgart and Leipzig, are all hubs for street art and host interesting art works and active crews. Berlin, of course, has to be mentioned in this context as Germany’s prime location for street art and graffiti attracting many visitors from around the globe. 4 But also, from a copyright perspective which of course is the focus of this chapter, Berlin’s esteem is also unrivalled to other German cities. Many cases which discuss the copyright aspects of street art relate to the city’s most famous canvas: The Berlin Wall.
Here we introduce the main themes of the book. First, we argue that 1989 was not the beginning of the region’s globalisation but rather the confirmation of a choice of a capitalist, Western democratic form. Second, we assert the need for a less Eurocentric approach: the story of the Westernisation of Eastern Europe is in fact a global story of exchange, circulations, and re-imaginings. Third, we critique the ‘West to the rest’ framing of the story of the 1989: rather, we contend that globally engaged local elites were key players in this regional reorientation in a long-term process that lasted from the 1970s to the 1990s. To this end, the book charts how the values which would eventually underpin the neoliberal, liberal democratic and European-facing settlement emerged within elite and oppositional cultures, as part of interactions between Eastern Europe and the world, during the late Cold War. Last, we explore the ‘other 1989s’ – radical, populist, or authoritarian: these stories were hidden in the liberal celebratory culture that once surrounded the transformation, but had legacies which returned to haunt post-Communist politics and culture.
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