People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIII

No. 46

November 15, 2009

 

EDITORIAL

 

ANNIV. OF FALL OF BERLIN WALL

 

Euphoric Celebrations To Divert Attention From Crisis

 

THE victor always scripts history. The historian only comes in much later to document the role and plight of the people caught in the cross-fire. This is more than evident once again in the euphoric celebrations that marked the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. Amidst declarations of a future for “liberty and freedom” the real history that led to the division of Berlin post-Second World War is obfuscated. The defeat of Fascism was symbolised by the hoisting of the Red flag over Hitler’s Reichstag, not the flag of the USA, France or Britain. Following the war, the four allied powers decided to jointly administer the city of Berlin. While East Berlin was under the Soviet Red Army administration, West Berlin was jointly administered by USA, France and Britain. All appeals by the Soviet Union for a joint administration of the Berlin as a whole were rejected by the Western Powers fearing the absorption of the city in the newly formed socialist German Democratic Republic. For decades Berlin was kept divided and West Berlin remained an entity, separate and distinct, from both East and West Germany. This territory was used by the Western Powers as the fountainhead of the Cold War imperialist attack against socialism. It was only in August 1961, after sixteen years of continuous attempts to subvert socialism that the Warsaw Pact countries decided to erect the Wall to protect themselves against such insidious attacks. This history is now being distorted to project the Soviet Union and socialism as responsible for the division of Berlin.

 

Surely, sometime in the future, real history will be put back on its feet instead of standing on its head. However, the need to distort this history is important for imperialism in the current conjuncture where its impregnable Wall – Wall Street – has collapsed. It has not collapsed because of any external assault. It has collapsed because of the very internal dynamics of capitalism that has brought about the current phase of imperialist globalisation which was simply unsustainable. In these columns, on many occasions in the past, we have discussed the systemic nature of the current global capitalist crisis and recession. These need not be repeated here.

 

For the vast majority of the world’s people, it is the collapse of the imperialist Wall Street that is impacting grievously on their lives. During this year, since the current global capitalist recession has begun, not only has the world’s GDP seen an absolute decline, for the first time since the Second World War, the largest number of people have been pushed into hunger and destitution. The number of people suffering from hunger has crossed 1.02 billion, meaning one among every six living persons on the earth are suffering from hunger. During this period of recession alone, 102 million people have joined the ranks of hungry.

 

Further, such euphoric celebrations of the fall of Berlin Wall also seek to obfuscate the anti-people manner in which imperialism is seeking to emerge from this crisis. All the bail-out packages amounting to whopping trillions of dollars of financial support to those very institutions who in the first place have been the chief instruments leading to the present crisis, have only helped the corporates to emerge with better balance sheets and profits at the expense of the fate of the common people. This is not surprising given the class character of capitalism.

 

Unemployment worldwide is growing. OECD report states that more than 57 million people have joined the ranks of unemployed during this period. The unemployment rate in US has officially touched double-digits-10.2 per cent. Unofficially this is estimated to be around 20 per cent, as the official statistics do not take into consideration those people who had stopped looking for jobs in the past three months as they have lost all hope of finding one. The poverty rate in the US is standing at 13.2 per cent, which represents 40 million people suffering from poverty. On the other hand we find the two major banks that were bailed out with public money, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase, have declared enormous profits and are 'celebrating' it by doling out billions of dollars in bonuses to their executives. This is a clear case of how capitalism acts, putting profits before people.

 

Clearly therefore, these euphoric celebrations of the fall of the Berlin Wall can not and will not divert the attention of the vast majority of the world’s working population away from resisting capitalism and imperialism’s efforts to emerge from this global recession at their expense. Popular struggles need to be strengthened to expose these machinations to divert the attention of the people.