The blogs I write related to politics are among my least favorite. Not because the issues do not interest me but because of how darn depressing things can be when you read that a free people are actually nostalgic for Karl Marx. Yep, that Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto Karl Marx, the guy intellectually responsible for Stalin and Lenin and the Soviet Communist economic disaster and Iron Curtain.
If you have any knowledge of history you have to know the Soviet Union was a brutal totalitarian state that crushed freedom like so many eggshells. In fact, all of Eastern Europe was a virtual gulag when the Soviets were calling the shots and if you are old enough to remember or have read non-revisionist history book you’d know the whole crummy system came crashing down in the late 1980′s and early 90′s. Countries that had been held in bondage since the end of WW2 rejoiced and West and East Germany were reunited. All is good right. Nope.
Apparently, it’s not just Communist fanatics wanting a return to the bad old days but some people who should know better. The following story reported on Yahoo News but from Reuters explains why many former East Germans are nostalgic for good old Karl.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, some eastern Germans are once again carrying round images of Karl Marx – if only in their pockets.
The disappearance of communist former East Germany has not deterred them from using credit cards emblazoned with the image of the man who foretold the end of capitalism and the triumph of communism.
More than a third of customers at Sparkasse bank in Chemnitz opted for the picture of a bronze bust of the bearded 19th century German-born philosopher, bank spokesman Roger Wirtz said.
Marx’s stern face is depicted gazing towards the logo of Mastercard.
Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, citizens of Chemnitz - then known as Karl-Marx-Stadt – and the rest of East Germany would have seen Marx’s face on their 100-Mark banknotes.
Flattened during World War Two, Chemnitz was rebuilt as a model socialist city and still boasts a seven meter-tall bust of Marx in its center. The city has been economically depressed since the end of communism and its population has shrunk by 20 percent.
The east has witnessed a wave of nostalgia in recent years for aspects of the old East Germany, or DDR, where citizens had few freedoms but were guaranteed jobs and social welfare. The trend is not limited to the region.
“We’ve even received inquiries from clients in western German states asking whether they could open a local account with us to get a card bearing Marx’s features,” Sparkasse’s Wirtz told Reuters.
A 2008 survey found 52 percent of eastern Germans believed the free market economy was “unsuitable” and 43 percent said they wanted socialism back.
(Reporting by Sophie Duvernoy; Editing by Gareth Jones and Andrew Roche)
The take-away line is “…old East Germany, or DDR, where citizens had few freedoms but were guaranteed jobs and social welfare.”
There you have it. People will trade away their freedom if they know they have a guaranteed job and social welfare. That is depressing.