Saturday, August 2, 2014

Hindsight Should Be 20/20

My reading assignment for this summer has been this book from 1960. Translated into German for the Deutsche Demokratische Republik by a "collective," it represents the official textbook for the ideology of communist East Germany. Students were tested rigorously in the public school system on their mastery of this philosophical/political worldview.

This massive, 850-page book is enormously comprehensive. Over halfway through, I find that the ideas of Marxism-Leninism are very much alive in spite of the trouble that they have had reconciling themselves with the nature of things. Nearly every page contains ideas that are very popular today.

The Marxist-Leninists were (and are) quite optimistic about communist societies. I just read this on page 493 (where I am today), which is quite relevant in light of the later history of the countries that are mentioned. This was written as the Cultural Revolution in China had just visited its incalculable destruction upon the entire country:

"In those places in which the people have entrusted the leadership of the State to the Communists--as in the People's Republic of China, the Korean People's Democratic Republic, and the Democratic Republic of Vietnam--there the battle for independence, for the comprehensive development of the national economy and culture, for the improvement of living and working conditions for millions upon millions of people, has been crowned with success.

In those countries in which the Communists belong to the united front for national liberation, the Communists fight bravely and selflessly for a common cause. They strive for a radical solution for the challenges of the entire nation as well as for the satisfaction of the most urgent needs and demands of the working masses. They work together honorably with the other patriotic forces, maintain loyalty to their partners in the anti-imperialist battle, and duly fulfill the duties that they have taken upon themselves. A successful national liberation--a national rebirth--without the participation of the Communists is unthinkable today in any country."