Peter Schwarz

Stalinism in Eastern Europe: The Rise and Fall of the GDR


In this pamphlet Peter Schwarz outlines the post-war historical origins of the Stalinist bloc in Eastern Europe and its collapse in 1989. The bourgeoisie and ex-bureaucrats usurped the mass uprisings that took place at the time, brutally restoring capitalist regimes. In this lecture, originally given in 1998, Schwarz discusses the political and historical questions of the nature of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the broader role of Stalinism in Eastern Europe.

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This lecture by Peter Schwarz, leader of the German Section of the ICFI, is one of seven delivered to the 1998 international symposium Marxism and the Fundamental Problems of the 20th Century by the International Committee of the Fourth International in Sydney, Australia.

The central premise guiding these lectures is that an answer to the burning issues of the day – growing social inequality, deepening economic crisis, the decline in the cultural level of society and the prevailing political paralysis in the workers movement – is bound up with examining and assimilating the great strategic lessons of the twentieth century.

Presented over eight days by leading members of the ICFI, as well as Russian Marxist historian Professor Vadim Rogovin, the lectures were exciting, original and thought-provoking.

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Peter Schwarz is a leading member of the Socialist Equality Party (Germany) and the secretary of the International Committee of the Fourth International. He has written extensively on contemporary European politics, as well as on the rise of fascism and the history of the Communist International, for the World Socialist Web Site.

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