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WE ARE THE PEOPLE
October-November, 2019 - New York City

Talking About Democratic Socialism 30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

Fall 1989 was a moment of radical transformation for the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). Already many GDR citizens had migrated to West Germany to escape state repression. On November 4, almost half a million other GDR citizens gathered at Alexanderplatz in Berlin for a peaceful protest, calling for the democratization of the socialistic state. Organized by theater actors and performers, it was the first demonstration that was not controlled by the GDR government. The people demanded a reform of the GDR—rather than its dissolution—calling for freedom of expression, freedom of movement, and democratic participation. Five days later, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall came down, leading to what is today known as the German reunification of October 3, 1990.

In this three-part event series, the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office revisits the political changes that occurred in Germany 30 years ago. In conversation with various speakers, we will discuss what a democratic socialism should look like and how it can work going forward.

“WE ARE THE PEOPLE” SERIES 

Thursday, October 31 | “Imagine there was socialism and no one ran away!”
This famous quote by East German author Christa Wolf (1929-2011) suggests the possibility of realizing the dream of Socialism—a Socialism that allows people to live a self-determined life. It is a version of Socialism without state repression that guarantees all citizens, such as freedom of speech and movement. Christa Wolf, who was one of the speakers at the peaceful protests in East Berlin on November 4, 1989, demanded a revolutionary renewal from the bottom up. Wolf said, “Top and bottom are reversed in the value system, turning the socialist society upside-down and back onto its feet.”

In a panel discussion with John W. Borneman (Princeton University), Andreas Günther (RLS–NYC), Stefan Liebich (MdB, Die Linke), and Megan Svoboda (DSA National Political Committee) we will remember this time of peaceful protest in the GDR, just before the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. We will discuss the historical significance of these events as well as their implications for the demands on democratic socialism, then and now.

Thursday, October 31, 2019, at 6:00 pm
Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—NYC Office
275 Madison Avenue, Suite 2114
New York, NY 10016
Doors open at 5:30 pm. A light dinner will be served. The admission is free, please RSVP here.

Sunday, November 10 | Coming Out (film screening)
Click here for more information.

Tuesday, November 12 | When the Wall Came Down: Jewish Identities in the GDR
Click here for more information.

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