Magazine article The Nation

Crossing the Divide

Magazine article The Nation

Crossing the Divide

Article excerpt

CROSSING THE DIVIDE The opening of the Berlin wall symbolically marks the end of an era, that of revolution from above and from abroad. It foreshadows the disappearance of the great divide separating two halves of Europe and two conflicting social systems. This prospect, however, depends on the dissolution of Eastern and Western blocs and thus of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Only when that occurs can German reunification be put on Europe's agenda. There will be time enough to draw up and the balance sheet and ponder the consequences; now we should rejoice at the crumbling of the wall under popular pressure.

Those who take the occasion to celebrate the funeral of socialism show their ignorance of its principles. In 1963 a workers' uprising in Berlin was crushed by tanks, causing Bertolt Brecht to remark bitterly that if people disagree with the rulers the simple solution is to "dissolve the people." Recently, however, Hans Modrow, the new East German Prime Minister, argued that a party deprived of popular support does not deserve to rule. …

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