Woran die DDR wirklich zugrunde ging

Vom Anfang und Ende der Entfremdeten Arbeit

Teilung der Arbeit

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What we can learn from the fall of the GDR

What the GDR really perished

From the beginning and end of the alienated work

It was Karl Marx who found out that human history is based on the higher development of the productive forces and the corresponding production conditions. Together they determine the entire political superstructure. His sentence: "Ultimately, every economy dissolves into the economy of time", forms the linchpin of any economic understanding of terms such as "efficiency", "labor productivity", "wealth increase" and how the whole bourgeois conceptual apparatus is still so calls, but which can simply be more accurately described with the proletarian term "work agitation".

But Karl Marx would not be Karl Marx if he had stopped with this limited view. What Marx really means by this sentence is that we should all think about how, in what way and for what purpose mankind wants to use its incomparable work ability.

Time is the only thing that humanity has in abundance! You have to let this knowledge sink first, because it completely turns our current, hectic understanding of life upside down. But it really is. In the primitive matriarchy as well as in the few matriarchies that still exist far from all "civilization" today, especially near the equator, time does not matter as a drive. It is only the clock for day and night.

The reason that "time" is always on our backs lies in civilization itself. Civilization keeps the class struggle on the back burner, which came into the world through the division of labor (the farmer Cain killed his brother, the rancher Abel ). State power should settle the dispute in the now divided society. Civilization meant the end of primeval social equality, because it was also the beginning of all class societies. From now on, the private property relationships determined the social distribution relationships. From this point of view, civilization is nothing more than a necessary evil for the uninhibited development of the productive forces.

After all, capitalism is the most uninhibitedly developing social productive forces, regardless of people and nature.

Marx's concept of alienated work sums up the dilemma of all exploiting societies: those who work do not earn; and those who purchase do not work. The hardship of one becomes joy for the other, the mutual hatred of the antagonistic classes is endless. The alienated work thus represents the Gordian knot, in which all contradictions of the previous class societies are inextricably interwoven. The breaking of the Gordian knot, that is, the solution to the problem of alienated work, must therefore become the main task of a future classless society. The joyless demise of socialism was, in any case, the receipt for the continued ignoring of this problem.

What are the reasons for alienated work and what are its consequences? The transition from matriarchy to patriarchy completely changed ownership through the new succession, which passed from the common clan to the biological children of the patriarch. Sooner or later, different classes of people had to emerge, the main difference being the possession or non-possession of means of production. The legal recognition of private ownership of means of production by the class state that had meanwhile established the separation of some of the producers from the means of production. This is the reason why producers are alienated from their work and from the product of their work.

However, the consequences of alienation are much more complex. They can be found on both sides of the classes as well as on the side of production and consumption.

The patriarchal despot, the slave owner, the feudal prince and also the capitalist determine the goals of production. They say what is produced and how much of it is produced. The irrigation builder, the slave, the serf and the subcontractor have to do what the owner of the means of production tells them to do. Any speeches will be punished. The workers do not concern the production goals, they are completely excluded from all decisions about them. Since they are excluded, they don't worry about it. They don't care what they produce and how they produce. This estrangement from their working conditions becomes ever stronger with the further development of the sweatshops. It reaches its peak in capitalism. The wage worker does not want to know what he produces and for whom he produces. He is only interested in when the work begins, when it ends, how high the wages are, what misconduct is deducted from wages and other conditions that affect him personally, such as the way to work, type of work, benefits, vacation days etc. pp.
The alienation of the worker is twofold. Not only is his work alien to him and the product of his work, he is also alien to the products of other producers. He doesn't care who made the food he consumes every day. He is also not interested in how these foods were made. He is only interested in whether he can afford these groceries for his wages or not. If he thinks about all of this, he doesn't think about it as a wage worker, but as a person. This means that he has already risen above his wage worker status, in which he is lowered by the capital ratio.

Alienation strikes on the capitalist side as well. A capitalist is even less interested than the wage laborer, what he produces, or rather let him produce. He is only interested in whether he can profit from his goods and how high the profit will be. The bad thing is that the capitalist appears to be the great driver of production, the forerunner of future needs of people who are always in need, the benefactor of the world, but in reality he is the greatest destructive force (competition, "free trade", "free" Capital transfer, "free labor transfer").

What does all this have to do with the GDR and its downfall? Very easily. In the GDR, as in all socialist countries, capital was nationalized, so production was controlled and administered by the state with the aim of benefiting society as a whole. It was the state that set the overall goal after more or less concrete consultation with the population. The individual needs, however, were not reflected in the economic plan. They couldn't at all because individual needs are very different, especially in a highly developed society. It is impossible to determine centrally with the state, such as a summer dress has to look in what sizes and quantities it should be produced, how it is distributed in the country etc. etc.

But the basic problem in socialism was the persistence of wage labor itself. We remember: "Wage labor produces capital, and capital produces wage labor". The persistence of wage labor repeatedly reproduced the capital ratio and thus the estrangement from one's own work - the indifference, indeed the hatred of work and business. So wage labor contradicted socialist construction. It kept colliding with it. The socialist wage worker basically thought like the capitalist wage worker. Which couldn't have been any other way. Because wage labor remains wage labor. What can we learn from this in the future?

Social work capacity increases with the number of people working and it increases even more with the productivity of work. Humanity in socialism has disposable time in abundance. How she uses this time is the sole decision of humanity itself, no one is talking into it. Humanity only has to understand itself as a unit and finally understand how and what it will use this time for, whether for mass production and the pollution of the earth and the sea, or whether it disposes of this work capacity so that humanity is more human and thus smarter and the earth and the oceans become cleaner again.

But how do you plan the time so that future generations will find a clean and diverse world? Quite simply: by humanity living more and working less and less.
But how do you live more, how do you live better? This can only be done by finally abolishing wage labor and with it the capital ratio.

To do this, the producers must be able to reapply the results of their work. You therefore have to determine yourself what you produce, how you produce it, in what quantities and qualities you produce and, last but not least, how the things produced can get back into the production cycle in order to finally eliminate the mountains of waste in this world. But this is only possible in a circular process and decisions on the spot, through collective agreements in the cities and municipalities and between the cities and municipalities.
Community work is the life process of humanity. So socialism, like capitalism, is not about shortening working hours and extending leisure time (union), but rather gradually reducing wage labor and compensating for self-determined social work in one's own city or community.

If work is no longer an exploitation but a first need for life, then the time of the work done no longer matters. Working time is then life time and this is freely available for all of humanity. So there is a change from a quality of work to a new quality. From now on, as in capitalism, labor no longer has to be constantly reduced and replaced by machines. Now more work can be spent, but more iron, steel, coal, oil, traffic or warehousing can be saved. All people work again in the exploitation-free society, including the unemployed and the former capitalists. This does more work. If this is then constantly redistributed, it will be easier to bear for everyone who is more diverse and thus also difficult. Nothing is more fun in life than working together on a common project for a shared appropriation of the results of that work. Even the crappiest work, like cleaning toilet bowls or piss bowls, is fun if it is done together and does not have to be done on a daily basis, as is the case today with the job of a toilet woman. The future is not the constantly growing specialization of work, but the varied combination of different work among constantly changing work groups. How this is to be regulated specifically is determined unanimously, as in the matriarchy, in the working groups and between the groups within a local community.

This new type of combined social work creates completely new ways of enjoying life. After a hundred years of industrial agriculture, it will take an infinite amount of effort to make the soil fertile again. This fertility is very difficult with machine work. Components that store water and nutrients must be introduced into the soil. Solidification of the floors by heavy machinery must be avoided. In short, manual work is required here. In order for this work to be fun, many people have to do it at the same time. You spur each other on, you tell jokes and other "real events", you make breakfast together and look at your partner for the night, in short, you live your work because the work is full of life. So the day passes in meaningful harmony. And in the end a big party is celebrated. Not a day, not two days, not three days, but for a whole week. Life is work and enjoyment at work is a basic human need. The reappropriation of work as the first need for life does not have to be a centuries-long process. Maybe the newborn will like it faster than we can imagine today.

As for today's large industry, it will continue to shrink even under capitalist conditions because the new technologies require less material and the industry as a whole is moving towards miniaturization. The new socialist society, on the other hand, will abolish the large, globalized industry and replace it with self-determined regional production according to the size of the administrative units (large or small town) and the geographical and climatic peculiarities.

A new, socialist motto should be: "Globalization of all knowledge, regionalization of all work." This can be achieved by permanently reducing wage labor while expanding social work in cities and municipalities. However, whether this can be achieved without a class struggle from below depends on the reaction of the capital side.

Holger Lorenz 28-3-2020

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Das moderne Matriarchat als anstehende Selbstorganisationsform der Menschheit