And you really expected to see any different on the fascist propaganda machine?lots programmes on NDR (fernsehen Meckelnburg-Vorpommern) celebrating the end of the DDR today, despite some Ostalgie, the general consesus amongst nearly all of the Ossis interviewed was it was a very opressive\terrible time, and it's great to be free now.
Millions of DDR citizens left. How many Irish citizens were shot by the state for leaving? How many Irish emigrants moved to non-capitalist states? How many of the 3-3.5 million people who left the DDR before it closed its borders moved to non-capitalist states?Millions of Irish were forced to leave
State institutions? Surely those institutions were run by your beloved Catholic church?children who couldnt were often buggered in state institutions.
Millions of DDR citizens left. How many Irish citizens were shot by the state for leaving?
Indeed it is. Ukraine is a prime example. Of the millions of Irish people who have emigrated, how many have emigrated to non-capitalist countries?A million Irish people were starved to death by capitalists, and millions more forced to leave by the whip of poverty. Hunger is as effective, and more effective, than bullets.
They went mostly to Anglophone countries were they could easy sell their labour - and they were very often treated as less than dogs there.Indeed it is. Ukraine is a prime example. Of the millions of Irish people who have emigrated, how many have emigrated to non-capitalist countries?
Communist countries are not in favour of mass immigration. Providing work, housing, education and health for their own people is their priority - not exploiting foreign labour.And yet none of them ran off the utopia that was the DDR. Nor Cuba, nor the USSR nor any communist country whatsoever. Hmmm.
I said that mistakes had been made in the DDR. My point is that we workers should be proud of its achievements and learn from the mistakes - and not believe the lies being put out by the media of the Fourth Reich.Cael, I think your assessment of the DDR is tainted by your obvious hatred of capitalism. You should put that aside for a moment and attempt an objective assessment which does not rely on comparisons with capitalist states; perhaps instead rate it according to the level of freedom accorded to citizens, happiness, or whatever else.
Tell that to the Vietnamese workers that the DDR imported to exploit:Communist countries are not in favour of mass immigration. Providing work, housing, education and health for their own people is their priority - not exploiting foreign labour.
The situation of the contract workers is completely different. Although many thousand Vietnamese citizens
had studied in the GDR and had undertaken training there prior to 1980, the assignment of contract
workers from Vietnam only started after the signing of the government agreement of 11 April 1980
mentioned in footnote 3. In that year, about 1,500 individuals came to the GDR. The number of contract
workers in the GDR swelled to about 60,000 by 1989. Most of them (abut 59,000) arrived in 1987
(20,448), 1988 (30,567) and 1989 (8,881). In 1990 only 48 new contract workers arrived. They were generally
expected to stay in the GDR for five years.
There were several reasons for the GDR and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, reunified in 1975, to recruit
Vietnamese workers this way. Like the Federal Republic of Germany, the GDR recruited citizens from
friendly states to cover labour shortages and boost production in times of economic prosperity.
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam, for its part, began sending young people abroad as cheap labour in
the 1980s. Most worked in industry or as agricultural labourers, but doctors and teachers were also sent
abroad. Firstly, this helped generate the foreign exchange that the country needed so desperately to repay
its national debt and, secondly, it was a way of alleviating the massive unemployment in Vietnam. To help
counter the country’s foreign exchange shortfall, 12% of the gross wages of contract workers was deducted
at source by their employers and transferred directly to the Vietnamese government. This was regulated in
the above-mentioned bilateral agreement, the contents of which were never divulged to the contract workers.
The contract workers themselves had several reasons for wanting to work in the GDR:
• to allow them to send money home to their families;
• to obtain further professional or vocational training;
• to legally escape the system in place in Vietnam;
• to escape the economic, social and political crises in Vietnam.
To ensure as far as possible that workers returned to Vietnam when their time was up, generally only one
member of any family would be sent to the GDR, and that person would be somebody who already had
a job in Vietnam. There was no guarantee of a job in Vietnam upon their return from the GDR. In spite
of all the problems that a stay abroad entailed (e.g. the need to bribe the relevant officials with cash or in
kind), it was considered an honour to work in the GDR.
There were no adequate preparations for employment for the workers in the GDR, neither in Vietnam
nor in the GDR. Contract workers were entitled only to a course lasting no more than three months which
served “to give them basic skills in the German language and their future work, as well as informing them
in detail about health and occupational safety regulations and fire prevention regulations as well as other
basic codes of conduct expected at work and during leisure time”.
Vietnamese workers were recruited irrespective of their actual qualifications and schooling. As a result they
were often overqualified for the work they were expected to perform, with doctors, engineers, teachers,
economists or skilled workers expected to perform low-level activities. One exception was those university
graduates appointed to act as group leaders or interpreters (referred to as “linguistic mediators”). There was
no targeted recruitment of skilled workers for specific occupations and activities.
As of the early 1980s, ideological factors played an increasingly minor part in the selection of contract
workers. As a result, the number of Vietnamese working in the GDR rapidly rose to 60,000. They worked
mainly in the textile, construction and metal-working industries.
Neither the Vietnamese nor the GDR authorities made any provision for the integration of contract workers.
They were housed in company-owned hostels and were subject to the monitoring and surveillance of
the full-time privileged group leaders and linguistic mediators as well as the organisations run by the Vietnamese
Communist party (trade unions, youth organisations, etc.). If they behaved inappropriately, the
group leaders and linguistic mediators were authorised to implement “political and educational measures”.
Along with the embassy staff, they ensured rigid compliance with the provisions of the government agreement.
Controls embraced every aspect of life, which further aggravated the isolation of the contract workers
from colleagues and the society they lived in. Their world consisted of only the company they worked
for and the hostel they lived in. The contract workers were also subject to the surveillance of the GDR police
and security forces.
Generally, the contract workers were given a five-year contract, as mentioned, which was extended only in
exceptional cases. When their contract expired, they had to return to Vietnam. They could not fall back on
international agreements or apply for political asylum because the GDR had not signed the 1951 Geneva
Convention relating to the Status of Refugees nor the pertinent 1967 Protocol.
The bilateral agreement of 1980 did stipulate that the contract workers would have the same rights as
German workers, but in reality they were employed as unskilled workers and were thus paid as apprentices
for the first six months. They often had to perform the tasks German workers were unwilling to do, such as
assembly line work, three-shift work or physically gruelling tasks.
In brief, the 1980 agreement provided for the following:
• All social insurance contributions had to be paid although contract workers were not entitled to make use
of the social services network;
• 12% of wages were to be deducted and transferred to the Vietnamese government;
• Contract workers would be subject to strict controls by the GDR and by their own embassy;
• They would not be entitled to family reunification;
• They would be compulsory members of the GDR trade union confederation (FDGB) and would pay
• Should contract workers become pregnant, they would be required to have an abortion or would be deported;
• Should they become politically active they would be deported;
• They would not be permitted to found associations;
• They would not be permitted to join a political party in the GDR.
The contract workers were never allowed to see the government agreement. This meant that they could
never demand the rights stated therein or assert themselves, as could individuals familiar with their rights.
Since contract workers were entitled to certain material compensations, which they were allowed to send
home or take home with them, they competed with the citizens of the GDR for scarce goods.