An amazing conversation with an amazing man who has lived an amazing life and written 2 amazing books
In 1952, a Communist, a Jew, and a U.S. soldier stationed in Germany, fearing imprisonment under the McCarren Act if he returned, decided to defect to East Germany. Not as the dancers or athletes from the Soviet Union whose defection, orchestrated by the CIA, are made into front page news in praise of U.S. imperialism, but simply as a man swimming across the Danube River to an uncertain future in a nation and system he had only imagined. He lived, loved, and built East Germany from 1952 until its final defeat by the capitalist west in 1990, and even now, 30 years later, he is able to discuss, dissect, and defend, not without a critical eye, The German Democratic Republic (GDR) was the anti-Fascist Germany that was finally defeated by the Fascist U.S. and West Germany. Grossman’s brilliant exposure of how almost all the anti-fascists went to East Germany and almost all the German fascists went to West Germany and the U.S. is almost too painful to read.
I met Victor Grossman (born Stephen Wechsler) through my dear friend Victor Wallis, long-time editor of Socialism and Democracy who introduces me to a lot of great people. When Lian Hurst Mann and I were in Berlin as guests of the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation that had invited her to speak I was able to visit Victor Grossman in his modest but more than ample apartment in which he has lived for decades—now on Karl Marx Allee. Victor puts out a monthly political commentary on Germany and the world that is brilliant. He is 92, goes for long walks, has a sharp mind and wit, and I am honored to know him. He will be up at midnight Berlin time so he can speak to Voices Listeners. I strongly urge you to get his book: A Socialist Defector: from Harvard to Karl Marx Alle (thanks to Monthly Review Press) online, as I hope it will also be in our Strategy and Soul bookstore very soon.
My main takeaway from reading his brilliant history is that East Germany, with only 1/3 of Germany, the least wealthy part of the nation, surrounded by the U.S., the West Germany economy propped up by U.S. imperialism right after the war at the same time it tried to destroy the Soviet Union, really had no chance to breathe and was fortunate, through its own courage, to last 45 years! As the U.S. now moves to war with China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and any other country that simply wants to live in peace without U.S. intervention, we need to listen to Victor’s dire warnings about U.S. plans to start another world war if needed to destroy any semblance of opposition to its objectives.
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