25 years on from fall of Berlin wall

GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer has spoken in a European Parliament plenary debate this afternoon to mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall.

She said: “I think it is important to look at the events of 9 November 1989 from a different perspective. I don't think it is a black and white picture despite attempts by some to present it as such.

“I was born in the GDR and grew up there and I ask myself why state socialist systems failed.  In January 1988 during the Luxemburg-Liebknecht-Demonstration, people held banners with Luxemburg´s phrase “Freedom is always the freedom of those thinking different”. Many people were arrested because the GDR leadership couldn't accept that – for me this was a signal that the future of the GDR was in danger and could not continue in this way. I don't think one can build a better society if you don't have individual social freedoms and social rights. Socialism without freedom is not possible. But, vice versa, you can't have freedom and democracy without social freedoms and social rights.”

“There was a lot of hope and dreams when the wall fell between the two Germanys,” continued the German MEP. “What is really important to remember is that German reunification and the fall of the wall were made possible by people who wanted to see change. The lesson we can draw from this today is that political and economic structures are man-made, and as such can be changed by people. Those people with political and economic power today who think that there's no alternative to their neoliberal policy are as wrong as the leaders of state socialist regimes who thought that their system will last forever.”

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group