Class enemy

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The term class enemy is derived from the class theory of Marxism , according to which classes are groups of people who face each other in their economic and political goals in the class struggle . According to this theory, there are two classes at present: the owners of material means (means of production , i.e. land and capital ) and those who have only their labor , the working class , the proletariat . Class enemy can be used to denote a person or a group of people. It can represent a reproach aimed at identifying as an enemy and overcoming or annihilating it, but it can also be used purely for analysis. The term does not appear in the work of Marx and Engels .

Word usage in the Soviet Union

In the early years of Soviet history, the class enemy or the enemy of the working people was the central term used in the persecution of unpopular people, dissidents and oppositionists. As early as September 8, 1918, the Council of People's Commissars ordered in its "Decree on the Red Terror " to lock class enemies in concentration camps . In 1927 the term was included in Article 58 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federal Soviet Socialist Republic (RSFSR), which criminalized counterrevolutionary crimes. As the “most severe measure of social protection” after the shooting, this law provided for the “declaration as the enemy of the working people, combined with confiscation of property, deprivation of citizenship of the Union Republic and [...] permanent expulsion from the territory of the Union of the SSR”. During the deculakization of the years 1929 to 1932, the term provided the justification for mass arrests, mass executions and deportations to the so-called special settlements of the Gulag : Whoever had only one cow was often considered a kulak and thus an enemy of the working people. With the beginning of the Great Terror in 1936, the term “ enemy of the people ” was used instead , which now also allowed the persecution and extermination of members of the communist party itself.

Word usage in the GDR

The term was used differently in the GDR . Since after the nationalization of the medium-sized private companies there were only the "friendly classes" of the workers and the cooperative farmers , the class struggle was located by the SED and the media of the GDR on an international level: Now the capitalist states and their governments were described as class enemy, namely those of the Federal Republic of Germany and the USA . The Ministry of State Security (MfS) used the term class enemy to define the object of its “vigilance” and operational activity, namely “all hostile class forces antagonistic to the working class and socialism”. In order to distinguish internal and external class enemies, the latter were often given the attribute imperialistic . Against internal class enemies, who were also referred to internally by the MfS as hostile-negative persons , the task was: quick identification, prevention of actions, if necessary "liquidation in the shortest possible time" or application of so-called " decomposition ". GDR citizens who deviated from the given political opinion and behavior in their thoughts, speeches and actions found themselves as class enemies or hostile-negative persons , as did those willing to leave the country .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: class enemy  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Resolution of the Council of People's Commissars on the Red Terror, September 5, 1918 on, accessed on August 23, 2015.
  2. German translation in a version after the Second World War on the website of the Documentation Center for the History of Resistance and Repression in the Nazi Era and the Soviet Occupation Zone / GDR ( PDF file ). Retrieved July 8, 2010.
  3. Jörg Baberowski , Stalinism “from above”. Kulak deportations in the Soviet Union 1929-1933 , in: Year books for the history of Eastern Europe 46 (1998), pp. 572-595
  4. Dimitri Volkogonow , Stalin. Triumph and tragedy. A political portrait , Econ Taschenbuch Verlag, Düsseldorf and Vienna 1993, p. 376
  5. ^ Martin McCauley, Stalin and Stalinism , 3rd ed., Pearson Education, London 2008, p. 102
  6. ^ Dorothee Wierling , America Pictures in the GDR , in: Uta Balbier, and Christiane Rösch (eds.), Courted Class Enemy. The relationship between the GDR and the USA , Ch. Links Verlag, Berlin 2006, pp. 32–40
  7. ^ Christian Bergmann, The language of the Stasi. A contribution to language criticism , Vandenhoeck and Rupprecht, Göttingen 1999, pp. 46–64