Background: The East German system depended on a network of agitators to bring its propaganda down to the local level. That network took time to establish. This article provides examples of two successful agitators, urging party organizations throughout the country to inmate their example.
The source: Kurt Kirchner, “Arbeitet so, wie die Agitatoren Wilk und Porsch!” Notizbuch des Agitators, #3/1953 (March), pp. 31-35.
Work like the Agitators Wilk and Porsch!
by Kurt Kirchner
Comrade Paul Wilk is an agitator at Thälmann Plant I in Suhl. He is a comrade whose previous work has shown that he understands how to present the policies of the party and government in a simple, forceful, and consistent way. He knows how to inspire the masses, and persuade them to join us in realizing our great goal of building the foundations of socialism. His colleagues and fellow workers see him as a good worker. They respect him.
Because of his abilities, comrade Wilk was elected agitator by the party membership. He constantly and diligently fulfills this party assignment. Every day, following the Politbüro decision “On Improving Agitation” of February 1951, he reads the party newspapers Das Freie Wort and Neues Deutschland, and studies the Notizbuch des Agitators as well as the agitation literature relevant to his work.
He thereby always has the right arguments for his daily agitation work. He reads newspapers intensively, underlining the most important newspaper articles which he then evaluates with his colleagues. He successfully uses the method of reading individual newspaper articles.
His colleagues eagerly discuss with him the most important questions of the day. He always understands how to relate general political issues to the factory.
He also uses a bulletin board.
He cuts important articles from the press, posts them on the bulletin board, and adds his own thinking on the topic. He also posts the opinions of his colleagues.
This results in successful discussions which in the end have the goal of building the confidence of the workers in the factory in the party of the working class.
Comrade Porsch is an agitator in the People’s Precise Measuring Equipment Factory in Suhl. He has considerable experience. He also attended a party school where his intensive study gave him good ideological knowledge. The party organization therefore made him the functionary responsible for agitation in the factory’s party branch. He understands how to raise matters of agitation with the party leadership, enabling the party leadership to work out answers to questions relating to agitation.
Using the Notizbuch des Agitators, comrade Porsch trains agitators twice monthly.
Party secretary comrade Büchel participates in these meetings, underscoring the great importance agitation has for our party.
Following the Politbüro’s decision of February 1951 “On Improving Agitation,” comrade Porsch holds short meetings before the beginning of each work day for agitators that provide them with instructions for their daily work in agitation. He discusses the most important stories from the day’s press, and relates them to the factory’s production.
Comrade Schenk, an agitation group leader, says: “Because of Comrade Porsch’s qualifications, agitation group leaders are better supervised. He gives us many ways to improve our work. Every morning, we come ten minutes early, as soon as busses and trains arrive, to discuss the newest events within our collective. This ensures that we can conduct systematic educational work within the factory. These daily meetings make it possible for us to discuss immediately the important decisions of our party and government, and to organize personal response by colleagues on the bulletin board.
These examples clearly show the progress our party has made in agitation. Two years ago, there were no dependable agitation groups in our factory. Today, our agitators are models in their work and in organizing socialist construction., They are in the middle of the daily battle to meet the plan and enjoy the confidence of their colleagues.
Our party offices should learn from these examples how to organize agitation. Everyone is not yet using the methods of reading newspaper articles, of bulletin boards, and, above all, of providing daily direction for agitators. Agitation can be effective only when we look every day for new methods, and each day establish the themes for unified agitation in the factory.
Agitation can reach a higher level only if it is planned and systematic. It must constantly consult with the party leadership to work out arguments. It must also work to ensure growing numbers of carefully chosen and politically dependable agitators. Their abilities must constantly increase.
Correctly organized agitation strengthens relations with the masses. Thus, agitation is the measure of the relations between our party organizations and the workers.
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