German Propaganda Archive Calvin University


Background: By 1960, East Gemany was making the final push to force all farmers to join collective farms. Theoretically voluntary, pressures were so great that all farmers eventually gave in. This pamphlet, distributed in the Karl-Marx-Stadt area (today Chemnitz), is a good example of the propaganda on this theme.

The source: Einzelbauer Arnold und sein Verhältnis zum Sozialismus. Ein Wort an die Einzelbauern — vor allem an jene, die es bleiben wollen The pamphlet was published in 1960 by the Bezirk Karl-Marx-Stadt Department for Propaganda-Agitation.

Farmer Arnold and his Relationship to Socialism

A Word to Independent Farmers,

Above All to Those Who Want to Remain So


Old farmer Arnold enjoys a good reputation in Aitzendorf (Rochlitz County). The farmers respect him and his 4-hectare farm. He is a good farmer in their eyes, and he says the same himself. One cannot deny his economic success. At this year’s harvest he was far ahead. He delivered his grain to the state early, at the end of August. He is also one of the best in the village at livestock production.

There are four cows in his stalls and they demand respect. Farmer Arnold hears the call of the party and government to increase livestock and agricultural production and produced an extra 150 kilograms of pork, 1500 kilograms of beef, and 840 eggs.

Kurt Arnold is also active in the village’s social life, serving as community representative, vice mayor, chair of the VdgB [a farmer’s organization], candidate for the county council, chair of the milk cooperative and juror, to name but a few.

Quite an important person!

His many responsible positions lead one to assume that he is a particularly progressive farmer. His industry and that of his family have made his farm one of the most successful in the village.

But have his successes depended only on him?

Personal ability, however much it may achieve, is only one side of the matter. The other and more important side to it is that democratic conditions have prevailed by us since 1945. Since then, no farmer has been exploited and ruined by Junkers, monopolists, and usurers.

For fourteen years, Kurt Arnold has been free of the con-men and legal officials of the old masters. His farm has flourished in peace. All that concerned him was his own desire to wring more from the soil and thus increase his income still more. Our workers’ and farmers’ state is the first German government that called on farmers to produce more. At the same time, it provides farmers with a guarantee that they can sell what they produce at a firm price. That is in the interests of the farmers as well as of all workers.

Can the government of the Western zones promise that to farmers? In no way! The West German farmers’ magazine Das Land of 22.7.1959 writes: “Declining income no longer guarantees survival for everyone and attention must be given to ensuring that agricultural production does not further increase.”

Farmer Arnold therefore sees that his interests and those of all farmers in the GDR are considered only under the conditions of workers’ and farmers’ power.

Our agricultural system has been completely changed since 1945 as a result of democratic land reform and the expropriation of the Junkers and large landowners. Thousands of landless day laborers, whose grandparents and great grandparents were farmers, but who lost their land to the greed of the stronger, got their land back. Tens of thousands of former refugees found a new life. Tens of thousands of tiny or small farmers become owners of economically sound farms. Farmer Arnold too gained something through land reform: social security. The Junkers and big land owners were completely uprooted. Small and mid-sized farmers grew strong. For the first time since there were farmers in Germany, they owned the soil they tilled. That, along with the many measures by the working class party and the government, allowed Kurt Arnold to become a good farmer within a few years. Time did not stand still. Led by a united working class and its party, our industrious workers industry and agriculture established the conditions for a huge step forward toward the century-old longing of the working class, socialism. Productive capacity had grown so much that it called for a change in the conditions of production. The Second SED Party Congress in 1952 decided on the systematic building of socialism in the GDR.

For the rural population, this means moving from independent farms to cooperative large-scale production, since: “Individual pieces of property inherently exclude things such as the develop of socialist productive forces of labor, social concentration of capital, livestock production on a large scale, and the progressive use of science. (Karl Marx, Capital, v. 3, chapter 47, p. 559)

Farmer Arnold goes his own way

Now there was a new future for Kurt Arnold as well. But what happened?

Ready for the new up until now, he became skeptical. He could not accept this transformation in agriculture. He doubted the LPG [the abbreviation for collective farm] and behaved toward it like a bachelor who never finds a wife because he always finds something to complain about.

His skepticism toward the new, the developing LPGs, is, however, of no effect. The collectives grow and become stronger, as the laws of socialism and mutual aid on the part of the progressive part of our people, the working class, expanded the LPGs.

At the end of 1953, there were 299 LPGs in the Bezirk Karl-Marx-Stadt. On 31 August 1959, there were already 499 LPGs with 15,144 members who farmed 79,180 hectares. The LPG founded just last year in farmer Arnold’s home area, the “Red Banner” in Aitzendorf, is part of this growth.

If we compare the results of independent farmers with those of the cooperatives, it becomes clear even to the skeptics that only the LPG can achieve the results that the Seven-Year-Plan calls for. Everyone can see the LPGs’ progress.

In 1958 the cooperatives of the republic increased their net production per hectare of usable ground by 131.8%, the independent farmers increased production by only 102.2%

Farmer Arnold, however, makes a long-outdated argument. The LPG should first set a good example before he, the “good farmer,” applies to join. If all farmers and all of the working class were so reluctant, finding 1,000 objections to socialist construction, Farmer Arnold himself would not be so prosperous today. Even worse, such an attitude would put the solution to the national problem of the German people in serious jeopardy, and endanger the power of the workers and farmers.

Contrary to this backward position, today 50% of the land in the GDR is today farmed by socialist collectives, and more farmers are constantly applying to join an LPG.

One can see that the socialist transformation of the village is happening with and by the farmers themselves.

But is his argument really the reason that he has not yet joined the collective?

We do not think so. It is an excuse, a way to keep from making a decision for socialism. Of course Kurt Arnold is not against building socialism in the GDR. Oh no. He welcomes it and says that things have never gone as well for him as they are going under the workers’ and farmers’ power.

A “Private Socialist”

What keeps him from becoming a member of the LPG? Should not the holder of so many responsible positions, the vice mayor, the county council candidate, the VdgB chair, the chair of the milk cooperative Kurt Arnold be annoyed with the independent farmer Kurt Arnold? It is contradictory that he presents himself as the representative of socialism, but himself has not found the way to socialism.

Farmer Arnold wants his “own socialism.” For him, socialism means remaining an independent farmer, receiving good prices for what he produces, and earning enough so that he can live a comfortable life.

For us, building socialism means much more. Socialism should provide a comfortable life for all.

The prerequisite for that is eliminating exploitation.

This process was largely instituted in the GDR after 1945 through land reform, state involvement and cooperatives. We want to meet the steadily growing needs of the whole population - the workers, all farmers (including Kurt Arnold), and skilled trade workers, all intellectuals, all retirees. And finally, we want to create a surplus of all products!

The Arnold variety of socialism has a catch. Plainly said, it is “socialism without LPGs.” This is where we part ways. There can never be socialism without LPGs, for only large-scale LPG production guarantees that labor productivity constantly increases and that there is a surplus of production. As Lenin says, in the last analysis labor productivity is the decisive factor for the victory of the new social order.

The LPG is no “SED invention” or an emergency “government measure.” The gathering of farmers for collective labor rests on the objective requirements which building socialism places on our agriculture. A conference of communist and workers’ parties held in Moscow in November 1957 provided that socialist revolution and socialist construction depend on a series of universal laws. One of these general laws is the gradual socialist transformation of agriculture. No country that wants to achieve socialism can avoid it.

So the front is clear. We have laid the foundations of socialism. The V. Party Congress of the SED gave our nation the task of leading socialism to victory. That means every independent farmer should become a good, well-educated, active collective farmer.

The dream of many farmers to keep working in the ways their grandfathers did is inconsistent with the victory of socialism. Why is it inconsistent?

Most independent farmers are good mathematicians. They must admit that their farms have already achieved nearly all the growth in production that is possible. For most farmers, only slight growth is still possible.

How then will we meet the Seven-Year-Plan? What guarantee can independent farmers give us that the main economic goal can be reliably reached:

“The GDR’s national economy must develop so as to prove the clear superiority of the socialist system of the GDR over against the domination of imperialist forces in Bonn. The per capita consumption of our working population must equal and exceed the per capita consumption of the whole population of West Germany for all important foodstuffs and consumer goods.”

By 1962, the GDR’s population should be supplied entirely by domestic livestock production.

Independent farmers owe us an answer. There is only one way to meet the goals of the Seven-Year-Plan: large-scale socialist production.

The LPG has for a long time demonstrated its economic superiority.

But this superiority is not bad for the independent farmer. Well-filled silos and livestock stalls have never been bad. Indeed, the high productive achievements of the LPG contribute to the material and political strength of the DDR, and a strong GDR is also beneficial for the independent farmer.

The hesitant attitude of Karl Arnold does nothing for us.

This hesitant attitude does not strengthen our republic. Whether intentionally or not, his reluctance to join the LPG the building of socialism in the GDR and strengthens capitalism in the West Zone. He reluctance helps the revanchist militarist forces in West Germany to continue their aggressive policies even longer. Kurt Arnold may not think so, but every day provides new proof. Why does Western propaganda bury our collectives in trash, filth and slander? Because socialist agricultural development is a thorn in the eye of the Junkers and monopolists, because it gets in the way of their plans? That is why they incite against our agricultural policy and its collectives, trying to prevent independent farmers from joining LPGs.

Of all people, the old forces that brought disaster to the German nation now say: “Farmer, do not join the LPG, for you will lose everything you have and will be robbed of your freedom.” They are wise enough not to say that they want nothing more than to devour you and make you serfs again. Will you fall for that?

There are still enough gullible souls. They lend their ear to Western propaganda. A good part of our farmers have not yet seen through the swindle. That is a problem for them and us, their friends, and a favor for their worst enemies. Farmer Arnold’s experiences in the Second World War should have opened his eyes! Does he not remember the “district farmers’ leader” who took his only horse in 1944 without bothering to ask how he could then plow his field?

Who sent Kurt Arnold to war in the Second World War? Was it not the Junkers and monopolists out to rob others who misused him? Yet today his uncertainty helps these thieves.

Helps the atomic warriors in Bonn

Cannot farmer Arnold see that the same people who ruined Germany and other peoples twice are preparing a third world war?

If he closes his eyes and ears, he only encourages German imperialists and militarists to keep working on their hopeless position and realizing their plans for war.

They have developed a slimy, nasty plan. One Mr. Schlamm has written a book at the order of War Minister Strauß titled The Limits of Miracles. It makes the unbelievable claim:

Since communism is winning in peace, the West must begin a total atomic war. The Federal Republic must make the sacrifice of becoming a radioactive wasteland.

The war plan assumes 200 million dead. By 1961 the Western monopolists and Junkers want to have their old-new army equipped with atomic weapons. Farmer Arnold, you do not want a wasteland either, you too want to stop the warmongers.

Fine and good! The only way we can stop the unscrupulous thieves in the West is to rapidly transform our agriculture in a socialist way.

Why? Because we can thereby prove the superiority of socialism to capitalism by providing a persuasive example for all of Germany, one that will impress millions of West Germans.

The faster the socialist sector of agriculture grows, the faster our main economic goal will be reached, and the stronger will be the GDR. We are strong not only because we have a powerful army.

We are strong above all when we daily produce better and more economically. That is “socialism’s artillery”; it will help to defeat West German atomic weapons and revanchism, and determine developments in all of Germany.

Most independent farmers still do not see this. They have not realized that peace and socialism are one thing. He who wants peace must actively fight for socialism.

Waiting and tea drinking

How long will the independent farmer be only a beneficiary of the successes of the socialist order? Does he enjoy watching over the fence while his colleagues join to form socialist collectives, uniting with the working class to turn all their strength to the struggle for the victory of socialism in the shortest time?

A peaceful democratic reunification of Germany is impossible without the successful building of socialism in our republic.

We gave each farmer time to think. Kurt Arnold, too, has had time since 1952 to consider his role in building socialism. He even knew the answer in 1951!

When asked then how he saw the future of agriculture, he gave the right answer:

We must follow the example of the Soviet Union!

And today? The “how” no longer interests him.

Socialism in the GDR is developing rapidly. The pace is not arbitrary. It follows from the struggle between the two social systems in Germany, and above all from the fact that the Western imperialists and militarists want to be prepared for atomic war by 1961.

That gives us the right to ask our independent farmers when they will decide for socialism. He should give answer as often as we ask. It is no longer enough to say: “Socialism is fine and good.”

Today everyone must take the necessary actions.

Farmer Arnold wants to make his joining the LPG dependent on economic and organizational questions. The LPG is not merely a new form of economic cooperation. The cooperatives have brought entirely new conditions to agriculture.

The LPG has abolished the exploitation of one man by another. The foundation is the socialist principle: Each according to his abilities, each according to his accomplishments. Human relationships are changing: instead of working against or alongside each other, people work with each other.

Cultural live in the countryside blossoms, and the difference between urban and rural, between physical and intellectual work is eliminated.

Building socialism requires that industry and agriculture develop on the same lines, on the foundations of socialist conditions of production. Since socialist construction began with us, it is become clear that there is a growing gap between industry and agriculture. That is because the nature of production is socialist, but the farms of independent farmers follow simple individual production. The small operations are in increasing conflict with steadily developing modern technology with its combines and large equipment, demonstrated recently at the agricultural exhibition in Markkleeberg. The agreement of the PV with the PK is an objective law.

Our industry is developing rapidly, and as among the most advanced and capable in Europe. We are fifth in Europe and seventh in the world in industrial production. This contributes to the international respect that we enjoy today.

Socialist reconstruction is the most important form of struggle in increasing productivity today. What does socialist reconstruction mean?

It means this: the most rational organization of production on the basis of the most advanced science and technology and the full use of the creative initiative of our workers. But that is possible in agriculture only with large socialist cooperatives, not with many small, fragmented individual farms. There one always has the old boundaries.

As long as Kurt Arnold remains an independent farmer, he hinders socialist construction, whether he wants to or not. It moves on one healthy and one lame leg. It is not responsible for that lame leg. But with our help it can be cured rapidly. That lame leg is the remains of capitalism in his farm and in his thinking.

“The farming economy remains as before a small productive concern. Here we have an extraordinarily broad and deeply rooted foundation for capitalism.” (Lenin/Stalin: On Questions of Agriculture — Economics and Politics in the Epoch of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat.)

And so joining the LPG is not only a way of abolishing the limitations of independent farming and ensuring the rapid growth of agriculture, just as in industry. It is also to overcome for all time the last remnants of capitalism in agriculture.

Kurt Arnold should free himself of his false ideas about the LPG and go the way of progress. That is not his downfall, rather his only way to progress.

Thanks to its objective laws and thanks to the efforts of workers, socialism is advancing. Nothing will stop the victory of socialism in the GDR, nothing in the villages either.

And our government passed a law on the LPG in April 1959. It declares that administrative chicanery is illegal, and that the foundation of the LPG is voluntary entry.

Imagined and real freedom

The independent farmer thinks that he will no longer have his freedom if he joins the LPG, The opposite is the case! He loses his lack of freedom by joining the LPG! He gives up the yoke of an unlimited working day, the burden of hard physical labor. If he believes that he will no longer be able to do what he wants, we ask him: “Can he do that as an independent farmer?”

He cannot!

He must sow and pull turnips, harvest grain and feed his animals. As an independent farmer, he must do all this alone, and under conditions that do not even allow him to think about his personal wishes. He must do all the work himself.

The truck driver cannot drink and the gas station attendant may not smoke on the job. They know that is necessary, and do not feel deprived of their freedom. The farmer must fight potato beetles and weeds with chemicals. Otherwise they will ruin the harvest! Does he feel robbed of his freedom? The only ones not free in this situation are the potato beetles and turnip flies.

Can there be any freedom outside social development? As Karl Marx said, freedom is understanding necessity.

The independent farmer who sees a contradiction between his freedom and the principles of cooperative order and democracy included in the LPG rules is attempting to apply the bourgeois concept of freedom to the socialist system.

A farmer today who wants such freedom is not satisfied with the freedom that we have, rather he wants the freedom so loudly praised in the West. And what kind of wonderful freedom is found in the West? Why, the farmer there has every manner of freedom. He has the freedom to sit on “mountains of potatoes” or “mountains of swine,” thanks to the free market, or to drown in a “flood of milk.” The small and middle-sized West German farmer knows nothing about a guaranteed market for his produce. He has the freedom within the “European Economic Community” to give his land to a “family operation” and work as a serf as long as he is able.

And when is he no longer able?

Then he has the freedom to bless the high profits of the day.

RIAS [“Radio in the American Sector,” an American station that broadcast in West Berlin, but could be heard in most of the GDR] naturally says nothing about that.

Bourgeois freedom is freedom for big landowners and monopolists to exploit everyone else. This freedom does not exist by us any longer. We want to establish a standard of living that exceeds that of West Germany, while the imperialists in Bonn want to militarize the whole economy and complete atomic armament by 1961. The ruthlessness they display toward farmers is proved by the fact that 200,000 farms of up to 10 hectares have been devoured by large operations in the last ten years. The Lübke [a West German politician] plan calls this “housecleaning.” The capitalist world is also building large agricultural operations. The difference is that the farmers are going to the dogs.

Did not farmer Arnold face in 1943 the same situation that faces his colleagues in the West today? Was he not to give his land to the “Reich Agricultural Trust,” and receive in place stolen land in the East? An article in the West German farmer’s newspaper “Das Land” on 22 July 1959 makes it clear that the same process is continuing today in West Germany:

“The European Commission for Agriculture has made many declarations that make clear that the number of farms will continue to decrease”

So who is a good farmer?

Let us return to the beginning of our difference with Kurt Arnold.

He says that he is a good farmer because he meets his obligations to the state.

We, and all other active builders of socialism, are of a different opinion because we must think of the whole process of social development. The good work that Kurt Arnold does every day is one side of the matter. The position of the individual in the socialist society is the other side. Only he can claim to be a good, progressive farmer who advances the new that is developing with us and who is constantly seeking to give society his best.

The only good farmer is he who accelerates the victory of socialism.

As long as farmer Arnold holds to the old views, as long as he prefers the “I” to the “we,” he is like it or not a hindrance to our socialist construction. That harms him and the whole society.

His individualistic standpoint is incompatible with the victory of socialism and communism that is happening in our day.

The rapid construction in socialist lands, particularly in the Soviet Union, and the ever decreasing influence of the imperialists, are eloquent testimony to the unconquerable ideas of our great teachers Marx, Engels, and Lenin.

A third of all the people in the world have already chosen the path to socialism and are building together a new and happy life. The triumphant visit of Soviet Premier N. S. Krushchev to the USA proves that the world socialist system is determining human development. The farmers in Iowa applauded not only Krushchev himself, but also the successes of the socialist agriculture that he represents.

We ask independent farmer Kurt Arnold and those who agree with him to read our article and the theses of the Central Committee of the SED on the 10th anniversary of the GDR as well as the Law on the Seven-Year-Plan. Then it should not be difficult for them to have a new opinion and take the big step of joining the LPG. Such a step serves the peaceful, happy future of all of humanity.

Department of Propaganda-Agitation of the East German Communist Party, District Office Karl-Marx-Stadt

[Page copyright © 2001 by Randall Bytwerk. No unauthorized reproduction. My e-mail address is available on the FAQ page.]

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