Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Was Dutschke subversive? (1971)

From the April 1971 issue of the Socialist Standard

Rudi Dutschke, the former German student leader, has been expelled from Britain because the government decided that his political views were a threat to the “security” of the British State.

Most people will know that Britain, like all States, has a secret police force and some will have probably assumed that it was exclusively concerned with tracking down spies and with spying on other governments. The Dutschke case brought to the attention of the general public the fact that the so-called “security service” is also involved in spying on internal opponents of the government who have no connection whatsoever with any overseas government.

The hearing of Dutschke’s appeal against expulsion was essentially a political trial. His political views were being examined to see whether he should be classified as an ordinary or as a subversive opponent of the government. The tribunal decided his views were subversive.

What were these views, anyway? Dutschke, according to his representative before the Tribunal Basic Wigoder QC, "had repeatedly said that before his idea of a new society could come into existence the minority had to enlighten the public generally until the minority became a majority in support of his views” (Times, 23 December). Richard Davy, writing in the Times (9 January), stated that Dutschke “yearns for a classless and moneyless utopia in which every individual is free and equal” and Dutschke had previously told Davy in an interview that “a life independent of wages” was his aim (Times, 16 January).

The government were certainly right to regard anyone who spreads ideas about a classless, moneyless, wageless society to be set up by an enlightened majority as dangerous to the capitalist system it is their role to protect.

Unfortunately, not all Dutschke’s ideas are as good as these. He is confused about the nature of the system in Russia and East Europe and seems to favour minority direct action or "revolutionary terror” against the authorities as one means of enlightening the majority, a policy he should know is bound to lead to violence in which those best equipped and trained to use it — the authorities — will come off best.

Nevertheless Dutschke is one of the growing number of people — including Tariq Ali and some of the hippies and yippies — who are coming round to the Socialist view that money and wages have no place in a sane world.

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