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Cook, Alice Hanson / Workers' education in the U.S. Zone of Germany
(1947)

Military government's interest in workers' education,   pp. 3-5 PDF (1.7 MB)


Page 4

Is Germany going to continue indefinitely on a four-zsoa1 aW
the London conference result in the dovelopmont of an Fast Germany under
Russian influence and a West Germany under the Western powers? Will there
be
a currency reform, and for the West Zone alone? Can Germany ever really unite
again if the occupation with its di vergent economic and political policies
continues for a long period? Should the unions give up the hope of a re-
united Germany, and for a bizonal or trizonal federation in the West, or
shall they continue to be decentralized and maintain what relationships they
can with the East Zone on a par with the other zonal federations?
LABOR POLITICS
In the absence of union ties to any particular party, all parties, and
especially the parties with large working class memberships, want to use
the
unions for certain of their aims, and to use the unions as areas for re-
cruiting party members.
This development could be regarded with a degree of objectivity if the
Communist party with its well-known link to Soviet foreign policy were not
exploiting the weaknesses of the situation for all they are worth.
The acute shortage of trade union leadership offers an opportunity for
thtCommunists to fill that gap with their own well schooled representatives.
Military Government is in possession of information which shots that the
Communist party is conducting its own schools for works councillors thus
formalizing the informal infiltration which goes on all the time. The seriouq
danger involved in this situation is that the men and women they are seeking
to win, over have had no trade union schooling during the whole Nazi period.
In their present frustration, non-political workers will grasp for any progr5
which seems to offer answers to their problems. And the already convinced
Communists receive an intensive psychological and technical training to fit
them for leadership in the present highly unstable and future revolutionary
situations.
The set up which gives the works councils special powers and respons-
ibilities in the shops provides the possibility of cutting off the union
from direct contacts with the rank and file of workers, if works councillors
are politically in opposition to official union policy or leadership.
Communist policy apparently is to capture as many of these posts as possiblep1
in order to have a key position for influencing the rank and file of workers
for their own trade union policy and thus for using the works councils as
an
opposition to the unions and their leaders.
The food crisis, the importance of making some kind of decision on
Germany's future, the undefined and uncompleted nature of American ind.uistril
policy, continued dismantling of factories with their threats of uneemp-ofllze
and further industrial dislocation, the overshadowing black market -andtleC
expected currency reform all are grist to the mill of the Communists in thc
shops. It serves their purposes at present to create confusion and dis-trust
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