A Commentary on Rudolf Bahro's Alternative

Ralph Miliband


At the time this is written (July 1979), Rudolf Bahro is still in prison in the German Democratic Republic, purging an eight-year sentence for 'treason' which he received in June 1978. His real crime was that he, a functionary of the East German state and party apparatus and a party member since 1952 (he was then seventeen), wrote a book which was published in West Germany in 1977 and which is deeply critical of the 'actually existing socialism' he has served in different capacities and in different spheres for more than two decades. His imprisonment and his sentence have provoked a campaign of protest in a number of countries, notably West Germany but also France, Britain and Italy. This is all to the good, and, must go on until Bahro is released; and what is done on his behalf is also helpful to other 'dissidents' in East Germany who suffer pressure and persecution.

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