Jacobin Magazine: Stasi Daycare

I am an enormous nerd that still sends letters-to-editors. I sent this one a few months ago to the socialist periodical Jacobin. The title is theirs, though nicely done. You can read the letter here.

Stasi Day Care

Like Orwell says, “The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.”

It’s hard to imagine Connor Kilpatrick is sincere when he states [“It’s Okay to Have Children,” Jacobin #30] that “today, the only nations that come close to East Germany’s commitment to providing women this kind of freedom are the countries where the organized working classes have made successful incursions against capitalism’s imperatives.” If he’s dissembling when he cites this East German “freedom,” then his otherwise lucid argument suffers for the dismissal. If he’s sincere, then the radical left is trapped in the same cycle of denial for which Orwell skewered them eighty years ago.

My politics put me on the radical fringe. But, in any honest critique of capitalism, the social freedom of the democratic mixed economies has to count for something. East Germany may have had extraordinary health benefits for new mothers, but it also had the Stasi. No serious analysis can call that a “commitment to freedom.”

— Peter Amos, Queens, NY