A fascinating – and hopeful – report from a friend in East Germany:
As a left-winger you have probably already thought about what you would do differently if you could exercise command and would work with people, right?
At least that’s the case with me. And I always knew exactly: I want to talk to people honestly, face to face. And I want to talk to them on an equal footing. No instructions from above, no arrogance. We want to do everything together. Because I’m a socialist. I am also a gardener and self-sufficient and live far out in the country in a small house with ten tenants. Until recently, a terrible and villainous caretaker ruled here, working with methods of psychological terror, violence and harassment, which made people tremble in a climate of fear.
Then she applied for the CDU in local elections. She was counting on a victory to be able to exert even more power and pressure in the village. The day of the election came and she received 8 votes. Not 8 percent, but 8 votes – from the whole community, a union of several villages with 3600 voters! The election result was also shown on the bulletin board next to the bus stop for a whole month.
The evil caretaker’s power was broken, nobody was more afraid of her. She retired, the post became vacant. It is important to know that many extremely poor and uneducated people live here in the village due to the extremely low rental prices for apartments. Outcasts of society, alcoholics, people who have never worked. And me. I am not particularly talented in terms of craftsmanship and have never really had to deal with a group of other people, especially with such a difficult group. Nevertheless, I asked the house owner to give me the job of the caretaker, which he did immediately. The mood was not good at first – living in the same house as the supervisor, what a shit!
But that changed very quickly.
I talked to people as I intended. If there is a problem, I go to these people. I greet them and ask them how they are doing. I tell them that I like them very much, but that something is making me sad at the moment.”If you drop your plastic waste wherever you stand, innocent animals have to die from it just because you do. So that these animals don’t die, I have to bend down and clear away all the trash. It is not my trash at all, because I have not dropped it. ”I explain to them what solidarity is and that solidarity makes life easier for everyone. I suggest that we clear the trash together first. Then, step by step, they get used to throwing their rubbish into a garbage can. Above all, I make them understand that they don’t have to be afraid of me. I won’t scold if something doesn’t work out. They don’t do this for me, but for all of us.
Last night there was an incident in a neighboring apartment, as it often happens. A young couple had been drinking too much, now they were screaming, hitting themselves and smashing furniture. I knocked on the door of their apartment, then I explained to them that there will be no more violence here in the house, I will not tolerate that. Everyone can argue, but then you have to talk about the problem and find a common solution. Blows don’t solve interpersonal problems, they just create them. They truly understood this, went out into the fresh air with the dogs and cooled off.
Whenever someone does something good in the house, I give them extensive praise. Many come from broken families and have never been praised by anyone in their lives. Isn’t it terribly sad?
Dear readers, something happened that nobody but me believed. The people in our house (and this spills over to the neighboring houses!) clean the stairway independently, they keep the yard tidy, are friendlier to each other and clear away their rubbish. Recently one said: “You talk like one of the socialists!” I replied, “That’s because I’m a socialist.” He asked: “So you want the GDR back where everyone was locked up?” I replied: “No, as a socialist you don’t want the GDR back and you don’t want to lock up anyone. That’s just what they tell people on TV to scare them. Socialists want freedom and peace. Socialism means that not a few have a lot of money and a lot of people are poor, but that everyone has enough money. ” In the meantime, tenants from other houses have already asked whether I could also be their caretaker.
Dear readers, I wish you a happy day!