From an outside perspective, it would seem that human rights would be an idea that the East German regime would have had great difficulty reconciling itself with. However, in this episode of the pod, Dr. Ned Richardson-Little, author of The Human Rights Dictatorship: Socialism, Global Solidarity, and Revolution in East Germany, explains how the ruling SED Party fostered the development of a concept of human rights which was compatible with the socialist regime’s domestic and international aims and rejected a liberal individualist understandings of such rights.
Dr. Richardson-Little joins host John Paul Kleiner (GDR Objectified blog) to discuss how human rights evolved within SED from a subject the Party was uncomfortable with to one which, for an extended period of time, played a key role in helping secure support for the socialist project in the GDR. He also unpacks how human rights were understood within the population and the role human rights discourses played in bringing down ‘real existing socialism’ in 1989.
Dr. Ned Richardson-Little is a Freigeist Fellow at Universität Erfurt, Germany, where he leads a project on international crime and globalization. Some of you may have encountered him on Twitter @HistoryNed handle or his blog “Superfluous Answers to Necessary Questions”.
More information on subjects raised in this episode:
Photo credit to appear with image of book cover: © Estate Sibylle Bergemann, OSTKREUZ; Courtesy Loock Galerie, Berlin
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