Former East German Communists Training, Guiding Democratic Socialists of America

August 22, 2018 Updated: September 4, 2018    

The United States’ largest Marxist organization, Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), is being trained—and guided—by an extremely well-funded network of “former” East German communists. Many of these German communists were documented informants for the notorious former East German intelligence service: the Stasi.

At over 49,000 members—and growing fast—DSA has exploded from an obscure political sect only two years ago to a major force in the increasingly radical American left. DSA is on the verge of electing members Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Congress and is behind dozens of other DSA members and “fellow travelers” to lesser offices.

Just one stark example is the success of state House candidates Sara Innamorato, Summer Lee, Elizabeth Fiedler, and Kristin Seale in the Democratic primaries in Pennsylvania in May. They are all DSA members.

DSA takes pains to portray itself as open, “democratic,” and completely opposed to the totalitarian socialism of the former Eastern Bloc. DSA claims to be all about Sweden and Norway; not about Bulgaria, Cuba or the former Soviet Union. The reality is completely different.

DSA is willingly working with dedicated foreign communists to change America forever.

East German Communists

When the Berlin Wall fell on Nov. 9, 1989, the Moscow-aligned Socialist Unity Party (SED) held unchallenged power in the German Democratic Republic—East Germany.

In my own country New Zealand, our pro-Soviet Communists called themselves the Socialist Unity Party to emulate their German idols. Communists from all over the world regarded East Germany, much more so than the Soviet Union, as the model “socialist state.” President Erich Honecker with his secret police, barbed wire, and machine guns was regarded as the exemplary communist leader.

Within days of the wall falling SED gave up its monopoly on power, and West German political parties quickly opened shop in the East. Soon, the SED lost 95 percent of its members. In a few months, only the hardest of the hardcore and a handful of younger “reform communists” remained.

The SED quickly changed its name to the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS). Old style communism was gone. It would seem that German citizens had nothing to fear from this new party of “democratic socialism.”

In 2007, the PDS further distanced itself from its communist past by merging with the Western-based Electoral Alternative for Labour and Social Justice (WASG) to form Die Linke (translates to “The Left”). Most Germans remained extremely skeptical of Die Linke, and rightfully so.

Surveillance

The now-unified Federal Republic of Germany operates a system of “Verfassungsschutz” (Protection of the Constitution) at both federal and state levels.

The 2007 annual German intelligence gazette cites as evidence of “extremism” Die Linke leader Lothar Bisky’s June 2007 statement that democratic socialism remains the party’s goal: “We also still discuss the change of property and power relations. … We question the system.” In addition, the report cites “openly extremist groupings” within the party, including the Communist Platform and several Trotskyist groups known to operate under the Die Linke banner.

In January 2012, it became public that more than one-third of the party’s parliamentarians were under intelligence service surveillance.

The files on Vice President Petra Pau of the lower house of parliament (the Bundestag) were reported to be 600 pages thick.

According to a 2008 report cited in Der Spiegel: “According to the study, about one in 20 members of the former East German Communist party, the SED, was a secret police informant. Over the regime’s 51-year history the number of civilian spies added up to about 620,000, including 12,000 West Germans who worked for the Communist dictatorship.

“For most Stasi informers the prime motivation, the study found, was a belief in the Communist state’s political ideology.”

As it was only the most committed communists who remained in the SED after 1989, it’s possible that many more than 5 percent of current Die Linke members had worked for the Stasi.

Brie Brothers

Several major Die Linke leaders have been exposed as Stasi informers, including the Brie brothers, Andre and Michael. Sons of lifelong communist “true-believer” and East German Ambassador to China and North Korea Horst Brie, the brothers both voluntarily offered to work for the secret police, against their fellow citizens.

At age 19, Andre Brie began informing in 1969 for the Stasi in Potsdam under the code name “Peter Scholz.” He received the Medal of Merit  in bronze for his “work.” Andre Brie spied on friends, girlfriends, and work colleagues. In 1986, he demanded an increase in “revolutionary vigilance” at his workplace, the Institute for International Relations.

Andre’s younger brother Michael began studying philosophy in Leningrad in 1974 and continued in 1976 at Humboldt University in East Berlin.

In 1977, the 23-year-old student signed a written statement agreeing to work for the Stasi. Michael Brie’s job was mainly to spy on foreign students studying at his university. In 1990, Michael Brie was investigated by Humboldt University for his communist-era espionage.

According to a subsequent report, “From 1977 to November 1989, he [Michael Brie] was an informal member of the Domestic Security Division and, judging from what the Tribunal had heard, he was mainly involved in recruiting foreign students for socialist intelligence services.”

Michael Brie was a spy recruiter, a solicitor of treason. In 1991, he was fired by Humboldt University for his actions.

Andre Brie also suffered for his spying, or rather for keeping it secret. On Oct. 25, 1991, Brie was forced to resign as chairman of the Berlin PDS when his past Stasi collaboration was exposed, but the episode was only a minor setback in the young communist’s career.

Committees of Correspondence

In 1994, Andre Brie was in Chicago representing the PDS at the founding of a new American communist organization, the Committees of Correspondence (CoC). Modeled largely on the successful Brazilian Workers Party, CoC was designed to adapt communism to the post-Soviet era. It consisted mainly of former Pro-Soviet Communist Party USA members, former Maoists, Trotskyists, and some DSA activists.

According to Chicago DSA’s New Ground of September 1994:

“Over 500 delegates and observers (including 140 from Chicago) attended the founding convention of the Committees of Correspondence (CoC) held here in Chicago in July.

“Speakers … included Charles Nqukula, General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, Dulce Maria Pereira, a senatorial candidate of the Workers Party of Brazil, Angela Davis of CoC, Andre Brie of the Party of Democratic Socialism of Germany.

“Guests during the Convention included Cook County Commissioner Danny Davis, Chicago Aldermen Helen Shiller and Rick Munoz, a representative of the Green Left Weekly of Australia and a representative of the Cuban Interest Section.”

That’s right—the Danny Davis, the one who now serves as a congressman for Illinois and who served on the House Homeland Security Committee. He was a card-carrying member of DSA.

CoC never lived up to expectations. It was supposed to become a mass party, to eventually overtake the Democratic Party. Today’s communists are looking to DSA to fulfill CoC’s failed promise.

Rosa Luxemburg Foundation

Today, Andre Brie, Die Linke, sits on the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs. He also serves on the Steering Committee of the German–Russian Petersburg Dialogue, which promotes friendly relations between Germany and Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

In 1990, Andre Brie had helped establish a foundation: the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS), a wholly controlled affiliate of Die Linke. Named after the famed German revolutionary leader, the RLS has “been committed to the analysis of social processes and developments worldwide.”

“Its international activities aim to provide civic education by means of academic analyses, public programs, and projects conducted together with partner institutions,” it states.

The RLS is not a small operation. It has offices all over Germany. In 2015, the foundation received a staggering 47 million Euro (approximately $54 million) courtesy of the German taxpayer.

The chairman of the budget committee in the lower house of the German Parliament, Gesine Lötzsch, a Die Linke leader, had to defend this generosity to a curious German press. According to German News site Internetz Zeitung, Lötzsch responded: “[T]he coalition agreement has highlighted the importance of political foundations. This is followed by deeds.” The author added: “Lötzsch was for a long time the deputy chairman of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, which is close to her party.” This is a striking example of “crony communism.”

Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung funds 17 foreign offices sited on every continent. They include outposts in Beijing and Moscow and on New York City’s Madison Avenue.

Andre Brie’s younger brother Michael has also served on various program commissions of the PDS/Die Linke and today is a researcher at the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung in Berlin. His work focuses on the “theory and history of socialism and communism.”

‘Influential Progressives and Leftists’

A conference “Mapping Socialist Strategies” was convened from Aug. 1 to 4 in Briarcliff Manor, New York, by the New York office of the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. It brought together 100 “influential progressives and leftists” from across the United States, Canada, and Europe for an “un-conference” on socialist strategies.

Plenary No. 4 was entitled “overcoming fragmentation and rebuilding the Left.” It states: “Michael Brie and Sarah Leonard discuss building left alliances and new trends on the left. How can the left rediscover and strengthen relationships amongst natural allies in the fight to defend the public sphere and defeat encroaching neoliberalism?”

Panelist Sarah Leonard was an editor at DSA-linked publication Dissent magazine and a DSA member.

Did Leonard have any inkling that her co-panelist once spied on young foreigners like her? Does she understand that Michael Brie once sought to recruit ego-driven young idealists to spy on their own countrymen for a totalitarian dictatorship?

Most of DSA’s top leadership were present at the conference, including DSA National Director Maria Svart, DSA Vice Chair Joseph Schwartz, DSA-linked publication Jacobin editor Bhaskar Sunkara, Jacobin magazine national organizer Neal Meyer, former Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) leader Betsy Avila and the legendary Frances Fox Piven of the “Cloward-Piven” strategy, which sought to “overwhelm the system” in America by flooding welfare to deliberately bankrupt states. Two DSA members Ethan Earle and Heidi Chua Schwa from the RLS-NY office also attended, as did several German-born staff.

Also present were Communist Party USA leaders Libero Della Pina and Judith LeBlanc. LeBlanc was a prominent organizer of the protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline. Other Dakota Access Pipeline organizers included Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza and several other affiliates of the Maoist-leaning Freedom Road Socialist Organization, including labor official Bill Fletcher, Jr. environmental activist Bill Gallegos, and San Francisco Chinese Progressive Association Executive Director Alex Tom.

Leftist media personality and host Laura Flanders was at the conference, along with Anne Mitchell and Pat Fry from the Committees of Correspondence, plus International Socialist Organization member Jonah Birch.

International guests included the head of Die Linke’s Strategy Department Christina Kaindl, Harald Wolf of Die Linke’s Executive Board, and Koray Yilmaz-Gunay, adviser for migration at the RLS Berlin.

Others included Dutch Socialist Party Secretary Hans van Heijningen, Swedish Left Party press secretary Petter Nilsson, Portuguese Left Bloc member Catarina Principe, far left Greek party SYRIZA’s European Policy Secretariat member Ioannis Bournous, and Deputy Director of the RLS Center for International Dialogue and Cooperation Karin Gabbert.

These “enemies foreign and domestic” plotted and strategized against the U.S. Constitution for four days. All presumably paid for by RLS, courtesy of the German taxpayer.

Seminars, Training Sessions, Conferences

The RLS-NY office has hosted multiple seminars and training sessions for DSA members and their allies.

In 2017, RLS-NY funded a training session for 45 Black DSA members, the AFROSOC, DSA’s black caucus:

“AFROSOC advocates for and builds power with DSA’s Black/POC membership and their communities. We pursue this work to help build a multiracial working-class base, the only viable strategy for securing a socialist future.

“Generously funded by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, the caucus hosted its first training in NYC for 45 DSA members nationwide in 2017. Members of DSA’s national training team led modules focused on socialist organizing, leadership development and campaign strategy.”

On May 21, 2018, RLS-NY organized a conference on Marxist “Historical Materialism” in Montreal, Canada. Attendees included Michael Brie (RLS Berlin), Maria Starzmann (RLS–NY), Ethan Young (DSA member and People for Bernie co-founder), and Lorenz Gosta Beutin, a Die Linke member of Parliament.

In 2016, RLS sponsored the Young Democratic Socialists national conference. “Speakers from Jacobin magazine, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, and College Students for Bernie, as well as the We Need Bernie Committee of the DSA, addressed a packed room … many informative workshops, plenaries, and even casual conversations addressed the true impact of the Sanders campaign and how we should use it as a means to a greater end, by building the DSA and building the next socialist movement.”

From June 24 to 25, 2017, RLS-NY co-hosted a “Democratic Socialism 101” workshop in collaboration with DSA. More than 30 leaders from across the United States came to New York—together with 12 trainers—to participate in this “train the trainer” weekend, hosted at the RLS-NY office.

“Topics we covered included: an introduction to training & community agreements; creating socialist communities and cultures at the base; social movements and fights for racial justice and socialist feminism; network mapping and coalition building; and identifying and developing leaders.”

RLS-NY also sponsors regular DSA seminars and webinars with titles such as “Democracy, radical, liberal, socialist,” “Climate change and just transition,” and “The far right in Government.”

From May 2 to 6, 2018 in Berlin, the Rosa-Luxemburg Stiftung organized an international congress on Karl Marx’s 200th birthday.

Panelists included Die Linke leader Katja Kipping; Zhang Shuangli of Fudan University, China;. British Marxist filmmaker Paul Mason and co-organizer of recent anti-Trump protests in London; Italian communist leader Luciana Castellina; and Vishwas Satgar, a former leader of the South African Communist Party.

American participants honoring Marx in the country of his birth included academics Michael Hardt (Duke University), Gayatri Spivak (Columbia University), Arlie Hochschild (UC Berkeley and wife of DSA member and professor at the Graduate School of Journalism Adam Hochschild), Tithi Bhattacharya (director of global studies at Purdue University and a member of the International Socialist Organization), and Sarah Leonard (senior editor with the DSA-aligned The Nation and DSA member).

German communists are spending foreign money to influence American politics. They are training and directing DSA and other Marxist organizations against the interests of the American people.

Former Stasi collaborators are guiding the largest socialist-communist organization on the American left. DSA is being influenced and supported by lifelong supporters of one the most tyrannical regimes in modern history.

Where is the Federal Bureau of Investigation? Why are they not investigating this blatant foreign subversion?

RECOMMENDED