Chapter Nineteen - The Ninth Congress
PRESENTING THE REPORT of the Central Committee to the Ninth Congress of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, held in Berlin during May 1976, Erich Honecker, General Secretary, said:
"The period between the Eighth Congress and the Ninth Congress of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany was one in which the party achieved a vast amount. Lying behind us are five successful years in which the working class, the co-operative farmers, the intellectuals and professional people and all other sections of the working population scored impressive creative achievements. These were years of substantial progress in the building of an advanced socialist society, years in which the central policy of our party - marked as it is by the inseparable unity between economic and social policies - made its impact felt in everyday life for the benefit of our socialist society and for the benefit of each and everyone of our people."
In specific terms, the national income of the GDR had reached almost 148,000 million marks in the period under review. In the period from 1971 to 1976, nearly 760,000 dwellings had been completed and let at an average monthly rental equivalent to no more than five per cent of the net income of the family in occupation. Between 1967 and 1977, average monthly earnings had increased from 653 marks to 927 marks while retail prices, rents and fares had remained unaltered.
In looking ahead, it was necessary that the programme of the party should "take account of and reflect the great changes" that had taken place within the GDR and in the international standing of the GDR. The new programme recognised that "our era is one of transition from capitalism to socialism" and that "socialism is exerting an increasingly decisive influence on world-wide developments." In these circumstances the Socialist Unity Party of Germany set itself "the aim of continuing the construction of an advanced socialist society in the German Democratic Republic, thereby creating fundamental conditions for the gradual transition to communism."
Space does not permit a detailed analysis of the practical points embodied in the programme of this important congress. The main documents are available from the Britain-GDR Society at 129 Seven Sisters Road, London N7 7QG at very little cost and should be closely studied. Details of membership of the society may also be had from the same address.
Speaking at a Plenary Session of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party, held in Berlin on the 24th and 25th May 1978, Erich Honecker said:
"Thirty years of the GDR attest to the triumph of the ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin on German soil. It is becoming increasingly clear with every passing day that the GDR is a genuine worker-peasant state that represents the interests of the entire people. The earnest of our success is the fraternal alliance with the Soviet Union and our state's firm place in the socialist community. The GDR thus belongs to the most powerful and influential force of our time - the socialist world system."