50th Anniversary: X. World Festival of Youth and Students in Berlin, DDR

In July 1973, exactly 50 years ago, the 10th edition of the World Festi­val began in Berlin, the capi­tal of the German Demo­cra­tic Repu­blic (GDR). From 28 July to 5 August, 8 million parti­ci­pants, inclu­ding 25,600 guests from 140 count­ries, took part in a broad programme of over 200 poli­ti­cal and 1,000 cultu­ral events under the slogan “For anti-impe­ria­list Soli­da­rity, Peace, and Friendship”.

“L’option socialiste”: Mali’s non-capitalist development and the international communist movement

From 1960 to 1968, the Repu­blic of Mali was at the fore­front of social revo­lu­tion in Africa. The country’s gover­ning party, the Union Souda­naise, had refu­sed to settle for formal poli­ti­cal sove­reig­nty and declared in 1960 that the repu­blic would opt for “l’op­tion socia­liste” to secure econo­mic inde­pen­dence from impe­ria­lism and social libe­ra­tion for the Malian people. This brief episode of revo­lu­tio­nary uphe­aval in Mali offers insights into seve­ral central aspects of anti-impe­ria­lism in the 20th century.

“We always asked ourselves: Does this solidarity project serve the overall development of this country?”

Achim Reichardt, born in 1929, had served as a diplo­mat for the GDR in Sudan, Leba­non, and Libya. From 1982 to 1990 he was gene­ral secre­tary of the Soli­da­rity Commit­tee of the GDR, an orga­niza­tion emer­ging in the 1960s to admi­nis­ter the finan­cial and mate­rial dona­ti­ons coll­ec­ted by the GDR’s mass orga­niza­ti­ons to support the libe­ra­tion move­ments and newly inde­pen­dent states in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The Soli­da­rity Commit­tee became a central coor­di­na­tor of the GDR’s soli­da­rity worldwide.