50,000 people attend German Communist Party media fair

DORTMUND, Germany -- The biannual press fair of Unzere Zeit [Our Time], the socialist weekly newspaper of the German Communist Party, was attended by 50,000 people over the weekend of June 19–21 in Revier Park near Dortmund, Germany.

The three-day program of the “UZ Press Fair—the German Communist Party Festival of Solidarity” featured music and dance, forums on a wide variety of topics, and book and art displays. Red flags waved, peace signs abounded; Che Guevara beamed from banners, and Marx both serious and in friendly caricature was everywhere.

For an American visitor the atmosphere combined elements reminiscent of state or county fairs, amusement parks, rock concerts, and political discussions, rallies and demonstrations.

Noteworthy were the large number of young people at the fair and activities organized for them by the Socialist German Workers Youth organization. Games and competitions, craft projects, boating, and even harnessed tree-climbing were provided for young children.

National and regional food stands were particularly popular. Booths set up by Communist Party units and progressive organizations from various regions of Germany and immigrant communities as well as by fraternal Communist parties from other countries provided literature, political souvenirs, and music. Visitors to the CPUSA booth snapped up of several types of buttons issued by the CPUSA in recent years.

Performances by the New York-based Walkabout Clearwater Chorus and the Chilean IntiIllimani music group drew large audiences as did several well-known European entertainers.

Especially moving was the appearance of an elderly woman who as a child had played in an inmate orchestra at the Auschwitz death camp. With a voice still strong and passionate, she led the audience in the singing of the German concentration camp song, “We Are the Peat-Bog Soldiers.”

Representatives from some thirty Communist Parties, including the CPUSA, attended. The Ambassadors of Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela; and a representative from the Embassy of Vietnam spoke at the fair.

German Communist Party Chair Heinz Stehr, in greeting the foreign guests, stressed the importance of the weeklong strike by high-school and university students, concluding that weekend, in protest against cuts in the education budget, shortening of public primary and secondary education by one year and the redirection of broad culturally based education to meet the narrow needs of big capital.

He noted that the strike, in which 250,000 students were taking part, had taken on a visible anti-capitalist character as evidenced by the prevalence of the color red in the streets.

One daring and imaginative group, apparently armed with water pistols, even occupied a bank. For the youth to recognizing their real enemy, he noted, is an encouraging sign.

In his farewell, Wolfgang Teuber, editor of Unzere Zeit, thanked the foreign representatives for the international solidarity demonstrated by their participation in the press fair. He expressed pride in the large turnout of young people and in the number of young people and trade unionists who joined the Communist Party during the fair.

The fair also provided an opportunity for exchange of views among the foreign guests. Of particular importance was the opportunity to hear first-hand reports about the situation in their countries from the guests from Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran.