Jamie K muses on LabourList:
But what Labourlist reminds me of most is a tale told by a secretary to the East German politbureau in Mark Molloy’s oral history of life under communism.
This was back in 89: before the wall came down but after things started falling apart. Gorbachev had told Honecker that he was on his own with this one, sealed trains were rattling westwards cheered on by crowds at the stations. Ossis were flooding over the Hungarian border and onwards into Austria.
And the politbureau talked bananas. Bananas were the key to popular discontent. More bananas in the shops mean less people on the streets. The availability of bananas would restore the faith of the people in the People’s Germany. As the regime decayed around them and the reports flooded in from the Stasi, bananas expanded to a size where they filled the yawning gap in the legitimacy of the state. Bananas were the last thing the East German communists actually believed in. They clung to their bananas.