Nudism as an important issue in elections in Germany

There are few countries where the leader of a major political party would be engaged in election campaign on a nudist beach. But the German politician Gregor Gysi (Gregor Gysi), leader of the anti-Communist left-wing Die Linke, which is the third largest in the current Parliament, this week held the event to complain about the decline in the popularity of naturism in their country. Thus, he went beyond the “cultural barrier” still exists between East and West, and may have enlisted the support of several voters.

Gysi’s political career began in East Germany, where he was something of a Maverick within the ruling Socialist unity party of Germany (SED). In the 1980-ies, when Gysi actively advocated reforms in Communist East Germany was widespread or nudism as it is called in Germany, “free body culture” (FKK), which is politically suppressed people showed others that they actually exists something like freedom. In 1982 in this Communist country, there were 40 official naturist beaches and many more that are not mentioned in tourist guides published by state publishing houses.

Although the German organization for naturists DFK, still has about 40 thousand people, United in 135 local companies, their number has been steadily declining, and nudist beaches are closed. It is noticeable in Berlin. Starting in 2014, when I moved in, some of the many public beaches on the lake gave up its policy of “non-clothing”.

In an interview on a nudist beach Gysi (he was in pants and shirt) went on to quote sex therapist, who told him that because of West German men who are not familiar with the East German culture of naturists who come to the beach with their “erotic visions”, many East German women began to feel on the beach is not so comfortable.

“But women, says Gysi — was not trying to exhibit themselves, they just wanted to experience the freedom for my own pleasure.” Speaking of nostalgia, in an interview with “Playboy” magazine, he also mentioned about the owners of the hotels that you no longer wish to have on the hotel beaches were Nude people. “On some issues of the GDR were more prudish country than the former Federal Republic of Germany, — said Gysi, referring to the two former Germany. But in other areas she was more open.”

Paradoxically, the result of generational change now becomes easier to promote the ideals of the former GDR, cause in the hearts of people “ostalgia” (from the German word Ost meaning “East” — approx. TRANS.): young people, attracted by the ideals promoted by the left, I do not remember all the hideous sides of the Communist regime. Everything goes to the fact that in the General election in September the party Die Linke will be the same as in 2013 or slightly better. And Gysi made a good “marketing ploy” by selecting this place to promote their ideas: official recognition of the movement FKK in East Germany managed to achieve only as a result of the stubborn resistance of the public authorities.

The FKK movement has gained popularity in Weimar Germany, where it was associated with nationalism and social democratic pacifism. In 1933 the Nazis banned the naturism, but soon after lifted the ban under pressure from influential party members and SS officers who claimed that the natural beauty of the German body there is nothing wrong. In the 1950-ies again, the Communists banned it: it was a very unpleasant Association with the old social Democrats and fascists and they followed the prudish Soviet politics in everything that even remotely had to do with sex. “”Nudist unions” was a byproduct of the collapse of imperialism in the cultural sphere of the body and sports, said in a statement the national sport organisations, made in 1951. — “Nudist unions”, which is a manifestation of imperialist turpitude, “invalid””. By 1954 on the beaches of the Baltic sea, bathing in the Nude was banned — even though nudists and was not in any group.

The ban did not last long, and it was canceled again that was a rare example of how ordinary citizens of the GDR were able to defend their opinion. In 2007, Josie McLellan (Josie McLellan) from the University of Bristol wrote in his article:

The main reason for this was the continual disobedience of the citizens in Eastern Germany who believed the ban to be absurd and refused to comply with it. Their tactics were diverse — they not only continued to swim and sunbathe in the Nude, but and deliberately sabotaged the decision of the authorities, let them, when they tried to enforce the ban, and ridiculed for their actions.

Nude bathers were tied on the necks of ties to show the police that they are not quite naked. When approached by the police, you could hear shouts of “the rebels”: the nudists come up with its alert system. Sometimes patrols “run up” groups of naked party and state officials.

East Germans also bombarded the authorities with angry petitions, arguing that nudity is not dangerous to the cause of building socialism. So in 1956, the Nude beaches were officially allowed, although a few years from time to time attempts were made to clean the beaches from naked people, it was clear that the naturists won. Commitment to FKK has become an acceptable form of expressing individual freedom. The East German regime at the time of his fall had already adopted this ideology. The official propaganda is even touted nudist rules, “pushing” them to other countries, as evidence of the progressiveness of the country.

In Western Germany, too, there existed a culture of “nudity” — a tradition that originated in the unions of nudists even before the advent of Nazism. But the tradition of it was not so widespread, and involved more rules than in Germany, where nudity was everywhere.

The decrease in the popularity of FKK is probably due not so much bigotry and immorality of capitalist society, as the increase in the number of Muslim population and spread of mobile phones with high quality cameras. In this changing world culture FKK minimized and now is in society a very modest place. She will never be as popular as in the almost closed, ethnically homogeneous Communist country.

But it would be a shame if Germany had lost its rich tradition of collective action, which not only forced East German authorities to allow nudism, but also allowed to destroy the Berlin wall. Most recently, she served as the basis of the policy of “open doors” pursued by Chancellor Angela Merkel in relation to refugees (while public opinion has not abandoned this policy). Thanks to this tradition, it became possible the recognition of the legitimacy of same-sex marriage. In the era of political stagnation that basically “leftist” tradition must be protected. And even if the party Die Linke, trying to whitewash the GDR, clearly acting in their own interest, it plays a role — helps to preserve and protect hidden “uncomfortable” and informal democracy. Not letting her die.