When Rudolf Bahro left East Germany in 1979, two years after publication of The Alternative in Eastern Europe, very little was known about the background to this imposing study of the structures and suppressed potential of 'actually existing socialism'. In this series of interviews organized by New Left Review, he systematically discusses his childhood years in Nazi Germany, his political and intellectual development as a loyal - though never unthinking - supporter of the Ulbricht regime, the emergence of his critique of the Soviet Union, and his close identification with the Prague Spring.
The invasion of Czechoslovakia had a profound effect on Bahro, who immediately set to work on the massive project that would occupy nearly a decade of his life. A central section of the book addresses the intellectual influences and personal circumstances surrounding its accomplishment, before going on to the significance of his arrest in 1977. Released from prison under a general amnesty, then forced into exile, Bahro has since enthusiastically embraced the Green Party and ecology movement in West Germany, becoming its most forceful advocate of 'industrial disarmament'. In the concluding interviews, he analyses his own response to this new opposition in West Germany, situating it in relation to the new cold war and tensions within the Social Democratic Party on the one hand, and to the traditional perspectives of historical materialism on the other.
The fruitful and wide-ranging exchange of ideas in From Red to Green will be of interest to everyone concerned with the pressing social and political problems of the late twentieth century.