Michael Brie

From KeyWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Michael Brie

Michael Brie is the brother of Andre Brie, and son of the late Horst Brie. He is a researcher at the Institute for Social Analysis of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation . His work focuses on the theory and history of socialism and communism .


Born in Schwerin in 1954, Brie grew up as one of three sons in the functional milieu of the old GDR state. The father Horst Brie, who had fled the Nazis in 1934 as a child with the Jewish and Communist grandfather, served Honecker's regime until 1990 as an ambassador. Brother Andre Brie is now Deputy Chairman of the SED successor organization Party of Democratic Socialism ; Michael Brie is also a member of the PDS, as he was a member of the SED. Together with his Czech wife Tatjana, they got to know each other during a harvest operation in the Soviet Union, and three children live at Brie's Berlin Müggelsee.[1]

"Historical Materialism in Montreal"

Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung - New York Office May 21, 2018 ·


Our panelists at Historical Materialism in Montreal this weekend (from left), Claus Thomasberger (HTW Berlin), Michael Brie (RLS Berlin), Kari Polanyi Levitt (McGill University), Maria Starzmann (RLS–NYC), Malin Kuth (intern, RLS–NYC), Harmony Goldberg (Grassroots Policy Project), Ethan Young (Left Labor Project), and Lorenz Gosta Beutin (MP, DIE LINKE).

Student days

Brie began studying philosophy in Leningrad in 1974 and continued in 1976 at Humboldt University. In his B-dissertation (habilitation thesis), completed in 1985, he examines the relationship between individual autonomy and socialist ownership - in ciphered language (Westerners like to speak of "slavery language") a cautious critique of the state monopoly system. Basically, his theoretical writings always revolve around the same question: how can the democratic, ecological and social shortcomings of the society in which he and his generation grew up be remedied?[2]


In 1977, as a 23-year-old student, Michael Brie signed a written statement in which he agreed to work for the Ministry of State Security. According to common usage, he can be described as an "unofficial employee" of the MfS. Brie confessed that he worked for the Stasi between 1977 and 1985 reported about five to seven people from the Third World, to whom he had "private contacts". He does not name names and circumstances. From 1985 on, he then sent his own speech manuscripts and essays to the Stasi. He was not extorted from this cooperation and received no benefits. "In the hope that this society was changeable, and in the belief that there was no fundamental alternative to the GDR, I accepted and participated a lot."

Together with a colleague, Michael Brie voluntarily admitted his Stasi work in December 1990 - in contrast to hundreds of East Berlin scientists who remain silent to this day.


January 6, 1991, the Berlin Tagesspiegel reported a "precedent of independent renewal". The Honorary Commission of the Humboldt University had recommended that the rector dismiss Dr. Michael Brie, who was appointed Full Professor of Social Philosophy in September last year. "From 1977 to November 1989, he was an informal member of the Domestic Security Division and, judging from what the Tribunal had heard, he was mainly involved in recruiting foreign students for socialist intelligence services," the Tagesspiegel said again, referring to Dr. Brie was heard that way.

The rector of the Humboldt University hesitated for a long time with the notice. Heinrich Fink is a scrupulous person and can still remember "the courageous appearance of the intelligent Michael Brie" in the last years of the GDR. "I am disappointed, however, that he did not reveal the Stasi cooperation until after his appointment as a professor." However, when the structural and appointment committee at the Department of Social Sciences also informed the rector that Brie was no longer usable because of a lack of professional qualifications and due to a lack of requirements, the rector took action. Only verbally and then in writing on June 13, he told Michael Brie, he was immediately on leave and must expect his dismissal.[3]

Institute for Social Analysis

Founded in 2008, the Institute for Social Analysis (IfG) is a subsidiary of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. It is committed to the critical analysis of modern capitalism and the technological, social, economic, political and cultural upheavals it has caused. The focus of its work is on the development of approaches that incorporate socialist transformation and radical Realpolitik. The Institute for Social Analysis continues in the tradition of a critical, Marxist and feminist critique of capitalism and domination, while at the same time drawing on both empirical and theoretical studies in other modern social sciences. Its goal is to conduct social research that is focused on emancipation and intervention...

By means of workshops, conferences and publications, the Institute contributes to an important discussion process within the Left in Germany and abroad. It supports scientific projects organized by the Left Party and provides teaching and training on left-wing theory, politics and socialist perspectives...

Analysing these opportunities and risks and then developing alternative proposals together with other left-wing actors is considered by the staff to be the main task of the Institute.

Mapping Socialist Strategies

Mapping Socialist Strategies was convened from August 1-4 in Briarcliff Manor, NY, by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung—New York Office. It brang together 100 influential progressives and leftists from across the United States, Canada, and Europe for an “un-conference” on socialist strategies.


Michael Brie and Sarah Leonard discuss building left alliances and new trends on the left. How can the left rediscover and strengthen relationships amongst natural allies in the fight to defend the public sphere and defeat encroaching neoliberalism?

Left Forum Advisory Board

In 2009 the Left Forum Advisory Board included Gilbert Achcar, Tariq Ali, Ashanti Alston, Anthony Arnove, Robin Blackburn, Barbara Bowen, Jack Bratich, Rose Brewer, Renate Bridenthal, Michael Brie, Stephen Brier, Stephen Eric Bronner, Paul Buhle, Joseph Buttigieg, Luciana Castellina, Angela Dillard, Stephen Duncombe, Hester Eisenstein, Barbara Epstein, Deepa Fernandes, Hector Figueroa, Harriet Fraad, Josh Freeman, Barbara Garson, Heather Gautney, Marvin Gettleman, Arun Gupta, Jack Hammond, David Harvey, Gerald Horne, Boris Kagarlitsky, Robin D. G. Kelley, Christine A. Kelly, Peter Kwong, Joanne Landy, Jesse Lemisch, Michael Lowy, Nivedita Majumdar, Manning Marable, Randy Martin, Liz Mestres, Susan O'Malley, Cathy Mulder, Leo Panitch, Christian Parenti, Thomas Ponniah, Barbara Ransby, Michael Ratner, Jan Rehmann, Gerardo Renique, Rainer Rilling, Colin Robinson, Nan Rubin, Roger Salerno, Stephen R. Shalom, Neil Smith, Richard Smith, Meredith Tax, Eleni Varikas, Victor Wallis, Joseph Wilson.[5]