Yet the two martyrdoms to Social Democratic reaction—even if the uprising was adventurist and bound to fail—guaranteed them both a hallowed place in the communist pantheon, certainly in the socialist German Democratic Republic (1949-1990), but especially among Marxists. “It is probable that Gustav Noske had a hand in the murders of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht,” she told the party faithful in November at an event to discuss the 1919 revolt. A strength because the increasing power of the working class was reflected in the SPD and the unions. This split was neither prepared nor desired by these ‘oppositionists’. Rosa did this, characterising the social democracy as a “rotten corpse”. This itself is an indication of the speed of events that developed in Germany at this stage. “Karl, Rosa and Co., “Not one of them is there, “Proletarians.” (Cited in Nettl, p. 484) Although they were aware of the danger, Luxemburg and Liebknecht refused to leave Berlin and go into hiding. Im Januar demonstrieren jedes Jahr in Berlin 20.000 Menschen zum Todestag von Rosa Luxemburg und Karl Liebknecht. But an all-sided analysis of Rosa Luxemburg’s ideas, taking into account the historical situation in which her ideas matured and developed, demonstrates that the claims of both of these camps are false. Her book written in prison in 1918 – in which she criticised the Bolshevik regime – was a product of isolation, which she was persuaded not to publish and did not pursue later when released from prison. In opposition to the slogan ‘All power to the soviets’ – the slogan of the Russian revolution – the reaction led by Noske’s Social Democrats mobilised behind the idea of “All power to the people”. The SPD particularly feared the impact of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg. Trotsky also, in his famous book, ‘Results and Prospects’ (1906), in which the Theory of the Permanent Revolution was first outlined, did have a perception of what could take place: “The European Socialist Parties, particularly the largest of them, the German Social-Democratic Party, have developed their conservatism in proportion as the great masses have embraced socialism and the more these masses have become organized and disciplined… Social Democracy as an organization embodying the political experience of the proletariat may at a certain moment become a direct obstacle to open conflict between the workers and bourgeois reaction.” In his autobiography, ‘My Life’, Trotsky subsequently wrote: “I did not expect the official leaders of the International, in case of war, to prove themselves capable of serious revolutionary initiative. Carnations are placed in front of a memorial stone with names of socialists at a cemetery in Berlin, Jan. 13, 2019. A Socialist and a vocal critic of the German Social Democratic Party’s (SPD) war policies, co-founder of the anti-war Spartacus League in 1916 and the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) in 1918, Rosa Luxemburg supported the German Revolution of 1918. Luxemburg hatte am 7. Under the pressure of the strike, the Tsarist regime made constitutional ‘concessions’ in 1905. Rosa Luxemburg was not so unprepared, as she had been involved in a protracted struggle, not just with the right-wing SPD leaders but also with the ‘left’ and ‘centrist’ elements, like Kautsky. She wrote: “What proves best the falseness of Bernstein’s theory is that it is in the countries having the greatest development of the famous “means of adaptation” – credit, perfected communications and trusts – that the last crisis (1907-1908) was most violent.” Shades of today’s world economic crisis, particularly as it affects the most debt-soaked economies of the US and Britain? His continuing opposition, and that of Rosa, who also insisted that working people should never massacre each other, meant imprisonment for both till they were freed by the revolution. Home; About; Services Menu Toggle. While the Spd did Beat down the Spartakus Revolution lead by Luxemburg and Liebknecht, they did Not deploy the Freikorps. But this was combined with the smothering of this very power, an underestimation by the SPD leaders, indeed a growing hostility to the revolutionary possibilities which would inevitability break out at some future date. Disgrace of over 4 million children in poverty. Side-by-side: Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg at the SPD Congress in Leipzig in 1909. Spending most of their history in the underground, with a relatively smaller organisation of cadres, the Bolsheviks necessarily acquired a high degree of ‘centralisation’, without, at the same time, abandoning very strong democratic procedures. Change ). A ‘constituent assembly’ was posed as an alternative to Luxemburg and Liebknecht’s ideas of a national council of soviets to initiate a workers and farmers’ government. In January, 1919, the two titans of the German Socialism, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, were murdered by the German reactionaries who hoped thereby to decapitate the rising revolutionary movement. Bertolt Brecht’s poetic memorial Epitaph upon her death was included in Kurt Weill’s 1928 composition The Berlin Requiem: “Red Rosa now has vanished too…. Spartacist leaders and KPD pioneers, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. In Chile in 1973, on the other hand, where the working class listened to their leadership and remained in the factories as Pinochet announced his coup, the most militant workers were systematically rounded up and slaughtered. This week marks the centennial of the Jan. 15, 1919, murders of German communists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. The answer was Rosa Luxemburg, but she wasn’t given a chance to do so. It was this aspect that Lenin subjected to criticism in his comments on Rosa Luxemburg’s’ Junius’ pamphlet, published in 1915. But the social-democratic leaders like Gustav Noske and Philipp Scheidemann conspired with the capitalists and the reactionary scum in the Freikorps (predecessors of the fascists) to take their revenge. But this became all the greater for the working class with the murder of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg. At one stage, accompanied by Clara Zetkin, she said to Bebel: “Yes, you can write our epitaph: ‘Here lie the last two men of German social democracy’.” She castigated the SPD’s trailing after middle-class leaders in an excellent aphorism appropriate to those who support coalitionism today. Their Spartacus League published The Red Flag (Die Rote Fahne) newspaper, demanding amnesty for all political prisoners and the abolition of capital punishment. As members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), they were outraged that their party supported German involvement in World War I. This culminated in the catastrophe of the SPD deputies in the Reichstag (parliament) – with the original single exception of Karl Liebknecht – voting for war credits for German imperialism. Karl Liebknecht studied law and political economy in Leipzig. There were at least 15,000 full-time officials under the sway of the SPD in the trade unions. Moreover, Luxemburg posed very clearly the ideological tasks: “The choice today is not between democracy and dictatorship. Liebknecht, the son of one of the SPD’s central founders, had a prominent position as a left and anti-militarist before 1914. Margarethe von Trotha’s outstanding 1986 film ‘Die Geduld der Rosa Luxemburg’ is available online with English subtitles. Emotion Coaching; Free Resources; Blog; Contact ( Log Out / Januar 1919 ermordeten Freikorps-Soldaten die Anführer des Spartakus-Aufstandes. Emotion Coaching; Free Resources; Blog; Contact This does not have to take the form necessarily, on all occasions, of a separate ‘party’. According to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, commemoration of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht continues to play an important role among the German far-left. The leaders of the French Communist Party and the ‘Socialist’ Federation, rather than seeking victory through a revolutionary programme of workers’ councils and a workers and farmers’ government, lent all their efforts to derailing this magnificent movement. Together with Karl Liebknecht, Luxem-burg published Die Rote Fahne (The Red Flag), campaigned for social revolution, and, at the turn of 1918/1919, became one of the founding members of the KPD. Therefore, at a crucial time, a definite timeframe, a correct leadership, can help the working class to take power. Rosa Luxemburg and the Revolutionary Antiwar Mass Strikes in Germany during World War I Since 1906 Rosa Luxemburg was the outstanding protagonist of the revolutionary mass strike idea in Germany. If the Social Democratic-ordained murders of Liebknecht and Luxemburg were not tragedy enough, the lessons learned were poorly applied. … The complete unanimity of international revolutionary Social Democracy on all major questions of programme and tactics is a most incontrovertible fact.”. Lenin’s approach was vindicated in the Russian revolution, with the Mensheviks ending up on the other side of the barricades. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were true revolutionary heroes, and their ideas and legacy will be remembered down the ages. For instance, her pamphlet ‘Reform and Revolution’ is not just a simple exposition of the general ideas of Marxism counterposed to reformist, incremental changes to effect socialist change. Rosa Luxemburg increasingly came into collision with the SPD machine, whose stultifying conservative effect she contrasted to the social explosions in the first Russian revolution of 1905-07. After their deaths, Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht became martyrs for Marxists. He is best known for his opposition to the war in the Reichstag and his role in the Spartacist uprising of January 1919. Despite the urging of those like Paul Levi to leave Berlin, both Luxemburg and Liebknecht remained in the city, with the terrible consequences that followed. In 1915, they broke from the SPD and co-founded the anti-war Spartacus League (Spartakusbund). This ignited a social revolution which swept through Catalonia and Aragon to the gates of Madrid, with four fifths of Spain initially in the hands of the working class. Jhd. Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg (1919) W E HAVE suffered two heavy losses at once which merge into one enormous bereavement. But nevertheless, right from the first days of war Rosa Luxemburg with some political friends like Clara Zetkin, Franz Mehring and Wilhelm Pieck, joined soon by the member of parliament Karl Liebknecht, tried to regain the party for the old principles of the SPD. The freikorps were in alliance with the goverment and deployed by Gustav Noske (SPD) during the spartacus uprising which led to the murder of Luxemburg and Liebknecht. The Times (London) declared that “capitalism is dead in Portugal”. This was, in the words of Ruth Fischer, a future leader of the Communist Party of Germany, a “way of life… The individual worker lived in his party, the party penetrated into the workers’ everyday habits. Rosa Luxemburg war die bedeutendste unter den Sozialisten, die in der deutschen Arbeiterbewegung wirkten. Lenin understood before others that the Mensheviks were not prepared for a struggle going beyond the framework of Russian landlordism and capitalism. Rosa Luxemburg & Karl Liebknecht - commemorating 100 years. Von Anfang an war Proletariat der revolutionären Bewegung in Russland voraus. Luxembourg, who fled as a Teenager because of their socialist activities from the Russian-occupied Poland, had a doctorate in Zurich, before 1898 moved to Berlin, where she is … Only malicious enemies of the heroic traditions of the Bolshevik party circulated this material after her death in an attempt to divide Luxemburg from Lenin, Trotsky, the Bolsheviks and the great work of the Russian revolution. While the workers of Madrid initially demonstrated for arms and their socialist leaders refused to supply them, the workers of Barcelona – freed from the inhibitions towards ‘leaders’ – rose ‘spontaneously and smashed Franco’s forces within 48 hours. It would be entirely one-sided to accuse her, as has been attempted by some critics of both her and Trotsky, of ‘underestimating’ the need for a revolutionary party. THOUSANDS from across the world will gather in Berlin this weekend to mark the 100th anniversary of the murder of revolutionaries Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Trotsky sums up her dilemma: “The most that can be said is that in her historical-philosophical evaluation of the labour movement, the preparatory selection of the vanguard, in comparison with the mass actions that were to be expected, fell too short with Rosa; whereas Lenin – without consoling himself with the miracles of future actions – took the advanced workers and constantly and tirelessly welded them together into firm nuclei, illegally or legally, in the mass organisations or underground, by means of a sharply defined programme.” However, Luxemburg did begin after the revolution of November 1918 her “ardent labour” of assembling such a cadre. Yet even with this stunning display of the power of the working class, it did not lead to a socialist overturn, precisely because of the absence of a mass party and leadership capable of mobilising the masses and establishing an alternative democratic workers’ state. But such an approach – justified at one historical period – can be a monumental error at another, when conditions change and particularly when abrupt revolutionary breaks are posed. On January 15, 1919, Rosa Luxemburg, Karl Liebknecht, and Wilhelm Pieck; the leaders of the German Communist Party, were arrested and taken in for questioning at the Adlon Hotel in Berlin. Luxemburg politically did not act like this but she did not draw all the organisational conclusions, as had Lenin, in preparing a steeled cadre, a framework for a future mass organisation, in preparation for the convulsive events that subsequently developed in Germany. On New Year’s Day 1919 Luxemburg declared: “Today we can seriously set about destroying capitalism once and for all. His ideas, his reactions, his attitudes, were formed out of the integration of his personal and his collective.” This represented both a strength and a weakness. Nay, more; not merely are we today in a position to perform this task, nor merely is its performance a duty toward the proletariat, but our solution offers the only means of saving human society from destruction.”. This led in 1975 to the expropriation of the majority of industry. Sie bekämpften Krieg und Kapitalismus und kämpften für Vergesellschaftung und ein Rätesystem. This week marks the anniversary of the Jan. 15, 1919, murders of German communists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. From December 29-31, 1918, they took part in a joint congress of the Spartacus League, independent socialists, and the International Communists of Germany (IKD), that led to the foundation on January 1, 1919, of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) under their leadership. The July Days in Russia developed four months after the February revolution whereas in Germany the uprising took place a mere two months after the revolutionary overturn of November 1918. Liebknecht achieved fame immediately after the war by leading, with Rosa Luxemburg, the Spartacists in the so-called German Revolution against the government of Friedrich Ebert. Both were imprisoned for their anti-war agitation. Only the day before, Noske and Liebknecht, Ebert and Rosa Luxemburg, were still members of the one and only “united” German Social-Democratic Party. She contrasted the flair and energy from below in Russia, witnessed at first hand, to the weight the increasingly bureaucratic machine of the party and unions in Germany, which could prove to be a colossal obstacle to the working class taking power, she argued, in the event of a revolutionary eruption. Karl Paul August Friedrich Liebknecht (German: [ˈliːpknɛçt] (); 13 August 1871 – 15 January 1919) was a German socialist politician and theorist, originally of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and later a co-founder with Rosa Luxemburg of the Spartacist League and the Communist Party of Germany, which split from the SPD after World War I. A general strike, on a much bigger scale, took place in Russia, in October 1905, on which Rosa Luxemburg comments. Militant established perhaps the most powerful position for Trotskyists, in Western Europe at least, probably since the development of the international Left Opposition. She was critical of Lenin’s attempt to create in Russia a democratic party but one that was ‘centralised’. This putsch lasted for a grand total of 100 hours! In fact, the erstwhile followers of Luxemburg in the newly-formed Communist Party made ultra-left mistakes in not initially supporting and strengthening the mass actions against Kapp. In the convulsive events of 1923 in particular, Rosa Luxemburg with her keen instinct for the mass movement and ability to change with circumstances, would probably not have made the mistake made by Heinrich Brandler and the leadership of the KPD, when they let slip what was one of the most favourable opportunities in history to make a working-class revolution and change the course of world history. For most of the 1920s, during the Comintern period, communist ire was understandably directed at the ruling Social Democrats of the Weimar Republic, whom they named “social fascists,” yet communists ignored or downplayed the threat posed by the gathering Nazi fascist movement. Home; About; Services Menu Toggle. The opportunity of following the example of the Bolsheviks was posed but lost because of the hesitation of the KPD leaders, who were supported in this wrong policy by, among others, Stalin. Main Menu. In 1968, in France, the biggest general strike in history posed the question of power but for the reasons explained above, the working class did not seize it. Today marks the passing of 100 years since the murders of Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) and Karl Liebknecht (1871-1919). Indeed, many revolutions have been made in the teeth of opposition and even sabotage of the leaders of the workers’ own organisations. Today marks the passing of 100 years since the murders of Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) and Karl Liebknecht (1871-1919). Rosa Luxemburg was an important figure in all the congresses of the Second International and generally carried the votes of the Polish Social Democratic party in exile. Luxemburg made mistakes on the issue of the independence of Poland. Karl Liebknecht was in 1914 the only Social Democrat to reject the war, or spending one mark for it. Liebknecht came from a political background in that his father was a leading socialist in Germany … Lenin organised for future battles, including the revolution. The German revolution of 1918-1924 also witnessed general strikes and partial attempts in this direction. The SWP’s German organisation (Linksruck, now Marx 21) pursues a similar policy within Die Linke (the Left party) today as the left boot of the party and consequently will not gain substantially. However, as Pierre Broué points out: “She was never able to establish within the SPD either a permanent platform based on the support of a newspaper or a journal or a stable audience wider than a handful of friends and supporters around her.”. Unfortunately, the muddled centrist lefts, whose party grew enormously as the social-democratic leaders lost support, let slip the opportunity to create an all-Germany council movement. Apart from in 1907, the SPD seemed to progress remorselessly in electoral contests. The Kapp putsch in March 1920, when the director of agriculture of Prussia, who represented the Junkers and highly-placed imperial civil servants, took power with the support of the generals, was met with one of the most complete general strikes in history. Heiko Khoo is a columnist with China.org.cn. Die … Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. In this period, there were instances where governments took fright at the general strike at its very outset, without provoking the masses to open class conflict, and made concessions. IT IS ONLY appropriate, of course, that Klaus Gietinger’s The Murder of There have been struck down from our ranks two leaders whose names will be for ever entered in the great book of the proletarian revolution: Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg. Luxemburg and Liebknecht had previously founded and led the Spartacist League – a Marxist revolutionary movement established toward the end of WWI which would lay the roots of the establishment of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) on January 1, 1919. Rosa Luxemburg was the youngest of five children of a lower middle-class Jewish family in Russian-ruled Poland. Lenin systematically trained and organised the best workers in Russia in implacable opposition to capitalism and its shadows in the labour movement. Luxemburg spent much of World War I in prison, meanwhile writing her 'Spartakusbriefe' and 'Die Russisce Revolution', where she welcomed the October Revolution as a precursor of world revolution. After having participated for some months in the First Russian Revolution of 1905/06 she published her important essay “Mass Strikes, Political Party and Trade Unions”. There were some criticisms both at the time and later that suggested that Luxemburg and her ‘Sparticist’ followers should have immediately split with the SPD leaders, certainly following their betrayal at the outset of the First World War. Such stages are reached in all revolutions when the working class sees its gains snatched back by the capitalists and comes out onto the streets; the Russian workers in the July Days of 1917 and the May Days in Catalonia in 1937 during the Spanish revolution. She made mistakes: “Show me someone who never makes a mistake and I will show you a fool.” Yet here is a body of work of which, read even today almost 100 years later, is fresh and relevant – particularly when contrasted to the stale ideas of the tops of the ‘modern’ labour movement. This proved not to be so, unfortunately, because the initiatives from below by the working class, and the opportunities they generated, were squandered. The murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht Workers Power - Monday, June 09, 2014 95 years ago, on the night of January 15 1919, two great socialist revolutionaries died. Januar 1919 von der Garde - Kavallerie - Schützen - Division verschleppten sie ins Hauptquartier verhörten sie unter schweren Misshandlungen erschossen Karl Liebknecht im Tiergarten mit drei Schüssen aus nächster Nähe Leichenzug wurde von KPD & USDP als Like the labour and trade union leaders to day – although he was originally a Marxist, indeed a friend of the co-founder of scientific socialism, Friedrich Engels – Bernstein under the pressure of the boom of the late 1890s and first part of the 20th century, attempted to ‘revise’ the ideas of Marxism, which would in effect have nullified them. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. If the opportunity is lost, it may not recur for a long time, and the working class can suffer a defeat.
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