Communists will lead a march to the Friedrichsfelde Cemetery in the east of the city and … Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were turn-of-the-century anti-imperialist, anti-war revolutionaries. “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. 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. Because of its connotations with Stalinism however, Marxists today, in trying to reach the best workers, do not use language which can give a false idea of what they intend for the future. Liebknecht came from a political background in that his father was a leading socialist in Germany … Luxemburg wrote: “It was always possible to walk out of small sects or small coteries, and, if one does not want to stay there, to apply oneself to building new sects and new coteries. Remembering protest singer Phil Ochs on his 80th birthday, Communists sweep local government elections in India’s Kerala state, Trump and coronavirus dealt major defeats on same day, 250 million Indian workers and farmers strike, breaking world record. This hard-won lesson has still not been embraced by some purists on the “ultra-left” who, for example, failed to draw any distinction whatsoever between the “two capitalists” running for president in 2016 and either stayed home or cast their votes for third, “revolutionary” parties. This was consolidated when he became the first SPD MP to vote against the war. Rosa did this, characterising the social democracy as a “rotten corpse”. But if the German revolution had triumphed then history would not, in all probability, have known these figures or the horrors of fascism. 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. / She told the poor what life is about, / And so the rich have rubbed her out. A political ‘split’ was undoubtedly required, both from the right and ‘left’ SPD. Verhaftung am 15. 90th anniversary of murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. There were at least 15,000 full-time officials under the sway of the SPD in the trade unions. At the time of the October revolution, in 1917, there was again no talk of a general strike. The issue of the general strike is of exceptional importance for Marxists. The uprising was crushed by the SPD government and the Freikorps(paramilitary units formed of World War I veteran… 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. 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. “Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of one party—however numerous they may be—is no freedom at all,” she wrote. Lenin’s approach was vindicated in the Russian revolution, with the Mensheviks ending up on the other side of the barricades. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account. On the split between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks, Luxembourg she was a ‘conciliator’ in her approach, as was Trotsky (shown in his participation in the ‘August bloc’). Karl Paul August Friedrich Liebknecht (* 13. Das heutige Polen wurde damals vom russischen Zaren beherrscht. So is timing, as the opportunity for a successful social overturn can last for a short time. 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. In fact, in his famous work, ‘Two Tactics of Russian Social Democracy” of 1905, Lenin wrote: “When and where did I ever call the revolutionism of Bebel and Kautsky ‘opportunism’? Heiko Khoo is a columnist with 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. Though she and Liebknecht considered it premature, they felt duty-bound to support it and through their newspaper urged the rebels to occupy offices of the liberal (but counterrevolutionary) press. Take control of the means of news production. ( Log Out /  They can enlighten us particularly the new generation who are moving towards socialist and Marxist ideas. Doch beide blieben bei ihrer aufrührerischen Propaganda. 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. In addition it had over 110 deputies in the Reichstag and 220 deputies in the various Landtags (state parliaments) as well as almost 3,000 elected municipal councillors. Their ideas and writings continue to be studied with reverence. Spartacist leaders and KPD pioneers, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. This split was neither prepared nor desired by these ‘oppositionists’. But after the Bolsheviks had won four fifths of the organised workers in Russia by 1912 a formal split took place between them and the Mensheviks. Home; About; Services Menu Toggle. 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. 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. Rosa Luxemburg confronted an entirely different situation, as a minority, and somewhat isolated in a ‘legal’ mass party with all the attributes described above. On 15 January 1919, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, the finest brains of the German working class and its most heroic figures, were brutally murdered by the bloodthirsty, defeated German military, backed to the hilt by the cowardly social-democratic leaders Noske and Scheidemann. Karl Liebknecht was subsequently imprisoned after … The discontent of the masses was reflected in the January 1919 uprising. This led in 1975 to the expropriation of the majority of industry. März 1871 in der kleinen polnischen Stadt Zamos´c geboren. Prominent figures from the country's left paid tribute to the founders of the German Communist Party and other socialist heroes. Von Faupel, the officer who, at the time, tricked the delegates to the recently-formed workers and soldiers’ councils, 20 years later was Hitler’s ambassador to Franco’s Spain. This proved not to be so, unfortunately, because the initiatives from below by the working class, and the opportunities they generated, were squandered. This meant that the prospects for socialism, specifically the socialist revolution, were relegated to the mists of time in their consciousness. One might ask why the SPD leadership was so anxious to see Rosa’s voice silenced, especially since before World War I she “lacked a unique voice and public faction in the party.”(2) It may have been in part because of her close association with Karl Liebknecht, the son of SPD co-founder Wilhelm Liebknecht and the first SPD parliamentarian to vote against German support of the war. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. It was this aspect that Lenin subjected to criticism in his comments on Rosa Luxemburg’s’ Junius’ pamphlet, published in 1915. But it is only an irresponsible daydream to want to liberate the whole mass of the working class from the very weighty and dangerous yoke of the bourgeoisie by a simple ‘walk out’.”. This was because there was no coherent and sufficiently influential mass party and leadership capable of drawing all the threads together and establishing a democratic workers’ state. 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. Court rejects Trump’s drilling proposal in major victory for polar bears ... McConnell’s virus lawsuit ban far worse than advertised. This would have removed the two leaders whose ideas and political guidance led to the success of the October revolution. She hailed the work of Lenin and Trotsky. At the same time, I could not even admit the idea that the Social Democracy would simply cower on its belly before a nationalist militarism.”. Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: You are commenting using your account. Im Januar demonstrieren jedes Jahr in Berlin 20.000 Menschen zum Todestag von Rosa Luxemburg und Karl Liebknecht. On January 15, 1919, the revolutionary leaders Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were murdered in cold blood by a gang of right-wing army officers. On the contrary, the railway workers continued to work so that could transport the opponents of Kornilov and derail his forces. Such was the role of the Bolsheviks in the 1917 Russian revolution. The SPD particularly feared the impact of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg. Their Spartacus League published The Red Flag (Die Rote Fahne) newspaper, demanding amnesty for all political prisoners and the abolition of capital punishment. Karl Liebknecht was born in August 1871 and died in January 1919. The murders unleash a wave of violent protests throughout the country which lasted until May 1919, and whose repression by the military resulted in several thousand deaths. Wilhelm Canaris, the naval officer who assisted the escape of one of Rosa’s murderers, 20 years later was to command the Abwehr, German military intelligence, under the Nazis. It developed because of the indignation and revolt of the working class at the SPD’s executive throttling within the party of all objections and resistance to their policy on the war. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were true revolutionary heroes, and their ideas and legacy will be remembered down the ages. Rosa Luxemburg was released from prison on 9 November 1918 and immediately did all she could to support the No-vember Revolution. 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. This spontaneous eruption of the masses, moreover, flew in the face of everything that the social-democratic leaders wanted or desired. Indeed, her whole life within the SPD was bent towards rescuing the revolutionary kernel within this organisation from reformism and centrism. Emotion Coaching; Free Resources; Blog; Contact There was also the tumultuous history of the Marxist and workers’ movement in Russia, conditioned by the experience of the struggle against Narodya Volya (People’s Will), the ideas of terrorism, the 1905 and 1917 revolutions, the split between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks, the first world war, etc. Our party and campaigns rely entirely on donations from ordinary people. Karl Liebknecht is correctly bracketed with Luxemburg as the heroic mass figure who stood out against the German war machine and symbolised to the troops in the blood-soaked trenches, not just Germans but French and others, as an indefatigable, working-class, internationalist opponent of the First World War. Karl Paul August Friedrich Liebknecht (* 13. Become a People's World sustainer today. 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. In 1915, they broke from the SPD and co-founded the anti-war Spartacus League (Spartakusbund). Given the isolation of Berlin from the rest of the country at that stage, a setback or a defeat was inevitable. ( Log Out /  Disgrace of over 4 million children in poverty. Such an approach is entirely justified when a long-term strategy is pursued by Marxists within mass parties. Those who try and picture her as a critic of the Bolsheviks and the Russian revolution are entirely false. Lenin systematically trained and organised the best workers in Russia in implacable opposition to capitalism and its shadows in the labour movement. Apart from in 1907, the SPD seemed to progress remorselessly in electoral contests. Today in history – the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Therefore, at a crucial time, a definite timeframe, a correct leadership, can help the working class to take power. Militant established perhaps the most powerful position for Trotskyists, in Western Europe at least, probably since the development of the international Left Opposition. Rosa Luxemburg confronted a different objective situation to that facing the Bolsheviks in Russia. Not only that the structure was never built, but also that it was never built in Berlin, confronts us with a double absence of which we are reminded on the centenary of the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht; the radical promises of a communism beyond what the USSR became and the as-of-yet-unsuccessful 1918/1919 German revolutionary movement. Zwischen 1905 und 1910 verbreiterte sich die Kluf… Indeed, despite this, Luxemburg’s courage and fortitude shines through when one reads the speeches and criticisms that she made of the party leadership over years. Carnations are placed in front of a memorial stone with names of socialists at a cemetery in Berlin, Jan. 13, 2019. It was as if both Lenin and Trotsky had been assassinated in Russia in July 1917. The young German Communist Party was by a treacherous murder of their best leaders, Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg – deprived of their leadership. Even Lenin, while proposing a split from the Second International and the formation of the Third International, following the August 1914 debacle, was even prepared to amend his position if events did not work out as he envisaged. Karl Liebknecht was in 1914 the only Social Democrat to reject the war, or spending one mark for it. He proposed a rapid split of the communists from the French Socialist Party in 1920 but changed his mind after Alfred Rosmer, in Moscow during that year, suggested that the Marxists would need more time to bring over the majority to the stand of the Communist (Third) International. For instance, on the issue of the Third International he wrote: “The immediate future will show whether conditions have already ripened for the formation of a new, Marxist International… If they have not, it will show that a more or less prolonged evolution is needed for this purging. The question which history has placed on the agenda is: bourgeois democracy or socialist democracy for the dictatorship of the proletariat is democracy in a socialist sense of the term. On this important anniversary, it is vital to look at Luxemburg’s inspirational, revolutionary legacy. They were both born in the same year, 1871, and died on the same day, their names necessarily linked in history. The Times (London) declared that “capitalism is dead in Portugal”. 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. Basing herself on the mass strikes of the Russian revolution, she nevertheless adopted a certain passive and fatalistic approach on this issue. Under the pressure of the strike, the Tsarist regime made constitutional ‘concessions’ in 1905. She even lacerated August Bebel, the ‘centrist’ party leader who increasingly “could only hear with his right ear”. Today marks the passing of 100 years since the murders of Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) and Karl Liebknecht (1871-1919). That month the November Revolution broke out as a working-class response to the horrors of war inflicted upon the world by the Kaiser’s government. However, her revulsion at the ossified character of the SPD and its ‘centralism’ meant that she did, on occasion, ‘bend the stick too far’ the other way. 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. Luxemburg made mistakes on the issue of the independence of Poland. 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”. 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. After this uprising was suppressed he was arrested by the Scheidemann government and on January 15, 1919 was assassinated together with Rosa Luxemburg by a gang of German officers, covertly abetted by the Scheidemannists «Karl Liebknecht called upon the workers and soldiers of Germany to turn their guns against their own government. 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. In today’s era, a general strike, ‘generally’, is an ‘either-or’ issue where an alternative workers’ government is implicit in the situation. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account. Spartakusbund was the anti-war Spartacus League established by Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht after German’s participation in the First World War was supported by Social Democratic Party in1915. Rosa Luxemburg, as a top leader and theoretician of Marxism, could have played a crucial, not to say decisive, role in subsequent events up to 1923 and the victory of the revolution if she had not been cruelly cut down. Moreover, Luxemburg posed very clearly the ideological tasks: “The choice today is not between democracy and dictatorship. Such was the approach of Militant, now the Socialist Party, when it worked successfully within the Labour Party, in the 1980s, in Britain. Luxemburg was shot and her body thrown in the Landwehr Canal in Berlin. 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. Moreover, she herself built up a very ‘rigid, independent organisation’, that is a party, with her co-worker Leo Jogiches in Poland. The German revolution not only overthrew the Kaiser but posed the germ of a workers government through the institution of a network of workers and sailors’ councils on the lines of the Russian revolution. In that case, our Party will be the extreme opposition within the old International – until a base is formed in different countries for an international working men’s association that stands on the basis of revolutionary Marxism.” When the floodgates of revolution were thrown open in February 1917 in Russia, and the masses poured onto the political arena, even the Bolsheviks – despite their previous history – had about 1% support in the soviets, and 4% by April 1917. The real weakness of Luxemburg and Jogiches was not that they refused to split but that in the entire preceding historical period they were not organised as a clearly-defined trend in social democracy preparing for the revolutionary outbursts upon which the whole of Rosa Luxemburg’s work for more than 10 years was based. 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. It was written in opposition to the main theoretician of ‘revisionism’, Eduard Bernstein. These examples show that the spontaneous movement of the working class is not sufficient in itself to guarantee victory in a brutal struggle against capitalism. 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. Together with other Spartacists Liebknecht campaigned openly for revolution, forming the German Communist Party at the end of December 1918. Rosa Luxemburg wurde am 5. But Rosa Luxemburg, on this anniversary, deserves special attention because of the colossal contribution she made to the understanding of Marxist ideas, theory and their application to the real movement of the working class. Luxemburg was shot and her body was thrown in the Landwehr Canal in Berlin, only to be found and identified months later, and Liebknecht was shot in the Tiergarten park. The dictatorship of the proletariat does not mean bombs, putsches, riots or ‘anarchy’ that the agents of capitalism claim.” This is an answer to those who seek to distort the idea of Karl Marx when he spoke about the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, which in today’s terms, as Luxemburg pointed out, means workers’ democracy. Karl Liebknecht. The growing opposition to the war, however, widened the circle of support and contacts for Luxemburg and the Sparticist group. 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. 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. 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. STOP the ‘Going to Work Tax’ on NHS workers! This does not have to take the form necessarily, on all occasions, of a separate ‘party’. In the 1926 general strike in Britain, the issue of power was posed, where ‘dual power’ existed for nine days. A strength because the increasing power of the working class was reflected in the SPD and the unions. … The complete unanimity of international revolutionary Social Democracy on all major questions of programme and tactics is a most incontrovertible fact.”. In some instances, it is an inappropriate weapon; at the time of General Lavr Kornilov’s march against Petrograd in August 1917, neither the Bolsheviks nor the soviets (workers’ councils) thought of declaring a general strike. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. 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. 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. ( Log Out /  … When and where have there been brought to light differences between me, on the one hand, and Bebel and Kautsky on the other? Numerous monuments to Luxemburg and Liebknecht have been erected, also streets, schools and public institutions named for them. Rosa Luxemburg war die bedeutendste unter den Sozialisten, die in der deutschen Arbeiterbewegung wirkten. But a firmly-organised nucleus is essential in preparing for the future. IT IS ONLY appropriate, of course, that Klaus Gietinger’s The Murder of Even the creation before this of the Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD), which came from a split in the SPD in 1917, arose not from any conscious policy of its leaders – including Kautsky and Rudolf Hilferding, as well as the arch-revisionist Bernstein. They felt it was their duty to stay with the workers. This, unfortunately, includes the term ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’, which can be construed as connected to Stalinism. Karl Liebknecht Karl Liebknecht was born in August 1871 and died in January 1919. Jhd. | Markus Schreiber / AP. 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. Indeed, Lenin, in his eagerness to create mass communist parties in the aftermath of the Russian revolution, was sometimes a little impatient and premature in his suggestions for splitting from social-democratic organisations. They were both born in the same year, 1871, and died on the same day, their names necessarily linked in history. The political power behind the throne to better-known generals was Major Kurt von Schleicher, who became German Chancellor in 1932 and a gateman for Hitler and the Nazis. Moreover, hindsight is wonderful when dealing with real historical problems. Moreover, Luxemburg was amongst the very few who recognised the ideological atrophy of German social democracy prior to the First World War. He is best known for his opposition to the war in the Reichstag and his role in the Spartacist uprising of January 1919. Karl Liebknecht studied law and political economy in Leipzig. The Socialist Party gets no financial support from big business. Nevertheless, they took with them 120,000 members and a number of newspapers. This week marks the anniversary of the Jan. 15, 1919, murders of German communists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. 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. She continued with possibly the most famous of her quotes: “Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.”. 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. Side-by-side: Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg at the SPD Congress in Leipzig in 1909. On Nov. 9, 1918, Liebknecht proclaimed the “Free Socialist Republic” in Berlin. The events of the German revolution were dealt with in Socialism Today (Issue 123, November 2008) and The Socialist (Issue 555, 4 November 2008). 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. Workers in the factories continued to work too, except those who had left to fight Kornilov. This was reinforced by the growth in the weight of the SPD within German society. Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were brutally murdered by paramilitaries, acting on the orders of the German Social-Democratic government. A period of dual power was initiated and the capitalists were compelled to give important concessions to the masses such as the eight-hour day. 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. If the Social Democratic-ordained murders of Liebknecht and Luxemburg were not tragedy enough, the lessons learned were poorly applied.