84 years ago, on January 15, 1919, the famous German revolutionaries and Marxists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were murdered by reactionary "Freikorps" forces who had formed a counter-revolutionary conspiracy with right-wing social democratic leaders to drown the revolution in blood. (See the online book Germany from Revolution to Counter-Revolution by Rob Sewell.)
On Sunday, January 12, 2003, 100,000 people came to the Berlin socialist memorial cemetery in the Eastern suburb of Friedrichsfelde to commemorate the murder of Rosa and Karl.
This tradition had existed for decades in the former DDR (East Germany), yet the bourgeois media (who in general always try to play down the importance of such an event) cannot understand why after capitalist unification of Germany an ever increasing number of people - young and old, from the East and the West - attend this annual event voluntarily, above all on a winter's day with freezing temperatures.
This time, the commemoration event was clearly overshadowed by the impending imperialist war against Iraq and the rearmament in Germany and Europe and the need to build a strong anti war movement with socialist ideas.
On the day prior to the big demonstration, the German left wing daily, Junge Welt held their traditional Rosa Luxemburg conference which this time attracted well over 1100 people - considerably more than in previous years. This year, the speeches and debates centred around the question of imperialism and war.
One of the main speakers in the first session was Alan Woods from In Defence of Marxism who spoke on Europe, America and imperialism. (Click here to read the text of the speech.)
Alan got a lot of applause for his lively speech which will be documented in German in a special edition of Junge Welt next week. On the bookstall of Der Funke at that conference, 20 copies of the German translation of Reason in Revolt were sold, and people spontaneously asked Alan to sign their copy of the book.
An extended interview with Alan on Reason in Revolt had been published by the Junge Welt on the previous weekend, and some participants told us that they had already ordered a copy of the book from their local bookshop.
More copies of the book and copies of Der Funke were sold at the Sunday commemoration event. We distributed over 5,000 leaflets advertising for the book and will certainly get an echo from this.