Berlin: Tens of thousands commemorate the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht

96 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 (SPD) leaders to drown the revolution in blood. (See the book Germany from Revolution to Counter-Revolution by Rob Sewell, available here)

On Sunday, January 11, 2015, tens of thousands came to the Berlin Socialist Memorial Cemetery in the Eastern suburb of Friedrichsfelde to commemorate the murder of Rosa and Karl.

This tradition goes back to the late 1920s and existed for decades in the former Stalinist state of DDR (East Germany). Until 1990 it was an official state event and workers were expected to attend. Yet, since the capitalist unification of Germany in 1990 this tradition has continued to exist on a voluntary basis. The bourgeois and their media (who in general always try to play down the importance of such an event) cannot understand why an ever increasing number of people - young and old, from the East and the West - attend this annual event of their own free will, even on a cold and stormy winter's day. 

2015-Luxemburg-Liebknecht-commemoration-Berlin02At the event which lasted from 9am to 2pm a never ending stream of men and women, young and old, walked to the memorial cemetery and laid flowers there. As is the tradition now, the leaders of DIE LINKE (Left Party) collectively appeared at nine o'clock in the morning. The traditional demonstration, that had started at Karl Marx Avenue at 10am and embraced a variety of left wing groups und individuals, arrived at the memorial just before midday. Comrades of Der Funke/IMT Germany were present at the memorial for the whole time with a bookstall, selling quite a number of journals, pamphlets and books.

The weather at this year's event was as stormy as our perspectives for the unfolding crisis of European and world capitalism yet against all the odds we kept our tent that sheltered the stall on the ground and comrades withstood the gusts of wind and rain with determination and enthusiasm.

2015-Luxemburg-Liebknecht-commemoration-Berlin03The relevance of the ideas and struggle of Liebknecht and Luxemburg was highlighted just a few weeks ago at a number of local events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the famous session of the Reichstag, the old German parliamant, on December 2, 1914, when Karl Liebknecht was the only dissident in the Social Democratic Parliamentary Party who stood up and openly opposed the war credits. Liebknecht and Luxemburg were the founders of the Spartacist League and the Communist Party (KPD) in 1918.

On the eve of the commemoration event the comrades around Der Funke editorial board had organised a discussion with Günter Wernicke, a Marxist historian from the East and eye witness of the events in 1989-90 that lead to the fall of the Berlin wall and the implosion of the Stalinist regimes that ushered in capitalist re-unification of the two German states in 1990. (see record of an earlier interview with Günter on 1989-90 in German here)

It was a very lively debate and the discussion will be continued at the earliest possible date. Comrades returned home with the deteremination to go forward and build a solid foundation for the ideas of Marxism in Germany.

From Der Funke Editorial Board