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Berlin pays its respects to Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht

by Ben Chacko
in Berlin

THOUSANDS marched through Berlin yesterday to pay their respects 100 years after the brutal murders of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht.

Socialists from all corners of Germany and many foreign countries laid red flowers at the tombs of Luxemburg, Liebknecht and other revolutionaries in the Friedrichsfelde Socialist Cemetery in east Berlin on the Sunday preceding the centenary of their deaths, which falls on Tuesday.

The German communist leaders were assassinated in 1919 as the Spartacist revolt was crushed by the “Freikorps,” a far-right grouping of demobbed German soldiers who had refused to give up their weapons after the German surrender in World War I, on the orders of Social Democrat Party leaders Friedrich Ebert and Gustav Noske.

Marchers sang the Internationale and chants echoed from the myriad socialist groups who came together to honour the martyred revolutionaries, calling for solidarity with the Kurdish people oppressed by Turkey’s Erdogan regime, with the workers struggling against repressive governments in Sudan and Iran and for an end to neoliberalism and warmongering in the EU and Nato. 

Demonstrators included the last prime minister of the German Democratic Republic and honorary Left party chairman Hans Modrow, numerous Left MPs, many members of the German Communist Party and international guests including Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament general secretary Kate Hudson and Communist Party of Britain leader Robert Griffiths.

The huge demonstration came a day after the largest yet annual Rosa Luxemburg Conference in Berlin, hosted by the Morning Star’s German sister newspaper Junge Welt.

Over 3,500 socialists came together for a day of discussion on themes including the next crisis of capitalism, the changing nature of imperialist war and the prospects for socialist revolution.

Talks and panel discussions were interspersed with cultural content including a theatre piece on Rosa Luxemburg and the Perfect Revolution, songs and rallies.

Enthusiasm rose to a crescendo in the session devoted to the 60th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution, with Culture Minister Abel Prieto and Cuban Communist Party central committee member Iliana Hernandez.

Pointing to the rise of the far right in many parts of Europe, Junge Welt warned that “we are slipping back into barbarism, to which socialism is the only alternative. That’s why we must honour Rosa and Karl, not just this year, but every year.”

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