Dispute over Rosa Luxemburg plaque in Poznań, Poland

(Photo: Błażej Dąbkowski)

A dispute has broken out over a plaque to Rosa Luxemburg in the Polish city of Poznań, where she was politically active when the city was part of the German Empire. Activists associated with the main opposition party, Law and Justice, wish to see the plaque removed as a relic of Communism.

In September 2013, the plaque was vandalised and subsequently replaced (see: https://rosaluxemburgblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/poznan-plaque/)

For Polish news reports, see:

Błażej Dąbkowski, ‘Poznaniacy stają w obronie Róży Luksemburg. Historyk: Lepiej zdjąć tę tablicę’ Polska Times, 27 January 2015 (http://www.polskatimes.pl/artykul/3729154,poznaniacy-staja-w-obronie-rozy-luksemburg-historyk-lepiej-zdjac-te-tablice,id,t.html)
‘Czarne róże pod tablicą Róży Luksemburg. O co chodzi?’ Nasze Miasto (Poznań), 16 March 2015 (http://poznan.naszemiasto.pl/artykul/czarne-roze-pod-tablica-rozy-luksemburg-o-co-chodzi-wideo,3315833,artgal,t,id,tm.html)
‘Happening: Czarne róże pod tablicą Róży Luksemburg w Poznaniu’, Głos Wielkopolski, 16 March 2015
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On This Day: 10 March 1919: Leo Jogiches Murdered by Freikorps

Originally posted on rosaluxemburgblog:

File:Leo Jogiches 02.jpg

Leo Jogiches (1867- 1919)

Jogiches was born in Wilna (Vilnius) in the Russian Empire, the son of a wealthy Jewish family. He was forced to flee into exile in the early 1890s as a result of his involvement in the revolutionary movement. As a student at Zurich University, he met Rosa Luxemburg, with whom he formed a romantic relationship which lasted for many years and a political and ideological partnership which continued until their deaths.

A co-founder of the Social Democracy of Kingdom of Poland (SDKP), which later merged with the Lithuanian organisation to become the SDKPiL, Jogiches remained a leader of the Party until 1918, when it merged to form the Polish Communist Party.

During the First World War, Jogiches became involved in German politics for the first time as a member of the Spartacus League, established by Rosa Luxemburg and others in opposition to the war. While its prominent leaders languished…

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Tributes to Professor Feliks Tych (1929- 2015)

Professor Feliks Tych, who died on 16 February  2015 after a long and illustrious career, was one of the most important scholars on Rosa Luxemburg. He was the editor of three volumes of Luxemburg’s letters to Leo Jogiches (published in Warsaw between 1968 and 1971), a longstanding member and contributor of the International Rosa Luxemburg Society and the author of a vast number of articles, papers and studies on Luxemburg.

Professor Tych headed the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw from 1995 to 2006 and wrote on a range of other subjects, including the history of the labour movement in Poland and the Holocaust.

A selection of obituaries and tributes to Professor Tych in English:

‘Saying Goodbye to Prof. Feliks Tych’ (Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw): http://www.jhi.pl/en/blog/2015-02-17-saying-goodbye-to-prof-feliks-tych

‘Professor Feliks Tych, Historian, Dies at 85′ (POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews): http://www.sprawiedliwi.org.pl/en/cms/news-archive/1126,professor-feliks-tych-historian-dies-at-85/

‘Feliks Tych (1929- 2015)’ (YIVO Institute, New York): http://www.yivo.org/blog/index.php/2015/02/20/feliks-tych-1929-2015/#more-3305

‘IHRA Regrets the Passing of Professor Feliks Tych’ (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance): https://www.holocaustremembrance.com/media-room/news-archive/ihra-regrets-announce-passing-professor-feliks-tych

In German:

‘Chronist des Grauens. Zum Tod des polnisch-juedischen Historikers Feliks Tych’ (Juedische Allgemeine): http://www.juedische-allgemeine.de/article/view/id/21553

‘Feliks Tych’ (by Annelies Laschitza) (Neues Deutschland): https://www.neues-deutschland.de/artikel/962503.feliks-tych.html

At an International Workshop on Rosa Luxemburg in Berlin (6-7 March 2015), Professor Tych’s longstanding collaborator Dr. Juergen Hensel, spoke movingly about his life, work and legacy.

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International Workshop on Rosa Luxemburg held in Berlin (6-7 March 2015)

On 6-7 March, a workshop was held at the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in Berlin. Participants  from around the world gathered to discuss recent publications on Luxemburg, especially the sixth volume of her Complete Works in German and the first volume of her Complete Works in English. The workshop focussed on Luxemburg’s ideas on (and experiences of) revolution, under the heading of a quote from one of her letters: “the revolution is magnificent, everything else is bilge!”

 

Participants included Annelies Laschitza, Jörn Schütrumpf, Peter Hudis, Wladislaw Hedeler, Holger Politt, Evelin Wittich, Florian Weis, Tanja Storlokken, Ottokar Luban, Pablo Slavin, Rory Castle, Kate Evans, Jürgen Hensel and Julia Killet.

The workshop concluded with a fascinating tour of the Berlin sites associated with Rosa Luxemburg, led by Claudia von Gélieu.

A full programme can be found (in English and German) at: http://www.rosalux.de/event/52681/internationale-arbeitsgespraeche-rosa-luxemburg.html.

You can purchase the latest volumes here: http://www.dietzberlin.de (German) and http://www.versobooks.com (English)

Further information and reports of the workshop to follow.

Some photos of the workshop and tour can be found below.

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Kate Evans talks about her forthcoming graphic novel, ‘Red Rosa’.

IMG_2138[1]At 58 Cranachstrasse, where Luxemburg lived from 1902- 1911.

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At the site of the former Barnimstrasse Womens’ Prison, where Luxemburg was imprisoned on numerous occasions, including during the First World War.

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At the monument to Luxemburg at the Landwehr canal, where her body was dumped after her murder on 15 January 1919.

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Happy 144th Birthday Rosa Luxemburg!

1907 or 1908 maybe- rosa luxemburg- rls

Rosa Luxemburg was born on 5 March 1871 in the small Polish city of Zamosc and grew up in Warsaw. She earned a doctorate from Zurich University in 1897 and co-founded the Polish social-democratic party (SDKPiL). Living in Germany from 1898, she joined the German social-democratic party (SPD) and rose to prominence as a left-wing journalist, speaker and theorist. Imprisoned several times in Germany, she was active in the 1905 Revolution in Poland before returning to exile in Berlin. Luxemburg was a leading figure in the Second Socialist International and a campaigner against imperialism, war and dictatorship. She believed in socialism and democracy and called for the overthrow of the capitalist system.

During the First World War, Luxemburg was imprisoned for her anti-war activities and expelled from the SPD. She co-founded the Spartakusbund, which sought to end the war and overthrow the Kaiser and capitalism. During the German Revolution, which ushered in the Weimar Republic, Luxemburg was a co-founder of the German Communist Party (KPD). On 15 January 1919, she was arrested by government soldiers and murdered.

Nearly one hundred years later, her life and ideas continue to be an inspiration to people all over the world. To read some of her works online go to: marxists.org/archive/luxemburg.

Happy 144th Birthday Rosa Luxemburg!

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100 Years Ago Today: Rosa Luxemburg Imprisoned for Anti-War Speech

Rosa Luxemburg, Barnimstrasse Womens’ Prison, 1915

On 18 February 1915, Rosa Luxemburg began a twelve month sentence in Berlin’s Barnimstrasse Womens’ Prison for an anti-war speech delivered to workers at Fechenheim, near Frankfurt.

In her Fechenheim speech (delivered before the war, in September 1913) Luxemburg had called on German workers to refuse to shoot their French brothers in the event of war. As a result, she was charged with ‘inciting public disobedience’ and put on trial in Frankfurt in February 1914. Declared a flight risk by the public prosecutor, Luxemburg famously replied:

‘Sir, I do believe that you would run away. A Social Democrat never does. A Social Democrat stands by his deeds and laughs at your judgements. Now sentence me.’

The judge did indeed sentence her- to twelve months in prison, but the trial was a propaganda success and made Luxemburg a hero of the anti-war left and villain of the right-wing press. The implementation of her sentence was delayed while Luxemburg underwent hospital treatment, but on 18 February 1915 she was suddenly arrested and informed that her sentence would begin immediately.

Luxemburg served her entire twelve months in Barnimstrasse Womens’ Prison and was released on 18 February 1916. As a result of her continued anti-war work, she was arrested again on 10 July 1916 and placed under ‘protective custody’ (ie. imprisonment) for the rest of the war, held first in Wronke Fortress and then Breslau Prison. During her incarceration, Luxemburg produced some of her most important works, including the anti-war Junius Pamphlet (1915), the economic work The Accumulation of Capital: An Anti-Critique (1915) and her analysis of events in Russia, The Russian Revolution (1918).

The Barnimstrasse Womens’ Prison, Berlin

 

 

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96 Years Ago Today: Rosa Luxemburg was murdered in Berlin

1907 or 1908 maybe- rosa luxemburg- rls

96 years ago today, on 15 January 1919, Rosa Luxemburg was detained, interrogated and murdered by right-wing soldiers under the command of socialist Defence Minister Gustav Noske. Today she is remembered around the world for her life and ideas.

Born in Russian-Poland in a middle-class Jewish family in 1873, Rosa Luxemburg emigrated to Switzerland after completing High School and enrolled at Zurich University. Whilst still a student she co-founded the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland (SDKP, later SDKPiL), with Leo Jogiches, Adolf Warszawski and Julian Marchlewski, before being awarded a doctorate in 1897.

The following year, she moved to Berlin and joined the German Social-Democratic Party (SPD), then the largest and most powerful socialist organisation in the world. She rose to prominence on the left-wing of the SPD as a firebrand speaker, journalist and theoretician, writing works on economics, nationalism, imperialism, war, socialism and democracy.

Luxemburg taught at the SPD party school, wrote for party newspapers and represented the Poles and Germans at meetings of the Socialist International before 1914. When Revolution came to her homeland in 1905, she returned to Warsaw and endured imprisonment for her revolutionary activities, before returning to exile in Germany.

In the years preceding 1914, Luxemburg warned frequently of the oncoming crisis of imperialism and the dangers of a catastrophic war. She called on European workers to refuse to take up arms against eachother.

When war broke out in August 1914, the European socialist parties, who had long declared their hostility to war and determination to resist it by all means, crumbled and supported their respective governments. When the SPD voted in favour of war credits in the Reichstag (thus demonstrating support for the Kaiser’s government and the war), Luxemburg contemplated suicide for the only time in her life.

Luxemburg co-founded the anti-war, socialist group ‘The Spartacus League’, named after the Roman rebel slave, with other German socialists. Her anti-war activities soon led to her arrest and she spent the majority of the four years of the war in the Kaiser’s prisons. From her cell, she produced the anti-war ‘Junius Pamphlet’ as well as other works, whilst also leading the underground Spartacus League. Her own party, the SPD, disowned and expelled her and other anti-war activists.

In November 1918, sailors mutineered and began the German November Revolution. The Kaiser was deposed, workers and soldiers councils established and a new government, led by the SPD, took control of Germany. Rosa Luxemburg was released from prison and returned to Berlin, where she co-founded the German Communist Party (KPD) on New Year’s Eve.

Tensions between the SPD government (headed by Friedrich Ebert and Phillip Scheidemann) and the more radical socialist parties, namely the Independent Social-Democratic Party (USPD) and the KPD, boiled over on 5 January 1919. The spark was the government dismissal of Berlin’s police chief, Emil Eichhorn, a USPD member who had been appointed during the November Revolution. In response, strikes and demonstrations erupted across the city, led by the USPD, KPD and Revolutionary Shop Stewards- who formed a ‘Revolutionary Committee’.

Armed workers and soldiers occupied the newspaper district and other key buildings in central Berlin, while the leaders of the Revolutionary Committee argued, dithered and fractured. Meanwhile, the government moved in well organised regiments of ‘Freikorps’ (right-wing soldiers formed out of demobilised soldiers and led by reactionary officers), positioned outside the city by Defence Minister Gustav Noske, who called himself ‘the Bloodhound of the Revolution’.

The ‘Spartacist Rising’, as the government labelled it, was crushed with hundreds of casualties among armed revolutionaries and civilian workers, and acts of barbarism by the Freikorps. Leading Communists and left socialists were arrested, beaten up and hounded.

On 15 January, Rosa Luxemburg and fellow KPD leader Karl Liebknecht were discovered by the Garde-Kavallerie-Schützen-Division Freikorps. at a house in a middle-class suburb of Berlin. They were taken for interrogation at the Hotel Eden, before being murdered, their bodies dumped in Berlin’s Tiergarten.

The murderers escaped punishment.

Every year since 1919, people have gathered at the graves in the Friedrichsfelde Cemetery to mark the anniversary and remember Luxemburg and Liebknecht (except during the Nazi era, when the graves were desecrated).

For a range of Rosa Luxemburg’s works and letters available free and online, visit the Marxists Internet Archive at: http://marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/index.htm

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