Berlin events honor left-wing leaders
Special to Workers World
Communists and left social democrats--many of them workers
from the former German Democratic Republic--paid tribute here
on Jan. 12-13 to two great leaders of the workers' movement
murdered by the German capitalist army in 1919: Rosa Luxemburg
and Karl Liebknecht.
Ten thousand people marched through Berlin's streets.
Another 90,000 laid carnations on the graves of the two
leaders. The weekend was filled with meetings, discussions and
conferences of left-wing forces in Germany.
The big domestic question on everyone's mind was: What does
it mean that the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), the
successor to the communist party that formerly ruled in East
Germany, has joined a coalition government in Berlin with the
Social Democrats (SPD)?
The governing SPD has led Germany's participation in both
the war against Yugoslavia and the current U.S.-led war drive.
Many at the demonstration said they were concerned that the PDS
compromised its anti-war position to win acceptance to a
coalition with the SPD. This worry grew after the PDS signed a
statement apologizing for the Berlin Wall and pledging
allegiance to "Western values" as the price for joining the
One demonstrator suggested that, instead, the Social
Democrats should apologize for having been in charge of the
government in 1919 when Luxemburg and Liebknecht were
The big international question was what the Sept. 11 attacks
would mean to the rest of the world. German troops are poised
for use in Afghanistan and perhaps in Africa as part of the
U.S.-led "war on terror."
One of the major discussions on these issues took place Jan.
12 at Humboldt University in the center of the city, where 800
people came to the annual Rosa Luxemburg Conference. The daily
newspaper Junge Welt, the Cuba Si! organization and the Left
List electoral bloc sponsored the event. The topic was
"Resistance in the New World War Order."
The day started with talks from international guests.
Speaking were Tariq Ali, Pakistani-born anti-war speaker and
writer living in London; Faustino Cobarrubia Gomez, from the
World Economic Institute in Havana; John Catalinotto of the
International Action Center in New York; a message from
political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal on death row in
Pennsylvania; Boris Kagarlitsky, a political activist and
analyst from Moscow; and Alain Krivine, a representative to the
European Parliament from Paris and member of the Revolutionary
Ali said that the Bush administration had used the 9/11
attacks in an effort to gain support for a long-term war in
Cobarrubia Gomez pointed out that the domination of the
imperialist "neoliberal" model of economic development over the
past two decades in Latin America had led to economic collapse
and social disaster.
Catalinotto described how the anti-war movement within the
U.S. had developed despite the heavy propaganda offensive of
the Bush regime and the entire U.S. ruling class. His group,
the International Action Center, had stood up to this pressure
and sparked a new coalition--International ANSWER--that was
able to rally anti-war forces.
A number of German anti-war groups had translated and used
statements and leaflets originally published by the IAC or
ANSWER. This enabled them to win support within the German
peace movement for a stronger anti-war stance without appearing
insensitive to the victims at the World Trade Center.
Krivine was optimistic about the new anti-globalization
movement and the possibility of working-class organizations to
influence a new generation of activists.
These presentations were followed by a debate among
representatives of the German Communist Party, the left wing of
the PDS, the ATTAC anti-globalization group and an independent
left union tendency on how to overcome the isolation of the
fight-back movement within Germany.
Reprinted from the Jan. 31, 2002, issue of
Workers World newspaper
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