Date: Tue, 21 Jan 97 17:23:43 CST
From: Arm The Spirit <>
Subject: Germany: In Memory Of Karl And Rosa

In Memory Of Karl And Rosa

Arm the Spirit, 21 January 1997

Many people may not know this, but the biggest annual demonstration by the German left is not the tradition May Day riot, but the Karl And Rosa Memorial Demo in East Berlin. This year was no exception, as tens of thousands of people braved the bitter cold to pay tribute to the memory of Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, founders of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), who were murdered by fascists on January 15, 1909.

There was a political split within the left before this year's rally, however. In 1996, there were some clashes with riot police during the event after police attacked Kurdish comrades who were carrying flags of the outlawed National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (ERNK). Police threatened to attack the entire march this year. Fearing this, the leadership of the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), the political heirs of the KPD in Germany, distanced themselves from the march and instead called for a quiet ceremony at the Socialists' Memorial in Friedrichsfelde, East Berlin. Tens of thousands turned out to this event.

But more than 10,000 others, including many rank-and-file PDS members, joined in the radical-left's protest demonstration through the streets of East Berlin to the Socialists' Memorial. The demo was led by a 3,000-strong militant anti-fascist bloc. Despite the threats beforehand, there were no clashes with the police.

As the 1998 deadline looms, when imperialist Germany's capital will revert back from Bonn to Hitler's seat of power at the Reichstag in Berlin, the city's right-wing administration is doing all it can to wipe out the remnants of both the reformist and the militant left. But the Karl and Rosa demo is proof that there are still tens of thousands of Berliners who are willing to take to the streets in honor of socialism.