German neofascist politician attacks Holocaust commemoration

This September 2017 video says about itself:

German Holocaust survivor gives view on the rise of AfD | DW English

Nonagenarian holocaust survivor Horst Selbiger recalls his childhood in Nazi Germany. He sees the rise of the AfD as a continuation of the Nazi tradition.

By Christoph Vandreier in Germany:

AfD deputy denounces a Holocaust commemoration in German parliament

7 February 2019

Seventy-four years after the liberation of Auschwitz, the crimes of the Nazi regime are being downplayed in the German Bundestag (parliament) without triggering any significant protest.

On the morning of January 31, the Bundestag honored the victims of German National Socialism (Nazism) at an annual ceremony. Immediately afterwards, far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) parliamentarian Marc Jongen delivered a fascistic speech in which he downplayed the crimes of the Nazis and derided their victims. This did not evoke any noteworthy opposition, underscoring how far to the right the entire political establishment has moved and the degree to which the right-wing extremists of the AfD now dominate official politics.

Jongen, who gained a doctorate in philosophy under Peter Sloterdijk and is considered the “chief ideologue” of the AfD, spoke against a motion tabled by the Left Party to establish a central “memorial for the victims of the Nazi war of annihilation in Eastern Europe.” In addition to millions of soldiers who died, 6 million civilians were killed in Poland alone, 14 million were killed in the Soviet Union, and 3.3 million prisoners of war perished.

Jongen opposed the project on the grounds that it was aimed at “artificially inducing the re-traumatisation of every new generation in Germany” and that it ignored “the German and Eastern European victims of the Stalinist war of extermination”, who, he said, were the victims of a “no less terrible crime.”

Jongen equated the victims of the Nazi war of extermination with the losses that resulted from the Soviet Red Army’s offensive, which liberated Europe from Nazi rule. He also depicted the Nazis’ minutely planned war of annihilation as a response to Stalinist acts of violence, and, in the old tradition of the Nazis, justified it as a “preventive war”.

Jonger relied explicitly on the right-wing Humboldt University historian Jörg Baberowski, whom he quoted word for word. In 2011, Professor Baberowski wrote, “…without [taking into account] the excesses of the Stalinist dictatorship, it is not at all understandable what National Socialism [Nazism] was an answer to.”

Jonger followed this blatant historical falsification with a fascistic tirade. The commemoration of Nazi crimes was used to “anchor a deep sense of guilt in Germany for all time,” said the AfD speaker. “Germany should disappear as a nation, as a country, as a people. It should become a more or less open settlement area for migrants from all over the world,” Jongen railed, adopting the formulas of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

This marked the third time since the beginning of the year that right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis have besmirched the memory of the victims of Nazism, without provoking any outcry in establishment political or media circles. AfD members disrupted a commemoration in the Bavarian state parliament on January 23, and on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, Polish right-wing extremists demonstrated on the grounds of the concentration camp, shouting anti-Semitic slogans. Jongen has now transported this ideological filth into the Bundestag.

The political conditions for these fascistic and anti-Semitic displays by right-wing extremists were created by the more traditional bourgeois parties, which tolerate the AfD and adopt its policies. Not a single member of parliament spoke substantively against Jongen’s apologia for the Nazis and not a single newspaper deemed it necessary to report on, let alone denounce, his hate speech.

This toleration of fascist agitation in the Bundestag is the result of a process that has made right-wing extremist positions politically acceptable. Baberowski has played a central role in the project to rehabilitate the Nazis.

In 2007, Baberowski wrote: “Stalin and his generals forced a new type of war on the Wehrmacht [Hitler’s army], which no longer spared the civilian population.” In February 2014, in an interview published in Der Spiegel, Baberowski defended the Nazi apologist Ernst Nolte, who had triggered the Historians’ Dispute [Historikerstreit] in the 1980s with his exculpation of the Nazis.

“Nolte was wronged,” Baberowski said. “Historically, he was right.” He continued: “Hitler was not a psychopath, he was not cruel. He didn’t want people talking about the extermination of the Jews at his table.”

He also likened shootings in Russia in 1918 to the Holocaust, saying, “Basically, it was the same thing: industrial homicide.”

In response to Baberowski’s justification of Nazi crimes, the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (SGP—Socialist Equality Party) and its youth organisation, the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE), issued an open letter to the Humboldt University administration and protested against the falsification of history. In the letter, they pointed out that the rehabilitation of Hitler serves to justify German militarism today:

The attempts to establish a historically false narrative come at a critical point in German history. Such efforts should be seen in the context of recent statements by President Joachim Gauck and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier that it is now time to end decades of military restraint in Germany. The revival of German militarism requires a new interpretation of history that downplays the crimes of the Nazi era.

In 1987, Nolte’s positions triggered the Historikerstreit, in which many historians opposed Nolte. But in 2014, not a single professor and not a single mainstream newspaper opposed the statement that Hitler was not vicious.

Instead, the SGP and the IYSSE were attacked for criticising Baberowski in Der Spiegel, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Süddeutsche Zeitung and many other newspapers.

Rejecting an action brought by Baberowski against his critics, the Cologne Higher Regional Court ruled that Baberowski could legitimately be described as a “right-wing extremist”, a “racist” and someone who engages in “glorifying violence”. The professor’s lawyers then advanced the argument that while Baberowski’s speech might be radically right-wing, his research was sound. This frauduent separation of Baberowski’s aggressive political agenda and writings from his public declarations was promoted by the political establishment and the Humboldt University administration.

“The scholarly statements of Jörg Baberowski are not radically right-wing,” said the Social Democratic politician and president of Humboldt University Sabine Kunst in an official statement following Baberowski’s defeat in the Cologne Higher Regional Court. At the same time, she threatened critics with criminal proceedings and declared “media attacks” on Baberowski to be “unacceptable.”

Jongen’s speech confirms the critical importance of the struggle that the SGP and the IYSSE have carried out at Humboldt University. It leaves no doubt as to the thrust of Baberowski’s falsification of history and, at the same time, demonstrates once again that the right wing can act so brazenly only because nobody in the political establishment or in the academic community opposes it.

This silence extends beyond Germany. There is not a single prominent academic in either Britain or the United States who has publicly attacked Baberowski. It is not that they agree with Baberowski. In fact, this writer can testify to the fact that a number of respected historians have expressed in private conversations their distaste for the work of the Humboldt University professor. But they are not prepared to “go on the record” and denounce his pro-Nazi apologetics.

The refusal to forcefully oppose Baberowski has—as the rise of the AfD demonstrates—political consequences. In his valuable study The Anatomy of Fascism, published in 2004, historian Robert O. Paxton called attention to the insidious complicity of a significant stratum of intellectuals with the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy. The hostility of intellectuals to Enlightenment ideals “helped create a space for fascist values” and “made it possible to imagine fascism”, he wrote. The present-day silence of academics on pro-Nazi apologetics and refusal to counter historical falsifications has “helped create a space” for a dangerous fascist revival.

In the book Why Are They Back?, which deals extensively with the disputes at Humboldt University, I have written that the AfD, in contrast to the Nazis, “has neither a mass base of support nor combat-ready units like Hitler’s SA (Storm Troopers), which recruited its members among uprooted war veterans, socially ruined members of the petty-bourgeoisie, and despairing unemployed workers. The AfD’s strength arises exclusively from the support it receives from the political parties, the media, the government and the state apparatus.”

The SGP was and remains the only party that opposes this right-wing conspiracy. For this reason, it was referred to as “left-wing extremist” and listed as an “object for surveillance” in last year’s Secret Service annual report, which was prepared in close consultation with the AfD.

German neonazi politicians disrupt Holocaust commemoration

This video says about itself:

The Liberation of Dachau – HD & Color – International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January

ADVANCE NOTE: This programme contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion advised.

Dachau concentration camp was the first of the Nazi concentration camps opened in Germany, intended to hold political prisoners. It is located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory southeast of the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km (10 mi) northwest of Munich in the state of Bavaria, in southern Germany.

Opened in 1933 by Heinrich Himmler, its purpose was enlarged to include forced labor, and eventually, the imprisonment of Jews, ordinary German and Austrian criminals, and eventually foreign nationals from countries that Germany occupied or invaded. The Dachau camp system grew to include nearly 100 sub-camps, which were mostly work camps or “Arbeitskommandos,” and were located throughout southern Germany and Austria. The camps were liberated by U.S. forces on 29 April 1945.

By Peter Schwarz and Andre Damon:

Fascist deputies disrupt Holocaust memorial in Germany

26 January 2019

On Wednesday, deputies from the neo-fascist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party disrupted a Holocaust remembrance ceremony in the state parliament of Bavaria, with over a dozen members walking out of the room and one member posting a vulgar tirade against the speaker, a Holocaust survivor.

This week’s event, taking place in the same city where Adolf Hitler staged his infamous Beer Hall Putsch almost a century ago, has laid bare the ongoing rehabilitation of the Nazi regime and the Holocaust in Germany.

The neo-Nazis of the AfD feel emboldened to take such actions because the Grand Coalition government has worked to encourage and legitimize its anti-immigrant, xenophobic and ultimately antisemitic policies. The fascists know that they will not be seriously criticized by the ruling Christian Democratic and Social Democratic parties, which have adopted much of the AfD’s platform as their own.

Having adopted the AfD’s critique of Germany’s “welcoming culture”, the Grand Coalition has set up internment camps for refugees inside Germany’s borders. Meanwhile, the neo-Nazis are allowed by the police to rampage through the streets of German cities—as they did last year in Chemnitz, where they attacked immigrants, refugees, leftists and a Jewish restaurant.

Wednesday’s memorial was targeted by AfD members after Charlotte Knobloch, a Holocaust survivor and president of the Jewish Community in Munich, spoke basic truths that almost no one in official German politics will utter.

“The so-called AfD bases its politics on hate and exclusion”, Knobloch said. “It is our responsibility that the unimaginable cannot repeat itself,” she added, in a sharp warning about where the politics of the AfD leads.

As legislators applauded the speech, nearly all the members of the AfD party left the room in protest.

In a statement posted on Facebook, AfD member Ulrich Singer raved about the Holocaust survivor’s “lies”, “insolence, disrespect”, and “stupid and infantile babbling.” Over the subsequent days, Knobloch said she has received “insults, threats and abuse by email and telephone almost every minute.”

Charlotte Knobloch was born in Munich in 1932, where, as a six-year-old girl, she personally witnessed the burning down of the Munich synagogue during Kristallnacht. She only survived the Holocaust because a Catholic family in the countryside hid her and pretended she was the illegitimate child of their own daughter. She remained in Germany and later played a leading role in Jewish organizations.

The AfD’s leaders have justified and legitimized the Hitler regime and have sought to deny the historical significance of the Holocaust – the murder of over six million Jews by the Nazis.

AfD chairman Alexander Gauland has publicly stated that the Nazi dictatorship was “just so much bird shit in over a thousand years of successful German history.” Björn Höcke, the AfD’s leader in Thuringia, called the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin a “monument of shame”, and demanded a “180-degree shift” in the country’s attitude toward the Holocaust.

Germany’s media and political establishment have systematically promoted the resurgence of the AfD. In 2014, the German news weekly Der Spiegel ran a major story dedicated to downplaying German responsibility for World War II, featuring a quotation from Humboldt University professor Jörg Baberowski, who declared “Hitler was not a psychopath, he was not vicious. He did not want to talk about the extermination of Jews at his table.”

Over the following years, the media has promoted far-right, anti-immigrant demonstrations that heralded the formation of the AfD as a legitimate outpouring of popular sentiment, creating the political climate for a radical shift to the right by the entire German political establishment.

Meanwhile figures associated with the AfD have been promoted to key political positions by the Grand Coalition government of the CDU and SPD, including Hans-Georg Maassen, the former head of the German Secret Service, who has defended and promoted the AfD and covered-up for the neo-Nazi riot in Chemnitz.

The only political organization that stands against the rehabilitation of Nazism is the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (SGP, Socialist Equality Party) and its student movement, the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE).

The SGP warned five years ago that Germany’s return to an aggressive imperialist foreign policy and militarism required “a new narrative of the twentieth century, a falsification of history that diminishes and justifies the crimes of German imperialism.”

In response to their criticisms of figures such as Humboldt University professor Jörg Baberowski, the SEP and IYSSE became the targets of furious denunciation in Germany’s major newspapers. The SPD president of Humboldt University, Sabina Kunst, publicly defended Baberowski and declared criticism of his neo-Nazi views inadmissible.

The AfD has been promoted not from below, but from above, through support and encouragement from the political establishment. Meanwhile, the great mass of the population views their actions with disgust, and demonstrations against the neo-Nazis have attracted hundreds of thousands of people. But this broad opposition to everything the AfD stands for finds no expression in official politics.

In contrast to the silence and complicity that prevails among the parties of the political establishment, the SGP and the IYSSE have waged a principled struggle to expose the promotion of the extreme right.

As a result, the IYSSE at Humboldt University has seen a significant increase in its vote, in the most recent election for the student parliament, emerging as one of the most broadly-supported student groups, and outpolling the Left Party

Amid the eruption of the class struggle all over the world, the IYSSE and SGP will continue their fight against the resurgence of fascism, on the basis of the fight to unify the international working class against the capitalist system.

The reemergence of fascism in Germany, and the embrace of the neo-Nazis by the media and political establishment, makes clear that German fascism was not an aberration, but an expression of the most fundamental tendencies of capitalism itself: war, reaction, and imperialist barbarism. The fight against fascism is, in other words, the struggle for socialism.

German AFD neofascists unwelcome at concentration camp commemoration

This 2013 video says about itself:

Buchenwald concentration camp (German: Konzentrationslager (KZ) Buchenwald) was a German Nazi concentration camp established on the Ettersberg (Etter Mountain) near Weimar, Germany, in July 1937, one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps on German soil, following Dachau’s opening just over four years earlier.

Prisoners from all over Europe and the Soviet Union—Jews, non-Jewish Poles and other Slavs, the mentally ill and physically-disabled from birth defects, religious and political prisoners, Roma and Sinti, Freemasons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, criminals, homosexuals, and prisoners of war — worked primarily as forced labor in local armaments factories.

… Today the remains of the camp serve as a memorial and permanent exhibition and museum administered by the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation, which also oversees the camp’s memorial at Mittelbau-Dora.

Camp commandants: SS-Standartenführer: Hermann Pister SS-Sturmbannführer: Jacob Weiseborn (1937-1939) SS-Obersturmbannführer: Karl Otto Koch (1939–1942) SS-Standartenführer: Hermann Pister (1942–1945)

Buchenwald’s second commandant was Karl Otto Koch, who ran the camp from 1937 to 1941. His second wife, Ilse Koch, became notorious as Die Hexe von Buchenwald (“the witch of Buchenwald”) for her cruelty and brutality. Koch had a zoo built by the prisoners in the camp, with a bear pit (Bärenzwinger) facing the Appellplatz, the assembly square where prisoner “roll-calls” were conducted. Koch himself was eventually imprisoned at Buchenwald by the Nazi authorities for incitement to murder. The charges were lodged by Prince Waldeck and Dr. Morgen, to which were later added charges of corruption, embezzlement, black market dealings, and exploitation of the camp workers for personal gain.

Other camp officials were charged, including Ilse Koch. The trial resulted in Karl Koch being sentenced to death for disgracing both himself and the SS; he was executed by firing squad on April 5, 1945, one week before American troops arrived. Ilse Koch was sentenced to a term of four years’ imprisonment after the war. Her sentence was reduced to two years and she was set free. She was subsequently arrested again and sentenced to life imprisonment by the post-war German authorities; she committed suicide in a Bavarian prison cell in September 1967.

The third and last commandant of the camp was Hermann Pister (1942–1945). He was tried in 1947 (Dachau Trials) and sentenced to death, but died in September 1948 of a heart condition before the sentence could be carried out.

Female prisoners and overseers

The number of women held in Buchenwald was somewhere between 500 and 1,000. The first female inmates were twenty political prisoners who were accompanied by a female SS guard (Aufseherin); these women were brought to Buchenwald from Ravensbrück in 1941 and forced into prostitution at the camp’s brothel.

The SS later fired the SS woman on duty in the brothel for corruption, her position was taken over by “brothel mothers” as ordered by SS chief Heinrich Himmler. The majority of women prisoners, however, arrived in 1944 and 1945 from other camps, mainly Auschwitz, Ravensbrück, and Bergen Belsen. Only one barrack was set aside for them; this was overseen by the female block leader (Blockführerin) Franziska Hoengesberg, who came from Essen when it was evacuated.

All the women prisoners were later shipped out to one of Buchenwald’s many female satellite camps in Sömmerda, Buttelstedt, Mühlhausen, Gotha, Gelsenkirchen, Essen, Lippstadt, Weimar, Magdeburg, and Penig, to name a few. No female guards were permanently stationed at Buchenwald.

When the Buchenwald camp was evacuated, the SS sent the male prisoners to other camps, and the five-hundred remaining women (including one of the secret annexe members who lived with Anne Frank, “Mrs. van Daan”, real name Auguste van Pels), were taken by train and on foot to the Theresienstadt concentration camp and ghetto in the protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.

Many, including van Pels, died sometime between April and May 1945. Because the female prisoner population at Buchenwald was comparatively small, the SS only trained female overseers at the camp and “assigned” them to one of the female subcamps. Twenty-two known female guards had personnel files at the camp, but it is unlikely that any of them stayed at Buchenwald for longer than a few days.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Representatives of the party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) are barred from commemorating the Holocaust in Buchenwald, the largest concentration camp on German soil in the Second World War.

Director Volkhard Knigge of the Buchenwald Commemoration Foundation said in writing that the ban has to do with anti-democratic, racist and anti-Semitic sayings in the AfD. He also writes that the deputies who wished to participate in the commemoration did not distance themselves from anti-democratic statements by their party leaders.

In the beginning of 2017 AfD leader Björn Höcke called the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin a “monument of shame”. His position is that the central role of commemoration [of the Holocaust] in Germany must come to an end. …

Jewish leaders in Germany hold the AfD responsible for the increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents.

Controversial sausage musdeum plan in Buchenwald: here.

Neonazi German policemen threaten little girl with death

This 18 December 2018 video says about itself:

‘We’ll butcher your daughter’: Death threats to lawyer spark probe into right-wing police cell

Seda Basay-Yildiz is a German lawyer of Turkish origin who represents the victims of far-right violence.

Read more here.

By Marianne Arens in Germany:

German lawyer receives additional threatening fax from the far right

22 January 2019

German lawyer Basay-Yildiz has received another message threatening her and her family. The fax signed “NSU 2.0” apparently originates from the neo-Nazi network located in Germany’s police apparatus, which first sent the lawyer a similar fax in August of last year. The existence of a second threatening fax signed with “NSU 2.0” was reported by the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Basay-Yildiz defended the Simsek family over a period of five years during the trial of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) terror group, which murdered at least 10 people between 2000 and 2006. An investigation into the first fax sent revealed the existence of a far-right chat group in the Frankfurt city police, which exchanged images of Hitler and swastikas. A policewoman involved in the group evidently used a police computer to retrieve the details of Ms. Basay-Yildiz, her family and their home address. In December, six police officers, five of them from police station No. 1 in Frankfurt, were suspended from the service.

The second message leaves no doubt that those behind the fax are either in touch with the police or are themselves police officers. The direct link to the Hessian police is clear from the passage in the second fax, which reads: “You…[vile obscenities] are obviously unaware of what you have done to our police colleagues.”

In the fax, the lawyer is insulted racially and once again her two-year-old daughter is threatened with death. Other close relatives—her husband, mother and father—are called by their real names. These names can only come from a police computer because they were never circulated on social networks.

The extreme right-wing authors of the faxes can obviously rely on protection from the highest political circles. The second fax arrived on December 20, just one day after a meeting of the Interior Special Committee investigating the police scandal. The Hessian interior minister, Peter Beuth (Christian Democratic Union, CDU), failed, however, to inform parliament or even his own committee, let alone the public, about the new fax. It was only made public after the lawyer personally contacted the Süddeutsche Zeitung last week.

Beuth was aware of the threats directed against the lawyer and her two-year-old daughter by the self-proclaimed “NSU 2.0” at the beginning of August, when the first fax arrived, but the case was kept secret for months. This was required, according to the investigating authority, “in order not to jeopardise the investigation.” More than five months later, the case has still to be resolved and the perpetrators remain at large.

Beuth has acted in similar fashion to his predecessor, Volker Bouffier (CDU), who is currently premier of Hesse. Following the murder of Halit Yozgat by the NSU in Kassel in 2006, Bouffier kept silent about the fact that a German undercover agent, Andreas Temme, was present at the murder scene. He also failed to inform the parliamentary interior committee.

In addition, the state of Hesse does not appear to be lifting a finger today to protect Ms. Basay-Yildiz. The police merely suggested “that I could have a gun licence to protect myself”, she told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. “Of course, the question arises: Do I need a weapon in Germany? What for?”

The reaction of leading politicians is also instructive. Just a few days ago, they were all rushing to issue statements of solidarity for far-right AfD deputy Frank Magnitz, who had blown out of all proportion an attack on him by persons unknown. All of the politicians who publicly defended Magnitz—federal Interior Minister Heiko Maas, federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (both SPD), Cem Özdemir (Green Party) and many others—have not said a single word in solidarity with Ms. Basay-Yildiz.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that another lawyer, Cologne attorney Mustafa Kaplan, has also received a threatening letter signed “NSU 2.0.” Kaplan was also involved in the NSU lawsuit as a lawyer on behalf of the victims. He represented one of the victims of a nail bomb attack in Cologne on June 9, 2004. He and his family were both threatened in the letter.

More and more evidence has emerged to reveal the close connection between the police and right-wing extremist groups. These incidents are not, as politicians claim, “unfortunate individual cases”.

Last week, at the trial in Halle, Saxony, of a heavily armed, right-wing extremist couple, it was reported that the woman was apparently a friend of a policeman in Hesse and had received information from a police computer. The woman belongs to a group of so-called “Aryans”, who, on May 1, 2017, had attacked and beaten up alleged enemies—in fact, uninvolved hikers—in the town of Halle.

Once again, the Hesse Ministry of the Interior confirmed “ongoing investigations”, but said that the policeman concerned had shown “no signs of right-wing extremism” and had been transferred to Lower Saxony, and that the case has nothing to do with the investigation in Halle. Nevertheless, the apparent links between a police officer and a far-right, violent criminal are highly suspect.

In Frankfurt, police station No. 1 apparently has major problems with right-wing police violence. A video of a police check from December 9 documents an unprovoked and violent assault carried out by officers at the city’s main police station. The video was made public by the Frankfurter Rundschau. Police station No. 1 is responsible for the main station. When the police found out that their actions had been filmed, they dragged the young man who recorded the video, along with others, to the station and threatened to beat him up if he failed to reveal his cell phone pin.

Nevertheless, Interior Minister Beuth repeatedly intones that there is “no evidence of a right network” in the Hesse police. Although he is responsible as minister for the activities of the extreme right in the police, he remains in office in the newly formed state government, a coalition of the conservative CDU and the Greens.

The Greens continue to support Beuth as interior minister. They have proven to be reliable partners of the CDU and support a powerful state apparatus. In their coalition agreement, they agreed together with the CDU on new measures to intimate those who demonstrate. In future, the new law will allow the police to film all participants at a demonstration by helicopter, mini-drone or cameras mounted on autos. The law also includes a ban on “militant and intimidating behavior.” The prohibition of uniforms and attempts at disguise in the previous law were insufficient, according to Jürgen Frömmrich, the parliamentary faction leader of the Greens. The new law was a “shining star” in the coalition agreement, he gushed.

The author also recommends:

Neo-Nazi network in the German police force
[20 December 2018]

German politician justifies murdering Rosa Luxemburg

This 15 January 2019 video says about itself:

Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht inspire the left to this day. They both founded the Spartakusbund (which eventually became the Communist Party) in 1916 calling for the overthrow of the German government [of Emperor Wilhelm II] and the end of the war.

By Peter Schwarz in Germany:

German SPD politician justifies murder of Rosa Luxemburg

18 January 2019

Although the SPD

The social democrat party in Germany.

Recently, United States sociologist Stephanie Mudge said there were three phases in the ideas of social democrat leaders: first, aiming to replace capitalism with socialism. Second, trying to improve things for the working class within capitalism with Keynesian economic policies and a welfare state. Third, giving up on Keynesianism and the welfare state, replacing it with Thatcherism-Reaganism-Clintonism-Blairism. That third phase, Ms Mudge said, may prove fatal for these parties.

About 1900, in the German SPD there was a ‘reformist’ right wing, thinking socialism might gradually and smoothly replace capitalism by legislation. Maybe a few capitalist individuals would grumble a bit, but that would be all. The revolutionary left wing in the SPD, represented by, eg, Rosa Luxemburg, thought things would go less smoothly. At least a general strike would be needed to reach socialism.

The Socialist International, including socialist parties all over the world, decided at its 2007 and 2012 congresses that, if war would threaten, the working class should stop it by a general strike.

In 2014, World War I threatened. Hundreds of thousands of peace demonstrators in Germany and elsewhere tried to prevent it.

Nevertheless, the right-wing leadership of the SPD decided to support Emperor Wilhelm II’s war; similar to right-wing social democrats in other countries. While Emperor Wilhelm’s government jailed anti-war socialists like Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Jailed them; not killing them yet. That would happen after the war, in 1919 when Emperor Wilhelm’s government had been replaced by an SPD government.

continues to officially dispute its complicity in the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht a century ago, Wolfgang Thierse, former president of the federal parliament, recently explicitly declared: We would do it again. The two revolutionary socialists and co-founders of the German Communist Party were brutally murdered one hundred years ago, on January 15, 1919, by Freikorps soldiers who were in close contact with the SPD Reichswehr Minister Gustav Noske.

Thierse gave an interview to the Leipziger Volkszeitung on January 14 about the commemoration of Luxemburg and Liebknecht, which he described as a “dishonest honour.”

Asked whether the Social Democrats bore a portion of the blame in January 1919, Thierse answered, “There were radicalised elements among the workers. They had to be defeated by force of arms. It remains a painful episode, also in retrospect, but we know that the path that was then taken was the better one.”

According to Thierse, Germany after the November Revolution was divided between “radical forces who wanted something like the Bolsheviks in Russia, a revolution, and the moderate Majority Social Democrats, who said, we first need to win peace, we must ensure that the people don’t starve, that some sort of orderly relations exist.” In retrospect, one can say “that the moderate forces were right in not relying on a brutal revolution that would have resulted in a dictatorship, but instead working for democracy, the rule of law, and the social state.”

In summary, Thierse is saying that the suppression of uprisings by revolutionary workers, which claimed thousands of victims, and the execution of their leaders were necessary steps to secure democracy, the rule of law, and the social state. This is an incredible falsification of history, which can only lead one to conclude that Thierse and the SPD, confronted with similar conditions, would do exactly the same today as they did then.

The SPD government of Friedrich Ebert, Philipp Scheidemann, and Gustav Noske from 1918–19 did not defend democracy, but rather the authoritarian state, militarism and capitalist private property. They protected from the raging revolution all of the social forces that would assist Hitler to power 14 years later—the military caste, the big landowners, the industrialists Stinnes, Flick and Krupp, the Deutsche Bank, and the authoritarian judiciary and police apparatus. To this end, they organized the Freikorps, which carried out several coup attempts in subsequent years and went on to serve as the basis for Hitler’s paramilitary Stormabteilung (Storm Detachment, SA).

The concessions the SPD was forced to make in the process—a bourgeois constitution, universal suffrage, the eight-hour day, etc.—were purely tactical and were withdrawn at the first opportunity. The Weimar democracy was never more than an empty shell, which collapsed at the first signs of social unrest. Numerous serious historians, including those who oppose a socialist perspective, therefore explicitly describe the policies of the Ebert government as counter-revolutionary.

As the well-known publicist Sebastian Haffner wrote in his book on the November Revolution published in 1979, “The German revolution was a Social Democratic revolution that was put down by the Social Democratic leaders; an episode that is virtually unparalleled in world history.”

In his new book on the 1918 revolution, Joachim Käppner comments on this remark: “Had the Ebert SPD used the mass movement instead of fearing it, driven the old military to the devil instead of allying with it, the Republic probably wouldn’t have collapsed in 1933, or at least wouldn’t have fallen into the hands of the Nazis—according to Haffner’s train of thought, and it is difficult to disagree with his logic.”

Leon Trotsky summed up the character of the November Revolution in the concise formula, “As to the German Revolution of 1918, it was no democratic completion of the bourgeois revolution, it was a proletarian revolution decapitated by the Social Democrats; more correctly, it was a bourgeois counter-revolution, which was compelled to preserve pseudo-democratic forms after its victory over the proletariat.”

In the founding programme of the German Communist Party, Luxemburg noted that the Hohenzollerns [imperial dynasty] overthrown on November 9, 1918, were “no more than the front men of the imperialist bourgeoisie and of the Junkers. The class rule of the bourgeoisie is the real criminal responsible for the World War,” she continued. “The capitalists of all nations are the real instigators of the mass murder.”

On this basis, she concluded that the world war had confronted society with two alternatives: socialism or barbarism. She went on, “The World War confronts society with the choice: either continuation of capitalism, new wars, and imminent decline into chaos and anarchy, or abolition of capitalist exploitation.” Her warning was to be tragically confirmed by Nazi rule, the Holocaust, and the Second World War.

The 75-year-old Thierse is a powerful voice in the SPD. He grew up in East Germany, and began his political career as a civil rights activist during German reunification with the New Forum. Shortly before reunification, in the summer of 1990, Thierse became leader of the SPD in East Germany. He was subsequently deputy leader of the German SPD until 2005, and a member of its commission on basic values until 2013.

Between 1998 and 2005, Thierse played an important role as president of parliament in enforcing the agenda of the SPD-Green Party government, including foreign military interventions, the Hartz social welfare reforms, and the Agenda 2010. The bearded Catholic and spokesman for the Christian Working Group within the SPD was capable of bestowing a lofty moral aura on the reactionary policies of the Schröder-Fischer government.

The fact that Thierse has now openly attacked Luxemburg, instead of trying to distort or co-opt her as others have done, is an unmistakable sign of the SPD’s further shift to the right. Despised by workers and reduced to 14 percent in the polls, the SPD is preparing once again to brutally suppress social opposition in alliance with the most reactionary forces.