Karl Marx Seminar 2023: the lessons of the German Revolution

On 25 and 26 November, 188 young communists met in Berlin to discuss the German Revolution of 1918-1923, in order to arm themselves for the struggle against capitalism today.

100 years ago, the German working class could have taken power. In 1923, the masses, impoverished by hyperinflation, stood behind the German Communist Party (KPD) and the revolution. But when it came to preparing the uprising, the communists hesitated at the decisive moment. As in 1918 and 1920, the overthrow of capitalism failed due to the leadership of the working class.

Then as now, the revolution stands and falls with the communist party, whose task is to provide the movement with the correct ideas, perspectives and methods. We draw this knowledge from the victories and defeats of the class struggles of the past. That is why the German section of the International Marxist Tendency, Der Funke, dedicated this year’s Karl Marx Seminar entirely to the German Revolution of 1918-1923.

This period was characterised by conditions that are still part of everyday life for the masses 100 years later. The standard of living is being eroded, the gains of past struggles are under attack, and bourgeois institutions are becoming increasingly discredited. Young people nowadays know nothing but decay. It is no wonder that they are looking for an alternative and are increasingly drawn to communism.

Revolutionary optimism

188 young communists attended the Karl Marx Seminar, coming from all over Germany as well as from Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland, France, Switzerland and Austria.

The 14 workshops covered topics such as the ideas of Rosa Luxemburg, how communists work in trade unions, the united front tactic, preparing a revolution, and how to fight fascism. The central question of the weekend was how a revolutionary communist party can win over the majority of the working class to the programme of socialist revolution.

The talks and discussions were brimming with revolutionary optimism. The German Revolution is an impressive example of how the masses became conscious of the need for communism, despite the passivity of their leadership. This occurred due to their experience of the betrayals of the reformist Social Democratic Party and centrist [in the Marxist sense, i.e. vacillating between reform and revolution] Independent Social Democrats (USPD), because they could not solve their most pressing issues.

Are you a communist? Then get organised!

In the same way, the present crisis will set the entire working class in motion and their experiences will lead more and more to draw revolutionary conclusions. With a leadership that has learnt from history, no force on earth can stop the working class. The German Revolution shows that we need to use the time before the coming social explosions to build the communist party.

Speakers Image Der FunkeMillions of young people worldwide want to fight for communism today / Image: Der Funke

Millions of young people worldwide want to fight for communism today. By overcoming their atomisation and studying the ideas of Marxism, the revolutionary youth of the working class will be able to unite in the coming mass movements. These struggles will forge a mass revolutionary communist party that will be capable of overthrowing capitalism. That is why – at demonstrations, universities and schools – we say: “Are you a communist? Then get organised today!

Enthusiasm and dedication

The Karl Marx Seminar 2023 was an important step towards building the revolutionary communist party in Germany. Several people joined our organisation on the spot, to dedicate themselves to this task. The participants also donated over €28,000. This is a formidable expression of the enthusiasm and the willingness of young people – most of them students – to make sacrifices in the struggle for communism.

We are aware of our historic task and take it very seriously. Studying history fills us with revolutionary optimism. We know that the next German revolution will only be successful if we build the communist party now. Lenin and the Bolsheviks showed us what it takes. That is why, in the coming year, we will deal with their ideas at length. The Karl Marx Seminar 2024 will be the conclusion of this campaign. It will be entirely dedicated to Lenin and Bolshevism, in whose tradition we stand. Our goal is to reach 500 participants.

You can help us achieve this task by donating, subscribing to our paper, or by spreading our ideas and articles. We would also invite you and your comrades to come to the next Karl Marx Seminar. But most importantly, if you are not yet a member, you should join the International Marxist Tendency today and help us build the world party of revolutionary communism!

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