What is a democratic-socialist nationalist

Encouragement for democratic-socialist action

The first ideas for a party-affiliated foundation, at that time as an institution in the vicinity, first the SED-PDS and then the PDS, were developed in early 1990. They should also help to maintain and further develop the social science potential - now freed from instrumental and dogmatic guidelines. The GDR's rapid accession to the Federal Republic of Germany on October 3, 1990 changed such considerations and in November 1990 led to the establishment of the Society Analysis and Political Education Association. This is how the history of the institution, which was renamed the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in 1999/2000, begins. Long before the establishment of international work and scholarship funding was considered at the time with the first receipt of federal funds, the name of the association expressed two central objectives - one that was just as self-critical (in view of the failure of state socialism and the Stalinist deformations of the past) and critical (on the apparently victorious, bourgeois, market-oriented West German and western side) Analysis of social developments and political education that relied on democratic emancipation beyond old party dogmatism and fashionable, market-based forms of further education.

In the first few years, the existence of the foundation was secured exclusively through voluntary commitment and employees in employment measures. Volunteering is still very important, and the breadth and diversity of the foundation's activities is impressive. The fact that conflicts and challenges can sometimes arise cannot be denied - for example when looking for overarching focal points, with regard to the balance of target groups to be addressed or the weighting of task areas such as political education in a narrower as well as broader sense, political advice, publication activities, multimedia offers, Networking and cooperation, funding for students and doctoral candidates, maintaining an archive of democratic socialism or international work. But this diversity has decisively shaped the foundation over the past 25 years.

Voluntary work also made a significant contribution to the development of the foundation association with its 15 independent state foundations, which are now institutional foundation members at the federal level. This work began in 1990/91 in the East German federal states and Berlin - in Saxony and Brandenburg already under the name »Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung« - where full-time structures could be created at an early stage through state funding. In the second half of the 1990s, the first West German educational associations and local Rosa Luxemburg clubs were formed. Especially in the critical situation after the PDS election defeat in September 2002, a new quality of East-West cooperation between the state foundations and with the foundation at the federal level was achieved. At that time, this was not a matter of course in the PDS and any other left, or in German society as a whole. On this basis, the state foundations were also able to intensively support the emergence of the »electoral alternative work and social justice« and the process of the formation of the common DIE LINKE party in the years 2004 to 2007 with the means of political education work.

The Federal Constitutional Court ruled in its groundbreaking ruling from 1986, which it recently reiterated1, the concept of the permanent political current as the background of the foundation's work. For us, the reference to a basic democratic-socialist tendency in German society such as the DIE LINKE party is constitutive. As an educational, networking and scientific institution, the foundation also wants to be the point of contact for a broader, pluralist left - whether we call it the “mosaic left” or the “transformative left”.

The great Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm (1917-2012) said in an interview in 1996 about the challenges of globalization: “You can say that if these problems are not solved, then it will be difficult. As Rosa Luxemburg said: 'Either socialism or barbarism'. We don't have socialism, but we have barbarism. One can therefore only say that these problems can only be solved in a certain way that is much closer to old socialism than to today's neo-liberalism. "2

Since 1996 the instability of the world has increased dramatically in the form of deep economic crises, an increase in new types of terrorist violence as well as wars and military interventions, growing social inequality and an acceleration of the ecological crisis. The confidence of a liberal-democratic, market-like upward development, even of an "end of history", has given way to deep uncertainty. The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation does not pretend to have ready-made answers for democratic socialism. We see our task in analyzing, in supporting the self-empowerment and encouragement of democratic actors, in enabling and searching, not in proclaiming certainties. We are aware that the national, European and global challenges also require constant change in the foundation in order to be able to help shape a path of development that is socially fairer, more economically and ecologically sustainable, more democratic and more peaceful than the radical market approach of the last decades - and, moreover, free from racism and anti-Semitism. The European and international partners of the foundation and the bilateral and multilateral dialogue component of our work are an important source and basis for a socialist foundation that has internationalist aspirations.

In doing so, we rely on the commitment of our board members, association and advisory board members as well as our liaison lecturers as well as on the work of the state foundations, discussion groups and the youth education network as well as on the work of our employees in Germany and worldwide. The present anniversary volume would like to report on what has been achieved over the past 25 years, combined with the heartfelt thanks to all those involved.

Dr. Dagmar Enkelmann is the chairwoman of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. The historian was the first parliamentary director of the left-wing parliamentary group in the German Bundestag until 2013, to which she had belonged for four legislative periods since 1990.

Dr. Florian Weis is a managing board member of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. Until 2008, the historian was responsible for coordinating the foundation network.



1 2 BvE 5/83, July 1986, www.servat.unibe.ch/dfr/bv073001.html; 2 BvE 4/12, July 2015, www.bundesverfassungsgericht.de/SharedDocs/Entscheidungen/DE/2015/07/ es20150715_2bve000412.html

2Frankfurter Rundschau of July 27, 1996, p. ZB3