Anti-Jewish Pogroms

Rosa Luxemburg on 1 December 1918

To the same extent that the German nationalist press, spanning from the political right to the «Vorwärts», praises the achievements of modernity, namely, the «right to national self-determination» and the «brotherhood of nations», it also condemns, hatefully and disparagingly, the «dictatorship of the left» and the associated anarchy, disorder, fratricidal war, civil war, etc. More blessed climes already enjoy this «right to self-determination» and there the national sentiment can run wild. The «Berliner Tageblatt» writes about the anti-Jewish pogroms in Lemberg:

     «What happened in Lemberg was targeted nationalist terrorism. A stop was put to the pogroms as soon as representatives of the Lemberg Jewry declared that they acknowledged their Polishness. For decades, the fiction that the urban areas in Ukrainian East Galicia were Polish has been maintained by counting Jews as Polish nationals. However, during the most recent clashes between Poles and Ukrainians, Jews have declared their neutrality in almost all of East Galicia. The Polish authorities would of course be unable to maintain the Polish claim to East Galicia if they were to recognise the Jews’ rights and neutrality in the Polish-Ukrainian conflict. The purpose of the pogroms is to reverse this affirmation of neutrality.»

     This is the exquisite foretaste of the new order that the bourgeoisie wants to conjure up out of Europe’s ruins. Nationalism has returned from the war as the same bloody predator that it was when it entered it. And no phrases about the «self-determination of the people» will change anything about it. The corpses of the Lemberg’s Jews, half-charred and burnt to cinders, provide a far more accurate picture of what the ‘brotherhood of nations’ under capitalist conditions really means than the most florid and longest of speeches by Scheidemann or Wilson ever could.

From: The Rote Fahne. Central publication of the Spartacus League, 1st year, No. 16, 1 December 1918, unsigned (printed in Levi vol. I /1, p. 599.)

Translated by: Zachary Murphy King.