20th International Rosa Luxemburg Conference 2015

On January 10th, 2015, over 2000 people came together for the 20th Rosa Luxemburg Conference in the Urania event centre of Berlin. The main theme of the conference was »Peace instead of NATO«. Amongst others, the Indian economist Radhika Desai, the politician Oskar Lafontaine, Peter Mertens from the Worker's Party of Belgium and the US journalist Linn Washington  were keynote speakers.

Sharon Dolev

Sharon Dolev is the initiator of a new Israeli grassroots anti-nuclear movement and the coordinator of a series of events held in Israel. She heads the Regional Peace Movement (RPM), formed to support the Arab Peace Initiative, and is a veteran campaign organizer for peace, environmental and human rights organizations in Israel. She is also the Peace and Disarmament campaigner for Greenpeace Mediterranean and the Israeli Greenpeace office director.



Alex Rosen

Dr. Alex Rosen has been the vice chair of the German section of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) since 2013. He works as a child physician in Berlin. Aside from being an active member of IPPNW, he also founded the refugee initiative STAY e.V. in Dusseldorf and used to be the chair of the initiative. He was also the head of MediNetz Dusseldorf from 2008 to 2012. From 2010 to 2012 he coordinated the website www.medibueros.org and in 2012 he organized the national meeting of medical refugee assistance organizations in Dusseldorf.


Linn Washington

Linn Washington, born in 1950, is a journalist and a professor for journalism at Temple University in Philadelphia. He is a long-time companion and friend of Mumia Abu-Jamal. The two met in the mid-1970s when they were colleagues on the radio – when Washington was the host of a popular jazz show and Abu-Jamal was becoming a local celebrity for his sharp and well-researched commentaries on current political events in Philadelphia.
At the time of Abu-Jamal's arrest in late 1981, Linn Washington was already an experienced newspaper journalist and police reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News. In the early morning of the 9th of December, 1981, he was the first reporter at the scene of the shooting in downtown Philadelphia, which lead to Abu-Jamal's arrest and his subsequent death sentence. From that day forth, he has followed every detail of Abu-Jamal's scandalous trial and legal situation and written countless articles.
For 14 years he has written a weekly column for the Philadelphia Tribune, focusing on racism and police brutality in the United States.
He is a co-founder of the online magazine This Can't Be Happening, in which he also publishes weekly articles. His focus is on the topics truth & media and the criminal justice system in the United States. His additional studies of legal journalism at Yale University have made him more keenly aware of legal details of the US legal system. His collection of examples of unjust legal practices, especially against blacks, is alarmingly large.


Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal, born in Philadelphia in 1954, was the press speaker of the Black Panther Party in Philadelphia during his youth in the end of the 1960s. Later he became a radio journalist, worked as a taxi driver, and was president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists for a while.
On December 9, 1981, he was arrested at the scene of the shooting of police officer Daniel Faulkner and in July 1982, he was sentenced to death, after a trial that had only taken 17 days. After that, he was on death row for almost 30 years. On December 7, 2011, the District Attorney of Philadelphia announced that the prosecutors would refrain from carrying out the death penalty against Abu-Jamal. This paved the way for the final conversion of the death sentence to life imprisonment – without parole. Since then, Abu-Jamal is being held in the State Correctional Institution – Mahanoy in Pennsylvania.
He has published 7 books, which he wrote on death row and in prison. He also writes and speaks weekly columns for the radio station Prison Radio. For the last 14 years, these have been printed in German in the daily newspaper junge Welt.
A vibrant and adaptable solidarity movement has contributed to making sure that Abu-Jamal is not forgotten – even after 33 years in prison. For several years, more and more especially young people have come to know him. He is often invited to hold speeches at demonstrations, meetings and seminars. That is seen critically by the right-wing police brotherhood FOP, to which Faulkner, who was shot in 1981, once belonged. After Abu-Jamal's speech at the graduation ceremony at Goddard College in Virginia in August, 2014, the FOP started a new smear campaign against him. Quickly after that event, a law was passed in the Parliament of Pennsylvania, which could make it impossible for prisoners to make public statements in the future, “if the families of the victims suffer because of these statements.”
PEN International published a resolution against this law and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has announced that they will launch a lawsuit against it. The fight for Mumia Abu-Jamal's freedom was always a fight against all attempts to silence unpopular opinions, especially if they were held by prisoners. Both struggles continue.


Radhika Desai

Radhika Desai works at the Department of Political Studies at Manitoba University, in Winnipeg, Canada, focusing on global political economy; the politics of development; British and Indian politics; heterodox economic theories and cultural economics. She is the author of a number of books, including »Intellectuals and Socialism: ›Social Democrats‹ and the Labour Party« (1994), »Developmental and Cultural Nationalisms« (2009), and »Geopolitical Economy: After US Hegemony, Globalization and Empire« (2013). She has contributed to Economic and Political Weekly, New Left Review, Third World Quarterly and other journals. She has edited collections on parties, political economy, culture and nationalism, and co-edited the »Future of Capitalism« book series, with Alan Freeman. She serves on the Editorial Boards of Canadian Political Science Review, Critique of Political Economy, E-Social Sciences, Pacific Affairs, and the World Review of Political Economy and International Critical Thought. She is currently working on a new book, »The Making of the Indian Capitalist Class«.


Otto Köhler

Otto Köhler, who was born at January 10th, 1935, has been one of the most important critical annalists in (West) Germany. In 2009, when the 60th anniversary of the the adoption of the Grundgesetz (constitution) and the 20th anniversary of the annexation of the German Democratic Republic took place, he published a number of critical commentaries, analyzing post-war German history in a way that went against the grain. Whenever such events took place, he got a productivity boost. In his texts, it was possible to read about how the later chancellor, Ludwig Erhard, conceived the »social market economy« together with the SS-Einsatzgruppenführer (SS task force leader) Otto Ohlendorf, who was later hanged. It was also possible to read about Theodor Maunz, who was the author of the leading commentary of the Grundgesetz, who wanted to »rebuild« the study of law after 1933, using as a basis »the realities of national life: race, territory, leader, allegiance, loyalty and honor«. In his work, Köhler shows the absurdity of the founding legends of West Germany, including »hour zero« and a »democratic new beginning« in 1945. With him, the radical democrat and tireless enlightener, it is truly impossible to create an imperialist state. With subtle irony and written in elegant German, Otto Köhlers interventions always go the whole way: he follows the waves of fascism, which reach all the way into this day and age. He works with criminalistic skills, meticulously analyzing how fascism still plays into the actions of today's politicians, including Erica Steinbach, Thilo Sarrazin and Horst Köhler. He masters the art of showing the entire world of infamousness in a quote that is seemingly on the sidelines. He constantly proves that postwar history is also prewar history, from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan. He is one of the editors of the magazine Ossietzky. In 2007 Köhler was awarded the Kurt-Tucholsky Prize, a reputable German prize for literary journalism, for his life's work.


Oskar Lafontaine

Oskar Lafontaine was born on the 16th of September, 1943, in Saarlouis. Over the course of his political life, he was Mayor of Saarbrücken, Prime Minister of Saarland, Chairman of the SPD and Federal Minister of Finance. In March 1999, he resigned from all his previous political functions in the SPD, because he no longer wanted to support the red-green German governing coalition under Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. In 2005, Oskar Lafontaine left the SPD and joined the newly-founded Wahlalternative Arbeit & soziale Gerechtigkeit (WASG) (election alternative work and social justice). He was able to create a election coalition between the WASG and the PDS.
From 2005 until 2009, Lafontaine and Gregor Gysi were joint leaders of DIE LINKE in the German parliament. From the 16th of June, 2007 to the 15th of May, 2010, he was Chairman of the newly-founded party DIE LINKE, together with Lothar Bisky. For health reasons, he withdrew from both political functions. In the parliamentary elections in 2009 and 2012 in Saarland, Lafontaine was the top candidate for DIE LINKE. Since 2009, he is the leader of DIE LINKE in the Saarland parliament. From July 2010 to July 2014, he was also Chairman of the International Commission of DIE LINKE.


Peter Mertens

Peter Mertens is a Belgian sociologist and author. Since 2008, he has been the Chairman of the marxist Partij van de Arbeid (PVDA) (Labor Party). The Party holds the International Communist Seminar, which unites communist parties from all around the world. During the Belgian municipal elections of 2012, he was a leading candidate for the city council of Antwerp. He received 8,976 preferential votes. This meant he was the fourth most popular communal politician in Antwerp. In 2009 he published his book »Op mensenmat« (the human dimension), in which he wrote about the need for the Partij van de Arbeid to move in a new direction. Two years later, in December 2011 he published the best-selling sequel with the title »Hoe durven ze?« (»How Dare They?«), which earned him the Jaap Kruithof Prize in 2012.


Hans Modrow

Hans Modrow was born on the 27th of January, 1928. He went to school from 1934 to 1942 and then trained as a mechanic. Shortly before the end of the war, as a 17 year old, he was drafted into the »Volkssturm« (the fascist »home guard«). Between 1945 and 1949 he was a prisoner of war in a Soviet prison camp and during this period he visited an antifascist school. After his return to Germany in 1949 he worked as a mechanic and joined the FDJ and SED.
From 1954 to 1971 Modrow was a member of the SED district leadership in Berlin. During this time, Modrow completed a correspondence course at the Party School "Karl Marx", which belonged to the SED Central Committee, graduating with a Social Sciences Diploma. He completed his studies as an external student at the Hochschule für Ökonomie (economics institute) in Berlin in 1961 and graduated with an Economics Diploma. After that, he completed his doctorate at the Humboldt University and wrote his dissertation about sociological problems in economic leadership.
From 1958 to 1990, Hans Modrow was a representative in parliament. After the 5th SED Party Convention in 1958 he became part of the SED Central Committee.
During the transition period, during which the GDR was ceasing to exist, Modrow was a member of the SED Politbüro (top political office) for a few weeks in November/December 1989. At a special party convention in December, 1989, he then became the vice chair of the SED-PDS. From November 1989 until April 1990, Hans Modrow was the Prime Minister of the GDR.  During this period, he attempted to create a  union with West Germany. In the beginning of February, 1990, he presented his concept »Germany United Fatherland« to the Communist Party Secretary General Michail Gorbatschow in Moscow.
On the 5th of February, 1990, together with representatives of the round table, he formed the government of "national responsibility". In February 1990, the PDS appointed Hans Modrow as honorary chairman. He held this position until the formation of DIE LINKE on the 16th of June,  2007. From 1990 to 1994 Modrow was a representative in German Parliament and a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.  On the 13th of June, 1999, Hans Modrow was chosen as one of six elected representatives of the PDS in the European Parliament and stayed in this function until 2004. As an MEP he worked in the Development Assistance Committee and was also responsible for the EU accession talks with the Czech Republic. Today Hans Modrow is active as the Chairman of the Council of Elders of DIE LINKE.

Volker Hermsdorf

Volker Hermsdorf, born on December 12th, 1951, studied law and political science at the University of Hamburg. He was an editor at the Hamburger Morgenpost and a correspondent for the IG Metall members newspaper in the coastal region for 30 years. In 1982 the journalist and trade-unionist traveled to Cuba for the first time. Since then, he visits the island every year. For a number of years, he has been spending several months in Havanna each year and he reports from the island, which has become his second home. Hermsdorf is a constant author of the Marxist newspaper junge Welt. He also writes for the biweekly magazine Ossietzky and participates in the alternative multimedia project Cubainformación in Bilbao. He also writes for numerous other magazines and internet sites. Volker Hermsdorf lives in Hamburg and Havana, and he works as a freelance journalist and writer. 

Ivan Rodionov

The Moscow TV journalist Ivan Rodionov, born in 1965, is the current editor in chief of RT German and of the TV news agency Ruptly, based in Berlin. It is a subsidiary of Rossiya Segodnya, which was formed by merging the news agencies Voice of Russia and RIA Novosti. The Agency Ruptly started operations on April 4th , 2013. Before that, Rodionov was the deputy editor at Rossiya 24.


Willy Wimmer

Willy Wimmer, born in 1943, is a politician of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU). Between 1985 and 1992, he was the defense spokesman for the CDU/CSU and State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Defense. Wimmer was Deputy Head of the Delegation of the German Parliament to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and from 1994 to 2000 he was Vice President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.


Rolf Becker

Rolf Becker (born in 1935) is a film and theater actor, a member of the media division of the trade union ver.di and is often present when it is necessary to draw attention to political and social ills and to show solidarity with striking colleagues. Out of protest, in 1999, during the NATO war against Yugoslavia, he visited the assaulted country together with the trade union initiative »dialog from below instead of bombs from above«. Becker supports the release of the Afro-American journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, whom he visited on death row in 2010. He annually commemorates the book burning, which the Nazis carried out in 1933, together with other anti-fascists and  students from Hamburg. At numerous events, he reads the »Manifesto of the Communist Party« and texts about the economic crisis (»So wird Geld verdient«, »Du bist Griechenland«).




Dota Kehr

Dota Kehr is also known as »Die Kleingeldprinzessin« (the loose change princess). She brought this name back from her travels around the world, during which she performed as a street artist. After gaining a lot of experience, she looked for support from more musicians and met three , who are happy to try out new things. Since then, the born and bred Berliner musician sometimes plays solo and sometimes plays with her band »Die Stadtpiraten« (the city pirates). She publishes her own CD’s with her own publishing company. At the moment, she is on a tour, presenting her new album »Wo soll ich suchen« (where should I search).


Gian Paolo »Picchio« Picchiami (Banda Bassotti)

Gian Paolo »Picchio« Picchiami is the lead singer of Banda Bassotti. Banda Bassotti founded itself in 1981 in Rome. They were a group of politically active craftsmen, who got together in order to fight fascism and struggle for oppressed people in many countries of the world. Their revolutionary texts and conversions of international workers songs quickly made them into a crucial part of the Italian resistance scene. They were always present at important demonstrations. Their last album, »Banditi Senza Tempo« (timeless bandits) was released in May 2014.


The Pokes

The Pokes rock. And their music is great to dance to. Without forgoing musical and lyrical refinement, when playing live, they really show the essence of their band and the music they make. Sound, voice and texts offer enough unique features, but when they are on stage, the quality goes up a notch. Unique folk punk without blinds – Pokes style. In their eight years of existence they have already published four albums.

Poster 2015

Afiche de la Conferencia Internacional Rosa Luxemburgo de 2015

Speakers 2015

Radhika Desai

Radhika Desai, economist, University of Manitoba, Canada (Foto: private)


Otto Koehler

Otto Köhler, publisher (Foto: christian-ditsch.de)


Hans Modrow

Hans Modrow, former Prime Minister of the GDR, Chair of the Council of Elders of the party DIE LINKE (Foto: Hans Modrow)


Oskar Lafontaine

Oskar Lafontaine, politician and publisher (Roland Weihrauch/dpa)


Peter  Mertens

Peter Mertens, Chairman, Workers Party of Belgium (PTB/PvdA)


willy wimmer

Willy Wimmer, politician, former Vice President of the OSCE (Foto: CDU/CSU)


Sharon Dolev

Sharon Dolev, Founder and Director of the Regional Peace and Demilitarization Movement in Israel (RPM) (Foto: private)


Dota Kehr

Dota Kehr (Die Kleingeldprinzessin) with Jan Rohrbach and Special Guests (Foto: Sophie Krische)


Banda Bassotti

Gian Paolo »Picchio« Picchiami, Singer of   Banda Bassotti from Italy (Foto: Banda Bassotti)


The Pokes

The Pokes, Berlin's No. 1 Folkpunk Band (Foto: The Pokes)


Iwan Rodionow

Ivan Rodionov, Chief editor RT Deutsch, Russia (Screenshot: Youtube)


Linn Washington

Linn Washington, journalist, USA (Foto: private)


Mumia Abu Jamal

Mumia Abu-Jamal, journalist and political prisoner in the USA (Foto: jW archives)


Rolf Becker

Rolf Becker, actor (Foto: jW)


Volker Hermsdorf

Volker Hermsdorf, journalist (Foto: private)


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