Rosa Luxemburg condemns the SPD government (1918)


In December 1918, Spartacist leader Rosa Luxemburg condemned the government of Ebert and the SPD, which had come to power on November 9th:


“Comrades! This first act, between November 9th and today, has been filled with illusions on all sides. The first illusion of the workers and soldiers who made the revolution, was the illusion of unity under the banner of so-called socialism (the SPD). What could be more characteristic of the internal weakness of the Revolution of November 9 than the fact that at the head of the movement appeared people who, a few hours before the revolution broke out, regarded their chief duty to agitate against it, to attempt to make revolution impossible. I speak of the Eberts, the Scheidemanns and the Haases.

The motto of the Revolution of November 9th was the idea of the unity of the various socialist trends… The events of the last few days have brought a bitter awakening from our dreams. But the self-deception was universal, affecting Ebert and Scheidemann and the bourgeoisie as much as ourselves. Another illusion was that the bourgeoisie, by means of the so-called socialist government, would really be able to bridle the proletarian masses and strangle the socialist revolution. Yet another illusion was that of the Ebert-Scheidemann government, who believed that with the aid of soldiers returned from the front, they would be able to hold down the working masses and prevent socialist class struggle.

Such were the illusions that explain recent events. One and all, they have now been banished into nothingness. The union between Haase and Ebert-Scheidemann, under the banner of “socialism”, is merely a fig leaf for the cloaking of a counter-revolutionary policy. We ourselves are cured of our self-deceptions, as happens in all revolutions. There is a definite revolutionary method by which the people can be cured of illusion – but it must be paid for with the blood of the people. In Germany, events have followed a course similar to those of earlier revolutions. The blood of the victims on the Chausseestrasse on December 6th, the blood of the sailors on December 24th, brought the truth home to the masses. They came to realize that what has been pasted together and called a socialist government, is nothing but a government representing the bourgeois counter-revolution. And that whoever continues to tolerate such a state of affairs is working against the proletariat and against socialism!”