‘Red Rosa’ Luxemburg and the making of a revolutionary icon

Deutsche Welle, January 14, 2019

Revolutionary socialists Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were murdered 100 years ago in Berlin. In the ensuing century, Luxemburg has become a cult figure for the left — and for feminists, artists and pacifists.

On Sunday morning, some 10,000 people braved the rain and cold to march through eastern Berlin and place red carnations at the graves of Rosa Luxemburg and her comrade, Karl Liebknecht.

The march was commemorating 100 years since the brutal killing of the two revolutionary socialists on January 15, 1919.

In the ensuing century, this diminutive Polish-born Jewish intellectual with a limp has become a cult icon for the revolutionary left. Yet she has also had a broader appeal, admired by feminists, socialists and pacifists.

She has become part of Germany’s cultural memory, immortalized in art, poetry, an award-winning biopic, a musical and a graphic novel. And in her own words too: as well as being a brilliant Marxist theorist, Luxemburg was a prolific writer of letters, and her emotive, lyrical writing has seen her emerge as a literary figure in her own right.
Read more:


Leave a comment

Filed under Arts and Culture, Politics

Back on track, Germany now tasked with refocusing itself and patching up Europe

Open Canada, March 21, 2018

With US politics shaking up European alliances, Angela Merkel — now officially in her fourth term — has another chance to recalibrate Germany’s foreign policies. As Siobhán Dowling reports, her government has already hit the ground running. 

It took almost six months but on March 14, Angela Merkel was finally sworn in as German chancellor for the fourth time.

“I think everyone has the feeling it’s time to finally start working,” she said last week. “A new departure for Europe, a new dynamic for Germany, new cohesion for our country … So there is a lot of work ahead.”

After months of tortuous negotiations, including failed talks with the Greens and liberal Free Democrats, Merkel’s Christian Democrats managed to form a new “grand coalition” with the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Now in her 13th year in power, the 63-year-old chancellor was weakened by the relatively poor showing in September’s election, blamed in part on the refugee crisis, and the drawn-out coalition talks, as well as concessions made to the SPD, including handing them both the foreign and finance ministries.

Yet foreign policy is largely determined from the chancellery and Merkel, a sober crisis manager, is now tasked with steering Germany as it navigates an increasingly complicated world.

German foreign policy was effectively on hold for months, at a crucial time for Europe and much to the frustration of officials in Paris and Brussels.

Read More:


Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

How a Highlands publisher has hit the big time with ‘Babylon Berlin’

Deutsche Welle, January 05, 2018

A small Scottish publishing house is behind the English translations of the crime novels that led to the German TV series “Babylon Berlin.” Sandstone Press didn’t know at first that the books would become a hit show.

At first, it seems an incongruous pairing: A small independent publisher, based in the remote Scottish Highlands, and a series of hugely successful German crime novels turned into an international TV blockbuster.

Yet, it was Sandstone Press and its director Robert Davidson who secured the English language rights to the “Babylon Berlin” books by German author Volker Kutscher, a year before it was announced they were being adapted for the small screen — a bet that has paid off handsomely with the books now flying off the shelves.

Read more:


Leave a comment

Filed under Arts and Culture

No new dawn for Europe under German coalition

EUObserver, Jan 13, 2018

It is by no means a done deal. Germany’s third ‘Grand Coalition’ under the helm of Angela Merkel still faces a number of hurdles before it can take office.

But on Friday (13 January), after marathon talks lasting 25 hours, Germany at least had the makings of a coalition agreement.

Read more: https://euobserver.com/political/140536

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

Sex, Drugs and Crime in the Gritty Drama ‘Babylon Berlin’

The New York Times, Nov. 7, 2017

BERLIN — It’s the spring of 1929, and this city is a fast-moving modern metropolis where artistic and sexual experimentation flourishes against a backdrop of organized crime, political street battles and a fragile democratic order.

Welcome to the world of “Babylon Berlin.”

This new epic crime drama, set during the Weimar Republic, the chaotic 15-year era that preceded the Third Reich, is widely predicted to become an international television sensation. Reportedly the most expensive German-language TV show ever produced, “Babylon Berlin” aims to build on the success of other recent German hits, like “Deutschland ’83” and “The Same Sky.”

This ambitious 16-part, two-season show has already been sold to 60 TV markets. It had its British premiere on Sunday night on Sky Atlantic and will begin streaming on Netflix in the United States on Jan. 30.

Based on the best-selling novels by Volker Kutscher, the show centers on Gereon Rath, a police detective from Cologne played by Volker Bruch, who arrives in the unfamiliar capital to investigate a blackmail plot involving a sadomasochistic porn film.

To read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/arts/television/sex-drugs-and-crime-in-the-gritty-drama-babylon-berlin.html

Leave a comment

Filed under Arts and Culture

Merkel’s win heralds uncertain time

EUobserver, September 25, 2017

Angela Merkel’s election on Sunday (24 September) for a fourth term might open her most difficult period yet as chancellor, while limiting her room for manoeuver in talks on EU reform.

She will have to muster all her powers of diplomacy to keep a fractious multi-party coalition in line, whilst facing sniping from a eurosceptic right-wing populist faction in parliament, as well as jockeying within her party by those vying to replace her.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

German election: More of the same for EU?

EUobserver, September 23, 2017

The German election campaign has been – without doubt – a dull, lacklustre affair. In fact, for months, it has felt like a long set-up for a foregone conclusion in Sunday’s (24 September) vote: A fourth term for Angela Merkel.

The chancellor’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) along with their Bavarian allies, the Christian Social Union (CSU), are striding towards victory, polling at around 36 percent – a significant stretch ahead of their coalition partners and main rivals, the Social Democrats (SPD), who are currently on less than 23 percent.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Martin Schulz, down but not out against Merkel

EUobserver, May 16, 2017

“I’m no magician,” admitted a visibly deflated Martin Schulz on Sunday night (14 May) after it became clear that his centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) had suffered what he called a “crushing defeat” in their traditional heartland and his own home state, North Rhine-Westphalia.

By Monday, he and SPD were back in fighting form, saying the federal campaign was only just beginning.

To read more: https://euobserver.com/elections/137924

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics

Macron victory fires up German campaign

Next week, Angela Merkel will welcome the fourth French president of her chancellorship to Berlin.

In Emmanuel Macron, she will meet the man who staved off the far-right threat and possibly saved the European Union from breaking apart, but also a man whose ambitious ideas for shaking up the eurozone are anathema to many in Germany, particularly in her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

In a multiparty landscape, Schulz searches for paths to power

EUobserver, April 15, 2017

The initial hype surrounding Martin Schulz has faded somewhat since his surprise appointment as the new leader of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) back in January.

Yet, in Germany’s increasingly multiparty political landscape, the former European Parliament president is still in with a shot of unseating the current chancellor, Angela Merkel, in September’s elections.

Leave a comment

Filed under Politics