Marxist student union Spartacus

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Wall newspaper of the MSB Spartakus Group of the University of Hohenheim (1973)

The Marxist Student Union Spartakus (MSB Spartakus) existed from 1971 to 1990 in the Federal Republic of Germany. The federal executive had its seat in Bonn " Poppelsdorfer Allee 58a". Since the 1970s it has been one of the most influential student associations nationwide, with up to 6,500 members at times. It was the student association of the German Communist Party and stopped working after the fall of the Berlin Wall.


The Marxist Student Union Spartakus (MSB) has its roots in the student movement of the 1960s . In the course of the disputes within the Socialist German Student Union (SDS) about the future strategy of the association, two strong factions faced each other, one “anti-authoritarian” split into numerous sub-groups and a relatively closed “traditionalist current”. The answers varied widely

  • to the question of the importance of organization and organization,
  • to the question of the status of possible allies, as which the "traditionalists" saw above all the dependent employees with their organizations, the trade unions
  • to the question of the connection between extra-parliamentary and parliamentary forms of struggle.

The “traditionalists” criticized the fact that their opponents represented “the state of knowledge of early socialism”. In 1969, when the SDS was being dissolved, they separated from them. On January 12, 1969, they came together in Westhofen from various universities in the Federal Republic, but mainly from North Rhine-Westphalia and above all from the universities of Cologne and Bonn , and founded the Association of Marxist Students - Spartakus (AMS). In the following year, this association had almost 1,000 members, while the SDS dissolved in March 1970. In the previous year, the groups of "anti-authoritarians", "new left" and the mostly Maoist ML groups that were now constituting themselves in the SDS had already liquidated the Association of German Student Associations (VDS), which they now dominated, and sold its assets. Since November 1970, the AMS was represented on the board of the newly founded Association of German Student Associations (VDS).

Unlike other left-wing student groups, the members of the AMS - like later the MSB and the Socialist University Association (SHB) - assumed the "transformation of the greater part of the intelligentsia into a special class of wage workers". Their conversion to wage earners and the precariousness of some of them are "only historically belatedly aware of the affected class on a large scale". Here lies an explanation for the “characteristic large and frequent ideological fluctuations in the core of the student movement”. They are "an expression of social declassification". Enlightening the students about their social situation and their social perspectives was seen as a top priority.

From the initially rather loose amalgamation of the AMS, the Marxist Student Union Spartakus emerged as a nationwide organization on May 22, 1971. This was a subsidiary organization of the DKP and achieved - not least because of its firm action group with the Socialist University Association (SHB) - over the years a dominant influence in the local student bodies and in their umbrella organization VDS. The policy of “union orientation” combined with the defense of the “political mandate” of the “constituted student body” formed a basis for the alliance between MSB and SHB. Here and in the difficulties of functionalizing the SHB for SPD politics were the reasons why the reference party, as before with the SDS, increasingly excluded the SHB and set up a student organization affiliated with the party with the Juso university groups. The close alliance of MSB and SHB had a student mass following. In 1972 the MSB had 40 groups with 2,000 members, in 1973 the SHB had 80 groups with around 3,000 members.

Of the employment and occupational bans introduced in 1972 by the “ radical decree ”, members of the MSB included B. when applying for academic auxiliary positions and applications for the public service to a large extent affected. Actions against the sanctioning of membership in non-prohibited and non-unconstitutional organizations such as the MSB or the DKP that have been declared "unconstitutional" have become an important part of the association's policy.

The MSB published the monthly student magazine Rote Blätter and continued the former Cologne SDS paper facit as a comprehensive bi-monthly theoretical organ (“Contributions to Marxist Theory and Politics”). Both publications appeared without advertisements from the economy and without contributions from financially strong West German parties or their foundations. This was replaced by partial financing by the sister party of the DKP in the GDR, the SED . After the turn, both blades were discontinued. The facit group was one of the founding groups of the MSB. Its members had sympathized with the illegalized KPD or belonged to it. They were excluded from there after criticizing the SDS.

The last federal chairman, Anja Maschinsky, belonged - like her three predecessors Bernd Gäbler , Thomas Harms and Thomas Riecke as well as a majority of the association - to the so-called renewal wing in the DKP at the end of the 1980s, which is the direction of the "reformer" Soviet politician Mikhail Gorbachev and his political companion Boris Yeltsin (" Perestroika " and others) represented. The “renewers” ​​stood in opposition to the majority of the party executive around Herbert Mies and Ellen Weber, but also the delegates at the DKP's 1988 party congress.

On June 23, 1990, the MSB Spartakus dissolved in Münster at a federal members' meeting in accordance with the statutes. However, individual university groups continued to work under this name for some time, although there was no longer an inter-university association.

Former management members of the association estimate that around 20,000 to 30,000 students were members of the MSB Spartakus in the roughly 20 years of its existence and that around 1,000 of them were subject to professional and other employment bans after completing their studies.

In 1997, a nationwide Association of Marxist Students (AMS) was founded in Leverkusen , which sees itself as the successor organization to the MSB and therefore adopted the name of the MSB predecessor from 1969. Like its predecessor, the successor is also exposed to investigation by German intelligence services, who also attribute her to "hostility to the constitution".

Political goals and guidelines

Social situation of the students

The first priority was to represent the immediate social interests of the students (i.e. individual and institutional improvement of study conditions and BAFöG ). The MSB members saw themselves as avant-garde and thus had to take on role models through good academic success. With regard to their later professional life, future academics should be made aware that, unlike previous generations of academics, under the emerging tendencies of capitalist development, they would predominantly not have to expect a diverse and privileged working life, but would rather be exposed to increasing "proletarianization". That is why her place is at the side of the other wage earners. This also means joining the wage earners' organizations, the unified trade unions. There one can learn to stand up for one's own and common interests in a joint practice with others from the wage-dependent lower and middle classes (policy of trade union orientation / "GO policy"). It was one of the principles of the MSB that students should organize themselves in a DGB trade union - for teachers it was the Education and Science Union (GEW). From this point of view, it was important to improve the quality of the course in order to be flexible and available in the working world, in order to be able to optimally “sell” one's “goods” labor.

Student body

The main field of action was “participation in all committees of student self-administration ” (student councils, AStA , academic senate, etc.) and in the umbrella organization VDS ; Good organization of public appearances and political discipline in internal group work were seen as essential prerequisites for success. Consistent error analyzes should prevent avoidable failures and increase the effectiveness of political work at universities. Cooperation with social democratic or socialist groups such as Jusos and SHB (also known as: "action unit") was aimed on the one hand to enforce own demands, on the other hand it was also intended to increase the Marxist influence, especially in social democratic student organizations. An "anchor", i.e. H. Integration of the individual MSB members in the student body was an indispensable prerequisite for any policy. In addition to concrete help in coping with their studies, the fellow students were also offered cultural and leisure initiatives, which in turn should serve as a targeted recruiting for members. MSB members had to bring the “examination of bourgeois doctrines” to the events and to acquire knowledge of socialist theories and theorists. The starting point was the writings of Marx , Engels and Lenin . In the analysis of the contemporary stage of capitalist development, the MSB (like the SHB and large parts of the Young Socialists) advocated the theory of state monopoly capitalism (SMK).

Politically, the association had a front position vis-à-vis the RCDS as well as groups considered to be “left-wing radicals” that were based on the teachings of Mao Zedong , such as B. KBW , KPD / ML (Red Flag) or KPD / ML (Red Morning) and others. The relationship to the left , which identified itself as undogmatic (“basic groups”, socialist office , Marxist SOAK circle around Gerhard Schröder and Karl Nolle ) and to the Juso set up by the SPD since the 1970s in a move away from the SHB at the universities was distanced - University groups that were part of the party organization.

Since the 1970s, the MSB and SHB, in close alliances in which as far as possible unorganized students were included, represented a policy of “trade union orientation” that placed material demands in the foreground and prepared students for a future perspective of the students as wage-dependent workers.


The MSB fought against the University Framework Act (HRG) as an expression of an increasing flattening of studies at the expense of the students and as a legislative proposal in favor of the large corporations. He viewed the “reproduction of labor” at the universities as part of the overall reproduction of labor and classified his activities against the HRG in an overall reform perspective of society. He defended the political mandate of the student bodies, that is, the right of the elected student bodies to take a stand on political questions of all kinds, which politics and jurisdiction tried to abolish, especially the RCDS and the Bund Freiheit der Wissenschaft .

Following Willy Brandt's “dare more democracy”, he demanded a “democratization of the universities”, ie greater influence of the university groups (students, junior staff, administrative employees) that are underrepresented in the decision-making bodies, the so-called third parity.

Federal Republic of Germany

In terms of society as a whole, the perspective was called “socialism”. The MSB therefore saw itself as an organization that was “part of the struggle for democracy and socialism”. This resulted in close ties with the DKP, whose political analysis and long-term strategy were adopted as the basis for action. The GDR was propagated as the German state that had drawn the right lessons from German history and had largely implemented socialism. From 1980 the MSB supported the peace movement in West Germany.

Since West Berlin was not part of the Federal Republic of Germany, there was no MSB at the universities there, but the “Action Group of Democrats and Socialists” (ADS), which belonged to the Socialist Unity Party of West Berlin (SEW), had a very similar self- image.


The global orientation of the MSB was the theory of the "three main revolutionary streams". According to this, an overall force resulting from (1.) the emerging socialist states, (2.) the growing revolutionary liberation movements in the third world and (3.) the socialist organizations within the western industrialized states should overcome the capitalist world order. In this theoretical context he defined his "internationalism", according to which cooperation with foreign students as well as solidarity actions were important parts of the MSB policy.

The MSB saw itself as part of an international socialist-communist movement. The solidarity with the USSR ("friendship with the Soviet Union") and the states allied with it and the leading parties in the "socialist camp" was an essential part of his understanding of "internationalism". He had a particularly close relationship with the GDR and the SED and FDJ .

The association developed intensive solidarity work for liberation movements in the Third World and for independence strivings in states that are dependent and controlled by the USA and other states. The forerunner organization AMS advocated the withdrawal of the USA from Vietnam or the abolition of apartheid in South Africa. September 11, 1973, the day of the CIA-supported Pinochet putsch against the Allende government in Chile, led to a strong solidarity movement with the Chilean population and against the dictatorship in which the MSB played an important role at German universities.

Publications of the MSB (selection)

  • Red leaves. Organ of the Marxist student union Spartakus . Bonn 1971–1989
  • Facit. Contributions to Marxist theory and politics . Bonn 1971–1975
  • SDS in Sofia - Documentation on the exclusion of five communists from the SDS - On the history of the second split in the SDS, Dortmund 1969
  • With Spartacus in Spartacus. Minutes of the 1st Federal Congress of the Marxist Student Union Spartakus - May 20 and 21, 1971 , Bonn 1971
  • Marxist Student Union Spartakus (Ed.): Declaration of principles of the Marxist Student Union Spartakus . Bonn 1971
  • Federal Board of the MSB Spartakus (ed.): Fight for your own interests, ally with the working class. Program for joint action by students , Bonn 1973
  • Federal Executive MSB Spartakus (Ed.): The political rule system of FRG imperialism, Bonn 1973
  • If we fight the Maoists, it is good and not bad (Far Eastern proverbs). An examination of the politics of Maoist groups in the FRG, Bonn undated (1973)
  • Federal Board of MSB Spartakus (Ed.): For our social and political rights. Together with the working youth. 4th Federal Congress , Bonn n.d. (1975)
  • Federal Executive MSB Spartakus (ed.): Kautsky - a forerunner of “democratic socialism”, Bonn 1977
  • Federal Executive MSB Spartakus / Rainer Naujoks (ed.): Handbook for organizational and management activities, Bonn 1978
  • Marxist Student Union Spartakus: MSB Spartakus. 1971–1986 , Bonn 1986
  • Marxist Student Union Spartakus (ed.): ... and not a bit hoarse; Songs from the student movement. with a foreword by Hannes Wader , Weltkreis-Verlag, Dortmund 1978
  • Women in the MSB Spartakus: Woman power against Reagan showers. Viewpoints: women at the university, women for peace, red pencil politics, rape, alternative role housewife? , o. o. o. J. (Bonn 1982)

Known members

Wolfgang Adamczak, Christiane Bainski , Dieter Bongartz , Dieter Bongers, Rutger Booß , Hans-Peter Brenner, Tissy Bruns , Barbara Cárdenas Alfonso , Rolf-Dieter Casjens, Andreas Diers, Doris Fisch, Christine Fischer-Defoy , Bernd Gäbler , Rolf Geffken , Karlheinz Heinemann, Elvira Högemann-Ledwohn, Michaele Hustedt , Christof Kievenheim , Uwe Knickrehm, Ulrich Kypke, Beate Landefeld, Roland Lang , Herbert Lederer, Steffen Lehndorff, André Leisewitz, Michael Maercks, Morus Markard , Ulrich Maske , Gunnar Matthiessen , Andreas Mölich-Zebhauser , Bernhard von Mutius , Klaus Naumann , Jan Priewe, Adi Reiher, Meral Renz, Jürgen Reusch, Thomas Riecke, Witich Roßmann, Werner Rügemer , Paul Schäfer , Harald Schwaderer, Werner Seppmann , Raju Sharma , Manfred Sohn , Franz Sommerfeld , Christoph Strawe, Stephan Voets, Peter Wahl , Harald Werner , Sabine Wils


  • Hartmut Weyer: MSB Spartakus. From the student protest movement to the class struggle , Stuttgart 1973
  • Wolfgang Sprogies [SLB ( Sozialliberaler Hochschulverband )]: MSB Spartakus , Bonn 1979
  • Helmut Bilstein [and a.] .: Organized communism in the Federal Republic of Germany. DKP, SDAJ, MSB Spartakus, KPD, KPD (ML), KBW. Materials for political discussion with communist parties and groups ; Hamburg 1974, 4th edition 1977
  • Gerd Langguth : Protest movement. Development - Decline - Renaissance , Cologne 1983 (on MSB: pp. 162–182)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. E.g. Facit. Contributions to Marxist theory and politics. Extra. Dec. 1975. Imprint: Edited by the “Federal Board of the Marxist Student Union Spartakus, 53 Bonn 1, Poppelsdorfer Allee 58a”. P. 2.
  2. ^ Herbert Lederer, Revolutionary strategy and liberal brokerage, in: Author collective, Die Linke answers Jürgen Habermas, Frankfurt a. M. 1968, p. 115.
  3. Described clearly in: An unavoidable chapter on unlegitimized and unsolidary behavior, in: left. Socialist Newspaper [of the Socialist Bureau ], 1969, vol. 13, p. 27.
  4. On this section: Eike Gerken / Christof Kievenheim , Association of Marxist Students - Spartakus, in: Research Institute of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (ed.), Student Policy. Information - Materials - Reports, 1970, no. 8, pp. 22-26; Gerhard Bauß, The student movement of the sixties in the Federal Republic and West Berlin, Cologne 1977, p. 329ff.
  5. Johannes Henrich von Heiseler, On some causes of the fluctuations in the theoretical movement in the SDS, in: Facit. Journal for Socialist Students, 1968, no. 13/14, p. 28f.
  6. Anne Rohstock, from the “Ordinarienuniversität” to the “Revolutionary Center”? University reform and university revolts in Bavaria and Hesse 1957–1976, Munich 2010, p. 365f.
  7. Anne Rohstock, From the “Ordinary University” to the “Revolutionary Headquarters”? University reform and university revolts in Bavaria and Hesse 1957–1976, Munich 2010, p. 366.
  8. See z. B .: Gerhard Manthey, From one K to the other [on professional bans, MSB students and the Baden-Württemberg Prime Minister Kretschmann], in: wochenzeitung, March 25, 2015, see also: [1] .
  9. Roland Kirbach: DKP: Left by the comrades. The SED stops financial aid for West German offshoots in Die Zeit , December 22, 1989.
  10. ^ SDS in Sofia - documentation on the exclusion of five communists from the SDS - on the history of the second split in the SDS, Dortmund 1969; Tilman Fichter / Siegward Lönnendonker, Brief history of the SDS. The Socialist German Student Union from 1946 until self-dissolution, West Berlin 1979, see also: [2] .
  11. Large dogs, in: Der Spiegel, H. 50 (1988), p. 83, see also: [3] .
  12. Tens of thousands of members - over 1,000 professional bans. A conversation on the occasion of the founding of the Marxist student union Spartakus 40 years ago, our time, June 24, 2011, see [4] .
  13. AMS website: Who is the AMS? .
  14. ^ Declaration of principles of the Marxist student union Spartakus.
  15. If we fight the Maoists, that is good and not bad (Far Eastern proverbs). An examination of the politics of Maoist groups in the FRG, Bonn undated (1973).
  16. See Günter Amendt , Spontaneität und Organization. Contribution to a series of events organized by the MSB during the nationwide strike, in: Facit extra, May 1978, pp. 3–7; Rainer Krings, where is the journey to Tunix going? A commentary on the 'Mescalero' interview, ibid, pp. 12-17.
  17. Facit-Forum, To deal with the politics of the SLH, in: Facit. Contributions to Marxist theory and politics, H. 36, 10 (1974), pp. 103-106.
  18. See e.g. E.g .: [5] .
  19. See e.g. E.g .: [6] .
  20. See e.g. E.g .: [7] .
  21. See HP of the University of Duisburg-Essen [8] .
  22. See e.g. E.g .: Institute for Macroeconomics and Business Cycle Research of the Hans-Böckler-Foundation: Archived copy ( memento of the original from June 8, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. . @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  23. See HP of the AWO Federal Academy [9] .
  24. See e.g. E.g .: [10] .
  25. Egon Gramer, The first radical in Tübingen in the new Walser novel “Muttersohn”, in: Schwäbisches Tagblatt, July 16, 2011, see also: [11] .
  26. Cf. with the extensive list of professional bans in: Cornelia Booß-Ziegling, Hubert Brieden, Rolf Günther, Bernd Lowin, Joachim Sohns and Matthias Wietz, “Verguchte” Geschichte. Professional bans. Political persecution in the Federal Republic of Germany (booklet for the exhibition sponsored and supported by: Bildungswerk ver.di, DGB district Bremen-Lower Saxony-Saxony-Anhalt, GEW, Landesverband Niedersachsen, educational and support organization of the GEW im DGB e.V., Rosa -Luxemburg-Stiftung Niedersachsen eV), Hanover 2015, see also: [12] .