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Gustave Landauer

"The drum adjusts angrily."

Lecture: Dr.Siegbert Wolf on Gustav Landauer's democratic utopia



Organizer: Alevi Educational Institute "Șah İbrahim Veli" eV

Good coexistence in a pluralistic society is not easy. Every generation has to redefine and cultivate the necessary culture of conversation so that intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism do not gain momentum. The storming of the Capitol in early 2021 clearly showed how fragile even a well-established democracy like that of the USA is. As part of "1700 years of Jewish life in Germany", the Jewish writer, theorist and activist Gustav Landauer was commemorated with a lecture and a speech and music performance. Landauer came from a Jewish liberal family in Karlsruhe and was inspired by the idea that a peaceful and just society could be created with the introduction of grassroots democracy and self-organization of the population in cooperatives.


In his main work "Skepsis und Mystik" (Skepsis and Mysticism), Landauer based his theory on the language criticism of his friend Fritz Mauthner, who lived in Überlingen. It was also Mauthner who drew the attention of the Jewish-secular thinker to the Christian mystic Meister Eckhart. Alongside language criticism, Eckhart's theology formed the second basis of Landauer's utopia. Although Landauer rejected the political revolution and spoke out in favor of a continuous "social revolution", in 1918 he took part in the Munich Soviet Republic as Minister for Culture and Education. In accordance with his radical-democratic convictions, all decisions should be legitimized in a grassroots-democratic manner. This daring project ended tragically with a fall at the hands of the communists and Landauer's assassination at the hands of a far-right Freikorps. The story of Gustav Landauer shows how a Jewish intellectual fought for a democratic Germany in the aftermath of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution and failed in the face of harsh reality. His intellectual borrowings from Mauthner's language criticism and Eckhart's mysticism show how origin and religion are not exclusive features in his thinking, but rather combine to form a new whole.


This event combines Judaism (Landauer), Christianity (Eckhart) and the Alevi community (organizer). By building such bridges, a counter-accent can be set to latent xenophobia, violence against minorities and anti-Semitism.


«The drum adapts angrily». The stage play by Oliver Augst (D) and Reto Friedmann (CH) for speaker (Jaap Achterberg) and drummer (Jörg Fischer) translates Landauer's "skepticism and mysticism" musically and lyrically. This form of implementation enables immersion in Gustav Landauer's world of thoughts and feelings.


Cooperation partner: Jewish community Konstanz eV


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