"I dream of a strong communist party!"

By Pascal SteinwachsLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

With his distinctive moustache, Ali Ruckert not only looks like Peppone, the antagonist of the legendary Don Camillo. Just like him, he is also a communist and a convinced Marxist. Since 1999, Ruckert has held the chairmanship of the "Kommunistesch Partei Lëtzebuerg" (KPL), which is celebrating a milestone birthday this year.

The KPL was founded on January 2, 1921 in the Rue de Longwy in Niederkorn. To mark the occasion, 100 years later, a monument has now been erected just opposite the house where the KPL was launched. The plaque affixed to it is adorned with a hammer and sickle. We conducted the interview with KPL President Ali Ruckert (66) last Wednesday on the premises of the Zeitung vum Lëtzebuerger Vollek in Esch/Alzette, of which Ruckert has been editor-in-chief since 1995. The editorial office, by the way, is located in Rue Zénon Bernard, named after one of the founders of the KPL and the first communist deputy.

Lëtzebuerger Journal: Happy 100th birthday! This is not a given. Doesn’t your party sometimes run out of breath at such an advanced age?

Ali Ruckert: Of course it's difficult to be politically active in these Covid times. That’s why they say: a rolling stone gathers no moss. That also applies to party life.

If you had to name just three highlights from the long history of your party, which ones would you pick?

First of all, of course, there was the founding of the Communist Party on January 2, 1921, when it split off from the Socialist Party. The latter did not want to abolish the capitalist exploitative system, but to come to terms with it.

A second high point was the so-called Muzzle Law, when the government, and especially the clericals, wanted to ban the Communist Party. After a corresponding law had already been voted for in parliament, the government was so sure of its cause that it even organized a referendum on June 6, 1937. In that referendum, however, a narrow majority of citizens voted against the muzzling law and the Communists gained in prestige.

We shouldn’t forget that when the Nazis invaded Luxembourg on May 10, 1940, the KPL was the only political party that decided to go underground instead of dissolving like all the other parties. As a result, the Communist Party was a resistance movement from the beginning, but it was also joined by some socialist trade unionists who opposed the dissolution of their party. This in turn strengthened the role of the KPL within the Resistance and contributed to the rise of the Communist Party after World War II – a time when the KPL had over 4,000 members and provided the Minister of Health in the National Union government.

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