Seeds of Fire: A People’s Chronology

Recalling events that happened on this day in history.
Memories of struggle, resistance and persistence.

Compiled by Ulli Diemer

January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  

February 20, 1895
Death of Frederick Douglass (c. 1818-1895), escaped slave, abolitionist, orator, journalist, politician, and author.
Related Topics: AbolitionismAnti-SlaverySlavery
February 20 - 26, 1899  
The Leipziger Volkszeitung publishes a series of articles by Rosa Luxemburg on “The Militia and Militarism”.
Luxemburg writes: “for capitalism, militarism creates the most profitable and indispensable kind of investment.... For the capitalists, there is indeed a difference as to whether a certain demand for products comes from isolated private buyers or from the State. The State’s demand is distinguished by the fact that it is certain, that it orders in enormous quantities, and that its pricing is favourable to the supplier and usually monopolistic – all of which makes the State the most desirable customer and makes supplying it the most alluring business for capitalism.
But what makes supplying the military in particular essentially more profitable than, for example, State expenditures on cultural ends (schools, roads, etc.), is the incessant technical innovations of the military and the incessant increase in its expenditures. Militarism thus represents an inexhaustible, and indeed increasingly lucrative, source of capitalist gain.... Militarism – which to society as a whole represents a completely absurd economic waste of enormous productive forces – and which for the working class means a lowering of its standard of living with the objective of enslaving it socially – is for the capitalist class economically the most alluring, irreplaceable kind of investment and politically and socially the best support for their class rule.”
February 20, 1914
Rosa Luxemburg addresses the German court which is trying her for having given a speech allegedly instigating soldiers to disobedience. She was charged for having said “If they expect us to lift the weapons of murder against our French or other foreign brothers, then let us tell them, ‘No, we won't do it!’”
Speaking to the court in her defense, Luxemburg says “We are of the opinion that wars can be waged only so long as the working class takes part in them with enthusiasm, because it regards them as just and necessary; or at least patiently puts up with them... On the other hand, when the great majority of the working people come to the conclusion... that wars are a barbarous, deeply immoral, and reactionary phenomenon hostile to the interests of the people, then wars will become impossible.”
The court sentences Luxemburg to a year in prison for her criminal utterances.
Related Topics: Anti-War MovementMilitarism
February 20, 1956  
The United States rejects a proposal from the Soviet Union to ban nuclear weapons tests and deployment. The U.S. continues atmospheric nuclear testing in the South Pacific and Nevada until 1963.

January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  15  16  17  18  19  20  21  22  23  24  25  26  27  28  29  30  31  
For more information about people and events in Seeds of Fire, explore these pages: