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Austrian communist who considered Marxist worldview impartial, unprejudiced, scientific

By Harsh Thakor* 

An Austrian communist, Erika died in the high age of 96 on the 18th of December 2023, which was an irreparable loss to the revolutionary movement. She never blew her trumpet, but still she was unanimously hailed as a tireless fighter, as a comrade who relentlessly battled for the oppressed and exploited with a single minded devotion. She was ever determined that nothing must stay how it is, and that the order of the reaction is built on sand and the future belongs to the peoples and the working class. Until the very fag end she visited events and was part of demonstrations and supported communist, revolutionary and democratic forces in all aspects of their work.
Erika did not only devote her organizational and material support solely for the revolutionary movement in Austria. She initiated unforgettable political, moral and ideological support, to movements worldwide. She loved to engage in long discussions with young revolutionary forces (not seldom long into the night) and share her rich treasure of experiences. They were marked by the workers’ movement in Austria in almost a century of a lifetime..From inception of early childhood she had experiences that were an integral part in the political events and the class struggle in the country. She was not baptized as a child of a leftist-socialist-spirited family and therefore was excluded from school by the Austro-fascist State for a longer time. This was an experience that moulded her and made her staunchly comprehend the value of the workers’ and people’s education.
After she actively lived through the February struggles of 1934 [”Feberkämpfe”, known also as Austrian Civil War, translator’s note] in Linz as a child, it enabled her to make a transit to the Communist Party of Austria (KPÖ). As the struggle between the bourgeois, still masked as red, orientation, and a revolutionary, proletarian line, intensified or sharpened, she rallied on the side of the proletarian line around which the Marxist-Leninist Party of Austria (MLPÖ) was later founded. In the following decades she was consistently with those who stood for the proletarian orientation in its Party. She was instrumental in propelling many generations of young revolutionaries.
Although she could fall back on the enormous wealth of experience and knowledge, she never dominated the discussions, but was always ready to welcome new ideas, to develop her opinions and to consider again. She perceived the Marxist world view as impartial, unprejudiced and scientific world view. And even when it sometimes became, often understandably and not without basis, with increasing age a little bit harder for her to comprehend the current political themes of the revolutionary movement, she did not turn away from discussions or new themes. With conviction she said often: ”As long as one learns, one stays young. ”. As much as she engaged in discussion with her immediate comrades, she equally cherished the experiences of the international workers’ and people’s movement, just as also first-hand experiences of other countries, continents and nations.
Newspaper Rote Fahne stated: “Comrade Erika was a pioneer and an important comrade-in-arms. Especially to those of us who knew her personally, who discussed and struggled with her personally, she was an important teacher, comrade and friend, who was for important parts of the common revolutionary path an influencing actor. The death of comrade Erika undoubtedly leaves a hole, but her efforts and her persistently pursued goals will live onward in our struggle. Also in the future Comrade Erika will be present in our ranks!”
---
*Freelance journalist

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