The old Peoples House in Copenhagen


The old Peoples House has since 1982 functioned as a selfgoverning alternative youth house, called Ungdomshuset, situated at Jagtvej 69 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The building was completed on the 12. November 1897, although its name was at first "Folkets hus" (The People's House). At that time, the place functioned as one of the resorts for the then-incipient labour movement of Copenhagen. Seeing that labour organisations were not very popular in the eyes of the authorities, and reprisals often were carried out against them, the working class had to build their own headquarters – Folkets hus was the fourth of these to be built. Several demonstrations and meetings were planted their roots in Folkets hus, and as a result it enjoyed a significant connection to the great demonstration against unemployment in 1918 when workers stormed the Danish Stock Exchange(Børsen). In 1910, The Second International held an International Women's conference at the house, declaring 8th March as International Women's Day. The promoter was Clara Zetkin (1857-1933), the German Social Democrat. Great persons as Vladimir Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg have also held speeches in the house.

In 1982 Folkets Hus was assigned to a group of young people – the original founders of Ungdomshuset – although the municipality of Copenhagen still owned the building. It was at this time that the building was given its current name: Ungdomshuset.

In 1999 the building was set for sale to the highest bidder by the municipality. A company called Human A/S bought the building and sold it to the extremist right-wing christian sect, "Faderhuset".

Faderhuset and their leader, Ruth Evensen have recently asked the municipal council of Copenhagen for a permission to demolish the house. The politicians of the city council will probably vote for a demolishion, because thy don't see the house as worth keeping, not for architectonical reasons, not even for historical reasons.

Read more about the house on:

Please send a protest now!

To all groups concerning the preservation of Folkets Hus, Jagtvej 69, Copenhagen, Denmark:
The City Council of Copenhagen had their final meeting about this issue on Thursday the 8th of February, where they voted positive for a demolishion of the old Folkets Hus.
We think it is a shame and a total disgrace.
Please send a protest mail to all of the members of the following administration, and a letter to the Lord Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard and her fellows:
Lord Mayor Ritt Bjerregaard


Rådhuset, 1599 København. V, Denmark

Mayor, Klaus Bondam, Email:
Mayor Mikkel Warming Email:
Mayor Martin Geertsen Email:
Mayor Jakob Hougaard Email:
Mayor Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard Email:
Mayor Mogens Lønborg Email:

Tell them about your organisation and why you want to preserve the old Folkets Hus.
With love
The Zetkin 1910 Group

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Who was Clara Zetkin?

Clara Zetkin (1857 - 1933)

Clara Zetkin
Clara Zetkin (1857-1933)
Clara Zetkin, maiden name Eissner (born 5 July 1857 in Wiederau, Saxony; died 20 June 1933 in Archangelskoye near Moscow) was an influential socialist German politician and a fighter for women's rights. Until 1917 she was active in the Social Democratic Party of Germany, then she joined the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD) and its far-left wing, the Spartacist League; this later became the Communist Party of Germany (KPD), which she represented in the Reichstag during the Weimar Republic from 1920 to 1933.

Early life as Socialist

Having studied to become a teacher, Zetkin developed connections with the women's movement and the labour movement in Germany from 1874. In 1878 she joined the Socialist Workers' party (Sozialistische Arbeiterpartei, SAP). This party had been founded in 1875 by merging two previous parties: the ADAV formed by Ferdinand Lassalle and the SDAP of August Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht. In 1890 its name was changed to its modern version Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD).

Because of the ban on socialist activity in Germany placed by Bismarck in 1878, Zetkin left for Zurich in 1882 then went into exile in Paris. During her time in Paris she played an important role in the foundation of the Socialist International socialist group. She also adopted the name of her partner, the Russian revolutionary Ossip Zetkin, with whom she had two sons. Later, Zetkin was married to the artist Georg Friedrich Zundel from 1899 - 1928.

In the SPD, Zetkin, along with Rosa Luxemburg, her close friend and confidante, was one of the main figures of the far-left revolutionary wing of the party. In the debate on Revisionism at the turn of the twentieth century she attacked the reformerist theses of Eduard Bernstein along with Luxemburg.

Fighter for Women's Rights

Zetkin was very interested in women's politics, including the fight for equal opportunities and women's suffrage. She developed the social-democratic women's movement in Germany; from 1891 to 1917 she edited the SPD women's newspaper "Die Gleichheit" (Equality). In 1907 she became the leader of the newly-founded "Women's Office" at the SPD. She started up the first "International Women's Day" on 8 March 1911.

During the first world war, Zetkin, along with Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg and other influential SPD politicians, rejected the party's policy of Burgfrieden (a truce with the government, promising to refrain from any strikes during the war). Among other anti-war activities, Zetkin organised an international socialist women's anti-war conference in Berlin in 1915. Because of her anti-war opinions, she was arrested several times during the war.

Radicalisation towards Communism

In 1916 Zetkin was one of the co-founders of the Spartacist League and the Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany (USPD) which had split off in 1917 from its mother party, the SPD, in protest at its pro-war attitude. In January 1919, after the German Revolution in November of the previous year, the KPD (Communist Party of Germany) was founded; Zetkin also joined this and represented the party from 1920 to 1933 in the Reichstag

Until 1924 Zetkin was a member of the KPD's central office. From 1927 to 1929 she was a member of the party's central committee. She was also a member of the executive committe of the Communist International (Comintern) from 1921 to 1933. In 1925 she was elected president of the German left-wing solidarity organisation Rote Hilfe (Red Aid). In August 1932, as the chairperson of the Reichstag by seniority, she called for people to fight National Socialism.

When Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist German Workers Party took over power, the Communist Party of Germany was banned from the Reichstag following the Reichstag fire in 1933. Zetkin went into exile for the last time, this time to the Soviet Union. She died there on 20 June 1933 aged nearly 76. She was buried by the wall of the Kremlin in Moscow.


International Women's Day (8 March)

International Women's Day (8 March) is an occasion marked by women's groups around the world. This date is also commemorated at the United Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday. When women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their Day, they can look back to a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development.

International Women's Day is the story of ordinary women as makers of history; it is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men. In ancient Greece, Lysistrata initiated a sexual strike against men in order to end war; during the French Revolution, Parisian women calling for "liberty, equality, fraternity" marched on Versailles to demand women's suffrage.

The idea of an International Women's Day first arose at the turn of the century, which in the industrialized world was a period of expansion and turbulence, booming population growth and radical ideologies. Following is a brief chronology of the most important events:


In accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first National Woman's Day was observed across the United States on 28 February. Women continued to celebrate it on the last Sunday of that month through 1913.


The Socialist International, meeting in Copenhagen, established a Women's Day, international in character, to honour the movement for women's rights and to assist in achieving universal suffrage for women. The proposal was greeted with unanimous approval by the conference of over 100 women from 17 countries, which included the first three women elected to the Finnish parliament. No fixed date was selected for the observance.


As a result of the decision taken at Copenhagen the previous year, International Women's Day was marked for the first time (19 March) in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, where more than one million women and men attended rallies. In addition to the right to vote and to hold public office, they demanded the right to work, to vocational training and to an end to discrimination on the job.

Less than a week later, on 25 March, the tragic Triangle Fire in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working girls, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This event had a significant impact on labour legislation in the United States, and the working conditions leading up to the disaster were invoked during subsequent observances of International Women's Day.


As part of the peace movement brewing on the eve of World War I, Russian women observed their first International Women's Day on the last Sunday in February 1913. Elsewhere in Europe, on or around 8 March of the following year, women held rallies either to protest the war or to express solidarity with their sisters.


With 2 million Russian soldiers dead in the war, Russian women again chose the last Sunday in February to strike for "bread and peace". Political leaders opposed the timing of the strike, but the women went on anyway. The rest is history: Four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. That historic Sunday fell on 23 February on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia, but on 8 March on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere.

Since those early years, International Women's Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women's movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women's conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point for coordinated efforts to demand women's rights and participation in the political and economic process. Increasingly, International Women's Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of women's rights.