Rosa Luxemburg

Rosa Luxemburg and the revolutionary party revisited

 

 

By Eric Blanc

 

March 10, 2018 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist essays and commentary  — This article re-examines Rosa Luxemburg’s approach to the party question by analysing the overlooked experience of her political intervention and organisation in Poland. In particular, I challenge the myth that Rosa Luxemburg advocated a ‘party of the whole class’, ‘spontaneism’ or consistent party democracy. The perspectives and practices of her party – the  Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDKPiL) – demonstrate that there were no steady strategic differences between Luxemburg and V.I. Lenin on the role of a revolutionary party. In practice, the most consequential divergence between their parties was that the Bolsheviks, unlike the SDKPiL, became more effective in mass workers’ struggles during and following the 1905 revolution.

Rosa Luxemburg’s bloc with the SPD bureaucracy

 

 

By Eric Blanc

 

February 3. 2018 — 
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's Marxist Essays and Commentary website — Rosa Luxemburg’s contributions to the revolutionary movement and the development of Marxism are undeniably important. Yet many writers today uncritically romanticise Luxemburg as a humanistic, undogmatic, and democratic alternative to Social Democracy, Leninism, and/or Stalinism. Sobhanlal Datta Gupta, for example, argues that Luxemburg ‘inaugurated the heritage of an alternative understanding of Marxism with a revolutionary humanist face, as distinct from liberalism, social democratic revisionism as well as Stalinist authoritarianism. It is through the lens of Rosa Luxemburg that it is possible to understand what went wrong with Soviet socialism and how we can reposition our understanding of socialism in the twenty-first century.’[1]

 

Entretejer las Rosas desobedientes

 

 

[Original in English here.]

 

Por Nevin Siders V.

 

31 de mayo, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Cuando me propuse elaborar este ensayo me imaginé que fuera una meta sencilla pero, como el lector verá, resultó que implicaba entretejer hilos diversos, por lo que consumía más tiempo de lo previsto. Pero siento que el resultado hizo valer el esfuerzo, abriendo un tantito territorio nuevo para el socialismo. El ensayo abre con rescatar una de las más duraderas posturas de Rosa Luxemburgo, y conjugarla con un tema que (al conocimiento de este autor) no se ha asociado con esta gigante del pensamiento socialista: la desobediencia civil.

 

Disobedient Roses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Nevin Siders

 

May 26, 2017
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal When I began this essay I thought I aimed at a rather modest target, but the “story grew in the telling” and reached out further and further to interweave more and more threads, and therefore required much more time and thought than originally foreseen. Yet I believe the effort to have been worthwhile, opening a bit of new territory for socialism. It sets out from one of Rosa Luxemburg’s most enduring postulates and conjugates it with the topic of civil disobedience which, (as far as the author knows, has never been associated with this giant of socialist thought.

 

One of the protagonists of the civil disobedience movement was Rosa Parks, the other “rose” to whom this monograph is dedicated to and honored in the title, for being a quintessential representative of civil disobedience as understood and practiced by Gandhi and King.

 

Redeeming the revolution: A review of “October 1917 - Workers in Power”

 

 

Reviewed by Doug Enaa Greene

 

October 1917 – Workers in Power.
Paul Le Blanc, Ernest Mandel, David Mandel, François Vercammen, and contemporary texts by Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin, Leon Trotsky.
Edited by Fred Leplat and Alex de Jong
London: Merlin Press, the IIRE and Resistance Books, 2016. 256 pages

 

The critical communism of Antonio Labriola

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

December 30, 2016 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from International Socialist Review with the author’s permission –– Antonio Labriola, if he is known today at all, is remembered as a minor Marxist theorist in the Second International, overshadowed by such well known figures as Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg, or Eduard Bernstein. Sometimes Labriola will be mentioned as a formative influence on the Marxism of Antonio Gramsci and Leon Trotsky. Yet Labriola deserves to be known and studied based on his own merits. He provided a critique of Second International orthodox Marxism, arguing that it divorced theory and practice, engaged in sterile, dogmatic systematization, and held to an economically deterministic form of Marxism. Labriola revived Marxism as an open philosophy of praxis, that is, as a critical and revolutionary method. He did not take for granted the inevitability of historical progress, but argued that it was necessary for socialists to intervene actively in shaping it.

 

‘The hammer blow of the revolution’: Rosa Luxemburg’s critique of bourgeois democracy

 

 

By Michael Löwy, translated by Dan La Botz

 

August 8, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from New Politics — Rosa Luxemburg’s defense of socialist democracy and her critique of the Bolsheviks in her pamphlet The Russian Revolution (1918) are well known. Less well known and often forgotten is her critique of bourgeois democracy, its limits, its contradictions, and its narrow and partial character.

The Kiental Manifesto: Socialists against war, 1916

 

 

Rosa Luxemburg’s Spartacists called at Kiental for a new International.

 

By John Riddell

 

April 27, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell’s blog with permission -- One hundred years ago this week, socialist opponents of the First World War gathered in Kiental, Switzerland, issued an appeal calling on working people to “use every means possible to bring a rapid end to the human slaughter.” The appeal, known as the “Kiental Manifesto,” appears below.

 

ANZACs: New film reveals what should not be forgotten -- or forgiven

Film by John Rainford and Peter Ewer

April 24, 2015 -- Green Left TV/Green Left Weekly//Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- As the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC's ill-fated Gallipoli campaign approaches, this timely short film cuts through the myth making, and shows with damning facts how lives were used as fodder as strategic and tactical blunders led to the slaughter of so many.

It reveals the context behind the Gallipoli campaign - a war fought because the world had been cut up into colonies by the major powers who were now battling for the spoils.

The film shows exactly why the terrible ANZAC Cove campaign should never be forgotten — and the crimes of the warmongers responsible never forgiven.

Germany, 1918-1923: the fire and the spirit of revolution

The German Revolution of 1918-1923 not only saw the collapse of the monarchy, but the real possibility of communism spreading into the heart of Europe. Communist historian Doug Enaa Greene lectures on the course of the revolution and the reasons why it didn't succeed. Presented at the Center of Marxist Education.

Click for more on the Communist Party of Germany; and more by Doug Enaa Greene

By Doug Enaa Greene

Socialists and World War I: Turn the imperialist war into a civil war

Industrial Workers of the World poster against WWI.

By Doug Enaa Greene

February 2, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- It has been a hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War. The centennial of the “war to end all wars” has seen countless commemorations of the millions of heroic soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice for king and country.

Yet missing from all of the observances of the war are the deeper questions of its causes – to divide colonies among predatory ruling classes – and the heroism of those who opposed the mass slaughter. And for the left, that is how we should remember this 100th anniversary – but honoring those socialists and communists who fought against all the odds to end the slaughter.

‘Socialism or barbarism’: An important socialist slogan traced to its unexpected source

Rosa Luxemburg

Rosa Luxemburg.

By Ian Angus

October 21, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- I think I have solved a small puzzle in socialist history. Climate & Capitalism’s tagline, “Ecosocialism or barbarism: There is no third way”, is based on the slogan, “Socialism or Barbarism”, which Rosa Luxemburg raised to such great effect during World War I and the subsequent German revolution, and which has been adopted by many socialists since then.

The puzzle is: where did the concept come from? Luxemburg’s own account doesn’t hold water, and neither do the attempts of left-wing scholars to explain (or explain away) the confusion in her explanation.

Responding to capitalist global disaster: World War I and today

The following talk was delivered to the US International Socialist Organization's Socialism 2014 conference in Chicago, June 28, 2014. It has been edited for publication in International Socialist Review. See also John Riddell's article, “Capitalism’s First World War and the Battle Against It“, in Socialist Worker. Read more on World War I.

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By John Riddell

August 5, 2014 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- On August 5, 100 years ago, a Bosnian nationalist assassinated the crown prince of Austria-Hungary, setting in motion a chain of events that led a month later to the outbreak of the First World War.

The war shattered the world socialist movement and unleashed an overwhelming social catastrophe in Europe, killing 17 million soldiers and civilians. The resulting revolutionary struggles brought the war to an abrupt end in 1918, while toppling the continent’s three great empires and bringing workers and peasants to power in Russia. The war also contributed to a global rise of anti-colonial struggles.

What does this unique cataclysm mean for us today? It is useful to compare World War I with the dangers posed today by climate change and environmental collapse.

Liberación nacional y bolchevismo: la aportación de los marxistas de la periferia del Imperio Zarista

Bund miembros y las víctimas pogrom en Odessa, 1905.

[In English at http://links.org.au/node/3873. Haga clic aquí para más artículos en español.]

Por Eric Blanc

Sinpermiso.info -- La perspectiva desde las regiones periféricas del Imperio Zarista nos obliga a repensar muchas presunciones largamente sostenidas sobre las revoluciones de 1905 y 1917, así como la evolución de muchos análisis marxistas sobre la liberación nacional, la lucha campesina, la revolución permanente, y la emancipación de las mujeres.

Este artículo analiza los debates socialistas sobre la cuestión nacional hasta 1914. Sostengo en él que la estrategia del marxismo anti-colonial que se acabó imponiendo fue elaborada por primera vez por los socialistas de las nacionalidades periféricas del Imperio Zarista, no por los bolcheviques. Lenin y sus camaradas fueron por detrás de los marxistas no rusos en este tema crucial incluso hasta después de haber comenzado la Guerra Civil. Esta debilidad política ayuda a explicar el fracaso bolchevique a la hora de establecer raíces en los pueblos dominados del Imperio Zarista.

National liberation and Bolshevism re-examined: A view from the borderlands

Bund members and pogrom victims in Odessa, 1905.

By Eric Blanc

May 28, 2014 – Submitted to Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal by the author; also available at Johnriddell.wordpress.com -- A view from the Tsarist empire’s borderlands obliges us to rethink many long-held assumptions about the revolutions of 1905 and 1917, as well as the development of Marxist approaches to national liberation, peasant struggle, permanent revolution, and the emancipation of women.

Luxemburg, Lenin, Levi: Rethinking revolutionary history

Part 1. John Riddell. Parts 2 and 3 below.

December 14, 2013 -- Left Streamed, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission

Moderated by Jackie Esmonde. Presentations by:

  • John Riddell, editor of Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International.
  • Paul Kellogg, author of “The Only Hope of the Revolution is the Crowd: The Limits of Žižek's Leninism”, International Journal of Žižek Studies.

More by John Riddell. More by Paul Kellogg.

Sponsored by Education Committee of the Greater Toronto Workers' Assembly.

History: Why did Paul Levi lose out in the German Communist leadership? (Now with audio)

Paul Levi, 1920

Paul Levi, 1920.

[Click HERE for more by John Riddell.]

By John Riddell

This talk was part of a panel on “Paul Levi and the German socialist movement” at the Socialism 2013 conference in Chicago, June 28, 2013. The other speakers at this session were Jen Roesch and Paul Kellogg. You can listen to the full panel below, thanks to Wearemany.com.

Britain: Socialist Workers Party members debate 'Leninism', party democracy (updated Feb. 3)

The first document below was produced by opposition members of British Socialist Workers Party (SWP) (authors listed at its conclusion, the best known include Richard Seymour, Neil Davidson and China Miéville). The SWP is the dominant party within the International Socialist Tendency, with affiliates around the world. The SWP is presently in the midst of a major dispute over inner-party democracy. The article is a reply to SWP leader Alex Callinicos' recent article, "Is Leninism finished?"

Following that are two articles by Tom Walker, a former Socialist Worker journalist who resigned from the SWP during the current dispute.

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Forgotten legacies of Bolshevism on revolutionary organisation

"Iskra. It is often argued that the early period of the organisation of Iskra resembled the small, highly homogenous and monolithic cadre grouping that today is promoted as the sine qua non of revolutionary organisation, but if one looks at the original concept of the Iskra editorial board, we can see it promoted debate among a plurality of tendencies."

[Click HERE for more discussion on revolutionary organisation.]

Paul Le Blanc: Lenin and Luxemburg through each other’s eyes

August Thalheimer, a revolutionary who knew and worked with both of them, insisted on the formulation “not Luxemburg or Lenin – but Luxemburg and Lenin”, explaining that “each of them gave ... what the other did not, and could not, give”.

[More by (and about) Paul Le Blanc HERE, more on Lenin HERE and more on Rosa Luxemburg HERE.]

By Paul Le Blanc

(Talk presented at the International Conference on “Lenin’s Thought in the Twenty-First Century: Interpretation and Its Value”, Wuhan University, October 20-22, 2012.)

January 3, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg first met in 1901 but actually got to know each other amid the revolutionary workers’ insurgencies sweeping through Russia and Eastern Europe in 1905-1906. As Luxemburg biographer J. P. Nettl tells us:

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