Rosa Luxemburg on Capitalism and Revolution

The economic, political and revolutionary theorist Rosa Luxemburg is essential to understanding modern capitalism. Her life as a Polish/German left-wing Social Democrat gives key insights in the struggle for freedom against capital. She was born in Poland in 1871 and was murdered by the the far right Friekorps militias in 1919 along with fellow revolutionary Karl Liebknecht. Her life and works are essential to understanding the development of Left Communism as a movement and tradition.  The Council Communists after World War I were heavily influenced by her ideas. This tradition lead to the Autonomist Marxism of the 1960s and 1970s and has great relevance for today’s revolutionaries.

Without Rosa Luxemburg’s inspiration these movements would have looked quite different in comparison. Her piercing insights into the theory and method of revolutionary thought, her critique of Lenin’s Democratic Centralism and the bureaucracy created by the Bolsheviks in the Russian revolution of 1917 are key to an understanding of the way forward today. Also, her inspirational writings, for example ‘The Mass Strike, the Political Party and the Trade Unions,’ help provide insights into both the problems and potential of revolutionary struggle under capitalism today.

Reading List:

Rosa Luxemburg – Social Reform Or Revolution?

Rosa Luxemburg – Organizational Questions of the Russian Social Democracy

Rosa Luxemburg – The Mass Strike, the Political Party and the Trade Unions

Rosa Luxemburg – The Russian Revolution

Rosa Luxemburg – The Accumulation of Capital

Rosa Luxemburg – Socialism or Barbarism?: The Selected Writings of Rosa Luxemburg