Rosa Luxemburg

Lenin, Luxemburg and the War

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Lenin's critical response to Rosa Luxemburg's Junius pamphlet

Rosa Luxemburg's First World War Junius pamphlet, written in prison and so vividly described by Sally Campbell in February's Socialist Review, was arguably the greatest anti-war statement of the last century.

Its haunting theme, socialism or barbarism, prophetically cast its shadow over the 20th century and continues to do so now.

Why read The Junius Pamphlet

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Right up until July 1914 anti-war activity was rife across Europe, led by the socialist parties of the Second International. In the face of growing nationalism Rosa Luxemburg and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) organised mass rallies and the SPD headquarters put out statements confirming their stance against war: "The class conscious proletariat of Germany, in the name of humanity and civilisation, raises a flaming protest against this criminal activity of the warmongers."

Why read Reform and Revolution?

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Rosa Luxemburg's short book Reform or Revolution is often overlooked these days, in favour of her more famous, The Mass Strike. Written while in her late twenties, Reform or Revolution demonstrates the keeness of Luxemburg's Marxism and the sharpness of her polemic.

The book is a response to a series of articles and an eventual book by Eduard Bernstein. Bernstein was an important figure in the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) to which Luxemburg also belonged. Bernstein was arguing for a movement away from the ideas embodied in classical Marxism.

Luxemburg argued "His conception of the march of economic development is incompatible with the Marxist theory of surplus value. Therefore, Bernstein abandons the theory of value and surplus value, and, in this way, the whole economic system of Karl Marx."

Why does a mass strike matter?

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Kevin Best looks at why socialists argue for mass strikes

Revolutionaries are arguing hard and organising to put coordinated strikes - and a general strike - at the heart of resistance to the cuts. Strikes represent the working class's most potent weapon, utilising its unique social position as the producers of wealth in society, the source of bosses' profits.

Rosa Luxemburg: a life of struggle

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When Rosa Luxemburg was murdered 90 years ago this month, the international workers' movement lost one of its greatest revolutionaries. Here we reprint an evaluation of her life from a pamphlet by Socialist Workers Party founder Tony Cliff, first published in 1959.

Rosa Luxemburg was born in the small Polish town of Zamosc on 5 March 1871. From early youth she was active in the socialist movement. She joined a revolutionary party called Proletariat, founded in 1882, some 21 years before the Russian Social Democratic Party (Bolsheviks and Mensheviks) came into being. From the beginning Proletariat was, in principles and programme, many steps ahead of the revolutionary movement in Russia.

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