Rosa Luxemburg

Born on March 5th, 1871, Rosa Luxemburg, a Polish Jew and participant in the Russian Revolution of 1905, was a co-founder of the Social Democratic Party in the joint Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania.

Next to Karl Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg was the most important representative of the left-wing socialist, anti-militarist, and internationalist positions in the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany before 1918. She was a passionate and convincing critic of capitalism as well as anti-democratic and dictatorial tendencies within the Bolsheviki. She confronted the compelling logic of economic laws and political strategies with the utopia of a new world. According to Luxemburg, this new world needed to be created in spite of widespread despair, deprivation of rights, cowardliness and the corruption of power. read more »

Gabriel Kuhn (ed.): All Power to the Councils! A Documentary History of the German Revolution

Every schoolchild on the globe knows something about the Russian Revolution from 1917. It was the origin of a state called Soviet Union and a political confrontation later known as the cold war which shaped the 20th century longer than any other political conflict.

Unlike the crucial events of 1917, the German Revolution of 1918 is not part of the global memory. It did not erect a socialist state as hoped by many of its protagonists and instead ended with a fragile republic that lasted only twelve years and was destroyed by the Nazi Party in 1933. read more »

Rosa Luxemburg and the Revolutionary Antiwar Mass Strikes in Germany during World War I

Since 1906 Rosa Luxemburg was the outstanding protagonist of the revolutionary mass strike idea in Germany. After having participated for some months in the First Russian Revolution of 1905/06 she published her important essay “Mass Strikes, Political Party and Trade Unions”.  Luxemburg recommended the mass strike as a mean of pressure for getting more democratic rights. read more »

Rosa Luxemburg’s Criticism of Lenin’s Ultra Centralistic Party Concept and of the Bolshevik Revolution

In 1922 a heated controversy on Rosa Luxemburg’s manuscript “The Russian Revolution” arose in the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and in the Communist International (KI). Paul Levi, a close friend of Rosa and since March 1919 leader of the KPD, criticised publicly the participation of the Central Committee in the March 1921 uprising in Middle Germany[1] and called it a putsch especially since some Russian advisors from the KI had urged the action. read more »

Rosa Luxemburg’s Concept of Basic Democratic Socialism

Every year in January between 50.000 and 100.000 people honour Rosa Luxemburg with a march to her grave at a cemetery in Berlin, Germany. In the last several years conferences on Rosa Luxemburg took place not only in Germany but also in other European countries like Finland, Russia, Poland, Switzerland, Italy, USA (1998 in Chicago where Bill Pelz organized the meeting) and even in China and recently in South America. read more »

Rosa at a Loss

In recent German historical writing, the protest movement of the Berlin workers against the Ebert­–Scheidemann government1 in the second week of January 1919 is no longer described as the ‘Spartakus Uprising’, and as a result the German Communist Party (KPD) is not now held solely or even mainly responsible for it.2 Yet the assert­ion still haunts historical works and the media that the uprising was a putsch that was fully supported by Rosa Luxemburg and the other Spartakus leaders, in opposition to the demo read more »