This symposium is organized in cooperation between the Plekhanov House, the National Library of Russia department (St. Petersburg), the Institute for Postcolonial and Transcultural Studies (INPUTS), University of Bremen and the Moscow Branch of The Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (Berlin) to celebrate Rosa Luxemburg's 150th anniversary. It aims at critically discussing Rosa Luxemburg as well as her associates and adherents’ historical, anti-imperialist and political writings in the context of theory of imperialism with regard to questions of anti-imperial and post-/de-colonial studies.
At the turn of the 20th century Rosa Luxemburg positioned herself as a revolutionary and against the revision of Marxist principles within social democracy. She resolutely opposed parliamentarism as well as tendencies of chauvinism and militarism inside the social-democratic worker's movement.
While political writings such as “Social Reform or Revolution?” (1899) emphasize class struggle as a Marxist principle, “Militarism, War and the Working Class” (1914) expresses an internationalist stance against imperialist wars. In prison Rosa Luxemburg wrote “The Crisis of Social Democracy” (1916), which also circulated under the title “Junius Brochure”. A crisis within the European Marxist labour movement led to the split of Marxist movements (Social Democrats vs. Communists) in 1919 as a result of the first imperialist World War – taking place mainly on European(-controlled), Russian and Ottoman territories. As an internationalist Rosa Luxemburg positioned herself not only on questions of war and peace within Europe, but also with regard to the standpoint of European Marxists towards the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist resistances in Asia, Africa and the Americas. In 1906, a majority of German Social Democrats voted in Parliament for the further financial support of German colonial rule in southern Africa, where the genocide of the Hereros and Nama was continuing as survivors of General von Trotha's killing policy were imprisoned in concentration camps. Such racist politics developed into the system of Apartheid.
Rosa Luxemburg warned against such "imperialist euphoria", which now also was gaining ground in the social democratic worker's movement. Imperialism and militarism – theoretically not sufficiently reflected or faded-out in the works of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels – became a theoretical challenge for Marxists at the beginning of the 20th century (among others Kautsky, "Parvus", Radek and Lenin).
Rosa Luxemburg gave serious consideration to imperialism in “The Accumulation of Capital” (1913), the study which can be seen as a critical theoretical extension or revision of the analyses of capitalism done by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
The conclusions formulated by R. Luxembourg were proved in the late 20th and early 21st centuries not only by the world practice of the evolution of capitalism, but also were further developed in the ideas of theories of dependency, unequal exchange, or world-system analysis by Andre Gunder Frank, Immanuel Wallerstein, Samir Amin, Yuri Semenov and others. Currently new impulses come also from post-, decolonial and anti-imperial studies. The first attempt to break the inhuman circle of the relations identified were undertaken by the revolutions that swept through almost all continents during the First World War of 1914-1918, and continued at the end of World War II, 1939-1945.
Preliminary, although not yet successfully accomplished efforts, was the emergence of such cooperative forms as The South-South interregional and international solidarity (SSC, "Global South"), the Non-Alignment Movement, the anti-imperialist liberation movements in Asia, Africa and the Americas, and international economic and cultural associations in the format of the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance (CMEA), which clearly demonstrated the possibility of organizing the human community on the principles formulated by Marx: good and justice, that is, humanity.
These confirmed the socio-philosophical credo of R. Luxembourg that in order to change the human being and the world around him, "perception and knowledge, will and action are necessary, knitted together". We welcome contributions discussing the oeuvre of Rosa Luxemburg in the context of:
- Rosa Luxemburg on India, Turkey (Ottoman Empire) and Algeria
- Rosa Luxemburg on enslavement and the Cotton Belt
- Rosa Luxemburg on Africa, Asia and America (historical image, sources etc.)
- Capitalism: free, forced and enslaved labour
- Luxemburg's understanding of 'party' and forms of resistance
- Imperialism and militarism: productive or destructive forces?
- From fleets and railways to space and digital imperialism
- Imperialist wars in history and today
- Imperialism, „Natural Economy“, Land Grabbing
- The Marx-Engelsian Capital: Contributions of Rosa Luxemburg to a new understanding
- Crisis of Production, reproduction, and circulation of capital: an acceptable explanation of imperialism?
- Imperialism, class and anti-imperialist resistance
- Socialism or barbarism?