19 January 2019 — Socialist Project
One hundred years ago this month, on January 15, 1919, the great revolutionary thinker and anti-war activist, Rosa Luxemburg, was murdered in Berlin by the Freikorps paramilitary group, with her body dumped into the Landwehr Canal. Her comrade in opposition to the Social Democratic Party of Germany support for German involvement in World War 1, and in splitting from the SPD to eventually form the Communist Party of Germany, Karl Liebknecht, was also murdered in the course of the same events. Luxemburg occupies a special place in the traditions of the global left for her powerful political interventions and ceaseless invocation of revolution to break the hammerlock of capitalism on democracy and development, and for her major economic text, The Accumulation of Capital (1913), linking capitalist development to dispossessions, imperialism and militarism. Her searing critique of capitalist democracy was central to a political strategy that combined an insistence on the capacity for revolt and self-organization of the masses with recognition of the role of the socialist party in education, agitation, and parliamentary representation and struggle in the interests of the working classes. One hundred years on, Luxemburg remains a source of political inspiration and integrity for socialists around the world.
We reprint here her call (published in December 1918) for political control of the state and socialization of the economic system in the midst of the German revolts of 1918-1919. “While we are enlisting fighters for the revolution, we are creating Socialist workers for the future, workers who can become the basis of a new social state…. There is still an old world to be overthrown. A new world must be built!”