Selected political writings of Rosa Luxemburg 9780853451426, 0853451427, 9780853451976, 0853451974

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Selected political writings of Rosa Luxemburg
 9780853451426, 0853451427, 9780853451976, 0853451974

Table of contents :
Contents
Introduction
Speeches to the Stuttgart Congress (1898)
Speech to the Hanover Congress (1899)
Social Reform or Revolution
Militia and Militarism
In Memory of the Proletariat Party
The Eight-Hour Day at the Party Congress
Women’s Suffrage and Class Struggle
Mass Strike, Party, and Trade Unions
Speech to the Nürnberg Congress (1908)
What Are the Origins of May Day?
The Idea of May Day on the March
The Crisis in German Social Democracy
Either / Or
To the Proletarians of All Countries
What Does the Spartacus League Want?
Our Program and the Political Situation
Order Reigns in Berlin
Glossary

Citation preview

Selected Political Writings of R O SA LUXEM BURG

Selected Political Writings of ROSA LU X EM BU RG Edited and Introduced by Dick Howard

New York and London

Copyright © 1971 by Monthly Review Press All Rights Reserved Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 75-142991 First Printing A Radical America Book Published by Monthly Review Press 116 West 14th Street, New York, N. Y. 10011 33/37 Moreland Street, London, E. C. 1 M ANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

W e do n o t face th e w orld in d o c trin a ire fash­ ion, d eclarin g , “ H e re is th e tru th , kneel h e re !” . . . W e do n o t tell th e w orld, “ Cease y o u r struggles, th ey are stu p id ; we w a n t to give you th e tru e w atch w o rd of th e stru g g le.” W e m erely show th e w orld how it actu ally struggles; a n d consciousness is so m eth in g th a t th e w orld must acq u ire even if it does n o t w a n t to. M arx to Ruge, September 1843

Contents Introduction

9

I. A gainst R evisionism a n d O p p o rtu n ism In tro d u c tio n Speeches to th e S tu ttg a rt C ongress (1898) S peech to th e H a n o v e r C ongress (1899) Social Reform or Revolution M ilitia a n d M ilitarism

31 38 44 52 135

I I . T actics In tro d u c tio n F ro m : In M em o ry of th e P ro le ta ria t P a rty T h e E ig h t-H o u r D ay a t th e P a rty C ongress W o m e n ’s Suffrage a n d Class S truggle F ro m : M ass Strike, Party, and Trade Unions

161 168 212 216 223

I I I . T h e R o le of th e P a rty «C

In tro d u c tio n S peech to th e N ü rn b e rg C ongress (1908) O rg a n iz a tio n a l Q uestions of R u ssian Social D em o cracy

273 279 283

IV . T h e In te rn a tio n a l In tro d u c tio n W h a t A re th e O rig in s of M a y D ay? 7

309 315

8

Contents T h e Id e a of M a y D a y on th e M a rc h T h e Crisis in G e rm a n Social D em o cracy {The Junius Pamphlet: P a rt O n e) E ith e r /O r T o th e P ro letarian s of All C ountries

317 322 336 352

V. Beginnings of th e G e rm a n R ev o lu tio n In tro d u c tio n W h a t Does th e S p artacu s L eag u e W an t? O u r P ro g ra m an d th e P olitical S itu atio n O rd e r R eigns in B erlin Glossary

359 366 377 409 419

Introduction W ith the grow th of a N ew Left d u rin g th e past decade, a practical reflection on the bases o f socialism has ag ain begun after years of Stalinism a n d silence. M ore recently, attem p ts to theorize th e new p ractice have been u n d ertak en , despite the fa­ m iliar arg u m e n t th a t th eo ry is only for intellectuals. In the re ­ new ed d eb ate, the n am e o f R osa L u x em b u rg is m ore an d m ore frequently m entioned. W ere she alive, she w ould no d o u b t be displeased by th e re b irth of “ L u xem burgism .” T h e p ractical, tactical m easures w hich she developed w ere always situation-specific; the developm ent o f cap italism has long since passed th em by. In h er eyes, h er th eo retical w ork was noth in g b u t a consequent ap p lic a tio n of th e dialectical m eth o d w hich h ad en ab led M a rx to uncover th e secrets of th e cap italist sys­ tem . H e r advice to those of us engaged in reth in k in g a n d revi­ vifying th e socialist project w ould be to re tu rn to M arx , to study his dialectical m ethod, a n d to ap p ly it to our ow n p ro b ­ lems. Yet, precisely because h er political w ritings are attem p ts to theorize th e ac tu a l p ractice o f th e socialist m ovem ent of her times, th e p u b licatio n o f these texts is op p o rtu n e. N o t only is R osa L u x em b u rg a k in d red spirit, the read in g o f w hom can n o t fail to force us to reflect on our own situ atio n w ith new, critical eyes a n d a m ethodological self-consciousness. She herself was an historical th in k er for w hom th e history of th e class struggle was an ever fresh source of th eo retical a n d p ractica l in sp ira­ tion. She was active in th e G erm an , Polish, a n d R ussian m ove­ m ents, whose past she d e a lt w ith as p a rt o f the historical pres­ ent; a n d she was a n active m em b er o f th e In te rn a tio n a l

9

10

Introduction

B ureau who never hesitated to give h er views on the develop­ m ent of the in tern atio n al socialist m ovem ent. H e r in te rn a tio n ­ alism was a p a rt of her very being, a n d she was convinced th a t for “a fighting party , the history o f socialism is the school of life” (p. 280).1 As a revolutionary m ovem ent, the N ew Left is the h eir an d b earer of the socialist trad itio n . It is of course not the heir of th a t m ovem ent w hich collapsed in social-patriotic ignom iny on A ugust 4, 1914, in the first flam es of w orld w ar; nor m ust it reproduce any of the fixed forms a n d static m odes of th o u g h t which h ap p en ed to p red o m in ate a t one or a n o th e r historical m om ent. T h e heritage of the N ew Left is not an intellectual one; it is the spiritual heritag e of the co n tin u in g revolutionary struggle by the w orking masses of the w orld to free them selves from the d o m in atio n of cap ital. T h o u g h it is “ new ” in m any ways, in this very im p o rta n t sense the N ew Left is “ o ld ,” an d m ust take pride in a n d learn from its past. T h e w ritings presented in this volum e are in ten d ed to serve the theoretical an d p ractical reflection u n d e rta k e n by the present bearers of the historical struggle for socialism. Because of the concrete n a tu re of th a t heritage, each group of texts is preceded by an historical in tro d u ctio n , ex p lan ato ry footnotes have been added, a n d a Glossary has been supplied. For this reason, ra th e r th a n devote this in tro d u ctio n to a bio g rap h ical sketch of R osa L u x em b u rg ,12 it will be m ore useful to look 1The page numbers in parentheses refer to this book. 2 Two biographies of Rosa Luxemburg are available in English. J. P. Nettl’s twovolume Rosa Luxemburg (Oxford University Press, 1966; also available in a one-volume abridged edition) is a masterpiece of bourgeois biography. The book is an important contribution particularly because of its use of hitherto inaccessible Polish materials, and because of the author’s knowledge of the period in which Rosa Luxemburg lived and struggled. The book is marred, however, by its attempt to remain apolitical. In this sense, the biography by Paul Frölich is to be recommended. Frölich was a found­ ing member of the German Communist Party, and took part in the 1918-19 revolu­ tion. He was assigned by the CP to edit Rosa Luxemburg’s works, but before the task was completed, he was expelled from the Party. Frölich’s attempt to understand Rosa Luxemburg from the point of view of a militant activist adds to the value of his book. His book is entitled Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Work (1940; reprint edition, New York: Howard Fertig, 1970).

Introduction

11

briefly a t th e dialectical m ethodology w hich served b oth her p ractice a n d h er attem p ts to theorize th a t practice. T h e term “ Social D em o cracy ” recurs th ro u g h o u t R osa L u x ­ em b u rg ’s w ritings. Social D em ocracy m eans M arxism ; it m eans the o rg an izatio n o f the class-conscious an d revolution­ ary p ro le ta ria t whose goal is th e in stitu tio n o f th e socialist order. “ Social D em o cracy ,” w rites R osa L uxem burg, “ . . . is the very m ovem ent of th e w orking class” (p. 290). W h en she speaks of Social D em ocratic theory, R osa L u x em b u rg m eans nothing o th er th a n dialectical m aterialism . “ M arx ist theory gave to the w orking class o f the w hole w orld a com pass by w hich to fix its tactics from h o u r to h o u r in its jo u rn e y tow ard the one u n ch an g in g goal” (p. 325). R osa L u x em b u rg never a t­ tem pted to convince an y o n e o f th e “ tr u th ” of the M arx ist sys­ tem ; it was beyond any d o u b t th a t d ialectical M arxism is “ the specific m ode of th o u g h t o f th e rising class-conscious p ro le ta r­ ia t” (p. 127). In her polem ic ag ain st the o p p o rtu n ist practices of G erm an Social D em ocracy, she was co n ten t to show th a t “ in its essence, in its bases, o p p o rtu n ist p ractice is irreco n cila­ ble w ith M arx ism ” (p. 130). T h o u g h she never u n d erto o k a serious m ethodological a n a l­ ysis of th e bases o f M arx ism ,3 a n d criticized the first volum e o f Capital for “ its overloading of rococo o rn am en ts in th e H egel­ ian style,” 4 R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s political w ritings show a n in ­ tuitive u n d e rsta n d in g o f the M a rx ia n dialectic.5 T h e key to the M a rx ia n dialectic is th e notion th a t the final goal o f the 3 The one exception to this, the discussion of the reproduction schemas of Volume II of Capital, on which The Accumulation of Capital is based, shows a misunderstanding of the theoretical role of these schemas within the dialectical structure of Capital. On this problem, into which we cannot delve here, cf. Roman Rosdolsky, Zar Entstehungsge­ schichte des Marxschen “Kapital” (Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 19b8). 4 Letter to Hans Diefenbach, March 8, 1917, in Briefe an Freunde (Europäische Verlagsanstalt), p. 85. 5 This thesis was first argued by Georg Lukäcs in History and Class Consciousness. It has since been developed in more detail (though with less theoretical acuteness) by Lelio Basso n his introduction to the Italian edition of Rosa Luxemburg’s works. Basso’s in­ troduction was recently translated into German as Rosa Luxemburgs Dialektik der Revolu­ tion (Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1969).

12

Introduction

p ro le tarian m ovem ent, socialism, is a necessity. T h e necessity of the final goal provides th a t teleology w hich m akes it possi­ ble to u n d erstan d the present as a process o f becom ing. W ith ­ out this insight, history ap p ears to be m erely a series o f discon­ nected, ran d o m facts. W ith o u t th e teleology provided by the final goal, bourgeois society w ould have to be accepted as es­ sentially etern al a n d u n ch an g in g , a n d social analysis w ould be reduced to em pirical, inductive m ethods w hich are in cap ab le of dealing w ith capitalism as a totality. T h e dialectic deals w ith totalities; the present, the ‘Tacts,” are transitory, a n d can only be understood in term s of w h a t they w ere a n d w h a t they are becom ing w ithin the social totality. W ith o u t th e dialectic of the final goal, the p ro le ta ria t seems to be only w h a t it is in the discrete present: a seriality of individuals jo in ed together by external necessity on th e shop floor, b u t w ith no tru e social an d political relatio n to one an o th er. From th e dialectical point o f view, however, the p ro le ta ria t is seen as a process, a m ovem ent in w hich each activity has a significance beyond the m ere em pirical dollars-and-cents term s in w hich it ap p ears in isolation.6 R osa L u x em b u rg was fully conscious of the function of the final goal in political analysis, stressing th a t “ it is th e final goal alone w hich constitutes th e spirit a n d co n ten t of o u r socialist 6 It would take us too far afield to discuss the implications of the teleology of the final goal for the understanding of history, and for concrete social analysis. The analy­ sis of the development of the mass strike movement in Russia is a clear example of the former. As to the relation of the final goal to social analysis, the following passage from Rosa Luxemburg’s reply to Bernstein’s argument that Capital is “utopian” is sugges­ tive: “The secret of Marx’s theory of value, of his analysis of money, his theory of capi­ tal, his theory of the rate of profit, and consequently of the whole existing economic system is—the transitory nature of the capitalist economy, its collapse, thus—and this is only another aspect of the same phenomenon—the final goal, socialism. And pre­ cisely because, a priori, Marx looked at capitalism from the socialist’s view­ point, . . . he was enabled to decipher the hieroglyphics of capitalist economy” (p. 101). The methodological problems of the dialectical analysis have not been taken seri­ ously enough by socialist thinkers, and the problem of the relations of Marxism and philosophy, posed in the early 1920’s by Karl Korsch’s book of the same title, and Georg Lukâcs’ History and Class Consciousness, still need elaboration today.

Introduction

13

struggle, w hich tu rn s it into a class struggle” (p. 39). In isola­ tion, the actions of th e w orking class do not a p p e a r to be revo­ lutionary. T h e struggle for th e eig h t-h o u r day, p a rlia m e n ta r­ ism a n d electoral action, dem onstrations, strikes in different branches of industry, etc. are no t in them selves “ revolution­ a ry .” O n ly w ithin the to tality of the cap italist system a n d the necessi ty of th e p ro le ta ria n revolution do these actions take on th eir full significance as p a rt of th e revolutionary process. T his is why, in her polem ic against B ernstein’s fam ous statem en t th a t “ th e final goal is . . . n o th in g . . . th e m ovem ent is ev­ ery th in g ,” R osa L u x em b u rg w rote th a t “ the final goal of so­ cialism is the only decisive factor distinguishing th e Social D em ocratic m ovem ent from bourgeois dem ocracy a n d b o u r­ geois radicalism , the only factor transform ing the en tire labor m ovem ent from a vain a tte m p t to re p a ir th e cap italist order into a class struggle against this order, for th e suppression of this o rd er . . .” (p. 53). T h o u g h o th er political m ovem ents m ay pro claim th e sam e final goals, “ th a t w hich separates the Social D em o cratic position from those of o th er m ovem ents is . . . its conception of the relatio n sh ip betw een the im m ed iate tasks of socialism a n d its final goals” (p. 179). T h e day-to-day tasks of a socialist m ovem ent m ake sense only w ithin th e long­ term perspective of the revolution; an d , m ore im p o rta n t from the dialectical p o in t of view, th e revolution is not ju st the re ­ sult of one act, th e tak in g of political pow er, b u t of all the acts w hich p re p a re the objective and subjective conditions of th e so­ cialist society. Socialism is not a state of affairs existing in some far-off fu­ ture, a u to p ia po stu lated in o rd er to m ake the actions of the present seem m eaningful. T his w ould be an idealism , th e kind of K a n tia n eth ical ap p e a l to a n “ ete rn a l ju stic e ” w hich was typical o f m an y leading M arxists of th e Second In te rn a tio n a l. The final goal is the totality oj the process by which it is achieved; it is not a state b u t a becom ing.7 “ . . . T h e A B C ’s of socialism ,” 7 This is the Hegelian position as well; for example: “For the subject matter is not

14

Introduction

writes R osa L uxem burg, “ . . . teach th a t the socialist o rd er is not some sort of poetic ideal society, th o u g h t o u t in advance, w hich m ay be reached by various p ath s in various m ore or less im aginative ways. R a th e r, socialism is sim ply the historical tendency of the class struggle of th e p ro le ta ria t in th e cap italist society against the class ru le of th e bourgeoisie” (p. 201). T h e notion of the final goal as to tality explains w hy M a rx him self always refused to discuss the details of the fu tu re socialist order, co n cen tratin g his a tte n tio n on the developm ent of the present. It also explains w hy socialism c a n n o t be created from the top dow n, b u t dem an d s a d em o cratic mass m ovem ent. T h e dialectical analysis in term s of the necessity of the final goal is based upon the revolutionary m ethodological postulate th a t a positive future can be b u ilt on the basis o f a negative present. Socialism is not th e result of the g ra d u a l am elio ratio n of capitalism th ro u g h a series of reform s; it results from the continual an d unchecked developm ent of a n in tern ally self­ contradictory system w hich m ust eventually b reak dow n an d lead to a revolutionary transform ation. T h is is w hy M arx w rote a book called Capital, subtitled “A C ritiq u e o f Political E conom y,” a n d not a book called Socialism. Capital, w rote M arx, is “ a presen tatio n of the system, a n d th ro u g h th e pres­ en tatio n a critiq u e of th a t system .” 8 M a rx 's goal was n ot posi­ tive b u t negative: to prove th a t cap italism is a n u n stab le sys­ tem w hich, by the force o f its own in tern al laws, m ust b reak down. W h en the negative n a tu re of th e cap italist system, its in tern al contradictions a n d necessary breakdow n, are denied, as they are by revisionists, following B ernstein, w ho see social­ ism as g rad u ally grow ing out of capitalism , this d en ial im plies the rejection of the socialist future, a n d its consequences for political p ractice are obvious. exhausted in its goal, but in its being carried out; nor is the result the actual whole, but rather the result along with its becoming.” (Preface to the Phänomenologie des Geistes (Felix Meiner Verlag, 1952), p. 11. 8 Letter to Ferdinand Lassalle, February 22, 1858. In Marx-Engels Werke, Volume 29, p. 550.

Introduction

15

It was because R osa L u x em b u rg understood th e im p lica­ tions of the negative analysis of capitalism th a t she attack ed B ernstein’s revisionism , a n d co n cen trated h er a tte n tio n on the problem s of ex p an d ed cap italist rep ro d u ctio n a n d im p erial­ ism, problem s w hich she th o u g h t she h a d solved theoretically in The Accumulation o f Capital.9 T h is analysis explains h er attack on the id ea of socialist cooperatives w hich, she argues, are a re­ tu rn to a p recap italist stage a n d therefore can n o t lead to so­ cialism because they are not the p ro d u ct of a revolution in a fully developed capitalism (p. 106). R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s a tti­ tu d e to w ard tra d e-u n io n a n d p a rlia m e n ta ry struggles is also d eterm in ed by h er dialectical position. T h e tra d e-u n io n strug­ gle, she arg u ed , is a “ lab o r of Sisyphus” (p. 105); by its very definition it is a defensive struggle in w hich th e p ro le ta ria t seeks to achieve the highest wages a n d best conditions possible within the capitalist system. T h e sam e is tru e of p arliam en tarism : “ . . . the idea of the conquest of a p a rlia m e n ta ry reform ist m ajority is a calcu latio n w hich, entirely in th e spirit of b o u r­ geois liberalism , preoccupies itself only w ith one side, the for­ m al side, of dem ocracy b u t does not tak e into account the oth er side, its real c o n te n t” (p. 83), nam ely, th e fact th a t it takes place w ithin the lim its of th e cap italist totality. F o r R osa L uxem burg, th e secret of th e socialist tran sfo rm atio n “ consists precisely in th e change of sim ple q u a n tita tiv e m odification into a new qu ality , or to speak m ore concretely, in th e tra n si­ tion from one historical period, one social order, to a n o th e r” 9 Rosa Luxemburg’s reply to the critics other Accumulation of Capital, written in her prison cell during the war, is a sustained demonstration of the importance of the nega­ tive analysis of the capitalist present in understanding the path to the socialist future. Cf. Die Akkumulation des Kapitals, oder Was die Epigonen aus der Marxschen Theorie gemacht haben: Eine Antikritik, especially pp. 36-37, and p. 117. In the latter passages, Rosa Lux­ emburg stresses the dialectical point which will be made below: namely, that the neg­ ative analysis does not mean that socialism will result automatically, with some kind of metaphysical necessity, from the economic crises of capitalism; rather, the negative analysis is the precondition for understanding the formation and development of the subjective factor, the class consciousness of the proletariat, without which socialism re­ mains a pious wish or a Stalinist nightmare.

16

Introduction

(p. 115). Socialist revolution is, to use th e fam ous phrase, the negation o f th e negation. T h e socialist future is n o t th e result o f a m ech an ical neces­ sity, no r of some sort o f D a rw in ian evolution. In the last a n a ly ­ sis, socialism depends on th e p ro le ta ria t, for “ only th e w orking class, th ro u g h its own activity, can m ake th e w ord flesh” (p. 369). T h e p ro le tariat is th e subject-object o f history: it is p ro ­ duced by the econom ic conditions o f capitalism , yet it is a “ p ro d u ct” w hich is itself subjective, cap ab le o f becom ing con­ scious o f its situation as a class, an d of ch an g in g it. T h e goal of socialist political action, therefore, is to aw aken the conscious­ ness a n d revolutionary will needed to end the class society. T h e crux o f the problem lies in th e d u al n a tu re o f th e prole­ tariat.

Man does not make history of his own volition. But he makes it nonetheless. In its action, the proletariat is dependent upon the given degree of ripeness of social development. But social devel­ opment does not take place apart from the proletariat. The pro­ letariat is its driving force and its cause as well as its product and its effect. The action of the proletariat is itself a co-deter­ mining part of history. And though we can no more skip over a period in our historical development than a man can jump over his shadow, it lies within our power to accelerate or to retard it (p. 333). T o accelerate the developm ent o f th e com ing revolution, the p ro le tariat m ust acq u ire the revolutionary will to tran scen d the present. B ut “ the masses can only form this will in a con­ stan t struggle against the existing order, only w ithin its fram e­ w ork” (p. 131). Because it operates w ithin the c a p italist order, the socialist m ovem ent m ust co n tin u ally steer a course b e ­ tween “ two reefs: a b a n d o n m e n t o f th e mass c h a ra c te r or a b a n ­ d o n m en t of the final goal; the fall b ack to sectarianism or the fall into bourgeois reform ism ; an arch ism or o p p o rtu n ism ” (p. 142; cf. also p. 304). T h e history o f socialism to o u r d ay shows how m an y m ovem ents have sunk on one or the o th er o f these rocks, a n d R osa L u xem b u rg retu rn s often to th e problem of

Introduction

17

the zig-zag m ovem ent o f p ro le ta ria n politics. She writes, for exam ple, th a t

the solution to this apparent paradox lies in the dialectical proc­ ess of the class struggle of the proletariat fighting for democratic conditions in the state and at the same time organizing itself and gaining class consciousness. Because it gains this class con­ sciousness and organizes itself in the course of the struggle, it achieves a democratization of the bourgeois state and, in the measure that it itself ripens, makes the bourgeois state ripe for a socialist revolution (pp. 180-81). T h e revolution can only be m ad e w hen the m ate ria l condi­ tions are ripe. B ut one o f th e “m a te ria l conditions” is the p ro ­ letariat, the “ p ro d u c t” o f cap italist society, w ith o u t whose a c ­ tion a n d will th ere can be no socialist revolution. Y et, because o f the n a tu re o f th e p ro le ta ria t, th e form ation of its class con­ sciousness is dialectical; “ the p ro le ta ria n arm y is first recruited in the struggle itself, a n d too, only in th e struggle does it b e ­ com e aw are o f th e objectives of th e struggle” (p. 289). T h is is not a n a rg u m e n t for the supposed “ sp o n tan e ity ” o f th e m as­ ses,10 b u t sim ply a recognition o f the dialectics o f revolution. T his dialectical a p p ro a c h explains some seem ing inconsis­ tencies in th e political th o u g h t o f R osa L uxem burg. It is not co n trad icto ry to argue th a t th e p a rlia m e n ta ry a n d tradeunion struggles should n o t be considered as m eans o f tak in g pow er an d , a t the sam e tim e, to stress th a t w ith o u t p a rlia m e n ­ tary dem ocracy a n d open tra d e-u n io n struggles, a socialist rev­ olution is im possible. It is not co n trad icto ry to assert th a t b o u r­ geois dem ocracy is a m ere form ality, a n em pty hull veiling the class d o m in atio n o f th e bourgeoisie, a n d to argue th a t b o u r­ geois dem ocracy is absolutely necessary for the o rg an izatio n of the p ro le ta ria t a n d th a t, m oreover, th e tru e su p p o rt o f dem oc10 The famous “spontaneity theory” of Rosa Luxemburg was invented by the Sta­ linists during the struggle for control of the German Communist Party in the 1920’s. Considering Rosa Luxemburg’s continual attempt to distinguish her position from that of the anarchists (especially in the “Mass Strike” essay), this Stalinist accusation must be rejected in its crude form. If Rosa Luxemburg was a “spontaneist,” then it is important to see why she would hold such a position, and if it is correct.

18

Introduction

racy in an age of im perialism can only be the p ro le ta ria t. A position w hich m ain ta in s th a t unless the objective stru ctu re of capitalism continues its developm ent tow ard the breakdow n, revolution is im possible, is not opposed to one w hich stresses the role of the class-conscious masses whose efforts alone can m ake th e revolution. T o argue th a t the L eninist o rg a n iz a ­ tional principles are overly centralist, a n d th a t the role of the leaders is only to be th e “speaking p a rts ” w hile the masses are the active chorus is no t co n trad icto ry to th e insistence th a t the word o f the P a rty Congress or the In te rn a tio n a l is socialist law. N or is it p u re idealism to oppose a super-activist politics in favor of a m ore g rad u al developm ent o p ro le ta ria n class con­ sciousness a n d revolutionary will, a n d th en to subm it to the will of th e m ajority a n d lay dow n o n e’s life in the p re m a tu re revolution w hich follows. P ro letarian politics is th e to tality of th e objective a n d sub­ jective process whose u n ity is th e revolution, th e final goal, so­ cialism. T h e activity of the w orking class m anifests itself in three distinct a n d in te rre la te d m om ents: it is th e tra d e-u n io n struggle in the factories for h u m a n wages a n d w orking co n d i­ tions; it is th e political struggle w ith in the established o rd er for the creation of the political a n d social conditions w hich m ake possible th e grow th a n d o rg an izatio n of th e class-conscious p ro le tariat; a n d it is the periodic revo lu tio n ary struggles w hich give the historical dim ension to th e revolutionary conscious­ ness. Because th e n a tu re of th e cap italist to tality m akes a p a r­ tial victory im possible, none of these forms of struggle suffices alone: isolated, th e first is anarcho-syndicalism ; th e second is reform ism ; th e th ird is B lanquism . T h e ir dialectical u n ity is M arxism . T h is is w h a t is m e a n t in the Communist Manifesto w hen it is said th a t “ in th e various phases of evolution th ro u g h w hich the struggle betw een th e p ro le ta ria t a n d th e bourgeoisie passes,” th e com m unists “ alw ays advocate th e interests of the m ovem ent as a w hole.” T h is is w h at R osa L u x em b u rg m e a n t w hen she w rote th a t “ Social D em ocracy is in itself th e su m m a­ tion of b o th the p a rlia m e n ta ry a n d tra d e-u n io n struggles in a

Introduction

19

class struggle directed a t the abolition of th e bourgeois social o rd er” (p. 254). T h e u n ity o f th e p ro le ta ria n struggle is m ost clearly m a n i­ fested d u rin g revolutionary periods. Discussing the m ass strike tactic used d u rin g th e R ussian R evolution of 1905, R osa L u x ­ em burg writes:

Each new rising and new victory of the political struggle si­ multaneously changes itself into a powerful impetus for the eco­ nomic struggle by expanding the external possibilities of the lat­ ter, increasing the inner drive of the workers to better their situation and increasing their desire to struggle. After every foaming wave of political action a fructifying deposit remains behind from which a thousand stalks of economic struggle shoot forth. And vice-versa. The ceaseless state of economic war of the workers with capital keeps alive the fighting energy at eveiy po­ litical pause. It forms, so to speak, the ever fresh reservoir of the strength of the proletarian class, out of which the political strug­ gle continually renews its strength. And, at the same time, it at all times leads the untiring economic-boring action of the prole­ tariat, now here, now there, to individual sharp conflicts out of which, unexpectedly, political conflicts on a large scale explode. In a word: the economic struggle is that which leads the polit­ ical struggle from one nodal point to another; the political struggle is that which periodically fertilizes the soil for the eco­ nomic struggle. Cause and effect here continually change places. . . . And their unity is precisely the mass strike (p. 241). T h e m ass strike can n o t be “ p ro p a g a te d ” any m ore th a n one can go door-to-door selling the id ea of “ rev o lu tio n .” T h e “p o ­ licem an ’s th eo ry ” according to w hich some conspiratorial group of agitators an d dem agogues is responsible for the revo­ lution is nonsensical. “T h e mass strike is ra th e r the sign, the totality-concept o f a w hole period o f the class struggle lasting for years, p erh ap s decades” (p. 237). T h e role of the “ lead er­ sh ip ” in the struggle is lim ited:

to give the slogans, the direction of the struggle; to organize the tactics of the political struggle in such a way that in every phase and in every moment of the struggle the whole sum of the avail­ able and already released active power of the proletariat will be

20

Introduction

realized and find expression in the battle stance of the party; to see that the resoluteness and acuteness of the tactics of Social Democracy never fall below the level of the actual relation of forces but rather rise above it . . . (p. 247). T h e im p o rta n t th in g is th a t in the struggle, “ the masses will be the active chorus, an d the leaders only the ‘speaking p a rts,5 the interpreters of the will of the m asses55 (p. 270). D u rin g the G erm an R evolution of 1918-1919, R osa L u x ­ em burg expanded an d reaffirm ed h er analysis of the u n ity of the struggle. T h e p ro g ram m atic dem ands of Social D em ocracy are not im p o rtan t, she argues; “ far m ore im p o rtan t . . . is the way in w hich th a t p rog ram is in terp reted in a c tio n ” (p. 380). T h ere can be no division betw een the m inim al an d m axim al dem ands of the p ro letariat; the sole task is the realizatio n of socialism .11 “ Socialism will not a n d can n o t be created by decrees; nor can it be established by any governm ent, how ever socialistic. Socialism m ust be created by the masses, by every p ro letarian . W here the chains of capitalism are forged, there they m ust be broken. O n ly th a t is socialism, an d only thus can socialism be cre a te d ” (pp. 396-97). T h e econom ic c h a ra c te r of the revolution now comes to the forefront:

It was characteristic of the first period of the revolution . . . that the Revolution remained exclusively political. We must be fully conscious of this. This explains the uncertain character, the inadequacy, the half-heartedness, the aimlessness of this Revo­ lution. . . . It then becomes an economic revolution, and there­ with a socialist revolution. The struggle for socialism has to be fought out by the masses, by the masses alone, breast to breast against capitalism, in every factory, by every proletarian against his employer. Only then will it be a socialist revolution (p. 396). 11 Rosa Luxemburg had always accepted the formulation of the tasks of Social De­ mocracy as presented in the Erfurt Program of German Social Democracy. Yet her in­ terpretation of this dualism was not that of most members of the party. For her, the minimal and maximal, demands were parts of a whole; the minimal demands made sense only within the context of the struggle for the realization of the socialist revolu­ tion, the final goal, the maximal demand. Cf. her critique of the Erfurt Program in “Our Program and the Political Situation.”

Introduction

21

T h e socialist revolution differs from bourgeois revolutions “ in w hich it sufficed to overthrow th a t official pow er a t th e cen ter a n d to replace a dozen o r so persons in au th o rity . W e have to w ork from b en eath , a n d this corresponds to the mass c h a ra c te r of our revolution . . (p. 407). T h e tech n iq u e by w hich the revolution m ust work, argues R osa L uxem burg, is the form a­ tion of w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils w hich will tak e over both the econom ic a n d ad m in istrativ e pow er in the state an d th e local enterprises:

. . . we have not merely to develop the system of workers’ and soldiers’ councils, but we have to induce the agricultural labor­ ers and the poorer peasants to adopt this council system. We have to seize power, and the problem of the seizure of power poses the question: what does each workers’ and soldiers’ coun­ cil in all Germany do, what can it do, and what must it do? The power is there! We must undermine the bourgeois state by put­ ting an end everywhere to the cleavage in public powers, to the cleavage between legislative and executive powers. These pow­ ers must be united in the hands of the workers’ and soldiers’ councils (p. 405). If the revolution does not succeed today, it will v an q u ish to ­ m orrow , for it is “th e only form of ‘w a r’ . . . in w hich the final victory can be p re p a re d only by a series of ‘defeats’ ” (p. 413). In its revolutionary experience, th e consciousness of the p ro le ta ria t acquires th a t historical d e p th w hich will enable it to triu m p h . T h e stress on class consciousness as the basis of the u n ity of the class struggle does not im ply th e rejection of a p ro le ta ria n political p a rty — though it does im ply the refusal of c ertain p o ­ litical forms. It m ust not be forgotten th a t socialism, th e final goal, is th e to tality of th e m om ents by w hich it is reached. “T h e essence of socialist society consists in the fact th a t the g reat lab o rin g m ass ceases to be a d o m in ated mass, b u t ra th e r, makes th e en tire political a n d econom ic life its ow n life an d gives th a t life a conscious, free, a n d autonom ous d ire ctio n ” (p. 368). T h e qualities w hich m ake for the institu tio n of social-

22

Introduction

ism are created in the a c tu a l struggle for socialism. T h is is why R osa L u x em b u rg opposed the idea o f a conspiratorial revolu­ tion w hich is “ not based on the im m ed iate class consciousness of the w orking m asses” (p. 288). In the conspiracy, even the m em bers of the revolu tio n ary group w ould be “ transform ed into pure im plem ents of a p red eterm in ed will lying outside of their own field of activity— into tools of a cen tral co m m ittee” (p. 289). Because it reproduces this error, L eninist u ltra ­ centralism m ust be rejected for th e sam e reason as th e b u re a u ­ cratic reform ist structures of the G erm an Social D em ocratic P arty , for in both “ th e mass o f com rades are d en ig rated to a m ass in cap ab le of ju d g in g , whose essential v irtu e becom es ‘dis­ ciplin e,’ th a t is, passive obedience to d u ty ” (p. 264). Socialism m ust result from a mass, d em o cratic m ovem ent in the develop­ m en t of w hich also grow the qualities w hich m ake socialist m a n .12 It is significant th a t R osa L u x em b u rg speaks a b o u t the “ masses,” the “ p o p u la r m asses,” th e “ lab o rin g m asses,” the “ w orking class,” the “ peo p le,” “ a large p o p u la r class,” etc., ju st as often as she does of th e “ p ro le ta ria t.” T h o u g h she never faced the problem s w hich to d a y ’s socialist m ovem ents m ust confront— th a t of defining th e “ revo lu tio n ary su b ject,” an d the relatio n o f the “v a n g u a rd ” to th a t su b ject13— this “ im p re ­ cision” indicates how she m ight have reacted. A rguing against Lenin, she w rote: 12 Rosa Luxemburg’s analysis of the role of the party is discussed in the introduction to Part III. It should be noted here, however, that the vagueness of her “theoretical” position on the question is a result of the fact that, beyond the few guidelines deter­ mined by the general nature of the revolutionary process, the solution depends on the concrete historical situation. Thus, Rosa Luxemburg’s resistance to the formation of an independent German party during the war does not mean that she was opposed to all splits, as is seen in her Polish activities. By the same token, the decision today to form a new socialist party in the United States would have different grounds than such a choice in France or Italy. 13 It is doubtful that Rosa Luxemburg would accept this overly static formulation of the problem which ignores the fact that the proletariat is an historical process of be­ coming. The “proletariat” cannot be “defined” by empirical, statistical methods; it must be grasped within the totality of the capitalist system and its movement, and must be understood as created by that system at the same time that, with the develop­ ment of its class consciousness, it creates itself.

Introduction

23

Further, it is totally erroneous to think that it is in the interest of the labor movement to repel the massive afflux of recruits which are set free by the progressive dissolution of bourgeois so­ ciety. The proposition that Social Democracy is the representa­ tive of the class interests of the proletariat but that it is at the same time the representative of all the progressive interests of society and of all oppressed victims of bourgeois society is not to be understood as saying that in the program of Social Democ­ racy all these interests are ideally synthesized. This proposition becomes true through the process of historical development by means of which Social Democracy, as a political party, gradu­ ally becomes the haven of the different dissatisfied elements of society, becoming a party of the people opposed to a tiny minor­ ity of capitalist rulers (p. 303). T h e id ea th a t the p ro le ta ria n p a rty becomes the p a rty of the m ajority, w hile at the same time rem ain in g th e expression of the politics of th e p ro le tariat, has to be understood historically. R osa L u x em b u rg was one of th e few Social D em ocrats aw are th a t the im perialist phase o f w orld cap italism carried w ith it th e im m in en t th re a t o f w orld w ar. A lready before the tu rn o f the century, in “ M ilitia a n d M ilitarism ,” she pointed o u t “ th e fu n d am en tal significance o f m ilitarism for the con­ tem p o rary s ta te ” (p. 146).14 She hoped th a t the p ro le ta ria n I n ­ te rn a tio n a l w ould be the w eapon w hich w ould defend m a n ­ kind from the horrors o f w ar. T o g e th e r w ith L enin, she pushed th ro u g h a sh arp am e n d m e n t to the m ild resolution of th e 1907 S tu ttg a rt m eeting o f the In te rn a tio n a l, arg u in g th a t if w ar broke out, the d u ty o f socialists was to oppose it a n d to use it to m ake the revolution. Y et, on A ugust 4, 1914, not only did the w ar begin, b u t the In te rn a tio n a l collapsed in a h u m iliatin g show of social patriotism . From h er prison cell, an aly zin g th e effects o f the o u tb re ak of the w ar on the in tern atio n a l socialist m ovem ent, R osa L u x ­ em burg w rote in the Junius Pamphlet o f “ the choice” :

Either the triumph of imperialism and the destruction of all cul­ ture and, as in ancient Rome, depopulation, desolation, degen14 “Militarism,” in this context, refers to the whole apparatus of what today is called the “military-industrial complex.”

24

Introduction

eration, a vast cemetery. Or, the victory of socialism, that is, the conscious struggle of the international proletariat against im­ perialism and its method: war. This is the dilemma of world his­ tory, an Either/Or whose scales are trembling in the balance, awaiting the decision of the class-conscious proletariat. . . . If the proletariat learns from this war to assert itself, to cast off its serfdom to the ruling classes, to become the lord of its own des­ tiny, the shame and misery will not have been in vain (p. 334). T h e choice is socialism or barbarism.

At this moment, one glance around us will show what a rever­ sion to barbarism in bourgeois society means. This world war— that is a reversion to barbarism. The triumph of imperialism leads to the destruction of culture, sporadically during a modern war, and forever if the period of world wars which has just begun is allowed to take its course to its logical end (p. 334). In The Accumulation o f Capital, R osa L u x em b u rg h a d a ttem p ted to show th a t th e im perialist phase of capitalism was necessi­ tated by the in tern al laws of the system. In the Junius Pamphlet, she analyzed the political conflicts w hich h a d led to th e w orld w ar, a n d w ould lead to an o th er, no m a tte r w hich capitalist group won the war. In a n illegal S p artacu s p am p h let, d istrib ­ uted d u rin g the w ar, she drew the conclusion:

Whether in peace or in war, the proletarian class struggle must be concentrated above all against imperialism. For the interna­ tional proletariat, the fight against imperialism is at the same time the fight for political power in the state, the decisive set­ tling of accounts between socialism and capitalism. The ulti­ mate goal of socialism will be realized by the international pro­ letariat only when it stands up against imperialism all down the line and, with its full strength and the courage to make extreme sacrifices, makes the slogan “War on war!” the guideline of its practical politics (p. 349). T h e revolution still has to begin at hom e, w ithin th e cap italist n atio n al state. H ow ever, th e effects of im perialist w ars on the p ro le tariat increasingly becom e one of th e m eans by w hich class consciousness develops; an d w ith th e ever g reater in te rd e ­ pendence of the im perialist lands, th e first o u tb re ak will be a

Introduction

25

spark for still others, for th e w orld revolution of the p ro le tariat. T h e historical choice w hich th e grow th of cap italism brings w ith it explains R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s view th a t the p a rty of the p ro le ta ria t becomes th e p a rty of th e people w hile rem ain in g still the rep resen tativ e of th e class politics of the p ro le tariat. T h e cap italist o rd er can only m a in ta in itself by a series of b a rb a ric wars, a n d by in te rn a l repression. Y et “ a n ‘o rd e r’ w hich m ust be periodically m a in ta in e d by bloody b u tch ery is steadily a p ­ p ro ach in g its historical destiny, its d o o m ” (p. 410). T o d a y still, the historical necessity of socialism for all the people m anifests itself only too concretely, a n d the choice, socialism or barbarism, is still w ith us. O n ly a politics based on a n d m ad e by th e p ro le­ ta ria t is cap ab le of stopping cap ita lism ’s headlong rush tow ard the abyss. T h e m aterials selected for this book w ere chosen w ith th e in ­ tention of providing an overall view of R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s p o ­ litical th o u g h t. O bviously, m an y im p o rta n t works h a d to be left out because of lim itations of space. T h u s, not only is the fa­ m ous speech before th e co u rt a t F ra n k fu rt om itted, b u t also R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s analysis of th e R ussian R evolution, as well as her econom ic works a n d letters.15 T h e re was no o th er way. O ver h a lf a cen tu ry ago, L enin o rd ered th e p u b licatio n of the com plete works of R osa L uxem burg, yet today these are not available in any language! T his book is th e p ro d u c t of the ideas a n d help of m an y peo­ ple, a n d is very m u ch a p ro d u c t o f the in te rn a tio n a l N ew Left. A fter tak in g p a rt in the M a y R evolution in F ran ce, w here I was a stu d en t a t N a n te rre , I trav eled th ro u g h G erm an y , Italy, C zechoslovakia, a n d S w itzerland before re tu rn in g to the 15 The Frankfurt speech is excerpted at length in Nettl’s Rosa Luxemburg, and the ar­ ticle on the Russian Revolution is available in an Ann Arbor paperback of the same name. The Accumulation of Capital has been published by Monthly Review Press. One section of the Introduction to Political Economy is available from Merit Publishers. The let­ ters to Karl and Luise Kautsky are available in an English translation from the 1920’s.

26

Introduction

U n ited States, trying to get a b etter idea of the developm ent of the N ew Left in an in te rn a tio n a l setting. It was clear a t th a t tim e th a t the m ovem ent in the U n ite d States was the m ost p a ­ rochial of the N ew Left m ovem ents, b o th in term s of its u n d e r­ standing of a n d sym pathy for th e a ctu al political situ atio n in E urope, a n d in term s of its u n d ersta n d in g of a n d feeling for the history of th e in tern a tio n a l socialist m ovem ent. Because of the im p o rtan ce of the la tte r problem , I accepted the suggestion of com rades in B erlin a n d elsew here to u n d e rta k e this book. T h e translations in this volum e are also the p ro d u ct of the work of m an y people. I w an t to th in k J o h n H eck m an , T o m H erbst, M a rtin N icolaus, R osm arie W ald ro p , a n d Peggy Fallen W rig h t for co n trib u tin g th eir lab o r to this project, the royalties from w hich are being c o n trib u ted to Radical America. I also w an t to th a n k Bill D uell a n d H a rry B rav erm an for th eir aid an d suggestions, as well as B rigitte H ow ard , w ho h elped on all phases o f this work, from b eg inning to end. Several of' the works included here w ere previously available in English tran slatio n . T hose translations, how ever, w ere ei­ th er incom plete or in accu rate; consequently, all the m ate ria l presented here is newly tra n sla te d .16 T h e various translators attem p t to follow the originals as closely as possible, m ak in g no a tte m p t to force any in te rp re ta tio n on them . T h is m ay m ean th a t certain am biguities rem ain in th e texts, a n d th a t long sentences are not broken u p as often as they m ig h t have been; nonetheless, it is hoped th a t in this m a n n e r R osa L u x ­ em b u rg ’s own style an d m ode of th o u g h t will m ake them selves felt. I have checked all the translations against th e original texts, a n d have tried to m ake th e style of the w hole self-consist­ ent. R osa L u x em b u rg published revised versions o f th e pam 16 The new translations make use of the existing ones, correcting their errors and at­ tempting to make them more readable. The old translations are the Integer version of Social Reform or Revolution, and the Eden and Cedar Paul version of “Our Program and the Political Situation,” and the anonymous translations of “Organizational Ques­ tions of Russian Social Democracy” and the Junius Pamphlet.

Introduction

27

phlets Social Reform or Revolution a n d Mass Strike, Party, and Trade Unions. F or b o th of these pam p h lets, I have used the text of the first edition, in d icatin g changes a n d additions by m eans of brackets a n d footnotes. In cases w here p arts of a w ork are om itted, I have provided a b rief su m m ary of th e m aterial w hich h ad to be left out for lack of space, except for the Junius Pamphlet, of whose h u n d red -o d d pages only th e first p a rt is p rin ted here. I have also ad d ed ex p lan ato ry footnotes an d a Glossary in o rd er to m ak e the texts m ore u n d e rsta n d a b le to the reader. D

Bonn March 2, 1970

ic k

H

ow ard

I Against Revisionism and Opportunism

T h e term s “ revisionism ” an d “ o p p o rtu n ism ” have becom e so com m onplace today th a t it m ay be useful to consider briefly th e context w ithin w hich th e categories a n d practices grew. As usual, in th e beginning w as the Act. T h e W ord, a t once ex­ plaining a n d concealing, b ro ad en in g a n d reifying, followed only later. D espite B ism arck’s antisocialist laws— w hich led to over 1,500 arrests, 500 forced exiles a n d a n u n to ld n u m b e r o f vol­ u n tary ones, a n d w hich closed dow n n early all Social D em o­ cratic new spapers an d m ad e all political activity o th er th a n electoral cam p aig n in g illegal— G erm an Social D em ocracy an d its tra d e -u n io n offspring grew th ro u g h o u t th e 1880’s.1 D u rin g th e period of illegality, Social D em ocracy did no t a t­ tem p t to transform itself into a tightly k n it conspiratorial p arty ; on the co n trary , it co n tin u ally d eclared, in its illegal leaflets, th a t its task was to convince th e state th a t Social D e­ m ocracy was a legitim ate p h en o m en o n w hich, because it was rooted in the people, could n ot be destroyed by an y edict. Even th o u g h it was illegal, G erm an Social D em ocracy co u n ­ seled its ad h eren ts to follow the p a th of legality. Social D em ocracy celeb rated its re tu rn to legality a t th e E r­ furt P a rty Congress in 1891. T h e p ro g ram ad o p ted a t E rfu rt was a w ork of b rillia n t com prom ise into w hich one could read th e in te rp re ta tio n he wished. T h e E rfu rt P ro g ram contains a 1 1Some electoral figures for the SPD: 1878 (before the antisocialist laws): 437,000 votes (7.5 percent); 1881 (under the antisocialist laws): 312,000 votes (6.1 percent); 1884: 550,000 votes (9.7 percent); 1887: 763,000 votes (7.1 percent); 1890 (end of antisocialist laws): 1,427,000 votes (19.7 percent).

31

32

Against Revisionism and Opportunism

form al affirm ation o f faith in the principles of M arx ism (as in ­ terp reted a n d p o p u larized by K autsky), a n d a p ra c tic a l p ro ­ gram , w ritten by B ernstein, w hich accepts th e c ap italist te r­ rain as th e foundation of Social D em o cratic tactics. In it, th e notion of a minimal a n d a maximal p ro g ram is in tro d u ced , dis­ tinguishing th e final goal— socialist revolution— from th e imme­ diate (trad e-u n io n an d p a rlia m e n ta ry ) tasks. T h e “ rev o lu tio n ­ ary n a tu re ” o f the final goal was left vague in o rd er no t to provide the governm ent w ith a n excuse to ag ain drive Social D em ocracy into illegality. T h e “ a n a rc h ist” group, th e Ju n g e , who refused to accept th e p a rlia m e n ta ry ro ad to pow er, were expelled from the P arty . T h o u g h th ere was a conflict w ith the right w ing of the P arty , led by V o llm ar, th e la tte r was no t ex­ pelled. T h o u g h the hybrid origins of the E rfu rt P ro g ram acco u n t in p a rt for the zig-zag relatio n of Social D em o cratic th eo ry an d practice, there is an o th e r side to the story. As it grew , Social D em ocracy becam e m ore an d m ore a state w ith in th e state. C om pensating for the n e a r-p a ria h situ atio n of th e workers w ithin the highly stru ctu red a n d tra d itio n a list G e rm a n state, Social D em ocracy created its own little w orld w ith its own o r­ ganizations, values, a n d m orals, w ithin w hich it was in effect possible to live from crad le to grave.2 T h e M arxism o f G erm an Social D em ocracy, the theoretical foundation of its R eich , was 2 Some figures can give an idea of the state of affairs at the time. Between 1891 and 1912, the trade unions (which must be seen as a part of Social Democracy) paid out the following sums (in millions of marks): Support of tourism Unemployment compensation Compensation to those fired Strike support Legal aid

13.6 54.3 9.4 121.4 3.6

Sick pay Invalid pensions Moving costs, help in cases of need or death

66.8 4.6

24.3

In 1907, the trade unions had a capital of 33 million marks; the SPD, 1.3 million. Further, there existed socialist organizations for sports and gymnastics, cycling, swim­ ming, rowing, athletics, singing, tourism, hiking, etc., and even a temperance organi­ zation. There were socialist women’s organizations, schools, and a central school for developing cadres.

Introduction

33

basically a n o ndialectical, d eterm in ist view of the w orld w hich argued th a t socialism was objectively necessary a n d w ould— som ehow— grow out o f th e cap italist order. A strong elem ent of D arw inism was m ixed into this b e lie f A m ong th e masses, the belief in a socialist future was n ot unlike a religion. A so­ ciological study from 1912 records statem ents like th e fol­ lowing: “ I am not w ith o u t hope, for one w ho is so filled w ith socialism as m yself believes in a lib eratio n like a new E v an g el” (a tw enty-nine-year-old m etal w orker). “ It was th e political a n d tra d e -u n io n m ovem ent w hich first gave a goal to my being, a co n ten t to m y life” (a th irty -n in e-y ear-o ld m etal w orker). U n d e r these circum stances, it is not surprising th a t the grow th o f the Social D em o cratic o rg an izatio n becam e a n end in itself, a substitute for the revolution. T h e n ondialectical determ inism of th e E rfu rt P rogram veiled the real situation, an d m ad e it possible to justify a p ro g ram of g rad u al reform s as a positive step tow ard revolution. T h e rh eto ric of Social D e­ m ocracy could be highly revolutionary; yet its actions, gov­ erned by the leaders’ fear for th e ir slowly b u ilt a n d precious organization, w ere a far cry from its words. W h en , for ex am ­ ple, a t the h eig h t o f th e deb ate on revisionism , P arvus p ro ­ posed th a t B ernstein be expelled from th e P arty , Bebel w rote to K autsky: “T o have th e P a rty congress solem nly declare th a t it stands for social revolution— th a t w ould really be all we n eed .” It was in this clim ate th a t R o b e rt M ichels, once a So­ cial D em o crat, developed his fam ous “ iron law of o ligarchy.” Social D em ocratic practice, th en , was not w h at its theory pretended. Still, th e theory was dogm a; a t the b eg in n in g of every P a rty congress, th e E rfu rt P ro g ram was solem nly reaffirm ed as the guiding light o f Social D em ocracy. D u rin g the 1890’s, th e “ p ractical p o litician s” in the P a rty in itiated a n u m b er of actions (w hich R osa L u x em b u rg criticizes in the se­ lections presented below) w hich w ere form ally a t variance w ith the tablets engraved a t E rfurt. E ntirely consistent w ithin the logic of bourgeois p a rlia m e n ta rism a n d reform ism , these

34

Against Revisionism and Opportunism

tactical moves violated th e canons of the P arty , a n d w ere sol­ em nly condem ned at the P a rty congresses. Y et p ractice con­ tinued, u n h in d e re d by the theoretical scholasticism of those who in expounding doctrine were defending the revolutionary n atu re of the P arty. T h e initiators of “ p ra c tic a l” actions in ­ sisted th a t theoretical debates w ere only for “ in tellectu als,” an d th a t the day-to-day w ork of the P a rty should be left in the hands of those who h a d thus far successfully b u ilt the o rg an i­ zation. T h e sep aratio n betw een theory a n d practice becam e a b u rn in g problem especially after E d u a rd B ernstein atte m p te d to form ulate the theory of the a c tu a l practice o f the P arty. Bernstein h a d been a m em ber of the SPD since its foundation, an d h a d edited its cen tral jo u rn a l d u rin g the period of the antisocialist laws. H e lived in exile in L ondon, w here he h ad w orked closely w ith Engels, whose executor he becam e. In London, he g rad u ally cam e u n d e r the influence of the F a ­ bians. Betw een 1896 a n d 1898, B ernstein published a series of articles, “ Problem s of Socialism ,” in w hich he a tte m p te d to analyze an d theorize the practice of Social D em ocracy, a d o p t­ ing as his m otto a line from S chiller’s Maria Stuart'. “W h a t it is, it should d are to a p p e a r.” At first, B ernstein’s views a ttra c te d little notice in G erm any. W hen they were attack ed by the E nglishm an Belfort Bax, Bebel a n d K autsky defended th eir old com rade, arg u in g th a t his “opinions” were too strongly influenced by English condi­ tions. T h e n P arvus began the a tta c k on B ernstein in G erm an y in a series of polem ical articles whose tone was so strong th a t Bernstein in te rru p te d his series to answ er. T h e d eb ate began in earnest, an d on a n in te rn a tio n a l scale, w ith P lekhanov, Jau rès, a n d L ab rio la jo in in g in. It was in this clim ate th a t Rosa L u xem burg published the series of articles in the Leip­ ziger Volkszeitung w hich la te r becam e the first p a rt of h er p a m ­ phlet Social Reform or Revolution. B ernstein was, frankly, shocked by the attack s on his views. H e insisted th a t his w ork was not a p ro g ram or a system, an d agreed fully w ith the poin t of view of the P a rty leadership, ex-

Introduction

35

pressed by Bebel: “ A correct tactic is m ore im p o rta n t th a n a correct p ro g ra m .” T h e feelings of th e P a rty leaders w ere well expressed in th e fam ous letter of A u er to B ernstein: “ M y d ear Ede. W h a t you suggest is not form ally decided. O n e does not say such things— one does th e m .” A t th e S tu ttg a rt P a rty Congress in 1898, the opponents of revisionism m o u n ted to th e attack . Since B ernstein was still in exile, his views w ere defended by th e “ p ractical politician s,” especially W olfgang H ein e a n d G eorg von V ollm ar. R osa L u x em b u rg a tte n d e d th e S tu ttg a rt Congress as a delegate from Polish Silesia, w here she h a d gone to prove to the P a rty leadership th a t she was cap ab le o f p ractica l as well as th eo reti­ cal action. She did not hesitate to jo in the attack , choosing H eine as a surrogate for B ernstein, a n d la te r exchanging sharp words w ith V ollm ar. Seeing th a t th e d eb ate was becom ing too “ th eo retical,” a n d too h eated , th e P a rty leaders suggested a one-year m o rato riu m on the question, hoping th a t th e w hole affair w ould blow over a n d th a t th en business could continue as usual. It was proposed to B ernstein th a t he e lab o rate his views in a book. B ernstein’s book, The Presuppositions o f Socialism and the Tasks o f Social Democracy, a p p e a re d before th e 1899 P a rty Congress in H anover. R osa L u x em b u rg h astened to reply to it, w ritin g the articles w hich becam e th e second h a lf o f Social Reform or Revolu­ tion. She was convinced th a t h er w ork w ould be a success, w rit­ ing to Leo Jogiches th a t “ even Bebel a t H an o v er will sim ply rep eat from m y p a m p h le t.” D u rin g this tim e, she also w rote the “ M ilitia a n d M ilitarism ” series o f articles, an a tta c k on the o p p o rtu n ist views expressed by M a x Schippel on th e questions of m ilitarism a n d ta riff policy. “ M ilitia a n d M ilita rism ” was published la te r as an ap p en d ix to th e p a m p h le t Social Reform or Revolution. A t th e H an o v er P a rty Congress in 1899, the revisionists cam e u n d e r heavy attack , this tim e from th e P a rty leadership as well. R osa L u x em b u rg jo in e d in, a n d h e r resolution con­ dem ning the tactics of th e B av arian w ing of th e P a rty , led by V ollm ar, was carried by a large m ajority. D u e to th e position

.1596145

36

Against Revisionism and Opportunism

of the leadership, an d to the fact th a t revisionism could be condem ned as violating th e sacrosanct principles of E rfu rt M arxism , th e resolution condem ning revisionism was carried 215-21. T h is victory was, how ever, m ore sym bolic th a n real, for even those who w ere m ost guilty of revisionist practices voted against th a t theory w hich p u rp o rte d to describe th eir practice. T h e revisionist d eb ate was by no m eans exhausted after the H anover decision. Revisionism showed itself frequently in the ranks of Social D em ocracy, tak in g on now one form , now a n ­ other. In R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s eyes, revisionism was id entical w ith opportunism , w hich she defines in “ M ilitia a n d M ilita ­ rism ” as the consequence of the “ p ractica l politics” w hich, b e ­ cause it has no principles, because it rejects th e socialist final goal, attacks a m anifestation of th e system an d not th e system as a totality. O p p o rtu n ism a n d revisionism are ch aracterized econom ically by th eir “v u lg ar econom ic sta n d p o in t”— by the fact th a t th eir analysis is m ad e from th e p o in t of view of the in ­ dividual cap italist for w hom th ere is a h arm o n y of interests b e ­ tween cap ital an d lab o r for th e sim ple reason th a t th e c a p ita l­ ist system is seen by the indiv id u al cap italist as ete rn a l an d im m utable. Politically, they are ch aracterized by th eir w illing­ ness to sacrifice th e final goal to the p ractical needs of th e m o­ m ent. In so doing, they tak e a p a rt for th e whole, neglect the totality, a n d fall back into w h at m ig h t be called a “ v u lg ar so­ cialism .” T hese are “ th e o re tic a l” ch aracterizatio n s of revisionism -opportunism . B ut the d eb ate h a d to be pushed b ack to its roots, a n d “ no coarser insult, no baser d efam atio n can be throw n against th e w orkers th a n th e rem ark : ‘T h e o retical con­ troversies are only for in tellectu als.’ ” By going to th e th e o re ti­ cal roots, R osa L u x em b u rg is able to m ak e her objections against th e specific practices far m ore clearly, a n d h er p a m ­ phlet h ad a far g reater resonance th a n , for exam ple, K a u tsk y ’s attack on B ernstein’s violation of dogm a. T h e “ p ra c tic a l” tendencies w ithin G erm an Social D em oc­ racy grew stronger an d took on different forms as th e organiza-

Introduction

37

tion grew a n d the political situ atio n changed. T h e u ltim ate consequence of this politics was th e vote of A ugust 4, 1914, w hich gave form al ap p ro v al to th e G erm an w ar effort, a n d d e­ clared th a t the class struggle was “ a d jo u rn e d ” u n til after the w ar. T h e selections presented in this section show the first stages of R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s struggle against these tendencies. T h e ir relevance is m ore th a n m erely historical, for R osa L u x ­ em burg was alw ays conscious of the need to m ake explicit the principles w hich d eterm in ed h er p ractica l actions. “ M ilitia an d M ilitarism ” is certain to m ake th e co n tem p o rary re a d e r think twice ab o u t his own attitu d es, for w h at R osa L u x em b u rg calls “ m ilitarism ’ is som ething m ore ak in to w h at is now called the “ m ilitary -in d u strial com plex” th a n it is to m odern “m ilita ­ rism .” T h e p a m p h le t Social Reform or Revolution contains th e kernel of R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s p rin cip led attack s on Social D em ocratic opportunism . T h e title itself is an in d icatio n of th e dialectical developm ent of h er though t. T h e p a m p h le t was not w ritten to convince the u n co m m itted ; all o f R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s w riting was for P a rty audiences. Y et, despite the fact th a t he speaks of its “T a lm u d ic subtleties encased in H eg elian splints,” J . P. N ettl also adds th a t “ it is alm ost certain ly tru e th a t m ore peo­ ple at th e tim e found th eir early w ay to M arxism th ro u g h So­ cial Reform or Revolution a n d o th er w ritings of R osa L uxem burg th a n th ro u g h an y o th er w rite r.” P au l Frölich, h e r com rade an d b io g rap h er, com m ents th a t “ the w ork is certain ly strongly influenced by the Communist Manifesto in th e audacious flow of ideas, th e b ro a d perspectives, a n d the m o n u m en tal style.” T h e p a m p h le t is indeed a dialectical m asterpiece, bo th in its tre a t­ m en t of the econom ic problem of th e breakdow n, a n d th e evo­ lution of cap italist society, a n d in its discussion of th e subjec­ tive a n d objective elem ents of p ro le ta ria n politics. T h e principles laid dow n in Social Reform and Revolution w ere those to w hich R osa L u x em b u rg held all h er life.

Speeches to the Stuttgart Congress (1898) Speech o f October 3, 1898 T h e speeches of H ein e an d others have shown th a t a n ex­ trem ely im p o rta n t po in t has been obscured in our P arty , nam ely th a t of u n d erstan d in g th e relatio n betw een o u r final goal an d our everyday struggles. It m ig h t be said th a t o u r p ro ­ gram has a p retty passage concerning the final goal, w hich, while it certain ly sh o u ld n ’t be forgotten, has no im m ed iate relation to our p ractical struggles. P erh ap s th ere are some com rades w ho th in k th a t speculations a b o u t final goals are really academ ic questions. T o them I w ould say th a t for us, as a revolutionary p ro le ta ria n p arty , th ere exists no m ore p ra c ti­ cal question th a n th a t concerning u ltim a te goals. T h in k a b o u t it: w h a t really constitutes the socialist c h a ra c ­ ter of our w hole m ovem ent? T h e really p ractical struggle falls into three categories: the tra d e-u n io n struggle, the struggle for social reforms, a n d the struggle to dem ocratize the cap italist state. A re these th ree forms of our struggle really socialism? N ot a t all. T a k e the tra d e-u n io n m ovem ent first! Look at E n g ­ land: not only is it not socialist there, b u t it is in some respects an obstacle to socialism. Social reform is also em phasized by A cadem ic Socialists, N atio n a l Socialists, a n d sim ilar types.1* These are the texts of speeches made to the Stuttgart Congress of the German Social Democratic Party in 1898, in the discussion on questions of tactics. The texts are from Ausgewählte Reden und Schüßen, II (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1951), pp. 28-33. ‘See Glossary for identification of persons and political parties.

38

Speeches to the Stuttgart Congress (1898)

39

A nd d em o cratizatio n is specifically bourgeois. T h e bourgeoisie h a d a lread y inscribed dem ocracy on its b a n n e r before we did. T h e n w h at is it in ou r day -to -d ay struggles th a t m akes us a socialist party? It can only be the relatio n betw een these three p ractical struggles a n d o u r final goals. It is the final goal alone w hich constitutes th e spirit a n d the co n ten t of o u r socialist struggle, w hich tu rn s it into a class struggle. A nd by final goal we m ust not m ean , as H ein e has said, this or th a t im age of the future state, b u t the prerequ isite for an y future society, nam ely th e conquest of political power. [Shout: “Then we do agree!”] ^ his conception of our task is closely related to o u r conception of c ap italist society; it is th e solid g ro u n d w hich underlies our view th a t cap italist society is c a u g h t in insoluble c o n trad ic­ tions w hich will u ltim ately necessitate a n explosion, a collapse, a t w hich p o in t we will play the role of th e b an k er-law y er who liquidates a b a n k ru p t com pany. B ut if we tak e the position th a t we w an t to b rin g to fruition th e interest of the p ro le taria t, th en it is im possible to m ake statem ents such as those th a t H ein e has recently m ad e to the effect th a t we can also m ake concessions on the question of m ilitarism ; it is im possible to m ake statem ents such as those of K o n ra d S chm idt to th e cen tral com m ittee of the socialist m a ­ jo rity in th e bourgeois p a rlia m e n t, im possible to say, as B ern­ stein has, th a t once we tak e over co m m an d of the ship, even th en we will n o t be in a position to do aw ay w ith capitalism . W hen I read th a t, I said to myself: w h at a stroke of luck th a t th e F ren ch socialist w orkers w eren ’t th a t b rig h t in 1871, for th en th ey w ould have said: “ C h ild ren , le t’s go to bed, o u r h o u r has not yet struck, p ro d u ctio n is no t yet sufficiently concen­ tra ted for us to m a in ta in control of th e sh ip .” B ut th en , instead of a m oving d ra m a , instead of a heroic struggle, we w ould have seen a different scenario, for th en th e w orkers w ould not have behaved like heroes, b u t like old w om en. I th in k th a t arg u m en ts ab o u t w h eth er, once we com e to pow er, we will be able to m ak e the p ro d u ctio n process serve society, w h eth er things are ripe for th a t, that is a n acad em ic question. F or us

40

Against Revisionism and Opportunism

there can never be an y question th a t we m ust struggle to seize political power. A socialist p a rty m ust alw ays have a response a p p ro p ria te to th e situation; it can never shrink b ack from its task. T h erefo re our views on w h a t our final goals are m ust be fully clarified. A nd we will fulfill them , in spite o f storm , w ind, an d w eather. [Applause] Speech o f October 4, 1898 V o llm ar has b itterly rep ro ach ed m e w ith try in g to p reach to older veterans w hen I am still a young recru it to th e m ove­ m ent. T h a t is not the case. It w ould be superfluous, since I am convinced th a t the veterans stan d firm ly on the sam e g round as I. It is not a t all a question of p reach in g to anyone, b u t o f expressing a p a rtic u la r tactic clearly a n d unam biguously. I know th a t I still m ust e arn m y epaulets in th e G erm an m ove­ m ent; b u t I w an t to do it on th e left w ing, w here people stru g ­ gle against the enem y a n d not on th e rig h t w ing, w here people seek out com prom ises w ith th e enem y. [Objections] But w hen V o llm ar counters m y factual p resentations w ith the arg u m en t, “Y ou greenhorn, I could be your g ra n d fa th e r,” th a t proves to m e th a t his logical arg u m en ts are on th e ir last legs. [Laughter] In fact, in the course of his p resen tatio n he m ade a series of statem ents w hich, com ing from a v eteran , are confusing, to say the least. T o V o llm a r’s sarcastic q u o ta tio n from M a rx on lab o r laws, I oppose an o th e r q u o ta tio n from M a rx , th a t the in tro d u ctio n of labor laws into E n g la n d m e a n t n o th in g less th a n the salva­ tion of bourgeois society. In ad d itio n , V o llm ar claim ed it was false not to tre a t the tra d e-u n io n m ovem ent as socialist an d pointed to the [English] tra d e unions. A nd doesn’t V o llm ar know an y th in g ab o u t th e difference betw een old a n d new tra d e unionism ? 2 D oesn’t he know th a t the old tra d e unionists 2 The “old” trade unions were professional unions which, by the 1890’s, had been fully integrated into the system. The “new” unions, the first of which was led by Tom Mann, John Burns and the Fabian W. A. Morris, wanted to unite the workers of

Speeches to the Stuttgart Congress (1898)

41

stood h a rd a n d fast on th e side of the bourgeoisie? D oesn’t he know th a t it was none o th er th a n Engels who expressed the hope th a t th e socialist m ovem ent m ight now ad v an ce in E n g ­ lan d because E n g lan d h a d lost its suprem acy on th e w orld m ark et a n d th a t therefore th e tra d e -u n io n m ovem ent m ust take a new p ath ? V o llm a r tro tted out th e specter o f Blanquism . D oesn’t he know th e difference betw een B lanquism a n d Social D em ocracy? D oesn’t he know th a t for th e Blanquists it is a h an d fu l of em issaries w ho are to take pow er in the n am e of th e w orking class; for Social D em ocrats it is th e w ork­ ing class itse)'? T h a t is a difference th a t no one w ho is a vet­ eran of th e Social D em ocratic m ovem ent should forget. T h ird ly , he in sin u ated th a t I lust for violent m eans. I have n o t given an y pretext for such an accusation, e ith er in m y statem ents or in m y articles on B ernstein in th e Leipziger Volkszeitung.2, I take exactly the opposite position. I say th a t the only violent m eans th a t will b rin g us victory are the socialist en lig h ten m en t of the w orking class th ro u g h day-to-day struggle. O n e could find no h ig h er com p lim en t for m y statem ents th a n to say th a t they are com pletely self-evident. T h e y are cer­ tain ly self-evident to any Social D em o crat; b u t they are not self-evident for everyone here a t th e convention [ “Oh!”], for exam ple, n o t for C o m rad e H ein e w ith his politics o f co m pen ­ sation. H ow does this relate to th e seizure of power? In w h at does a policy of com pensation consist? W e d em a n d the stren g th en in g of p eo p le’s rights, of d em ocratic freedom s; the cap italist state d em ands th e stren g th en in g of its own forces 3 whole industries. Their efforts led to the dockers’ strike in August 1889, and the for-, mation of the dockers’ union. The “new” unions grew rapidly, and fought a number of successful struggles. They then formed the Independent Labour Party, which eventu­ ally led to the formation of the Labour Party. As W. Abendroth puts it, “the new trade unions were the first systematic, independent struggle by the working class since the demise of Chartism.” 3 The reference is to the first part of Social Reform or Revolution, which appeared in the Leipziger Volkszeitung from September 21 to 28, 1898.

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an d its cannon. Even given th e m ost ad vantageous case, th a t such a n agreem ent is h o n o rab ly concluded a n d k ep t by both sides: w h at we get is only a piece of paper. B örne has alread y said: “ I w ould not advise anyone to tak e a m ortgage on a G er­ m an constitution, for all G erm an constitutions are like so m any pieces of fu rn itu re .” C o n stitu tio n al freedom s, if th ey are to have an y p e rm a n e n t w orth, m ust be w on th ro u g h struggle, not th ro u g h agreem ents. B ut w h a t th e cap italist state w ould get by securing a n agreem en t w ith us has a firm, b ru ta l reality. T h e can n o n an d soldiers to w hich we w ould agree will shift the objective m aterial b alan ce of pow er against us. It was none other th a n Lassalle w ho said: “T h e tru e constitution of any country consists not in its w ritten constitution, b u t in th e real b alance of pow er.” T h e inevitable result of a politics o f com ­ pensation is th a t we agree to relationships w hich a p p e a r favor­ able on p ap er, b u t w hich in objective reality favor o u r oppo­ nents; th a t we basically w eaken o u r ow n position a n d strengthen th a t of our opponents. I ask w h eth er an y o n e can say th a t som eone who suggests such a th in g is seriously trying to take political power? I th in k th a t th e an g er w ith w hich C om rade F endrich em phasized th e obviousness o f this te n d ­ ency was erroneously addressed to m e; it is basically aim ed a t H eine. It was only a n expression of th e sh arp co n trad ictio n th a t H ein e created betw een his position a n d th a t of o u r P a r­ ty ’s p ro le ta ria n convictions w hen he d a re d to speak of a poli­ tics of concessions tow ard th e cap italist state. !T e n tak e th e statem en t of K o n ra d S chm idt, th a t th e a n a r­ chy of cap italist rule ca n be overcom e th ro u g h tra d e-u n io n struggles, or some such. If an y th in g in o u r p ro g ram gives cre­ dence to th e necessity for the seizing of political pow er, it is the conviction th a t no m edicinal herbs can grow in th e d irt o f c a p ­ italist society w hich can help cure cap italist an arch y . A n a r­ chy— the terrib le sufferings of th e w orking class, th e insecurity of people’s existence, exploitation, th e distance betw een rich an d poor— increases every day. C a n anyone say th a t som eone who w ants to solve these problem s th ro u g h cap italist m eans

Speeches to the Stuttgart Congress (1898)

43

sees the necessity for th e seizure of political pow er by th e w ork­ ing class? Even here, F e n d ric h ’s a n d V o llm a r’s an g er is n ot d i­ rected a t me, b u t a t K o n ra d S chm idt. A nd th en the w ell-know n statem en t [by B ernstein] in the Neue Zeit: “ T h e final goal, w h atev er it m ay be, is n o th in g to m e; the m ovem ent is ev ery th in g !” A nyone w ho says th a t does not stan d for the necessity of seizing political power. Y ou see th a t some com rades in th e P a rty do n o t stan d for th e final goals of o u r m ovem ent, a n d th a t it is necessary to express th a t fact unam biguously. I f ever it was necessary, now is th e tim e. T h e blows of reaction show er on us like hail. T h is d e b a te m ust answ er th e K aiser’s latest speech. Like the R o m a n C ato, we m ust say sharply an d clearly, “ In ad d itio n , I am of th e opinion th a t this state m ust be destroyed.” T h e conquest of political pow er rem ains th e final goal a n d th a t final goal rem ains the soul of the struggle. T h e w orking class c a n n o t tak e th e d eca­ d en t position of th e philosophers: “T h e final goal is n o th in g to m e, th e m ovem ent is every th in g .” N o, on the co n trary , w ith ­ o ut relatin g th e m ovem ent to th e final goal, th e m ovem ent as a n end in itself is n o th in g to m e, th e final goal is everything. [Applause] Translated by John Heckman

Speech to the Hanover Congress (1899) C om rades, it w ould be like carry in g w ater to the sea if I were to address m yself to the theo retical side of th e problem after C o m rad e B ebel’s excellent presentation. Bebel h an d led these questions so thoroughly a n d b ro u g h t so m an y new facts to b ear against B ernstein th a t it w ould be superfluous to say any m ore ab o u t it. Still, I m ust speak to answ er some of D a ­ v id ’s com m ents, w hich w ere in p a rt aim ed a t me. I shall not concern m yself w ith his rem arks on agriculture. T h e question of artificial fertilizer played such a n im p o rta n t role in his pres­ en tatio n th a t I co u ld n ’t help th in k in g of the speech o f an old P o m eran ian farm er in an ag ric u ltu ra l club m eeting, in w hich he said: “ I th in k you will all agree w ith m e w hen I close my p resentation w ith the words: M a n u re is the soul of ag ri­ cu ltu re.” [Great amusement and “Oho”] T h e w eakest side of B ernstein a n d his followers’ th eo retical conception is th eir theory about th e so-called economic power w hich th e w orking class m ust first achieve w ithin th e fram e­ work of to d a y ’s social o rd er before it can successfully c arry out a political revolution. D avid a n d B ernstein’s o th er followers often rep ro ach us w ith using em p ty phrases a n d h av in g a predilection for models. B ut, as I shall prove, on th e question of the seizure of econom ic pow er they are the ones w ho use phrases a n d models. It is well know n th a t M a rx proved th a t specific econom ic This is the text of a speech made to the Hanover Congress of the German Social Democratic Party on October 11, 1899, in the discussion on Bernstein. The text is from Ausgewählte Reden und Schüßen, II (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1951), pp. 78-86.

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relations lie a t the base of every political class m ovem ent. M arx show ed th a t all previous historical classes rose to eco­ nom ic pow er before they arriv ed a t political power. A nd now th e D avids, the W o ltm an n s, a n d the Bernsteins slavishly apply this m odel to co n tem p o rary relationships. T h is proves th a t they u n d e rsta n d n eith er th e essence o f earlier struggles n o r the essence o f c u rre n t struggles. W h a t does it m ean to say th a t previous classes, nam ely the T h ird E state, took econom ic pow er before th eir political em an cip atio n ? N o th in g else b u t the historical fact th a t all p re ­ vious class struggles can be tra ced to the econom ic fact th a t every new ascen d an t class also created a new form of p roperty on w hich it finally based its class dom inance. T h e artisan s’ struggle ag ain st the city nobility in th e first p a rt of the M iddle Ages d ep en d ed on the fact th a t, as opposed to the p ro p erty of the nobility w hich consisted in lan d , they created a new form o f p ro p erty w hich d ep en d ed on labor. T h a t was a new eco­ nom ic creatio n w hich finally b u rst the political chains an d reshaped in its own im age th e rem n an ts of feudal property, w hich h a d becom e m eaningless. T h e sam e th in g was rep eated a t the en d of the M id d le Ages w hen the m iddle classes led th eir fight ag ain st feudalism , w hen new cap italist property, w hich d ep en d ed on the exploitation of outside labor, was created a n d finally b ro u g h t the T h ird E state into political as well as econom ic power. N ow I ask: can this m odel be ap p lied to o u r situation? No. Precisely those people w ho p ra ttle on a b o u t the econom ic pow er of the p ro le ta ria t overlook th e huge difference betw een o u r struggle a n d all previous class struggles. T h e assertion th a t the p ro le ta ria t, in co n trast to all previous classes, leads a class struggle n o t in o rd er to institu te th e rule o f one class, b u t to do aw ay w ith th e rule of an y class, is no em pty phrase. It has its basis in th e fact th a t th e p ro le ta ria t creates no new form of p ro perty, b u t only extends the form of p ro p erty created by the cap italist econom y by tu rn in g it over to th e possession of soci­ ety. T h u s, it is an illusion to believe th a t the p ro le ta ria t could

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create econom ic pow er for itself w ith in c u rre n t bourgeois soci­ ety; it can only tak e political pow er a n d th en replace cap italist forms of property. B ernstein criticizes M a rx a n d Engels for applying the schem a of the g reat F ren ch R evolution to our sit­ uation. Y et he a n d o th er ad h eren ts of “ econom ic pow er” apply th e economic schem a of the g reat F ren ch R ev o lu tio n to the struggle of the p ro le tariat. D avid has presented a w hole theory on u n d erm in in g c a p i­ talist property. I d o n ’t know w h eth er his conception o f socialist struggle in fact leads to u n d erm in in g an y th in g : I strongly doubt it. B ut it is beyond an y d o u b t th a t such a conception presupposes th a t we have holes in our heads. [Gaiety, protesta­ tions] D avid a n d B ernstein’s ad h eren ts look a t our position on tra d e unions an d cooperatives from the p o in t of view of eco­ nom ic pow er. W e are accused of seeing th em as a necessary evil. N ow I am convinced th a t th ere is not a single com rade am ong us— even am ong th e so-called politicians, as those who w ant to distinguish artificially betw een politicians a n d un io n m en w ould express them selves— no one w ho does no t clearly see th a t in the a re a of tra d e-u n io n organizing the greatest p a rt of our jo b rem ains to be done a n d th a t we m ust p u t all our energies into this task. All of us clearly see th a t if trad e-u n io n fights w ere to be tak en aw ay from us or if such fights could not be continued, th en the political struggle w ould also suffer greatly; for the first prerequisite [to tak in g power] is ed u catin g a broad mass to th e necessity o f class struggle, a n d fights aro u n d tra d e unions are th e best m eans to th a t end. B ut in a certain sense, those w ho accuse us of being only halfw ay friendly to w ard tra d e unions are p erh ap s correct, p a rtic u la rly w hen by “ friendly” they m ean fu rth erin g illusions in relatio n to tra d e unions. If the tra d e unions are presented not only as a m eans of w inning w orkers to the class struggle, of enligh ten in g them , a n d of im proving th eir c u rre n t situ atio n ; if it w ere th o u g h t th a t tra d e unions can also serve directly to transform capitalist p ro p erty into socialist p roperty, to u n d erm in e it—

Speech to the Hanover Congress (1899)

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th en not only m ig h t we no t approve, b u t ra th e r we m ust dis­ own an y sup p o rt for such a conception. [“Quite right!”] In its struggle, the w orking class has no g reater enem y th a n its own illusions. F u n d am en tally , those w ho support such a view [of th e role of th e tra d e unions] are n o t a t all friends of the trad e unions, for they are necessarily w orking tow ard a la te r disillu­ sionm ent. N otions along th a t line are even m ore false in relatio n to cooperatives. I will m ake only a few observations here. It has becom e p o p u la r to p u t cooperatives on th e sam e level of im ­ p o rtan ce as tra d e unions, or even to say th a t they are a form of political struggle. No, cooperatives are of w holly different cloth. Even w hen we look only a t th e ir positive m eaning, th eir significance for the w orking class, one th in g rem ains: coopera­ tives are not class struggle. [“Quite right!”] Secondly, those w ho im agine th a t the cooperatives already contain th e seed of a socialist o rd er forget an im p o rta n t factor in the co n tem p o rary situation: the reserve arm y [of the u n e m ­ ployed]. E ven if we suppose th a t cooperatives g rad u ally p u t all cap italist enterprises out of business a n d replace them , we cer­ tainly c a n n o t e n te rta in the fantastic notion th a t, given the cu rren t m a rk e t relationships, th e d em a n d for goods could be filled w ith o u t a general p la n to d eterm in e p ro d u ctio n rela tio n ­ ships. T h e question of the unem ployed w ould rem ain open, as before. A nd one m ore thing. I d o n ’t know w hich cooperatives peo­ ple th in k of as an ideal, as an ab stract scheme. I only know th a t the E nglish cooperatives, w hich have been tro tte d out as m odels for the cooperative m ovem ent, do no t a t all realize so­ cialist ideals in th eir process of production. [Shout: “Our models are the Belgian ones!”] A t the [English] tra d e-u n io n congress, a tailors’ u n io n d em an d ed th a t th e u n io n ’s p a rlia m e n ta ry com ­ m ittee should cooperate w ith th e C orporations to force its m em bers to ab id e by the wages a n d w orking conditions w hich h a d been d eterm in ed by the p a rlia m e n ta ry com m ittee: so c a p ­ italist ex p lo itatio n has not been done aw ay w ith a t all.

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T h e B ernstein factio n ’s theory a b o u t the general socialization of capitalist society is connected w ith this econom ic conception. A fter D a v id ’s speech, it w ould indeed be superfluous to refute extensively every expression of this idea. For, am o n g o ther things, he even gave the exam ple of tariff unions as a p a rtia l socialization of capitalism . T hose com rades obviously conceive of socialism in the following way: all p ractica l policies w ould rem ain ju st as they are now, w ith the possible exception of g reater a tte n tio n to cooperatives, an d th en everything is quite sim ple: ju st stick the label “socialism ” on them , an d th ere you are! T h e y only forget th a t, as Engels once said, if you classify a clothes brush as a m am m al, it w on’t grow breasts for q u ite a while. [Amusement. Shout: uBut that is quite true/ ”] O ne m ore observation, on the so-called breakdown theory. O f course, if we called everything we are alread y doing socialism, it w ould be com pletely superfluous to d ra g in a breakdow n. But those com rades w ho believe such a crazy notion \Fendrich calls: “More respect!” The President rings for order]— excuse me, I d id n ’t m ean to offend, I m ean t “ m istak en .” T hose com rades who hold such a m istaken notion of socialism conceive of the theory o f evolution in a w ay th a t, w ith a sm all correction in the dialectical conception of history, history is once ag ain a sm ooth an d straig h t p a th . T h e y ju st snip the concept of a breakdow n, of a social catastro p h e, out of the p a tte rn of evolu­ tion as M a rx an d Engels conceive it, an d get a nice comfy no- ' tion of evolution: ju st w h at an [A cadem ic Socialist like] H e rr B rentano w ould w ant. If we w an t to learn from history, we see th a t all previous class struggles have gone as follows: th ro u g h legal reform s an d sm all steps forw ard, the rising class grew stronger w ithin the lim its of the old society, u n til it was strong enough to cast off its old shackles by means o f a social and political catastrophe. It h ad to be done th a t w ay, in spite of th e fact th a t the rising class could develop its econom ic pow er to its highest point w ithin the w om b of the old ru lin g class. F or us th a t u p ­ heaval will be ten tim es m ore necessary. C om rades w ho th in k they can lead society into socialism peacefully, w ith o u t a cata-

Speech to the Hanover Congress (1899)

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clysm, have no historical basis in fact. By revolution we do not have to m ean pitchforks a n d bloodshed. A revolution can also take place on a cu ltu ral level, a n d if ever th ere w ere an y pros­ pect of th a t, it w ould be in th e p ro le ta ria n revolution, since we are the last to tak e up violent m eans, the last to wish a b ru tal, violent revolution on ourselves. B ut such m atters do not d e ­ p end on us, they dep en d on our opponents. ["Quite right!”] W e m ust p u t aside the question of the form th ro u g h w hich we will take pow er; th a t is a question ab o u t conditions w hich we c a n ­ not predict. W e are interested in th e essence of th e process, a n d th a t is th a t we are striving for a com plete transform ation of the ru lin g cap italist econom ic order, w hich can be a tta in e d only th ro u g h seizing state pow er a n d never on the p a th of so­ cial reform w ithin the confines of existing society. T hose who give in to such a hope tak e a stan d w hich is based eith er on ig­ noran ce of the past, or on optim ism ab o u t the future. Now an o th er, m ore p ractical question. Bebel polem icized b rillian tly for six hours against Bernstein. I ask: w ould th a t have h a p p e n e d if we could suppose th a t B ernstein w ere the only one am ong us w ho believed these theories, if the differ­ ences of opinion stem m ed from th e realm of ab stract theory? W e are a p ractical, fighting political p arty , a n d if n o th in g else h a d h a p p e n e d except a theoretical deviation from th e usual p a rty line on the p a rt of one m an , how ever im p o rta n t an d w orthy, th en such a speech by Bebel w ould never have been m ade. B ut we have in ou r P a rty a n u m b e r of com rades who take th e sam e position, a n d th e differences of opinion do not relate only to theory, to abstractions; they relate also to p ra c ­ tice. It is a generally know n fact th a t for over a decade we have h a d w ithin our rank s a fairly strong tendency in sym pa­ thy w ith B ernstein’s notions, w ho w an t to present our cu rren t p ractice as being alread y socialism, a n d thus— unconsciously, o f course— to transform the socialism for w hich we are fighting, the only socialism w hich is not an em pty p h rase or a figm ent of the im ag in atio n , into a m ere revolutionary slogan. Bebel was correct in saying d isparagingly th a t B ern stein ’s no-

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tions are so confused, so full of im plications, th a t th ey can n o t be grasped in a clear ou tlin e w ith o u t his being able to say th a t he häs been m isunderstood. Previously, B ernstein did not w rite th a t way. T his lack of clarity, these contradictions, should not be atta c h e d to him personally, b u t to th e tendency, to the con­ ten t of his essays. If you follow P a rty history over th e last ten years, a n d study th e tran scrip ts of the P a rty congresses, you will see th a t the B ernstein tendency has g rad u ally gotten stronger, b u t has not yet com pletely m atu red . I hope it never will. In its cu rren t stage, it is im possible for it to be clear ab o u t itself; it can n o t find the rig h t lan g u ag e to express itself. T h a t is how B ernstein’s lack of clarity m ust be understood. T o see how this B ernsteinian tendency w ould lead to m aking a pile of n o n ­ sense out of our socialism, let m e tak e a sm all exam ple from the last few days. A t a M unich m eeting w hich was to tak e a position ab o u t this Congress, a speaker who was talk in g about the Schippel case1 said th e following: “ Schippel was speaking about the m ilitia, w hereas our p ro g ram talks ab o u t a peo p le’s arm y ”— a distinction w hich com pletely escapes m e, b u t let th a t be. T h e n he said: “ In defense of Schippel one can say th a t this passage of our p ro g ram actu ally says th a t for th e present we m ust w ork for a redu ctio n in th e tim e of m ilitary service!” I d o n ’t w an t to a n ticip a te the d eb ate ab o u t the m ilitia w hich will com e in th e next few days, b u t ra th e r give the exam ple as typical of th e m ethod. O u r m inim al p ro g ram has a very spe­ cific m eaning. W e know th a t socialism can n o t be in tro d u ced all at once, as if it w ere shot from a pistol, b u t only if we force small reform s from the existing o rd er by leading a sh a rp class struggle on an econom ic a n d political basis in order to increase our econom ic a n d political strength, to tak e power, a n d finally to w ring the neck of to d a y ’s society. T o th a t end o u r m inim al dem ands are tailored to th e present. W e will take everything they give us, b u t we m ust d em an d th e en tire political p ro ­ gram . [ “Quite right!”] B ut instead of p o int three, w hich explic1The “Schippel case” is discussed below in “Militia and Militarism.”

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itly contains a d e m an d for the m ilitia, the com rade in M u n ich p u t forth a d em an d for th e red u ctio n in the length o f m ilitary service as the P a rty ’s p ractica l d em an d . I f we w ere, in this fashion, to m ake a sm all fraction of our m in im al p ro g ra m into the real p ractica l m in im al p ro g ram , th en w h at we now see as ou r m in im al p ro g ram w ould becom e o u r u ltim a te goal, an d o u r tru e u ltim a te goal w ould be entirely cu t off from reality a n d w ould indeed becom e m erely “ revolutionary sloganeer­ ing.” [Lively applause] Translated by John Heckman

Social Reform or Revolution Preface A t first view, th e title o f this w ork m ay be surprising. Social reform or revolution? C a n Social D em ocracy be against social reforms? C a n it oppose social revolution, the tran sfo rm atio n of the existing order, its final goal, to social reforms? C ertain ly not. T h e p ractical daily struggle for reform s, for th e am e lio ra ­ tion of the condition of th e w orkers w ithin th e fram ew ork of the existing social order, a n d for d em o cratic institutions, offers Social D em ocracy th e only m eans o f engaging in th e p ro le ta r­ ian class struggle an d w orking in th e direction of th e final goal— the conquest of political pow er a n d th e suppression of wage labor. F or Social D em ocracy th ere exists a n indissoluble tie betw een social reform s an d revolution. T h e struggle for re ­ forms is its means; the social revolution, its goal. It is in E d u a rd B ernstein’s theory, presented in his articles on “ Problem s of Socialism ,” in th e Neue Zeit of 1897-1898, an d especially in his book, Die Voraussetzungen des Sozialismus und die Text from Politische Schriften, I (Frankfurt: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1966), pp. 47-133. There exist two editions of this work, the first published in 1899 in Leipzig, and the second in 1908 in Leipzig. The latter contains a number of corrections and revisions, taking into account the events of the nine years since the original publication. These corrections concern mainly the problem of crises, and Rosa Luxemburg’s demand that the revisionists be eliminated from the Party. This translation gives the texts of both editions, following the recent German edi­ tion in Politische Schriften. The text is that of the first edition; passages eliminated in the second edition are bracketed; passages added in the second edition are given in foot­ notes.

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Aufgaben der Sozialdemokratie [T he Presuppositions o f Socialism a n d the T asks o f Social D em ocracy— D .H .], th a t we find, for the first tim e, the opposition o f the two m om ents o f th e labor m ovem ent. H is theory tends to counsel the re n u n c ia tio n of the social tran sfo rm atio n , the final goal o f Social D em ocracy, and, inversely, to m ake social reform s, w hich are the means of the class struggle, into its end. B ernstein him self fo rm ulated this view point very clearly a n d precisely w hen he w rote: “T h e final goal, w h atev er it m ay be, is n o th in g to m e; the m ovem ent is ev ery th in g .” B ut since the final goal o f socialism is the only decisive fac­ tor distinguishing the Social D em o cratic m ovem ent from bourgeois dem ocracy a n d from bourgeois radicalism , the only factor transform ing the entire lab o r m ovem ent from a vain effort to re p a ir the cap italist o rd er into a class struggle against this order, for the suppression o f this order— the question “ R e ­ form or R ev o lu tio n ?” as it is posed by B ernstein is, for Social D em ocracy, the sam e as th e question “T o be or not to be?” In the controversy w ith B ernstein a n d his followers, everybody in the P a rty ought to u n d e rsta n d clearly th a t it is not a question of this or th a t m ethod of struggle, or o f the use o f this or th a t tactic, b u t o f the very existence o f the Social D em o cratic m ove­ m ent. [From a casual consideration o f B ernstein’s theory, this m ay a p p e a r to be a n exaggeration. Does he not co n tin u ally m en ­ tion Social D em ocracy a n d its aims? Does he not re p e a t again an d again, a n d explicitly, th a t he too strives tow ard the final goal o f socialism , b u t in a n o th e r way? Does he not stress p a r ­ ticularly th a t he fully approves o f the present practice o f Social D em ocracy? T h a t is all true, to be sure. B ut it is also tru e th a t every new m ovem ent, w hen it first elaborates its theory an d policy, begins by finding su p p o rt in the preceding m ovem ent, though it m ay be in d irect co n trad ictio n w ith the latter. It b e­ gins by suiting itself to the forms already a t h a n d , a n d by speaking th e lan g u ag e w hich was spoken. In tim e, the new

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grain breaks th ro u g h th e old husk, a n d th e new m ovem ent finds its own forms a n d its own language. [To expect an opposition against scientific socialism at its beginning to express itself clearly, fully, a n d to the last conse­ quence; to expect it to deny openly a n d b lu n tly the th eo retical basis of Social D em ocracy— w ould be to u n d e rra te th e pow er of scientific socialism. T o d ay , he w ho w ould pass as a socialist, and at th e sam e tim e w ould declare w ar on the M a rx ia n doc­ trine, th e most stupendous p ro d u ct of the h u m a n m in d in this century, m ust begin w ith in v o lu n tary esteem for M arxism . H e m ust begin by acknow ledging him self its disciple, by seeking in M a rx ’s ow n teachings the points of support for an a tta c k on them , representing this a tta c k as a fu rth er developm ent of M arx ian doctrine. F or this reason, un co n cern ed by its outer forms, one m ust pick out the sh eath ed kernel of B ernstein’s theory. T his is a m a tte r of u rg en t necessity for the b ro a d stra ta of the in d u strial p ro le ta ria t in o u r party. [No coarser insult, no baser defam ation, can be throw n against th e workers th a n th e rem ark “T h e o retical co n tro ­ versies are only for intellectu als.” Lassalle once said: “ O nly w hen science a n d th e workers, these opposed poles o f society, becom e one will they crush in th e ir arm s of steel all obstacles to cu ltu re .” T h e en tire strength of the m odern lab o r m ove­ m ent rests on theoretical knowledge.] But this know ledge is doubly im p o rta n t for th e workers in the present case, because it is precisely they a n d th eir influence in the m ovem ent th a t are in the b alan ce here. It is th e ir skin th a t is being bro u g h t to m arket. T h e opp o rtu n ist cu rre n t in the P arty , whose theory is fo rm ulated by B ernstein, is n o th in g b u t an unconscious a tte m p t to assure the p red o m in an ce of the petty-bourgeois elem ents th a t have en tered o u r P arty , to change th e policy a n d aim s o f o u r P a rty in th eir direction. T h e question of reform a n d revolution, of th e final goal and the m ovem ent, is, in a n o th e r form , th e question of th e pettybourgeois or proletarian character o f the labor movement. [It is, therefore, in the interest of the p ro le ta ria n mass of the

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P arty to becom e a c q u ain te d , actively a n d in detail, w ith the present th eo retical controversy w ith opportunism . As long as theoretical know ledge rem ains th e privilege of a h an d fu l of “ in tellectu als” in the P arty , it will face th e d a n g e r o f going astray. O n ly w hen th e g re a t mass of w orkers take in th e ir own hands the keen a n d d ep en d ab le w eapons of scientific socialism will all th e petty-bourgeois inclinations, all the o p p o rtu n ist currents, com e to n au g h t. T h e m ovem ent will th en find itself on sure a n d firm ground. “ Q u a n tity will do it.” ]

PART ONE

1. The Opportunist Method If it is tru e th a t theories are reflections in the h u m a n con­ sciousness o f the p h en o m e n a of the external w orld, th en it m ust be ad d ed , concerning E d u a rd B ernstein’s theory, th a t these theories are som etim es inverted im ages. T h in k of a theory o f in stitu tin g socialism by m eans o f social reform in face of the com plete stag n atio n of the reform m ovem ent in G er­ m any. T h in k of a theory of tra d e -u n io n control over p ro d u c­ tion in face of the defeat of the m etal workers in E ngland. C onsider the theory of w in n in g a m ajority in p a rlia m e n t after th e revision of the constitution o f Saxony a n d th e m ost recent attem p ts ag ain st universal suffrage. H ow ever, in o u r opinion, the pivotal p o in t of B ernstein ’s system is no t located in his con­ ception of the p ractical tasks of Social D em ocracy. It is found in w h at he says ab o u t th e course o f the objective developm ent of cap italist society w hich, of course, is closely b o u n d to his conception of the p ractical tasks o f Social D em ocracy. A ccording to B ernstein, a general breakdow n of capitalism is increasingly im p ro b ab le because, on the one h a n d , c a p ita l­ ism shows a g reater cap acity o f a d a p ta tio n an d , on th e o th er h an d , cap italist p ro d u ctio n becom es m ore a n d m ore varied. T h e cap acity of cap italism to a d a p t itself, says B ernstein, is m anifested, first, in th e d isa p p e a ra n c e of general crises thanks

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to the developm ent of th e credit system, em ployers’ o rg a n iz a ­ tions,1 w ider m eans of co m m u n icatio n a n d in fo rm atio n al serv­ ices. It shows itself, secondly, in th e ten acity of th e m iddle classes, w hich follows from the co n tin u al differentiation of the branches of production a n d the elevation of vast stra ta of the p ro le tariat into the m iddle class. It is fu rth erm o re proved, argues B ernstein, by th e am elio ratio n of the econom ic a n d p o ­ litical situation of the p ro le ta ria t as a result of the tra d e-u n io n struggle. From this is derived th e following general conclusion ab o u t th e p ractical struggle of Social D em ocracy. It m ust n o t d irect its activity tow ard th e conquest of political pow er b u t tow ard the im provem ent of th e condition of the w orking class. It m ust not expect to institute socialism as a result of a political an d so­ cial crisis b u t by m eans o f the progressive extension o f social control a n d th e g rad u a l a p p licatio n o f th e p rin cip le of cooper­ atio n .12 B ernstein him self sees n o th in g new in his theories. O n the contrary, he believes th em to be in ag reem en t w ith certain declarations of M arx a n d Engels, as well as w ith th e general direction of Social D em ocracy u p to the present. N evertheless, it seems to us th a t it is difficult to deny th a t they are in fu n d a ­ m ental co n trad ictio n w ith the conceptions of scientific social­ ism. If B ernstein’s revisionism consisted only in affirm ing th a t the m a rc h of cap italist developm ent is slower th a n was th o u g h t before, he w ould m erely be presenting a n arg u m en t for ad jo u rn in g the conquest of pow er by th e p ro le ta ria t on w hich u p to now everybody agreed. Its only p ractica l conse­ quence w ould be a slowing dow n of the pace of th e struggle. 1By “employers’ organizations” Rosa Luxemburg and Bernstein refer to cartels and trusts, terms which are used synonymously in this pamphlet. 2 Bernstein attributes an important role to cooperatives as a way of introducing so­ cialism as it were under the very noses of the capitalists. Rosa Luxemburg shows the economic impossibility of this scheme below. Cf. also the speech to the Party Congress at Hanover, above.

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But th a t is not the case. W h a t B ernstein questions is not the rap id ity o f the developm en t o f cap italist society b u t the p a th of the developm ent itself an d , consequently, the tran sitio n to so­ cialism . Socialist theory u p to now d eclared th a t the p o in t o f d e p a r­ tu re for a tran sfo rm atio n to socialism w ould be a general an d catastro p h ic crisis. W e m ust distinguish two things in this theory: th e fu n d am en tal id ea a n d its ex tern al form. T h e fu n d a m e n ta l id ea consists in the affirm ation th a t, as a result of its ow n in n er contradictions, cap italism moves tow ard a point w hen it will be u n b a la n c e d , w hen it will sim ply b e­ com e im possible. T h e re w ere good reasons for th in k in g o f th a t ju n c tu re in the form of a catastro p h ic general com m ercial cri­ sis.3 B ut, nonetheless, th a t is o f secondary im p o rtan ce a n d ines­ sential to the fu n d a m e n ta l idea. As is well know n, the scientific basis o f socialism rests on three results o f cap italist developm ent. First, a n d m ost im p o r­ ta n t, on th e grow ing anarchy o r the cap italist econom y, leading inevitably to its ruin. Second, on th e progressive socialization o f th e process o f p ro d u ctio n , w hich creates the germ s o f the fu­ tu re social order. A nd th ird , on the grow ing organization and class consciousness of the p ro le ta ria t , w hich constitutes the active factor in the com ing revolution. B ernstein elim inates the first o f the th ree fu n d a m e n ta l sup­ ports o f scientific socialism . H e says th a t cap italist develop­ m en t does not lead to a general econom ic collapse. H e does not m erely reject a ce rta in form o f the collapse bu t the collapse itself. H e says, textually: “ O n e could object th a t by collapse o f th e p resent society is m e a n t som ething else th a n a general com m ercial crisis worse th a n all others, nam ely, a com plete collapse o f the cap italist system b ro u g h t a b o u t as a 3 With the development of imperialism and militarism during the decade following the writing of this pamphlet, it became more and more clear to Rosa Luxemburg that the crisis of capitalism would come in the form of a world war which would have to be ended by the socialist revolution. The anarchy of capitalism finally turned into the orgy of war, and the choice, as Rosa Luxemburg put it, was “socialism or barbarism!”

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result of its ow n co n trad ictio n s.” A n d to this he replies: “W ith the grow ing developm ent of society, a com plete a n d alm ost general collapse o f the present system o f p ro d u ctio n becom es not m ore b u t less pro b ab le because cap italist developm ent in ­ creases, on th e one h a n d , the cap acity of a d a p ta tio n an d , on the oth er— th a t is, a t th e sam e tim e— the differentiation of in ­ dustry.” 4 But th en the im p o rta n t question arises: W hy a n d how shall we a tta in the final goal of our efforts? F rom the sta n d p o in t of scientific socialism, the historical necessity of the socialist revo­ lution m anifests itself above all in th e grow ing a n a rc h y o f c a p ­ italism w hich drives the system into an impasse. B ut if one a d ­ mits, w ith B ernstein, th a t cap italist developm ent does not move in the direction o f its own ru in , th en socialism ceases to be objectively necessary. T h e re rem ain only the o th er two m a in ­ stays o f th e scientific ex p lan atio n o f socialism, w hich are also consequences of the cap italist order: the socialization of the process of p ro d u ctio n a n d the class consciousness of the p ro le­ tariat. It is these th a t B ernstein has in m in d w hen he says th a t w ith the elim in atio n of th e breakdow n theory “ th e socialist doctrine loses n o th in g of its pow er of persuasion. For, ex am ­ ined closely, w h at are all the factors e n u m e ra te d by us th a t m ake for the suppression or th e m odification of th e form er crises? N o th in g else, in fact, th a n th e preconditions, or even in p a rt the germ s, of th e socialization of p ro d u ctio n a n d ex­ change.” 5 V ery little reflection is needed to see th a t this too is a false conclusion. W h ere does th e im p o rtan ce of all the p h en o m en a which B ernstein says are th e m eans o f cap italist a d a p ta tio n — cartels, the credit system, the developm ent of m eans of com ­ m unication, the am elio ratio n of th e situ atio n of th e w orking class, etc.— lie? O bviously in th a t they elim in ate or, a t least, a tte n u a te the in tern al contrad ictio n s o f cap italist econom y, 'Neue Zeit, 1897-98, No. 18, p. 555. (R.L.) 5 Ibid., p. 554. (R.L.)

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a n d stop th e developm ent or th e ag g rav atio n of these c o n tra ­ dictions. T h u s th e elim in atio n of crises m eans th e suppression of the an tag o n ism betw een p ro d u ctio n a n d exchange on the capitalist base. T h e am elio ratio n of th e situ atio n of th e w ork­ ing class, or th e p e n e tra tio n of c e rta in fractions of th a t class into the m id d le layers, m eans th e a tte n u a tio n of the a n ta g o ­ nism betw een cap ital a n d labor. B ut if th e cartels, credit sys­ tem , tra d e unions, etc., suppress th e cap italist contradictions a n d consequently save th e system from ru in ; if they enable capitalism to m a in ta in itself—a n d th a t is w hy B ernstein calls them “m eans of a d a p ta tio n ”— how can they be a t th e sam e tim e “ the preconditions a n d even in p a rt th e germ s” of social­ ism? O bviously only in the sense th a t they express m ore clearly the social c h a ra c te r of production. But, inversely, by m a in ­ tain in g it in its capitalist form , the sam e factors ren d er su p er­ fluous in eq u al m easure th e tran sfo rm atio n of this socialized p ro d u ctio n into socialist production. T h a t is w hy they can be th e germ s or preconditions of a socialist o rd er only in a con­ cep tu al sense a n d not in an historical sense. T h e y are p h e ­ n om en a w hich, in th e light of o u r conception of socialism , we know to be related to socialism b u t w hich, in fact, not only do not lead to a socialist revolution b u t, on th e co n trary , ren d er it superfluous. T h e re rem ains only one fo u n d atio n of socialism — th e class consciousness of the p ro le tariat. B ut it, too, is in the given case not the sim ple in tellectu al reflection of th e ever grow ing contradictions of cap italism a n d its a p p ro a c h in g d e ­ cline— for this decline is prev en ted by th e m eans o f a d a p ta ­ tion. It is now a m ere ideal whose force of persuasion rests only on the perfections a ttrib u te d to it. W h a t we have here, in brief, is th e fo u n d atio n of th e social­ ist p ro g ram by m eans of “ p u re reason.” W e have here, to use sim pler lan g u ag e, a n idealist e x p la n a tio n of socialism. T h e o b ­ jective necessity o f socialism , th e ex p la n a tio n of socialism as th e result of th e m aterial developm ent of society, falls aw ay. R evisionist theory stands before a n E ith e r/O r. E ith e r the socialist tran sfo rm atio n is, as was a d m itte d u p to now, th e con-

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sequence of th e in tern a l co n trad ictio n s o f th e c ap italist order — then w ith this o rder will develop its contradictions, resulting inevitably, a t some point, in its collapse. In this case, how ever, the “m eans of a d a p ta tio n ” are ineffective, a n d the breakdow n theory is correct. O r, th e “ m eans o f a d a p ta tio n ” are really c a ­ pable of stopping the breakdow n of th e cap italist system an d thereby en ab le capitalism to m a in ta in itself by suppressing its own contradictions. In th a t case, socialism ceases to be a n his­ torical necessity. It th en becom es a n y th in g you w a n t to call it, except th e result of the m ate ria l developm ent of society. T his dilem m a leads to another. E ith e r revisionism is correct concerning th e course o f cap italist developm ent, an d therefore the socialist tran sfo rm atio n of society becom es a u to p ia. O r so­ cialism is n o t a u to p ia; a n d therefore the theory of th e “ m eans of a d a p ta tio n ” is false. “Das ist die Frage, th a t is th e q u estio n .” 2. The Adaptation o f Capitalism A ccording to B ernstein, the credit system, the im proved m eans o f com m unicatio n an d the new em ployers’ o rg an iza­ tions are the im p o rta n t m eans th a t b rin g ab o u t the a d a p ta tio n of the cap italist econom y. Let us begin w ith credit. C red it has diverse functions in the capitalist econom y. Its two most im p o rta n t functions, as is well known, are to increase the capacity to ex p an d p ro d u ctio n an d to facilitate exchange. W h en th e in n e r tendency o f cap italist production to ex p an d lim itlessly strikes against th e b a rrie r of private p ro p erty (th e lim ited size of p riv ate cap ital), cred it a p ­ pears as a m eans of su rm o u n tin g these lim its in a cap italist m ann er. T h ro u g h stock com panies, cred it com bines in one mass a large n u m b er of indiv id u al capitals. It m akes av ailable to each cap italist the use of o th er cap italists’ m oney— in the form o f in d u strial credit. F u rth e r, as com m ercial credit, it a c ­ celerates the exchange o f com m odities a n d therefore th e re ­ tu rn of c ap ital into production, a n d thus aids the en tire cycle of the process of production. T h e effect of these two p rin c ip al functions of c red it on the

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form ation o f crises is q u ite obvious. If it is tru e th a t crises a p ­ p ear as a result of the co n trad ictio n betw een th e cap acity for expansion, the tendency of p ro d u ctio n to increase, a n d the re­ stricted consum ption capacity , th e n in view of w h at was stated above, cred it is precisely the specific m eans of m ak in g this con­ tra d ictio n b reak out as often as possible. First o f all, it im ­ m ensely increases th e cap acity for th e expansion of p ro d u c­ tion, a n d thus constitutes a n in n e r driving force th a t constantly pushes p ro d u ctio n to exceed th e lim its of th e m a r­ ket. B ut cred it strikes from two sides. A fter h aving (as a factor of the process o f p roduction ) provoked overproduction, credit (as m ed iato r of the process of exchange) destroys, d u rin g the crisis, the very productive forces it itself created. A t the first sym ptom of th e stag n atio n , credit m elts aw ay. It ab an d o n s the exchange process ju st w hen it is still indispensable, an d w here it still exists, it shows itself instead ineffective an d useless, an d thus d u rin g the crisis it reduces th e consum ption cap acity of th e m ark et to a m inim um . Besides these two p rin cip al results, credit also influences the form ation of crises in m an y o th er ways. It offers not only the technical m eans of m ak in g availab le to a n e n tre p re n e u r the cap ital o f o th er owners, b u t a t th e sam e tim e stim ulates bold a n d u nscrupulous u tilizatio n of th e p ro p erty of others. T h a t is, it leads to reckless speculation. N o t only does credit aggravate th e crisis in its cap acity as a dissem bled m eans of exchange; it also helps to b rin g on an d extend th e crisis by transform ing all exchange into an extrem ely com plex an d artificial m echanism w hich, h av in g a m in im u m of m etallic m oney as a real base, is easily d isarran g ed a t th e slightest occasion. T hus, far from being a m eans for th e elim in atio n or th e a t­ te n u atio n of crises, cred it is, on th e con trary , a p articu larly pow erful factor in the form ation of crises. T h is could not possi­ bly be otherw ise. S peaking very generally, the specific function o f cred it is n o th in g b u t th e elim in atio n of th e rem ain in g rigid­ ity of c ap italist relationships. It introduces everyw here the greatest elasticity possible. It ren d ers all cap italist forces ex-

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tendable, relative, a n d sensitive to the highest degree. D oing this, it facilitates a n d aggravates crises, w hich are n o th in g b u t the periodic collisions of th e co n trad icto ry forces of th e c a p ita l­ ist economy. T his leads, a t the sam e tim e, to a n o th e r question. H ow can credit generally have th e a p p e a ra n c e of a “ m eans of a d a p ta ­ tio n ” of capitalism ? N o m a tte r in w hat context or form this “ a d a p ta tio n ” is conceived, its essence can obviously only be th a t one of the several antagonistic relations of cap italist econ­ omy is sm oothed over, th a t one o f its contradictions is su p ­ pressed or w eakened, a n d th a t thus liberty o f m ovem ent is as­ sured, a t one point or an o th er, to the otherw ise fettered productive forces. In fact, it is precisely credit th a t aggravates these contradictions to th e highest degree. It aggravates the antagonism betw een th e mode oj production a n d the mode o f ex­ change by stretching p ro d u ctio n to th e lim it a n d a t th e sam e tim e p araly zin g exchange on the sm allest pretext. It increases the co n trad ictio n betw een the mode o f production a n d th e mode of appropriation by sep aratin g p ro d u ctio n from ow nership, th a t is, by transform ing th e cap ital em ployed in p ro d u ctio n into “so­ cial” cap ital 6 an d a t th e sam e tim e transform ing a p a rt of the profit, in the form of interest on cap ital, into a sim ple title of ow nership. It increases th e co n trad ictio n betw een the property relations a n d the relations o f production by p u ttin g im m ense p ro ­ ductive forces into a sm all n u m b e r of hands, an d e x p ro p ria t­ ing a large n u m b e r o f sm all capitalists. It increases th e c o n tra ­ diction betw een the social c h a ra c te r of p ro d u ction a n d capitalist private ownership by ren d erin g necessary the in terv en ­ tion of the state in p ro d u ctio n (stock com panies). In short, credit reproduces all the fu n d am en tal c o n tra d ic ­ tions o f the cap italist w orld. It accentuates them . It p recip i­ tates th e ir developm ent a n d thus pushes the cap italist w orld forw ard to its own destruction— the breakdow n. T h e p rim e act 6 The reference here is to the formation of “anonymous societies,” i.e., giant jointstock corporations which, in theory, are owned by their stockholders.

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of cap italist a d a p ta tio n , as far as cred it is concerned, should really consist in b reak in g a n d suppressing credit. In fact, credit is far from being a m eans of cap italist a d a p ta tio n . O n the con­ trary , as it presently exists, it is a m eans of destruction of the m ost extrem e revolutionary significance. H as no t precisely this revolutionary c h a ra c te r w hich leads the cred it system beyond capitalism actu ally inspired plans of “socialist” reform ? As such, it has h a d some distinguished proponents, some of w hom (Isaac P ereire in F ran ce) were, as M a rx p u t it, h a lf prophets, h a lf rogues. O n closer exam ination, the second “m eans of a d a p ta tio n ,” employers’ organizations, ap p ears ju st as fragile. A ccording to Bernstein, such organizations will p u t an end to a n a rc h y of p roduction an d do aw ay w ith crises th ro u g h the regulation of production. It is tru e th a t the m u ltip le econom ic repercussions of the developm ent of cartels a n d trusts have n ot been studied too carefully up to now. B ut they rep resen t a problem w hich can only be solved w ith th e aid o f M arx ist theory. O ne thing, a t least, is certain. W e could speak of a d am m in g of cap italist a n a rc h y by cap italist em ployers’ organizations only in the m easure th a t cartels, trusts, etc., becom e, even a p ­ proxim ately, the d o m in an t form of production. B ut such a pos­ sibility is excluded by the very n a tu re of the cartels. T h e final econom ic aim an d result of em ployers’ organizations is th e fol­ lowing. T h ro u g h the elim in atio n of com petition in a given b ran ch o f production, the d istrib u tio n of the m ass of profit realized on the m ark et is influenced in such a m a n n e r th a t there is an increase in the share going to this b ra n c h of indus­ try. Such o rg an izatio n can only increase the rate of profit in one b ra n c h of industry a t the expense of an o th er. T h a t is p re ­ cisely w hy it c an n o t be generalized; for w hen it is exten d ed to all im p o rta n t branches of industry, this ten d en cy cancels its own influence. But even w ithin the lim its of th eir practical ap p licatio n , the result o f em ployers’ organizations is the very opposite of the elim ination of in d u strial an arch y . C artels o rd in a rily succeed

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in o b tain in g an increase of the rate of profit in the in te rn a l m ark et a t the cost of h av in g to sell the produce of the excess portion o f th eir c a p ita l— th a t w hich co u ld n ’t be absorbed by the in tern al m ark et— on foreign m arkets at a m uch low er rate of profit. T h a t is to say, they sell ab ro a d c h eap er th a n a t home. T h e result is the sh arp en in g of com petition a b ro a d a n d an increased a n arch y on the w orld m ark et— the very opposite of w h at is intended. T h is is well d em o n strated by the history of the in tern atio n al sugar industry. G enerally speaking, em ployers’ organizations, as a m anifes­ tation of the cap italist m ode of p roduction, can only be consid­ ered a definite phase of cap italist developm ent. In effect, c a r­ tels are fu n d am en tally noth in g b u t a m eans resorted to by the capitalist m ode of p ro d u ctio n to hold back the fatal fall of the rate of profit in certain branches of production. W h a t m ethod do cartels em ploy to this end? It is, essentially, th a t o f keeping inactive a p a rt of the accu m u lated capital. T h a t is, they use the sam e m ethod w hich, in a n o th e r form, comes into play d u r­ ing crises. T h e rem edy a n d the illness resem ble each o th er like two drops of w ater, an d the form er can be considered the lesser evil only u p to a certain point. W h en the m ark et outlets begin to shrink because the w orld m ark et has been ex tended to its lim it a n d has been exhausted by the com petition o f the c a p i­ talist countries— an d it can n o t be denied th a t sooner or later this is bound to occur7— th en the forced p a rtia l idleness o f c a p ­ ital will reach such dim ensions th a t the rem edy will itself be transform ed into an illness, a n d cap ital, alread y p re tty m uch “ socialized” th ro u g h organization, will ten d to revert ag ain to the form of p riv ate cap ital. In the face of the increased difficul­ ties of finding even a tiny place, each in dividual p o rtio n will prefer to take its chances alone. A t th a t tim e, the [em ployers’ — D .H .] organizations will burst like soap bubbles a n d give way to free com petition in an ag g rav ated form .8 7 This argument resembles the thesis later developed by Rosa Luxemburg in 1'he Ac­ cumulation of Capital. 8 In the second edition, the following is added: “In a note to the third volume of Capital, Engels wrote in 1894:

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O n the w hole, cartels, ju st like credit, a p p e a r therefore as a d eterm in ed phase of capitalist developm ent w hich, in th e last analysis, only aggravates th e a n a rc h y of th e cap italist w orld, expressing a n d rip en in g its in te rn a l contradictions. C artels ag ­ g ravate th e co n trad ictio n betw een th e m ode o f p ro d u ctio n a n d th e m ode o f exchange by sh arp en in g th e struggle betw een p ro ­ ducer a n d consum er, as is the case especially in th e U n ited States. F u rth erm o re, they ag g rav ate the co n trad ictio n betw een th e m ode o f p ro d u ctio n a n d the m ode of a p p ro p ria tio n by o p ­ posing th e superior force o f organized cap ital to the w orking class in th e m ost b ru ta l fashion, a n d thus increasing the a n ta g ­ onism betw een cap ital a n d labor. F inally, cap italist cartels ag ­ gravate th e co n trad ictio n betw een th e in tern a tio n a l c h a ra c te r o f the cap italist w orld econom y a n d th e n atio n al c h a ra c te r of the cap italist state insofar as they are alw ays acco m p an ied by a general ta riff w ar w hich sharpens the differences am o n g the cap italist states. W e m ust a d d to this the decidedly revolution­ ary influence exercised by cartels on th e co n cen tratio n of p ro ­ duction, technical progress, etc. T h u s, w hen ev alu ated from th e angle of th eir final effect on the cap italist econom y, cartels a n d trusts fail as “m eans o f a d ­ a p ta tio n .” T h e y fail to a tte n u a te th e contradictions o f c a p ita l­ ism. O n th e co n trary , they a p p e a r to be a m eans w hich itself ‘Since the above was written (1865), competition on the world market has been con­ siderably intensified by the rapid development of industry in all civilized countries, especially in America and Germany. The fact that the rapidly and enormously ex­ panding modern productive forces grow beyond the control of the laws of the capital­ ist mode of exchange within which they are supposed to move impresses itself nowa­ days more and more even on the minds of the capitalists. This is shown especially by two symptoms. First, by the new and general mania for protective tariffs which differs from the old protectionism especially by the fact that now the articles which are capa­ ble of being exported are the best protected. In the second place, it is shown by the cartels (trusts) of manufacturers in whole large spheres of production for the regula­ tion of production, and thus of prices and profits. It goes without saying that these ex­ periments are practicable only so long as the economic weather is relatively favorable. The first storm must upset them, and prove that although production assuredly needs regulation, it is certainly not the capitalist class which is fitted for the task. Mean­ while, the trusts have no other mission but to see to it that the little fish are swallowed by the big fish still more rapidly than before.’ ”

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leads to g reater anarch y . T h e y encourage the further develop­ m ent of the in tern al contradictions of capitalism a n d acceler­ ate the com ing of a general decline of capitalism . But if the credit system, cartels, a n d the rest do no t suppress the an arch y of capitalism , w hy have we not h a d a m ajo r com ­ m ercial crisis for two decades, since 1873? Is this n ot a sign th at, co n trary to M a rx ’s analysis, the cap italist m ode of p ro ­ duction has “ a d a p te d ” itself—a t least in a general w ay— to the needs of society. [W e believe th a t the present calm on the world m ark et can be explained in an o th er way. O n e has b e­ come accustom ed to considering the previous com m ercial crises as the crises of old age, w hich M a rx schem atically a n a ­ lyzes. T h e best proof of this schem a seem ed to be the ap p ro x i­ m ately ten -y ear periodicity of the pro d u ctio n cycle. H ow ever, we believe th a t this conception is based on a m isu n d er­ standing. If one looks m ore closely a t the different causes of all previous great in te rn a tio n a l crises, one will be convinced th a t they are all not the expression of the weakness of old age of the capitalist econom y b u t ra th e r of its childhood. A b rie f reflec­ tion is sufficient to convince oneself th a t it was not possible for capitalism in the years 1825, 1836, 1847 to create th a t u n a ­ voidable periodic collision of the forces of p ro d u ctio n w ith the limits of the m ark et, as sketched in the M a rx ia n schem a as the result of the m a tu rity of cap ital—-for a t th a t tim e capitalism still lay in its sw addling clothes.] 9 T h e crisis of 1825 was, in effect, the result of the extensive 9 In the second edition, the bracketed passage was replaced by the following: “The answer followed immediately on the question. Hardly had Bernstein rejected, in 1898, Marx’s theory of crises, when a profound general crisis broke out in 1900, while seven years later a new crisis, beginning in the United States, hit the world market. The facts themselves proved the theory of ‘adaptation’ to be false. They showed at the same time that the people who abandoned Marx’s theory of crises only because no cri­ sis occurred within a certain space of time merely confused the essence of the theory with an inessential particularity—the ten-year cycle. The description of the cycle of modern capitalist industry as a ten-year period was to Marx and Engels, in 1860 and 1870, only a simple statement of facts. It was not based on some natural law, but on a series of given historical circumstances that were connected with the rapidly spreading activity of young capitalism.”

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investm ents in the construction of roads, canals, a n d gas works w hich took place d u rin g th e preceding decade, p a rtic u la rly in E ngland, w here the crisis broke out. T h e following crisis of 1836-1839 was, sim ilarly, the result of heavy investm ents in the construction o f m eans of tra n sp o rtatio n . T h e crisis of 1847 was provoked by the feverish b u ild in g of railroads in E n g lan d (from 1844 to 1847, in th re e years, th e B ritish P a rlia m e n t gave railw ay concessions to th e value o f 1.5 billion taler). In each of the th ree cases m entioned , a crisis cam e after new forms an d new bases for cap italist developm ent w ere established. In 1857 the sam e result was b ro u g h t ab o u t by the a b ru p t opening of new m arkets for E u ro p ean industry in A m erica a n d A u stralia after the discovery of the gold m ines, a n d the extensive con­ struction of railw ay lines, especially in F rance, w here the exam ple of E n g lan d was th en closely followed. (F rom 1852 to 1856, new railw ay lines to the value of 1.25 billion francs were b uilt in F rance.) A nd finally, we have th e g re a t crisis of 1873— a d irect consequence of th e form ation a n d first boom of heavy in d u stry in G erm an y a n d A ustria, w hich followed the political events of 1866 a n d 1871.10 So th a t u p to now, th e sudden extension of the d o m ain of the cap italist econom y, a n d n o t its shrinking, was each tim e the cause of the com m ercial crisis. T h a t the in te rn a tio n a l crises re­ peated them selves precisely every ten years was a pu rely exter10 In 1866, as part of his plan to unify Germany under the hegemony of Prussia, Bis­ marck diplomatically neutralized France and Russia and then defeated Austria at Sadowa. Prussia was thus established as the leading power of the North German Confed­ eration. In 1870, following a series of diplomatic maneuvers concerning the succession to the Spanish throne, Bismarck sent to France the famous Ems dispatch which made a Franco-German war inevitable. Germany scored lightning victories at Metz and Sedan, and conquered Paris after a four-month siege. The results of this war were, first, that Wilhelm I was crowned Kaiser of all Germany at Versailles on January 18, 1871, thus achieving German unity. Germany also was given Alsace-Lorraine, Mo­ selle, Haut-Rhine, Bas-Rhine, and was to be paid five billion francs reparations, ac­ cording to the Treaty of Frankfurt which ended the war. With its unity now achieved, and with the huge French reparations, Germany was able to begin its capitalist growth in earnest.

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nal a n d accid en tal fact. T h e M arx ist schem a for crises, as p re ­ sented by Engels in A nlyDilhrmg, a n d by M a rx in th e first a n d th ird volum es of Capital, applies to all crises in th e m easure th a t it uncovers th eir in te rn a l m echanism a n d th e ir u n d e r­ lying general basic causes. [As a w hole, this schem a is m ore suited to a fully developed capitalist econom y in w hich the w orld m a rk e t is presupposed as alread y given. O nly th e n could th e crises rep eat them selves in th a t m echanical w ay, as a result of the in te rn a l m ovem ent proper to the process of p ro d u ctio n a n d exchange, as it is as­ sum ed in th e M a rx ia n analysis, w ith o u t th e ex tern al in d u ce­ m en t of a sudden shock in the relations of p ro d u ctio n a n d of th e m arket. I f we th in k of the present econom ic situ atio n , we m ust ad m it th a t we have n ot yet en tered into th a t phase of full capitalist m a tu rity w hich is presupposed in th e M a rx ia n schem a of the periodicity of crises. T h e w orld m a rk e t is still developing. G erm an y a n d A ustria only en tered th e phase of actu al large in d u strial p ro d u ctio n in th e 1870’s; R ussia only in the 1880’s; F ran ce is still in large p a rt in th e stage of sm allscale p roduction; the B alkan states, for the m ost p a rt, have still not stripped them selves of th e chains of a n a tu ra l econ­ om y;11 an d only in the 1880’s did A m erica, A u stralia, a n d Af­ rica en ter into a large an d reg u lar exchange of goods w ith E u ­ rope. T h u s, on the one h a n d , we now have b eh in d us th e su d ­ den a n d large opening u p of new areas of the cap italist econ­ om y, as occurred periodically u n til th e 1870’s; a n d we have b eh in d us the, so to speak, previous youthful crises w hich fol­ lowed these periodic developm ents. O n the o th er h a n d , we still have not progressed to th a t degree of d evelopm ent a n d ex­ haustion of the w orld m a rk e t w hich w ould p ro d u ce th e fatal, periodic collision of the forces of p ro d u ctio n w ith th e lim its of 1 11 “Natural economy” is the term used to refer to a precapitalist economy. Such an economy is “natural” in that production and exchange are not based on an abstract measure—labor—but on personal relations; for example, between the serf and his lord. Cf. below, pp. 77ff.

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the m ark et, w hich is the a c tu a l cap italist crisis o f old age. W e are in a phase in w hich the crises are no longer th e acco m p a­ n im e n t o f th e grow th of capitalism , a n d not yet th a t of its d e ­ cline. T h is tran sitio n al period is ch aracterized , too, by the w eak course of business w hich has generally been the case for two decades, in w hich short periods of boom a lte rn a te w ith long periods of depression. [But, th a t we are ceaselessly ap p ro a c h in g th e beginning of the end, the period of the final crises of capitalism , follows p re ­ cisely from th e sam e p h en o m en a w hich provisionally condi­ tion th e absence of crises. I f the w orld m a rk e t has now m ore or less filled out, a n d can no longer be enlarged by sudden exten­ sions; an d if, a t the sam e tim e, the productivity of lab o r strides relentlessly forw ard, then in m ore or less tim e the periodic con­ flict o f th e forces of p roductio n w ith the lim its of exchange will begin, a n d will re p e a t itself m ore sharp ly an d m ore storm ily. A nd, if a n y th in g is especially suited to lead us to th a t period, to rap id ly create the w orld m a rk e t a n d to quickly exh au st it, then it is ju s t the p h en o m e n a — the cred it system, a n d th e em ­ ployers’ o rg an izatio n s— on w hich B ernstein bases his “m eans o f a d a p ta tio n ” of capitalism .] 12 T h e belief th a t cap italist p ro d u ctio n could “ a d a p t” itself to exchange presupposes one of two things: eith er the w orld m a r­ ket can sp read unlim itedly a n d to infinity; or, on th e contrary, the d evelopm ent o f th e productive forces is so fettered th a t it can n o t pass beyond the bounds of th e m arket. T h e first h y ­ pothesis constitutes a physical im possibility. T h e second is ren ­ dered ju s t as im possible by the co n stan t technical progress th a t daily creates new p roductiv e forces in all b ranches o f p ro d u c­ tion. 12 In the second edition, these two paragraphs are replaced by: “Crises may repeat themselves every five or ten years, or even every eight or twenty years. But what proves best the falseness of Bernstein’s theory is that it is in the countries having the greatest development of the famous ‘means of adaptation’— credit, perfected communications, and trusts—that the last crisis (1907-08) was most violent.”

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T h e re rem ains still a n o th e r p h en o m en o n w hich, says B ern­ stein, contradicts th e course o f cap italist developm ent in d i­ cated above. In the “steadfast p h a la n x ” of m iddle-size e n te r­ prises, B ernstein sees a sign th a t the developm ent of large industry does not m ove in such a revolutionary direction, an d is not as effective from the angle of th e co n cen tratio n of in dus­ try as was expected by th e “breakdow n th eo ry .” H e is here, however, the victim o f his own m isunderstanding. T o see the progressive d isap p earan ce of th e m iddle-size enterprise as a necessary result of the developm ent o f large in d u stry is, in effect, to m isunderstan d th e n a tu re of this process. A ccording to M arx ist theory, sm all capitalists play the role of pioneers of technical revolution in th e general course o f c a p ­ italist developm ent. T h e y play th a t role in a double sense. T h ey in itiate new m ethods of p ro d u ctio n in old, w ell-estab­ lished branches of industry, as well as being in stru m en tal in the creation of new branches of pro d u ctio n no t yet exploited by the big capitalist. It is false to im agine th a t the history of the m iddle-size capitalist establishm ents proceeds u n eq u iv o ­ cally in the direction of th eir progressive d isap p earan ce. T h e course o f th eir developm ent is ra th e r a purely dialectical one, an d moves constantly am ong contradictions. T h e m id d le ca p i­ talist layers, ju st like th e workers, find them selves u n d e r th e in ­ fluence of two antagonistic tendencies, one ascen d an t a n d the other descendent. In this case, th e descendent ten d en cy is the continued rise in the scale of p ro d u ctio n w hich periodically overflows the dim ensions o f the average-size cap ital a n d re­ moves it rep eated ly from th e com petitive terrain . T h e ascend­ a n t tendency is, first, th e periodic dep reciatio n of th e existing cap ital w hich ag ain lowers, for a c ertain tim e, the scale of p ro ­ duction in p roportion to the value o f the necessary m in im u m am o u n t of cap ital [needed to en ter business— D .H .]. It is also represented by the p e n e tra tio n of cap italist p ro d u ctio n into new spheres. T h e struggle of th e average-size enterprise against big cap ital c an n o t be considered a reg u larly p ro ­ ceeding b a ttle in w hich th e troops o f the w eaker p a rty con­ tinue to m elt aw ay directly a n d q u an titativ ely . It should

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ra th e r be reg ard ed as a periodic m ow ing dow n of sm all cap i­ tal, w hich rap id ly grows u p ag ain only to be m ow ed down once m ore by large industry. T h e two tendencies play catch w ith th e m iddle cap italist layers. As opposed to the develop­ m ent of th e w orking class, the descending tendency m ust win in the end. T h e victory of the descending tendency need not necessarily show itself in a n absolute num erical d im in u tio n of the m iddle-size enterpises. It shows itself, first, in th e progres­ sive increase o f the m in im u m a m o u n t of cap ital necessary for the functioning of the enterprises in the old branches of p ro ­ duction; second, in th e co n stan t d im in u tio n of th e interval of tim e d u rin g w hich the sm all capitalists conserve th e o p p o rtu ­ nity to exploit the new bran ch es of production. T h e result, as far as the sm all cap italist is concerned, is a progressively shorter d u ra tio n of his econom ic life an d an ever m ore rap id change in the m ethods of pro d u ctio n an d of investm ent; and, for the class as a whole, a m ore a n d m ore ra p id acceleration of the social m etabolism . B ernstein knows this perfectly well; he him self com m ents on it. But w h at he seems to forget is th a t this very th in g is the law of m ovem ent of th e average cap italist enterprise. If sm all c a p i­ talists are th e pioneers of technical progress, an d if technical progress is the vital pulse of the cap italist econom y, th en it is m anifest th a t sm all capitalists are a n in teg ral p a rt of cap italist developm ent. T h e progressive d isap p e aran ce of th e m iddlesize enterprise— in the absolute sense considered by Bernstein — w ould not m ean, as he thinks, th e revolutionary ad v an ce of cap italist developm ent, b u t precisely th e co n trary , th e cessa­ tion, th e slow ing dow n of this developm ent. “T h e ra te of profit, th a t is to say, the relative increase of c a p ita l,” said M arx , “ is im p o rta n t first of all for new investors of cap ital g rouping them selves indepen d en tly . A nd as soon as the form a­ tion of ca p ita l falls exclusively into the h an d s of a few big c ap i­ talists, the revivifying fire of p ro d u ctio n is extinguished. It dies 1^ away. 33 10 13 13 Das Kapital, Bd. 3, T. 1, S. 241. (R.L.)

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[T he B ernsteinian m eans of a d a p ta tio n thus show th e m ­ selves to be ineffective, a n d the p h en o m en a w hich he considers to be sym ptom s of th e a d a p ta tio n m ust be pushed b ack to other causes.] 3. The Introduction o f Socialism Through Social Reforms B ernstein rejects the “breakdow n th eo ry ” as a n historical road to the realization of socialism. N ow w h a t is the w ay to a socialist society proposed by his “ theory of the a d a p ta tio n of cap italism ” ? B ernstein answ ers this question only by allusion. K o n rad S chm idt, how ever, attem p ts to deal in d etail w ith this problem in the m a n n e r of B ernstein.14 A ccording to him , “th e trad e-u n io n struggle a n d the political struggle for social re ­ forms will lead to a progressively m ore extensive social control over the conditions of p ro d u ctio n ,” a n d th ro u g h legislation, “ the rights of the cap italist p ro p rieto r will be dim inished an d he will be reduced m ore a n d m ore to th e role of a sim ple a d ­ m in istrato r.” “T h e cap italist will see his p ro p erty lose m ore an d m ore of its value to h im ,” u n til finally “ th e d irectio n an d ad m in istratio n of the factory will be tak en entirely from h im ,” an d the social factory will be introduced. T herefore, tra d e unions, social reform s, a n d — adds B ern­ stein— the political d em o cratizatio n of the state are th e m eans of the progressive in tro d u ctio n of socialism. B eginning w ith the tra d e unions, th eir m ost im p o rta n t func­ tion (as was best explained by B ernstein him self in th e Neue Zeit in 1891) consists in providing th e workers w ith a m eans of realizing the cap italist law of wages, th a t is to say, th e sale of th eir labor-pow er a t c u rre n t m a rk e t prices. T ra d e unions e n ­ able the p ro le ta ria t a t each m o m en t to utilize the co n ju n ctu re of the m a rk e t for its benefit. B ut these conjunctures— th a t is, 1) the d em an d for labor-pow er as d eterm in ed by th e state of p ro ­ duction, 2) the supply of labor-pow er created by th e p ro letari14 Vorwärts, February 20, 1898, Literarische Rundschau. We believe all the more that Konrad Schmidt’s exposition goes together with that of Bernstein since Bernstein does not reject the commentary on Ins views. (R.L.)

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an izatio n of the m iddle stra ta of society a n d by th e n a tu ra l rep ro d u ctio n of th e w orking class, a n d 3) th e m o m en tary d e­ gree of th e p ro d u ctiv ity of labor— rem ain outside th e sphere of influence of th e tra d e unions. T herefore, tra d e unions can n o t suppress th e law of wages. U n d e r the m ost favorable circu m ­ stances, th e best th a t they can do is to im pose on cap italist ex­ ploitation the “ n o rm a l” lim it of th e m om ent. T h e y cannot, however, suppress exploitation itself, not even gradually. K o n ra d S chm idt, it is true, sees the present trad e-u n io n m ovem ent as a “ feeble initial stage.” H e hopes th a t in the fu­ tu re the tra d e-u n io n m ovem ent will exercise a progressively increasing influence on th e reg u latio n of p ro d u ctio n .” But by th e reg u latio n of productio n only tw o things can be u n d e r­ stood: in terv en tio n in the tech n ical d o m ain of th e process of productio n, a n d fixing the scale of pro d u ctio n itself. W h a t is th e n a tu re of the influence exercised by tra d e unions in these two d ep artm en ts? It is clear th a t, concerning the tech n iq u e of p roductio n, the interest of th e cap italist agrees, u p to a certain point, w ith the progress a n d developm ent of th e capitalist econom y. I t is his own need th a t pushes him to m ake technical im provem ents. B ut the isolated w orker finds him self in exactly the opposite position: each technical tran sfo rm atio n c o n tra ­ dicts his interests; it aggravates his im m ed iate situation by d e ­ p reciatin g the value of his labor-pow er a n d ren d erin g his work m ore intense, m ore m onotonous, a n d m ore painful. Insofar as tra d e unions can intervene in th e technical d e p a rtm e n t of p ro ­ duction, they can obviously do so only in th e la tte r sense, i.e., tak in g th e po in t of view of each individual group o f workers, a n d therefore opposing innovations. But here they do not act in the interest of the w orking class as a w hole a n d its em an ci­ p ation, an interest w hich, ra th e r, accords w ith technical prog­ ress an d , therefore, w ith th e in terest of th e individual c a p ita l­ ist. R a th e r, they act here in a re actio n a ry direction. A nd in fact we find efforts on th e p a rt of w orkers to intervene in the technical aspect o f p ro d u ctio n no t in th e future, w here S chm idt looks for it, b u t in the past of the tra d e -u n io n move-

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m ent. Such efforts ch aracterize th e old phase of English trade unionism (up to 1860) w hen it was still tied to m edieval “ guild” vestiges an d , characteristically, found in sp iratio n in the outw orn principle o f “ a fair d a y ’s w age for a fair d a y ’s w ork.” 15 O n the oth er h an d , the effort o f the labor unions to fix the scale of production an d th e prices of com m odities is a recent phenom enon. W e have witnessed such attem p ts only recently — and ag ain in E n g la n d .16 In th eir n a tu re an d tendencies, these efforts resem ble those d ealt w ith above. W h a t does the active p a rticip atio n of tra d e unions in fixing th e scale a n d cost of production necessarily a m o u n t to? It am ounts to a cartel of the workers a n d en trep ren eu rs against the consum er a n d espe­ cially against rival entrepreneurs. In no w ay is the effect o f this any different from th a t of o rd in ary em ployers’ associations. Basically, there is no longer a struggle betw een labor a n d c a p i­ tal, b u t the solidarity of cap ital a n d labor against the consum ­ ing society. C onsidered for its social w orth, it is a reactio n ary beginning w hich can n o t be a stage in the struggle for the em an cip atio n o f th e p ro le ta ria t because it represents th e very opposite of the class struggle. As to its p ractical value, it is a u to p ia w hich, as shown by a ra p id ex am in atio n , c a n n o t be ex­ tended to the large b ranches of industry pro d u cin g for the w orld m arket. T h e activity of the tra d e unions is lim ited essentially to the wage struggle an d the struggle for a reduction of lab o r tim e, th a t is to say, to efforts a t reg u latin g cap italist exploitation w ithin the m ark et relations. B ut tra d e unions cannot, by the very n a tu re of things, influence th e process o f p ro d u ctio n itself. A nd, m oreover, tra d e-u n io n developm ent— c o n trary to w h at is asserted by K o n ra d S chm idt— moves in the direction of a com plete d e tach m en t of th e labor m ark et from an y im m ed iate relation to the rest of the m arket. T h is is shown especially by 15Webb, Theorie und Praxis der Englischen Gewerkvereine, Bd. 2, S. 100 ff. (R.L.) 16 Ibid., S. 115 ff. (R.L.)

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the fact th a t even attem p ts to relate labor contracts to th e gen­ eral situ atio n of p ro d u ctio n by m eans of a system of sliding wage scales have been outm oded w ith historical developm ent. T h e B ritish labor unions are m oving fu rth er a n d fu rth e r aw ay from such efforts.1 Even w ith in the effective b o u n d aries o f its activity, the tra d e-u n io n m ovem ent c an n o t spread in th e u n lim ited way claim ed for it by th e theory of a d a p ta tio n . O n th e contrary! If we exam ine long stretches of social developm ent, we see th a t we are n o t m oving tow ard a n epoch m ark ed by a victorious developm ent of tra d e unions b u t ra th e r tow ard a tim e w hen th e h ardships of the labor unions will increase. O nce in d u strial developm ent has a tta in e d its highest possible point, a n d c a p i­ talism has en tered its descending phase on th e w orld m ark et, th e tra d e -u n io n struggle will becom e doubly difficult. In the first place, the objective co n ju n ctu re of th e m ark et will be less favorable to the sellers of labor-pow er because the d em a n d for labor-pow er will increase a t a slower rate, a n d th e lab o r su p ­ ply m ore rapidly, th a n is a t p resen t th e case. In th e second place, in o rder to m ake u p for losses suffered on the w orld m a r­ ket, th e capitalists them selves will m ake even g reater efforts th a n a t p resen t to reduce th e p a rt o f the to tal p ro d u ct going to th e workers. Is the red u ctio n of wages not one of th e p rin cip al m eans of re ta rd in g the fall of profit? 1718 T h e situ atio n in E n g ­ lan d alread y offers us a p ictu re of th e beginning of th e second stage of tra d e -u n io n developm ent. T ra d e -u n io n actio n is, of necessity, reduced to the sim ple defense of a lread y realized gains, a n d even th a t is becom ing m ore a n d m ore difficult. Such is th e general tre n d of things in our society. T h e co u n ter­ p a rt o f this tendency is the developm ent of th e political a n d so­ cial class struggle. K o n ra d S chm idt com m its th e sam e erro r of historical p e r­ spective w hen he deals w ith social reforms. H e expects th a t so17 Ibid., S. 115. (R.L.) "Das Kapital, Bd. 3, T. 1, S. 216. (R.L.)

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cial reform s “ will, w ith th e aid o f th e tra d e-u n io n coalition o f workers, d ictate to the capitalists th e conditions u n d e r w hich they will be able to em ploy lab o r-p o w er.” Seeing reform in this light, B ernstein calls labor legislation a piece o f “ social contro l,” an d as such— a piece o f socialism. Sim ilarly, K o n ra d S chm idt alw ays uses th e term “ social co n tro l” w hen he refers to labor-protective laws. O nce he has thus h ap p ily tra n s­ form ed th e state into society, he co n h d en tly adds: “T h a t is to say, the rising w orking class.” As a result o f this o p eratio n , the innocent lab o r laws en acted by th e G erm an B u n d e srat19 are transform ed into m easures for the tran sitio n to socialism , su p ­ posedly en acted by the G erm an p ro le tariat. T h e m ystification here is obvious. W e know th a t th e present state is not “ society” in th e sense o f the “ rising w orking class.” It is th e representative o f cap italist society, i.e., a class state. T herefore, its reform m easures are not an a p p licatio n o f “so­ cial co n tro l,” th a t is, the control by th e freely w orking society of its own lab o r process. T h e y are forms o f control ap p lied by the class org an izatio n o f cap ital to the pro d u ctio n o f cap ital. T hus, the n a tu ra l lim its o f social reform s lie w ith th e interest of capital. O f course, B ernstein a n d K o n ra d S ch m id t see a t present only “ feeble beginnings” of this control. T h e y hope to see a long succession of reform s in the future, all favoring the w orking class. B ut here they com m it a m istake sim ilar to th eir belief in the un lim ited developm ent of th e tra d e-u n io n m ove­ m ent. T h e theory o f the g ra d u a l in tro d u ctio n o f socialism th ro u g h social reform s presupposes as its fu n d am en tal condition a cer­ tain objective developm ent of cap italist p ro p erty a n d o f the 19 Seeing that Social Democracy was gaining strength, the German government under Bismarck enacted certain labor legislation in order to woo the workers away from socialism. The tactic failed. When Wilhelm II came to the throne, he too tried to win the workers to his “social kingship,” passing labor-protective laws, limiting the work week to six days, setting an eleven-hour day for women and a ten-hour day for youths, etc. These laws were passed by the Bundesrat, the upper house which was not democratically elected, and not by the Reichstag, where the Social Democratic rep­ resentatives, elected by universal suffrage, sat.

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state. C o n cern in g th e form er, K o n ra d S ch m id t’s schem a of future dev elopm ent says: “T h e rights of the cap italist p ro p rie­ tor will be dim inished, a n d he will be reduced m ore a n d m ore to the role o f a sim ple a d m in istra to r.” Because he thinks th a t th e ex p ro p riatio n of th e m eans of p ro d u ctio n c a n n o t possibly be effected as a single act, he resorts to the theory of e x p ro p ria­ tion by stages. W ith this in m ind, he divides p ro p erty rights into 1) th e rig h t of “ superior p ro p e rty ” [“Obereigentum— D .H .], w hich he a ttrib u tes to “society,” a n d w hich he w ants to extend, a n d 2) the sim ple rig h t of use, held by the capitalists b u t supposedly being reduced to th e m ere ad m in istratio n of their enterprises. T his construction is eith er a sim ple play on words, a n d in th a t case th e theory of g rad u al ex p ro p riatio n has no real basis; or it is a tru e p ictu re of ju rid ic a l developm ent, in w hich case th e theory is totally false. T h e division of the rig h t of p ro p erty into several com ponent rights, an a rra n g e m e n t serving K o n ra d S chm idt as a shelter w herein he m ay construct his theory of “ ex p ro p riatio n by stages,” ch aracterized feudal society, w hich was founded on a n a tu ra l econom y. In feudalism , th e to tal p ro d u ct was shared in natura am ong th e social classes on th e basis of the personal re la ­ tions betw een the feudal lord a n d his serfs or tenants. T h e d e ­ com position o f p ro p erty into several p a rtia l rights reflected the m a n n e r of d istrib u tio n of the social w ealth of th a t period. W ith the passage to th e p ro d u ctio n of com m odities a n d the dissolution of all personal bonds am o n g the p a rtic ip a n ts in the process of p roduction, th e relatio n betw een m en a n d things (th a t is to say, p riv a te p ro p erty ) becam e, reciprocally, stronger. Since the division is no longer m ad e on th e basis of personal relations b u t th ro u g h exchange, the different rights to a share in th e social w ealth are no longer m easured as frag­ m ents o f p ro p erty rights h av in g a com m on object, b u t acco rd ­ ing to th e values b ro u g h t by each to th e m arket. T h e first g re a t change in legal relations w ith th e ad v an ce of com m odity p ro d u ctio n into th e m edieval city-com m unes was

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th e developm ent of absolute p riv ate p ro p erty w ithin th e very m idst of th e feudal legal relations based on divided p ro p erty rights. T h is developm ent has progressed a t a ra p id pace in capitalist production. T h e m ore th e process of p ro d u ctio n is socialized, the m ore th e process of distrib u tio n rests on p u re exchange. A nd the m ore p riv ate p ro p erty becom es inviolable an d closed, th e m ore cap italist p ro p erty becom es transform ed from the rig h t to th e p ro d u ct of o n e’s own labor to th e p u re right to a p p ro p ria te som ebody else’s labor. As long as th e c a p i­ talist him self m anages th e factory, distrib u tio n is still, u p to a certain point, tied to personal p a rtic ip a tio n in th e process of production. B ut as th e personal m an ag em en t on th e p a rt of th e cap italist becom es superfluous— w hich is the case in the shareholding com panies today— th e ow nership of c ap ital as a right to share in th e d istribution becom es w holly sep arated from any personal relatio n w ith production. It now ap p ears in its purest, m ost closed form. T h e cap italist rig h t of p ro p erty reaches its most com plete developm ent in cap ital held in th e form of shares an d in d u strial credit. K o n ra d S ch m id t’s historical schem a, tra cin g th e transfor­ m ation o f the cap italist “ from a p ro p rieto r to a sim ple a d m in ­ istrato r,” thus ap p ears as th e inverse of th e actu al develop­ m ent in w hich, on the co n trary , th e cap italist tends to change from a p ro p rieto r a n d ad m in istrato r to a sim ple proprietor. W h a t h ap p en s here to K o n ra d S chm idt h ap p en ed to G oethe: W h a t he has, he sees as in a dream . W h a t is gone, he thinks is reality. J u s t as his historical schem a moves b ackw ard econom ically from a m odern shareholding co m p an y to th e stage of sim ple m an u factu rin g , or even to th e a rtisa n ’s shop, so, ju rid ically , he wishes to lead th e cap italist w orld back into th e old shell of the feudal n a tu ra l econom y. From this p o in t o f view, too, “social co n tro l” ap p e ars in a different light th a n seen by K o n ra d Schm idt. W h a t functions today as “social co n tro l”— lab o r legislation, th e control of

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shareholding com panies— has absolutely n o th in g to do w ith a p a rticip atio n in p ro p erty rights w ith “superior p ro p e rty .” F a r from being a red u ctio n of cap italist ow nership, it is, on the contrary, a protection of such ow nership. O r, expressed in eco­ nom ic term s, it is not a th re a t to cap italist exploitation b u t sim ply th e n o rm alizatio n of this exploitation. A nd, w hen B ernstein asks if th ere is m ore or less socialism in a lab o r-p ro ­ tective law, we can assure him th a t, in th e best of lab o r-p ro tec­ tive laws, th ere is no m ore “socialism ” th a n in a m u n icip al o r­ d in an ce reg u latin g the cleaning of streets or the lighting of street lam ps— w hich is also “social co n tro l.” 4. Tariff Policy and Militarism T h e second presupposition for th e g rad u al in tro d u ctio n of socialism is, according to B ernstein, th a t th e state becom e soci­ ety. It has becom e a com m onplace to say th a t the present state is a class state. In our opinion, this too, like everything refer­ ring to cap italist society, should no t be understood in a fixed, absolute m a n n e r, b u t in a flowing developm ent. T h e state becam e capitalist w ith th e political victory of the bourgeoisie. O f course, cap italist developm ent itself essentially modifies the n a tu re of th e state, w idening its sphere of action, constantly im posing new functions on it (especially those affecting econom ic life), m ak in g m ore a n d m ore necessary its in terv en tio n a n d control in society. In this sense, cap italist d e ­ velopm ent g rad u ally p rep ares th e future fusion of th e state a n d society. In this sense, one can speak of a n evolution of the capitalist state into society, a n d it is u n d o u b ted ly this th a t M arx h a d in m in d w hen he referred to labor legislation as the first conscious in terv en tio n of “ society” in its social life-process, a phrase to w hich B ernstein refers. But, on th e oth er h a n d , th e sam e cap italist developm ent brings a n o th e r tran sfo rm atio n in th e n a tu re of th e state. T h e present state is, first of all, an o rg an izatio n of th e ru lin g ca p i­ talist class. It assumes different functions favoring social devel­ o pm ent only because, a n d in th e m easure th a t, these interests

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an d social developm ent coincide generally w ith the interests of the ruling class. L ab o r legislation, for exam ple, is as m u ch in the im m ed iate interest o f the cap italist class as in th e interest of society in general. B ut this h arm o n y endures only u p to a certain po in t of capitalist developm ent. W h en cap italist devel­ opm ent has reached a certain h igh point, the interests o f the bourgeoisie as a class a n d those o f econom ic progress begin to differ, even in the cap italist sense. W e believe th a t this phase has alread y begun. It shows itself in two extrem ely im p o rta n t p h en o m en a of contem p o rary social life: tariff policy a n d milita­ rism. B oth of these have played a n indispensable, a n d in th a t sense a progressive a n d revo lu tio n ary role in th e history of c a p ­ italism . W ith o u t protective tariffs, th e developm ent of large in ­ dustry w ould have been im possible in several countries. But now the situation is different. [In all the m ost im p o rta n t countries, an d especially in those w hich are actively p ro tec­ tionist, cap italist prod u ctio n seems to be a t the sam e level.] 20 f rom th e stan d p o in t of cap italist development, th a t is, from the stan d p o in t of w orld econom y, it m atters little today w hether G erm an y exports m ore m erchandise into E n g la n d or E ngland exports m ore m erchandise into G erm any. F rom the view point o f this developm ent, the M oor has done his w ork,21 an d it is tim e for him to go his way. M ore, he had to go. G iven the condition of reciprocal dependence in w hich th e various branches of industry find them selves today, a protectionist tariff on any com m odity necessarily results in raising th e cost of production of o th er com m odities inside th e country. T h a t is, it im pedes industrial developm ent. B ut this is n ot th e case from the p o in t of view o f the interests of the capitalist class. W hile industry does n ot need ta riff barriers for its development, 20 In the second edition, this sentence is replaced by: “At present, protection does not so much serve to develop young industry as to arti­ ficially maintain certain aged forms of production.” 21 The reference j s unclear, although it may have been to Marx, who was nick­ named the “Moor.”

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the en trep ren eu rs need tariffs to protect th eir m arkets. T h a t is, a t present tariffs no longer serve as a m eans of p ro tectin g a d e­ veloping cap italist m ode o f p ro d u ctio n against a n o th e r mode. T h ey are now the a rm used by one n atio n al group of c a p ita l­ ists against a n o th e r group. F u rth erm o re, tariffs are no longer necessary as an in stru m en t of p rotection for industry in its m ovem ent to create a n d conquer th e hom e m arket. R a th e r, they are indispensable m eans for th e cartelizatio n of industry, th a t is, m eans used in the struggle o f th e cap italist producers against th e consum ing society. F inally, w h at brings ou t em ­ p h atically the specific c h a ra c te r of co n tem p o rary custom s poli­ cies is the fact th a t today no t ind u stry b u t ag ricu ltu re plays the p re d o m in a n t role in the m ak in g o f tariffs. T h a t is, th e policy of custom s protection has becom e a tool for expressing feudal in ­ terests, a n d for coloring th em in cap italist form. In th e case of m ilitarism , the sam e change has tak en place. I f we consider history as it actu ally was— not as it could have been or should have been— we m ust agree th a t w ar has been a n indispensable feature of cap italist developm ent. T h e U n ited States, G erm an y , Italy, th e B alkan states, R ussia, an d P o lan d all owe th e conditions or th e rise of th eir cap italist d e­ velopm ent to w ars, w h eth er they resulted in victory or defeat. From th e p o in t of view of capitalism , as long as th ere were countries m ark ed by in te rn a l political division or econom ic isolation w hich h a d to be overcom e, m ilitarism p layed a revo­ lu tio n ary role. B ut at present the situ atio n is different. [M ilita­ rism has no m ore lands to open u p to capitalism .] If w orld pol­ itics have becom e the th e a te r of m en acin g conflicts, it is not so m uch a question of openin g new countries to capitalism , b u t of alread y existing European antagonism s w hich, tra n sp o rted to oth er lands, have exploded there. T h e arm ed opponents we see today in E u ro p e an d on o th er continents do n ot ran g e th e m ­ selves as cap italist countries on th e one side a n d n a tu ra l-e c o n ­ om y countries on the other. R a th e r, they are states pushed to w ar precisely as a result of th eir equ ally ad v an ced cap italist developm ent. In view of this, an explosion is c ertain to be fatal

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to this developm ent in th e sense th a t it m ust provoke a n ex­ trem ely profound d istu rb an ce a n d tran sfo rm atio n of econom ic life in all countries. H ow ever, th e m a tte r ap p ears differently w hen considered from the stan d p o in t of the capitalist class. For it, m ilitarism has becom e indispensable: first, as a m eans of struggle for the defense of “ n a tio n a l” interests in com petition against o th er “ n a tio n a l” groups; second, as a m ost im p o rta n t m eans of investm ent of financial a n d in d u strial c ap ital; th ird , as an in stru m en t of class d om ination over th e lab o rin g p o p u la ­ tion inside the country. All of these interests have n o th in g in com m on w ith the developm ent of th e cap italist m ode of p ro ­ duction. W h a t dem onstrates best th e specific c h a ra c te r of pres­ ent-day m ilitarism is, first, th a t it generally develops in all countries as an effect, so to speak, of its own in tern al, m e ch an i­ cal m otive power, a p h enom enon th a t was com pletely u n ­ know n several decades ago. F u rth e r, [there is— D .H .] th e fatal c h a racter of the im pen d in g explosion w hich is inevitable in spite of the fact th a t its cause, th e states w hich will be in ­ volved, an d the objectives a n d m otives of the conflict are all unknow n. From a m otor of cap italist developm ent, m ilitarism has changed into a cap italist sickness. In the clash betw een cap italist developm ent a n d th e in te r­ ests of the d o m in an t class, the state takes a position on th e side of the latter. Its policy, like th a t of th e bourgeoisie, comes into conflict w ith social developm ent. It th u s loses m ore a n d m ore its ch aracter as a representative of the w hole o f society a n d is transform ed, a t th e sam e rate, into a p u re class state. O r, to speak m ore exactly, these two qualities distinguish them selves m ore from each oth er a n d find them selves in a co n trad icto ry relation w ithin the very essence of th e state. A nd precisely this contradiction becom es progressively sharper. For, on th e one han d , th e functions of th e state in the general interest grow, as does its in terv en tio n in social life a n d its “ co n tro l” over society. But, on th e o th er h an d , its class c h a ra c te r obliges the state to move th e pivot of its activity a n d its m eans of coercion m ore an d m ore into dom ains w hich are only useful to the class inter-

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ests of th e bourgeoisie, as in th e case of m ilitarism a n d tariff an d colonial policies. M oreover, th e “social co n tro l” exercised by this state is a t the sam e tim e p e n e tra te d w ith a n d do m i­ n ated by its class c h a ra c te r (th in k of how lab o r legislation is applied in all countries). T h e extension of dem ocracy w hich B ernstein sees as a m eans o f g rad u ally in tro d u cin g socialism does no t co n trad ict but, on the co n trary , corresponds perfectly w ith th e transfor­ m atio n realized in th e n a tu re of th e state. K o n ra d S chm idt declares th a t th e conquest o f a Social D em ocratic m ajo rity in P a rlia m e n t will lead directly to the g rad u al socialization o f society. Now, th e d em ocratic forms of political life a re w ithout question a p h enom enon expressing m ost clearly th e evolution of th e state into society. T o th a t ex­ tent, they constitute a stage tow ard th e socialist tran sfo rm a­ tion. But th e conflict w ithin th e essence of th e state, described above, m anifests itself even m ore em p h atically in m o d ern p a r ­ liam entarism . Precisely its form serves p a rlia m e n ta rism to ex­ press, w ithin th e o rg an izatio n of th e state, th e interests of th e w hole of society. B ut, on th e o th er h a n d , w h a t p a rlia m e n ta r­ ism expresses here is still cap italist society, th a t is to say, a soci­ ety in w hich capitalist interests a re d o m in a n t— a n d it is these th a t p a rlia m e n ta rism expresses. T h e institutions w hich are d em ocratic in th eir form becom e, therefore, tools o f th e in te r­ est of th e ru lin g class in th e ir content. T h is m anifests itself in a tangible fashion in the fact th a t as soon as dem ocracy shows th e ten d en cy to n eg ate its class c h a ra c te r a n d becom e tra n s­ form ed in to a n in stru m en t of th e real interests o f th e people, th e d em o cratic forms are sacrificed by th e bourgeoisie a n d its state representatives. T h a t is w hy th e id ea of th e conquest of a p a rlia m e n ta ry reform ist m ajo rity is a calcu latio n w hich, e n ­ tirely in the spirit of bourgeois liberalism , preoccupies itself only w ith one side, th e form al side, of dem ocracy b u t does not take in to acco u n t th e o th e r side, its real content. All in all, p a rlia m e n ta rism does not a p p e a r to be a directly socialist ele­ m en t g ra d u a lly im p reg n atin g th e w hole cap italist society, as

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Bernstein thinks. It is, on the co n trary , a specific m eans em ­ ployed by the bourgeois class state, h elp in g to rip en a n d d e ­ velop the existing antagonism s o f capitalism . In the light of this objective developm ent o f th e state, B ern­ stein’s a n d K o n ra d S ch m id t’s b elief th a t increased “social con­ tro l” results in th e direct in tro d u ctio n of socialism is tra n s­ form ed into a form ula th a t from day to day finds itself in g reater co n trad ictio n w ith reality. T h e theory of the g ra d u a l in tro d u ctio n of socialism proposes a progressive reform o f cap italist p ro p erty a n d th e cap italist state in the direction of socialism. H ow ever, in consequence of the objective facts of existing society, one a n d th e o th er d e ­ velop in a precisely opposed direction. T h e process of p ro d u c ­ tion will be increasingly socialized a n d state in terv en tio n , the control of the state over th e process of production, will be ex­ tended. B ut a t the sam e tim e, p riv ate p ro p erty will tak e on m ore a n d m ore th e form of open cap italist ex p loitation of the labor of others, an d state control will be m ore a n d m ore p en e­ trated w ith th e exclusive interests of the ru lin g class. In asm u ch as the state, th a t is, the political o rg an izatio n of capitalism , an d property relations, th a t is, th e juridical o rg an izatio n o f c a p ita l­ ism, becom e m ore capitalist as they develop, a n d not m ore so­ cialist, they oppose to th e theory of th e progressive in tro d u c ­ tion of socialism two in su rm o u n tab le difficulties. F o u rier’s schem e of ch an g in g all th e w ater o f th e sea into lem onade by m eans of a system o f p halansteries was a very fantastic idea. B ut B ernstein, proposing to change th e sea of capitalist bitterness into a sea of socialist sweetness by progres­ sively pouring into it bottles of social-reform ist lem o n ad e p re ­ sents an idea w hich is m erely m ore insipid b u t not a h a ir less fantastic. T h e pro d u ctio n relations of cap italist society a p p ro a c h m ore an d m ore th e pro d u ctio n relations of socialist society. But, on the oth er h an d , its political a n d ju rid ic a l relations establish an ever h ig h er w all betw een cap italist society a n d socialist soci­ ety. T h is w all is not overthrow n b u t, on the co n trary , strength-

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ened a n d consolidated by the developm ent of social reforms a n d dem ocracy. O n ly th e h a m m e r blow of revolution, th a t is, the conquest o f political power by the proletariat, can b reak dow n this wall. 5. Practical Consequences and General Character o f Revisionism In th e first ch ap ter, we a tte m p te d to show th a t B ernstein’s theory lifts the p ro g ram of the socialist m ovem ent off its m a te ­ rial base a n d places it on an idealist basis. T his concerns its theoretical foundation. H ow does this theory a p p e a r w hen tra n slated into practice? First, a n d form ally, it does not differ in th e least from the p ractice followed by Social D em ocracy u p to now. T ra d e u n ­ ions, the struggle for social reform a n d for th e dem ocratization o f the political institutions are precisely th a t w hich constitutes the form al co n ten t of th e activity of the Social D em ocratic P arty. T h e difference is not in th e what b u t in the how. A t pres­ ent, th e tra d e-u n io n a n d th e p a rlia m e n ta ry struggles are con­ sidered as m eans of g rad u ally guid in g an d ed u catin g th e p ro ­ leta ria t for th e tak in g of political pow er. From the revisionist stan d p o in t, this conquest of pow er is im possible a n d useless; therefore, tra d e-u n io n a n d p a rlia m e n ta ry activity are to be carried on only for th eir im m ed iate results, th a t is, th e b e t­ tering o f th e .m aterial situatio n of th e workers, th e g ra d u a l re­ d uction o f cap italist exploitation a n d th e extension of social control. If we ignore th e im m ed iate am elio ratio n of th e w orkers’ condition— an objective shared by th e P a rty p ro g ram a n d re ­ visionism— th e difference betw een th e two conceptions is, in brief, the following. A ccording to th e cu rre n t conception, the socialist significance of tra d e-u n io n a n d p a rlia m e n ta ry activity is th a t it p rep ares the p ro le ta ria t— th a t is, th e subjective factor o f the socialist tran sfo rm atio n — for th e task of realizing social­ ism. A ccording to B ernstein, th e tra d e-u n io n a n d political struggles g ra d u ally reduce cap italist ex p lo itatio n itself, rem ove from c ap italist society its cap italist ch ara c te r, a n d give it a so-

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cialist one. In a w ord, th e two forms o f struggle are said to realize the socialist tran sfo rm atio n in an objective sense. E xam ined m ore closely, the two conceptions are d ia m e tri­ cally opposed. In th e c u rre n t conception o f o u r p arty , th e p ro ­ letariat becom es convinced of the im possibility of accom ­ plishing fu n d am en tal social change as a result o f its trade-union an d p a rlia m e n ta ry struggles a n d arrives a t the conviction th a t these struggles c an n o t basically change its situ­ ation, a n d th a t the conquest of pow er is unavoidable. B ern­ stein’s theory, however, begins by presupposing th a t th e con­ quest of pow er is im possible, a n d it concludes by affirm ing th a t th e socialist order can only be in tro d u ced as a result o f the trad e-u n io n struggle a n d p a rlia m e n ta ry activity. As seen by B ernstein, tra d e-u n io n a n d p a rlia m e n ta ry action has a socialist ch a ra c te r because it exercises a progressively so­ cializing influence on the cap italist econom y. W e tried to show th a t this influence is p urely im aginary. T h e structures ol c a p i­ talist p ro p erty a n d th e cap italist state develop in en tirely o p ­ posed directions. But, in the last analysis, this m eans th a t the daily p ractical activity o f Social D em ocracy loses all connec­ tion w ith socialism. T h e g reat socialist significance o f the trad e-u n io n a n d p a rlia m e n ta ry struggles is th a t th ro u g h them the awareness, the consciousness, of the p ro le ta ria t becom es so­ cialist, an d it is organized as a class. B ut if they are considered as instrum ents for th e direct socialization of th e cap italist econom y, they lose not only th e ir supposed effectiveness, b u t also cease to be a m eans o f p re p a rin g the w orking class for the p ro letarian conquest o f power. E d u a rd B ernstein a n d K o n ra d S chm idt suffer from a com ­ plete m isu n d erstan d in g w hen they console them selves w ith the belief th a t even thoug h the p ro g ram o f the P a rty is reduced to work for social reform s a n d o rd in a ry tra d e-u n io n w ork, th e final objective of the lab o r m ovem ent is n ot therefore lost, b e ­ cause each forw ard step reaches beyond th e given im m ed iate aim , a n d th e socialist goal is im plied as a tendency in the m ovem ent. T h is is certain ly fully tru e o f the present tactic of

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G erm an Social D em ocracy in w hich a firm a n d conscious effort to w ard th e conquest of political pow er precedes the trad e-u n io n struggle an d the w ork for social reforms. B ut if this presupposed effort is sep arated from the m ovem ent, an d social reform s are th en m ad e a n end in them selves, such activ­ ity not only does not lead to th e realizatio n of socialism as the u ltim ate goal, b u t moves in precisely th e opposite direction. K o n ra d S chm idt sim ply falls back on a so to speak m e c h a n ­ ical m ovem ent w hich, once started , c a n n o t stop by itself. H e justifies this w ith th e saying, “ o n e’s a p p etite grows w ith e a t­ ing,” a n d the w orking class will no t co n ten t itself w ith reforms as long as th e final socialist tran sfo rm atio n is no t realized. T h e last presupposition is q u ite true, as the insufficiency of c a p ita l­ ist social reform s them selves shows. But the conclusion draw n from it could only be tru e if it w ere possible to construct a n u n ­ broken ch ain of co n tin u ally grow ing reform s leading from the present social o rd er to socialism. T h is is, how ever, a fantasy. In accordance w ith the n a tu re of things, th e ch ain breaks quickly, a n d the p ath s th a t the m ovem ent can tak e from th a t point are m an y an d varied. T h e m ost p ro b ab le im m ed iate result of this is, th en , a ta c ti­ cal shift to w ard using all m eans to m ake possible th e practical results, the social reforms. As soon as im m ed iate p ractica l re ­ sults becom e the p rin c ip a l aim , th e clear-cut, irreconcilable class stan d p o in t, w hich has m ean in g only in so far as it p ro ­ poses to tak e pow er, will be found m ore a n d m ore an obstacle. T h e d irect consequence of this will be the ad o p tio n by the P arty of a “ policy o f co m p en satio n ,” a policy of horse-trading, an d an a ttitu d e o f sage d ip lo m atic conciliation.22 B ut the m ovem ent c an n o t rem ain im m obile for long. Since social re ­ forms in th e cap italist w orld are a n d rem ain a n em pty prom ise 22 Wolfgang Heine had proposed a “policy of compensation,” arguing that since it was inevitable that the demands for increased military spending be passed by the bourgeois majority, Social Democracy should attempt to negotiate an exchange of its votes for a more democratic system of suffrage. For Rosa Luxemburg, such an attitude was typical of revisionism and opportunism, and she attacked it often and with vigor.

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no m a tte r w h a t tactics one uses, th e next logical step is neces­ sarily disillusionm ent in social reform . O n e ends u p in the calm h a rb o r w here Professor Schm oller a n d Go. have d ro p p ed anchor after having n av ig ated the w aters o f social reform , finally letting the course o f things proceed as G od wills.23 It is n o t tru e th a t socialism will arise a u to m atically a n d u n d er all circum stances from the daily struggle o f the w orking class. Socialism will be th e consequence only of the ever grow ­ ing contradictions of cap italist econom y a n d th e co m p reh en ­ sion by the w orking class o f the u n av o id ab ility o f th e suppres­ sion of these contradictions th ro u g h a social transform ation. W hen the first condition is denied a n d th e second rejected, as is the case w ith revisionism , th e lab o r m ovem ent is red u ced to a sim ple cooperative a n d reform ist m ovem ent, a n d moves in a straight line tow ard th e to tal a b a n d o n m e n t o f the class sta n d ­ point. T hese consequences also becom e clear w hen we re g ard revi­ sionism from an o th er side, a n d ask w h a t is th e general c h a ra c ­ ter of revisionism. I t is obvious th a t revisionism does n o t d e ­ fend capitalist relations. It does n ot jo in the bourgeois economists in denying th e existence of th e contrad ictio n s of capitalism . R a th e r, its theory is based on the presupposition of the existence of these contradictions, ju s t like th e M a rx ist con23 In the second edition, the following footnote is added: “In 1872, Professors Wagner, Schmoller, Brentano, and others held a Congress at Eisenach at which they proclaimed noisily and with much publicity that their goal was the introduction of social reforms for the protection of the working class. These gentlemen, whom the liberal, Oppenheimer, calls ‘KathederSozialisten' [Socialists of the Chair,’ or ‘Academic Socialists’] formed a Vereinfür Sozialreform [Association for Social Reform]. Only a few years later, when the fight against Social Democracy grew sharper, as representatives in the Reichstag these pygmies of ‘Kathedersozialismus' voted for the extension of the Antisocialist Law. Beyond this, all of the activity of the Associ­ ation consists in its yearly general assemblies at which a few professorial reports on different themes are read. Further, the Association has published over one hundred thick volumes on economic questions. Not a thing has been done for social reform by the professors—who, in addition, support protective tariffs, militarism, etc. Finally, the Association has given up social reforms and occupies itself with the problem of crises, cartels, and the like.”

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ception. B ut, on the o th er h a n d , w h a t constitutes precisely the essential kernel o f revisionism a n d distinguishes it fu n d am en ­ tally from the a ttitu d e tak en by Social D em ocracy u p to now is th a t it does not base its theory on the suppression o f these contradictions as a result o f th eir logical in te rn a l developm ent. T h e theory of revisionism occupies a n in term ed iate place betw een two extrem es. Revisionism does not w an t to see the contradictions o f cap italism m a tu re , to suppress these c o n tra ­ dictions th ro u g h a revolu tio n ary transform ation. R a th e r, it w ants to lessen, to attenuate the cap italist contradictions. T hus, the an tag o n ism betw een p ro d u ctio n a n d exchange is to be a t­ te n u a te d by th e cessation of crises a n d the form ation o f cap i­ talist em ployers’ organizations; the antagonism betw een cap i­ tal a n d lab o r is to be adjusted by b etterin g the situ atio n of the w orkers a n d by conserving the m iddle classes; an d the c o n tra ­ diction betw een the class state a n d society is to be lessened th ro u g h increased control a n d dem ocracy. O f course, the present tactic o f Social D em ocracy does not consist in waiting for the antagonism s o f capitalism to develop to th eir m ost extrem e p o in t a n d only th en transform ing them . O n the co n trary , the essence o f revo lu tio n ary tactics is to rec­ ognize the direction of this developm ent a n d then, in the p oliti­ cal struggle, to push its consequences to the extrem e. T h u s, So­ cial D em ocracy has co m b atted protectionism a n d m ilitarism w ithout w aitin g for th eir reactio n a ry c h a ra c te r to becom e fully evident. B ern stein ’s tactics, how ever, are no t guided by a con­ sideration o f the developm ent a n d the ag g rav atio n of th e con­ tradictions of capitalism b u t by the prospect o f the a tte n u a tio n o f these contradictions. H e shows this m ost clearly w hen he speaks o f th e “ a d a p ta tio n ” o f cap italist econom y. Now, w hen could such a conception be correct? All the contradictions of m odern society are sim ply the results o f the cap italist process o f production. I f it is tru e th a t cap italism will continue to d e­ velop in the directio n it has tak en u n til the present, th e n the u n av o id ab le consequence is th a t its contrad ictio n s m ust neces­ sarily becom e sh arp er a n d m ore ag g rav ated instead o f less-

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ening. T h e possibility of th e a tte n u a tio n of th e contradictions of capitalism presupposes th a t th e cap italist m ode of p ro d u c­ tion itself will stop its progress. In short, th e general p resu p p o ­ sition of B ernstein’s theory is th e cessation o f capitalist development. In this way, however, his theory condem ns itself in a twofold m anner. In the first place, it m anifests its utopian c h a ra c te r in its stand on the establishm ent of socialism. It is a priori clear th a t a defective capitalist developm ent c a n n o t lead to a social­ ist transform ation. T his proves the correctness of o u r p resen ta­ tion of the practical consequences of th e theory. In th e second place, B ernstein’s theory reveals its reactionary c h a ra c te r w hen it is related to th e actual rap id cap italist developm ent. T his poses the question: given the real developm ent of capitalism , how can we explain or ra th e r ch aracterize B ernstein’s posi­ tion? In th e first ch ap ter, we d em o n strated th e u n te n a b ility of the econom ic preconditions on w hich B ernstein builds his analysis of existing social relationships (his theory of th e “ m eans of a d a p ta tio n ” ). W e have seen th a t n eith er the cred it system nor cartels can be said to be “m eans o f a d a p ta tio n ” of th e c a p ita l­ ist econom y. N eith er the tem p o rary cessation of crises nor the survival of the m iddle class can be regarded as sym ptom s of capitalist ad a p ta tio n . But, aside from th eir incorrectness, there is a com m on characteristic in all of th e above details of the theory of th e m eans of a d a p ta tio n . T h is theory does no t seize these m anifestations of co n tem p o rary econom ic life as they a p ­ p ear in th eir organic relationship w ith the w hole of cap italist developm ent, w ith th e com plete econom ic m echanism of ca p i­ talism. T h e theory pulls these details out of th eir living eco­ nom ic context, tre atin g th em as th e disjecta membra of a lifeless m achine. C onsider, for exam ple, th e conception of th e a d a p ­ tive effect of credit. If we consider cred it as a h ig h er n a tu ra l stage o f th e process of exchange an d , therefore, as tied to all the contradictions in h e re n t in cap italist exchange, we can n o t possibly see it, a t the sam e tim e, as a m ech an ical m eans of ad ap tatio n existing outside of th e process of exchange any

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m ore th a n we could consider m oney, com m odities, or cap ital as “m eans of a d a p ta tio n ” of capitalism . But, no less th a n m oney, com m odities, a n d cap ital, credit is a n organic link of capitalist econom y a t a certain stage of its developm ent. Like them , it is an indispensable gear in th e m echanism of th e c a p i­ talist econom y an d , a t th e sam e tim e, an in stru m en t of d e ­ struction, since it aggravates th e in te rn a l contrad ictio n s of capitalism . T h e sam e th in g is tru e of cartels a n d th e perfected m eans of com m unication. T h e sam e m echanical a n d u n d ialectical conception is seen in the w ay th a t B ernstein describes th e cessation of crises as a sym ptom of th e “ a d a p ta tio n ” of th e cap italist econom y. For him , crises are sim ply deran g em en ts of th e econom ic m ech a­ nism. W ith th eir cessation, he thinks, the m echanism could function sm oothly. B ut th e fact is th a t crises are no t “d eran g e­ m en ts”— or, ra th e r, they are “ d eran g em en ts” w ith o u t w hich the cap italist econom y as a w hole could not develop a t all. If, in a w ord, crises constitute the only m ethod possible in c a p ita l­ ism— a n d therefore th e no rm al m eth o d — of periodically solv­ ing the conflict betw een th e u n lim ited extension of p roduction a n d th e n arro w lim its of th e m ark et, th en crises are a n organic p henom enon, inseparable from th e cap italist econom y. In an “ u n d istu rb e d ” ad v an ce of cap italist p ro d u ctio n lurks a th re a t to capitalism th a t is m u ch g reater th a n crises. It is not the th re a t resulting from the co n trad ictio n betw een p ro d u c­ tion an d exchange, b u t from the grow th of th e produ ctiv ity of labor itself, w hich leads to a constantly falling ra te of profit. T h e fall in th e ra te of profit has th e extrem ely dangerous te n d ­ ency of ren d erin g im possible th e p ro d u ctio n of sm all a n d m id ­ dle-size capitals, a n d thus lim itin g th e new form ation an d therefore th e extension of placem ents for cap ital. It is precisely crises w hich constitute th e o th er consequence of th e sam e process. T h e result of crises is th e periodic depreciation o f c a p i­ tal, a fall in th e prices of the m eans of pro d u ctio n , a paralysis of a p a rt of the active cap ital, an d , in tim e, the increase of profits. Crises thus create th e possibilities of new investm ent

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an d therefore of the ad v an ce of p roduction. H ence, they a p ­ p ear to be th e in stru m en t for rek in d lin g the fire of cap italist developm ent. T h e ir cessation— no t tem p o rary cessation, b u t their total d isap p e aran ce— w ould n o t lead to the fu rth e r d e ­ velopm ent o f the cap italist econom y, as B ernstein thinks. R a th e r, it w ould drive capitalism into the swam ps. T ru e to the m ech an ical view of his theory of a d a p ta tio n , Bernstein forgets th e necessity of crises as well as th e necessity of new placem ents of sm all a n d m iddle-size capitals. A nd th a t is why, am ong o th er things, the co n stan t re a p p e a ra n c e of small cap ital seems to him to be a sign of th e cessation of c a p i­ talist developm ent though it is, in fact, a sign of n o rm al c a p i­ talist developm ent. T h e re is, o f course, one view point from w hich all of the abovem entioned p h en o m en a are seen exactly as th ey have been presented by th e theory of “ a d a p ta tio n .” It is th e view­ point of the individual cap italist w ho reflects in his m in d the econom ic facts a ro u n d him ju st as they a p p e a r w hen deform ed by the laws of com petition. T h e in d iv id u al cap italist sees each organic p a rt of th e to tality of o u r econom y as a w hole, a n in ­ d ep en d en t entity. F u rth e r, he sees th em as they ac t on him , the individual capitalist; a n d he therefore considers these facts to be sim ple “ d eran g em en ts” or sim ple “ m eans of a d a p ta ­ tion.” For th e individ u al capitalist, crises are really sim ple “ d eran g em en ts” or “ m eans o f a d a p ta tio n ” ; th e cessation of crises accords him a longer existence. As far as he is concerned, credit is only a m eans of “ a d a p tin g ” his insufficient productive forces to the needs o f th e m arket. A n d it seems to him th a t the cartel of w hich he becom es a m em b er really suppresses in d u s­ trial an arch y . In a w ord, B ernstein’s theory o f a d a p ta tio n is n o th in g b u t a theoretical g en eralizatio n of th e conception o f the in d iv id u al capitalist. W h a t is this view point th eo retically if not th e essen­ tial a n d ch aracteristic aspect of bourgeois v u lg ar econom ics? All t he econom ic errors of this school rest precisely on th e con­ ception th a t m istakes th e p h en o m en a o f co m petition, as seen

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from th e angle of the in d iv id u al capitalist, for th e p h en o m en a of the w hole of cap italist econom y. J u s t as B ernstein considers credit to be a m eans of “ a d a p ta tio n ,” so v ulgar econom y con­ siders money to be a judicio u s m eans of “ a d a p ta tio n ” to the needs of exchange. V u lg a r econom y, too, tries to find the a n ti­ dote against the ills of capitalism in the p h en o m en a of c a p ita l­ ism itself. L ike B ernstein, it believes in the possibility of reg u lat­ ing th e cap italist econom y. A nd, still in the m a n n e r of B ernstein, it arrives in tim e a t the desire to palliate the c o n tra ­ dictions of capitalism , th a t is, a t the belief in the possibility of p atch in g u p th e sores of capitalism . In o th er words, it ends up w ith a reactio n ary a n d not a revolutionary p ro g ram , a n d thus in a utopia. T h e revisionist theory can therefore be ch aracterized in the following w ay: it is a theory of socialist standstill justified th ro u g h a v ulgar econom ic theory of cap italist standstill.

PART TW O 24

1. Economic Development and Socialism T h e greatest conquest in the developm ent of the p ro le ta ria n class struggle was th e discovery th a t the p o in t of d e p a rtu re for th e realizatio n of socialism lies in th e economic relations of cap i­ talist society. As a result, socialism was chan g ed from an “ id eal” d ream ed by h u m a n ity for thousands of years to a n his­ torical necessity. B ernstein denies th e existence of these econom ic presupposi­ tions o f socialism in the society of today. In this, his reasoning has u n d erg o n e an interestin g evolution. A t first, in the Neue Zeit, he only contested th e rap id ity of the process of c o n cen tra­ tion ta k in g place in industry, basing his position on a co m p ari­ son of th e o ccu p atio n al statistics of G erm an y in 1882 an d 1895. In o rd er to use these figures for his purpose, he was 24 The second part of this pamphlet considers Bernstein’s book Die Voraussetzungen des Sozialismus und die Aufgaben der Sozialdemokratie [The Presuppositions of Socialism and the Tasks of Social Democracy] (Stuttgart, 1899).

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obliged to have recourse to an entirely sum m ary a n d m e c h a n i­ cal procedure. B ut even in the m ost favorable case, his refer­ ence to the persistence o f m iddle-size enterprises could not in the least w eaken the M a rx ia n analysis, because the la tte r does not presuppose, as a condition for the realizatio n of socialism, either a definite rate of co n cen tratio n of in d u stry — th a t is, a definite delay of the realizatio n of the socialist goal— or, as we have alread y shown, th e absolute disappearance of sm all capitals, or the d isap p earan ce o f the petty bourgeoisie. In the fu rth er developm ent of his ideas in his book, B ern­ stein furnishes us new proofs: the statistics o f shareholding societies. These statistics are supposed to prove th a t the n u m b er of shareholders increases constantly an d , as a result, th e capitalist class does not becom e sm aller b u t grows co n tinually larger. It is surprising th a t B ernstein has so little a c q u a in ta n c e w ith his m aterial, an d how poorly he knows how to use the d a ta in his own behalf. I f he w an ted to disprove th e M a rx ia n law of in d u strial d e­ velopm ent by referring to the condition of sh areholding so­ cieties, he should have resorted to entirely different figures. N am ely, anybody who is a c q u a in te d w ith th e history of sh are­ holding societies in G erm an y knows th a t th eir average fo u n d a­ tion c a p ita l25 has diminished alm ost constantly. T h u s, w hile b e­ fore 1871 the average foundation c ap ital reached the figure of 10.8 m illion m arks, it was only 4.01 m illion in 1871, 3.8 m il­ lion in 1873, less th a n a m illion from 1882 to 1887, 0.56 m il­ lion in 1891, a n d only 0.62 m illion in 1892. A fter this d ate, the figures oscillated a ro u n d 1 m illion m arks, falling from 1.78 m illion in 1895 to 1.19 m illion in the course of the first h a lf o f 1897.26 Surprising figures! B ernstein p ro b ab ly hoped to use th em to construct the existence of a n a n ti-M a rx ia n tendency, th a t of the tran sitio n o f large enterprises b ack into small ones. But, in 25 That is, the original investment in a corporation. 26 Van de Borght, Handwörterbuch der Staatswissenschaßen, I. (R.L.)

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this case, everyone can answ er him : If you are to prove a n y ­ th in g by m eans of these statistics, you m ust first of all show th a t they refer to the same branches of industry, th a t th e small enterprises really replace large ones, a n d th a t they do n o t a p ­ p ear only w here, previously, in d iv id u al enterprises, a rtisan in ­ dustry, or m in ia tu re indu stry w ere the rule. T his, however, you can n o t show. rl he passage of im m ense sh areh o ld in g so­ cieties to m iddle-size a n d sm all enterprises can only be ex­ plain ed by th e fact th a t th e system of sh areholding com panies continues to p e n etrate new bran ch es of production. Before, only a sm all n u m b er of large enterprises w ere organized as shareholding societies. G rad u ally sh areholding organization has won m iddle-size a n d even small enterprises. (T o d ay we can observe shareholding societies w ith a c ap ital of less th a n 1,000 m arks.) But w h at is the econom ic significance of th e ever g reater ex­ tension of the system of sh areh o ld in g societies? It signifies the grow ing socialization of p ro d u ctio n w ithin th e cap italist form — socialization not only of large b u t also of m iddle-size an d even sm all production. T herefore, th e extension of sh areh o ld ­ ing does not co n trad ict M arxist theory b ut, on the co n trary , confirm s it em phatically. In effect, w h at does th e econom ic ph en o m en o n of a sh are­ holding society actu ally am o u n t to? O n th e one h a n d , the u n i­ fication of a n u m b er of sm all fortunes into one large p ro d u c­ tive c a p ital; on the o th er h an d , th e sep aratio n of p roduction from cap italist ow nership. T h a t is, it signifies a double victory over th e capitalist m ode of p ro d u ctio n — b u t still on the cap i­ talist base. In view of this, w h at is th e m ean in g of the statistics cited by B ernstein concerning th e large n u m b e r of sh are­ holders p a rtic ip a tin g in cap italist enterprises? T hese statistics d em o n strate precisely th a t a t present one cap italist enterprise does not correspond, as h ith erto , to a single p ro p rieto r of cap i­ tal b u t to a w hole group, an ever increasing n u m b e r of c a p ita l­ ists. C onsequently, th e econom ic concept “c a p ita list” no longer signifies an isolated in dividual. T h e in d u strial capitalist

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of today is a collective person, com posed of h u n d red s a n d even of thousands o f individuals. W ith in th e fram ew ork o f cap italist society, th e category “ cap ita list” has itself becom e a social c a t­ egory; it has been socialized. H ow can B ernstein’s belief th a t the p h en o m en o n o f sh are­ holding societies stands for the dispersion a n d no t the concen­ tratio n o f cap ital be ex plained in view of the above? W h y does he see the extension of cap italist p ro p erty w here M a rx sees the “suppression of capitalist p ro p e rty ” ? T h is is a sim ple, vulgar econom ic error. By “ cap ita list” B ernstein does not m ean a c a t­ egory of p roduction b u t o f p ro p erty rights; not a n econom ic u n it b u t a fiscal u n it; n ot a to tality of p ro d u ctio n b u t sim ply a certain q u a n tity of m oney. T h a t is why in his English th re a d trust he does not see th e fusion of 12,300 persons into one, b u t fully 12,300 different capitalists. T h a t is w hy th e engineer Schulze, whose wife’s dow ry b ro u g h t him “ a large n u m b e r of shares” from stockholder M üller, is also a cap italist for B ern­ stein (p. 54).27 T h a t is why, for B ernstein, the w hole w orld seems to sw arm w ith capitalists.28 H ere as usual, the th eo retical base of B ernstein’s v u lg ar eco­ nom ic erro r is his “ p o p u la riz a tio n ” of socialism. By tra n s­ porting the concept “ c a p ita list” from the relations of p ro d u c­ tion to p ro p erty relations, an d by speaking of “m en instead of speaking of e n trep re n e u rs” (p. 53), he moves th e question of 27 The parenthesized page numbers in this second part refer to the original German edition of Bernstein’s book. 28 Nota bene! In the great diffusion of small shares, Bernstein obviously finds a proof that social wealth is beginning to pour shares on all little men. Indeed, who but petty bourgeois and even workers could buy shares for the bagatelle of one pound sterlin. or 20 marks? Unfortunately his supposition rests on a simple miscalculation. We are op­ erating here with the nominal value of shares instead of their market value, something entirely different. For example, on the mining market, South African Rand mine shares are on sale. These shares, like most mining values, are quoted at one pound sterling or 20 paper marks. But already in 1899, they sold at 43 pounds sterling, that is to say, not at 20 but at 860 marks. And it is generally so in all cases. So that these shares are perfectly bourgeois, and not at all petty-bourgeois or proletarian “bonds on social wealth,” for they are bought at their nominal value only by a small minority of shareholders. (R.L.)

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socialism from the realm of p roduction into th e realm of re la ­ tions of fo rtu n e— from th e relation betw een cap ital a n d labor to the relatio n betw een rich a n d poor. In this m a n n er, we are m errily led from M a rx a n d Engels to the a u th o r of the Evangel o f the Poor Fisherman, only w ith the difference th a t W eitling, w ith th e sure instinct o f th e p ro le ta r­ ian , recognized in the opposition betw een the poor a n d the rich the class antagonism s in th eir prim itive form, a n d w an ted to m ake of them a lever of the socialist m ovem ent, w hile B ern­ stein, on th e o th er h a n d , sees th e prospects of socialism in m ak in g th e poor rich, th a t is, in th e a tte n u a tio n of class a n ­ tagonism s. For this reason, B ernstein is engaged in a pettybourgeois course. T ru e, B ernstein does n o t lim it him self to incom e statistics. H e furnishes statistics of econom ic enterprises, a n d from m an y countries: G erm an y , F ran ce, E n g lan d , S w itzerland, A ustria, a n d th e U n ite d States. B ut w h at kind o f statistics are these? T h e y are not th e co m p arativ e figures of different periods in each country b u t of each period in different countries. T h u s, w ith the exception of G erm an y , w here he rep rin ts the old contrast betw een 1895 an d 1882, he does no t com pare the statistics of enterprises of a given co u n try a t different epochs b u t only the absolute figures for different countries: E n g lan d in 1891, F rance in 1894, the U n ite d States in 1890, etc. H e reaches the fol­ lowing conclusion: “ I f large exploitation is alread y suprem e in in dustry today, it nevertheless represents, in cluding th e e n te r­ prises d ep e n d e n t on it, even in a co u n try as developed as Prussia, a t m ost half of the p o p u latio n occupied in p ro d u c tio n ” (p. 84). T h is is also tru e of G erm an y , E n g lan d , B elgium , etc. W h a t he proves in this w ay is obviously not th e existence of this or th a t ten d en cy of econom ic d evelopm ent b u t m erely the absolute relatio n o f forces o f different forms of en terp rise or of the various professional classes. I f this is supposed to prove the im possibility of realizing socialism , the reasoning m ust rest on the theory according to w hich the result of social efforts is d e ­ cided by the relatio n of th e n u m erical physical forces o f the

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elem ents in th e struggle— th a t is, by th e m ere factor o f violence. H ere B ernstein, w ho alw ays th u n d ers against B lanquism , h im ­ self falls into the grossest B lanquist m isu n d erstan d in g . T h e re is, of course, th e difference th a t th e B lanquists as a socialist an d revolutionary ten d en cy presupposed as obvious th e possi­ bility of th e econom ic realizatio n of socialism a n d b u ilt th e chances of a violent revolution— even by a sm all m in o rity — on this possibility. B ernstein, on th e co n trary , infers from th e n u ­ m erical insufficiency of a m ajority of th e people th e im possibil­ ity of the econom ic realizatio n of socialism. Social D em ocracy does not, how ever, expect to a tta in its aim eith er as a result of the victorious violence of a m in o rity or th ro u g h th e num erical superiority of a m ajority. It sees socialism as a result of eco­ nom ic necessity— a n d th e com prehension of th a t necessity— leading to th e suppression of capitalism by th e masses of the people. T h is necessity m anifests itself above all in th e anarchy o f capitalism. C oncerning the decisive question of a n a rc h y in cap italist econom y, B ernstein denies only th e g reat general crises, not the p a rtia l a n d n atio n a l crises. T h u s, he denies th a t th e re is a great deal of an arch y ; a t th e sam e tim e, he adm its the exist­ ence of a little anarch y . C o ncerning th e cap italist econom y, he is— to use M a rx ’s illu stratio n — like th e foolish virgin w ho h ad a child “w ho was only very sm all.” B ut th e m isfortune is th a t in m atters like an arch y , little a n d m uch are eq u ally bad. If Bernstein recognizes th e existence of a little an arch y , th en by th e m echanism of com m odity econom y, this a n a rc h y will be extended to u n h eard -o f proportions— to th e breakdow n. B ut if B ernstein hopes, w hile m a in ta in in g th e system of com m odity production, to g rad u ally transform th e b it of a n a rc h y into order a n d h arm ony, he ag ain falls into one of th e fu n d am en tal errors of bourgeois v u lg ar econom ics in th a t he treats th e m ode of exchange as in d ep e n d e n t of th e m ode of p ro d u ctio n .29 29 The following footnote appears only in the first edition: “It is true that Bernstein answered our first series of articles in the Leipziger Volkszeitung [i.e., Part I of this essay—D.H.] in a seemingly broad manner, but in a

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T his is not the correct place for a d etailed d em o n stratio n of B ernstein’s surprising confusion concerning th e m ost elem en­ tary principles of political econom y. B ut one point, to w hich we are led by the fu n d am e n ta l question o f cap italist an arch y , m ust be briefly clarified. B ernstein declares th a t M a rx ’s lab o r theory o f value is a m ere ab stractio n , a term w hich for him , in political econom y, obviously constitutes an insult. B ut if the lab o r theory o f value is only an ab stractio n , if it is only a “ m en tal c o n stru ct” (p. 44)— th en every norm al citizen w ho has done m ilitary d uty a n d pays his taxes has th e sam e rig h t as K a rl M a rx to fashion his favorite nonsense into such a “ m en tal co n stru ct,” to m ake way which merely betrayed his embarrassment. For example, he makes it easy for himself to answer our critique of his skepticism concerning crises by arguing that we have made the whole Marxist theory of crises into music of the future. But this is an extremely free interpretation of our words, for we merely explained the regular me­ chanical periodicity of the crises—more precisely, the ten-year cycle of crises—as a schema which corresponds only to the fully developed world market. As for the content of the Marxist theory of crises, we explained it as the only scientific formulation of the mechanism, as well as of the inner economic causes of all previous crises. Bernstein’s answers to other points of our critique are still more astounding. To the argument, for example, that already, by their very nature, the cartels could offer no defense against the capitalist anarchy because—as the sugar industry shows—they create an exacerbated competition on the world market, Bernstein answers that this may very well be true, but the exacerbated sugar competition in England created a large fabrication of marmalade and preserves (p. 78). An answer which makes us think of the conversation exercises in Ollendorf s Teach Yourself Language book: ‘The sleeve is short but the shoe is tight. The father is tall but the mother has gone to bed.’ In the same logical context, Bernstein answers our proof that credit too cannot be a ‘means of adaptation’ against capitalist anarchy because, on the contrary, it increases this anarchy. Credit, he believes, alongside its disruptive character also has a positive ‘production-creative’ character which Marx himself is said to have recognized. This argument about credit is not at all new to anyone who, basing himself on Marxist theory, sees in the capitalist society all the positive points of departure for the future socialist transformation of society. The question at issue was whether this positive character of credit which points it beyond capitalism can come to fruition in the capi­ talist society as well, whether it can master capitalist anarchy, as Bernstein thinks, or whether it itself does not rather degenerate into contradictions and only increase once more the anarchy, as we showed. Bernstein’s repeated reference to the ‘productioncreative capacity of credit,’ which in fact forms the point of departure for the whole debate, is in this light merely a ‘theoretical flight into the beyond’—of the domain of the discussion.”

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his own law o f value. “ M a rx has ju st as m u ch right to neglect the properties of com m odities u n til th e la tte r are no m ore th a n the in c arn atio n o f q u an tities of sim ple h u m a n lab o r as have the econom ists of the B öhm -Jevons school to a b stra c t all the qualities of com m odities o th er th a n th eir u tility ” (p. 42).30 T hus, M a rx ’s social lab o r a n d M e n g e r’s a b stra c t u tility are, for Bernstein, q u ite sim ilar— p u re abstractions. In this, B ern­ stein forgets com pletely th a t M a rx ’s ab stractio n is no t a n in ­ vention b u t a discovery. It does no t exist in M a rx ’s h ead b u t in the com m odity econom y. It has not an im ag in ary b u t a real social existence, so real th a t it can be cut, h am m ered , w eighed, an d coined. T h e ab stract h u m a n lab o r discovered by M a rx is, in its developed form, none o th er th a n money. T h a t is precisely one of M a rx ’s m ost b rillia n t discoveries, w hile for all bourgeois political econom ists, from th e first of the m ercantilists to the last of the classicists, the essence of m oney has rem ain ed a book w ith seven seals. T h e B öhm -Jevons ab stract u tility is, on the co n trary , a m ere m en tal construct or, ra th e r, it is a construct o f intellec­ tu al em ptiness, a p riv ate ab su rd ity for w hich n e ith e r c a p ita l­ ism nor an y o th er society can be m ad e responsible b u t only vulgar bourgeois econom ics itself. W ith this “ m e n ta l con­ struct,” B ernstein, Böhm , a n d Jevons, a n d th e en tire subjective fraternity, can rem ain tw enty m ore years before th e m ystery of m oney w ith o u t arrivin g a t a solution an y different from the one reach ed by any cobbler— nam ely, th a t m oney is also a “ useful” thing. T hus, B ernstein has fully lost all com prehension o f M a rx ’s law of value. H ow ever, anybody w ith a sm all u n d e rsta n d in g of M arx ian econom ics can see th a t w ith o u t th e law o f value, M a rx ’s w hole system is incom prehensible. O r, to speak m ore concretely, w ithout an u n d e rsta n d in g of the n a tu re o f th e com ­ m odity a n d its exchange, the en tire econom y o f capitalism , w ith all its concatenations, m ust re m a in an enigm a. 30 Bôhm-Bawerk and Jevons, like Menger (next paragraph), were leaders of the marginalist school of economics. See Glossary.

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But, w h a t precisely is the m agic key w hich en ab led M a rx to open th e door to the deepest secrets o f all cap italist p h e ­ n o m en a a n d solve, as if a t play, problem s th a t w ere not even suspected by the greatest m inds o f classical bourgeois political econom y, such as S m ith a n d R icardo? N o th in g o th er th a n his conception of the w hole cap italist econom y as a n historical p h en o m en o n — not m erely, as in th e best of cases w ith th e clas­ sical econom ists, concerning th e feudal past of capitalism , b u t also concerning the socialist future. T h e secret o f M a rx ’s theory of value, of his analysis of m oney, his theory of capital, his theory of the ra te of profit, a n d consequently of th e whole existing econom ic system is— th e tran sito ry n a tu re of th e ca p i­ talist econom y, its collapse: thus— a n d this is only a n o th e r as­ pect o f the sam e p h en o m en o n — th e final goal, socialism. A nd precisely because, a priori, M a rx looked a t capitalism from the socialist’s view point, th a t is, from th e historical view point, he was en ab led to d ecip h er th e hieroglyphics of cap italist econ­ omy. A n d because he took the socialist view point as a point of d e p a rtu re for his analyses o f bourgeois society, he was in a p o ­ sition to give a scientific base to socialism. This is th e m easure by w hich we ev alu ate B ernstein’s re ­ m arks a t th e en d o f his book w here he com plains o f th e “ d u a l­ ism ” found “ everyw here in M a rx ’s m o n u m en tal w ork” [Capi­ tal— D .H .]. “T h e dualism is found in th a t the w ork wishes to be a scientific study a n d prove, a t the sam e tim e, a thesis w hich was com pletely elab o rate d a long tim e before; it is based on a schem a th a t alread y contains the result to w hich he w ants to lead. T h e re tu rn to the Communist Manifesto (th a t is, to the socialist goal!— R .L .) proves th e existence o f vestiges of u to p ian ism in M a rx ’s system ” (p. 177). M a rx ’s “ d u alism ,” how ever, is n o th in g b u t th e dualism of th e socialist future a n d the cap italist present, o f c a p ita l a n d labor, o f th e bourgeoisie a n d the p ro le ta ria t. It is th e m o n u ­ m ental scientific reflection o f th e dualism existing in bourgeois society, the dualism o f th e bourgeois class antagonism s. W h en B ernstein sees this th eo retical dualism in M a rx as “ a

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survival of u to p ian ism ,” this is only his naive avow al th a t he denies th e historical dualism of bourgeois society, th e existence of class antagonism s in capitalism , th a t for him socialism itself has becom e only a “ survival of u to p ian ism .” B ern stein ’s “m o n ­ ism ”— th a t is, his u n ity — is b u t th e u n ity of the etern alized capitalist order, th e u n ity of the socialist who has renounced his aim an d has decided to see in bourgeois society, one an d im m utable, the goal of h u m a n developm ent. H ow ever, if B ernstein does not see in th e econom ic stru ctu re of capitalism the du ality , the developm ent th a t leads to social­ ism, th en in o rder to preserve the socialist program , a t least in form, he is obliged to take refuge in an idealist construction lying outside of the econom ic developm ent. H e is obliged to transform socialism itself from a definite historical phase of so­ cial developm ent into an ab stract “ p rin c ip le.” T h a t is w hy the “cooperative p rin c ip le ”— the m eag er d ecan tatio n of socialism w ith w hich B ernstein wishes to garnish th e cap italist econom y — appears not as a concession of his bourgeois theory to the so­ cialist future of society b u t to B ernstein’s own socialist past. 2. Trade Unions, Cooperatives, and Political Democracy W e have seen th a t B ernstein’s socialism comes dow n to let­ ting th e w orkers share in the w ealth o f society, ch an g in g the poor into the rich. H ow will this be b ro u g h t about? H is articles in the Neue Zeit (“ Problem s of Socialism ” ) co n tain only vague allusions to this question. A d eq u ate inform ation, how ever, can be found in his book. H is socialism is to be realized in two ways: th ro u g h the tra d e unions— or, as B ernstein him self calls it, econom ic dem ocracy— arid cooperatives. T h e first will su p ­ press in d u strial profit; th e second will do aw ay w ith com m er­ cial profit (p. 118). C ooperatives— especially p ro d u ctio n cooperatives— essen­ tially constitute a hybrid form in th e m idst of capitalism . T h ey are sm all units of socialized p ro d u ctio n w ithin cap italist ex­ change. B ut, in the cap italist econom y, exchange dom inates production a n d — as a result of com petition, pitiless exploita-

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tion, th e com plete d o m in atio n of th e process of p ro d u ctio n by the interests o f ca p ita l— becom es a condition for th e survival of th e enterprise. T h e d o m in atio n of cap ital over the process of p ro d u ctio n expresses itself p ractically in the necessity of m ak ­ ing lab o r as intensive as possible, len g th en in g or shortening th e w orking d ay according to th e situ atio n of the m a rk e t and, d ep en d in g on the req u irem en ts o f th e m ark et, em ploying or throw ing labor-pow er back onto th e street. In a w ord, all m ethods th a t en ab le an enterprise to stan d u p against its com ­ petitors are p racticed. T h e w orkers form ing a p ro d u ctio n co­ operative are thus faced w ith th e co n trad icto ry necessity of governing them selves w ith the utm ost absolutism , of playing th e role o f the cap italist e n tre p re n e u r against them selves. T his co n trad ictio n accounts for the failure of p ro d u ctio n coopera­ tives w hich eith er becom e pure cap italist enterprises or, if the w orkers’ interests co n tin u e to p red o m in ate, end by dissolving. B ernstein has him self tak en note of these facts, b u t he has not understood them . For, to g eth er w ith M rs. P o tter-W eb b , he ex­ plains th e failure of p ro d u ctio n cooperatives in E n g lan d by th eir lack of “ discipline.” B ut w h a t is here so superficially an d flatly called “ discipline” is n o th in g b u t the n a tu ra l a n d abso­ lutist regim e of cap italism w hich, it is p lain, the w orkers c a n ­ n ot successfully use against them selves.31 It follows from this th a t cooperatives can survive w ith in the cap italist econom y only if they m an ag e to suppress, by m eans of some detour,, the co n trad ictio n betw een th e m ode o f p ro d u c­ tion a n d th e m ode o f exchange w hich is concealed in this [eco­ nom ic— D .H .] form. T h e y can accom plish this only by rem ov­ ing them selves artificially from th e influence of the laws of free com petition. A nd th ey can succeed in th e la tte r only w hen they assure them selves befo reh an d a m ark et, a co n stan t circle of consum ers. Such a n aid c an be furnished th em by th e con31 “The cooperative factories of the workers themselves represent within the old form the first breach in the old form, although they naturally reproduce, and must re­ produce, everywhere in their actual organization all the shortcomings of the pre­ vailing system.” Das Kapital, Bd. 3, T. 1, S. 427. (R.L.)

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sum ers’ cooperative. H e re — a n d no t in O p p e n h e im e r’s distin c­ tion betw een cooperatives th a t p u rch ase a n d cooperatives th a t sell [to w hich B ernstein refers favorably— D .H .] is th e secret treated by B ernstein: th e ex p lan atio n for th e in v ariab le failure of in d ep en d en t p ro d u cers’ cooperatives a n d th e ir survival w hen they are backed by consum ers’ organizations. But if it is tru e th a t th e conditions of existence of p ro d u cers’ cooperatives in m od ern society are b o u n d u p w ith th e co n d i­ tions of existence o f consum ers’ cooperatives, th en the fu rth er consequence follows th a t th e scope o f th e form er is lim ited, in the m ost favorable of cases, to the sm all local m a rk e t a n d to products serving im m ed iate needs, especially food products. C onsum ers’, a n d therefore p ro d u cers’, cooperatives are a priori excluded from all of th e m ost im p o rta n t b ran ch es of cap italist pro d u ctio n — the textile, m ining, m etallu rg ical, a n d petroleum industries, m ach in e a n d locom otive construction, a n d ship­ building. F orgetting for th e m o m en t th eir h y b rid ch ara c te r, p roduction cooperatives c an n o t be considered a g en eral social reform for the reason th a t th e ir estab lish m en t on a w ide scale w ould presuppose, first o f all, th e abolition of th e w orld m a r­ ket, th e dissolution of th e present w orld econom y in to sm all local groups of p ro d u ctio n a n d exchange— thus, essentially, a retu rn from large cap italist p ro d u ctio n to th e com m odity p ro ­ duction of the M id d le Ages. H ow ever, even w ith in th e lim its of th eir possible realizatio n in the present society, p ro d u cers’ cooperatives are necessarily lim ited to the role of sim ple annexes to consum ers’ co o p era­ tives, w hich thus step forw ard as th e leading ag en t o f th e su p ­ posed social change. B ut in this w ay th e expected reform of so­ ciety by m eans of cooperatives ceases to be a n offensive against capitalist p roduction , th a t is, ag ain st the p rin c ip al basis of the capitalist econom y. It becom es in stead a struggle ag ain st com ­ m ercial cap ital, especially sm all a n d m iddle-size com m ercial cap ital; th a t is, again st th e branches o f th e cap italist tree. A ccording to B ernstein, tra d e unions are a m eans of defense against ex ploitation by cap italist p roduction. W e have alread y

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shown th a t tra d e unions c a n n o t assure the w orkers a n in ­ fluence on pro d u ctio n , eith e r co n cern in g th e dimensions o f p ro ­ duction, or the technical process o f production. C o n cern in g th e p urely econom ic side, “ th e struggle o f the ra te o f wages against the ra te of p ro fit,” as Bernstein calls it, it has a lread y been shown th a t this is n ot fought ou t in th e blue sky b u t w ithin th e w ell-defined fram ew ork of th e law o f wages. T h e law o f wages is n o t sh attered b u t applied. T h is becom es clear w hen one looks a t a n o th e r aspect o f the situation, asking w h at are th e actu al functions o f th e tra d e unions. A ccording to B ernstein, it is th e tra d e unions th a t, in the general m ovem ent for th e em an cip atio n of th e w orking class, lead th e real atta c k again st th e ra te o f in d u strial profit, tra n s­ form ing it g rad u ally into the ra te o f wages. T h e fact is th a t tra d e unions are not at all able to execute an econom ic offensive against profit because they are n o th in g m ore th a n th e organized defense o f labor-pow er against the attacks of profit. T h e y express th e resistance offered by th e w orking class to the oppression of cap italist econom y. T his, for two reasons. First o f all, th ro u g h th e ir o rg an izatio n the tra d e unions have the function o f influencing th e m a rk e t situation o f th e com ­ m odity labor-pow er. B ut th e o rg an izatio n is con stan tly over­ com e by the p ro le ta ria n iz a tio n o f th e m iddle layers w hich con­ tin u ally brings new m erch an d ise to the lab o r m arket. Secondly, th e goal o f th e tra d e unions is to am elio rate th e con­ dition of th e w orkers, to increase th e share o f social w ealth going to th e w orking class. T h is share, how ever, is being re­ duced, w ith th e fatality o f a n a tu ra l process, by th e grow th o f the p ro d u ctiv ity o f labor. O n e does no t need to be a M arxist to notice this. It suffices to read R o d b e rtu s’ Zur Beleuchtung der so­ zialen Frage [T ow ard the E x p la n a tio n o f th e Social Q uestion— D .H .]. T hus, the objective conditions o f cap italist society transform the two m ajo r functions o f th e tra d e -u n io n struggle into a sort o f lab o r o f Sisyphus.32 T h is lab o r of Sisyphus is, nevertheless, 32 Rosa Luxemburg earned the undying hatred of the trade unionists because of this

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indispensable if the w orker is to o b tain th e rate o f wages due him in accordance w ith th e situation of th e m ark et, if th e cap i­ talist law of wages is to be realized a n d th e effect of th e d e ­ pressing tendency of econom ic developm ent^paralyzed— or, to be m ore exact, atte n u a te d . H ow ever, if one thinks of th e tra d e unions as a m eans for th e progressive reduction of profit in favor of wages, this presupposes th e following social conditions: first, the cessation of th e p ro le tarian izatio n of the m id d le stra ta an d of th e grow th of th e w orking class; second, a cessation of the grow th o f th e productivity of labor. W e have, in b o th cases, ju st as w ith th e realization of the society of consum ers’ cooper­ atives, a return to precapitalist conditions. Both of B ernstein’s m eans of socialist reform —cooperatives a n d tra d e unions— are thus seen to be totally in c a p a b le of transform ing the capitalist mode o f production. T h is is really u n ­ derstood by B ernstein, tho u g h in a confused m an n er. H e refers to them as m eans of reducing th e profit of th e capitalists, an d thus of enrich in g the workers. In this w ay, he renounces th e struggle against the capitalist mode o f production a n d attem p ts to direct th e socialist m ovem ent to struggle against capitalist distri­ bution. A gain an d again, B ernstein refers to socialism as an effort tow ard a distrib u tio n w hich is “ju s t,” “ju s te r” (p. 51), an d “still m ore ju s t” ( Vorwärts, M a rc h 26, 1899). O f course, the direct cause lead in g the p o p u la r masses to the Social D em ocratic m ovem ent is the “ u n ju st” m ode o f d istrib u ­ tion of th e cap italist order. W h en Social D em ocracy struggles for the socialization of th e en tire econom y, it aspires to a “ju s t” distribution of social w ealth a t the sam e tim e. But, guided by M a rx ’s insight th a t th e m ode of d istribution of a given epoch is a n a tu ra l consequence of th e m ode of pro d u ctio n of th a t epoch, Social D em ocracy does no t struggle against distrib u tio n phrase, which they interpreted as saying that their efforts were totally useless. When Karl Kautsky took over the phrase in his book Der Weg zur Macht ( The Road to Power), the trade unionists published a series of articles and a book attacking this notion as “anarcho-syndicalism”—a sin equally grave in the eyes of Social Democracy as that of “Blanquism.”

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w ithin th e framework of cap italist production. It struggles in ­ stead for th e suppression o f com m odity p ro d u ctio n itself. In a word, Social D em ocracy w ants to establish socialist distribution by elim in atin g th e capitalist mode o f production. B ernstein’s m ethod, precisely on the co n trary , proposes to com bat capitalist distribution in th e hope o f th ereb y g rad u ally establishing the so­ cialist mode o f production. B ut in th a t case, w h at is the basis of B ernstein’s p ro g ram for socialist reform s? Does it find su p p o rt in definite tendencies of cap italist production? No. In th e first place, he denies such tendencies. In th e second place, as was show n above, th e d e ­ sired form of p ro d u ctio n is for him the result a n d n ot th e cause of distribution. H e can n o t give his socialism a n econom ic base. A fter he has inverted the aim s a n d m eans o f socialism , a n d therefore its econom ic conditions, he cannot give a m aterialist base to his p ro g ram ; he is obliged to construct a n idealist base. “W hy represent socialism as th e consequence o f econom ic com pulsion?” we h e a r him say. “W h y d eg rad e m a n ’s under­ standing, his feeling for justice, his imll?” ( Vorwärts, M a rc h 26, 1899). B ernstein’s m ost ju st d istrib u tio n is to be realized thanks to m a n ’s free will, th e will w hich is not in th e service o f econom ic necessity; or m ore precisely, since this will itself is only a n in stru m en t, by m eans o f m a n ’s com prehension o f ju s ­ tice— in short, by m eans o; the idea o f justice. W e thus q u ite h ap p ily re tu rn to th e principle of justice, to th e old w arhorse on w hich th e reform ers of th e e a rth have rocked for ages, for lack o f surer m eans of historic tra n sp o rta ­ tion. W e re tu rn to th a t lam e n ta b le R o sin an te on w hich all th e D on Q uixotes of history have galloped to w ard th e g reat re ­ form o f th e w orld, to re tu rn hom e w ith a black eye. T h e relatio n o f th e poor to th e rich tak en as a social base for socialism ; th e “ p rin c ip le ” of cooperation as its co n ten t; th e “m ost just d istrib u tio n ” as its aim ; a n d th e id ea of ju stice as its only historical leg itim atio n — w ith how m uch m ore force, m ore spirit, a n d m ore fire did W eitlin g defend this sort o f socialism fifty years ago! O f course, th e ingenious tailo r did not yet know

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scientific socialism. If today th e conception torn to bits by M a rx an d Engels a h alf-centu ry ago is p atch ed u p a n d presented to the p ro le ta ria t as th e last w ord of science, th a t, too, is th e a rt of a tailor— b u t not a n ingenious one. T ra d e unions an d cooperatives are th e econom ic points of support for the theory of revisionism . Its p rin c ip al political p re ­ supposition is a co n tin u al grow th of democracy. T h e present m anifestations of political reactio n are to revisionism only “ tw itches” w hich are seen as accid en tal, m o m en tary , a n d not to be considered in th e elab o ratio n of the general d irectio n of the lab o r struggle. [It is not, however, a question o f w h at B ernstein thinks about th e d u rab ility of th e reaction on th e basis of oral or w rit­ ten assurances of his friends,33 b u t of the inner, objective re la ­ tion betw een dem ocracy an d th e a ctu al social developm ent.] A ccording to B ernstein, for exam ple, dem ocracy is a n inevi­ table stage in th e developm ent o f m o d ern society. T o him , as to the bourgeois theoreticians o f liberalism , dem ocracy is the g reat fu n d am en tal law o f historical developm ent in general whose realizatio n m ust be served by all o f th e active forces of political life. H ow ever, presented in such absolute form , this is totally false; it is a petty-bourgeois an d superficial schem atization of th e results o f a very short peak of bourgeois develop­ m ent, roughly th e last tw enty-five or th irty years. W e reach entirely different conclusions w hen we exam ine m ore closely the historical developm ent of dem ocracy an d a t th e sam e tim e the general political history o f capitalism . C oncerning the form er, dem ocracy has been found in the m ost dissim ilar social form ations: in prim itiv e com m unist so­ cieties, in th e slave states of a n tiq u ity , a n d in th e m edieval city-com m unes. Sim ilarly, absolutism a n d co n stitu tio n al m o n ­ archy are found in th e m ost varied econom ic contexts. O n the other h an d , a t its beginnings— as com m odity p ro d u ctio n — capitalism calls into being a d em o cratic co n stitu tio n in th e 33 Bernstein was at this time still in political exile in England.

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city-com m unes of th e M id d le Ages. L a ter, in its m ore devel­ oped form , as m an u factu rin g , cap italism found its co rre­ sponding political form in the absolute m onarchy. F inally, as a developed in d u strial econom y, it b ro u g h t into being in F ran ce altern ativ ely th e d em o cratic R ep u b lic (1793), th e a b ­ solute m o n arch y o f N apoleo n I, th e nobles’ m o n arch y of the R estoration period (1815-1830), th e bourgeois constitutional m o n arch y of L ouis-P hilippe, th en ag ain th e dem o cratic R e ­ public, a n d ag ain th e m o n arch y o f N apoleon III, a n d finally, for the th ird tim e, the R epublic. In G erm any, the only truly d em ocratic in stitu tio n — universal suffrage— is no t a conquest of bourgeois liberalism . U niversal suffrage in G erm an y was an in stru m en t for the fusion o f th e sm all states, a n d it is only in this sense th a t it has an y im p o rtan ce for th e developm ent of th e G erm an bourgeoisie, w hich otherw ise is q u ite satisfied w ith a sem i-feudal constitu tio n al m onarchy. In R ussia, cap i­ talism prospered for a long tim e u n d e r the regim e of O rien tal personal rule w ith o u t th e bourgeoisie m anifesting th e least d e ­ sire for dem ocracy. In A ustria, universal suffrage was above all a life line throw n to a decom posing m o n arch y [and how little it is actu ally tied to g eth er w ith tru e dem ocracy is show n by the d o m in atio n of P a ra g ra p h 14.34] F inally, in B elgium , th e con­ quest of universal suffrage by th e lab o r m ovem ent was u n ­ d o u b ted ly due to th e w eakness of m ilitarism , consequently to th e p a rtic u la r geographic a n d political situation of th e co u n ­ try; an d , above all, it is a “ b it o f d em o cracy ” th a t has been won n o t by th e bourgeoisie b u t against it. O n closer ex am in atio n , the u n in te rru p te d ascent o f dem oc­ racy, w hich to our revisionism , as well as to bourgeois lib eral­ ism, a p p ears as a g re a t fu n d a m e n ta l law o f h u m a n history an d , a t th e very least, o f m o d ern history, is show n to be a p h an to m . N o absolute a n d universal relatio n can be con­ structed betw een cap italist d evelopm ent a n d dem ocracy. T h e 34 Paragraph 14 of the Austrian Constitution gave the Habsburg monarchy the right to suspend constitutional liberties, a right which it often used.

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political form is alw ays th e result of the w hole sum of political factors, dom estic as well as foreign. W ith in its b o u n d aries it adm its all variations of th e scale, from absolute m o n arch y to the dem ocratic republic. W e m ust therefore a b a n d o n all hope of establishing a gen­ eral law o f th e historical developm ent of dem ocracy even w ithin th e fram ew ork of m odern society. T u rn in g to th e pres­ en t phase of bourgeois history, we also see here factors in the political situation w hich, instead of assuring th e realizatio n of B ernstein’s schem a, lead ra th e r to the a b a n d o n m e n t by b o u r­ geois society of the d em ocratic conquests w on u p to th e pres­ ent. O n the one h a n d — a n d this is of the greatest im p o rtan ce— the dem ocratic institutions have largely played out th e ir role as aids in the bourgeois developm ent. In so far as they were necessary to b rin g a b o u t th e fusion o f sm all states a n d the creation o f large m odern states (G erm any, Italy), th ey have becom e dispensable. Econom ic developm ent has m eanw hile effected an in tern al organic h ealin g [, a n d th e surgical dress­ ing, political dem ocracy, can thus be tak en off w ith o u t any d an g er for the organism o f bourgeois society!] T h e sam e th in g is tru e of th e tran sfo rm atio n of th e entire political an d ad m in istrativ e m ach in ery of the state from a feudal or sem i-feudal m echanism to a cap italist one. W hile this transform ation has been historically in sep arab le from the developm ent of dem ocracy, today it has been achieved to such an extent th a t th e p urely dem ocratic ingredients o f society, such as universal suffrage a n d the rep u b lican form o f th e state, m ay be elim in ated w ith o u t the ad m in istratio n , th e state fin an ­ ces, or the m ilitary organization, etc., finding it necessary to retu rn to th e p re-M arc h forms.35 If liberalism as such is now essentially useless to bourgeois society, on th e o th er h an d , in im p o rta n t respects it has becom e 35 In German, the expression Vormärz, pre-March, refers to the situation before the bourgeois revolution of March 1848 which, though unsuccessful, did win certain re­ forms.

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a direct im pedim ent. T w o factors com pletely d o m in ate the p o ­ litical life of co n tem p o rary states: world politics a n d th e labor m ovem ent. E ach is only a different aspect of th e present phase of cap italist developm ent. As a result of the developm ent o f the w orld econom y a n d the ag g rav atio n a n d gen eralizatio n o f com petition on the w orld m ark et, m ilitarism a n d m arin ism 36 as instrum ents of w orld politics have becom e a decisive factor in th e in te rn a l as well as in th e ex tern al life o f th e g reat states. I f it is tru e th a t w orld politics a n d m ilitarism rep resen t a rising tendency in the present phase, th en bourgeois dem ocracy m ust logically move in a descending line. [T he m ost striking exam ple: th e N o rth A m erican u n io n since the Spanish w ar. In F rance, the R e p u b ­ lic owes its existence m ain ly to th e in te rn a tio n a l situation w hich provisionally m akes a w ar im possible. I f a w ar d id com e an d , as everything leads one to believe, F ran ce w ere n ot u p to the test, th en the answ er to the first F ren ch defeat w ould be— the p ro clam atio n o f th e m o n arch y in Paris. In G erm an y , the new e ra o f g reat arm am en ts (1893) a n d th a t of w orld politics w hich b egan w ith K iao -C h eo u 37 w ere p a id for w ith two sacri­ fices o f bourgeois dem ocracy: th e decom position o f th e liberals a n d th e ch an g e of the C en ter P arty .] 38 36 Marinism is the naval equivalent of militarism. In 1890, under the direction of Tirpitz, Germany set out to build a powerful navy. Previously, under Bismarck, Ger­ many had seen its interests as purely European, and had not sought to become in­ volved in the chase after colonies. The shift in policy in 1890 which was marked by the expansion of the fleet was a clear and direct challenge to England and, as Rosa Lux­ emburg points out in the Junius Pamphlet, led directly to the events of 1914. 37 After the defeat of China in the Sino-Japanese war, a new colonialist offensive was begun by the European powers who demanded extraterritorial rights in China. Using the excuse of the murder of two German missionaries, Germany took control of Kiao-Cheou (Tsingtao) in 1898 and held it until 1919. The moralizing liberals, as well as revisionists like Bernstein, argued that if other nations were dividing up China, Germany too had to have its share if it was not to lose its advantages on the world market and therefore bring about less prosperous circumstances at home. 38 In the second edition, the bracketed portion is replaced by: “In Germany, the era of great armaments begun in 1893, and the policy of world poli­ tics, inaugurated with Kiao-Cheou, were paid for immediately with the following sacrificial victim: the decomposition of liberalism, the change of the Center Party

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I f foreign policy pushes th e bourgeoisie into th e arm s of reaction, this is no less tru e of dom estic politics— th an k s to th e rise of th e w orking class. B ernstein shows th a t he recognizes this w hen he m akes the “ leg en d ” o f Social D em ocracy w hich “w ants to swallow ev ery th in g ”— in o th er words, th e socialist efforts o f the w orking class— responsible for th e desertion o f th e liberal bourgeoisie [from a possible allian ce w ith Social D e­ m ocracy— D .H .]. In this connection, he advises th e p ro le ta ria t to disavow its socialist aim so th a t th e m ortally frig h ten ed lib ­ erals m ight com e o u t o f the m ousehole of reaction. In thus m aking th e a b a n d o n m e n t of th e socialist lab o r m ovem ent a n essential condition a n d a social presupposition for th e p reser­ vation of bourgeois dem ocracy today, he proves in a striking m an n er th a t this dem ocracy is in com plete co n trad ictio n w ith th e in n er tendency of developm ent of m o d ern society. A t the sam e tim e, he proves th a t th e socialist lab o r m ovem ent itself is a direct product of this tendency. In this w ay, however, he proves still a n o th e r thing. By m a k ­ ing the ren u n ciatio n o f th e socialist goal a n essential p resu p ­ position a n d condition o f th e resurrection of bourgeois dem oc­ racy, he shows, conversely, how inexact is th e claim th a t bourgeois dem ocracy is a n indispensable condition o f th e so­ cialist m ovem ent a n d th e victory o f socialism. B ern stein ’s re a ­ soning exhausts itself in a vicious circle; his conclusion sw al­ lows his premises. T h e exit rom this circle is q u ite sim ple. In view o f th e fact (which passed from opposition to government). The recent Reichstag elections of 1907, fought under the sign of colonial policy, are at the same time the historical bur­ ial of German liberalism.” In the 1907 elections referred to here (sometimes called the “Hottentot Elections”), the government attacked Social Democracy as the internal enemy of Germany’s exter­ nal greatness, appealing to nationalist sentiment. The government’s plans were suc­ cessful: the SPD won only 43 seats in the Reichstag, as compared with 81 in the 1903 elections. This was the first time that the SPD’s continual forward progress on the par­ liamentary terrain had been checked, and the hangover from this experience was to strongly affect its future policies, as it began to be increasingly afraid of taking radical positions which it feared the people wouldn’t understand.

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th a t bourgeois liberalism has sold its soul from fear of the grow ing lab o r m ovem ent a n d its final aim , it follows th a t the socialist lab o r m ovem ent today is a n d can be the only support o f dem ocracy. T h e fate of th e socialist m ovem ent is n o t b ound to bourgeois dem ocracy; b u t th e fate of dem ocracy, on the co n trary , is b o u n d to th e socialist m ovem ent. D em ocracy does not acq u ire g reater chances of life in the m easure th a t the w orking class renounces the struggle for its em an cip atio n ; on the co n trary , dem ocracy acquires g reater chances of survival as the socialist m ovem ent becom es sufficiently strong to strug­ gle ag ain st th e reactio n ary consequences o f w orld politics a n d th e bourgeois desertion o f dem ocracy. H e w ho w ould stren g th en dem ocracy m ust also w an t to stren g th en a n d not w eaken th e socialist m ovem ent; a n d w ith th e re n u n ciatio n of th e struggle for socialism goes th a t of b o th th e labor m ovem ent a n d dem ocracy. [At th e en d of his “ A nsw er” to K au tsk y in Vorwärts (M arch 26, 1899), B ernstein explains th a t he is com pletely in agree­ m en t w ith the p ractica l p a rt of th e Social D em o cratic p ro ­ gram ; his objections w ere only to th e th eo retical p arts of th a t program . Aside from th a t, he obviously believes th a t he can m arch w ith full rights in th e ranks of the P arty , for how “im ­ p o rta n t” is it “ if th ere is a proposition in th e th eo retical p a rt w hich no longer agrees w ith o n e’s conception of th e course of d ev elo p m en t” ? T h is ex p lan atio n shows best of all how com ­ pletely B ernstein has lost the sense of the connection of the p ractical activity of Social D em ocracy w ith its general p rin ­ ciples, how m uch th e sam e w ords have ceased to m ean the sam e th in g for B ernstein a n d the P arty . In effect, B ernstein’s ow n theory, as we have seen, leads to the m ost elem en tary So­ cial D em o cratic u n d erstan d in g — th a t w ith o u t th e fu n d a m e n ­ ta l basis, th e p ractica l struggle too is w orthless a n d aimless, th a t w ith the giving u p o f the ultimate goal, th e movement itself m ust be lost.] 3. The Conquest o f Political Power As we have seen, the fate of dem ocracy is b o u n d u p w ith the fate o f the lab o r m ovem ent. B ut does th e developm ent of de-

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m ocracy, in th e best o f cases, ren d er superfluous or im possible a p ro le tarian revolution in th e sense of th e seizure o f state power, th e conquest of political power? B ernstein settles the question by m in u tely w eighing the good a n d b ad sides of legal reform a n d revolution in alm ost the sam e m a n n e r in w hich cin n am o n or p ep p er is w eighed out in a consum ers’ cooperative store. H e sees th e legal course of developm ent as the actio n of th e intellect, w hile th e revolu­ tionary course is the action of feeling. R eform ist w ork is seen as a slow m eth o d o f historical progress; revolution as a ra p id m ethod. In legislation, he sees a m ethodical force; in revolu­ tion, an elem ental force (p. 183). W e have know n for a long tim e th a t th e petty-bourgeois re ­ form er finds “ good” a n d “ b a d ” sides in everything; he nibbles a bit a t all grasses.39 But we have know n for ju st as long th a t the real course of events is little affected by such p e tty -b o u r­ geois com binations, a n d th a t th e carefully g ath ered little pile of the “ good sides” o f all things possible blows aw ay at th e first w ind o f history. H istorically, legislative reform a n d th e revolu­ tionary m eth o d function in acco rd an ce w ith influences th a t are m ore profound th a n th e consideration of th e ad v an tag es or inconveniences o f this or th a t m ethod. In th e history of bourgeois society, legislative reform served generally to strength en th e rising class u n til th e la tte r felt suf­ ficiently strong to seize political pow er, to o v ertu rn th e existing juridical system a n d to construct a new one. B ernstein, th u n ­ dering against the conquest of political pow er as a B lanquist theory of violence, has th e m isfortune to label as a B lanquist error th a t w hich has been for centuries the pivot a n d m otive force of h u m a n history. As long as class societies have existed, an d the class struggle has constituted th e essential co n ten t of their history, the conquest o f political pow er has con tin u ally 39 Rosa Luxemburg is referring here to Marx’s critique of Proudhon, who also had a proclivity for picking out “good” and “bad” sides of economic facts. Cf. Das Elend, der Philosophie, MEW. Bd. 4, S. 131. The problem with this approach is that it violates the phenomena and makes a view of the totality impossible.

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been th e aim of all rising classes a n d the b eg inning a n d end of every historical period. T h is can be seen in th e long struggle of th e p ea sa n try against th e financiers a n d nobility in an cien t R om e; in the struggles of th e m edieval nobility ag ain st th e bishops, a n d th e artisans against th e nobles in the cities of th e M iddle Ages; a n d in m odern tim es, in th e struggle of th e b o u r­ geoisie ag ain st feudalism . Legal reform a n d revolution a re not different m ethods of historical progress th a t can be picked o ut a t pleasure from the co u n ter of history, ju st as one chooses ho t or cold sausages. T h e y a re different moments in th e developm ent of class society w hich condition a n d com plem ent each other, a n d a t th e sam e tim e exclude each o th er reciprocally as, e.g., th e n o rth an d south poles, th e bourgeoisie a n d th e p ro letariat. In effect, every legal constitution is th e product of a revolu­ tion. In th e history of classes, revolution is th e act o f political creation w hile legislation is th e political expression of th e life o f a society th a t has alread y com e into being. W ork for legal reform s does not itself co n tain its own driving force in d e p e n d ­ en t from revolution. D u rin g every historical period, w ork for reform s is c a rried on only in th e directio n given it by th e im pe­ tus of th e last revolution, a n d continues as long as th a t im p u l­ sion continues to m ake itself felt. O r, to p u t it m ore concretely, it is carried on only in the framework o f th e social form created by the last revolution. Precisely here is th e kernel of th e p ro b ­ lem. It is absolutely false a n d to tally unhisto rical to represent w ork for reform s as a d raw n -o u t revolution, a n d revolution as a condensed series o f reform s. A social tran sfo rm atio n a n d a legislative reform do not differ according to th eir duration but according to th eir essence. T h e w hole secret of historical tra n s­ form ations th ro u g h th e u tilizatio n of political pow er consists precisely in th e change of sim ple q u a n tita tiv e m odification into a new qu ality , or to speak m ore concretely, in th e tra n si­ tion from one historical period, one social order, to an o th er. H e w ho pronounces him self in favor of th e m eth o d of legal

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reforms in place o f and as opposed to th e conquest o f political pow er a n d social revolution does no t really choose a m ore tra n q u il, surer an d slower road to th e same goal. H e chooses a different goal. In stead o f tak in g a stan d for th e estab lish m en t 6f a new social order, he takes a stan d for surface m odifications o f th e old order. T hus, th e political views o f revisionism lead to th e sam e conclusion as th e econom ic theories o f revisionism : not to th e realization of th e socialist order, b u t to th e reform of capitalism; not to th e suppression o f the w age system, b u t to the d im inution o f exploitation; in a w ord, to th e elim in atio n o f the abuses of capitalism instead o f to th a t of cap italism itself. P erh ap s w h at we have ju st said ab o u t the function o f legal reform a n d revolution is tru e only o f th e class struggles o f the past? P erh ap s now, as a result o f th e developm ent o f th e b o u r­ geois ju rid ic a l system, it is legal reform w hich will lead society from one historical phase to a n o th er, a n d th e seizure o f state pow er by th e p ro le ta ria t has “ becom e a n em p ty p h ra se ,” as B ernstein puts it on page 183 of his book? E xactly a n d precisely th e opposite is the case. W h a t d istin ­ guishes bourgeois society from earlier class societies— from a n ­ cient society a n d th a t o f th e M id d le Ages? Precisely th e fact th a t class d o m in atio n does not rest on “ acq u ired rig h ts” b u t on real economic relations, th a t w age lab o r is n o t a ju rid ic a l relatio n b u t a p u re econom ic relation. In o u r w hole ju rid ic a l system there is n o t a single legal form ula for th e present class d o m in a ­ tion. T h e few rem ain in g traces o f such form ulae o f class d o m i­ n atio n (such as th a t concerning servants) are survivals of feudal relations. H ow can w age slavery be suppressed g rad u ally , in the “ legal w ay ,” if it is not a t all expressed in laws? B ernstein, who w ants to do aw ay w ith cap italism by reform w ork, finds h im ­ self in th e sam e situ atio n as U spenski’s R ussian policem an who tells the story: “ Q uickly I seized th e rascal by th e collar! But w h a t do I see? T h e confounded fellow h a d no co llar!” T h a t is precisely the problem . “All previous societies w ere based on th e an tag o n ism be-

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tw een th e oppressing class a n d the oppressed class” ( Communist Manifesto). B ut in th e preced in g phases of m odern society, this an tag o n ism was expressed in d eterm in ed ju rid ic a l relations a n d for this reason could accord, to a c ertain extent, a place to th e developing new relations w ithin th e fram ew ork o f th e old. “ In the m idst of serfdom , the serf raised him self to the ra n k of a m em b er o f the tow n co m m u n ity ” ( Communist Manifesto). How? By th e progressive suppression of all feudal privileges in the environs o f the city— the corvée, th e rig h t to special dress, the in h e rita n c e tax, the lo rd ’s claim to the best cattle, the p e r­ sonal levy, forced m arriag e, th e rig h t to succession, etc.— w hich, all together, constituted serfdom. In th e sam e way, “ u n d e r th e yoke of feudal absolutism , th e petty bourgeois raised him self to the ra n k of bourgeoisie” ( Communist M ani­ festo). By w h at m eans? By m eans o f th e form al p a rtia l suppres­ sion or a c tu a l loosening of the bonds of th e guilds, by th e g ra d ­ u al tran sfo rm atio n of th e fiscal a d m in istratio n a n d of the arm y. C onsequently, if one considers the question ab stractly in ­ stead o f historically, in view of th e earlier class relations it is a t least possible to imagine a purely legal-reform istic transition from feudal to bourgeois society. But w h at do we see in reality? T h a t th ere too legal reform s no t only did n o t obviate th e need for th e seizure o f political pow er by the bourgeoisie, but, on th e co n trary , p re p a re d it a n d led to it. A form al social-political tran sfo rm atio n was indispensable for the suppression o f slavery as well as for the abolition of feudalism . B ut th e situ atio n is en tirely different now. N o law obliges th e p ro le ta ria t to subm it itself to th e yoke of capitalism . N eed, th e lack o f m eans of p roductio n , are responsible for this sub­ mission. A nd, w ith in th e fram ew ork of bourgeois society, no law in th e w orld can give to the p ro le ta ria t these m eans, for not laws b u t econom ic d evelo p m en t have stolen them . F u rth e r, in th e sam e w ay, th e ex p lo itatio n within the system o f w age lab o r is not based on laws, for the level of wages is not fixed by legislation but by econom ic factors. A nd th e fact of

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capitalist exploitation does not rest on a legal disposition b u t on the p u re econom ic fact th a t labor-pow er ap p ears in th e role of a com m odity possessing, am o n g o th er characteristics, the agreeable q u ality of p ro d u cin g valu e— a n d more value th a n the value it consum es in the form of m eans of subsistence. In short, the fu n d am en tal relations of cap italist class rule can n o t be transform ed by m eans of legal reform s w ith in the bourgeois system because these relations have n eith er been in tro d u ced by bourgeois laws, n o r have they received th e form of such laws. A p p aren tly B ernstein is not aw are of this, for he speaks of socialist “ reform s.” O n th e o th er h a n d , he seems to recog­ nize this w hen he writes, on page 10 o f his book, th a t “ th e eco­ nom ic m otive ap p ears freely today, w hile form erly it was m asked by all kinds of relations of d o m in atio n a n d ideologies.” But th ere is still a n o th e r thing. It is one of the peculiarities of the cap italist o rd er th a t w ithin it all the elem ents of th e fu­ tu re society, in th eir developm ent, first assum e a form no t a p ­ pro ach in g socialism b u t, ra th e r, a form m oving aw ay from it. P roduction takes on a n increasingly social ch aracter. B ut in w h at form? In the form o f the large enterprise, in th e form of the shareholding society, th e cartel, w ithin w hich th e cap italist antagonism s, the exploitation, th e oppression of labor-pow er, are au g m en ted to th e extrem e. In the arm y, the developm ent leads to the extension of u n i­ versal m ilitary service, to the red u ctio n of th e tim e o f service; consequently, it m aterially ap p ro ach es a p eople’s arm y. But all this takes place in th e form of m o d ern m ilitarism , in w hich the d o m in atio n of the people by th e m ilitarist state a n d the class c h a ra c te r of th e state m anifest them selves m ost harshly. In political relations, th e developm ent of dem ocracy— in the m easure th a t it finds a favorable soil— brings the p articip atio n of all stra ta of the people in political life an d , consequently, some sort of “ people’s sta te .” B ut this takes the form of b o u r­ geois p arliam en tarism , in w hich class antagonism s a n d class d o m in atio n are not suppressed b u t are ra th e r developed a n d openly displayed. Because cap italist developm ent moves in

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these contradictions, in o rd er to ex tra c t th e kernel o f socialist society from its cap italist shell it is necessary, for this reason too, th a t th e p ro le ta ria t co n q u er political pow er a n d com ­ pletely suppress the cap italist system. O f course, B ernstein draw s o th er conclusions. If th e develop­ m en t o f dem ocracy leads to th e ag g rav atio n a n d n o t to the lessening of cap italist contradictions, “ Social D em o cracy ,” he answers us, “ in o rd er n o t to ren d er its task m ore difficult, m ust try by all m eans to th w a rt social reform s a n d the extension of dem ocratic in stitu tio n s” (p. 7 1).40 Indeed, th a t w ould be the rig h t th in g to do if Social D em ocracy, in the petty-bourgeois m an n er, found to its taste the futile task of picking ou t all the good sides of history a n d rejecting th e b ad ones. H ow ever, in th a t case, it is logical th a t it should also “ try to th w a rt” ca p i­ talism in general, for it is u n q u estio n ab ly th e ch ief crim in al placing all these obstacles in th e w ay of socialism. B ut in fact, besides th e obstacles, capitalism also furnishes the only possibili­ ties of realizin g th e socialist program . H ow ever, th e sam e is also tru e of dem ocracy. If dem ocracy has becom e p a rtia lly superfluous a n d p artially troublesom e to th e bourgeoisie, it is necessary a n d indispensa­ ble to the w orking class. It is necessary, first of all, because it creates the political forms (self-governm ent, electoral rights, etc.) w hich will serve th e p ro le ta ria t as springboards a n d fulcrum s in its tran sfo rm atio n of bourgeois society. Second, how ­ ever, it is indispensable because only in it, in the struggle for dem ocracy a n d the use of its rights, ca n th e p ro le ta ria t becom e conscious of its class interests a n d its historical tasks. In a w ord, dem ocracy is indispensable not because it re n ­ ders superfluous the conquest of political pow er by the p ro le ta r­ ia t but, on the co n trary , because it renders this conquest of 40 The idea that Social Democracy should not try to push reforms too fast and hard was common in the Party, and was later systematized by Kautsky in his “strategy of attrition.” This idea was based on the common belief that the objective evolution of capitalism would naturally and by itself lead to socialism, from which it was con­ cluded that Social Democracy should do all that it could not to rock the boat.

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power both necessary as well as possible. W h en Engels, in his Preface to Class Struggles in France, revised the tactics of the m odern labor m ovem ent a n d opposed the legal struggle to the barricades, he did not have in m in d — this comes out in every line of the Preface— the question of the final conquest o f political power, b u t the m odern d aily struggle; no t the a ttitu d e of the p ro le ta ria t opposed to the cap italist state a t the m o m en t of the seizure of state power, b u t its a ttitu d e w ithin the bounds of the capitalist state. In a w ord, Engels gave directions to the op­ pressed p ro le tariat, no t to the victorious p ro le ta ria t.41 O n the o th er h a n d , M a rx ’s w ell-know n d eclaratio n con­ cerning the a g ra ria n question in E n g lan d , on w hich B ernstein leans heavily— “W e w ould p ro b ab ly succeed m ore easily by buying out the lan d lo rd s”— does n o t refer to the a ttitu d e of the p ro le ta ria t before b u t after its victory. For, obviously, it can only be a question of buying ou t the old d o m in a n t class w hen the w orking class is in power. T h e possibility envisaged by M a rx is th a t of the peaceful exercise o f the dictatorship of the proletariat an d not the rep lacem en t of th e d ictato rsh ip by cap italist social re­ forms. T h e necessity of th e p ro le ta ria t’s seizing pow er was alw ays unquestionable for M a rx a n d Engels. It is left to B ernstein to consider the henhouse of bourgeois p arlia m e n ta rism as the correct organ by m eans of w hich the m ost form idable social transform ation in history, the passage of society from th e capi­ talist to the socialist form, is to be com pleted. B ernstein, however, introduces his theory w ith fear an d w arnings against the d an g er of the p ro le ta ria t’s acq u irin g pow er too early! T h a t is, according to B ernstein, the p ro le ta ria t ought to leave bourgeois society in its present conditions an d itself suffer a frightful defeat. W h a t follows clearly from this 41 The role played by Engels’ Preface in determining the politics of Social Democ­ racy was immense, and Rosa Luxemburg had continually to return to it and explain what she thought it meant. Cf. especially her comments in “Our Program and the Po­ litical Situation,” and the footnote in which the circumstances of Engels’ writing the Preface are explained, below, p. 383.

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fear is th a t if circum stances led th e p ro le ta ria t to pow er, it could d raw from B ern stein ’s theory th e following “ p ra c tic a l” conclusion: to go to sleep.42 In this w ay, the theory ju d g es it­ self; it is a conception w hich, a t th e m ost decisive m om ents of the struggle, condem ns th e p ro le ta ria t to inactivity, a n d thus to a passive b e tra y a l of its own cause. fn effect, o u r p ro g ram w ould be a m iserable scrap o f p ap e r if it could n o t serve us in all eventualities, a t all m om ents of the struggle, a n d serve precisely by its application a n d n o t by its n o n ap p licatio n . I f ou r p ro g ram is th e form ulation o f th e his­ torical developm ent of society from cap italism to socialism , ob­ viously it m ust also form ulate, in all th e ir fu n d am en tal lines, all the tra n sito ry phases o f this developm ent, a n d consequently a t every m o m en t it should be able to in d icate to th e p ro le ta ria t w h at o u g h t to be its correct behavior in o rd er to m ove tow ard socialism. It follows generally th a t th ere can be no time w hen th e p ro le ta ria t will be obliged to a b a n d o n its p ro g ram , or be a b an d o n e d by it. ^ his is m anifested p ractically in the fact th a t th ere can be no tim e w hen th e p ro le ta ria t, b ro u g h t to pow er by th e force of circum stances, is n o t in the condition, or is no t m orally obliged, to tak e ce rta in m easures for the realizatio n o f its p ro ­ gram , tra n sito ry m easures in th e d irectio n o f socialism. B ehind th e b elief th a t the socialist p ro g ram could b reak dow n a t any m om ent d u rin g the political d o m in atio n o f th e p ro le tariat, a n d give no directions for its realizatio n , lies, unconsciously, the o th er belief, th a t the socialist program is, generally and at all times, unrealizable. A nd w h a t if the tran sito ry m easures are p rem atu re? T h e question hides a w hole slew of m isu n d erstan d in g s concerning th e real course of social transform ations. Above all, th e seizure o f state pow er by th e p ro le ta ria t, i.e., 42 This expression comes from a debate between Rosa Luxemburg and Georg von Vollmar, a leading revisionist. In the course of the debate, Vollmar argued that the ruinous effects of the Paris Commune were such that the workers would have been better off going to sleep.

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by a large p o p u la r class, is n ot p roduced artificially. It p resu p ­ poses (w ith th e exception of cases like th e P aris C om m une, w hen pow er was not a tta in e d after a conscious struggle for its goal, b u t, exceptionally, fell into th e p ro le ta ria t’s h an d s like a n object a b a n d o n e d by everybody else) a definite degree o f m a ­ tu rity of econom ic an d political relations. H ere we have th e es­ sential difference betw een B lanquist coups d ’e ta t by a “ reso­ lute m in o rity ,” bursting o ut a t an y m o m en t like a pistol shot, an d for this very reason, alw ays in o p p o rtu n ely , a n d th e con­ quest of political pow er by a large a n d class-conscious p o p u la r mass. Such a m ass itself c an only be the p ro d u ct of th e begin­ ning of th e collapse of bourgeois society, a n d therefore bears in itself th e econom ic an d political leg itim atio n of its o p p o rtu n e ap p earan ce. If, therefore, from th e stan d p o in t of the social presuppositions, the conquest of political pow er by th e w orking class can n o t occur “ too e a rly ,” th e n from th e stan d p o in t of political effect — of conservation of pow er— it is necessarily “ too e a rly .” T h e p rem atu re revolution, the th o u g h t of w hich keeps B ernstein aw ake, m enaces us like a sword of D am ocles. A gainst it n ei­ th er prayers no r supplication, scares n o r anguish, are o f avail. A nd this, for two very sim ple reasons. In the first place, it is im possible to im agine th a t a tran sfo r­ m ation as form idable as th e passage from cap italist society to socialist society can be realized in one act, by a victorious blow of the p ro le tariat. T o consider th a t as possible is ag ain to lend credence to p u re B lanquist conceptions. T h e socialist tran sfo r­ m atio n presupposes a long a n d stu b b o rn struggle in the course of w hich, q u ite probab ly , the p ro le ta ria t will be repulsed m ore th a n once, so th a t, from the view point of the final outcom e of the struggle, it will have necessarily com e to pow er “ too e a rly ” the first tim e. In th e second place, how ever, it will also be im possible to avoid th e “ p re m a tu re ” seizure o f state pow er precisely because these “ p re m a tu re ” attack s of the p ro le ta ria t constitute a fac­ tor, a n d indeed a very im p o rta n t factor, creatin g th e political

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conditions of the final victory. In th e course of th e political cri­ sis acco m p an y in g its seizure of pow er, in th e fire of long an d stubborn struggles, the p ro le ta ria t will acq u ire th e degree of political m a tu rity p erm ittin g it to o b tain the definitive victory of the revolution. T h u s these “ p re m a tu re ” attack s of the p ro le­ ta ria t on the state pow er are in them selves im p o rta n t historical m om ents h elp in g to provoke a n d d eterm in e th e point of the final victory. C onsidered from this p o in t of view, th e idea of a “ p re m a tu re ” conquest of political pow er by th e lab o rin g class appears to be a political absurdity, derived from a m ech an ical conception of social developm ent, a n d positing for the victory of the class struggle a time fixed outside a n d independent o f the class struggle. Since the p ro le ta ria t is not in th e position to seize political power in an y oth er w ay th a n “ p re m a tu re ly ” ; since th e p ro le­ ta ria t is absolutely obliged to seize pow er “ too e a rly ” once or several tim es before it can en d u rin g ly m a in ta in itself in power, the objection to the fpremature” seizure of pow er is n o th in g other th a n a general opposition to the aspiration o f the proletariat to take state power. Just as all roads lead to R om e, so, too, we logically arrive a t the conclusion th a t th e revisionist proposal to a b a n d o n the u ltim ate goal of socialism is really a reco m m en d atio n to re­ nounce th e socialist movement itself [, th a t its advice to Social D em ocracy, “ to go to sleep” in the case o f th e conquest of power, is identical w ith th e advice: to go to sleep now and forever, i.e., to give up the class struggle]. 4. The Breakdown B ernstein b egan his revision of Social D em ocracy by a b a n ­ doning th e theory of capitalist breakdow n. T h e latter, how ­ ever, is th e cornerstone of scientific socialism, a n d w ith the re ­ m oval o f this cornerstone, B ernstein m ust also reject th e whole socialist doctrine. In th e course of his discussion, he abandons, one after an o th er, the positions of socialism in o rd er to be able to m a in ta in his first affirm ation.

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W ith o u t the breakd o w n o f cap italism , th e ex p ro p riatio n o f the cap italist class is im possible. B ernstein therefore renounces ex p ro p riatio n a n d chooses a progressive realizatio n o f th e “ co­ operative p rin c ip le” as th e goal o f th e lab o r m ovem ent. But cooperation c a n n o t be realized w ith in c a p italist p ro ­ duction. B ernstein therefore renounces th e socialization o f p ro ­ duction a n d proposes to reform com m erce a n d to develop con­ sum ers’ cooperatives. But the tran sfo rm atio n of society th ro u g h consum ers’ coop­ eratives, even together w ith the tra d e unions, is in co m p atib le w ith the real m aterial developm ent of cap italist society. B ern­ stein therefore ab an d o n s th e m aterialist conception o f history. But his conception of th e course of econom ic d evelopm ent is incom patible w ith the M arxist theory of surplus value. B ern­ stein therefore ab an d o n s th e theory of value a n d o f surplus value an d , in this way, th e w hole econom ic theory o f K a rl M arx. But the class struggle o f the p ro le ta ria t c a n n o t be carrie d on w ithout a definite final aim a n d w ith o u t a n econom ic base in the existing society. B ernstein therefore ab an d o n s th e class struggle a n d proclaim s the reconciliation w ith bourgeois lib er­ alism. But in a class society, th e class struggle is a fully n a tu ra l a n d unavoidable phenom enon. B ernstein therefore contests even the existence o f classes in society: for him , the w orking class is a mass o f individuals, divided no t only politically a n d intellec­ tually, b u t also econom ically. A nd, according to him , the bourgeoisie does not g roup itself politically in acco rd an ce w ith its in n er econom ic interest, b u t only because o f e x tern al pres­ sure, from above a n d below. But if th ere is no econom ic base for the class struggle a n d if, too, th ere actu ally are no classes, th e n not only the future, b u t even th e past struggles o f th e p ro le ta ria t against th e bourgeoi­ sie a p p e a r im possible, a n d Social D em ocracy a n d its successes seem absolutely incom prehensible. O n th e o th er h a n d , from this po in t of view, the la tte r can be u nderstood only as th e re-

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suits o f political pressure by the governm ent— th a t is, not as the n a tu ra l consequences o f historical developm ent b u t as the fortuitous consequences o f th e policy o f the H oh en zo llern ; not as the legitim ate offspring of cap italist society, b u t as th e bas­ ta rd ch ild ren of reaction. T h u s, w ith rigorous logic, B ernstein passes from th e m aterialist conception of history to th e outlook of the Frankfurter Zeitung an d th e Vossische Zeitung.43 A fter rejecting th e w hole socialist criticism of cap italist soci­ ety, th e only th in g th a t rem ains is to find th a t, on th e whole, the p resent state of affairs is satisfactory. H ere too, Bernstein does n o t hesitate. H e finds th a t a t present the reactio n is not very strong in G erm an y , th a t “we do not see m uch of political reaction in the countries of W estern E u ro p e ,” a n d th a t in nearly all th e countries of the W est “ the a ttitu d e o f the b o u r­ geois classes tow ard th e socialist m ovem ent is a t m ost a n a tti­ tu d e o f defense b u t not one of oppression” ( Vorwärts, M arch 26, 1899). F a r from becom ing worse, th e situ atio n of the workers is g etting b etter; the bourgeoisie is politically progressive a n d even m orally h ealth y ; we see little of e ith er reactio n or oppres­ sion— a n d it is all for th e best in the best of all possible worlds . . . B ernstein thus travels in a logical sequence from A to Z. H e began by ab a n d o n in g th e final aim in favor of the m ovem ent. B ut as th e re can be no socialist m ovem ent w ithout th e socialist aim , he necessarily ends by ren o u n cin g the movement itself. T h u s B ern stein ’s conception of socialism collapses entirely. W ith him , the p ro u d a n d ad m ira b le sym m etric construction of the M arx ist system becom es a pile of rubbish in w hich the d e ­ bris o f all systems, th e pieces of th o u g h t of various g reat and sm all m inds, find a com m on grave. M arx a n d P ro u d h o n , Leon 43 The Vossische Zeitung was a liberal bourgeois journal which dreamed of peaceful social reform and state socialism. T he Frankfurter Zeitung was also a liberal journal, close to the views of Pfarrer Naumann. (See Glossary.) When, in 1899, Rosa Lux­ emburg was named editor of the Leipziger Volkszeitung, both papers felt closet enough to the SPD to suggest that her appointment be revoked. The Frankfurter Zeitung spoke of “the bloody Rosa.”

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von B uch a n d F ran z O p p en h eim er, F ried rich A lb ert L ange a n d K a n t, H e rr Prokopovich a n d D r. R itte r von N eu p au er, H e rk n er an d Schulze-G aevenitz, L assalle a n d Professor Ju liu s Wolf: all co n trib u te th e ir b it to B ernstein’s system, a n d he takes a little from each. T h is is no t astonishing. W h e n he ab an d o n ed th e class stan d p o in t, he lost th e political com pass; w hen he a b a n d o n e d scientific socialism , he lost th e axis of in ­ tellectual crystallization aro u n d w hich isolated facts group themselves in th e organic w hole of a co h eren t conception of th e world. O n first consideration, his doctrine, com posed o f bits o f all possible systems, seems to be com pletely free from prejudices. Bernstein does not like to talk o f “ p a rty science,” or to be m ore exact, of class science, an y m ore th a n he likes to talk o f class liberalism or class m orality. H e thinks he succeeds in re p re ­ senting a universal h u m a n a b stra c t science, a b stra c t lib eral­ ism, ab stra c t m orality. B ut since th e a ctu al society is m a d e u p o f classes w hich have d iam etrically opposed interests, a sp ira ­ tions, a n d conceptions, a universal h u m a n science in social questions, an a b strac t liberalism , an ab stract m orality, are a t present illusions, a self-deception. W h a t B ernstein considers his universal h u m a n science, dem ocracy, a n d m orality, is m erely the d o m in a n t science, d o m in a n t dem ocracy, a n d d o m i­ n a n t m orality— th a t is, bourgeois science, bourgeois dem oc­ racy, bourgeois m orality. In effect, w hen B ernstein denies th e M arx ist econom ic sys­ tem in o rd er to sw ear by th e teachings of B rentano, B öhm -Je vons, Say, a n d Ju liu s W olf, w h at does he do b u t exchange th e scientific base of th e em an cip atio n of th e w orking class for the apologetics of th e bourgeoisie? W h en he speaks o f th e u n iv er­ sal h u m a n c h a ra c te r of liberalism , a n d transform s socialism into a v ariety of liberalism , w h at does he do b u t deprive th e so­ cialist m ovem ent of its class c h a ra c te r an d , consequently, of its historical co n ten t and, consequently, o f all co n ten t in general, w hile conversely m ak in g th e historical b earer of liberalism , the

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bourgeoisie, th e ch am p io n o f the universal interests o f h u m a n ­ ity? A nd w hen he condem ns the “ raising o f the m a te ria l factors to the ra n k o f an all-pow erful force of d ev elo p m en t” ; w hen he protests ag ain st the “co n tem p t for the id e a l” in Social D em oc­ racy; w hen he presum es to talk for idealism , for m orals, b u t a t the sam e tim e inveighs against the only source o f th e m oral re ­ b irth o f the p ro le tariat, the revo lu tio n ary class struggle— w h at does he actu ally do b u t p reach to the w orking class th e q u in ­ tessence of the m o rality of the bourgeoisie, th a t is, the reconcil­ iation w ith the existing order a n d the transfer o f hope to the beyond o f an ethical ideal-w orld. W hen he directs his keenest arrow s against the dialectic, w h at does he do b u t a tta c k the specific m ode o f th o u g h t of the rising class-conscious p ro le tariat. Isn ’t the d ialectic the sword th a t has h elp ed the p ro le ta ria t pierce the darkness o f its histor­ ical future, the intellectu al w eapon w ith w hich the p ro le tariat, though m a terially still in the yoke, triu m p h s over the b o u r­ geoisie, proving to the bourgeoisie its tran sito ry ch aracter, show ing it the in ev itab ility o f the p ro le ta ria n victory? H a sn ’t the dialectic alread y realized a revolution in the d o m ain of thought? In th a t B ernstein takes leave o f the dialectic a n d re­ sorts instead to the intellectu al seesaw o f the “ on the one h a n d — on the o th er h a n d ,” “yes— b u t,” “ a lth o u g h — how ever,” “m ore— less,” he q u ite logically lapses into the historically conditioned m ode of th o u g h t o f the declining bourgeoisie, a m ode o f th o u g h t w hich is the faithful intellectu al reflection of its social existence a n d political activity. T h e political “ on the one h a n d — on the o th er h a n d ,” “yes— b u t” o f the bourgeoisie o f today exactly resem bles B ern stein ’s m a n n e r o f thinking. T his is th e sharpest a n d surest sym ptom of his bourgeois con­ ception of the w orld. B ut for B ernstein, the w ord “bourgeois” itself is n o t a class expression b u t a universal social notion. Logical to th e last dot on th e last i, he has also exchanged the historical lan g u ag e of the p ro le ta ria t, together w ith its science, politics, m orals, an d

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m ode of th ought, for th a t of th e bourgeoisie. W h en he uses, w ithout distinction, th e term “ citizen ” in reference to th e bourgeois as well as to th e p ro le ta ria n , thus in ten d in g to refer to m an in general, he in fact identifies m a n in gen eral w ith the bourgeois, a n d h u m a n society w ith bourgeois society. [If, at the beginning of th e discussion w ith B ernstein, one still hoped to convince him , to be ab le to give him b ack to the m ovem ent, by m eans of arg u m en ts from the scientific arsenal of Social D em ocracy, th a t hope m ust now be fully a b an d o n ed . N ow th e sam e words no longer express th e sam e concepts, a n d th e concepts no longer express th e sam e social facts for both sides. T h e discussion w ith B ernstein has becom e a n arg u m e n t of two w orld views, of two classes, of two social forms. T o d ay , Bernstein a n d Social D em ocracy sta n d on w holly different te r­ rain.] 5. Opportunism in Theory and Practice B ernstein’s book is of g re a t historical im p o rtan ce to th e G er­ m an a n d th e in te rn a tio n a l lab o r m ovem ent. T h is was th e first a tte m p t to give a theo retical base to th e o p p o rtu n ist cu rren ts in Social D em ocracy. If we take into consideration sporadic m anifestations, such as the question of subsidies for steam ships,44 th e o p p o rtu n ist currents in o u r m ovem ent have existed for a long tim e. B ut it is only since the beg inning of the 1890’s, w ith th e suppression of the antisocialist laws a n d th e reconquest of th e te rra in of le­ gality, th a t we have h a d a n explicit, u n ita ry o p p o rtu n ist c u r­ rent. V o llm a r’s “state socialism ,” th e vote on th e B av arian budget, th e “ a g ra ria n socialism ” o f S outh G erm an y , H e in e ’s policy of com pensation, S ch ip p el’s stan d on tariffs a n d m ilita ­ rism, are th e high points in th e d evelopm ent of the o p p o rtu n ist practice.45 44 In 1884 and 1885, Bismarck proposed that the government award a subvention to steamship companies, especially those tying German colonies to the motherland. The Social Democratic representatives to the Reichstag were divided over the question. 45 “Vollmar’s ‘state socialism’ ” refers to Georg von Vollmar’s belief that interven-

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W h at, above all, is the ex tern al characteristic of these p ra c ­ tices? H ostility to “ th eo ry .” T his is q u ite u n d erstan d ab le, for our “ th eo ry ,” i.e., the principles of scientific socialism, imposes clearly m ark ed lim itations to p ractica l activity— concerning the aims o f this activity, th e means o f struggle app lied , a n d the method o f struggle. It is thus n a tu ra l for those w ho only ru n after p ractica l results to w an t to free th eir hands, i.e., to split o u r p ractice from “ theory,” to m ake it in d ep en d en t of theory. But at every p ractical effort, this theory hits th em on the head. S tate socialism, a g ra ria n socialism, the policy o f com ­ pensation, th e m ilitia question, all constitute defeats of o p p o r­ tunism . It is clear th a t if this c u rren t is to affirm itself against our principles it m ust, logically, com e to the p o int of attack in g th e theory itself, the principles, a n d ra th e r th a n ignore them , it m ust try to shake them an d to construct its own theory. B ern­ stein’s book is precisely an effort in th a t direction. T h a t is why, a t the S tu ttg a rt P a rty Congress [in 1898— D .H .], the o p p o r­ tunist elem ents in our P a rty im m ediately grouped them selves about B ernstein’s b an n er. If, on the one h an d , o p p o rtu n ist c u r­ rents in p ractica l activity are a n en tirely n a tu ra l p h enom enon w hich can be explained in th e light o f the conditions of our ac­ tivity a n d its grow th, B ernstein’s theory, on the o th er h a n d , is a no less n a tu ra l a tte m p t to group these cu rren ts into a general theoretical expression, to discover th eir p ro p er theo retical pretion from above, by the state, was necessary for the gradual introduction of socialism through a series of practical reform measures. “The vote on the Bavarian budget” re­ fers to the practice of the Bavarian socialists, led by Vollmar, of voting for the budget proposed by the government of the Land (province) of Bavaria. This action, begun in 1891, and opposed by the majority of the Party, was justified by the “special condi­ tions” which were said to exist in Bavaria, making it necessary for Social Democracy to appear as a “legitimate” political movement. The “ ‘agrarian socialism’ of South Germany” was also justified on the grounds of “special conditions” existing in the pri­ marily agricultural and Catholic South. In 1894, Vollmar opposed the prevailing doc­ trine of Social Democracy, that the peasant was becoming an “agricultural proletar­ ian.” His proposal for a new agricultural policy was defeated, but his Bavarian organization continued its independent course. On “Heine’s policy of compensation,” cf. p. 87, n. 22. On “Schippcl’s stand on tariffs and militarism,” cf. “Militia and Mili­ tarism,” below.

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suppositions, an d to b reak w ith scientific socialism. B ernstein’s theory is thus th e theo retical ordeal by fire for opportunism , its first scientific legitim ation. H ow did this test tu rn out? W e have seen th e result. O p p o r­ tunism is not cap ab le o f constructing a positive theory cap ab le of w ithstanding criticism . All it can do is to a tta c k various iso­ lated theses of the M arx ist doctrine an d , because M arx ist doc­ trine constitutes one solidly constructed edifice, to destroy the entire system from the top to its oundations. T his shows th a t, in its essence, its bases, o p p o rtu n ist practice is irreconcilable w ith M arxism . But it is thus fu rth er show n th a t opportunism is in co m p atb ble w ith socialism in general, th a t its in te rn a l ten d en cy is to push th e lab o r m ovem ent into bourgeois paths, i.e., to com ­ pletely paralyze the p ro le ta ria n class struggle. C onsidered his­ torically, th e p ro le ta ria n class struggle is obviously not id e n ti­ cal w ith the M arxist system. Before M a rx a n d in d ep en d en t of him , th ere also existed a lab o r m ovem ent a n d various socialist systems, each of w hich, corresponding to the conditions of the tim e, was in its w ay th e th eo retical expression o f the w orkingclass struggle for em an cip atio n . T h e basing of socialism on the m oral notion o f justice, on a struggle against th e m ode o f dis­ trib u tio n instead o f against the m ode o f p roduction; th e con­ ception of class antagonism as a n antagonism betw een the poor an d the rich; the effort to graft the “ cooperative p rin c i­ p le” on capitalist econom y— all of w h at we find in B ernstein’s system— alread y existed before him . A nd, in their time, these theories, in spite o f th eir insufficiency, w ere a c tu a l theories of the p ro le tarian class struggle; they w ere the c h ild re n ’s sevenleague boots, th an k s to w hich th e p ro le ta ria t learn ed to w alk upon th e scene of history. But after th e developm ent o f the class struggle itself a n d its social conditions h ad led to th e a b a n d o n m e n t of these theories an d to the form ulation o f the principles of scientific socialism, a t least in G erm any, th ere can be no socialism outside o f M arxist socialism, a n d no socialist class struggle outside o f So-

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cial D em ocracy. F rom th en on, socialism a n d M arxism , the p ro le ta ria n struggle for em an cip atio n a n d Social D em ocracy, are identical. T h ereio re, the re tu rn to p re-M arx ist socialist theories today does not in th e least signify a re tu rn to the seven-league boots of the childhood o f th e p ro le tariat. N o, it is a retu rn to th e puny, w orn-out slippers of th e bourgeoisie. B ernstein’s theory was the first, b u t also, a t the sam e tim e, the last a tte m p t to give a theo retical base to opportunism . W e say “ th e la st,” because in B ernstein’s system, o p p o rtu n ism has gone so far— both negatively, th ro u g h its ren u n ciatio n of scientific socialism, a n d positively, th ro u g h its ju m b lin g to ­ gether o f every bit of theo retical confusion av ailab le— th a t n o thing rem ains to be done. T h ro u g h B ernstein’s book, o p p o r­ tunism has com pleted its th eo retical developm ent [just as it com pleted its p ractical developm ent in the position tak en by Schippel on the question o f m ilitarism ], a n d has d raw n its u lti­ m ate conclusion. N ot only can M arx ist d o ctrin e refute o p p ortunism th eo reti­ cally; it alone is able to explain o p p o rtu n ism as a n historical p h en o m en o n in the developm ent of the P arty . T h e w orld-his­ torical forw ard m arch of th e p ro le ta ria t to its final victory is, indeed, n o t “ so sim ple a th in g .” T h e original c h a ra c te r of this m ovem ent consists in the fact th a t here, for th e first tim e in history, th e p o p u la r masses them selves, in opposition to all ruling classes, im pose th e ir will. But they m ust posit this will outside of an d beyond the present society. T h e masses can only form this will in a constant struggle against the existing order, only w ithin its fram ew ork. T h e unification of th e b ro ad p o p u la r masses w ith a n aim reach in g beyond the w hole existing social order, of th e daily struggle w ith the g reat w orld tra n sfo rm a­ tion— th a t is the task of the Social D em o cratic m ovem ent, w hich m ust successfully w ork forw ard on its ro ad to develop­ m ent betw een two reefs: a b a n d o n m e n t o f the mass c h a ra c te r or a b a n d o n m e n t o f th e final aim ; th e fall back to sectarianism or the fall into bourgeois reform ism ; an arch ism or o p p o rtu n ­ ism.

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O f course, m ore th a n a h a lf a cen tu ry ago the th eo retical a r ­ senal o f M arxist do ctrin e a lread y furnished arm s th a t are effective against both o f these extrem es. B ut precisely because our m ovem ent is a mass m ovem ent a n d the dangers m en acin g it are not b orn in the h u m a n b ra in b u t in social conditions, M arxist d octrine could not assure us, in advance a n d once an d for all, against the an arch ist a n d o p p o rtu n ist deviations. O nce they have tak en on flesh in practice, they ca n be overcom e only by the m ovem ent itself, th o u g h o f course only w ith the help of the arm s furnished us by M arx . Social D em ocracy has already overcom e the lesser d an g er, th e a n arch ist streak of childishness, w ith th e “m ovem ent o f th e in d e p en d en ts.” 46 It is presently in the process of overcom ing th e g reater d an g e r— o p ­ portunist dropsy. W ith the enorm ous expansion of th e m ovem ent in th e last years, an d th e com plexity of th e conditions in w hich, a n d the objectives for w hich, th e struggle m ust tak e place, it was inevi­ table th a t the m om en t com e in w hich skepticism concerning the reaching of the g reat final goal, an d hesitations concerning the theoretical aspect o f the m ovem ent, m ad e them selves felt. T hus, a n d only thus, can an d m ust th e g reat p ro le ta ria n m ovem ent progress; th e instants o f vacillatio n an d hesitation are far from a surprise for the M arx ist doctrine: M a rx p re ­ dicted them long ago: “ Bourgeois revolutions,” w rote M a rx a h alf-cen tu ry ago in his Eighteenth Brumaire o f Louis Napoleon, “ like those o f th e eig h t­ eenth century, rush o n w ard rap id ly from success to success; their d ra m a tic effects surpass one an o th er; m en a n d things seem to be set in flam ing diam onds; ecstasy is the prevailing spirit. B ut they are shortlived; they reach th eir clim ax quickly, an d th en society relapses into a long hangover before it soberly learns how to a p p ro p ria te th e fruits o f its period of storm an d stress. P ro le ta ria n revolutions, on th e co n trary , such as those o f 46 The “movement of the independents” was associated with the group of the Junge. See Glossary.

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the n in e teen th century, criticize them selves co n tinually; con­ stan tly in te rru p t them selves in th e ir ow n course; com e back to w h at seems to have been accom plished in o rd er to sta rt anew ; scorn w ith cruel thoroughness th e half-m easures, weaknesses, a n d w retchedness of th e ir first attem p ts; seem to thro w dow n th eir ad v ersary only to enab le him to d raw fresh stren g th from th e e a rth a n d ag ain to rise u p against them , still m ore g ig an ti­ cally; co n tin u ally recoil in fear before the undefined enorm ity o f th eir ow n goals— u n til the situ atio n is created w hich renders all re tre a t im possible, a n d the conditions them selves cry out: ‘Hie Rhodus, hie salta!’ H ere is the rose. D an ce h ere!” 47 T his has rem ain ed tru e even after the elab o ratio n of the d octrine of scientific socialism. T h e p ro le ta ria n m ovem ent has not as yet, all a t once, becom e Social D em o cratic— even in G erm any. B ut it is becoming m ore Social D em ocratic d aily b e ­ cause a n d in asm u ch as it continuously surm ounts th e extrem e deviations of an arch ism a n d opportunism , b o th o f w hich are only m om ents o f th e m ovem ent o f Social D em ocracy consid­ ered as a process. For these reasons, the surprising th in g is n ot the a p p earan ce o f the o p p o rtu n ist c u rre n t b u t ra th e r its weakness. As long as it showed itself in isolated single cases concerning th e practical activity o f the P arty , one could still suppose th a t it h a d b ehind it some serious th eo retical base. B ut now th a t it has com e to full expression in B ernstein s book, one c a n n o t help exclaim ing w ith astonishm ent: W h at? Is th a t all you have to say? N ot a shadow of a n original thought! N o t a single idea th a t was not refuted, crushed, ridiculed, a n d reduced to dust by M arxism decades ago! It was sufficient for opp o rtu n ism to speak in o rd er to prove th a t it h a d n o th in g to say. T h a t is the only significance of B ernstein’s book in th e history of th e P arty . A nd thus, w hile saying goodbye to the m ode of th o u g h t of 47 The translation of the Latin is Marx’s. He had in mind Hegel’s use of this phrase in the Preface to Philosophy of Right, where Hegel is arguing that the truth of this world lies in the present, not in some far-off future.

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the revolutionary p ro le tariat, to th e dialectic, a n d to the m a ­ terialist conception of history, B ernstein ca n th a n k th em for the a tte n u a tin g circum stances th a t they provide for his conver­ sion. F or only the dialectic a n d th e m aterialist conception of history, m ag nanim ou s as they are, could m ak e B ernstein a p ­ p ear as a predestined b u t unconscious in stru m en t by m eans of which the rising w orking class expresses its m o m en tary w eak­ ness in order, contem ptuously a n d w ith pride, to thro w it aside w hen it sees it in the light. [We said th a t the m ovem ent becomes Social D em o cratic b e­ cause an d inasm uch as it overcom es the an arch istic a n d o p ­ portunistic deviations w hich arise necessarily w ith its grow th. B ut overcom e does n ot m ean to let everything pass peacefully as it pleases God. To overcome the present opportunist current means to reject it. B ernstein concludes his book by advising th e P a rty th a t it should d are to a p p e a r as w h at it is: a dem ocratic socialist re ­ form p arty . In our opinion, the P a rty — th a t is, its highest organ, th e P a rty congress— m ust follow this advice by propos­ ing to B ernstein th a t he too a p p e a r form ally as w h a t he is: a petty-bourgeois dem o cratic progressive.] Translated by Dick Howard

Militia and Militarism i T his is not th e first a n d hopefully will not be th e last tim e th a t critical voices are raised from th e ranks of the P a rty to question some of ou r p ro g ra m ’s dem an d s or some of o u r ta c ­ tics. In itself, criticism can n o t be sufficiently w elcom ed. But it is all a question of how the critiq u e is m ade, an d by how, we d o n ’t m ean th e “ to n e” in w hich it has u n fo rtu n ately becom e stylish to m ak e objections a t every tu rn , b u t som ething m uch m ore im p o rta n t— the general basis o f the critique, the specific w orld-view w hich is expressed in th e critique. In fact, th ere is a w holly consistent socio-political w orld­ view b eh in d th e Isegrim -S chippel*1 crusade against the d e­ m an d for a m ilitia an d in favor of th e c u rre n t m ilitary system. T h e m ost general p o in t from w hich Schippel starts in his d e ­ fense o f th e m ilitary is the conviction of th e necessity o f this m ilitary system. H e dem onstrates the u tte r necessity of a stan d in g arm y w ith an y a n d all conceivable argum ents: the technology of w ar, a n d social a n d econom ic argum ents. A nd from a certain po in t of view he is of course correct. T h e StandText from Ausgewählte Reden und Schrißen, II (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1951), pp. 34-59. Originally published in Leipziger Volkszeitung, February 20-26, 1899. 1 In November 1898, Max Schippel published an article in the Sozialistische Mon­ atsheften, “Did Friedrich Engels Believe in the Militia?” The article was signed “Iseg­ rim,” though the identity of its author was an open secret. In the Neue Zeit (Nos. 12 and 13, 1898-99), Schippel published another article, “Friedrich Engels and the Mili­ tia System,” which he signed with his own name. It is against these two articles that Rosa Luxemburg directs her discussion here.

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ing arm y, m ilitarism , are in fact indispensable— b u t for whom ? F or to d a y ’s ru lin g classes an d for th e present govern­ m ent. A nd w h at else follows, except th a t from th e specific class point of view of th e governm ent a n d the d o m in a n t classes, the elim ination of th e stan d in g arm y a n d the in tro d u ctio n o f a m i­ litia, th a t is to say, a rm in g the p o p u latio n , ap p ears to be a b ­ surd, som ething com pletely im possible? W h en Schippel too says th a t th e m ilitia is an im possible a n d ab su rd thin g , he only dem onstrates th a t he him self sees th e question from a b o u r­ geois p o in t of view, th a t he sees it w ith the eyes of th e cap italist governm ent or the bourgeois classes. Every one of his in d iv id ­ u al argum ents clearly proves the sam e thing. H e m a in tain s th a t it w ould be im possible to arm all citizens— w hich is a cor­ nerstone of th e m ilitia system— because th ere is no m oney available: “ c u ltu ral dem an d s suffer enough a lre a d y .” H e thus bases his statem ents sim ply on the current P ru ssian -G erm an finance system: some o th er econom ic stru ctu re— for exam ple, forcing the capitalist class to p ay larg er a n d larg er taxes— is inconceivable for him , even in term s of a m ilitia system. Schippel thinks th a t th e m ilitary ed u catio n of y o u th — a n ­ other cornerstone of the m ilitia system— is un d esirable, since according to him , the sergeants w ho conduct m ilitary e d u c a ­ tion w ould have an extrem ely b ad influence on young people. N a tu ra lly he starts from th e present P russian b arrack s sergeants an d sim ply transfers them into th e projected m ilitia system as those who w ould ed u cate the youth. T h is w ay of th in k in g re ­ m inds us very m uch of Professor Ju liu s W olf, who sees a n im ­ p o rta n t objection to a socialist society in th e fact th a t in th a t society, according to his calculations, th ere w ould be a general increase in the interest rate. Schippel thinks th a t c u rre n t m ilitarism is econom ically in ­ dispensable because it “ relieves” society from econom ic pres­ sures. K au tsk y takes th e greatest possible pains to try to guess how Schippel, a Social D em o crat, could conceivably im agine this “ r e lie f ’ com ing th ro u g h m ilitarism , a n d accom panies

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every possible in te rp re ta tio n w ith th e a p p ro p ria te objections.2 Hut Schippel obviously does not th in k o f it as a Social D em o­ crat, not from the p o in t o f view o f w orking people. W h en he speaks o f “ relief,” he is p lain ly th in k in g o f capital. A nd to th a t extent he is correct: for cap ital, m ilitarism is one o f th e most im p o rta n t forms of investm ent; from th e p o in t of view of cap i­ tal, m ilitarism is certain ly a relief. A nd th e fact th a t Schippel speaks here as a tru e representative o f the interests o f cap ital is shown by th e fact th a t he has found a tru sty su p p o rtin g w it­ ness. “ I assert, g en tlem en ,” it was said in the R eichstag on J a n u ­ ary 12, 1899, “ th a t it is com pletely false to say th a t the two b il­ lion R eichsm arks in governm ent obligations fulfill only u n p ro d u ctiv e functions, th a t th ere are no productive retu rn s to c o u n terb ala n ce them . / say that there is no more productive invest­ ment th a n expenses for th e A rm y .” T h e stenographic report does state “ am u sem en t on the left.” . . . T h e speaker was Freiherr von Stumm. It is ch aracteristic o f all SchippeFs statem ents th a t they are n o t so m u ch false, b u t th a t they are m ad e from the view point of bourgeois society. W h en one looks a t SchippeFs statem ents from a Social D em ocratic point o f view, everything seems u p ­ side dow n: a stan d in g arm y is indispensable, m ilitarism is eco­ nom ically beneficial, the m ilitia is im p ractical, a n d so on. It is striking th a t SchippeFs views on th e question o f m ilita­ rism agree in every m ajo r p o in t w ith his views on th e other m ost im p o rta n t question o f the political b a ttle — th a t o f tariff policies. M ore th a n an y th in g else, in b oth cases we see a determ ined refusal to connect an y position on th e question w ith dem oc­ racy or reaction. In his speech a t th e S tu ttg a rt P a rty Congress 2 SchippeFs articles were the cause of a number of articles among the antiopportun­ ist leaders of the party. Kautsky wrote three articles in 1899 against Schippel: “Friedrich Engels und das Milizsystem” (Neue Zeit, 1898-99, pp. 335-42); “Schippel und der Militarismus,” {ibid., pp. 618-26; 644-54; 686-91); “Siegfried der Harmlose” {ibid., pp. 787-91).

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F inally, in the th ird place, a n d this is th e basis o f th e two previous points, in both eases we find a n ev alu atio n o f the question exclusively from th e p o in t of view of its previous b o u r­ geois developm ent, th a t is to say from its historically condi­ tioned progressive side, an d a com plete neglect of its fu rth er, fu­ tu re developm ent, a n d in this respect, w ith the reactionary side of its developm ent. Protective tariffs are still for Schippel w h at they w ere in th e tim e o f th e late F ried rich List m ore th a n h a lf a cen tu ry ago: a g reat step forw ard over th e m edieval-feudal econom ic divisions o f G erm any. Schippel sim ply ignores the fact th a t generalized free tra d e is alread y th e sam e necessary step forw ard beyond the in te rn a l econom ic divisions o f the now unified w orld econom y, a n d th a t therefore n a tio n a l tariff barriers are reactio n ary today. T h e sam e goes for th e question o f m ilitarism . H e still looks a t it from th e view point o f th e g re a t ad v an ce w hich a stan d in g arm y based on universal m ilitary service represented over the previous m ercen ary feudal arm y. B ut for Schippel an y devel­ opm ent is frozen: for h im history goes no fu rth er th a n the stan d in g a rm y w ith th e fu rth er realizatio n o f universal m ili­ ta ry service. W h a t do these ch aracteristic positions w hich Schippel takes on the questions of tariffs a n d th e m ilitary m ean? T h e y m ean, first, a d o p tin g a policy o f one thing at a time, instead o f a policy based on a p rin cip led position. Second, in connection w ith this, th ey m ean fighting m erely th e outgrow ths o f th e ta riff or the m ilitary system instead o f fighting the system itself. A nd w h at is such a policy— if not our good friend from recen t P a rty history: opportunism? O nce ag ain “ p ractica l politics” triu m p h s in Isegrim -Schipp e l’s open re n u n ciatio n o f th e m ilitia p lan k , one of th e fu n d a ­ m en tal points of o u r en tire political program . F rom th e P a rty ’s political view point, th a t is th e real im p o rtan ce o f S ch ip p el’s stance. O n ly in connection w ith this en tire tendency, a n d from a n historical consideration o f th e general basis a n d conse­ quence o f opp o rtu n ism , can th e latest Social D em o cratic an-

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n o u n cem en t in favor o f m ilitarism correctly be ju d g e d a n d criticized. II T h e essential ch aracteristic of o p p o rtu n istic politics is th a t step by step it alw ays leads to sacrificing th e final goal of the m ovem ent, the interests o f w orking-class lib eratio n , to its m ore im m ediate, a n d in fact im agined, interests. It can easily be shown in one of SchippeFs essential propositions on th e ques­ tion of m ilitarism th a t this postulate fits S ch ip p el’s politics ex­ actly. T h e m ost im p o rta n t econom ic reason th a t, according to Schippel, com pels us to cling to th e m ilitary system, is th e eco­ nom ic “ re lie f ’ o f society th ro u g h this system. W e exclude from consideration th a t this curious assertion ignores the sim plest econom ic facts. O n th e co n trary , in order to describe this w ay of seeing things, we will assum e for a m o m en t th a t this m is­ taken assertion is correct, th a t in fact “society” is “ relieved” of its excess productive cap acity th ro u g h m ilitarism . W h a t form does this fact tak e for th e w orking class? O b v i­ ously it can only be th a t the stan d in g arm y absorbs a p a rt of the reserve arm y o f lab o r w hich depresses wages, a n d therefore im proves w orking conditions. W h a t does th a t m ean? O nly this: th a t in o rder to decrease the d e m a n d for em ploym ent, to lim it com petition, th e w orker first gives u p a p a rt o f his p ay in the form of indirect taxes so as to m a in ta in his p o te n tia l com ­ petitors as soldiers; second, he creates ou t of this com petitor a tool w ith w hich the cap italist state can repress every one of his dem ands for im provem ents in his condition (strikes, unions, etc.), a n d if necessary drow n th em in blood— th a t is to say, render im possible th a t very im provem ent in th e w o rk er’s con­ dition for the sake o f w hich m ilitarism was, acco rd in g to Schippel, necessary. T h ird , the w orker m akes this com p etito r into the m ost trustw o rth y p illar of political reactio n in th e state, into his own social enslavem ent. In o th er words, th ro u g h m ilitarism th e w orker prevents a d i­ rect red u ctio n in his w age, in re tu rn for w hich he, to a large

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degree, loses th e possibility of struggling over a long period o f time for an increase in his wages a n d for th e am elio ratio n of his condition. H e gains as a seller of labor-pow er, b u t a t th e sam e tim e loses his political freedom o f m ovem ent as a citizen, so th a t u ltim ately he also loses as a seller o f labor. H e sidetracks a co m p etito r from the lab o r m ark et, only to see him arise transfigured as a defender of his ow n enslavem ent to wages. H e avoids a reduction in wages only to reduce b oth th e pros­ pect o f a lasting im provem en t o f his situ atio n a n d also the prospects o f his u ltim a te econom ic, political, a n d social lib era­ tion. In h a rd facts, th a t is the m ean in g o f m ilitarism ’s eco­ nom ic “ re lie f ’ for the w orking class. H ere, as in every specula­ tion o f o p p o rtu n istic politics, we see th e noble goal o f socialist class lib eratio n sacrificed to p etty p ractica l interests of th e m o­ m ent: interests w hich on closer inspection can in ad d itio n be seen to be essentially fictitious. But one m ay ask: how could Schippel com e u p w ith such an ab su rd -so u n d in g idea as calling m ilitarism a n econom ic “re ­ lief,” from th e p o in t o f view o f th e w orking class as well? W e rem em b er how th e sam e question ap p ears from th e p o int of view of capital. W e have show n how m ilitarism creates for cap i­ tal the m ost profitable a n d indispensable type o f investm ents. N ow it is indeed clear th a t if th e sam e m oney, w hich th e gov­ ern m en t gets its h an d s on th ro u g h taxes a n d uses to m a in ta in th e m ilitary , w ere to rem a in in the h an d s o f th e people, it w ould stim u late an increased d em a n d for foodstuffs, or if a g reater p ro p o rtio n w ere used by th e state for cu ltu ra l ends, it would a t th e sam e tim e create a corresponding d em a n d for so­ cially prod u ctiv e labor. It is o f course clear th a t because o f this fact, m ilitarism is in no w ay a “ r e lie f ’ for society as a whole. T h e question ap p ears differently only from th e p o int o f view of cap italist profits, from th e e n tre p re n e u r’s p o in t of view. For th e cap italist it is n o t im m a te ria l w h eth er a specific d em an d for products comes from frag m en ted p riv ate buyers or from the state. T h e sta te ’s d e m a n d is ch aracterized by security, m assive­ ness, a n d th e favorable, usually m onopolistic, setting o f prices.

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w hich m akes the state th e m ost privileged custom er a n d m akes contracts w ith it the m ost desirable for capital. B ut p a rtic u la rly the m ost im p o rta n t ad v an tag e o f m ilitary contracts over state expenditures for cu ltu ra l purposes (schools, roads, etc.), is th e endless technical innovations a n d the ceaseless grow th o f expenditures, so th a t m ilitarism p ro ­ vides a n inexhaustible, indeed ever increasing source o f c a p i­ talist profit a n d erects cap ital as social pow er w hich the w orker comes u p against, for exam ple, in the factories of K ru p p an d Stum m . M ilitarism , w hich for society as a w hole is a com pletely absurd sq u an d erin g of huge productive forces, which for the w orking class signifies a red u ctio n of its eco­ nom ic sta n d a rd of living in re tu rn for its social enslavem ent, creates for the capitalist classes a n irreplaceable, a n d econom i­ cally the m ost advantageous kind of investm ent, a n d th e best social an d political support for its class d o m ination. So w hen Schippel sum m arily explains this sam e m ilitarism as a neces­ sary econom ic “ relief,” he obviously is confusing th e view point of society’s interests w ith th a t of th e interests of cap ital, an d thus, as we said a t the beginning, takes the bourgeois point of view. In addition, insofar as he supposes th a t every econom ic ad v an tag e for investors is necessarily a n ad v an tag e for the w orking class, he also takes as his startin g point th e basic posi­ tion of th e harmony o f interests between capital and labor. O nce again, this is the sam e p o in t of view th a t we have a l­ ready seen in Schippel before— on the question o f tariffs. T h ere also, he stood in prin cip le for a protective ta riff because he w anted to protect th e w orker as a producer from th e injurious com petition of foreign industry. As in th e question of th e m ili­ tary, he sees only the w orker’s direct econom ic interest an d overlooks his b ro ad er social interests, w hich are connected w ith a general social ad v an ce to free tra d e or tow ard th e disso­ lution of stan d in g arm ies. A nd in bo th cases, he assum es w ith ­ out an y question th a t w h a t is in th e interest of cap ital is also in the w orker’s im m ed iate econom ic interest, since he believes th a t w h at is good for th e en trep ren eu rs is good for th e workers.

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T h e sacrifice o f the m ov em en t’s u ltim ate goals to practical successes p f the m o m en t a n d the ev alu atio n o f p ractical in te r­ ests from th e stan d p o in t o f th e h arm o n y o f interests betw een cap ital a n d lab o r— these two basic propositions also h a rm o ­ nize w ith each o th er a n d constitute th e essential characteristics of all op p o rtu n istic politics. It m ig h t a t first glance seem surprising th a t a representative of these politics finds it possible to tak e the creato r o f th e Social D em ocratic p ro g ram as his a u th o rity a n d in all seriousness— even th o u g h his in fo rm an t on the m ilitary question is F reih e rr von S tu m m — to th in k th a t his a u th o rity on the sam e question is— F ried rich Engels. W h a t Schippel im agines th a t he has in com m on w ith Engels is an insight into th e historical necessity a n d th e historical developm ent o f m ilitarism . B ut this only proves ag ain th a t ju st as the b ad ly digested H eg elian dialectic once did, now th e b ad ly digested M arx ist concept o f history leads to in cu rab le m en tal vertigo. It also shows once ag ain th a t both the dialectical m ode o f th o u g h t in general, a n d th e m a te ­ rialistic philosophy of history in p a rtic u la r, how ever revolu­ tio n ary th ey m ay be w hen p ro p erly conceived, pro d u ce d a n ­ gerous reactio n a ry consequences w henever th ey are incorrectly grasped. If one reads S chippel’s q u o tatio n s from Engels, p a rtic u la rly from th e Anti-Dühring, on the developm ent o f the m ilitary system to w ard its ow n u ltim ate dissolution an d tow ard a p eo p le’s arm y, it is u n c le a r at first glance w h a t the real différence is betw een S chippel’s notion a n d th e position th e P a rty usually takes on the question. W e see th e form a n d function o f m ilitarism as th e n a tu ra l a n d inevitable outgrow th of society’s developm ent— so does Schippel. W e say th a t as it fu rth er develops, m ilitarism leads to a p eo p le’s arm y — so does Schippel. T h e n w here is the difference th a t could have led Schippel to his reactio n a ry opposition to th e d em a n d for a m i­ litia? It is q u ite sim ple: w hereas we, w ith Engels, see in the specific in h e re n t developm ent of m ilitarism to w ard a m ilitia merely the preconditions for its own dissolution, Schippel claim s th a t th e p eo p le’s arm y of th e fu tu re will by itself grow, “ from

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the inside o u t,” from th e c u rre n t m ilitary system. W hereas we, based on th e m aterial constraints a n d conditions w hich objec­ tive social developm ent has offered us— th e extension of u n i­ versal m ilitary service a n d the shortening o f th e period o f serv­ ice— w a n t to push th ro u g h the realizatio n of th e m ilitia system by means oj political struggle, Schippel relies on the in h e re n t d e ­ velopm ent of m ilitarism a n d w h a t ap p ears as a result of it, an d labels as fantasy an d beer-hall politics the claim th a t an y con­ scious influence can be exercised over the successful in tro d u c ­ tion of th e m ilitia. T h u s w h a t we get is no t Engels’ concept of history, b u t Bern­ stein’s. As in B ernstein, w here the cap italist econom y is step by step “ peacefully tran sfo rm ed ” by itself, w ith o u t an y gaps, into a socialist econom y, in Schippel th e m ilitia will by itself “ grow out o f ’ th e c u rre n t m ilitary system. In relatio n to th e m ilitary system Schippel doesn’t u n d e rsta n d , just as B ernstein doesn’t u n d erstan d in relatio n to cap italism as a w hole, th a t society’s objective developm ent m erely gives us the preconditions of a higher level of developm ent, b u t th a t w ith o u t o u r conscious in­ terference, w ithout th e political struggle of the w orking class for a socialist tran sfo rm atio n or for a m ilitia, n e ith e r the one n o r the other will ever com e about. A nd ju st as the com fortable notion of “ peaceful tra n sitio n ” is m erely a ch im era, a n o p p o rtu n istic escape to avoid a revo lu tio n ary struggle firm ly fixed on its goal, even on this p a th the a tta in a b le social a n d political tra n s­ form ation is reduced to a m iserable bourgeois patchw ork. In B ernstein’s theory of “ g rad u al socialization,” ev erything th a t we u n d e rstan d by socialism finally d isappears from th e con­ cept of socialism itself a n d socialism becom es “social co n tro l,” th a t is to say, harm less bourgeois social reforms. In Schippel, the concept of th e “ p eo p le’s a rm y ” is transform ed from o u r goal of a free arm ed populace w hich m akes its ow n decisions ab o u t w ar an d peace into a n a rm y ru n according to th e pres­ ent system of the stan d in g arm y, b u t w ith a short period of service w hich applies to all fit citizens. W h en ap p lied to the goals of our political struggle, S ch ip p el’s conception leads

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straig h t dow n the p a th tow ard the ren u n ciatio n of th e entire Social D em o cratic program . S ch ip p el’s defense of m ilitarism is a n obvious elab o ratio n of the en tire revisionistic tendency in our P arty , a n d at th e sam e tim e an im p o rta n t step in its developm ent. E arlier we heard from a Social D em ocratic representative to the R eichstag, H eine, th a t u n d e r certain conditions one could vote for the m ilitary d em an d s o f the cap italist regim e. B ut th a t was m ean t m erely as a concession in view of th e higher purpose o f dem oc­ racy. W ith H eine, a t least, the can n o n w ere supposed to be trad ed for peo p le’s rights. N ow Schippel says th a t the cannon are necessary for th eir ow n sake. Even if the result is th e sam e in both cases, nam ely the su p p o rt of m ilitarism , a t least H eine still based him self on a false conception of the Social D em o­ cratic means o f struggle, w hereas S ch ip p el’s position stems sim ply from th e d isplacem ent of th e goal o f the struggle. In one case bour­ geois tactics w ere m erely suggested in place of Social D em o­ cratic tactics, now th e bourgeois program boldly takes th e place of the Social D em ocratic program . W ith S ch ip p el’s “ skepticism concerning th e m ilitia ,” “ p ra c ­ tical politics” has reach ed its logical conclusion. It can go no fu rth er in th e direction o! reaction; now it only has to swallow u p oth er points of the p ro g ram in order to cast off th e rem ­ n an ts of th e Social D em o cratic m an tle w ith whose shreds it still covers itself a n d to a p p e a r in its classical n u d ity as— P far­ rer N a u m a n n .6

Ill If the Social D em ocratic P a rty w ere a d eb atin g society for social-political questions, we could reg ard the Schippel affair as finished after a th eo retical a rg u m e n t w ith him . B ut since it is a fighting political p arty , th e question is no t resolved by a th eo retical p ro o f of the errors o f SchippePs view point, b u t ra th e r posed for the first tim e. S ch ip p el’s statem ents on the mi6 That is, as a liberal reform party. On Naumann, cf. Glossary.

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litia are not only an expression of certain thoughts, they are also a political action. T herefore th e P a rty m ust answ er them not only by a refu tatio n of those views, b u t also by political ac­ tions. A nd the action m ust be ap p ro p ria te ly related to the sig­ nificance of SchippePs statem ents. In th e course of th e past years, th e un q u estio n ed validity of all the assum ptions w hich previously seem ed to be co rn er­ stones of Social D em ocracy has been shaken by attack s from our own ranks. E d u a rd B ernstein d eclared th a t the final goal of the p ro le tarian m ovem ent m e a n t nothing to him . By his suggestions ab o u t a policy of com pensation, W olfgang H eine showed th a t in fact th e Social D em ocratic tactics w hich have been developed w ere n o th in g to him . N ow Schippel proves th a t he has placed him self above th e political program. Alm ost no single basic point of th e p ro le ta ria n struggle was spared from dissolution into n o th in g by in dividual m em bers of the Party. In itself, this offers a general p ictu re w hich is no t a t all pleasant. A nd yet, from th e p o int of view of the P a rty ’s in te r­ ests, one m ust distinguish even am ong these q u ite significant pronouncem ents. B ernstein’s critiq u e of o u r theoretical validity is doubtless a highly om inous m anifestation. B ut practical o p ­ portunism is in co m p arab ly m ore dangerous for th e m ovem ent. Skepticism concerning our final goals can alw ays be fought off by the m ovem ent itself, as long as the m ovem ent is h ealth y a n d strong in its p ractical struggles. B ut as soon as the immedi­ ate goals, th a t is, th e p ractical struggle itself, are called into question, th en the en tire P a rty a n d m ovem ent, in clu d in g its final goals, becom e— not only in th e subjective p ercep tio n of this or th a t P a rty philosopher, b u t also in objective reality — “nothing.33 7 S chippel’s atta c k only aim s a t one p o int of our political p ro ­ gram . B ut in view of th e fu n d am en tal significance of m ilita ­ rism for th e co n tem p o rary state, in p ractical term s this single 7 7 The reference is to Bernstein’s statement that to him the final goal is “nothing” but the movement is everything. Cf. above, p. 53.

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point alread y im plies the re n u n ciatio n of th e entire political struggle of Social D em ocracy. T h e pow er a n d d o m in atio n of b o th the cap italist state a n d th e bourgeois class are crystallized in m ilitarism , a n d since the Social D em o cratic P a rty is th e only p a rty w hich fights against it on principle, the inverse is also tru e: the p rin cip led struggle against m ilitarism belongs to the essence of Social D em ocracy. T o a b a n d o n th e struggle against th e m ilitary system leads in practice to th e com plete ren u n c ia tio n of any struggle ag ain st the c u rre n t social system. A t th e end o f the previous section, we said th a t the only th in g left for o p p o rtu n ism to do in o rd er to renounce Social D em ocracy com pletely was to extend Schipp el’s position on the question of a m ilitia to o th er points of the program . A t th a t p o in t we w ere th in k in g only of th e subjective, conscious developm ent of prop o n en ts of this policy. O b jec­ tively, this developm ent is alread y com pleted in essence in S chippel’s statem ent. A n o th er elem ent of recen t o p p o rtu n istic pronouncem ents, p a rticu larly in th e case of Schippel, is w orth notice, if only b e­ cause o f its sym ptom atic value. T h is is the playful ease, the u n ­ shakable calm , even, as in the m ost recent case, th e cheerful grace, w ith w hich the fu n d a m e n ta l principles of Social D e­ m ocracy are shaken, even th o u g h P a rty m em bers w ho are concerned w ith P a rty m atters m ust have gone over each of them personally in detail. Such a shaking of the foundations should have at least provoked a serious crisis of conscience in every honest Social D em ocrat. T hese are the u n m istak ab le signs of th e low ering o f o u r rev o lu tio n ary level, the stu n tin g of revolutionary instincts. Aside from an y other, these a re signs w hich in them selves m ig h t be vague a n d inessential, b u t w hich are w ith o u t an y d o u b t essential for a p a rty w hich, like th e So­ cial D em o cratic P arty , is for th e m ost p a rt provisionally d i­ rected n o t a t p ractical, b u t a t ideal success a n d thus m ust nec­ essarily m ak e big d em an d s on th e level o f its in d iv id u al m em bers. A h arm onious co m p lem en t to the bourgeois mode of thought of o p p o rtu n ism is its bourgeois mode o f perception.

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T h e b re a d th o f S ch ip p el’s pro n o u n cem en ts on all subjects necessitates a corresponding co u n terp ro n o u n cem en t by th e P arty. O f w h a t can an d m ust this co u n teractio n consist? First of all, the en tire Party press should tak e a clear a n d u n am b ig ­ uous position on th e question, a n d th ere should be a sim ilar discussion of issues in P arty m eetings. I f th e P a rty as a w hole does n o t have S chippel’s a ttitu d e , according to w hich m eetings are m erely occasions on w hich th e masses are throw n the m eatless bones of slogans so th a t they can elect political “m as­ term in d s” to th e R eich stag a t th e given tim e, th en it can n o t view the discussion a n d elab o ratio n of th e m ost im p o rta n t basic political propositions of th e P a rty only as a gourm et m eal destined only for th e select a n d n o t for the g re a t masses of com rades. O n th e co n trary , only by carry in g the discussion to the broadest circles o f th e P a rty can th e successful spread of S chippel’s views eventually be prevented. Secondly, a n d even m ore im p o rta n t, is the position tak en by the Social D em ocratic delegation to p arliam en t. T hey are the ones w ho w ere d u ty -b o u n d to m ake an a u th o rita tiv e statem en t in the Schippel affair, on the one h a n d because S chippel is a m em ber o f the R eichstag a n d a m em b er of th e delegation, an d on the o th er h a n d because the question on w hich he spoke is one o f the m ost im p o rta n t areas o f th e p a rlia m e n ta ry struggle. W e d o n ’t know w h eth er the delegation did or did n o t do a n y ­ thing ab o u t the m atter. Since it was an open secret shortly after the a p p e a ra n c e o f Isegrim ’s article who was h id d en b e ­ hind the pseudonym , it w ould seem th a t the delegation did not stand by w ith th eir arm s folded w hile one o f th e ir m em bers m ade a m ockery o f th e ir own activity. A nd even if they h a d n ’t alread y done an y th in g , they could still have m ad e u p for it after K au tsk y h ad flushed Schippel out of his w olfs lair. It m akes little difference w h eth er th e d el­ egation took a stand on th e Schippel affair or not; th e result is ab o u t th e sam e as long as it was n o t b ro u g h t to the a tte n tio n of the P arty . Forced to m an eu v er on th e slippery floor o f the bourgeois p a rlia m e n t w hich is so foreign to its own essence, ap-

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p aren tly Social D em ocracy has p erh ap s unconsciously a n d in ­ v o lu n tarily tak en on m a n y of th e m ores of a p a rlia m e n ta ria n ism w hich c a n n o t be bro u g h t into full accord w ith the d em o cratic c h a ra c te r o f the P arty . In our opinion, one of those m ores, for exam ple, is th a t the delegation ap p ears as a closed body n o t only in relatio n to th e bourgeois p arlia m e n t, w hich is com pletely necessary, b u t also in relatio n to the P a rty itself, w hich can becom e counterp ro d u ctiv e. T h e delegations of th e bourgeois parties, whose p a rlia m e n ta ry battles are m ost often fought o u t in th e u n in sp irin g form of horse-trades a n d log-roll­ ing, have every reason to shun th e light of publicity. T h e So­ cial D em o cratic delegation, on the co n trary , has n eith er the necessity nor th e occasion to view th e results of its negotiations as a p riv a te m a tte r as soon as they concern P a rty principles or m ore im p o rta n t tactical questions. It w ould suffice to deal w ith such questions only in secret m eetings of the delegation if, as is th e case w ith bourgeois parties, we w ere concerned m erely w ith finally reach in g a p a rtic u la r vote of th e delegation in the R eichstag. B ut for Social D em ocracy, the p a rlia m e n ta ry strug­ gle of its delegation is m u ch m ore im p o rta n t from a p u rely agi­ tatio n al po in t of view th a n from a p ractical one. W h a t is im ­ p o rta n t is not the form al vote of a m ajo rity o f the delegation on an y p a rtic u la r issue, b u t ra th e r th e discussion itself, the clarification of th e situation. It is a t least as im p o rta n t for the P a rty to discover how its representatives th in k a b o u t p a rlia ­ m e n ta ry questions as how they vote on them as a block in the R eichstag. In a fu n d am en ta lly d em o cratic p arty , th e rela tio n ­ ship of th e representatives to th e electo rate can u n d e r no cir­ cum stances be considered fulfilled m erely th ro u g h th e act of voting a n d th e m ain ly superficial a n d form al su m m ary reports to P a rty congresses. R a th e r, th e delegation m ust rem ain in the m ost continuous co m m u n icatio n a n d em p a th y possible w ith th e P a rty masses. T h is w ould serve especially as a sim ple way of p rev en tin g the self-perpetuation of the o p p o rtu n istic te n d ­ encies w hich have com e to light precisely am o n g th e P a rty ’s m em bers o f p a rlia m e n t. A public position of the delegation on

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SchippePs statem ents was a n d still is necessary because the P arty masses sim ply do not have the physical possibility of stepping into the question as a whole, how ever m u ch they m ight wish to do so. T h e delegation is the elected p olitical re p ­ resentation of th e P a rty as a w hole, a n d th ro u g h its open p ro ­ ceedings should have indirectly help ed the P a rty com e to the necessary position. T h ird an d lastly, the P a rty as such also has its piece to say directly in the Schippel affair, in th e only form w hich is av ail­ able to it— at the next Party congress. At the S tu ttg a rt discussion on B ernstein’s articles, it was d e ­ cided th a t the P a rty congress could not vote on theoretical questions. Now, in the Schippel affair, we have a p urely p ra c ­ tical question. It was said th a t H e in e ’s suggestions for conces­ sions an d deals were m erely co u n tin g u n h a tc h e d chickens, an d th a t th e P a rty did not have to deal w ith them . N ow , w ith Schippel, the chickens have h atch ed . A nd in SchippePs posi­ tion on the question o f a m ilitia, o pportunistic policies have, as we have said, been developed to th eir final consequences an d have becom e ripe for discussion. T h e vitally im p o rta n t d u ty of the P arty now seems to us to be to d raw the correct conclusions from this developm ent by tak in g a clear a n d u n am b ig u o u s p o ­ sition. It has every reason to do so. In this case it is a question of a trusted com rade, a political representative of th e P a rty , whose duty it should be to serve th e P a rty as a sword in th e struggle, whose actions should serve as a d a m against th e attack s o f the bourgeois state. B ut if a t any m o m en t the d am is transform ed into a th in g m ad e of porridge, a n d if the b lad e breaks in b attle like one m ad e of p ap er, th e n sh o u ld n ’t th e P a rty call out to such a policy: A w ay w ith th e porridge I d o n ’t need it I forge no sword from p a p ie r m ach e.8 8 These words were cited by Rosa Luxemburg in her speech to the 1899 Hanover Party Congress (not printed here) as being Schippel’s.

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IV O n F e b ru a ry 24, 1899, the Leipziger Volkszeitung received the following letter from Schippel, w ritten after read in g the first two articles [Sections I a n d II here], w ith a request th a t it be published. Dear Friend Schönlank, I alw ays read th e Leipziger Volkszeitung*s R osa L u x em b u rg articles w ith g reat interest, no t because I can alw ays agree w ith th e m a t every point, b u t because I value highly th e ir vital m ilita n t attitu d e , th eir honest conviction, a n d th e ir stim u la t­ ing dialectic. A nd this tim e also, I followed, n o t w ith o u t astonishm ent, the increasingly extrem e a n d m ore rad ically form ulated conclu­ sions, all of w hich stem from a single presupposition: “T h e econom ic reason w hich, according to Schippel, compels us to cling to the m ilitary system, is the econom ic relief of soci­ ety th ro u g h this system. . . . Schippel calls m ilitarism a relief, from the p o in t of view of the w orking class as well . . . in th a t he starts from the basic proposition of th e harmony of interests betw een c a p ita l a n d la b o r.’’ T h e conclusions follow, b u t the presupposition is absolutely false a n d arb itrary ! In the Neue Zeit, I m erely ex plained th a t th e enorm ous u n p ro d u ctiv e expenditures— w h eth er those of the p riv ate sector for crazy luxuries a n d sheer foolishness, or those of the state for the m ilitary , sinecures, an d all kinds of ju n k — cool th e fever of th e crisis by w hich a society w hich “ overproduces” w ould co n tin u ally be shaken if th e u n p ro d u c ­ tive wastes did not occupy an ever b ro a d e r space alongside ac­ cu m u latio n for productive purposes. O bviously I did not therefore in th e least approve of w asteful a n d u n p ro d u ctiv e ex­ pen ditures, a n d even less did I demand them in the interests of the working class. I only tried to p o in t to objective consequences o f those ex penditures “for modem society” w hich are different from those consequences w hich are generally em phasized.

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A t first I never d o u b ted th a t anyone w ould tak e m e for an advocate “ of m odern society.” B ut because I have b eh in d m e a certain am o u n t of experience a b o u t the dem an d s o f Social D em ocracy, to prevent an y m isin terp retatio n I la te r inserted, still in the passage on overproduction, th e one little sentence: “O f course, th a t does not m ake m ilitarism an y m ore agreeable to me, b u t even m ore d isagreeable.” A nd th a t does clearly m ean : all th e m ore to be overthrow n. B ut even this excessive cau tio n on m y p a rt does n ot seem to help any: “ it is still the case . . .” 9—ju st as if one w ere ta lk ­ ing w ith bourgeois ladies. A fter this indication, I am confident th a t the o p en m in d ed ­ ness of th e Leipziger Volkszeitungs co llab o rato r R osa L u x ­ em burg will allow h e r to see th a t she has m ad e a false start on the question, an d th a t th e race betw een the two o f us for the laurels of the m ost p ro le tarian -rev o lu tio n ary attitu d es m ust begin again from th e beginning. Yours, M ax Schippel V W hen C o m rad e Schippel follows w ith astonishm ent th e “ in ­ creasingly extrem e a n d m ore rad ically form ulated conclu­ sions” w hich proceed from the basis of one of his statem ents, th a t only proves once again th a t statem ents have th e ir own logic, even w hen m en d o n ’t. First of all, S chippel’s present reply constitutes a notew orthy extension of the thoughts he form ulated in th e Neue Zeit on the econom ic “ r e lie f ’ of cap italist society th ro u g h m ilitarism : in addition to m ilitarism , now “sinecures a n d all kinds o f ju n k ” as well as “ th e crazy luxuries a n d sheer foolishness of p riv ate citizens” a p p e a r to be an econom ic relief a n d a m eans o f p re ­ venting crises. A p a rtic u la r view on th e econom ic function of 9 The reference is to Rosa Luxemburg’s manner of arguing, which often will con­ cede the opponent’s point only to continue “it is still the case. . .

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m ilitarism is thereby developed into a general theory accord­ ing to w hich w aste is a corrective to the cap italist econom y, a n d proves th a t we w ere unjust to F re ih e rr von S tu m m ’s posi­ tion as n a tio n a l econom ist w hen we n am ed him in our first a r­ ticle as S ch ip p el’s expert witness. W h en he called expenditures for the arm y extrem ely productive, S tum m a t least th o u g h t ab o u t th e m ean in g of m ilitarism in th e struggle for m arkets a n d in th e defense of “ n a tio n a l in d u stry .” B ut it now ap p ears th a t Schippel com pletely neglects the specific function of m ili­ tarism in cap italist society. H e sees it m erely as a clever w ay of w asting a given am o u n t of social lab o r every year; econom i­ cally m ilitarism is th e sam e to him as, for exam ple, the sixteen little dogs of th e C ountess d ’U zès in Paris, w hich “ relieve” cap italist society by a w hole a p a rtm e n t, several servants, an d a w hole d o g ’s w ardrobe. It is too b a d th a t in the course of the kaleidoscopic changes in his political a n d econom ic sym pathies, C o m rad e Schippel always breaks so com pletely w ith his form er sym pathies th a t he doesn’t have the faintest m em ory of them . O therw ise he w ould have h a d to rem em ber, as som eone w ho has been a fol­ lower of R o d b crtu s, th e classic pages of the “ F o u rth Social L etter to V o n K irc h m a n n ” (pp. 34 ff.), in w hich his form er teach er [R odbertus] disproves his c u rre n t crisis theory on lux­ uries. B ut this theory is m u ch older th a n R odbertus. If notions of econom ic relief th ro u g h m ilitarism in p a rtic u ­ la r can claim the a ttra c tio n of novelty— a t least in th e ranks of Social D em ocracy— the general theory on th e saving function o f econom ic w aste for cap italist society is as old as bourgeois v ulgar econom ics itself. V u lg ar econom ics m ay have b ro u g h t into being several cri­ sis theories on the erroneous p a th of its developm ent, b u t the one w hich ou r Schippel now adopts as his own is am ong the m ost triv ial o f them . As far as insight into the in n e r m ech a­ nisms of th e cap italist econom y is concerned, it stands even lower th a n th e theory o f the m ost disgusting clow n of vulgar

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economics, J . B. Say, according to w hom overproduction is really u n d e rp ro d u c tio n .101 W h a t is the m ost general presupposition for S ch ip p el’s theory ’ Crises com e a b o u t because of the fact th a t in relatio n to the mass of goods produced, too few goods are consum ed, so th a t crises can be stopped by increased consum ption w ithin so­ ciety. H ere th e occurrence o f cap italist crises is n o t deduced from the in h eren t tendency of p ro d u ctio n to exceed th e lim its of the m ark et or from ru n aw ay p roduction, b u t from th e abso­ lute lack of relatio n betw een p ro d u ctio n a n d consum ption. T h e masses of goods of cap italist society are seen, so to speak, as a rice m o u n tain of a certain size th ro u g h w hich society m ust eat its way. T h e m ore th a t is consum ed, th e less rem ains as an undigested w eight on th e econom ic conscience of society an d the g reater the “ relief.” T h a t is a n absolute crisis theory w hich is related to M a rx ’s relative crisis th eo ry in th e sam e w ay th a t the M alth u s theory of p o p u latio n is related to th e M a rx ia n law of relative o v erp o p u latio n .11 But according to this clever theory, it is no t a m a tte r of in ­ difference to society who consumes. 1f p ro d u ctio n only serves to set p roduction in m otion again, th en th e m o u n ta in of rice starts to grow again, a n d “ society” has gained nothing; the cri­ sis fever acts u p an d shakes it as it did before. O n ly w hen goods are absorbed once a n d for all, w hen they are consum ed by people who d o n ’t produce an y th in g , only th en does society heave a sigh of relief, only th en is th e crisis hem m ed in. 10 Say’s theory explains crises as a result of the disproportionality of production in the different branches of the economy. Hence, what appears to be a crisis of overpro­ duction would be, for Say, merely the result of underproduction in one sector, which makes the smooth exchange process go awry. Therefore, for Say, “overproduction is really underproduction.” 11 That is, Schippel ignores the fundamental nature of capitalist production just as Malthus did in formulating his famous population theory which, briefly, argues that population will soon outstrip the available supply of food because population increases exponentially. Marx’s relative overpopulation theory begins from the relations of pro­ duction and shows how with the growth of productivity which is necessary for the cap­ italists in order to increase the production of relative surplus value, a number of jobs will be temporarily eliminated until new branches of production open up or the old ones increase their output.

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E n tre p re n e u r Sm ith doesn’t know w h at he should do w ith th e goods he (th a t is, his w orkers) has produced. By a stroke of good luck, en tre p re n e u r Jo n es is obsessed w ith crazy luxuries a n d buys th e w ares th a t are w eighing heavy on his h ard pressed class com rade. B ut he himself, Jones, also has a n excess of produced goods w hich “w eigh him d o w n ’’: fo rtu n ately the aforem entioned Sm ith also spends a lot for ‘ luxuries a n d fool­ ishness” a n d presents him self to th e tro u b led Jo n es as the m u ch -w an ted p u rchaser. Now, after th e exchange has been concluded h ap p ily , our tw o en trep ren eu rs look a t each o ther in bew ilderm ent a n d feel like crying out: “ Is it you th a t’s crazy or m e?” In fact, they b o th are. For w h at have they g ained by this o p eratio n w hich Schippel has suggested to them ? It is tru e th a t they have both h onorab ly a n d tirelessly helped each o ther to destroy a certain a m o u n t of goods. B ut oh! it is n ot th e d e ­ struction of m ate ria l goods th a t is th e purpose of th e e n tre p re ­ neur, b u t th e realizatio n of surplus value in p u re a n d shiny gold. A nd in this la tte r context, th e clever tra d e am ounts to th e sam e th in g as if each of th e two en trep ren eu rs h a d throw n aw ay or consum ed his ow n excess surplus value. T h a t is Schipp el’s m eans for a tte n u a tin g crises. D o th e W e stp h alian coal barons suffer from an overp ro d u ctio n of coal? T h e blockheads! I hey should ju st h e a t th e ir palaces h o tter a n d th e coal m ark et will be “ relieved.” D o th e ow ners of th e m a rb le q u arries in C a rra ra com plain ab o u t overstocking in th e ir shops? T h e n let them b u ild m arb le stalls for th eir horses a n d th e “ crisis fever” in the m arb le business will soon cool off. A nd if th e th re a te n ­ ing cloud of a general business crisis approaches, Schippel calls out to th e capitalist: “ M o re oysters, m ore ch am p ag n e, m ore liveried servants, m ore b alle t dancers, a n d you will be saved!” W e are only afraid th a t th e old boys, w ith all th eir experience, will answ er him , “ Sir, you take us for d u m b er th a n we a re !” B ut this clever econom ic theory does lead to interestin g so­ cial a n d political conclusions. N am ely, if only u n p ro d u ctiv e consum ption, th a t is, th e consum ption by th e state a n d the bourgeois classes, constitutes econom ic relief a n d a rem edy for

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alleviating crises, th en it seems to be in the interest o f society a n d the peaceful co n tin u atio n of th e cycle of p ro d u ctio n to in ­ crease u n p ro d u ctiv e consum ption as m uch as possible a n d to lim it productive consum ption as m u ch as possible; to m ake th a t p a rt of social w ealth destined for capitalists a n d th e state as large as possible a n d w h a t rem ain s left over for w orking people as sm all as possible; to m ak e profits a n d taxes as high as possible, wages as low as possible. T h e w orker becom es an econom ic ‘‘b u rd e n ” for society a n d the cute little dogs of the Countess d ’U zes an econom ic life preserver— those are the consequences of SchippeFs “ r e lie f 5 theory. W e have said th a t even am ong v ulgar econom ic theories it is the m ost trivial. W h a t is the m easuring stick of v u lg ar eco­ nom ic triviality? T h e essence of v u lg ar econom ics consists in the fact th a t it observes th e processes of th e cap italist econom y not in th eir deep-seated relationships a n d not in th eir essential structure, b u t in th e superficial division th ro u g h laws of com ­ petition; not th ro u g h the telescope of science, b u t th ro u g h the glasses of in d iv id u al interests in bourgeois society. But the im age of society shifts according to th e view point o f these in ­ terests an d it can be projected in a m ore or less distorted fash­ ion onto the skull of th e econom ist. T h e closer he stands to the actu al process o f prod u ctio n , the closer his conception is to the tru th . A nd th e closer th e scholar is to the m ark etp lace, to th e area of the com plete hegem ony of com petition, th e m ore the im age of society he sees from th ere is reversed. Schippel s theory of crises is, as we have shown, absolutely u n ten ab le from the stan d p o in t of capitalists as a class. It leads to the advice: the cap italist class o u g h t to consum e its o v erp ro ­ duction itself. Even a n in d iv id u al cap italist in d u strialist w ould greet it w ith a shrug of th e shoulders. A K ru p p or a von H eyl is m uch too sm art to a b a n d o n him self to th e fantasy th a t he him self a n d his class com rades could in an y w ay help do aw ay w ith crises. T h is conception can only occur to a c a p italist m e r­ ch an t, or m ore correctly to a capitalist shopkeeper, for w hom his im m ediate custom er, the m em b er o f “ high society55 w ith all his

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luxuries, ap p ears as th e p illa r o f th e en tire econom y. Schipp el’s theory is not even derivative o f the conception o f th e c a p ­ italist entrepreneur; it is th e d irect th eo retical expression o f the point o f view of the capitalist shopkeeper. S ch ip p e’’s thoughts on th e “ r e lie f ’ o f society th ro u g h m ilita ­ rism fu rth e r d em o n strate, ju st as in his tim e the w ritings of E d u a rd B ernstein did, th a t revisionism , w hich leads to the bourgeois political stan d p o in t, also is linked to bourgeois vul­ g ar econom ics th ro u g h its econom ic foundations. Y et Schippel objects to the political conclusions we draw from his “ r e lie f ’ theory. H e was only speaking o f the relief o f society, not o f th e w orking class; he even explicitly, so as to avoid an y m isu n d erstan d in g , stuck in the reassurance th a t this “ m ade m ilitarism not m ore agreeable, b u t ra th e r m ore dis­ ag reeab le” for him . O n e m ight th in k th a t Schippel th o u g h t m ilitarism was econom ically d etrim e n ta l from the view point o f the working class. But th en w hy did he p o in t to econom ic relief? W h a t conclu­ sions does he d raw from it for the relationship o f th e w orking class to m ilitarism ? L et us listen to him : “ O f course, th a t (eco­ nom ic relief) does not m ak e m ilitarism m ore agreeable to me, but even m ore disagreeable. But even from this point o f view I can­ not chime in with the liberal petty-bourgeois outcries about economic ruin because o f unproductive military expenditures.” 12 So Schippel views th e position on th e econom ically ruinous effect o f m ilitarism as petty bourgeois, as false. F or him m ilitarism is not ruinous; the “ chim ing in w ith the liberal petty-bourgeois outcries” against m ilitarism , th a t is to say, th e struggle against it, is for him m is­ taken. Yes, his w hole article is set u p to prove to th e w orking class th a t m ilitarism is indispensable. In view o f th a t fact, w h at is the m e a n in g of his p ro testatio n th a t m akes m ilitarism not m ore ag reeab le b u t m ore disagreeable? It is m erely psycholog­ ical reassurance th a t Schippel does not defend m ilitarism w ith pleasure, b u t against his will, th a t he him self takes no pleasure n Neue Zeit, 1898-99, No. 20, p. 617. (R.L.)

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from his opportunistic politics, th a t his h e a rt is b e tte r th a n his head. In view of this fact alone, I c a n n o t take u p SchippePs in v ita ­ tion to a race for th e best “ p ro le tarian -rev o lu tio n ary a tti­ tudes.” L oyalty forbids m e to com pete in a race w ith som eone who w alks u p to the racetrack in th e m ost unfavorable possible position, th a t is to say, w ith his b ack to th e startin g pole. Translated by John Heckman

II T actics

R osa L u x em b u rg is often th o u g h t of as the high priestess of “ spontaneism ,” th a t doctrin e whose sin is placin g th e in d e­ p en d en t action of the masses above th a t of the v a n g u a rd party. Like m ost labels, this one contains a g rain of tru th . Y et, as she herself notes in an o th e r context, “w ith this dissection, as w ith an y other, [one] will n o t perceive th e ph en o m en o n in its living essence, b u t will kill it alto g eth er.” T h e position of a th in k er so concerned w ith to tality as R osa L u x em b u rg c a n n o t be re ­ duced to catchw ords a n d slogans. In Social Reform or Revolution, she noted th a t Social D em ocracy has co n tin u ally to steer a course betw een two reefs: “ a b a n d o n m e n t of the m ass c h a ra c ­ ter or a b a n d o n m e n t of the final aim ; th e fall back to se c ta ria n ­ ism or the fall into bourgeois reform ism ; an arch ism or o p p o r­ tu n ism .” T h e essays presented in this section, w ritten on different subjects, a t different tim es, a n d for different purposes, give a view o f the dialectical a p p ro a c h to concrete tactical problem s. All of R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s w ritings are concerned w ith tactics, a n d it is of course artificial to present these four selections as h er “ tactical position.” T h e reflections on tactics overlap w ith the a tta c k on revisionism -opportunism , an d m esh w ith the m aterials w hich follow. T h is section begins w ith a n a tta c k on B lanquist an arch ism , stressing the im p o rtan ce o f political action, a n d ends w ith an article w hich is often seen as a p ro to ty p e of a new anarchism . T h is is not a p ara d o x in R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s th o u g h t, b u t a p arad o x of th e dialectic. F u rth e r, it is p a rtia lly the result of the fact th a t the first article here was w ritten for a Polish a u d i­ ence, w hile th e last was w ritten for a G erm an one. As w ere m an y o f R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s Polish articles, “ In 161

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M em ory of the P ro letariat P a rty ” was w ritten in defense o f the politics o f th e “ Social D em ocracy of th e K in g d o m o f P o lan d an d L ith u a n ia ” (S D K P iL ), of w hich R osa L u x em b u rg was a founder a n d leading figure. T h e m ajor p la n k in th e platform of the S D K P iL was the rejection o f th e d em a n d for Polish n a ­ tional independence, a n d the insistence th a t th e socialists in each o f th e divided sections of P o lan d w ork w ith th e socialist organizations in th eir zone for th e establishm ent o f a m u lti­ n atio n al socialism. T h is view was directly opposed to th e sac­ rosanct declarations o f M a rx a n d Engels on the subject o f P ol­ ish independence, a n d h a d to be co n tin u ally defended against the other Polish socialist p arty , th e PPS (whose nationalism , after th e left h a d split from the p arty , led to Filsudski’s national-socialist dictatorship). T h e difference betw een the M arx-E ngels view a n d th a t o f the S D K P iL stem m ed largely from th eir different tem p o ral v an tag e points. In the eyes of M arx a n d Engels, czarism was th e bastion o f E u ro p e a n reac­ tion, an d any act w hich helped to destroy it was progressive. M arx an d Engels did not support n a tio n a l in d ep en d en ce as an abstract concept, as is seen, for exam ple, by th eir rejection of the n atio n al claim s o f th e Czechs, w hich they saw as tied to the reactio n ary P an -S lav m ovem ent. T h e ir position on the Polish question was purely tactical. T o those who p reach ed the doctrine o f M a rx a n d Engels after th eir deaths, the S D K P iL replied th a t tim es h a d changed, th a t czarism was no longer th e support o f reaction th ro u g h o u t th e w orld, a n d th a t it itself was in fact receiving su p p o rt from o th er cap italist n a ­ tions. T h e y argued fu rth er— as R osa L u x em b u rg h a d shown in her doctoral dissertation, The Industrial Development o f Poland — th a t the Polish an d R ussian bourgeoisies w ere tied together econom ically, a n d th a t th e form er h a d no reason to d em an d n atio n al independence. Since the p ro le ta ria t h a d no reason to w ant to shed its blood for th a t a b stra c t concept “ P o la n d ,” it could therefore only be th e reactio n a ry nobility, déclassé in tel­ lectuals, a n d lu m p en elem ents w hich d em an d ed in d e p e n d ­ ence. T h e S D K P iL clung tenaciously to this view w hich, for

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exam ple, led it to split from L e n in ’s R ussian p a rty because of the la tte r’s refusal to su p p o rt its in tern atio n alist position. Even in the m idst of the 1905 R evolution, R osa L u x em b u rg u n d e r­ took a long p a m p h le t defending th e S D K P iL position on the n atio n al question. T h o u g h th e n a tio n a l question is no t directly tre a te d in the “ P ro le ta ria t” essay, it provides th e b ack g ro u n d for th e a n a ly ­ sis. O n ly in this light is it u n d e rsta n d a b le why, for exam ple, R osa L u x em b u rg argues th a t th e in tern atio n alist posture of th e Rownosc m ad e th a t group “ Social D em o cratic.” T h o u g h th e analysis is im p o rta n t as a n exam ple of the M arxist a p ­ proach to th e u n d e rsta n d in g of history, a n d its im p o rtan ce for the grow ing m ovem ent, it is also a n im p o rta n t co n trib u tio n to the tactical discussion. T h e an arch ist-B lan q u ist te m p ta tio n is co n tin u ally present in revolutionary m ovem ents; in a c ertain sense it is a health y sign of a n unflagging revolutionary will. Y et, in th in k in g about its significance w ith in the revolutionary to tality, it b e­ comes clear th a t it is a te m p ta tio n to be avoided. W h a t is sig­ nificant in R osa L u x em b u rg ’s essay is no t so m uch th e a ttack on the B lanquist su b o rd in atio n o f th e masses to th e leadership o f the conspiratorial group actin g in th eir nam e; th a t is quite orthodox. M ore surprising m ay be the n o n -enrage position tak en by R osa L uxem burg. She does n ot believe th a t th e cap i­ talist o rder can be overthrow n in a single blow, n o r th a t the masses have a “y en ” for revolution w hich will show itself once the terro rist group proves th a t it is “ the enem y o f their enem y.” T h e cap italist o rd er m ust be overthrow n w ith th e aid of the very w eapons w hich it itself provides— p a rlia m e n ta ry dem ocracy a n d bourgeois political freedom s. W h en it doesn’t provide th em , these w eapons m ust be created, for w ithout them , th e developm ent of a class-conscious p ro le ta ria t, the condition sine qua non o f revolution, is impossible. T h e stress on th e role of a tran sitio n al pro g ram , th e gradualism , th e ridicule o f revolutionary rom anticism a n d o f its disdain for bourgeois liberalism — these all p o in t aw ay from th e “ sp o n tan eist” view

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of revolution an d tow ard th e accen tu atio n o f p ro le ta ria n poli­ tics, th e developm ent o f class consciousness a n d organization. In its alm ost h u m d ru m orthodoxy, th e short article on the dem an d for the eig h t-h o u r day is a com plem ent to th e “ P ro le­ ta ria t” essay. Follow ing the E rfu rt line, the m in im al an d m axim al p ro g ram are stressed, ju st as they w ere in the a rg u ­ m en t against Schippel a t H an o v er: it is the m ax im al p ro g ram w hich gives sense to the m in im al dem ands. T h e o p p o rtu n ist moves o f the p a rlia m e n ta ry delegation are criticized as a d e ­ viation from orthodoxy. W h a t is im p o rta n t, it is argued, is n ot the en actm en t of some m in o r reg u latio n here a n d th ere; w h a t is im p o rta n t is ed u catin g the masses, b u ild in g class conscious­ ness. Because it doesn’t u n d e rsta n d th e role o f th e final goal, the totality o f Social D em ocratic politics, the o p p o rtu n ist ta c ­ tic doesn’t u n d erstan d the scale of priorities, u n d erestim atin g the role of the masses a n d m isu n d erstan d in g its relatio n to them . T h e speech on w o m an ’s suffrage is interesting in this con­ text, as well as giving a n insight into R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s own ch aracter. R osa L uxem b u rg never liked to w rite for th e Social D em ocratic w o m an ’s p ap er, Die Gleichheit, edited by h er best friend, C la ra Z etkin. She was n e ith e r p ro u d nor ash am ed of being a w om an, an d refused to let h er sex help or h in d e r h er activities. T oo often one finds references to h er life or politics couched in term s of h er person— som ething w hich could not have been m ore re p u g n a n t to her. O n e exam ple o f h er a tti­ tude m akes this clear. W h en h er friend K o n ra d H aenisch, ed i­ tor of the Leipziger Volkszeitung, tried to defend h er position on the mass strike by h in tin g , am ong o th er things, a t th e ex ten ­ u atin g circum stance of h er long service to th e P a rty an d h er fem ale disposition, she replied:

You simply got the idea oï defending me, but through your incor­ rect strategy succeeded in attacking me from behind. You wanted to defend my “morality,” and to do that you conceded my political position. . . . Yo u must have noticed that since I have been in the German party, since 1898, I have been contin­ ually and most vulgarly abused personally, especially in the

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South, and still have never answered . . . from the political view that all of these personal insults are simply maneuvers to avoid the political issue. . . . You may not even be aware of the im­ pression that your article made: a tearful and noble plea for ex­ tenuating circumstances for someone condemned to death.1 O n the o th e r h an d , h er letters show th a t she co n tin u ally tried to persu ad e h er w om an friends to take an in d ep en d en t role in politics, a n d to free them selves from the d o m in atio n of th eir husbands. T h is was especially tru e w ith Luise K autsky. T h o u g h th e w o m an ’s suffrage speech is one of R osa L ux ­ e m b u rg ’s relatively few statem ents on the subject, its signi­ ficance is n o t m erely anecd o tal. T h is is a speech from 1912, d u rin g th e period w hen she was in full a n d open rebellion against th e “ p ra c tic a l” leaders of the SPD , whose electoral coalition w ith the bourgeois Progressive P a rty was the final sign o f th e ir fall into opportunism . Seeing th a t there was no w ay to convince the leaders of the P a rty th a t the tactics cen­ tered a ro u n d the m ass strike were correct, she took h er cam ­ paign to the people, speaking u p a n d dow n G erm any. T h e speech on w o m an ’s suffrage, p a rt of this b arn sto rm in g tour, is interesting for its b len d in g of a reasoned, cold analysis of the role of w om an in society w ith the conviction th a t resolute a c ­ tion is needed to achieve even bourgeois aims. R osa L u x ­ em burg knew full well th a t voting rights for w om en w ould not m aterially change things w ithin a n a u th o rita ria n G erm an state in w hich the B u n d esrat— the u p p e r house, not elected by universal suffrage— h a d a com plete veto right, a n d in w hich the governm ent was not responsible to the people’s rep resen ta­ tives b u t only to the K aiser. Y et the struggle for voting rights was a necessary stage in the process of ed u catin g the p ro le ta r­ iat a n d lead in g it from struggle to struggle. T h e d em a n d for w o m an ’s suffrage is not to be couched in term s of “ju stic e ,” b u t in term s o f a progressive struggle against the to tality of the capitalist system. 1 Letter to Konrad Haenisch, December 2, 1911. In Briefe an Freunde (Frankfurt: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1950), pp. 28 ff.

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T h e “ M ass S trik e” essay, w ith w hich this section closes, is p erhaps R osa L u x em b u rg ’s m ost im p o rta n t statem en t on the tactical question. In it, she once ag ain uses M a rx against M arx, show ing th a t M arxism is a m ethod, not a dogm a, an d th a t it m ust alw ays subm it its doctrines to the court o f histori­ cal change. T h e historical context in w hich th e “ M ass S trik e” essay was w ritten casts some light on it. T h e news o f th e b egin­ nings of the R ussian R evolution o f 1905 seem ed to b rin g new life into th e G erm an labor m ovem ent. A series o f strikes broke out. Interest in the R ussian events was high. R osa L u x em b u rg was the only G erm an qualified to in te rp re t the R evolution to the G erm an p arty , an d she did it w ith a flair, w riting daily a r ­ ticles on all aspects o f the R evolution, try in g to stoke the fires of the G erm an w orkers’ enthusiasm . T h o u g h the 1905 J e n a P arty Congress passed a ra th e r vague resolution concerning the em ploym ent of the mass strike u n d e r certain (defensive) circum stances, shortly th ereafter the congress o f the tra d e unionists, m eeting in C ologne, passed w h at am o u n ted to a veto on discussion o f the general strike, speaking o f it as “gen­ eral nonsense.” D u rin g this tim e, R osa L u x em b u rg h a d gone to W arsaw to p a rtic ip a te in the R evolution, a n d h a d been a r ­ rested in M a rc h 1906. W h en she was released, she spent a few m onths in F in lan d w ith L en in an d the Bolsheviks. It was th en th a t she was asked by the H a m b u rg b ra n c h o f the S P D to w rite a p a m p h le t on the mass strike in order to b rin g the dis­ cussion back into the P a rty before the M a n n h e im Congress in 1906. T h e p am p h let was to ap p eal to the masses o f w orkers who w ere still interested in the id ea o f the general strike, an d to move th em to action, in spite o f th eir leaders if necessary. D espite her criticism o f the an arch ist notion of th e general strike, R osa L u x em b u rg was accused o f defending a n a n a r ­ chist position in this p am p h let. S tatem ents like “ the elem ent of spontaneity plays such a p ro m in en t role in the m ass strikes in Russia n o t because th e R ussian p ro le ta ria t is ‘unschooled’ b u t because revolutions allow no one to play schoolm aster to th em ,” as well as the lim ited an d secondary role given to p arty

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leadership give credence to this view. Interestingly, the form er notion is alm ost id en tical to th a t w hich M a rx him self d e ­ fended ag ain st A rnold R uge in his article, “T h e K in g of Prussia a n d Social R efo rm ,” w ritten in 1844 a b o u t the Silesian w eavers’ rebellion. T h e rea d e r will see for him self th a t th e position defended in the 'M ass S trik e” p a m p h le t is to tally consistent w ith b o th the M arx ian dialectic an d R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s general position. T h e stress on the developm ent o f class consciousness an d on the role played by bourgeois dem ocracy in e d u catin g the w orking class, th e in terp lay of the econom ic a n d political as­ pects of the action of the p ro le tariat, an d the im p o rta n t notion th a t “ th e socialist transform atio n presupposes a long a n d stub­ born struggle in th e course of w hich, q uite probably, th e prole­ ta ria t will be repulsed m ore th a n o nce,” are not new. It is not co n trad icto ry for R osa L u x em b u rg to have w ritten this p a m ­ phlet, to have traveled th ro u g h o u t G erm an y pushing the n o ­ tion of the m ass strike, a n d still to insist th a t th e mass strike can n o t be “ p ro p a g a te d .” For “ in reality, th e mass strike does not produce the revolution, b u t th e revolution produces the mass strike.” T h e m ass strike is “ th e to tality concept of a whole period of the class struggle lasting for years, perhaps decades.” R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s description of it is guided by this to tality notion w hich enables h er to dep ict the dialectical in ­ teraction of its different phases. F u rth er, one has to see the difference betw een th e subjective a n d objective factors which com pose th e m ass strike. Because one of th e “objective factors” — the p ro le ta ria t— is also subjective, it is possible to “ p ro p a ­ g a te ” the m ass strike in th e sense of b u ild in g a m ood, a clim ate in w hich the conscious elem ent can com e to the fore. T h is was w h at R osa L u x em b u rg tried to do.

In Memory of the Proletariat Party i For m any years now on the anniversary of the heroic deaths of K unicki, Bardow ski, Ossowski, a n d P ietrusinski,*1 socialp atrio tic skirm ishes w hich only h a rm the m em ory o f the founders of th e first socialist p a rty in P o lan d have ta k e n place a t the graves o f those w ho fell for th e cause o f in te rn a tio n a l so­ cialism. W e are speaking of those yearly festivities w hich— especially in foreign lands— are organized by the “ Polish So­ cialist P a rty ” [PPS], whose goal is to u su rp th e past o f th e P o l­ ish labor m ovem ent for the use o f to d a y ’s n atio n alism in the guise of socialism. W e m ean the obtrusive hom ages o f th a t p o ­ litical m ovem ent for whose p ro g ram a n d political ethic the lives a n d actions of the fallen w ere only d am n ab le. M en w ho stood on such a high intellectu al p lan e as those four, w ho m et d eath for a n id ea w ith heads held high, an d who in dying encouraged a n d inflam ed th e living, are d o u b t­ less not the exclusive p ro p erty o f an y p a rtic u la r p a rty , group, or sect. T h e y belong in th e p a n th e o n o f all m an k in d , a n d a n y ­ one to w hom the idea of freedom , no m a tte r w h a t its co n ten t Text from Politische Schriften, III (Frankfurt: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1968), pp. 23-82. The German translation was by Tadeusz Kachlak, with the help of Bernherd Blanke and Victoria Vierhelles. Polish version originally published in Przeglad Socialdemokratyczsy, January-February 1903. 1These four militants were leaders of the Proletariat Party who were hanged on January 28, 1886, as part of the government’s reprisals for a series of assassination at­ tempts in Poland. Kunicki was second-in-command of the Party; it was he who signed the tactical agreement to work with the Narodnaya Volya, of which Rosa Luxemburg speaks below.

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or form , is tru ly precious should em b race th em as kindred spirits a n d h o n o r th eir m em ory. E specially w henever th e a c a ­ dem ic y o u th of P o lan d tak e p a rt in g reat num bers in the fes­ tivities in m em ory of the P ro le ta ria t P arty , we view it w ith real jo y as a sym ptom of idealism a n d prom ising revolutionary leanings am o n g ou r intelligentsia. W e w an t n eith er to m onopolize th e m em ory of th e heroes of the P ro le ta ria t nor to fight for it in th e n arro w interest of the P arty , as for the body of Patroclus. B ut w hen th e h o n oring of the m em ory of the executed becom es a noisy a n d m indless sport, w hen it is low ered to th e level of com m on advertising, to the signboard of a political group, a n d w hen the ideas an d deeds of th e P ro letarian s— for w hich they died— are misused an d m isin terp reted before th e people for this base purpose, th en it is sim ply the d u ty of those who, because of th e spirit of th eir principles, are the heirs of th e revolutionary tra d itio n of the P ro le ta ria t, to protest loudly. W e are no friends of those reg u lar a n n u a l festivals in h onor of revolutionary trad itio n s w hich becom e both com m onplace, because of th e ir m ech an i­ cal reg u larity , a n d — like everything th a t is “ tra d itio n a l”— ra th e r b a n a l.2 W e are nevertheless of the opinion th a t, for the present, those w ho fell on J a n u a ry 28 can best be honored by show ing th a t th eir graves are no t th e p ro p er spot for socialp atrio tic capers or for tin soldiers exercising for th e “ n atio n al u p risin g .” It is also u n fo rtu n a te th a t th e trad itio n s of th e socialist m ovem ent in ou r lan d are so little know n to the co n tem p o rary g en eratio n of Polish revolutionaries. In o u r opinion, it is tim e to revive th e m em ories of o u r p ast struggle, a struggle w hich today can be a rich source of m oral reinforcem ent a n d politi2 Rosa Luxemburg was, despite this passage, a great believer in the importance of the traditions of the working class and its revolutionary development. The importance of tradition, the importance of history and of historical consciousness runs like a red thread throughout her life and work. Cf., for example, the great stress which she placed on the May Day celebration, and the stress on the history of the labor move­ ment in the debate concerning the Party School (below, p. 279), as well as the next paragraphs here.

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cal instruction. Above all, it is tim e th a t the in tellectual c h a r­ acter of th e first influen tial a n d o rg an izatio n ally strong social­ ist p arty in P oland, the P ro le ta ria t, be studied a n d th a t it be described by its own w ords a n d deeds in the light of historical tru th . H e w ho w ould correctly ev alu ate a n d u n d e rsta n d the politi­ cal ideas of the P ro le ta ria t P arty , m ust sta rt from th e assum p­ tion th a t this p a rty was n ot u n ited in its program , th a t its p ro ­ gram a n d direction w ere influenced by two distinct elem ents: by the W est a n d by R ussia, by th e M arx ist theory a n d by the practice of the N a ro d n a y a V olya. T h e social conditions of Congress P o lan d in the 1880’s were a suitable base for a “ labor m o v em en t” in th e E u ro p e a n sense of the term . T h e lan d reform a n d th e developm ent of industry after the collapse of th e last u prising com pleted th e final triu m p h of capitalism in th e cities an d , p artially , in th e coun­ try .3 T h e positivistic theory of “organic w ork” sw ept aw ay the last vestiges of the feu d al-n atio n al ideology from society an d laid the foundation for th e social a n d intellectu al ru le of the bourgeoisie in a m ore n ak ed form th a n in an y o th er cou n try .4 M odern class antagonism , the econom ic situation, a n d the so­ cial im p o rtan ce of the in d u strial p ro le ta ria t becam e clear. T h u s the objective conditions w hich form the fo u n d atio n of the M arx ist teaching w ere alm ost totally fulfilled in Congress Poland, a n d the socialist struggle o f the P ro le ta ria t could be logically based on M arx ist principles. T his view is clearly a rtic u la te d in th e second c h a p te r of the 3 In 1863 the Polish nobility rebelled against its czarist master, attempting to win the oppressed serfs to its side with arguments showing that the Czar was responsible for their misery. The rebellion was defeated. To prevent the nobility from future dem­ agogic appeals to the serfs, the Czar abolished the institution of serfdom in Poland. This signified the end of the feudal-natural economy, and led to the development of Polish capitalism. This was especially the case in Congress Poland, the Russian-con­ trolled sector of what had been the nation Poland, where Rosa Luxemburg was born. 4 The theory of “organic work” developed in Poland among a segment of the rising bourgeoisie after the failure of the 1863 rebellion. Through “organic work” it was hoped that Polish economic development would be furthered.

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p ro clam atio n o f the w orkers’ com m ittee of the social-revolu­ tio n ary P ro le ta ria t P a rty in 1882: “ O u r lan d is no t a n excep­ tion to th e general developm ent of E u ro p ean society: its past a n d p resen t constitution, based on exploitation a n d oppres­ sion, offers our w orker n o th in g b u t m isery a n d deg rad atio n . O u r society today shows all of the characteristics of a b o u r­ geois-capitalist constitution, a n d even th o u g h the lack of p olit­ ical freedom gives it a distorted a n d sickly a p p earan ce, this does n o t a lte r the essence of its c h a ra c te r.” 5 H ere too socialism has a m odern foundation a p p ro p ria te to the class stru ctu re of society: “T h e interests of th e exploited can n o t be b ro u g h t into h arm o n y w ith th e interests of th e ex­ ploiters. T hese can n o t progress together in th e n am e of some fictional n a tio n a l unity. If one also assumes th a t th e interests of the w orker in the city a n d the lab o rer in th e co u n try are the same, one m ust affirm th a t the Polish p ro le ta ria t differs basi­ cally from the privileged classes a n d th a t it takes u p th e strug­ gle w ith th em as an in d ep e n d e n t class w hich has com pletely different econom ic, political, a n d m oral tendencies.” 6 T h e p ro clam atio n m arks th e c h a ra c te r of the socialist class struggle from the very beginning as purely in te rn a tio n a l an d stresses th a t “ econom ic conditions are the basis of social rela­ tions; all o th er p h en o m en a are su b o rd in ate to these condi­ tions.” 7 T h u s the p ro clam atio n form ally recognizes historical m aterialism as the foundatio n for its Weltanschauung. In all d e ­ cisive points th e views of th e P ro le ta ria t sim ply tra n sp la n te d the ideas of M a rx a n d E ngels’ Communist Manifesto to Polish soil. T his general criticism of capitalism , however, does no t fix the form of d irect action of th e P arty , nor does it d eterm in e its political p ro g ram or tactics. T h e re is a huge gap betw een 1) the recognition of th e general principles of scientific socialism a n d th e ir consequences for the activity a n d duties of th e P arty , 5 Z Pola Walki (Geneva: Verlag “Walka Idas,’ 1886), p. 27. (R.L.) 6 Ibid., p. 29. (R.L.) 7 Ibid., p. 32. (R.L.)

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an d 2) the theory of th e Manifesto a n d th e d irect p ro g ra m a n d practice of Social D em ocracy. T h e political views of th e P ro le­ ta ria t P a rty w ere to be influenced to a g reat exten t by th e R u s­ sian N a ro d n a y a V olya. T h e en tire form of this [latter] o rg an izatio n was stam p ed by com pletely different social conditions from those influencing th e Polish group. It grew in th e soil of a w eakly developed c a p ­ italistic society in w hich social existence was still largely con­ trolled by ag ricu ltu re a n d th e rem n an ts of th e an cien t R ussian system of com m unal property. T h e socialist theory o f the N a r ­ o dnaya V olya did not rely on th e city p ro le ta ria t b u t ra th e r on th e ow ner— the p easan t com m unity. It did no t strive for the realization a n d overcom ing of capitalism ; it sought only to h inder cap italist developm ent. It did not search for success in the class struggle b u t ra th e r in th e efforts of a courageous m i­ nority to seize control of th e state. If we consider subjective idealism 8 to be th e basis of th e historical views of th e N a ro d ­ n ay a V olya, we see th a t its theory differs in all essential c h a r­ acteristics from th e principles of th e P ro le ta ria t P arty . T o be sure, th e N a ro d n a y a V olya was not a perfectly u n i­ tary structure: W estern influences a n d th e beginnings of M arxist theory can be n o ted in several areas. Y et th e political program of this p arty is not easily fixed. O n ly after serious th o u g h t a n d a thoroug h analysis o f the periodic p u b lications of this p arty can one arriv e a t a clear answ er to th e question of how th e political action o f th e N a ro d n a y a V olya m ay really be understood. D id it aim a t th e overthrow of personal rule an d th e calling-in of th e Zem sky Sobor in o rd er im m ed iately to en act tran sitio n al m easures of a socialist n a tu re so as to 8 The reference is to a common tendency among radical movements to divide “truth” from “reality” in an undialectical manner and to use the former as a measur­ ing rod to criticize the latter The origin of the term is in Kant’s “critical” philosophy; methodologically, however, it characterizes the utopian current of socialist thought which was particularly strong in Russia at the time. In Social Reform or Revolution, Bern­ stein’s rejection of Marxism is shown to lead to an idealism of the will. Marxism is not an “idealism” in this sense because it shows dialectically how the seeds of the socialist future are contained already in the capitalist present.

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stren g th en th e system o f co m m u n al p ro p erty w hich w ould serve as a future basis for th e socialist society? O r d id it w ant first to establish the usual con stitu tio n al rights? In its own tim e, as we shall see, th ere w ere those w ho in terp re te d the goals of th e N a ro d n a y a V olya in the la tte r m an n er. H ow ever, if one is w illing to tak e a fitting label from the history of W est­ ern E u ro p e an socialism , th en th e term “ B lan q u ist” w ould u n ­ d o ubtedly be th e best description of th e political strategy of the N a ro d n a y a V olya. B lanquism is a strategy w hich is d e te r­ m ined, on th e one h a n d , to w in the trust of the m ass of the people, a n d on the oth er h a n d , to seize pow er by m eans of a co nspiratorial p a rty w hich th en institutes only those parts of th e socialist p ro g ram “w hich are possible.” T h is ju d g m e n t of th e N a ro d n a y a V olya is precisely th a t of the R ussian Social D em ocrats,9 whose p ro g ram m a tic publications co n tain a wide a n d exhaustive critiq u e of the historical Weltanschauung a n d the econom ic theories of th a t p a rty as well as of its political m e th ­ ods. C onsidering th eir co n trastin g perspectives, the influence of th e N a ro d n a y a V olya on th e P ro le ta ria t at first seems incom ­ prehensible, a n d th e u n itin g of such different elem ents ap p ears as a n e a r insoluble problem . W h ile in its basic views th e P role­ ta ria t P a rty was founded on com m on E u ro p e a n -in te rn a tio n a l bases, th e N a ro d n a y a V olya was a pu rely “ h o m em ad e” R u s­ sian stru ctu re. T h e correct u n d e rsta n d in g of how a n d w hy these tw o com pletely different ideas nevertheless u n ite d is very im p o rta n t because of th e decisive role played by this u n io n in th e history a n d final dem ise o f th e P ro le ta ria t P arty. II T h e re w ere th ree phases in th e intellectu al d evelopm ent of the founders of th e P ro le ta ria t P arty . T h e second of these, w hich h a d th e m ost influence on th e p ro g ram of th e P a rty , is closely tied to the activities of th e b rightest m in d a n d m ost in9 That is, the party of Plekhanov, Lenin, Trotsky, Martov, etc.

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fluential lead er of Polish socialism a t the tim e, L udw ik W arynski. T h e first phase lasted u n til ab o u t 1880. It was a tim e of th e ­ oretical ferm entation , especially am ong th e socialist ém igrés in Sw itzerland. Its literary organ was the Rôwnosc [E quality] of G eneva. T h e theory of scientific socialism — its econom ics as well as its general critiq u e of th e bourgeois social o rd er— is, a t least to an extent, recognized in this periodical. H ow ever, con­ cerning th e ap p licatio n o f this theory, th e p ro g ram of direct political action, th e stan d p o in t of the Rôwnosc is n o t a t all clear. Its views are en u n ciated in th e so-called “ Brussels P ro ­ g ram ” of 1878. A fter setting forth the econom ic a n d social foundations of socialist society in its first four points, this p ro ­ gram declares th a t th e realizatio n of these principles should be the task of a “ general a n d in te rn a tio n a l revo lu tio n .” O n this basis th e p ro g ram goes on, som ew hat vaguely, to call for a “ federal alliance w ith th e socialists of all co u n tries.” C o n ­ cerning p ractical activity, the p ro g ram contains only a fairly obscure d eclaratio n th a t “ th e fo u n d atio n o f our activity is the m oral concurrence of the m eans w ith the e n d .” In a very gen­ eral m a n n e r it nam es as the “ m eans w hich co n trib u te to the developm ent of our p a rty ” : o rg an izatio n o f th e energy of the people, oral a n d w ritten p ro p a g a n d a ab o u t th e principles of socialism, an d agitatio n , “ th a t is, protests, dem onstrations, an d any sort o f active struggle w hich is directed against th e con­ tem p o rary social order a n d w hich is in accord w ith o u r p rin ­ ciples.” Finally, th ere is th e allusion th a t, in view of th e lack of success of legal m eans of struggle, this p ro g ram can be fulfilled only “ th ro u g h a socialist revolution.” 10 Political dem ands, or any sort o f call for d irect action, are not to be found in this program . T hus, the Rôwnosc group does n ot d ifferentiate betw een the three divisions of P oland. It applies its principles a n d actions in exactly the sam e m a n n e r in G alicia as in th e Posen a re a or 10 All citations are from Rôwnosc, Year I, No. 1 (October 1879). (R.L.)

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in Congress P oland. If, in fact, th e socialists set u p no special program designed to fit th e conditions of a p a rtic u la r region b u t prefer to try to achieve the in te rn a tio n a l socialist revolu­ tion th ro u g h some “ o rg an iz a tio n ” of workers, th en th e various n atio n al-p o litical conditions of th e th ree divisions of P o lan d are of no significance a n d req u ire no special procedures. N ot only th a t— the p ro g ram of the Rownosc could be ap p lied ju st as well or poorly in E n g lan d , F rance, or G erm an y as in th e in d i­ vidual divided sections of P oland. T h e socialist political sta n d ­ point a t th a t tim e becom es clear in only one aspect— in its re­ jection of nationalism , in its rigorous in tern atio n alist attitu d e. In the lead article of Rownosc, “ P atrio tism a n d Socialism ,” we read: “ O f th e p atrio tic parties th ere are still some sm all groups left w hich hold to th e b elief th a t they will once ag ain raise the flag for th e ‘freedom of th e fa th e rla n d ,’ th a t they will plunge one last tim e into b a ttle w ith th e enem y, a n d th a t they will then see th e d e a r fa th e rla n d once more! L et us respect every genuine feeling of these m en, w ho yesterday w ere read y to offer everything, ju st as they are today. B ut we Polish socialists have n o th in g in com m on w ith them ! P atriotism a n d socialism are two ideas w hich c an n o t be b ro u g h t into accord.” 11 A t a n assem bly in G eneva in N ovem ber 1880, L udw ik W a ­ ry nski stressed:

What differentiates our present meeting from so many previous ones is the way in which we relate to one another—we Polish so­ cialists and you, our Russian comrades. We do not appear be­ fore you as champions of the future Polish state, as the op­ pressed subjects of the Russian state, but rather as representatives and defenders of the Polish proletariat in rela­ tion with you, the representatives of the Russian proletariat. . . . The ideals of Slavic confederation, of which Bakunin dreamed, are entirely foreign to us. We are completely indif­ ferent to these or those borders of the Polish state, which so ex­ cite our patriots. Our fatherland is the entire world. We are not the conspirators of the “thirties,” who seek out one another in order to increase our own numbers. We are not the fighters of 11 Rownosc, Year I, No. 2 (November 1879). (R.L.)

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1863, who were bound together only by a mutual hatred of the Czar, and who lost their lives on the field of the nationalist struggle. We have no national enemies. We are countrymen, members of one great nation which is even more unfortunate than Poland, the nation of the proletariat.12 In even stronger language, th e Rownosc an n o u n ced in its lead article: “W e have broken once a n d for all w ith p atrio tic program s; we w an t n eith er a feudal nor a d em o cratic P o lan d ; an d not only do we not w a n t it, we are firm ly convinced th a t th e struggle for the restoration of P o lan d by th e people is today an absurd id e a .” 13 E xcepting this strongly in te rn a tio n a l attitu d e , w hich h ad , to be sure, a m u ch m ore positive political significance in o u r lan d th a n in oth er countries, Polish socialism of th e tim e, in ignor­ ing the political struggle, showed a n unconscious kinship w ith anarchism . W e have no possibility today o f d eterm in in g to w hat extent individ u al m em bers o f th e Rownosc g roup actu ally held an arch ist views. But considering th e quick tra n sitio n to a m ore m a tu re political position, one c an assum e th a t th e in itial anarchistic w averings w ere, m ore th a n a n y th in g else, a sym p­ tom of th e m ultiplicity of opinions w ithin th e group. In an y case, it is ch aracteristic of th e views presented in the Rownosc th a t the n atio n al-p o litical conditions in an y cou n try could only present an obstacle to th e in te rn a tio n a l tendencies of socialism. T h e founding of sep arate socialist parties, as well as the political battles w hich are th e results of p a rtic u la r n a ­ tional conditions, w ere recognized as only a necessary evil: “ O u r ideal rem ains a n in te rn a tio n a l union, a n d if th e given political conditions of a w ide in te rn a tio n a l o rg an izatio n did not create obstacles, if they did not absorb a p a rt of th e social­ ist forces into th e b a ttle w ith th e governm ent, th en th e fo u n d a­ tion of a com m on socialist o rg an izatio n w ould alre a d y be pres­ ent in the econom ic conditions.” 14 W h a t can be inferred from 12 Report of the International Assembly Called on the Fifiieth Anniversary of the November Rebel­ lion (Geneva, 1881), pp. 77 and 83. (R.L.) 13 Rownosc, Year II, No. 1 (November 1880). (R.L.) 14 Rownosc, Year II, No. 3-4 (January-February 1881). (R.L.)

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this is, a t best, the fact th a t the organic connection of th e eco­ nom ic relations w ith the governm ental institutions was then, a t least for several leaders of the Rownosc group, a com plete m ystery. T h e basic teach in g th a t every class struggle is by its very n a tu re a political struggle also ap p ears to have m ad e no im pression on the g ro u p ’s leaders. T h is is logical in light of the fact th a t alth o u g h the Rownosc strove for the ‘‘id e a l” of an in ­ te rn a tio n a l union, it did not u n d e rsta n d th a t the collapse of such a u n io n and th e b irth of indiv id u al labor parties in each state are necessary a n d progressive p h en o m en a a t a certain stage of th e socialist struggle. But, as we have alread y said, a decisive change took place in the p ro g ram of the Polish socialists. In the sum m er of 1881, we can a lread y see the tran sitio n to th e second phase of develop­ m ent o f the g ro u p ’s p ro g ram u n d e r the influence of W arynski. T h e p ro g ram of the w orkers o f G alicia in th e first y ear of the m agazine Przedswit [D aw n] shows us the ideas o f the founders of the P ro le ta ria t alread y in full m atu rity , w hile the political c h a ra c te r of th e p ro g ram also becom es com pletely clear. O n the one h a n d , the in te rn a tio n a l a n d a n tin a tio n a l stan d p o in t is ju st as obvious as in the previous phase. Y et as W ary n sk i’s group m oved into the realm of p ractica l political activity in ­ stead of co n tin u in g to spread hazy socialist p ro p a g a n d a , even its an tin atio n alism assum ed concrete a n d p alp ab le forms an d a tta in e d to a position of some im p o rtan ce in the overall politi­ cal views of th e group. If, for exam ple, in W ary n sk i’s speech, th e solidarity w ith the R ussian revolutionaries a n d the negative ev alu atio n o f Polish n ationalism seem only to stem from th e in te rn a tio n a l c h a ra c ­ ter of socialism ’s final goal— an d this h a d been the view of the Rownosc— th en this sam e idea is developed by Przedswit explic­ itly as th e basis of a m in im al p ro g ram , or m ore exactly, as a political strategy for socialists. W ary h sk i’s critiq u e o f the so­ cial-political u n io n L u d Polski [T he Polish People], w hich b e­ cam e p ro m in e n t in A ugust 1881 w ith a p ro clam atio n an-

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nouncing its p rogram , is especially rep resen tativ e o f the political position of Przedswit. O th e r socialists of th e G eneva group, Brzezinski, Jab lo n sk i, Padlew ski, spoke against the ab ovem entioned p ro clam atio n because, am ong oth er things, “we see the goals of socialism not as far-off, u ltim ate goals (as does th e p ro clam atio n of th e L u d Polski) b u t ra th e r as th e only goals.” T h u s, w hile o th er social­ ists of the group w ere still com pletely u n aw are of the re la tio n ­ ships betw een the final goals a n d th e direct political program , W arynski writes w ith am azin g clarity:

In the program of the Lud Polski, that which I have just dis­ cussed is not accidental; it is not simply an inaccuracy but an essential part of this program. In contrast to all other socialist party programs and in opposition to the theories of modern so­ cialism, it places the problem of political-national liberation on a level with the common human task of socioeconomic libera­ tion. Such a coexistence of general with specific problems as is contained in this proclamation is only possible in a single pro­ gram when the specific problem is treated as a minimal, short­ term demand. Otherwise, it is completely unintelligible how such individual problems as alleviating political oppression in the various regions of Poland can be equated with social and economic liberation. In other words, a poor understanding is shown for the fact that liberation from socioeconomic servitude also signifies a simultaneous emancipation of the individual and the group from material and moral oppression. Therefore, I view the removal of political-national oppression in the pro­ gram of the Lud Polski as a poorly formulated “minimal program” and I must discuss it as such. A fter W arynski has dem olished the e q u atio n of a p ro g ram of n atio n al liberation w ith the final goals of socialism in a few words, he analyzes the sam e postu late as a n im m ed iate task of the p ro letariat:

Without asking why the Lud Polski union formulates this mini­ mal program so vaguely, without asking why it does not clearly set this as an immediate goal of its efforts, I feel that the estab­ lishment of such a program for all three divisions of Poland, or for each separately, has only a negative effect on the work which the socialists must keep in mind as their practical duty.

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The minimal program set up by the socialists assumes a dayto-day struggle with capital. Their goal is not a “national re­ birth” but the widening of the political rights of the proletariat in order to enhance the possibility of building mass organiza­ tions for the struggle with the bourgeoisie as a political and so­ cial class. The “Program of the Labor Party of Galicia” was composed of similar stuff, although it was written not only for the Polish people but also for the various proletarian groups of those na­ tions which had united themselves into one party in Galicia. This fact should serve as an answer to those who want to talk of the special conditions of development in our society. We also advise our socialist champions to think a bit more about this fact. It is easy to see that in Posen the socialist movement will go the same way as in Galicia. There, too, the Polish and German workers will unite to form a strong organization which is not only conditioned by external relations, but in its content and its essence is founded on the principles of international solidarity. . . . We do not doubt that in Congress Poland, too, men who well understand the obligations of socialism and who are truly devoted to the cause of socialism will contribute to the develop­ ment of the socialist movement in the same direction there. W e have ta rrie d a t this q u o tatio n because, as th e read er w ith a th o ro u g h know ledge of m o d ern socialist th o u g h t will recognize, it is a prim e exam ple o f the Social D em ocratic creed. T h a t w hich separates the Social D em ocratic position from those o f oth er socialist m ovem ents is, above all, its con­ ception of th e transform atio n o f the m odern society into a so­ cialist society. In o th er words, its conception of the relationship betw een th e im m ed iate tasks of socialism a n d its final goals. From th e stan d p o in t o f Social D em ocracy, w hich bases its views on th e theory of scientific socialism, th e tran sitio n to a socialist society can only be th e result of a phase o f develop­ m ent, of g reater or lesser d u ratio n . T h is developm ent, to be sure, does n o t preclude th e necessity for th e final conversion of society by m eans o f a violent political overthrow , th a t is, by w h at is usually called revolution. H ow ever, this revolution is im possible if th e bourgeois society has not previously passed

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through th e necessary phases o f developm ent. T h is develop­ m ent m ust take place in the objective factor of th e socialist overthrow , the cap italist society itself, as well as in th e subjec­ tive factor, the w orking class. B eginning w ith the p rin cip le of scientific socialism th a t the “ liberation of the w orking class can only be achieved by the w orking class itself,” Social D em ocracy recognizes th a t only the w orking class as such can carry out th e overthrow , th a t is, the revolution for the realizatio n of the socialist tra n sfo rm a­ tion. By w orking class, it m eans th e tru ly b ro ad m ass of the workers, above all the in d u strial p ro le tariat. T h u s a p re re q u i­ site for th e conversion to socialism m ust be the conquest of p o ­ litical pow er by the w orking class a n d the establishm ent of the dictatorship of the p ro le tariat, a necessary step for th e in stitu ­ tion of tran sitio n al m easures. But in o rd er to be able to fulfill this task, th e w orking masses m ust be fully aw are of th e ir goal a n d becom e a class-organized mass. O n the o th er h a n d , the bourgeois society m ust have a l­ ready reached a state of econom ic as well as political develop­ m ent w hich allows th e in tro d u ctio n of socialist institutions. These prerequisites are d ep en d en t on one a n o th e r a n d in ­ fluence each o th er reciprocally. T h e w orking class c a n n o t a t­ tain to an y organizatio n or consciousness w ith o u t specific p o ­ litical conditions w hich allow a n open class struggle, th a t is, w ithout dem ocratic institutions w ith in the fram ew ork o f the state. A nd conversely, th e a tta in in g of dem ocratic institutions in the state a n d th eir spread into th e w orking class is— a t a certain historical m om ent, in a certain phase in th e develop­ m ent of class antago n ism — im possible w ith o u t th e active struggle of a conscious a n d organized p ro letariat. T h e solution to this a p p a re n t p a ra d o x lies in the dialectical process of the class struggle of th e p ro le ta ria t fighting for dem ocratic conditions in th e state a n d a t th e sam e tim e o rg a n ­ izing itself a n d gaining class consciousness. Because it gains this class consciousness a n d organizes itself in th e course of the struggle, it achieves a d em o cratizatio n of th e bourgeois state

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and, in th e m easure th a t it itself ripens, m akes th e bourgeois state ripe for a socialist revolution. E lem en tary principles for the p ractica l activity o f Social D em ocracy d ep en d on the above conception: th e socialist struggle m ust be a mass struggle of th e p ro le tariat. It m ust be a daily struggle for the dem o cratizatio n of th e institutions of th e state, for the raising of the in tellectu al a n d m a te ria l level o f the w orking class, an d a t the sam e tim e, for th e org an izatio n o f the w orking masses into a p a rtic u la r political p a rty w hich consciously sets itself against th e en tire bourgeois society in its struggle for a socialist revolution. T h e a p p ro p ria tio n o f these principles to the Polish socialist m ovem ent an d th eir ap p licatio n in this m ovem ent w ere ex­ trem ely im p o rta n t an d difficult tasks. In co n trast to th e n a ­ tions of W estern E urope, th e situ atio n o f the socialists in P o­ land is com plicated by, on th e one h an d , th e th ree sorts of po­ litical conditions u n d e r w hich the Polish p ro le ta ria t m ust live [in the th ree divisions o f P o lan d ]— this is especially tru e for the specific political conditions of th e m ost im p o rta n t division of P oland, th e R ussian zone— a n d on th e o th er h an d , by th e n a ­ tional question. T hese im p o rta n t an d difficult tasks w ere accom plished for the first tim e in the history of th e Polish lab o r m ovem ent by L udw ik W arynski (as the above q u o ta tio n has show n), who fo rm ulated the Social D em o cratic principles so clearly an d precisely. N eith er before nor d u rin g his tim e do we h ea r equally cogent statem ents from o th er Polish socialists. C o n cern in g th e n a tio n a l question, W arynski rejects th e re ­ b uilding of P o lan d w ith th e sam e decisiveness shown by the Rownosc group; how ever, he places th e solution of the problem on a com pletely different level. T h e Rownosc group explained its negative position on n atio n alist tendencies as resulting from th e co n trad ictio n of these tendencies w ith th e in te rn a tio n a l goals o f socialism as well as w ith th e g ro u p ’s own indifference to political w ork in g e n e ra l.15 W arynski, on the o th er h an d , re15 In this regard, the following part of an article by K. Dtuski, “Patriotism and So-

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jects the n atio n alist p ro g ram not because of the u ltim a te goals of socialism b u t because of the p rio rity of im m ed iate problem s. H e opposes the politics of th e workers to th e politics of th e n a ­ tionalists. Since th e goal of the day -to -d ay effort of the P ro le ta ria t P arty is th e organ izatio n an d en lig h ten m en t of th e w orking class, W arynski deduces th a t its political p ro g ram can be n ei­ th er th a t of the overthrow nor th a t of th e establishm ent of states. R a th e r, its pro g ram m ust be the w inning a n d w idening of the political rights w hich are absolutely necessary for the o r­ ganization of th e masses w ithin the bourgeois states in w hich they are active. W arynski defines two principles of the Social D em ocratic political p rogram for the Polish p ro le ta ria t: 1) as th e startin g point for political action, th e recognition o f th e existing histor­ ical an d governm ental situation as a given condition; 2) as the goal of this political action, the d em o cratizatio n of th e given political conditions. T hus if the negative conclusion deduced from these p rin ­ ciples was th e rejection of the p ro g ram for the re-establishm ent of the Polish state, th en th e result w ould have to be th e form u­ lation o f a Social D em ocratic p ro g ram — or b etter, th re e sepa­ rate program s— for the Polish p ro le tariat. If th e political con­ ditions of each ofs the th ree divisions of P o lan d are view ed as decisive in determ in in g th e action to be tak en by th e p ro le ta r­ iat, then it m ust be realized th a t a single p ro g ram for all of the workers of th e th ree parts o f P o lan d is im possible, th a t th e p ro ­ gram an d action m ust be different in each division, a n d yet th a t w ithin each of these th ree zones, th e p ro g ram m ust be com pletely equally ap p lied to all n a tio n a l groups. cialism,” is characteristic: “The idea of socialism is greater and more inclusive than the idea of patriotism. It begins in the domain of political relations in which patriot­ ism lies and, basing itself on economic grounds, demands the transformation of social relations. In this, it regards economic conditions only as the background on which all other relations and interests are grouped, which are bound up with the lives of whole societies as well as individual men.” Rôwnosc, Year I, No. 2 (November 1879). (R.L.)

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W arynski expresses this in th e aforem entioned article in relation to the Posen a re a a n d to G alicia. T h is concept was first related to the R ussian zone in a som ew hat la te r docu­ m ent, w hich is the p ro d u ct o f th e m ost m a tu re th in k in g of W arynski a n d his group d u rin g th a t m iddle phase o f Polish so­ cialism directly before th e form al organization of the P ro le ta r­ ia t P arty . T h is docum ent, an ap p e a l (d ated N ovem ber 8, 1881) to th e R ussian socialists by a group o f form er m em bers o f the Rownosc group a n d th e edito rial staff o f the socialist m ag ­ azine Przedswit, was p rin te d in the D ecem ber 1, 1881, issue of Przedswit. T h e goal o f this ap p eal was to convince th e R ussian socialists th a t they should w ork w ith th eir Polish com rades in io rm ulating a com m on program . It was th e boldest political consequence o f W ary n sk i’s principles. N ot only the conclusion b u t also th e way in w hich it is su b stan tiated by W ary n sk i’s ch aracteristically clear a n d em p h atic th in k in g are o f such note th a t we do not hesitate to reproduce the en tire final section of this d o cu m en t here. A fter a n in te rp re ta tio n o f the significance o f th e political struggle in R ussia a n d th e historical decline in im p o rtan ce of the question of P o lan d , the ap p eal closes w ith the words:

We now summarize: a) Socialism is here, as it is everywhere, an economic prob­ lem which has nothing in common with the national problem and which, in practice, takes on the form of the class struggle. b) Guarantees for the progress of this struggle and the future victory of the proletariat in the social revolution are 1) the max­ imum development of the socialist consciousness of the working masses and 2) their organization as a class on the basis of their class interests. c) Political freedom is necessary to the realization of these goals. The lack of this freedom places a mass organization of the workers of Russia before an enormous obstacle. F u rth er, in agreem en t w ith the conclusions reach ed in a dis­ cussion betw een the Rownosc group an d th e R ussian com rades d u rin g the previous year:

a) The character of the social-revolutionary organization is influenced solely by general economic interests and the political situation.

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b) The organization of the socialist party can be accom­ plished, on the one hand, on the basis of economic conditions, and on the other hand, on the basis of the existing governmen­ tal-political conditions. In the latter case, the boundaries of na­ tionality cannot serve as a foundation for the organization or the party. c) It follows, therefore, that the socialist party of Poland can­ not exist as a homogeneous unity. There can only be Polish so­ cialist groups in Austria, Germany, and Russia, which form un­ ions with the socialist organizations of other nationalities within the particular state. This does not, however, exclude the possi­ bility of connections with one another and with still other social­ ist organizations. Finally, the following should serve as a guideline: a) The success of the terrorist struggle for political freedom in Russia is dependent on the collaboration of the organized work­ ing masses of different nationalities within the Russian state. b) Emphasis on the Polish national-political problem can only harm the struggle for political freedom in Russia; national­ ism can only operate to the disadvantage of the working class. If we view everything said up to this point, we come to the following results: I. The organizing of a common socialist party containing the socialist organizations of the various nationalities in the Russian state is an absolute necessity. II. The welding together of groups previously fighting sepa­ rately on the political and economic fronts is also absolutely es­ sential to the intensification of united struggle. III. The formulation of a political program which is common to all socialists active in Russia and which fulfills all of the above conditions is indispensable. A glance is sufficient to assure us th a t we have here a d ocu­ m ent o f ex trao rd in a ry significance for th e socialist m ovem ent in P oland. It is clear th a t the “ A ppeal o f D ecem ber 1881” for­ m ulates a political p ro g ram w hich is, to a g reat degree, Social D em ocratic an d com pletely id en tical w ith the ideas o f the contem porary “ Social D em ocracy o f th e K in g d o m of P o lan d an d L ith u a n ia .” 16 16 That is, the party of which Rosa Luxemburg was one of the founders and leaders, and in whose paper this article appeared.

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T his is tru e not only for the general principles: the im possi­ bility of a com m on p ro g ram a n d com m on o rg an izatio n for the Polish socialists from all th ree divisions of P oland, a n d the in ­ dispensability of a com m on p ro g ram a n d a com m on o rg an iza­ tion for th e socialists u n d e r each divisional power. It is also tru e for th e decisive rejection o f a p ro g ram of ind ep en d en ce for P oland. B ut m ost im p o rta n t, th e ap p eal of the Przedswit an d th e old Rownosc form ulates for the first tim e a positive program o f Social D em ocracy for th e R ussian zone: the w in n in g of po­ litical freedom , i.e., constitu tio n al forms w ithin Russia. But th a t is n o t all. T h e atten tiv e read er will notice th a t in th e ap p e a l itself, W arynski an d his com rades presuppose th a t the R ussian socialists set them selves th e sam e goal. In th e “A p ­ p eal,” they clearly m entio n th e activity of th e N a ro d n a y a V olya. T h e y speak, w ith o u t a second thou g h t, of the “ terrorist struggle for political freedom in R u ssia” a n d view this te rro r­ ism on th e p a rt of the R ussian p a rty sim ply as a tactic in the struggle for th e overthrow of the C za r a n d the establishm ent of d em ocratic freedom s in th e E u ro p ean sense. In ad d itio n , they a tte m p t to found this view, as far as is possible, in Social D em ocratic theory w hen th ey declare th a t th e terrorism of the N a ro d n a y a V olya will only have political significance w hen it is su pported by th e conscious action of the organized w orking class th ro u g h o u t th e state. D oubtless, terrorism w ould n o t be viewed today by Social D em ocracy, Polish or R ussian, as an a p p ro p ria te a n d useful form of struggle. T h e Social D em ocrats, en rich ed by th e expe­ riences o f th e P ro le ta ria t P a rty a n d th e N a ro d n a y a V olya, u n ­ d erstan d th a t terro r c a n n o t be com bined w ith the mass strug­ gle of th e w orking class; instead, it only m akes th a t struggle m ore difficult a n d dangerous. B ut W arynski a n d his com rades in the y ear 1881 could n o t have h a d this know ledge. T h e y h ad to believe in th e indispensability a n d usefulness of terrorism in R ussia, for in th a t m o m en t in w hich they a p p e a re d w ith th eir “ A p p e a l,” the terro rist p a rty of R ussia stood a t the apex o f its

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power a n d actu ally ap p e a re d to shake the very foundations of czarism .17 W e can also note precisely th e sam e view point in the basic publications of th e R ussian Social D em ocrats, who exam ined th e en tire th eo retical a n d p ractical fo u n d atio n of the N a ro d n a y a V olya four years after W arynski h a d a rtic u ­ lated his position. T hus, th e m ost striking fact here is not th e recognition given terror itself b u t ra th e r th e fact th a t th e ap p eal of the Polish so­ cialists attem p ts to give terrorism bo th Social D em ocratic goals an d a b ro ad foundation in th e class struggle. T o w h at ex ten t this conception of th e R ussian socialism of the tim e corresponds to reality will be seen presently. T h e re is, however, an o th e r side of the subject w hich is im p o rtan t. W arynski’s group, in developing th eir own program , arriv ed a t a purely Social D em ocratic stan d p o in t, a n d from this sta n d ­ point, they sought u n ity o f p ro g ram a n d action w ith th e R u s­ sian socialists. T his m om ent is th e high p o int in the developm ent o f the founders of th e P ro le ta ria t, a n d also a tu rn in g p o in t in th eir history. As soon as the last political consequences w ere draw n, W arynski an d his com rades ap p lied th e ir p ro g ram in practice to the form al organ izatio n of th e P ro le ta ria t P a rty in P oland. T his is th e beginning of th e th ird a n d last period of develop­ m ent for the P arty.

I ll T h e ap p eal to the R ussian com rades shows th a t th e Polish socialists a t th e end of 1881 had a tta in e d a Social D em ocratic position in th e following two points: 1) th e general p rinciple th a t the political p ro g ram of the Polish p ro le ta ria t should be th e sam e a n d com m on w ith th e p ro g ram of the p ro le ta ria t of th e occupying powers, an d 2) th e recognition of th e fact th a t in the R ussian zone, this p ro g ram h ad to co n tain b o th th e 17 On March 13, 1881, the series of terrorist actions of the Narodnaya Volya culmi­ nated in the slaying of the Czar, Alexander II. Cf. Engels’ opinion of the power of the Narodnaya Volya, below, pp. 188-89.

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overthrow of personal rule a n d the struggle for political free­ dom a n d a p arliam en tary -d e m o c ra tic form of governm ent. A lthough these two conclusions belong together a n d modify each o th er logically, they nevertheless cam e into contrad ictio n as soon as the Polish socialists atte m p te d to apply them in practice. T h e general Social D em o cratic prin cip le led th em to seek u n ity of pro g ram a n d action w ith th e R ussian socialists. B ut R ussian socialism of th e tim e was in no w ay Social D em o­ cratic. W ary n sk i’s group n am ed th e struggle for a constitution as an a re a suitable for com m on action; b u t this h a d absolutely no relevance to the p ro g ram of th e N a ro d n a y a V olya. T h e Polish socialists knew th a t the struggle against czarism could only be led by th e organized masses of workers; b u t th e R u s­ sian socialists carried out no mass ag itation, a n d n eith er in theory nor in p ractice did they base them selves on th e w orking class. In reality, th e N a ro d n a y a V olya did not fight for “ the w idening of th e political rights of th e p ro le ta ria t” or for the purpose of “ creatin g m ass organizations for th e struggle w ith th e bourgeoisie”— as W arynski, in th e spirit of Social D em oc­ racy, h a d form ulated the contents of a political program . T h e N a ro d n a y a V olya fought sim ply for the “seizure of pow er.” Its goal was th e im m ed iate establishm ent of some nf th e tra n si­ tional forms of the socialist revolution. Y et in this seizure of power, the N a ro d n a y a V olya did no t d ep en d on th e actions of th e class-conscious masses, on the org an izatio n a n d struggle of th e in d u strial p ro le tariat, b u t ra th e r on th e conspiratorial m ach in atio n s of a “ courageous m in o rity .” T h u s W ary n sk i’s decisive principles h a d to lead to a conflict w hen they w ere a p ­ plied in practice. If the socialist m ovem ent in R ussia a t th a t tim e h a d stood firmly on a Social D em ocratic base as is today th e case, w ith th e exception of only a few organizations, th e n the principles of the founders of the P ro le ta ria t P a rty w ould have led, on the one h a n d , to a com pletely h arm onious collaboration betw een R ussian a n d Polish socialists an d , on th e o th er h an d , to the

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flowering of a lab o r m ovem ent w ith a conscious Social D em o ­ cratic c h a ra c te r a t th e beginning of the eighties. Since th ere was no Social D em o cratic m ovem ent in R ussia a t the tim e th a t the P ro le ta ria t P a rty was organized b u t only a conspiratorial p a rty of B lanquist stam p, th e Polish socialists found them selves in a dilem m a. T h e y could eith er forego u n ity of program a n d action w ith th e R ussian socialists in o rd er to preserve th eir own Social D em ocratic p ro g ram a n d tak e u p the struggle for th e overthrow of czarism in P o lan d by m eans of mass ag itatio n a n d o rg an izatio n of th e Polish w orkers; or they could reject th eir Social D em ocratic p ro g ram w ith its idea of m ass struggle a n d su b o rd in ate them selves to th e m e th ­ ods of th e N a ro d n a y a V olya in o rd er to follow th eir p rin cip le of unity of action w ith R ussian socialism. T h e resolution of this d ilem m a was decisive for th e fate of Polish socialism for alm ost a decade; indeed, it w as fatal. W e do not hesitate, how ever, to recognize th a t th e selection of the second altern ativ e was all too n a tu ra l a n d u n d e rsta n d a b le u n d er th e prevailing conditions. In view of th e fact th a t Russia itself h a d to be th e decisive te rra in of th e Polish struggle against the ru lin g system of R ussia; th a t Congress P o lan d cam e into question only secondarily; th a t th e N a ro d n a y a V olya far surpassed the Polish socialist p a rty in b o th m em b er­ ship a n d political significance; a n d th a t w hile th e P ro le ta ria t P arty h a d scarcely been form ed, th e N a ro d n a y a V o ly a h a d a l­ ready gained a very im p o rta n t m o ral a n d political victory in the assassination a tte m p t on the th irte e n th of M a rc h , w hich seemed to affirm the p ro g ram a n d strategy o f the N a ro d n a y a V olya before the eyes of th e en tire w orld— u n d e r all these cir­ cum stances, it is u n d e rsta n d a b le th a t the Polish socialist o r­ ganization h a d to try to jo in the R ussian m ovem ent. T o w h at extent the N a ro d n a y a V olya ru led the im ag in atio n of the tim e a n d w h at g re a t hopes for a political overthrow in the n ear future it awoke, is w itnessed by the w ords o f F. Engels in 1894. C o ncerning this epoch in R ussia, Engels says: “A t th a t tim e th ere w ere two governm ents in R ussia, th e govern-

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m en t of th e C zar a n d th e g overnm ent o f th e secret executive com m ittee of th e terro rist conspirators. T h e pow er of this se­ cret ‘associate’ governm ent grew from day to day. T h e over­ throw of czarism seem ed to be im m in en t. A revolution in R ussia h a d to rob th e E u ro p e a n co u nter-revolution of its strongest support, its greatest reserve arm y; a n d in the process it w ould give th e political m ovem ent of th e W est a new an d pow erful m o m en tu m — a n d infinitely b e tte r o p eratin g condi­ tions.” 18 If sober researchers of social history such as Engels an d M a rx — for th e above w ords also ch aracterize th e views an d feelings of M a rx a t th e tim e [i.e., in 1881]— rich in th e ir own experiences from the revolu tio n ary history of E urope, gave such clear directions for the ev alu atio n of historical processes o f developm ent, if such researchers could so overestim ate the results o f th e activities of the N a ro d n a y a V olya, th en it is no surprise th a t th e Polish socialists, w ho stood in the m iddle of th e a re n a of struggle from the first m o m en t of th e ir political activity, h a d to fall u n d e r th e unbelievably strong influence of this party. T hus, after Polish socialism , from its developm ent in the spirit o f W est E u ro p ean Social D em ocracy, h a d d raw n th e p o ­ litical conclusion of the necessity of a union for com m on action w ith R ussian socialism , th e given concrete conditions h a d to lead it g ra d u ally into B lanq u ist paths. Its history is, from the m o m en t o f th e form al o rg an izatio n of the p a rty u n til its dow n­ fall at th e end of th e 1880’s, a co n tin u al tu rn in g to w ard Blanquism a n d aw ay from the position w hich h a d been articu lated in th e “A p p e a l” o f D ecem b er 1881. N a tu rally , it w ould be false to assum e th a t th e Polish social­ ists found them selves in a position in w hich they could actu ally m ake th e conscious choice as discussed above. W e have form u­ lated these altern ativ es in order to provide an analysis of th e 18 Friedrich Engels, Internationales aus dem Volksstaat, Soziales aus Russland (Berlin, 1894), p. 69. (R.L.)

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real situation. W ary n sk i’s group was, how ever, not so categ o ri­ cally aw are of this real situ atio n because the tru e n a tu re of the N a ro d n a y a V olya, a n d its co n trad ictio n w ith the position of W arynski a n d his com rades, was now here n ear so clear an d could not be so easily defined in 1882 as was later possible w ith th e help of facts an d docum ents. In th e “A p p e a l” of th e W a ­ rynski group, we saw th a t there w ere m an y Social D em ocratic illusions ab o u t the activity of the N aro d n a y a V o ly a.19 Besides this, am ong Polish socialists, as a careful read in g of socialist lit­ eratu re of the tim e shows (Rownosc\ Przedswit, an d pam phlets), there was none oth er th a n W arynski w ho could have been such an observant an d cap ab le Social D em o crat as th e “A p ­ p eal” w ould lead one to expect. T hus, the spiritual u n io n of th e P ro le ta ria t w ith th e N a ro d ­ naya V olya was accom plished no t as the result of a n earnest discussion of the socialist idea in P o lan d b u t ra th e r as a n a tu ­ ral outgrow th of the general situation. F u rth er, since th e his­ tory a n d physiognom y of a fairly sm all group, as th e leading socialist organization in P o lan d has been u n til now, in a p e ­ riod of only a few years is d eterm in ed n ot only by g re a t key ideas in a process of logical developm ent b u t also by num erous accidental personal elem ents, the P ro letariat, because of the u n eq u al theoretical m a tu rity of its individual founders, h ad to come u n d er R ussian influence all the sooner. A lth o u g h the publications a n d activity of the P ro le ta ria t did not distinguish them selves by th eir unity, the rem oval of W arynski from the field of struggle following his arrest in the fall of 1883 was enough to send the m ovem ent h u rtlin g into the m orass of hopeless political conspiracy. If we w an t to u n d erlin e the difference betw een th e Welt19 This can be seen in the following statements of the Rowhosc concerning the attack of March 13, 1881, on Alexander II. The Rownosc analyzed the program of the Narod­ naya Volya, and attributed to it “a moderate demand for a constitutional monarchy.” According to the Rownosc, the authors of the March 13 attack wanted no more than concessions. “We want changes in the political form of the present regime—that is what the Narodnaya Volya [also] wants.” Rownosc, Year II, No. 5-6 (March-April 1881). (R.L.)

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anschauung of Social D em ocracy a n d so-called B lanquism , we m ust above all show th a t B lanquism did no t possess its own theory in the sam e sense th a t Social D em ocracy does, th a t is, a theory o f th e developm ent of society tow ard socialism. In any case, th a t is not a specific ch aracteristic o f ju st this splinter p arty of socialism , since th e theory of M a rx a n d Engels is the first and, we m ig h t add, u n til now th e only successful a tte m p t to found socialist tendencies on th e scientific concept of the laws of historical developm ent in general a n d of cap italist soci­ ety in p a rtic u la r. T h e previous u to p ia n theories of socialism, if one can indeed speak o f theories, lim it them selves essentially to justifying socialist efforts th ro u g h a n analysis of the failings of the existing society in com parison to the perfection an d m oral superiority of the socialist order. Because B lanquism , like all of these socialist schools, sup­ p orted its views by negative criticism of th e bourgeois society a n d of p riv ate property, it represented only a sort of strategy for p ractica l activity. In this respect it b etray ed its lineage from th e rad ical revolutionaries of the g reat F ren ch R evolu­ tion a n d represented an ap p licatio n of J a c o b in tactics to so­ cialist goals, th e first a tte m p t a t w hich was th e conspiracy of Babeuf. T h e basic idea of this strategy is th e lim itless belief in th e ability of political rule to carry out, a t an y tim e, an y eco­ nom ic or social change in the social organism considered good a n d useful. T o be sure, the theory of scientific socialism also sees in po­ litical ru le a lever for socialist overthrow . Y et, in th e concep­ tion of M a rx a n d Engels, th e role of political pow er in revolu­ tio n ary tim es is th a t of an “ a g e n t” w hich sim ply puts into p ractice th e results of the in n er developm ent of society an d finds its political expression in the class struggle. A ccording to th e w ell-know n M a rx ia n analogy, in revo lu tio n ary tim es polit­ ical pow er plays the role of a “ m idw ife” w ho accelerates an d eases th e b irth of the new society w hich was alread y alive w ithin th e old. It follows th a t essential social changes by m eans of political pow er are only to be achieved a t a specific

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stage o f social developm ent. P olitical pow er as a n in stru m en t of overthrow can only function in th e h an d s o f a social class which is, in th e p a rtic u la r historical m om ent, th e ag en t of th e revolution. T h e a p titu d e o f this class for th e long-term control of political pow er is th e only legitim ization for th e correctness of the revolution. Inasm uch as B lanquism does n ot recognize this theory, or ra th e r does not even know this theory, it treats political pow er as a tool o f social overthrow com pletely outside th e context o f social developm ent a n d th e class struggle in general. T h is tool stands ready to serve anyone who h ap p en s to control it a t an y time. From this stan d p o in t, the only conditions for revolution are the will of a resolute g roup a n d a conspiracy, whose goal is the seizure o f pow er a t th e m ost propitious m om ent. ccB lan q u i,” says Engels in his w ell-know n article in the Volksstaat in the y ear 1874, “ is essentially a political rev o lu tio n ­ ary— socialist only in feeling— sym path izin g w ith th e suffer­ ings of the people. H e has n eith er a socialist theory n o r specific practical suggestions for social aid. In his political activity, he was basically a ‘m an o f actio n ,’ o f th e belief th a t a sm all, wellorganized m inority a tte m p tin g a revo lu tio n ary coup a t the p ro p er m om ent can, by v irtu e o f a few in itial successes, sweep the mass of the people w ith it a n d thus m ake a victorious revo­ lution. . . . Since B lan q u i conceived every revolution as a blow struck by a sm all revolutionary m inority, th e necessity of a dictatorship after th e success o f th e v en tu re follows directly — the dictatorship, o f course, not o f the en tire rev o lu tio n ary class, th e p ro le tariat, b u t ra th e r o f th e sm all n u m b e r o f those who h a d ‘struck th e revo lu tio n ary blow ’ a n d w ho h a d b een o r­ ganized previously u n d e r th e d ictato rsh ip o f one or several others.” 20 W e see th a t th e strategy o f th e B lanquists is aim ed directly a t the carry in g out o f a social revolution w ithout ta k in g into account an y sort o f tran sitio n al period o r develo p m en tal 20 Internationales aus dem Volksstaat, pp. 41- 42. (R.L.)

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phase. B lanquism is a recipe for th e m ak in g of revolution u n d er an y conditions a n d a t an y tim e; it ignores all concrete historical-social conditions. B lanquism a p p e a re d as a universal strategy w hich could be ap p lied to all countries w ith th e sam e degree of success. B ut now here could th e a p p licatio n of this m ethod of action exercise so decisive an influence on th e fate of socialism as u n d e r th e conditions p ecu liar to czarism . T h e strategy of a sudden “ le a p ” directly into social revolution h ad to influence fatally th e political physiognom y of a p a rty w hich w orked w ithin the fram ew ork of a state w ith an absolutedespotic form of governm ent. T herefore, one can best follow the influence of B lanquism on th e Polish socialists step by step in the g ra d u a l ch an g in g of th eir political views. In S eptem ber 1882, th e official published p ro g ram of the P ro le ta ria t P a rty h a d alread y distanced itself significantly b o th from the sta n d p o in t of th e article by W arynski in Przedswit, N o. 3-4, a n d from th e views of th e “ A p p eal” to th e R u s­ sian com rades. As we have alread y im plied, this d o cu m en t sees the socialist future of P o la n d finding a foothold on th e ground of scientific socialism a n d in the principles of the class struggle a n d historical m aterialism . T h e c h a ra c te r of the a c tu a l p ro ­ g ram is, how ever, n o t so easily determ in ed . H ere th ere are th ree p arallel sections, nam ely d em an d s of th e p a rty “ in the econom ic a re a ,” “ in the political a re a ,” a n d “ in th e a re a of m oral life.” 21 If we ignore the last p a rt as p ractica lly insignificant, then m ost noticeable in th e first p a rt is, on the one h an d , th e p a ra l­ lel form ulation o f the d em an d s w hich form th e co n ten t of the socialist revolution: “ 1) th a t th e la n d a n d th e m eans of p ro ­ d uction cease to be the p ro p erty of th e indiv id u al a n d becom e the com m on p ro p erty of th e w orkers, th a t is, the p ro p erty of the socialist state, 2) th a t w age lab o r be converted into com ­ m u n al w ork, etc.” ; on th e o th er h a n d , th e form u latio n of the political d em an d s w hich, a t first glance, have the co n ten t of 21 Z Pola Walki, pp. 30-31. Also, Przedswit, Year II, No. 4 (October 1882). (R.L.)

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p arliam en tary -d em o cratic institutions designed for th e b o u r­ geois state: “ 1) com plete au to n o m y of political groups, 2) the p articip atio n of all citizens in th e m ak in g o f laws, 3) d irect election of all public officials, 4) com plete freedom of speech, press, assem bly, organ izatio n , etc., etc., 5) com pletely equal rights for w om en, 6) com pletely eq u al rights for all religions an d nationalities, 7) in te rn a tio n a l solidarity as a g u a ra n te e of the com m on p eace.” It is alm ost im possible to say to w h a t category this p ro g ram actually belongs. U p o n close ex am in atio n , two different in te r­ pretations are possible. T h e political dem an d s listed here, w ith the exception of the first, w hich is not entirely clear, rem in d one of th e usual m in im al p ro g ram of Social D em o cratic parties. B ut ju st this p lacin g of these dem an d s as coordinates of the dem ands for a socialist revolution aw akens th e suspicion th a t they w ere not related to the a c tu a l bourgeois social order. A t the sam e tim e, it is doubtful w h eth er they w ere supposed to deal w ith the socialist society, since they tak e so strongly into account th e actu al social order based on in eq u ality of classes, sexes, a n d nationalities. P erh ap s we have here no t a m in im al program b u t a pro g ram w hich is aim ed a t th e tra n sitio n al p e ­ riod after the seizure of pow er by th e p ro le tariat, a n d w hich has as its goal th e kindling of the socialist transform ation. T h e p a tte rn of a sim ilar p ro g ram , w hich also puts politicaldem ocratic d em ands a n d socialist reform s on th e sam e level an d w hich aim s directly for the tran sitio n al phase after the revolution, is found, for exam ple, in th e d em ands of th e “ C om ­ m unist P a rty of G e rm a n y ” fo rm ulated by th e c en tral co m m it­ tee of the C om m unist L eague in P aris in 1848, a n d carrying, am ong others, the signatures of M a rx a n d Engels.22 22 The most important demands are: 1) All Germany shall be united into an indi­ visible Republic, 4) General arming of the people, 11) All means of transportation: trains, canals, steamboats, highways, the post office, etc., shall be taken over by the state. They shall become the property of the state, and shall be put (gratis) at the dis­ posal of the poorer class, 12) Creation of state workshops. The state guarantees the subsistence of all workers, and cares for those incapable of working, 17) Universal, free education. (R.L.)

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O n e m u st nevertheless em phasize th a t th e above p ro g ram by the creators of th e Communist Manifesto contains no trace of B lanquist strategy as is claim ed, for exam ple, by E d u a rd B ern­ stein am o n g others. In o rd er to u n d ertic; setting of prices, need only be aw are th a t M a rx a n d Engels fo rm u lated it u n d e r the resh influence of th e F e b ru ary R evolution in F ran ce a n d th e o u tb re ak of the M a rc h R evolution in G erm any. I t is well know n th a t b o th overestim ated th e revolutionary m o m en tu m o f the bourgeoisie a n d calcu lated th a t the E u ro p ean bourgeoi­ sie, once th ey w ere sw ept into th e w hirl of the revolutionary m ovem ent, w ould— over eith er a short or a long perio d — ru n th ro u g h the en tire cycle of th eir pow er, th a t they w ould re­ m ake th e political relations o f the cap italist countries ££in th eir own im ag e,” following w hich the surge of revolution w ould it­ self carry th e p etty bourgeoisie into th eir place a n d then finally th e p ro le tariat. In this w ay, th e p ro le ta ria t could follow directly on th e heels o f th e bourgeois revolution in o rd er to carry o u t its revolutionary task of the em an cip atio n of all classes. T o d ay , rich in historical experience, we are in a position to recognize th e u tte r optim ism of this view. W e know th a t the E u ro p ean bourgeoisie b eg an th e ir re tre a t im m ediately after th e first revolutionary storm ; a n d after they h a d suppressed th eir ow n revolution, they b ro u g h t society onto its “ n o rm a l” course, a n d once ag ain u n d e r th e ir control. W e know also th a t th e econom ic conditions in the E u ro p e of 1848 w ere very dis­ ta n t from th a t degree of m a tu rity w hich is necessary for a so­ cialist revolution. C ap italism was no t p re p a rin g itself for d eath b u t, on th e co n trary , for the tru e beginning of its rule. T h e phase w hich seem ed to sep arate th e com m unists of 1848 by only a few years from the d ictato rsh ip of th e p ro le ta ria t has b ro ad en ed to an epoch th a t has lasted h a lf a cen tu ry an d , even today, has n o t arrived a t its conclusion. T h e reason, how ever, w hich led M a rx a n d Engels to set forth such a p ro g ram of action based on th e w orkers’ revolu­ tion was not th e desire or hope of skipping th e phase o f bour-

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geois control b u t only a n in accu rate estim ation o f th e actu al rate of social developm ent u n d e r th e influence of th e revolu­ tion. U n d e r the conditions of activity of th e P ro le ta ria t P arty , it is difficult to find analogous circum stances w hich could ex­ plain th e p ro g ram of th e Polish p arty . If we w an t to a ttrib u te to its d em ands the c h a ra c te r of a p ro g ram a p p ro p ria te to the transitional stage, th en th e only assum ption w hich we can still m ake is th a t the P ro le ta ria t h a d alread y assum ed a B lanquist position, a t least to some degree. It m ust, how ever, be noted th a t, outside of this confusion of final goals w ith im m ed iate goals, th e p ro g ram of th e P ro le ta r­ ia t as a w hole is satu ra te d w ith th e spirit of th e Social D em o ­ cratic philosophy. T h is is proved by th e influence of th e idea th a t the socialist revolution can only be com pleted by the w orking class, th a t only th e m ass struggle, the o rg an izatio n of the p ro le ta ria t a n d its en lig h ten m en t can b rin g a b o u t th e con­ ditions necessary for the future society. T h e id ea of ag itatio n an d of the organizatio n of the masses is th e leitm o tif of th e e n ­ tire p ro g ram a n d m akes clear th a t th e P a rty w as th en p re p a r­ ing itself for a long period of w ork on the basis of th e d aily in ­ terests of the p ro letariat. A few sections of the p ro g ram in w hich the P ro le ta ria t views political freedom as th e prerequisite for org an izatio n a n d mass struggle also p o in t in this direction. T his evokes th e fo rm u la­ tions of W arynski in the Przedswit of th e previous year. “W e disapprove strongly,” we read in th e p ro g ram , “ of th e lack of freedom of conscience, freedom of speech, of assem bly, of o r­ ganization, a n d of th e press— because all of this im pedes the developm ent of the w orkers’ consciousness. It aw akens a reli­ gious-national h a tre d a n d fanaticism . It renders im possible th e p ro p ag an d a a n d m ass o rg an izatio n w hich alone can lay the cornerstone for th e future o rg an izatio n of th e socialist society.” A nd som ew hat further: “W e will fight on against oppression both defensively a n d offensively. Defensively, insofar as we will allow no changes for th e worse; offensively, insofar as we de-

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m an d a n im p ro v em en t o f th e living conditions of th e p ro le ta r­ ia t in th e R ussian sta te .” If, in spite o f this, we do no t find a clear a n d categorical a r ­ ticu latio n of th e struggle against czarism a n d for dem ocratic freedom s in th e p ro g ram — a c ertain indecisiveness a n d w a­ vering of political values p red o m in ates— still this p ro g ram an d the bases of its positive views show absolutely no B lanquism . T h e only fact w hich can be d eterm in ed on the basis of this d o cu m en t is th a t th e position o f th e Polish socialists h a d a l­ ready lost m uch of th a t crystalline clarity w hich so c h a ra c te r­ ized it in th e docum ents of th e G eneva group w hich we a n a ­ lyzed. N evertheless, one m ust b e a r in m in d th a t the p ro g ram of 1882 is th e w ork of th e W arsaw group w orking in th e hom e­ lan d a n d th a t W arynski, after he h a d m oved his activity into the R ussian zone, p ro b ab ly h a d to d ep en d m uch m ore on the com rades there, w ho stood u n d e r th e influence of th e R ussians m uch m ore directly th a n did th e Polish em igrants in Sw itzer­ land. B ut if th e c h a ra c te r of th e official p ro g ram of th e P role­ ta ria t P a rty is m ost distinctive in its u n clarity , still th e fu rth er forms of its activity allow no m ore d o u b t ab o u t th e grow ing in ­ fluence of B lanquism . I f we now look over th e en tire develop­ m en t of th e P ro le ta ria t, we shall have to ch aracterize th e p ro ­ g ram of 1882 as a tran sitio n al p h en o m en o n w hich, th ro u g h its very lack of clarity, reflects th e tu rn in g p o in t betw een th e So­ cial D em o cratic a n d th e B lanquist phases in the developm ent o f Polish socialism. IV In th e p reced in g section we investigated deductively the transition of th e p a rty founded by W arynski a n d his com rades from a Social D em o cratic to a B lanquist stan d p o in t. T his transition was view ed as th e logical result of the ap p licatio n of the P a rty ’s guiding p rin cip le— nam ely, com m on action w ith R ussian socialism — u n d e r th e given conditions. T his conclusion is p alp ab ly confirm ed by an analysis of the docum ents from the activity of th e P ro letariat. T h ese show

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Il the en d of the last sentence— w hich is aim ed a t th e activ­ ity of th e N a ro d n a y a V olya— betrays th e conspiratorial posi­ tion w ith reg ard to political struggle, th en th e following p a ra ­ g rap h is still m ore characteristic. Political agitation may be regarded as sensible only when politi­ cal oppression goes hand in hand with economic oppression. If, for example, the government placed itself on the side of the propertied class, then the struggle with the latter would be at the same time a struggle with the government. If, on the other hand, the government depends on no social class and yet through its pressure hinders the work of the social-revolutionary party, then it should—and this is quite possible—be overthrown by a conspiracy. In addition, the close cooperation of the masses of the people on the basis of the antagonism between their inter­ ests and the interests of the propertied classes is an indispensable condition for the further progress of the revolution.23 A nyone w ho is fam iliar w ith th e theories of R ussian social­ ism will im m ed iately recognize here a n echo of th e views of the N a ro d n a y a V olya, w hich, for its p a rt, h a d in h erited them from th e B akuninists. As early as 1874 th e edito r of Nabat, T k ach ev , w ho was one of the first R ussian B lanquists, fo rm ulated th e theory th a t the czarist gov ernm ent was “ based on no p a rtic u la r social class” a n d th a t it therefore “ could a n d sh o u ld ” be overthrow n. T k a ­ chev an n o u n ced th a t “ this state ap p ears to be a pow er only from a distance. . . . I t has no roots in the econom ic life of the people, it does n o t personify th e interests of any p a rtic u la r class. . . . [In G erm an y a n d th e W est— R .L .] th e state is not a fictitious power. It stands w ith both feet on th e foundation of cap ital a n d personifies certain econom ic interests. . . . [In Russia— R .L .] th e situ atio n is exactly th e opposite; the exist23 Przedswit, II, No. 17 (May 14, 1883). The editorial staff of Przedswit adds the pro­ viso to the above “resolutions” that it is not in complete agreement with all the views expressed in these resolutions. For us, however, the views of the activists working in Poland at the time are of primary importance. Besides, the editorial staff does not list the points on which its views differ from those expressed in the resolutions so that a basis for any sort of conclusion about its standpoint is nonexistent. (R.L.)

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ence o f ou r social system is due to th e state [ . . . ] w hich itself has n o th in g in com m on w ith th e present social order. It has its roots not in the present, b u t in the p a st.” 24 T his theory o f a R ussian state w hich ‘‘floated on a ir ” form ed only a p a rt o f the larg er theory o f R u ssia’s “ in d e p e n d e n t” d e ­ velopm ent, w hich d o m in ated th e conceptions o f th e R ussian socialists d u rin g the seventies a n d eighties. E conom ically, this theory was represented by the conclusion th a t cap italism in Russia was an “ artificial flow er” w hich h a d been “ tra n s­ p la n te d ” into R ussian soil by th e R ussian governm ent, a n d by the conviction th a t the system o f ru ra l com m u n al p ro p e rty was the p ro p er form for th e R ussian political econom y. N a tu ra lly the connection betw een the econom ic relations of a society an d its political system h a d becom e com pletely con­ fused. T h e econom ic relations, insofar as these w ere considered in th eir capitalist form , w ere viewed by this theory as th e a rb i­ trary p ro d u ct o f political power. O n the o th er h an d , according to the theory o f th e N a ro d n a y a V olya, czarism stood in m arked opposition to ru ra l co m m u n al p roperty, this n a tu ra l form o f political econom y. T h e only logical answ er to the question “ O n w h at does th e R ussian state base its existence?” was th a t the R ussian state “floats on a ir” or, as it is m ore p re ­ cisely form ulated in th e p ro g ram o f the executive com m ittee of the N a ro d n a y a V olya: “T his governm ental-bourgeois tu m o r m ain tain s itself solely by m eans of n ak ed force.” 25 A fter the entire e x ta n t political system o f R ussia h a d been, in this way, traced back to pure political pow er, it was a logi­ cal deduction th a t th e rem oval o f this system could only be a question of power. T h u s it was decided th a t the alm ig h ty gov­ ern m en t “ can an d should be easily overthrow n by conspir­ acy.” A lready in 1874, F ried rich Engels h a d refuted this tra in of thought, as he im m ed iately a n d w ith extrem e p ro fu n d ity 24 Cited in Internationales aus dem Volksstaat, Soziales aus Russland, p. 50. From “An Open Letter to Friedrich Engels,” which appeared in German in Zurich. (R.L.) 25 “Kalendar Narodnoj Woli,” p. 5. (R.L.)

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p ointed o u t th e w eak aspects of th e theory of the R ussian N arodniki. H e d em o n strated th a t th e R ussian state did n o t “float on a ir” a t all, b u t ra th e r th a t it leaned very heavily on the class o f noble landholders while also d ep en d in g on the devel­ oping bourgeoisie. H e show ed th a t it was those R ussian social­ ists who did n o t recognize th e m a te ria l bases of th e czarist gov­ e rn m en t w ho w ere actu ally “ floating on a ir.” Engels also p ointed o u t th a t th e R ussian Obshchina [peasant com m une— D .H .], w hich the “ in d e p e n d e n t” R ussian socialists saw as a basis for socialism in R u ssia’s n e a r future, was a suitable basis, n ot for a socialist order, b u t for th e O rie n ta l despotism of R u s­ sian czarism . H e also n oted the signs of decay w ithin the Ob­ shchina a n d prophesied its fu rth er dissolution, if left on its own, u n d er the influence of the steadily grow ing bourgeoisie. In a w ord, alth o u g h Engels did not p o in t out the positive tasks of th e R ussian socialists a n d did not tak e into considera­ tion th e future actions of th e in d u strial p ro le ta ria t in Russia, he did destroy th e fantastic concept of the “ floating on a ir,” “ in d e p e n d e n t” p a th to socialism in R ussia. A t the sam e tim e, he explained th a t people like T k a ch ev a n d o th er socialist N arodniki w ho th in k th a t R ussia is closer to socialism th a n the w estern countries because “since R ussia has no p ro le ta ria t, she also has no bourgeoisie,” still “ have to learn the A B C ’s of so­ cialism .” 26 In effect, the A B C ’s of socialism , nam ely M a rx ia n socialism, teach th a t the socialist o rd er is n ot some sort of poetic ideal so­ ciety, th o u g h t out in advance, w hich m ay be reach ed by v a ri­ ous p ath s in various m ore or less im ag in ativ e ways. R a th e r, so­ cialism is sim ply the historical tendency of th e class struggle of the p ro le ta ria t in th e cap italist society against the class rule of the bourgeoisie. O utside of this struggle betw een two com ­ pletely discrete social classes, socialism c a n n o t be realized— n eith er th ro u g h the p ro p a g a n d a of th e m ost ingenious creato r of a socialist u to p ia nor th ro u g h p e a sa n t w ars or revolutionary 26 Internationales aus dem Volksstaat, Soziales aus Russland, p. 50. (R.L.)

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conspiracies. T h e Polish socialists, as we saw, based th e ir for­ m al p ro g ram on these basic principles a n d w an ted to center th eir activity on the class struggle of the p ro le tariat. Essen­ tially, however, they failed the A B C ’s of socialism in the above-cited docum en t as b adly as th e R ussian N aro d n ik i. As soon as our revolutionaries took over the view of the R u s­ sian N aro d n ik i th a t the R ussian state was no t tied to an y so­ cial class, was “ floating on a ir,” a n d th a t this state could th e re ­ fore easily be overthrow n by a conspiracy, they artificially separated th eir political struggle from the rest of th eir socialist activities. T h ey sep arated the struggle w ith the governm ent, w hich they viewed as the p a rtic u la r task of the co n sp irato rs’ party, from socialist ag itatio n a n d the class struggle, w hich they saw as the task of th e w orking class in P oland. T his con­ ception conform s to th e categorical division of the tasks of the p arty into 1) “ p ro p a g a n d a a n d social-revolutionary a g ita tio n ” an d 2) “ struggle w ith the governm ent at its c e n te r,” as stated in the cited resolutions. W e m entioned previously th a t it is a ch aracteristic of Blanquism th a t it views political pow er as th e m eans for a social transform ation, in d ep en d en t of b o th social developm ent an d the class struggle. A lthough the Polish socialists did n o t accept this theory in its com m on form — indeed, as we have alread y seen, they w orked consciously a n d w ith g reat conviction from the stan d p o in t th a t “ the lib eratio n o f the w orking class can only be accom plished by the w orking class its e lf’— they did, in fact, assum e a B lanquist stance w hen they unconsciously b u t factually accepted the views of th e N aro d n ik i ab o u t th e R u s­ sian state. T h e hope for th e possibility of carry in g o ut a social­ ist overthrow directly, w ith o u t going th ro u g h the bourgeois­ p a rliam en tary phase, h a d to be the logical result of th e ir posi­ tion. A ctually the P a rty publications show this developm ent in their perspective very early. In th e Polish m ag azin e Proletariat — five num bers of w hich w ere published on a secret p rin tin g press betw een S eptem ber 1883 a n d M ay 1884— a characteris-

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tically (for conspiratorial socialism an d an arch ism ) ironic sar­ casm tow ard the “ bourgeois freedom ” of liberalism is a p p a r­ ent. W h ile th e second n u m b er of Proletariat contains the satirical poem “ A L ib eral H y m n to the Y ear 1880 in E x p e cta­ tion of a C o n stitu tio n ,” we find in th e lead article of th e sam e edition th e following original view point concerning th e a d v a n ­ tages of th e “ new slogan” w hich h a d ju st been ad o p ted by the P arty : The struggle, which has already begun, has still a third advan­ tage: it throws the bourgeoisie into the arms of the government with the hope that the government's almighty support can save them from the enemy who is trying to destroy their privileges. The struggle welds these two elements even tighter and makes them a single enemy of the working class no longer hidden be­ hind a mask of empty phrases. At first glance it is puzzling how, in the earliest stages of the socialist m ovem ent w here even th e m ost elem en tary dem o­ cratic freedom s are nonexistent, th e grow ing reactio n of the bourgeoisie can be viewed as a favorable developm ent. W hen th e bourgeoisie throw s itself into th e arm s of the governm ent, it prolongs th e existence of czarism an d a t th e sam e tim e fortifies all of those things w hich, in the w ords of th e p ro g ram of the P ro le ta ria t, “ im pede th e developm ent of the w orkers’ consciousness, w hich m ak e im possible th e p ro p a g a n d a an d mass o rg an izatio n necessary for laying a foundation for th e fu­ tu re construction of a socialist o rd e r.” But th e stan d p o in t of th e p ro g ram of 1882 was, as we have seen, no longer th a t of the P a rty in 1883, an d the position from w hich th e P a rty ev alu ated political p h en o m en a was now com ­ pletely different: It [the reaction of the bourgeoisie—R.L.] does of course make the struggle more difficult at first in that it alienates large circles of neutrals and even many of those who are actually dissatisfied with the government. It does, however, create firmer founda­ tions for the struggle. It gives the struggle a direction and thereby prevents that seduction of the masses by the ruling

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classes which was either possible or actually practiced until the outbreak of the struggle. At the same time it guards against an adulteration of the revolutionary movement. T h e sta n d a rd for th e ev alu atio n of political conditions is here no longer the indispensability of g ra d u a l o rg an izatio n of the masses, i.e., the req u irem en ts of th e daily struggle, b u t ra th er the reg ard for th e m om ent of “o u tb re a k ,” th e im m ed i­ ate p re p a ra tio n of th e social revolution. T his view of the situ atio n of socialism in P o lan d coincides harm oniously w ith th e Proletariat’s view of the situ atio n in R ussia a n d of the activity of the N a ro d n a y a V olya. As a result of the terrorist attack s o f the la tte r, “ a high opinion of the strength of the revolutionaries is form ed by the people, so th a t they m ust finally begin to ask them selves w h eth er it m ig h t not be b etter to align them selves w ith th e revolutionaries, w h eth er these w ould not re tu rn th e lands, forests, a n d pastures to the people. It is up to the revolutionaries to say ‘yes’ to th e people, an d the fate o f the revolution is d ecid ed .” 27 “ In d eed ,” one m ust rem ark w ith Engels, “ a n easier a n d m ore pleasan t revolution could not be im ag in ed .” N o longer is there discussion ab o u t th e p re p a ra to ry w ork of en lig h ten m en t an d org an izatio n of th e w orking class. O n th e c o n trary , one postulates th a t th e mass of the people have a n in h e re n t incli­ nation tow ard change in the social order. F rom this view point, all the p a rtia l changes w ith in th e existing system of govern­ m ent, such as d em o cratizatio n of th e state, n a tu ra lly a p p e a r to be insignificant trivialities a n d a w aste of tim e. In th e th ird n u m b er of O cto b er 20, 1883, we see th e following d eclaratio n in the article “W e a n d th e Bourgeoisie” : The masses [of working people—R.L.] recognize their inability to carry out a coup— they are looking for men whom they can trust, to whom they can entrust their leadership. Until then, they remain silent. Who if not us could and should win th's trust! However, in order to win it, we must show by our deeds that we are the enemies of their tyrants, that we do not shrink 21 Proletariat, No. 2 (October 1, 1883). From Russia. (R.L.)

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from the battle which we are today carrying on in their behalf, that we are trying to give to the masses that which belongs to them, and that only therefore do we reject that game of the bourgeois parliaments in which an unenlightened majority gives the decision about the overthrow into the hands of its enemies. Thus, it seems to us that an energetic provisional government— made up solely of socialists—is the best guarantee of as complete a transfer of property to the working class as is possible. T h a t is a classic statem en t of belief in th e B lan q u ist spirit— th e co n trastin g of a “ provisional governm ent of socialists” w ith th e “gam e of th e bourgeois p a rlia m e n ts”— in w hich th e p oliti­ cal p ro g ram in its actu al significance is fully ignored. In th e sam e vein, th e m anifesto of th e F ren ch B lanquists, published in 1874 in L ondon, announces, “W e a re com m u­ nists because we w a n t to arriv e a t our goals w ith o u t h av in g to stop a t in term ed iate stages, a t com prom ises, w hich only delay victory a n d prolong slavery. . . .” 28 In his critiq u e of this m anifesto (w hich bore the signatures o f th irty -th re e B lanquists), F ried rich Engels stated, The German communists are communists because they see and strive toward their final goal through all of those intermediate stages and compromises which are created not by themselves, but by historical development. T hat final goal is the abolition of classes and the construction of a society in which private owner­ ship of land and the means of production no longer exist. These thirty-three are communists because they imagine that if they only have the good will to skip over all the intermediate stages and compromises, they can. And if, as is of course certain, things “break loose” tomorrow and they come to power, why then by the day after tomorrow “communism will have been estab­ lished.” If that is not immediately possible, then they are not communists. Such childish naivete, citing impatience as a theo­ retically convincing argument! T h e fou rth n u m b e r o f Proletariat shows certain variations w ith respect to a re tu rn to Social D em o cratic views. In th e a r ­ ticle “W e a n d th e G o v ern m en t,” we read: 28 Internationales aus dem Volksstaat. Zwei Fluchtlingskundgebungen, p. 45. (R.L.)

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However, until the final phase of struggle our movement will have to pass through various stages. One of the main tasks of our preparatory work is the struggle against the attacks of gov­ ernments which, representing the interests of the bourgeoisie, persecute us, i.e., we must defend political freedom from this base conspiracy against the desires of the people. Yet political freedom has not protected the people from oppression; we value it for another reason: In order to be successful, our activity needs daylight in which it can develop wide and free. Only when forced to does it become a secret conspiracy. U nder condi­ tions of political freedom, an effect on the masses is achieved more easily, their consciousness is more quickly awakened, they gather more quickly around the banner of the social idea, and their organization becomes possible to a very high degree. The struggle with the political difficulties set before us by govern­ ments must be especially tenacious where political oppression rules in its primal and most shameless form, where complete ar­ bitrariness governs, where the most primitive human rights are totally ignored. Here, the overthrow of the government must be one of the main points of the socialist program of action. O n the basis of the above q u o tatio n , it could a p p e a r th a t the P ro le ta ria t P a rty did u n d e rsta n d the necessity o f w inning political freedom s before th e “o u tb re a k ” in order to m ak e ag i­ tation a n d org an izatio n possible in g reater m easure. B ut here too the strongly onesided a n d flat, form alistic ev alu atio n of p o ­ litical freedom s m erely as technical aids for th e activities of the socialists is obvious. T h e objective, historical side of th e p a rlia ­ m entary-bourgeois forms of governm ent as a n indispensable stage in the developm ent of th e cap italist society is totally ig­ nored. Since p a rlia m e n ta ry dem ocracy is view ed only as an external m eans of facilitating p rep aratio n s for the “ o u tb re a k ,” the logical conclusion th a t the struggle for the realizatio n of dem ocratic forms is a necessary a n d p rim a ry task of th e w ork­ ing class is not needed. O n th e co n trary , th e view rem ain s th a t the w inning o f these freedom s is, to be sure, a p leasan t devel­ opm ent w hich can n o t be rejected, b u t w hich, if necessary, can be foregone. These are essentially th e conclusions w hich th e Proletariat

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draw s in th e second p a rt o f the article “W e a n d th e G overn­ m e n t,” w hich a p p e a re d in the fifth an d last n u m b e r of its W arsaw m agazine: Should the government—having been frightened by the prog­ ress of our revolutionary work—approach our more or less pa­ triotic bourgeoisie and make a few political-national concessions to it in order to bring it into a common struggle against us— well, please do. We will certainly not protest against such con­ cessions. But we will make an effort to use all of that which was done for the bourgeoisie against it and the government. An even clearer represen tatio n of this p u re B lanquist con­ ception o f political freedom s ap p ears in the closing section of th e sam e article, w here conclusions are d raw n from th e two fu n d am en tal articles: “W e conclude: T h e present state has a single basic significance for us. Since th e state ties its existence closely to th e m a in te n a n c e of the existing econom ic system, it del ends th e privileged classes a n d oppresses an d persecutes the parties w hich strive for social liberation. D estroying th e gov­ ern m en tal a p p a ra tu s sim ply m eans toppling the b a rrie r w hich stands betw een us an d ou r goal.” T h e discussion here is no longer ab o u t despotic governm ent b u t ab o u t the “ p resent state.” T h u s, th e peculiarly R ussian form of governm ent is identified w ith th e in stitution o f the class state as such. T herefore, th e task of the socialist p a rty is not p rim arily the progressive reform of governm ental in stitu ­ tions b u t ra th e r the “destruction o f the governm ental a p p a ra ­ tu s,” i.e., th e direct overthrow o f th e governm ent w hich, since it is based on class rule, is a fortress o f the bourgeois system of d o m ination. Finally, in 1884, after L udw ik W arynski h a d been arrested a n d h a d d isap p eared from th e field o f battle, the developm ent in political th o u g h t criticized here ap p ears in full regalia in the m ost im p o rta n t d o cu m en t of th e P a rty ’s history, th e form al ag reem en t w ith th e N a ro d n a y a V olya. T h is co n tract w hich, as usual, officially recognizes the connections betw een th e Polish a n d R ussian socialist m ovem ents only long after they h a d ac-

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tually been established, is a n excellent c o u n te rp a rt to th e e a r­ lier “A ppeal to the R ussian C o m rad es.” It shows th e long p a th of political change w hich Polish socialism covered in the short period betw een the end o f 1881 a n d the b eg inning of 1884. In the rep o rt of the cen tral com m ittee of th e P ro le ta ria t to the executive com m ittee of the N a ro d n a y a V olya, we find the d eclaratio n th a t the fighting units [of the Proletariat Party—R.L.] which have been trained and organized for battle should be deployed at the proper moment as reinforcements to aid in the overthrow of the existing government and the seizure of power by the central committee. The central committee itself will be based upon the masses, since it will be the only true representative of their inter­ ests, and will institute a series of economic and political reforms through which the existing concepts of property will be forever discredited. The central committee will carry out that part of the socialist program whose realization at the moment of over­ throw is possible.29 H ere the overthrow o f the “ existing g o v ern m en t” (pravitelstvo), i.e., czarism , is obviously conceived as th e d irect p relu d e to social revolution. T h e struggle against despotism com pletely loses its c h a ra c te r as a d aily struggle on the soil of bourgeois so­ cial order. T h e distance betw een th e m in im al d em an d s an d the final goal, betw een th e political p ro g ram a n d th e p ro g ram of socialist overthrow , disappears a n d the daily activity b e ­ comes m ere speculation a b o u t th e im p en d in g “ o u tb re a k ” which will im m ediately usher in th e social transform ation. In accord w ith this, th e cen tral com m ittee discusses th e d e ­ tails of the “ o u tb re a k ,” prom ises n ot to begin the “ overthrow of the sta te ” (gosudarstvjennyi perevorod) u n til the signal from the executive com m ittee of th e N a ro d n a y a V olya, reserves for it­ self independence “ in its creative w ork” after th e overthrow , etc. E nough. W e have here, despite th e views on class struggle, mass action, etc., w hich are stressed in o th er p arts of th e docu29 Wjestnik Narodnoj Woli, No. 4, 1885, p. 242. (R.L.)

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m ent, a typical B lan q u ist' program . T hus, this docum ent, w hich crow ns the p ractica l realizatio n of th a t idea w hich was expressed in the “ A ppeal to the R ussian C o m rad es,” is also the end p o in t of a series of g ra d u a l changes w ith in Polish social­ ism. Summary o f Parts V -V II The change in the program o f the Proletariat Party naturally implied a change in the forms o f its activity. Since the conspiracy must be conspir­ atorial, a decrease in mass actions, mass meetings, and propaganda fo l­ lows logically. This implies a “revolutionary division o f roles \which] corresponds to that o f ancient Greek tragedy: individuals act and the masses form the chorus, the passive echo o f their acts. 3330 Such a relation is entirely foreign to M arx’s dictum that the liberation o f the workers must be their own act; but it follows from the conspiratorial logic. Rosa Lux­ emburg attacks its consequences, examining the role o f the Proletariat in two large strikes in which it was involved, and showing how it was un­ able to use the spontaneous energy o f the masses to build an ongoing move­ ment: In order to do that, the Party would have had to understand that it had to give to the enraged mass of workers some immediately clear task, an action which they could directly understand. This would have happened if one had pointed out to the wronged woman workers and the fired man [in the two strike actions] that the greatest obstacle to the bettering of their material and social condition is their lack of political rights; if one had explained to them the necessity of organization for the daily struggle— the struggle both against the exploitation by individual capitalists and the struggle against the czarist regime for political freedom. In a word, the Party could have begun a durable mass agitation if from the beginning, it had had a pro­ gram for the daily struggle— the economic and the political— a program that was adequate for a mass action. The conspiratorial action which the Proletariat had adopted was, how­ ever, essentially inimical to such political action. Correlative to the underestimation o f the role o f the masses is the under-30 30 The same Greek tragedy metaphor comes up again in Part VIII of the “Mass Strike” essay.

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estimation o f the day-to-day political aspect o f the revolution.31* Along with every Marxist before 1917, Rosa Luxemburg believed that Russia would have to undergo a bourgeois revolution before a socialist one would be possible. This bourgeois revolution would be made by the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, with the latter as leading force, preventing the bour­ geoisie from backsliding, as had the German bourgeoisie in 1848. In order to play this role, the proletariat had to learn to understand and uti­ lize the devices c bourgeois parliamentarism and civil liberties. Thus it is absurd to attack the ideas of liberalism and bourgeois democracy before they have become a reality. It is absurd to believe that the revolution can be made “without stopping at by-stations, without compromises. ” Such ideas are utopian. What is needed is a program which will educate the masses, a program like that o f Social Democracy, with its minimal and maximal demands, in which the minimal program serves as a stepping stone and a mediation on the way to the socialist revolution. The Proletariat, however, still believed itself to be Marxist, even though its program was more and more Blanquist. This coupling of Marxism and Blanquism is not unusual, notes Rosa Luxemburg. Blan­ quist tactics, because they are based on no theory, can be just as well cou­ pled with Marxism as with the populism o f the Narodnaya Volya. What is decisive in the case of the Proletariat is that though it accepted the Marxist notion o f stages o f economic development leading toward social­ ism— and thus accepted the needfor a bourgeois econom ic development — it did not accept the needfor bourgeois political conditions. This neg­ lect of the political aspect is just another side of the Proletariat’s Blan­ quist misunderstanding o f the role o f the masses. “In a word, it conceived o f the organization o f the working class as an artificial product of the class struggle, to which socialist agitation adds only consciousness.33 The decline of the Proletariat follows from the weaknesses discussed. By 1885, the Proletariat was seriously discussing whether one kills the 31 Rosa Luxemburg often uses the term “political” in two senses. In this case, “polit­ ical” refers to the development of what might be called “bourgeois political institu­ tions,” as well as the class and political consciousness which the proletariat acquires in discovering the utilization and limitation of these institutions. A second sense of “po­ litical,” that of the Blanquist, is the “political revolution” in which the conspirators capture the political center of power and try to institute socialist measures. The limi­ tations of such “politics” had already been discussed by Rosa Luxemburg.

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ruling class after the revolution has begun, or whether their deaths mark the beginning o f the revolution. This, says Rosa Luxemburg, is “vulgar revolutionism,” ccchildishness.” The revolution will o f course demand vio­ lence; but violence is not the essence o f revolution. 7 he stress on violence in the Blanquist theory is due to its theoretical inadequacies. These same the­ oretical inadequacies are responsible for another sign o f the impending de­ mise o f the Proletariat: its tendency to speculate about the future society which will be created after the revolution— as i f somehow the revolution would make a ta b u la rasa from which one's imagination could create what it wished. For Rosa Luxemburg, the declining Proletariat and its actions are not really part o f the history o f Polish socialism. The first phase o f that his­ tory ended in 1884 with the Proletariat’s becoming Blanquist, and with Waryriski’s speech before his judges in which he insisted that terror was only a means, and a means only applicable in certain conditions. Though Waryhski made errors in his leadership o f the Proletariat, these errors were based on a false appreciation o f the situation, and stand on the same level as those o f M arx and Engels in their appreciation o f the revolutions o f 1848. Within the limits o f his analysis, Waryhski acted consistently and in accord with Social Democracy. What is needed today, concludes Rosa Luxemburg, is a party which is consistently Social Democratic, arid which correctly understands the nature and limitations o f its position in Congress Poland, and, secondly, a Russian socialism which is also Social Democratic. These conditions, she thinks, are realized with the develop­ ment o f the Social Democracy o f the Kingdoms o f Poland and Lithuania (SD K PiL) o f which she was a leader. 'Translated by Tom Herbst Summary o f Parts V- V II by Dick Howard

The Eight-Hour Day at the Party Congress An extensive d eb ate concerning th e eig h t-h o u r d ay followed the rep o rt on p a rlia m e n ta ry activity a t o u r P a rty Congress last W ednesday a n d T h u rsd ay . It is true, it ended w ith th e usual referral of dem ands to o u r p a rlia m e n ta ry delegation. But I hope ou r representatives have nevertheless g ath ered from this debate th a t th eir proced u re concerning th e eig h t-h o u r d ay has caused a certain dissatisfaction in large segm ents o f th e P arty. T his debate, started by C o m rad e E ich h o rn a n d m a n y dele­ gates from B erlin, was therefore q u ite useful. B ut it p erh ap s missed a few im p o rta n t points. It w ould indeed grotesquely m inim ize th e issue of o u r p a r ­ liam en tary tactics concerning th e eig h t-h o u r d ay if we tu rn e d it into a m ere question o the R eich stag ’s ord er o f business, as some o f ou r representatives did a t the Congress. Even a d m it­ ting th a t the o rd in ary m o rtal co m rad e m ay lack th e correct u n d erstan d in g o f this m ysterious a n d com plicated m a tte r called the R eichstag o rd er of business, nevertheless, th e order of business can only decide when a n d in w h at form we present the d em an d for an eig h t-h o u r d ay to th e R eichstag. In our view, how ever, the h e a rt o f the m a tte r is th a t our rep re se n ta ­ tives are not asking for th e eight-hour day a t all, b u t so far only for the ten-hour day! C om rade R osenov’s rep o rt on p a rlia m e n ta ry activity as well as C om rade E d m u n d F ischer’s rem ark s m ad e it clear th a t our delegation considers it a m ere form ality a n d n arro w p e d a n try Text from Ausgewählte Reden und Schriften, II (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1951), pp. 15660. Originally published in Leipziger Volkszeitung, September 19, 1902.

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to distinguish betw een d em a n d in g a n eig h t-h o u r bill or a tenh o u r bill w ith th e prospect of a la te r eig h t-h o u r bill. But in fact this is n o t a m a tte r of form, b u t of essential tactics. It is clear th a t you m ust not d e m a n d a ten -h o u r day if you w an t th e eig h t-h o u r day. D o th e c o n tra ry an d you'll do well: if there is an y possibility of getting legislation to lim it w orking tim e to ten hours, it is only by constantly pressing for a n eighth o u r day. All o u r experiences p o in t this up. O n ly by d e m a n d ­ ing from bourgeois society all th a t it is cap ab le of g ran tin g have we succeeded here a n d th ere in o b tain in g a sm all p art. It is a very new p rin cip le of so-called “ p ractical politics” in our p a rty to hope, on the co n trary , to get g reat effects th ro u g h m odest a n d m o d erate dem ands. T herefore we consider B ebel’s arg u m en t, cited by E d m u n d Fischer, as com pletely wrong. Bebel suggests: we will d em an d th e ten -h o u r d ay in o rd er to force th e bourgeois parties to prove they m e a n t th eir often rep eated prom ises of this reform. N o m a tte r how p o p u la r a n d ap p e a lin g this tactical tu rn m ay seem, it alto g eth er misses th e m ark. N obody can possibly b e­ lieve th a t o u r too extrem e d em an d s m ad e it im possible for the bourgeois p arties to show th e ir good will. O n th e co n trary , ev­ eryone knows very well th a t th e bourgeois m ajo rity of the R eichstag could be absolutely c e rta in o f our su p p o rt if ever they w an ted to p u t th ro u g h a bill for ju st th e ten -h o u r day. No, it is exactly by d em an d in g th e eig h t-h o u r bill th a t we can force th e bourgeoisie to show its good will a t least w ith a m ore m odest reform . H ere as in o th er cases, it is only o u r pressure, our pushing th e bourgeois reform s to extrem es, w hich squeezes a q u a rte r ounce o f “ good w ill” out o f th e bourgeoisie. It is o b ­ viously b a d logic to co u n t on b rin g in g its so-called good will out by ta k in g the pressure off. It is tru e th a t o u r faction has by no m eans form ally given up its d e m a n d for th e eig h t-h o u r day, b u t it also has kept it only formally. T h e Social D em ocratic P a rty has been th e only p a rty consistently to stick to the u n a m e n d e d eig h t-h o u r bill. I f even o u r P a rty now postpones this bill in favor o f a different, m ore

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easily achievable bill, we thereby a d m it its present im possibil­ ity. In th a t case, it is evident th a t bourgeois society will no longer consider this reform at all. P u t off u n til some tim e in the future, p u t after the m ore easily realized d em a n d for the ten -h o u r bill, the eig h t-h o u r day will in fact be rem oved from practical politics for us. W e m ust not deceive ourselves ab o u t this. H ow ever, the legal eig h t-h o u r d ay is one of the d em an d s on our m in im al program , i.e., it is th e very least m in im u m of so­ cial reform w hich we, as representatives of the w orkers’ in te r­ ests, m ust d em an d a n d expect from the present state. T h e frag­ m en tatio n of even these m inim al dem an d s into still sm aller morsels goes against all o u r tactics. W e m ust m ake o u r m in i­ m um d em ands in u n am en d ed form. Even if we are ready to accept any installm ent, we m ust leave it to the bourgeois parties them selves to w hittle dow n our dem an d s to fit th eir in ­ terests. If, on the oth er h a n d , we choose the w ay our delegation has taken concerning the eig h t-h o u r day, we stop being th e p arty of the m ost adv an ced social progress. Indeed, how do we look even now w ith our ten -h o u r bill, co m p ared to the p etitio n of the C h ristian M in ers’ A ssociation of U p p er Silesia for the eight-hour day? A nd above all, in how aw kw ard a position do we p u t our unions! T h e y are alread y fighting for the n in e-h o u r or eight-hour day a n d have even pushed it th ro u g h here an d there. But let us leave aside all p ractical considerations. T h e changing of our m inim al dem an d s into the yet sm aller coin of bourgeois dem ands, as we see in the question a t h an d , is also dis­ tressing because it shows a dangerous tendency. T h e rem arks of our delegates Rosenov, E d m u n d Fischer, a n d others showed beyond an y d o u b t th a t they have sim ply been h y p n o tized into believing th a t th ere is no prospect of the R eichstag passing the eight-hour bill. B ut if we ourselves sta rt believing th a t o u r d e ­ m ands are excessive a n d p ractically im possible, th e n we are m aking th e saddest m o ral concession to bourgeois society.

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W e do n o t have m uch hope th a t the proposals referred to our representatives will im m ed iately influence th eir procedure in the R eichstag. T h e re is all the m ore reason to heed the ex­ cellent arg u m en ts of C o m rad e Z etkin th a t the h e a rt of our fight for th e eig h t-h o u r d ay m ust be outside: in the country, in ag itatio n , not in the R eichstag. In this issue too, o u r p a rlia ­ m en tary actions m ust be p ro m p ted a n d given the necessary im petus by th e g reat m ass of workers. A nd th e la tte r know no d iplom atic tricks: they stan d fast by the cause of th e eighth o ur day, a cause th a t in te rn a tio n a l Social D em ocracy has p leaded for decades, a cause for w hich twelve M ay D ays have been celeb rated w ith heavy sacrifices. Translated by Rosmarie Waldrop

Women’s Suffrage and Class Struggle “W hy are th ere no organizations for w orking w om en in G erm any? W hy do we h e a r so little a b o u t th e w orking w om ­ e n ’s m ovem ent?” W ith these questions, E m m a Ih rer, one of the founders o f the p ro le ta ria n w om en’s m ovem ent o f G er­ m any, in tro d u ced h er 1898 essay, “W orking W om en in th e Class Struggle.” H a rd ly fourteen years have passed since, b u t they have seen a g reat expansion o f th e p ro le ta ria n w om en’s m ovem ent. M ore th a n a h u n d re d fifty th o u san d w om en are organized in unions a n d a re am ong the m ost active troops in th e econom ic struggle o f th e p ro le tariat. M a n y thousands of politically organized w om en have rallied to the b a n n e r o f So­ cial D em ocracy: the Social D em o cratic w om en’s p a p e r [Die Gleichheit, edited by C la ra Zetkin] has m ore th a n one h u n d re d thousand subscribers; w om en’s suffrage is one of th e vital issues on the platform of Social D em ocracy. E xactly these facts m ig h t lead you to u n d e rra te th e im p o r­ tance o f th e fight for w om en’s suffrage. Y ou m ig h t th in k : even w ithout eq u al political rights for w om en we h av e m ad e en o r­ mous progress in ed u catin g a n d organizing w om en. H ence, w om en’s suffrage is no t u rg en tly necessary. I f you th in k so, you are deceived. T h e political a n d syndical aw ak en in g o f th e masses of th e fem ale p ro le ta ria t d u rin g the last fifteen years has been m agnificent. B ut it has been possible only because w orking w om en took a lively in terest in th e political a n d p a r­ liam en tary struggles o f th e ir class in spite o f being d ep riv ed o f Speech at the Second Social Democratic Women’s Rally, Stuttgart, May 12, 1912. Text from Ausgewählte Reden und Schriften, II (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1951), pp. 433-41.

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th eir rights. So far, p ro le taria n w om en are sustained by m ale suffrage, w hich they indeed tak e p a rt in, tho u g h only in d i­ rectly. L arge masses of b o th m en a n d w om en of th e w orking class a lre a d y consider the election cam paigns a cause they share in com m on. In all Social D em o cratic electoral m eetings, w om en m ak e u p a large segm ent, som etim es th e m ajority. T h ey are alw ays interested a n d passionately involved. In all districts w here th ere is a firm Social D em ocratic organization, w om en help w ith th e cam paign. A nd it is w om en w ho have done in v alu ab le w ork d istrib u tin g leaflets a n d gettin g sub­ scribers to th e Social D em o cratic press, this m ost im p o rta n t w eapon in the cam paign. T h e cap italist state has not been able to keep w om en from taking on all these duties a n d efforts of political life. Step by step, the state has indeed been forced to g ra n t a n d g u aran tee them this possibility by allow ing them unio n a n d assembly rights. O n ly th e last political rig h t is denied w om en: th e right to vote, to decide directly on th e peo p le’s representatives in legislature a n d ad m in istratio n , to be an elected m em ber of these bodies. B ut here, as in all o th er areas of society, the m otto is: “ D o n ’t let things get sta rte d !” B ut things have been started. T h e present state gave in to the w om en of th e prole­ ta ria t w hen it a d m itte d th em to public assemblies, to political associations. A n d th e state did n o t g ra n t this vo lu n tarily , b u t out of necessity, u n d e r th e irresistible pressure o f the rising w orking class. It was not least the passionate pushing ah e a d of th e p ro le ta ria n w om en them selves w hich forced th e PrussoG erm an police state to give u p th e fam ous “w om en’s section” 1 in gatherings of political associations a n d to open w ide the doors of political organizations to w om en. T h is really set the ball rolling. T h e irresistible progress of the p ro le ta ria n class struggle has sw ept w orking w om en rig h t into the w hirlpool of political life. U sing th eir rig h t o f unio n a n d assem bly, prole1The “women’s section” had been instituted in 1902 by the Prussian Minister von Hammerstein. According to this disposition, a special section of the room was reserved for women at political meetings.

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ta ria n w om en have tak en a m ost active p a rt in p a rlia m e n ta ry life a n d in election cam paigns. It is only th e inevitable conse­ quence, only the logical result of the m ovem ent th a t today m illions of p ro le ta ria n w om en call defiantly a n d w ith self-con­ fidence: Let us have suffrage! O nce upon a tim e, in the beautiful e ra of pre-1848 ab so lu t­ ism, the w hole w orking class w as said no t to be “ m a tu re enough” to exercise political rights. T h is can n o t be said about p ro letarian w om en today, because they have d em o n strated their political m atu rity . E verybody knows th a t w ith o u t them , w ithout the enthusiastic help of p ro le ta ria n w om en, the Social D em ocratic P a rty w ould not have won the glorious victory of J a n u a ry 12, [1912j, w ould not have o b tain ed four a n d a q u a r­ ter m illion votes. A t an y rate, the w orking class has alw ays h ad to prove its m a tu rity for political freedom by a successful revo­ lu tio n ary uprising of the masses. O n ly w hen D ivine R ig h t on the th ro n e a n d the best a n d noblest m en of the n atio n actu ally felt the calloused fist o f th e p ro le ta ria t on th eir eyes a n d its knee on th eir chests, only th en did they feel confidence in the political “ m a tu rity ” of the people, a n d felt it w ith th e speed of lightning. T o d ay , it is the p ro le ta ria n w o m an ’s tu rn to m ake the cap italist state conscious of h er m atu rity . T h is is done through a constant, pow erful m ass m ovem ent w hich has to use all the m eans of p ro le ta ria n struggle a n d pressure. W o m en ’s suffrage is th e goal. B ut the m ass m ovem ent to bring it ab o u t is not a jo b for w om en alone, b u t is a com m on class concern for w om en a n d m en of the p ro le tariat. G e rm a ­ ny’s present lack of rights for w om en is only one link in the chain of th e reaction th a t shackles the people’s lives. A n d it is closely connected w ith th e o th er p illar o f th e reactio n : the m onarchy. In ad v an ced cap italist, highly in dustrialized, tw en­ tieth -cen tu ry G erm any, in the age o f electricity a n d airplanes, the absence of w om en’s political rights is as m u ch a reac­ tionary re m n a n t of the d ead past as th e reign by D ivine R ig h t on the throne. B oth p h en o m en a— th e in stru m en t o f h eaven as the leading political pow er, a n d w om an, d em u re by th e fire-

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side, unco n cern ed w ith th e storm s of public life, w ith politics an d class struggle— both p h en o m en a have th eir roots in the rotten circum stances of the past, in th e tim es of serfdom in the country a n d guilds in the towns. In those tim es, they w ere ju s ­ tifiable a n d necessary. B ut bo th m o n arch y an d w om en’s lack of rights have been uprooted by th e developm ent of m odern capitalism , have becom e ridiculous caricatures. T h e y continue to exist in our m odern society, not ju st because people forgot to abolish them , not ju st because of th e persistence an d in ertia of circum stances. N o, they still exist because b o th — m o n arch y as well as w om en w ithout rights— have becom e pow erful tools of interests in im ical to th e people. T h e worst an d m ost b ru ta l a d ­ vocates o f th e exploitation an d enslavem ent of th e p ro le ta ria t are en tren ch ed b eh in d th ro n e an d a lta r as well as b eh in d the political enslavem ent of wom en. M o n arch y an d w om en’s lack of rights have becom e th e m ost im p o rta n t tools of th e ruling cap italist class. In tru th , our state is interested in keeping th e vote from w orking w om en an d from th em alone. It rightly fears they will th re a te n th e tra d itio n a l institutions of class rule, for instance m ilitarism (of w hich no th in k in g p ro le ta ria n w om an can help being a dead ly enem y), m onarchy, the system atic robbery of duties a n d taxes on groceries, etc. W o m en ’s suffrage is a horror a n d a b o m in atio n for th e present cap italist state because b e ­ h in d it stand m illions of w om en w ho w ould stren g th en the enem y w ithin, i.e., revolutio n ary Social D em ocracy. I f it w ere a m a tte r of bourgeois ladies voting, th e cap italist state could expect n o th in g b u t effective su p p o rt for th e reaction. M ost of those bourgeois w om en w ho act like lionesses in the struggle against “ m ale prerogatives” w ould tro t like docile lam bs in the cam p of conservative a n d clerical reactio n if they h a d suffrage. Indeed, they w ould certain ly be a good deal m ore reactio n ary th a n th e m ale p a rt of th eir class. Aside from th e few w ho have jobs or professions, th e w om en of th e bourgeoisie do n ot tak e p a rt in social production. T h e y are n o th in g b u t co-consum ers o f th e surplus value th eir m en extort from th e p ro letariat.

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T h ey are parasites of th e parasites o f th e social body. A n d co­ consum ers are usually even m ore ra b id a n d cruel in defending their “ rig h t” to a p a ra site ’s life th a n th e d irect agents of class rule a n d exploitation. T h e history of all g reat rev o lu tio n ary struggles confirm s this in a h o rrib le way. T a k e th e g reat F rench R evolution. A fter th e fall of th e Jaco b in s, w hen R obes­ pierre was driven in chains to th e place of execution th e n ak ed whores o f th e victory -d ru n k bourgeoisie d an ced in th e streets, danced a sham eless d an ce of jo y a ro u n d th e fallen h ero of th e R evolution. A nd in 1871, in Paris, w hen the heroic w orkers’ C om m une was defeated by m ach in e guns, th e rav in g b o u r­ geois fem ales surpassed even th eir bestial m en in th e ir bloody revenge against th e suppressed p ro le tariat. T h e w om en of th e property-ow ning classes will alw ays fan atically defend th e ex­ ploitation a n d enslavem ent of th e w orking people by w hich they indirectly receive th e m eans for th eir socially useless exist­ ence. Econom ically a n d socially, th e w om en of th e exploiting classes a re n o t a n in d ep en d en t segm ent of th e p o p ulation. T h e ir only social function is to be tools of th e n a tu ra l p ro p a g a ­ tion of th e ru lin g classes. By contrast, th e w om en o f th e p ro le­ ta ria t are econom ically in d ep en d en t. T h e y are p roductive for society like the m en. By this I do no t m ean th eir b rin g in g up children or th eir housew ork w hich helps m en su p p o rt th eir families on scanty wages. T h is k in d o f w ork is n ot productive in the sense of th e present cap italist econom y no m a tte r how enorm ous an achievem ent th e sacrifices a n d energy spent, th e thousand little efforts a d d u p to. T h is is b u t th e p riv a te affair of the w orker, his happiness a n d blessing, a n d for this reason nonexistent for our present society. As long as cap italism a n d the w age system rule, only th a t kin d o f w ork is considered p ro ­ ductive w hich produces surplus value, w hich creates cap italist profit. F rom this po in t of view, th e m usic-hall d a n c e r whose legs sweep profit into h er em p lo y er’s pocket is a productive w orker, w hereas all th e toil of th e p ro le ta ria n w om en a n d m others in th e four walls of th eir hom es is considered

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u n p roductive. T h is sounds b ru ta l a n d insane, b u t corresponds exactly to th e b ru ta lity a n d insanity of our present cap italist econom y. A nd seeing this b ru ta l reality clearly a n d sharply is th e p ro le ta ria n w o m an ’s first task. For, exactly from this p o in t of view, the p ro le ta ria n w om en’s claim to eq u al political rights is an ch o red in firm econom ic ground. T o d ay , m illions of p ro le ta ria n w om en create cap italist profit like m en — in factories, w orkshops, on farm s, in hom e in ­ dustry, offices, stores. T h e y are therefore productive in the strictest scientific sense of our present society. E very day e n ­ larges th e hosts o f w om en exploited by capitalism . Every new progress in industry or technology creates new places for w om en in th e m ach in ery o f cap italist profiteering. A nd thus, every d ay a n d every step of in d u strial progress adds a new stone to th e firm foundation of w om en’s eq u al political rights. Fem ale ed u catio n a n d intelligence have becom e necessary for th e econom ic m echanism itself. T h e narrow , secluded w om an of the p a tria rc h a l “ fam ily circle” answ ers th e needs of industry a n d com m erce as little as those of politics. It is true, th e cap i­ talist state has neglected its d u ty even in this respect. So far, it is the unions a n d the Social D em ocratic organizations th a t have done m ost to aw aken the m inds a n d m oral sense of w om en. E ven decades ago, the Social D em ocrats w ere know n as the m ost cap ab le a n d intellig en t G erm an workers. Likewise, unions a n d Social D em ocracy have today lifted th e w om en of th e p ro le ta ria t out of th eir stuffy, n arro w existence, o u t o f the m iserable a n d petty m indlessness o f household m an ag in g . T h e p ro le ta ria n class struggle has w idened th eir horizons, m ade th eir m inds flexible, developed th e ir th in k in g , show n them g reat goals for th eir efforts. Socialism has b ro u g h t a b o u t the m ental re b irth of th e mass o f p ro le ta ria n w om en— an d thereby has no d o u b t also m ad e th em cap ab le productive w orkers for cap ital. C onsidering all this, the p ro le ta ria n w o m an ’s lack o f politi­ cal rights is a vile injustice, a n d th e m ore so for being by now a t least h a lf a lie. A fter all, masses o f w om en tak e a n active

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p a rt in political life. H ow ever, Social D em ocracy does no t use the a rg u m en t of “ injustice.” T h is is th e basic difference b e ­ tween us an d the earlier sen tim en tal, u to p ia n socialism. W e do not dep en d on the justice of the ru lin g classes, b u t solely on the revolutionary pow er of th e w orking masses a n d on th e course of social developm ent w hich p rep ares the g ro u n d for this power. T h u s, injustice by itself is certain ly no t a n a rg u m e n t w ith w hich to overthrow reactio n ary institutions. If, how ever, there is a feeling of injustice in large segm ents of society— says F riedrich Engels, the co-founder o f scientific socialism — it is always a sure sign th a t th e econom ic bases of the society have shifted considerably, th a t the present conditions co n tra d ic t the m arch o f developm ent. T h e present forceful m ovem ent o f m il­ lions of p ro le ta ria n w om en w ho consider th eir lack o f political rights a crying w rong is such a n infallible sign, a sign th a t the social bases of the reigning system are ro tten a n d th a t its days are num bered. A h u n d re d years ago, th e F ren c h m a n C harles F ourier, one of the first g reat prophets of socialist ideals, w rote these m em o­ rable words: In an y society, the degree of fem ale em an cip atio n is the n a tu ra l m easure of the general e m an cip atio n .2 T h is is com pletely tru e for o u r present society. T h e c u rre n t mass struggle for w om en’s political rights is only a n expression an d a p a rt of the p ro le ta ria t’s general struggle for liberation. In this lies its strength a n d its future. Because of the fem ale p ro le­ tariat, general, eq u al, d irect suffrage for w om en w ould im ­ m ensely advance a n d intensify th e p ro le ta ria n class struggle. T his is why bourgeois society abhors a n d fears w o m en ’s suf­ frage. A nd this is w hy we w a n t a n d will achieve it. F ig h tin g for w om en’s suffrage, we will also h asten the com ing of th e hour w hen the present society falls in ruins u n d e r th e h am m er strokes of the revolutio n ary p ro letariat. Translated by Rosmarie Waldrop 2 Though Rosa Luxemburg could not have known it, Karl Marx cites these same words in the third of the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of1844 when he discusses the nature of communist society.

Mass Strike, Party, and Trade Unions i Alm ost all previous w ritings a n d pronouncem ents o f in te r­ n atio n al socialism on th e subject of th e mass strike d a te from th e tim e before th e R ussian R evolution [of 1905— D .H .], the first historical experim ent w ith this m eans o f struggle on a very large scale. T h is explains w hy they are, for th e m ost p a rt, out o f date. T h e ir sta n d p o in t is essentially th a t o f F ried rich E n g ­ els’ 1873 criticism o f th e revolutionism o f th e B akuninists in Spain : In the Bakuninists’ program, the general strike is the lever which will be used to introduce the social revolution. One fine morning all the workers in every industry in a country, or per­ haps in every country, will cease work and thereby, in at most four weeks, will compel the propertied classes either to submit or to launch an attack on the workers so that the latter then will have the right to defend themselves and may use the opportu­ nity to overthrow the entire old society. The proposal is far from being new: French and then Belgian socialists have paraded it continually since 1848, though it is of English origin. During the rapid and powerful development of Chartism among the Eng­ lish workers that followed the crisis of 1837, the “holy m onth”— a suspension of work on a national scale—was preached as early as 1839, and was received with such favor that in July 1842 the factory workers of the north of England attempted to carry it out.*1 And at the Congress of the Alliancists at Geneva on SepText from Politische Schriften, I (Frankfurt: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, I960), pp. 135-228. The text here is that of the first edition. Passages eliminated from the second edition are set in brackets; additions to the second edition are in footnotes. Rosa Lux­ emburg’s own footnotes are marked “R.L.” 1Cf. Engels, Lage der arbeitenden Klasse, 2nd ed., p. 234. (R.L.)

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tember 1, 1873, the general strike played a great part. But it was admitted on all sides that to carry it out it was necessary to have a perfect organization of the working class and a full strike fund. And therein lies the crux of the question. On the one hand, the governments, especially if they are encouraged by the workers’ abstention from political action, will never allow the organiza­ tion nor the funds of the workers to become large enough, and on the other hand, political events and the encroachments of the ruling classes will bring about the liberation of the workers long before the proletariat get to the point of forming this ideal or­ ganization and this colossal reserve fund. But if they had these, they would not need to use the roundabout way of the general strike in order to attain their goal. (Friedrich Engels, Interna­ tionales aus dem Volksstaat, Die Bakunisten an der Arbeit, p. 20.) H ere we have the a rg u m en tatio n th a t d eterm in ed th e a ttitu d e o f in tern atio n al Social D em ocracy tow ard the m ass strike in the following decades. It answers th e an arch ist theory o f the general strike— th a t is, th e theory o f the general strike as a m eans o f in a u g u ra tin g th e social revolution, in c o n trad istin c­ tion to the daily political struggle o f the w orking class— a n d it exhausts itself in the following sim ple dilem m a: e ith er th e p ro ­ letariat as a whole is no t yet in possession o f the pow erful o r­ ganization an d financial resources req u ired , in w hich case it can n o t carry th ro u g h the general strike; or it is alre a d y pow er­ fully enough organized, in w hich case it does not need th e g en ­ eral strike. T h is reasoning is so sim ple a n d a t first glance so ir­ refutable th a t, for a q u a rte r o f a century, it has ren d ered excellent service to th e m o d ern lab o r m ovem ent as a logical w eapon against a n arch ist pipe dream s a n d as a m eans of carrying the idea o f political struggle to th e w idest circles of workers. T h e enorm ous strides tak en by th e lab o r m ovem ent in all m odern countries d u rin g th e last tw enty-five years are the m ost convincing evidence o f the value o f the tactics of p o ­ litical struggle on w hich M a rx a n d Engels insisted in opposi­ tion to B akuninism . A nd th e present pow er o f G e rm a n Social D em ocracy, in its position o f v a n g u a rd o f th e en tire in tern a-

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tional lab o r m ovem ent, is in large p a rt th e direct p ro d u ct of th e consistent a n d energetic applicatio n s of this tactic. T h e R ussian R evolution [of 1905— D .H .] has now su b m it­ ted the above arg u m en tatio n to a fu n d am en tal revision. For th e first tim e in th e history of th e class struggle it has achieved a grandiose realizatio n o f th e id ea of th e m ass strike a n d — as we shall discuss in detail below— has b ro u g h t the id ea o f the mass strike to m a tu rity , a n d th erew ith opened a new epoch in the developm ent of th e lab o r m ovem ent. O f course, it does not follow from this th a t the tactics o f political struggle recom ­ m en d ed by M a rx a n d Engels w ere false, or th a t th e ir criticism o f an arch ism was incorrect. O n the co n trary , it is th e sam e tra in o f th o u g h t, th e sam e m eth o d — th a t o f th e M arx -E n g elsian tactics— w hich lay a t th e foundations of th e previous p ractice of G erm an Social D em ocracy, a n d w hich now in the R ussian R evolution is p rod u cin g new m om ents a n d new con­ ditions o f th e class struggle. T h e R ussian R evolution, w hich is th e first historical experi­ m en t on th e m odel o f the mass strike, does not in th e least im ply a v in d icatio n of an arch ism b u t actu ally m eans th e histor­ ical liquidation .of anarchism. T h e sorry existence to w hich this in ­ tellectual ten d en cy was con d em n ed in recent decades by the pow erful developm ent of Social D em ocracy in G erm an y m ay, to a ce rta in extent, be ex p lain ed by th e exclusive dom inion a n d long d u ra tio n of th e p a rlia m e n ta ry period. A tendency p a tte rn e d en tirely u p o n th e “ first blow ” a n d on “d irect ac­ tio n ,” a ten d en cy “ rev o lu tio n ary ” in the m ost n ak ed pitchfork sense, m ay only tem p o rarily languish in th e calm o f the p a rlia ­ m en tary com m onplace in o rd er to com e to life ag ain a n d to unfold its in n e r strength in a re tu rn to th e period o f direct, open struggle, in a period o f street revolution. R ussia a p p e a re d p a rtic u la rly a p t to becom e th e ex p erim en ­ tal field for th e heroic deeds of an arch ism . A co u n try in w hich th e p ro le ta ria t h a d absolutely no political rights a n d a n ex­ trem ely w eak org an izatio n , a m any-colored com plex of v a ri­ ous p o p u la tio n -stra ta w ith very different, chaotically interre-

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lated interests, a low sta n d a rd of ed u catio n am ong the masses of the people, extrem e bestiality in the use of violence on the p a rt of the d o m in a n t regim e— all this seem ed explicitly created to raise an arch ism to a sudden if p erh ap s short-lived power. A nd finally, R ussia was th e historical b irth p la c e of a n ­ archism . But the fath e rla n d o f B akunin was to becom e th e graveyard of his teachings. N ot only did a n d do the anarchists no t stand a t the h ead o f the mass strike m ovem ent; not only does the whole political leadership of the revolutionary actio n a n d also of the m ass strike lie in th e h ands of th e Social D em o cratic o r­ ganizations— w ho are b itterly opposed as “ bourgeois p a rtie s” by the R ussian an arch ists— or p a rtly in the hands of such so­ cialist organizations as are m ore or less influenced by Social D em ocracy a n d m ore or less a p p ro x im ate to it (such as the terrorist p a rty of the “ Socialist R ev o lu tio n aries” ), b u t th e a n ­ archists sim ply do not exist as a serious political ten d en cy in the R ussian R evolution. O n ly in a sm all L ith u a n ia n tow n, Bialystok, w ith p artic u la rly difficult conditions— a confused m edley of different natio n alities am ong th e workers, a n ex­ trem ely scattered sm all-scale industry, a very oppressed p ro le­ ta ria t— is there, am ong th e seven or eight different revo lu tio n ­ ary groups, a h an d fu l of half-grow n “ an arch ists” w ho prom ote confusion an d d isarray am ong th e w orkers to the best of th eir ability. A nd, lastly, in M oscow, a n d p erh ap s two or th re e other towns, a h an d fu l of people of this sort m ake them selves notice­ able. But a p a rt from these few “ rev o lu tio n ary ” groups, w h at is the actu al role o f an arch ism in the R ussian R evolution? It has becom e the b a n n e r for com m on thieves a n d plunderers. A large p a rt of those in n u m erab le thefts a n d acts of p lu n d e r of private persons w hich rise u p in every period of depression an d in every period of tem p o rary defensiveness like a gloom y wave against the revolution, are carried o ut u n d e r the n am e of “ an arch o -co m m u n ism .” In the R ussian R evolution, a n a r­ chism has not becom e th e theory of th e fighting p ro le tariat,

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b u t the ideological p lacard o f th e co u n ter-rev o lu tio n ary lum p e n p ro le ta ria t w hich, like a school o f sharks, swims u n d e r the b attlesh ip o f th e revolution. A nd thus th e historical career of an archism is well nigh ended. O n th e o th er h a n d , th e mass strike in R ussia has been real­ ized n o t as a m eans of evading th e political struggle of the w orking class, a n d especially p a rliam en tarism , no t as a m eans o f ju m p in g suddenly into th e social revolution by m eans of a th eatrical coup, b u t as a m eans of creatin g for th e first tim e for th e p ro le ta ria t the conditions o f d aily political struggle, and especially o f p arliam en tarism . T h e revolutionary struggle in R ussia, in w hich th e m ass strikes cam e to be used as th e most im p o rta n t w eapon, is conducted by the w orking people, and especially by th e p ro le tariat, in o rd er to achieve those political rights a n d conditions whose necessity a n d significance in the struggle for the em an cip atio n of th e w orking class M a rx an d Engels first p o in ted out, a n d for w hich they fought against a n ­ archism in the In te rn a tio n a l w ith all th eir m ight. T h u s histori­ cal dialectics, th e rock on w hich th e w hole teach in g of M a rx ­ ia n socialism rests, has b ro u g h t it a b o u t th a t today anarchism , w ith w hich th e id ea o f th e mass strike was indissolubly associ­ ated, has itself com e to be opposed in p ractice to th e mass strike. A nd, on the contrary , th e m ass strike, w hich was com ­ b ated as the opposite of the political activity o f th e p ro letariat, ap p ears today as the m ost pow erful w eapon in th e struggle for political rights. If, therefore, th e R ussian R evolution m akes im p erativ e a fu n d am en tal revision in th e old position o f M a rx ­ ism on th e question o f the mass strike, it is once ag ain only M arxism whose general m ethods a n d view points have thereby, in a new form , won the victory. T h e M o o r’s beloved c an die only a t th e h a n d of th e M oor.2 2 These are Marx’s own words, referring to the fact that only those who were capa­ ble of defending a theory were capable of overcoming that theory. Eduard Bernstein cites this statement, arguing that “it is finally none but Marx who is correct against Marx.”

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T h e first revision o f th e question of th e mass strike w hich re ­ sults from the R ussian experience relates to th e gen eral concep­ tion of the problem . In G erm an y u n til now, th e zealous advo­ cates of an “ a tte m p t w ith th e m ass strik e” of th e stam p of B ernstein, Eisner, etc., as well as th e strict opponents of such an attem p t, as represen ted in th e tra d e -u n io n cam p by, for exam ple, B öm elburg, stan d fu n d am en tally on the sam e con­ ception— th e an arch ist conception. N ot only do th e a p p a re n t polar opposites not m u tu a lly exclude each other, b u t, as a l­ ways, condition a n d com plete each other. D irect speculation on the “ g reat Kladderadatsch” 3 a n d on th e social revolution is m erely an ex tern al a n d inessential ch aracteristic for th e a n a r ­ chist m ode of thought. W h a t is essential here is th e to tally a b ­ stract, unhistorical view o f th e m ass strike, as o f all th e co n d i­ tions of th e p ro le ta ria n struggle generally. F or th e an arch ist only two things exist as m a te ria l presuppositions o f his “ revo­ lu tio n ary ” speculations: first, th in air, a n d second, th e good will a n d courage to rescue h u m a n ity from th e present c a p ita l­ ist vale o f tears. A lready sixty years ago th e form er led to th e result th a t th e mass strike was th e shortest, m ost c ertain , a n d easiest m eans o f springing into a b e tte r social future. R ecently, the sam e m ode of reasoning led to the speculation th a t th e trad e-u n io n struggle was th e only real “ d irect actio n o f th e masses” a n d thus the only revo lu tio n ary struggle— this, as is well know n, is the m ost recent fad of the F ren ch a n d Ita lia n “syndicalists.” T h e à ta l th in g for an arch ism has alw ays been th a t th e m ethods of struggle im provised ou t of th in a ir w ere not only a bill w ith o u t th e re sta u ra n t ow ner, th a t is, p u re u to ­ pias, b u t th a t because th ey did n o t reckon w ith th e despised, evil reality, th e an arch ists’ revo lu tio n ary speculations u n ex ­ pectedly becam e, in this evil reality, helpers o f th e reaction. 3 The German term Kladderadatsch literally means “a great noise.” It was (he term which August Bebel used habitually when referring to the beginning of the collapse of capitalism.

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T hose w ho wish to p u t th e m ass strike into effect in G er­ m an y on a given day, by th e decision of a n executive co m m it­ tee, base them selves on th e sam e ab stract, unhisto rical p o int of view as those w ho, like th e p a rtic ip a n ts a t th e C ologne T rad eU n io n C ongress,4 w an t to elim in ate the problem o f th e mass strike from th e w orld by p ro h ib itin g its “ p ro p a g a n d a .” Both tendencies proceed from the sam e, p u re a n arch ist notion th a t th e m ass strike is m erely a technical m eans of struggle w hich can be “ d ecid ed ” or “ fo rb id d en ” a t pleasure, according to o n e’s know ledge an d conscience, a kin d of pocketknife w hich one keeps clasped in his pocket, “ read y for all em ergencies,” or decides to u n clasp a n d use. T o be sure, th e opponents of the mass strike do claim for them selves th e m erit of tak in g into consideration th e historical grounds a n d m ate ria l conditions of th e present situation in G erm an y , as opposed to th e “ revolu­ tionary ro m a n tics” w ho float in th in air a n d do no t w an t to reckon w ith h a rd reality a n d its possibilities a n d im possibili­ ties. “ F acts a n d figures, figures a n d facts!” they cry, like M r. G ra d g rin d in D ickens’ Hard Times. W h a t th e tra d e -u n io n o p ­ ponents of th e m ass strikes u n d e rsta n d by “ historical g rounds” an d “m a te ria l conditions” are two kinds of things: on the one h an d , th e w eakness of th e p ro le ta ria t; on th e o th er h a n d , the strength o f P ru ssian -G erm an m ilitarism . T h e insufficiency of the w orkers’ organizations a n d th eir strike fund, a n d the im posing P russian bayonets— those are th e “ facts a n d figures” on w hich, in th e present case, these tra d e -u n io n leaders base th e ir politics. O f course, th e tradeu n io n treasuries a n d the P russian bayonets are m a te ria l, an d very historical p h en o m en a. B ut, th e conception w hich is based on th em is no historical m aterialism in the sense of M arx ; 4 The Cologne Trade-Union Congress of May 1905 took up the question of the mass strike after the Social Democratic Party Congress at Jena in January 1905 had passed a weak resolution favorable to the mass strike under certain conditions. The trade un­ ionists were strongly opposed to the mass strike, which they feared would destroy their carefully built organization. At Cologne, they passed a resolution, 200 to 17, which amounted practically to prohibition of discussion of the mass strike.

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rath er, it is a p o licem an ’s m aterialism in th e sense of P u ttkam er. T h e representatives of th e cap italist police-state reckon m uch, even exclusively, on th e present factual pow er of th e o r­ ganized p ro le tariat, as well as w ith th e m ate ria l pow er of the bayonets. A nd, from th e co m p arativ e exam ple of these two rows of figures the com forting conclusion will alw ays be draw n: T h e revolutionary w orkers’ m ovem ent is produced by individual dem agogues a n d agitators; ergo, our jails a n d b ayo­ nets are a sufficient m eans of subduing th e u n p le a san t “ pass­ ing p h en o m en o n .” T h e class-conscious G erm an w orking class has a t last grasped the h u m o r of th e p o licem an ’s theory w hich claim s th a t th e w hole m odern lab o r m ovem ent is a n artificial, a rb i­ tra ry p ro d u ct of a h an d fu l of unscrupulous “ dem agogues and agitators.” But it is exactly th e sam e conception w hich expresses itself w hen a few w orthy com rades u n ite to form a v o lu n tary nightw atch m an society in o rd er to w arn th e G erm an w orking class against th e dangerous ag itatio n of some “ rev o lu tio n ary ro ­ m an tics” an d th eir “ mass strike p ro p a g a n d a ” ; or, on th e o ther h an d , w hen a noisy cam p aig n of in d ig n atio n is m o u n ted by those who th in k th a t by m eans of some sort of “ co n fid en tial” agreem ents of the executive com m ittee of th e P a rty w ith the G eneral Com m ission of th e tra d e unions the o u tb re ak of th e mass strike in G erm an y has been prevented. If it w ere a ques­ tion of th e inflam m ato ry “ p ro p a g a n d a ” of th e revolutionary rom antics, or of confidential or open decisions of the p arty leaderships, th en we w ould not yet have seen one single serious mass strike in Russia. As I alread y stressed in M a rc h 1905, in the Sächsische Arbeiterzeitung,5 in no cou n try h ad one so little th o ught of “ p ro p a g a tin g ” or even “discussing” the mass strike as in R ussia. A nd th e isolated exam ples of decisions a n d ag ree­ m ents w hereby the executive com m ittee of the R ussian p arty really sought to proclaim th e mass strike of th e ir own accord— 5 In the article “Eine Probe aufs Exempel,” March 3, 1905.

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such as the last a ttem p t, in A ugust o f this y ear [1906— D .H .] after the dissolution of the D u m a — w ere n early com plete fail­ ures. T herefore, if th e R ussian R evolution teaches us an ything, it is above all th a t th e mass strike is n ot artificially “m a d e ,” n ot “ decided” out o f th e blue, no t “ p ro p a g a te d ,” b u t rath er th a t it is an historical phen o m en o n w hich a t a certain m om ent follows w ith historical necessity from the social relations. T h e problem therefore can n o t be understood a n d discussed by m eans o f ab stract speculations on th e possibility or im possi­ bility, th e u tility or the harm fulness o f th e mass strike. T h e specific m om ents an d the specific social relatio n s from w hich the mass strike grows in the present phase of th e class struggle m ust be investigated. In oth er words, th e problem can only be understood a n d discussed by m eans o f objective investigation of the sources o f the mass strike from th e stan d p o in t o f w h at is historically necessary, a n d not th ro u g h the subjective criticism of the mass strike from the stan d p o in t o f w h at is desirable. T h e absolute im possibility an d th e certain defeat, as well as the com plete possibility an d th e in d u b itab le victory o f the mass strike, can be proved w ith ju st the sam e force in th e th in a ir of ab stra c t logical analysis. T herefore, th e value o f the proofs on b o th sides is th e sam e— nam ely, none. It follows too th a t especially the fear o f the “ p ro p a g a n d iz in g ” of th e mass strike, w hich has even led to form al a n ath em as against those supposed guilty of this crim e, is th e p ro d u ct of a droll quid pro quo. It is ju s t as im possible to “ p ro p a g a te ” the mass strike as an ab stract m eans o f struggle as it is im possible to p ro p a g a te the “ revolution.” “ R ev o lu tio n ” a n d “mass strike” are concepts w hich signify only a n extern al form o f th e class struggle, an d w hich have a sense a n d a co n ten t only in connection w ith d e­ term in ed political situations. I f anyone w ere to u n d e rta k e to m ak e th e mass strike in gen­ eral, as one form o f p ro le ta ria n action, th e object o f m eth o d i­ cal ag itatio n , a n d to go house to house p eddling this “id e a ” in order g ra d u ally to w in the w orking class to it, it w ould be as idle, as profitless, a n d as crazy a n o ccupation as it w ould be to

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seek to m ake the idea of the revolution or of th e b a rric a d e struggle into the object o f a p a rtic u la r agitation. T h e mass strike has now com e to be a cen ter of lively interest for the G erm an an d the in te rn a tio n a l w orking class because it is a new form of struggle a n d as such is the c ertain sym ptom of a deep in n er change in the class relations a n d the conditions of the class struggle. It is a sign of th e h ealth y rev o lu tio n ary in ­ stinct an d th e lively intelligence o f the mass of th e G erm an p ro letariat th a t, despite th e stubborn opposition of th e ir tradeunion leaders, they tu rn to the new problem w ith such w arm interest. B ut this interest, the fine intellectual thirst a n d desire for revolutionary deeds on the p a rt of th e workers, c a n n o t be satisfied th ro u g h ab stract m en tal gym nastics ab o u t th e possi­ bility or im possibility of the mass strike. R a th e r, one m ust m ake clear th e developm ent of th e R ussian R evolution, its in ­ tern atio n al signification, th e sh arp en in g of the class opposi­ tions in W est E urope, the fu rth er political perspectives of the class struggle in G erm any, the role a n d th e tasks of th e masses in the com ing struggles. O n ly in this form will the discussion of the mass strike lead to the en larg in g of th e sp iritu al horizon of the p ro le tariat, the sh arp en in g of its class consciousness, the deepening of its m ode of th o u g h t a n d th e steeling of its energy. From this point of view, the crim in al proceedings, in itiated by the opponents of “revolutionary ro m an ticism ”— because in tre atin g this problem one does not a d h ere strictly to th e text of the J e n a resolution— a p p e a r in th eir en tire ludicrousness.6 T h e “practical politician s” agree to this resolution if need be b e ­ cause they couple the mass strike w ith th e fate o f universal 6 At the Jena Party Congress in 1905 an ambiguous resolution submitted by Bebel was adopted, recognizing the mass strike as a possible weapon of the proletariat but limiting its application to purely defensive acts such as an eventual response to gov­ ernment action limiting suffrage rights or trade-union rights. This resolution was voted under the immediate impression of the January 1905 Revolution in Russia. Rosa Luxemburg was very active in defense of the resolution, even though she thought that it didn’t go far enough. Still, she considered its adoption a victory for the left wing, and insisted on giving the most radical interpretation possible to the resolution, as is seen here. Her radical speeches at Jena led to a court case which resulted, in 1907, in her being sentenced to two months’ imprisonment.

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suffrage, a n d th in k th a t they can deduce from this 1) th a t the mass strike is of a p urely defensive c h aracter; 2) th a t th e mass strike itself is su b o rd in ate to p arliam en tarism , th a t [through th e J e n a resolution— D .H .] it is ch an g ed to a m ere ap p en d ag e o f p arliam en tarism . T h e tru e essence of the Jen a resolution in this context is, how ever, th a t in th e present situation of G er­ m an y a n assault by the prevailing reaction on suffrage rights w ould m ore th a n likely be the in tro d u cto ry m o m en t to, an d the signal of, th a t period of storm y political struggles in w hich the mass strike as a m eans of struggle w ould com e into action for the first tim e in G erm any. But to seek to narrow a n d to artificially lim it the social sig­ nificance a n d the historical scope of the mass strike as a p h e ­ nom enon a n d as a problem of the class struggle by th e w ording of a p a rty resolution is an u n d e rta k in g whose shortsightedness is the eq u al of th e abovem entioned veto of discussion a t the C ologne T ra d e -U n io n Congress. In the resolution of th e J e n a P a rty Congress, G erm an Social D em ocracy has officially tak en notice of the fu n d am en tal ch an g e in the in te rn a tio n a l conditions of th e p ro le ta ria n class struggle w hich are th e result of the R ussian R evolution, an d has an n o u n ced its cap acity for revolutionary developm ent, a n d its pow er of a d a p ta tio n to the new d em an d s of th e com ing phase of th e class struggle. T h is is th e significance of th e J e n a resolution. C oncerning th e p ractica l a p p licatio n of the mass strike in G erm any, history will decide, ju st as it decided in R ussia. In this history, Social D em ocracy a n d its decisions is, of course, a n im p o rta n t factor— b u t only one factor am ong m any.

Summary o f Part I I I Part I I I is largely a historical sketch o f the development o f the mass strike before and during the Russian Revolution. Rosa Luxemburg begins by emphasizing that the mass strike is not one single phenomenon, not the “political” mass strike o f German schematism. In order to understand the Russian mass strikes, it is necessary to look at their historical origins, be-

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ginning with the Petersburg mass strike o f 1896. The Petersburg strike was a purely economic struggle, beginning almost accidentally, without organized leadership. The repressive measures o f the government served to change the economic strike into a political one. Though the strike o f 1896 failed, it led to a new strike in 1897 which won the eleven-hour day throughout Russia. The interrelation of the political and the economic, of defeat and victory, is typical o f the mass strike development. During the years leading up to the 1905 Revolution, the mass strike movement continued to grow, breaking out for seemingly accidental rea­ sons, now economic, now political. Rosa Luxemburg presents a detailed history of the strike wave as it ebbed and flowed through Russia until 1904. Then, during 1904, with the czarist defeats in the Russo-Japanese war, the liberal bourgeoisie got into the act, circulating manifestos, giving democratic banquets and speeches. The movement o f the liberals was soon repressed by the Czar and, “as free speech was forbidden, action took its place”: the proletariat entered the scene once more. The Russian Social Democrats had grown strong during the ten years o f strike action leading to 1905; yet they were still not in control o f the movement. Rosa Lux­ emburg mocks those who think that this lack o f control by Social Democ­ racy means that the strikes did not take place “as they should have.” The important point is that the masses were gaining experience, becoming con­ scious o f their own interests. The leaders too were learning. The formal beginning o f the 1905 Revolution was political— the mass demonstration on January 22, before the palace of the Czar. But, with the growth of class consciousness, political action turned to economic struggle: the chains borne so peacefully for years suddenly became unbearable. The economic struggles had different objects— hours, working conditions, wages, etc.— and their form corresponded to the character o f capital: they were divided into many small struggles. This did not mean that the politi­ cal mass strike o f January was a failure. What could that political strike have produced? Only an anarchist would believe that czarism could be brought to its knees in one action. To overthrow czarism, the proletariat needs political experience, education, and class consciousness. These are learned in struggle. Further, absolutism will not give way immediately to socialism; the bourgeois stage is needed. In order to overthrow absolutism, not only the proletariat but the other social classes as well must learn to

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know their own class interests. “Thus, the problem which appears so sim­ ple and straightforward, which appears to be a purely mechanical prob­ lem— the overth row o f absolutism— demands a whole long social process, a total undermining o f the social base: the lowest must turn upward and the highest downward, the seeming ‘order’ into a chaos, and out of the seeming ‘anarchic’ chaos a new order must be created.” The economic aspect o f the Russian mass strikes which took place dur­ ing the spring and summer o f 1905 is thus seen to play an important role. The proletariat consolidates itself, becomes clear as to its goals. Further, the standard o f living o f the proletariat is improved by the economic strug­ gles, for the majority o f them were successful. Not only does the proletar­ ian have a higher wage, but his shorter working hours give him time to develop his political education, to consolidate the lessons learned in strug­ gle. And when the capitalists try to take back some o f the concessions, this only provides an incitement to new struggles and to a further consciousness o f the nature o f the system. The economic gains o f the Russian proletariat at the beginning o f the mass strike movement forced Russian capitalism to pass beyond the stage o f primitive accumulation to a “modern, civilized stage.” The ten-hour day exists now in Russia (though in Germany one still fights for it); a constitution has been won (though the German workers still demand one); the unions are recognized de facto, and their organizational work goes on (as opposed to the German notion that organization must precede action, not flow from it). These are positive signs. Finally, the economic strikes again moved back to the political sphere, first with the demand for a legal eight-hour day. Demonstrations led to bloodshed, more demonstrations . . . and finally to barricade struggles. But this time the proletariat did not emerge victorious. The elections for the Duma were called in 1906, and the proletariat correctly boycotted them. Now a new period o f 1904 liberalism— with its speeches and ban­ quets— is on the agenda; the mass strike has temporarily receded, and the time for barricades and street revolution has not yet come. The stage is bare, awaiting a new movement. IV In th e preceding section, we have a tte m p te d to sketch the history of th e m ass strike in R ussia. Even a fleeting glance a t

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this history shows a p ictu re of the m ass strike w hich in no way resembles th a t w hich is usually found in discussions in G er­ m any. In stead of the fixed an d hollow schem a of a sober po liti­ cal “ a c tio n ” executed w ith a p ru d e n t p lan decided by the highest com m ittees, we see a v ib ra n t p a rt of life in flesh an d blood w hich can n o t be cu t out of th e large fram e of th e revolu­ tion. T h e mass strike is b o u n d by a th o u san d veins to all parts of the revolution. As the R ussian R evolution shows it to us, th e m ass strike is such a changeable p henom enon th a t it reflects in itself all phases of the political a n d econom ic struggle, all stages an d m om ents of th e revolution. Its ap p licab ility , its effectiveness, an d the m om ents of its origin ch an g e continually. It suddenly opens new, bro ad perspectives of revolution ju st w here it seems to have com e to a n arro w pass; a n d it disappoints w here one th ought th a t he could reckon on it w ith full certitude. N ow it flows like a b ro ad billow over the whole lan d , now it divides it­ self into a gigantic net o f th in stream s; now it bubbles forth from u n d e r the ground like a fresh spring, now it trickles flat along th e ground. Political a n d econom ic strikes, m ass strikes an d p a rtia l strikes, dem onstrative strikes a n d fighting strikes, general strikes in single bran ch es a n d general strikes of in d i­ vidual cities, peaceful w age struggles a n d street m assacres, b arricad e fighting— all these ru n th ro u g h one an o th er, next to each other, cross one an o th er, flow in a n d over one an o th er; it is an etern al m oving, ch an g in g sea of app earan ces. A n d the law of m ovem ent of these p h en o m en a is clear. It does n o t lie in the mass strike itself, n o t in its technical p articu larities, b u t in the political an d social relatio n of th e forces of the revolution. T h e m ass strike is m erely the form of the rev o lu tio n ary stru g ­ gle. Every fluctuation in th e relations of the co n ten d in g pow ­ ers, in the developm ent of th e p arties a n d th e division of classes, in th e position of th e counter-revolution, influences the strike action im m ediately in a th o u san d invisible a n d scarcely controllable ways. B ut th e strike action itself h ard ly ceases lor a m om ent. It m erely changes its forms, its dim ension, a n d its

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effect. It is the living pulse-beat o f th e revolution, a n d a t the sam e tim e its m ost pow erful d riv in g wheel. In a w ord, th e mass strike, as the R ussian R evolution shows it to us, is not a crafty m eans discovered by subtle reasoning in o rd er to m ak e the p ro le ta ria n struggle m ore effective, b u t it is the mode o f movement o f the proletarian mass, the phenomenalform o f the proletarian struggle in the revolution. From th e above, some general aspects m ay now be deduced in o rder to form a correct ju d g m e n t of th e problem o f th e mass strike. 1. It is com pletely ab su rd to th in k of th e mass strike as a n act, an isolated action. T h e mass strike is ra th e r the sign, the to tality -co n cep t of a w hole period o f th e class struggle lasting for years, p erh ap s decades. T h e in n u m erab le a n d very dif­ ferent m ass strikes w hich have tak en place in R ussia d u rin g the past four years show th a t th e schem a of th e mass strike as a purely political, short, a n d isolated act, decided an d called ac­ cording to p lan a n d w ith a given goal in m ind, is sim ply one kind, a n d a su b o rd in ate one a t th a t: the p u re dem onstrative strike. In th e en tire course of the five-year period in R ussia we see only a few dem onstrativ e strikes w hich, nota bene, are lim ­ ited to single cities. T h u s we see: th e a n n u a l M ay D ay general strike in W arsaw a n d L odz (in R ussia itself the first of M ay is not yet celeb rated to any notew orthy exten t by abstention from w ork), th e mass strike in W arsaw on S eptem ber 11, 1905, as a m em o rial to the executed M a rc in K asp rzak , th a t of N o ­ vem ber 1905 in P etersb u rg as a protest against th e d eclaratio n of the state of siege in P o lan d a n d L ivonia, those on J a n u a ry 22, 1906, in W arsaw , Lodz, Czestochow a, a n d in th e Dom brow a coal basin, as well as, in p a rt, those in a few R ussian cities as an n iv ersary celebrations of th e P etersb u rg blood b ath ; in ad d itio n , in J u ly 1906, a general strike in Tiflis as a d em o n ­ stratio n o f sym pathy w ith soldiers sentenced by co u rt-m a rtia l because of th e m ilitary revolt, a n d finally, for th e sam e reason, in S eptem ber 1906, d u rin g th e d eliberations of the c o u rt-m a r­ tial in R evel. All o th er large an d p a rtia l mass strikes a n d gen-

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eral strikes w ere not dem o n strativ e strikes b a t fighting strikes. As such, they originated for the m ost p a rt spontaneously, in every case from specific local a n d accidental causes, w ithout plans or goals, a n d grew w ith elem ental pow er into large m ovem ents. T h ey did not, afterw ard, begin a n “orderly re ­ tre a t” b u t changed, now into econom ic struggles, now into street fighting, now collapsed by themselves. In this general p ictu re the purely political dem onstrative strikes play a fully su b o rd in ate role— single, sm all points in a m ighty expanse. F rom th e above experiences, the following tem poral course can be perceived. T h e dem onstrative strikes w hich, as opposed to the fighting strikes, show th e m ost p arty discipline, conscious direction, an d political th o u g h t, an d w hich therefore, according to th e [G erm an— D .H .] schem a, m ust a p p e a r as th e highest an d m ost m a tu re form o f th e mass strike, in fact play th e m ost im p o rta n t role in the beginnings of the m ovem ent. T hus, for exam ple, th e absolute w ork stoppage on M ay 1, 1905, in W arsaw , as th e first case o f a decision of Social D em ocracy carried th ro u g h so astoundingly, was an event of g reat significance for the p ro le ta ria n m ovem ent in P o ­ land. In th e sam e way, the sym pathy strike in N ovem ber of th e sam e year in P etersburg m ad e a g reat im pression as the first a tte m p t of a conscious system atic m ass action in Russia. Sim ilarly, th e “ trial m ass strike” o f th e H a m b u rg com rades on J a n u a ry 17, 1906,7 will play a p ro m in en t p a rt in th e history of the future G erm an mass strikes as the first vigorous a tte m p t w ith the m uch disputed w eapon, an d also a very successful an d convincing test of th e fighting tem p er an d lust for b a ttle o f th e H a m b u rg w orking class. A nd just as surely, th e period o f th e mass strikes in G erm any, once it has begun in earnest, will 7 The Social Democratic organization in Hamburg was one of the most radical in Germany. The imagination of the Hamburg workers had been captured by the idea of the mass strike, and on January 17, 1906, they called a “trial mass strike,” in relation to elections, which was moderately successful. It was at the request of the Hamburg Social Democratic organization that Rosa Luxemburg wrote the “Mass Strike” pam­ phlet.

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lead n a tu ra lly to a tru ly universal w ork stoppage on th e first of M ay. T h e M ay D ay celebration should n a tu ra lly be raised to a position o f honor as th e first g reat d em onstration u n d e r the aegis of the mass struggles. In this sense, the M ay D ay celeb ra­ tion, the “ lam e horse” as it was called a t the Cologne T rad eU nion Congress, still has before it a g reat future a n d a n im ­ p o rta n t role in th e p ro le ta ria n class struggle.8 But th e significance of such dem onstrations dim inishes r a p ­ idly w ith the developm ent of serious revolutionary struggles. T h e sam e elem ents w hich objectively m ake possible th e reali­ zation o f the dem onstrative strike according to a preconceived p lan a n d a t the com m and of the P a rty — the grow th o f th e p o ­ litical consciousness a n d th e ed u catio n of th e p ro le ta ria t— m ake this kind of mass strike impossible. T o d ay , the p ro le ta r­ iat in R ussia, a n d especially the m ost cap ab le v a n g u ard o f the masses, w an t n o th in g to do w ith dem onstrative strikes. T h e workers are no longer in the m ood for jesting, an d only w an t to th in k a b o u t a serious struggle, w ith all its consequences. A nd if, in th e first g reat mass strike in J a n u a ry 1905,9 th e d em on­ strative elem ent still played an im p o rta n t role, though not in an in ten tio n al b u t m ore in an instinctive, spontaneous form; on the o th er h a n d , th e a tte m p t o f th e cen tral com m ittee of R ussian Social D em ocracy to call for a mass strike as a protest against th e dissolution of th e D u m a [in 1906— D .H .] fell flat. A m ong th e reasons for this failure was th e decisive rejection by th e ed u cated p ro le ta ria t of such w eak halfw ay actions an d m ere dem onstrations. 8 May Day had a special and unique place in Rosa Luxemburg’s political calendar. This was partly due to the role played by May Day in Poland. In Germany, the idea of May Day as a weapon in the struggle of the international proletariat never really caught on. Cf. my introduction to Part IV, as well as Rosa Luxemburg’s articles on May Day included in that section. 9 On January 22, 1905, the Russian Revolution “formally” began with the great demonstration in St. Petersburg before the palace of the Czar to whom the workers, led by the police agent Father Gapon, had come to present their grievances. The dem­ onstrators were fired upon by czarist troops; this was the massacre of “Bloody Sun­ day.”

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2. If, however, instead of the su b o rd in ate dem onstrative strike, we look a t the fighting strike as it presents itself today in R ussia as the tru e b e a re r of p ro le ta ria n action, it becom es clear th a t in this form of strike the econom ic an d th e political m om ents can n o t be sep arated from each other. H ere too, re a l­ ity deviates radically from the theoretical schem a. T h e p e d a n ­ tic notion according to w hich th e p u re political mass strike, as the most m a tu re an d highest stage, is the logical result of the trade-unionist general strike, b u t a t the sam e tim e kept clearly distinct from it, is fu n d am en tally co n trad icted by th e ex p eri­ ence of the R ussian R evolution. T his is expressed not m erely in the historical fact th a t the mass strikes, beginning w ith th a t first g reat w age struggle of the P etersburg textile w orkers in 1896-1897, to the last g reat mass strike in D ecem ber 1905, passed im perceptibly from the econom ic to th e political, so th a t it is n early im possible to d raw a dividing line betw een them . Also, every indiv id u al instance of g reat mass strikes re ­ peats, so to speak, in m in ia tu re the general history of th e R u s­ sian mass strikes, beginning w ith a purely or a t least p a rtia lly trad e-u n io n conflict an d passing th ro u g h all the stages to the political dem onstration. T h e g reat th u n d ersto rm of mass strikes in the south of R ussia in 1902 an d 1903 o riginated, as we have seen [in P a rt I I I — D .H .], in B aku, from a conflict arising from th e disciplining of the unem ployed; in Rostov, from w age differentials in the railw ay workshops; in Tiflis, from a struggle of th e com m ercial em ployees to o b tain a re ­ duction of w orking hours; in O dessa, from th e in te rn a l conflict in the Putilov works. T h e O cto b er strike arose from th e stru g ­ gle of the railw ay workers for a pension fund; the D ecem ber strike, finally, resulted from the struggle o f the postal a n d tele­ grap h em ployees for th e rig h t to form a union. T h e progress of the m ovem ent on the w hole is not expressed in th e fact th a t the initial econom ic stage is left out, b u t ra th e r in th e ra p id ity w ith w hich all the stages to the political d em o n stratio n are ru n through, a n d in th e extrem ity of th e p o in t to w hich th e strike moves forw ard.

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But th e m ovem ent on th e w hole does not proceed m erely from th e econom ic to th e political struggle, b u t also vice-versa. E ach of th e g reat political mass actions, after it has a tta in e d its political zenith, breaks up into a m ass of econom ic strikes. A nd this applies not only to each one of the g reat mass strikes, b u t also to the revolution generally. W ith th e extension, clarifica­ tion, a n d intensification o f the potency of th e political struggle, th e econom ic struggle n o t only does not recede, b u t ra th e r it extends, organizes itself, a n d intensifies its potency in a n equal m easure. Betw een the two th ere is a com plete reciprocal ac­ tion. E ach new rising a n d new victory of th e political struggle si­ m ultaneously changes itself into a pow erful im petus for the econom ic struggle by ex p an d in g th e extern al possibilities of the latter, increasing th e in n er drive of the workers to better th eir situation, a n d increasing th e ir desire to struggle. After every foam ing w ave o f political action a fructifying deposit re­ m ains b eh in d from w hich a th o u san d stalks of econom ic strug­ gle shoot forth. A nd vice-versa. T h e ceaseless state of econom ic w ar of th e w orker w ith cap ital keeps the fighting energy alive a t every political pause. It forms, so to speak, the ever fresh reservoir of the strength o f the p ro le ta ria n class, ou t o f w hich the political struggle con tin u ally renew s its strength. A nd a t th e sam e tim e, it alw ays leads th e u n tirin g econom ic boring action o f the p ro le tariat, now here, now there, to individual sh arp conflicts out o f w hich, unexpectedly, political conflicts on a large scale explode. In a w ord: "The econom ic struggle is th a t w hich leads the political struggle from one nodal p o in t to an o th er; th e political struggle is th a t w hich periodically fertilizes the soil for th e eco­ nom ic struggle. C ause a n d effect here co n tin u ally change places. T h u s, far from being com pletely sep arated or even m u ­ tually exclusive, as th e p ed an tic schem a sees it, th e econom ic an d political m om ents in the mass strike period form only two in terlacin g sides o f the p ro le ta ria n class struggle in Russia. A nd their unity is precisely th e m ass strike. I f th e contem plative

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theory proposes an artificial logical dissection of th e mass strike in o rder to get a t the “ p u re political mass strik e,” th en by this dissection, as w ith any other, it will not perceive the phenom enon in its living essence, b u t will kill it altogether. 3. Finally, the events in Russia show us th a t the m ass strike is inseparable from the revolution. T h e history of th e R ussian mass strike is the history of the R ussian R evolution. T ru e, w hen the representatives of our G erm an o p p ortunism h e a r of “ revolution,” they im m ediately th in k of bloodshed, street fighting, or pow der a n d shot. T h e logical conclusion th a t fol­ lows from this view is: T h e mass strike u n av o id ab ly leads to revolution; ergo, we d are n o t m ake it. In fact, we see in R ussia that, in the long ru n , n early every mass strike leads to a n e n ­ counter w ith the arm ed defenders of the czarist order. In this, the so-called political strikes are exactly th e sam e as th e great econom ic struggles. B ut th e revolution is som ething o th er an d som ething m ore th a n bloodshed. As opposed to th e police­ m a n ’s conception w hich sees th e revolution exclusively from the stan d p o in t of disturbances a n d braw ling in the streets, th a t is, from the stan d p o in t of “disorder,” th e conception of scien­ tific socialism sees in the revolution above all a profound in te r­ nal u p h eav al in the social class relations. A nd from this sta n d ­ point there is an alto g eth er different connection betw een revolution an d mass strike in R ussia th a n is co n tain ed in the trivial observation th a t the mass strike usually ends in bloodshed. W e have seen above th e in te rn a l m echanism of th e R ussian mass strikes w hich d ep en d on the ceaseless reciprocal action of the political a n d econom ic struggles. B ut this very reciprocal action is conditioned by th e revolutionary period. O n ly in the sultry a ir of the revolutionary period can any sm all, p a rtia l conflict betw een labor a n d cap ital grow to a general explosion. In G erm any, the m ost violent a n d m ost b ru ta l collisions b e­ tween w orkers a n d p ro p rieto r tak e place every y ear a n d every day w ith o u t th e struggle going beyond the lim its o f th e single b ran ch , the single city, or even of th e single factory. Punish-

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m ent of organized w orkers, as in Petersburg; unem ploym ent, as in B aku; w age conflicts, as in O dessa; struggles for union rights, as in M oscow— are in the o rd er of th e day in G erm any. H ow ever, [in G erm an y — D .H .] n o t a single one of these cases changes into a com m on class action. A nd w hen they do grow into in d iv id u al mass strikes, w hich w ithout question have a political coloring, they still do not give b irth to the universal th u n d ersto rm . A striking pro o f of this is th e general strike of th e D u tch railw aym en, w hich died aw ay am idst th e com plete passivity of th e p ro le ta ria t of the co u n try despite the w arm est sym pathies. A nd conversely, only in the period of th e revolution, w hen the social foundations a n d the walls of the class society are shaken a n d subjected to a constant process of dislocation, can an y political class action of the p ro le ta ria t in a few hours arouse w hole, h ith erto unm oved stra ta of the w orking class from th e ir passivity. N a tu rally , this im m ediately expresses it­ self in a storm y econom ic struggle. T h e w orker, suddenly aroused by th e electric shock of a political action, grasps im ­ m ediately a n d above all a t th a t w hich is m ost directly present to him : th e resistance to his econom ic slavery. T h e storm y ges­ ture of th e political struggle causes him suddenly to feel the w eight a n d the pressure of his econom ic chains w ith u n ex ­ pected intensity. A nd though, for exam ple, th e heaviest politi­ cal struggle in G erm an y — th e electoral struggle or th e p a rlia ­ m en tary struggle against the ta riff law — h a d scarcely any p erceptible influence on the course an d intensity of th e wage struggles being conducted in G erm an y a t the sam e tim e, every political actio n of the p ro le ta ria t in R ussia expresses itself in th e extension a n d deepening of th e g round of th e econom ic struggle. T h u s th e revolution first creates the social conditions w hich m ake possible this im m ed iate tran sfo rm atio n of th e econom ic struggle into the political a n d of th e political struggle into the econom ic w hich finds its expression in th e mass strike. A nd if th e v u lg ar schem a sees th e connection betw een mass strike an d

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revolution only in th e bloody street encounters w ith w hich the mass strikes conclude, a som ew hat d eeper look a t th e R ussian events shows a totally opposite connection: In reality, th e mass strike does not produce th e revolution, b u t th e revolution p ro ­ duces the m ass strike. 4. In o rder to obtain a n e x p lan atio n of th e conscious d irec­ tion an d initiative in th e m ass strike, it is sufficient to sum u p the foregoing. If the m ass strike does not signify a single act b u t a whole period of class struggles, a n d if this period is id en ­ tical w ith a period of revolution, th e n it is clear th a t th e mass strike can n o t be called a t will, even if the decision to call it comes from the highest com m ittee of the strongest Social D em ocratic party. As long as Social D em ocracy is n o t cap ab le of staging a n d co u n term an d in g revolutions according to its own estim ation of the situation, th e n even the greatest e n th u si­ asm an d im patience of the Social D em ocratic troops will not suffice to call into being a tru e period of m ass strikes as a liv­ ing, pow erful m ovem ent o f the people. O n the basis of a deci­ sion of the p a rty leadership, a n d o f the p a rty discipline of the Social D em ocratic w orking class, a single short d em o n stratio n m ay well be arran g ed , such as the Swedish m ass strike, or the most recent A u strian strike, or even th e mass strike on J a n u a ry 17 [1906— D .H .] in H am b u rg . T hese dem onstrations, how ­ ever, are different from a tru e period of rev o lu tio n ary m ass strikes in the sam e w ay as the w ell-know n dem o n stratio n s by the fleet in foreign ports d u rin g a tim e of strain ed d ip lo m atic relations differs from a nav al w ar. A m ass strike b o rn o f p u re discipline a n d enthusiasm will, a t best, play a role as a n ep i­ sode, sym ptom of th e fighting m ood of th e w orking class. But, afterw ards, relations fall back into peaceful everydayness. O f course, even d u rin g th e revolution th e m ass strikes do not fall dow n from heaven. In one w ay or a n o th e r they m ust be m ade by th e workers. T h e resolution a n d d e te rm in a tio n of the workers also play a role, a n d indeed the in itiativ e as well as th e fu rth er direction n a tu ra lly fall to th e m ost organized a n d most enlightened Social D em ocratic kernel of the p ro le tariat.

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H ow ever, this in itiativ e a n d d irection are, for the m ost p art, ap plied only in individual acts, indiv id u al strikes, w hen the revolutionary period has alread y begun, a n d indeed mostly w ithin th e confines of a single city. T h u s, for exam ple, as we have seen, the Social D em ocrats successfully gave th e signal for the m ass strike several tim es: in B aku, in W arsaw , in Lodz, a n d in Petersburg. B ut this succeeds m uch less frequently w hen ap p lied to th e general m ovem ent of the w hole p ro le ta r­ iat. F u rth e r, th ere are q u ite definite lim its to in itiativ e an d conscious direction. D u rin g th e revolution itself it is extrem ely difficult for an y leading organ of the p ro le ta ria n m ovem ent to foresee a n d to calcu late w hich occasions a n d m om ents can lead to explosions an d w hich can n o t. H ere also the initiative a n d lead ersh ip do n o t consist in issuing com m ands according to one’s m ood, b u t in th e m ost ad ro it a d a p ta b ility to th e given situation, a n d in th e closest possible co n tact w ith th e m ood of the masses. As we have seen, the elem ent of spontaneity plays a great role in all th e R ussian m ass strikes, w ith o u t exception, either as driving force or restrain in g influence. T h is is n ot because R ussian Social D em ocracy is still young or w eak, b u t ra th e r because in each in d iv id u al act of th e struggle so m an y im p o r­ ta n t econom ic, political, an d social, general an d local, m a te ­ rial a n d psychological m om ents are b ro u g h t into play th a t no single act can be a rra n g e d a n d resolved like a m ath e m a tic a l problem . Even w hen th e p ro letariat, w ith Social D em ocracy a t its h ead , plays the lead in g role, th e revolution is n ot a m a ­ neuver executed by the p ro le ta ria t in the open field; ra th e r, it is a struggle in the m idst of the u nceasing crashing, crum bling, a n d displacing of all the social foundations. In short, th e ele­ m en t of sp o n tan eity plays such a p ro m in e n t role in th e mass strikes in R ussia n o t because th e R ussian p ro le ta ria t is “u n ­ schooled” b u t because revolutions allow no one to play school­ m aster to them . O n the o th er h a n d , in Russia we see th a t th e sam e revolu­ tion w hich m ad e it so difficult for th e Social D em ocrats to take

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com m and over the mass strike, w hich com ically pressed the co n d u cto r’s b ato n into th eir h a n d or pulled it out— this sam e revolution also directly solved all the difficulties o f th e mass strike w hich, in the theo retical schem a of the G erm an discus­ sion, are regarded as th e chief concerns of the “ lead ersh ip ” : the questions of “ provisioning,” o f th e “ p ay in g the costs,” an d of the “sacrifice.” T ru e , it does n o t resolve them in th e sense th a t they w ould be resolved in a q u iet confidential conference betw een the h igher d irectin g com m ittees of th e lab o r m ove­ m ent, pencil in han d . T h e “ resolution” of all these questions consists in the fact th a t the revolution brings such an enorm ous mass of people upon the stage th a t an y co m p u tatio n a n d reso­ lution of the costs o f th eir m ovem ent in a pre-established in ­ ventory in the m a n n e r of a civil law suit ap p ears as a totally hopeless enterprise. T h e leading organizations in R ussia of course a tte m p t to su p p o rt the d irect victim s of the struggle as best they can. T h u s, for exam ple, th e courageous victim s of the gigantic lock-out in P etersburg after th e cam p aig n for the eight-hour d ay w ere supported for weeks. B ut, in the enorm ous b alance sheet of th e revolution, these m easures are a d ro p in the ocean. A t the m o m en t th a t a real, earn est period of mass strikes begins all these “ calculations of costs” ch an g e into the project of d ra in in g the ocean w ith a w ater glass. A nd it is an ocean of frightful privations a n d sufferings w hich th e p ro le ta r­ ian masses buy w ith every revolution. T h e solution w hich a revolutionary period gives to these seem ingly invincible difficulties is th a t along w ith th em such an im m ense a m o u n t of mass idealism is let loose th a t the masses are insensitive to the sharpest sufferings. N eith er revolution nor mass strikes can be m ade w ith the psychology of a tra d e unionist w ho will not cease w ork on M ay D ay unless he is assured in ad v an ce of a determ ined support in the case o f m easures being tak en against him . B ut in the storm of the revolutionary period, the p ro le tarian is transform ed from a p ro v id en t fam ily m a n d e ­ m an d in g su p p o rt into a “ revolutionary ro m a n tic ” for w hom even th e highest good, nam ely life— not to speak o f m ate ria l

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w ell-being— has little value in com parison w ith th e ideals of the struggle. If, how ever, the direction of th e mass strike (in the sense of com m an d in g its origins a n d in the sense of calcu latin g an d covering its costs) is tak en over by th e revolutionary period it­ self, th en th e direction of the mass strike belongs to Social D e­ m ocracy a n d its leading organs in a very different sense. I n ­ stead of puzzling its h ead w ith the technical side, w ith the m echanism of the mass strike, Social D em ocracy is called to take over the political leadership, even in th e m idst of the revo­ lu tio n ary period. T o give th e slogans, the direction of th e struggle; to organize th e tactics of th e political struggle in such a w ay th a t in every phase a n d in every m om en t of the struggle the whole sum of th e available a n d alread y released active pow er of th e prole­ ta ria t will be realized a n d find expression in the b attle stance of the p a rty ; to see th a t th e resoluteness a n d acuteness of the tactics of Social D em ocracy never fall below the level of the ac­ tu al relatio n of forces b u t ra th e r rise above it— th a t is th e most im p o rta n t task of th e “ lead ersh ip ” in the period of the mass strike. A nd this leadership changes itself, in a certain m an n er, into a tech n ical leadership. A consistent, resolute, a n d progres­ sive tactic on the p a rt of Social D em ocracy produces in the masses th e feeling of security, self-confidence, an d th e desire for struggle; a vacillating, w eak tactic based on the u n d eresti­ m atio n of th e p ro le ta ria t has a crip p lin g (in th e senseof on the masses. In th e first case, m ass strikes b reak out “ of their own a c co rd ” a n d alw ays “ o p p o rtu n e ly ” ; in the second case they re m a in ineffective even am idst direct sum m ons by the leadership to mass strikes. A nd th e R ussian R evolution gives striking exam ples of both.

Summary of Parts V -V II In Parts V to VII, Rosa Luxemburg turns her attention to the relation between the Russian mass strikes and the development o f the struggle in

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Germany. The typical German response to what has been described would be that Russia is very different from Germany, politically, economically, and in the degree o f organization o f the working class. The tight inter­ relation between the economic and political moments o f the mass strike seems to result from the fact that any simple strike in an absolutist state where all workers' action and organization areforbidden is already politi­ cal. Further, the intensity o f the strikes, the courage o f the workers, seems to be the result o f Russia's backward conditions; the spontaneity o f the strikes seems to be a result o f the inexperience o f the Russian working class. Russia is just coming out o f the M iddle Ages, it would be said, and has no lessons to offer to the German working class with its history of thirty years o f struggle and its three-million-strong party. To begin with, Rosa Luxemburg shows that the Russian working class is not that impoverished, ignorant mass that the schematic view por­ trays. In the big cities, Russian workers earn as much (or as little) as German workers, and work as short (or long) a working day as they. Further, no revolution like the one described here could be made by igno­ rant paupers. In fact, the “schooling" o f Social Democracy and parlia­ mentarism o f which the Germans are so proud seems less important than the lessons which the Russians have learned from capitalist development and Social Democratic agitation. To clinch her point, Rosa Luxemburg shows that there are many areas which German Social Democracy has not touched in which conditions are as bad or worse than those which one imagines exist in Russia. She mentions, for example, miners, textile work­ ers, home workers, confectioners, electric workers, railroad workers and postal workers, agricultural workers. These elements, she argues, will not be brought into action or organized through the schematic mass strike o f the disciplined, unionized Social Democratic workers. They can be organ­ ized only by a period o f mass action. True struggle would not destroy the Social Democratic organizations, as its leaders think, but would rather build them to new heights. In this light, Part VI begins, the question of organization takes on a different visage. Tke union leaders' argument that the unions are not yet strong enough is nothing but a vicious circle. In thirty years, the unions have grown from 50,000 to 2,000,000 members. Yet this is still said to be too small. The unionist's scheme is a progressus ad in fin itu m — they

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seem to want every man and woman and child to be organized before at­ tempting the mass strike: but then the strike would be superfluous, as Engels showed in arguing against the Bakuninists. The problem is that in “normal” capitalist conditions the most important and most oppressed sectors cannot be organized. Organization and struggle must be seen dia­ lectically: struggle leads to organization, as shown by the Russian events — as well as the German experience under the antisocialist laws. One must fight, organize, reorganize after the defeat, fight again. The overestimation o f the role o f organization implies the underestima­ tion of the unorganized proletariat and its political maturity. In Russia, each separate economic action by the proletariat led to a further action, and finally to political action. But, one might answer, that was because “the revolution” existed in Russia. What does that mean? It means that the class instinct, the class feelings o f the proletariat were awakened, and that therefore each partial action was understood as part of the whole, the totality o f the capitalist system. 7 he role o f class consciousness is critical for the mass strike. “The class consciousness which is implanted in the enlightened German worker by Social Democracy is a theoretical, la ­ te n t one, ” which cannot express itself during the period o f parliamentary action and isolated economic struggle. “In the revolution, where the masses themselves appear on the political stage, class consciousness be­ comes p ractica l, active.” In oneyear o f revolution, notes Rosa, the Rus­ sian proletariat acquired more “schooling” than had the German proletar­ iat in thirty years o f Social Democratic parliamentarism and trade-union organizing. True, during the return to the parliamentary period in Russia this class consciousness will once again become latent. But, in the same way, during a period of action in Germany the latent consciousness o f the Social Democratic workers and o f those unaffected by Social Democratic organizing would blossom forth. Six mon ths o f revolution, she says, equal ten years o f parliamentary struggle. Though the organization o f Social Democracy cannot “make” the mass strike, it cannot wait for it tofa ll from heaven. This does not mean “call­ ing” a mass strike. It means that Social Democracy has to start a discus­ sion among the masses, to explain to the masses what the mass strike is, its social causes and its political consequences. And further, Social De-

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mocracy must itself learn to understand the political goals and tactics of the mass strike. The Russian experience, argues Rosa Luxemburg in Part VII, relates to the German workers as a part of “their own social and political his­ tory.” The Russian Revolution is a bourgeois revolution whose goal is the overthrow of absolutism. However, as opposed to the revolutions o f 1789 and 1848, the proletariat plays the leading role in Russia. The reason for this primacy o f the proletariat is simple: capitalism has developed since 1789 or 1848, and with its development has created an increasingly pow­ erful and conscious proletariat. This is true in Russia as in Germany. The straightforward barricade struggles o f previous bourgeois revolutions are not the adequate tactic for the Russian needs; the mass strike, with its interconnection of the political (antiabsolutist) and the economic (anti­ capitalist), is the form o f struggle adequate to the social development. Russian absolutism will be overthrown by means o f the mass strike. More significantly, however, the mass strike will give the Russian working class the consciousness and the political experience which will enable it to push rapidly beyond the bourgeois forms which will follow the demise of absolutism. In this sense the mass strike is truly “civilizing, educative,” raising the cultural level o f the whole working class. Because the level o f capitalist development is similar in Russia and Germany, the mass strike is the correct weapon for Germany as well. The German workers should not see the Russian example as merely the heroic deeds of oppressed masses the support o f whom is an internationalist duty. Because o f the similarity of conditions, argues Rosa Luxemburg, the strength o f the German proletariat today is not the numbers o f unionized workers but— the Russian Revolution. The mass strike is not a defensive weapon, as the trade-union leaders think. Even i f suffrage rights were attacked by the German government, it would not be up to Social Democracy to decide the correct response. The response always depends on the historical conditions, the mood o f the pe­ riod, the consciousness and combativity o f the masses. Once the stone starts rolling, no party can stop it. And, i f it does start in Germany, it will not leadfirst to a bourgeois revolution as in Russia, for Germany has had her bourgeois period. The goal o f a period o f mass strikes in Germany can only be the dictatorship of the proletariat. To say this, on the one hand,

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and to have said above that the mass strike will bring into action those groups o f the proletariat which have thus fa r remained immune to Social Democratic propaganda and organizing is no contradiction. Or rather, it is not a contradiction o f my reasoning, says Rosa Luxemburg, but rather a result o f the zig-zag course o f capitalist development in which the most advanced forms o f struggle always set the trend. Social Democracy must recognize the needs o f the time, must advance with the development o f the class struggle, and apply the new tactic. V III N ext to com plete resoluteness a n d consistency of tactics, the most im p o rta n t req u irem en t in th e period of g reat struggles w hich will com e sooner or later, a n N (in the sense of w orking class anxiously aw aits, is th e greatest possible cap acity for action a n d therefore th e greatest possible u n ity of the lead ­ ing Social D em ocratic p a rt of the p ro le ta ria n masses. M e a n ­ while, th e first w eak attem p ts a t th e p re p a ra tio n of a great mass action have alread y shown a serious d raw b ack in this context: th e com plete sep aratio n a n d independence of the two organizations o f the lab o r m ovem ent, Social D em ocracy and the tra d e unions. From th e close analysis o f the mass strikes in R ussia, as well as from th e conditions in G erm an y itself, it is clear th a t any great m ass action w hich is not lim ited to a one-tim e d em o n ­ stration b u t is in ten d ed to be a real fighting action c an n o t pos­ sibly be th o u g h t of as a so-called political mass strike. In such an action in G erm an y th e unions w ould be a p a rtn e r w ith So­ cial D em ocracy. T h is w ould no t be, as the union leaders im ag­ ine, because th e m uch sm aller o rg an izatio n of Social D em oc­ racy w ould be d e p en d en t on the help of th e one a n d a q u a rte r m illion u n io n m em bers w ith o u t w hom it could do nothing. R ath er, th e reasons are m ore profound: because every direct mass actio n or period of open class struggles w ould be a t the sam e tim e both political a n d econom ic. If, in G erm an y , for w h atever reason a n d a t w hatev er tim e, a period of g re a t po liti­ cal struggles a n d mass strikes comes, it will a t th e sam e tim e

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open an era of pow erful u n io n struggles; a n d th e events w ould not in th e least pose th e question w h eth er the tra d e-u n io n leaders h a d agreed to th e m ovem ent or not. W h e th e r they stand on the sidelines, or even a tte m p t to stop th e m ovem ent, the result of this action will only be th a t th e tra d e -u n io n le a d ­ ers10 will sim ply be pushed to the side by the events, a n d the econom ic as well as th e political struggles of th e masses will be fought w ithout them . As a m a tte r of fact, th e division betw een th e political a n d the econom ic struggle, a n d the in d ep en d en ce of each, is n o th ­ ing b u t an artificial, th o u g h also a n historically conditioned product of th e p a rlia m e n ta ry period. O n the one h a n d , in the peaceful “ n o rm a l” course of bourgeois society, th e econom ic struggle is divided, dissolved into a m anifold of indiv id u al struggles in each enterprise a n d in each b ra n c h of p roduction. O n the o th er h an d , the political struggle is n ot d irected by the masses them selves th ro u g h direct action b u t, corresponding to the form of the bourgeois state, takes place in a representative m an n er th ro u g h pressure on th e legislative agency. As soon as the period of revolutionary struggles begins— th a t is, as soon as the masses a p p e a r on th e field of b a ttle — b o th the division of the econom ic struggle a n d the in d irect p a rlia m e n ­ tary form of the political struggle cease. In a revo lu tio n ary mass action the political a n d econom ic struggles are one, a n d the artificial barriers betw een th e unions a n d Social D em oc­ racy w hich m ake th em two sep arate, totally in d e p e n d e n t forms of th e lab o r m ovem ent will sim ply be w ashed aw ay. B ut w hat finds concrete expression in the rev o lu tio n ary mass m ovem ent is also th e case for the p a rlia m e n ta ry period. T h e re are not two different class struggles of the w orking class, an econom ic a n d a social one. R a th e r, th ere is only one class stru g ­ gle w hich is directed a t th e sam e tim e a t th e lim itatio n of ca p i­ talistic exploitation w ith in the bourgeois society a n d a t the abolition of exploitation together w ith bourgeois society. 10 In the second edition, the following phrase is added: “just as the party leaders in an analogous case.”

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If, for tech n ical reasons, these two sides of the class struggle are sep arated from one an o th e r in th e p a rlia m e n ta ry period, they still do not represent two actions ru n n in g p arallel to one an o th er, b u t m erely two phases, two grades of the struggle for e m an cip atio n of the w orking class. T h e tra d e-u n io n struggle em braces the present interests, th e Social D em ocratic struggle o f the p ro le ta ria t the future interests, of the lab o r m ovem ent. As opposed to the various group interests, n atio n al or local, the com m unists— says th e Communist Manifesto— represent th e com ­ m on interests of the p ro le ta ria t as a whole, a n d in the various stages o f the developm ent of the class struggle, they represent th e interests of the w hole m ovem ent, th a t is, the u ltim a te goal — the lib eratio n of the p ro le tariat. T h e tra d e unions represent the group interests an d one stage o f the developm ent of the labor m ovem ent. Social D em ocracy represents the w orking class a n d th e cause of its lib eratio n as a whole. T herefore, the relation of th e tra d e unions to Social D em ocracy is th a t of a p a rt to th e whole. A nd, if the theory of th e “ equal a u th o r­ ity ” 11 o f th e tra d e unions a n d Social D em ocracy finds so m uch resonance am ong the tra d e -u n io n leaders, this rests on a fun­ d a m e n ta l m isconception of the essence of the tra d e unions an d their role in th e general struggle for lib eratio n of th e w orking class. T his theory of th e p arallel actio n of Social D em ocracy an d th e tra d e unions, a n d of th eir “eq u al a u th o rity ,” is not, how ­ ever, a p ro d u ct of p u re im ag in atio n . It has its historical roots. It rests, nam ely, on an illusion created by th e peaceful “n o r­ m a l” period o f bourgeois society in w hich the political struggle of Social D em ocracy seems to d isap p e ar in the parliamentary struggle. T h e p a rlia m e n ta ry struggle, how ever, the c o u n ter­ p a rt of th e tra d e -u n io n struggle, is like th e la tte r a struggle ex­ clusively on th e basis of th e bourgeois society. By its n a tu re , it 11 The notion of the “equal authority” of the trade unions and the Party, as well as that of the “limits of competence” which Rosa Luxemburg invokes below, is but an­ other way in which the opportunist practices of Social Democracy and the trade un­ ions were covered over so as to give free play to “practical politics.”

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racy should accept the theory of th e “ eq u al a u th o rity ” of the tra d e unions, it w ould thereby, in a n in d irect an d ta c it m a n ­ ner, accep t th a t tran sfo rm atio n for w hich the representatives of the o p p o rtu n ist tendency have long striven. In G erm an y , however, such a displacem ent of th e relations w ithin the lab o r m ovem ent is m ore im possible th a n in any o th er country. T h e theoretical conception according to w hich th e tra d e unions are only a p a rt of Social D em ocracy finds in G erm an y its classic illustratio n in the facts, in the living p ra c ­ tice. Indeed, this expresses itself in th ree directions. First, the G erm an tra d e unions are a d irect p ro d u ct o f Social D em oc­ racy. It was Social D em ocracy w hich created th e first begin­ nings of the tra d e-u n io n m ovem ent in G erm any; it was Social D em ocracy w hich reared it a n d w hich to this day supplies it w ith its leaders a n d th e m ost active supporters of its o rg an iza­ tion. Second, the G erm an tra d e unions are also a p ro d u ct of Social D em ocracy in the sense th a t th e Social D em ocratic doc­ trine is the soul o f tra d e-u n io n practice. T h e tra d e unions owe th eir superiority over all bourgeois a n d confessional tra d e u n ­ ions to th e idea of the class struggle.*13 T h e ir p ractical success, th eir pow er, is a result o f the circum stance th a t th eir practice that the possibility ofparticipation of the dispossessed masses of the people in the legislation, in the Empire and in the individual states, shall not be lessened but increased to complete equality. For this reason, the meeting considers it an incontestable right of the working class to withhold their labor for a shorter or longer period when all other means of de­ fense of their legal rights as well as of the conquest of further rights fail. “Inasmuch as the political mass strike can only be carried through victoriously when kept within strict legal limits, and when the strikers give no reasonable excuse for the authorities to intervene with armed force, the meeting considers the single, neces­ sary, and effective preparation for the use of this means of struggle to be the further building of the political, trade-union, and cooperative organizations. For only in this way can the presuppositions be created among the wide masses of the people which guarantee the successful outcome of a mass strike: conscious discipline and adequate economic support.” (R.L.) 13 Besides the Social Democratic or “Free” trade unions, as they were called, there existed in Germany a Catholic union, an Evangelical union and, at various times, sev­ eral bourgeois (so-called “radical” unions) and company unions. These latter kinds of unions shared a refusal of the socialist goals and a rejection of the class struggle. Cf. note 16 below.

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is illu m in ated by the theory of scientific socialism a n d thereby raised above the level o f a n arro w -m in d ed em piricism . T h e strength of the “p ractical policy” o f the G erm an tra d e unions lies in th eir insight into th e deep social a n d econom ic connec­ tions o f th e capitalist order. T h e y owe this insight to none other th a n the theory of scientific socialism on w hich th eir practice is based. In this sense, the a tte m p t to em an c ip a te the trad e unions from Social D em ocratic theory, th e search for a n ­ other “ tra d e-u n io n th eo ry ” in opposition to Social D em ocracy, is, from the stan d p o in t o f the tra d e unions them selves, n o th in g bu t an a tte m p t to com m it suicide. F or th e G erm an tra d e u n ­ ions, th e separation of th e ir p ractice from th e theory o f scien­ tific socialism w ould m ean a n im m ed iate loss of th eir w hole su­ periority over all bourgeois kinds of unions, a fall from th eir present heights to th e level of a ceaseless groping a n d a pure, dull em piricism . T h ird a n d last, th o u g h th eir leaders have g rad u ally forgot­ ten it, the tra d e unions are a p ro d u ct of the Social D em ocratic m ovem ent an d of Social D em ocratic ag itatio n even as regards their numerical stren g th .14 M a n y tra d e-u n io n leaders are in the habit of looking dow n triu m p h a n tly [and w ith m alicious pleasure] from th e p ro u d heights of th eir one a n d a q u a rte r m illion m em bers on th e poor organized m em bers of Social D e ­ m ocracy, not yet h a lf a m illion strong, a n d of rem em b erin g the tim e, ten or twelve years ago, w hen those in th e ranks of Social D em ocracy w ere pessim istic as to th e prospect o f trad eunion developm ent. T h e y do no t even notice th a t betw een these two facts— the high n u m b e r o f tra d e-u n io n m em bers an d the low n u m b e r of organized Social D em ocrats— th ere exists, to a degree, a direct causal connection. T h o u san d s u p o n thousands of 14 In the second edition, the following sentences are added: “Certainly, in many areas trade-union agitation came and comes before Social Democratic agitation, and generally the trade-union work also smooths the way for Party work. From the standpoint of their effect, the Party and the trade unions work fully together. But, when one looks at the picture of the class struggle in Germany as a whole and in its deeper-lying connections, the relations are considerably altered.”

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workers do n o t jo in th e P a rty o rg an izatio n ju st because they jo in th e tra d e unions. A ccording to th e theory o f the tra d e-u n io n leaders, all w orkers m ust be doubly organized— go to two m eetings, pay two sets o f dues, read two w orkers’ papers, etc. H ow ever, in o rd er to do this, one m ust have a high degree of intelligence a n d th a t idealism w hich, out o f a p u re feeling of d u ty to w ard the lab o r m ovem ent, does not avoid daily sacri­ fices o f tim e a n d m oney, a n d finally th a t passionate in terest for th e ac tu a l life of th e P a rty w hich can only be satisfied by m em bership in th e P a rty organization. All this is tru e of the m ost en lig h ten ed an d m ost intelligent m inority o f th e Social D em ocratic w orking class in the large cities w here th e P arty life is rich in co n ten t a n d attractiv e, a n d w here th e sta n d a rd of living of th e w orkers is high. But in th e b ro ad stra ta of the w orking masses in the large cities, as well as in the provinces, in the sm aller a n d th e sm allest towns w here the local political life is n o t in d ep en d en t b u t a m ere reflex o f the course o f events in the cap ital, w here, therefore, th e P a rty life is poor a n d m o­ notonous an d , finally, w here the econom ic sta n d a rd o f living of the w orkers is usually very poor— th ere it is very difficult to realize th e double form o f organization. For th e S ocial-D em ocratically-m inded w orker from the masses, th e question will be easily solved by his jo in in g his tra d e union. T h e im m ed iate interests o f his econom ic struggle, w hich are conditioned by th e n a tu re o f this struggle itself, c a n ­ not be ad v an ced except by m em bership in a tra d e o rg an iza­ tion. T h e dues w hich he pays, often w ith significant sacrifices o f his sta n d a rd of living, b rin g him im m ediate, visible a d v a n ­ tages. H e can m anifest his Social D em ocratic sentim ents w ith­ o u t belonging to a special P a rty o rg an izatio n — by voting in th e p a rlia m e n ta ry elections, by a tte n d in g Social D em ocratic public m eetings, by following th e reports o f Social D em ocratic speeches a t rep resen tativ e bodies, by read in g th e P a rty press. (O ne should com pare, in this context, th e n u m b e r o f Social D em o cratic voters, for exam ple, or th e n u m b e r of subscribers to the Vorwärts, w ith th e n u m b e r o f organized P a rty m em bers

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in B erlin!) A nd, w h at is m ost decisive: the S ocial-D em ocratically-m inded w orker from th e masses who, as a sim ple m an, can have no u n d ersta n d in g of th e com plicated a n d refined two-souls th eo ry 15 [of th e tra d e-u n io n leaders], feels him self Social-Democratically-OYga.mzed, even in the tra d e union. A lthough the cen tral com m ittee of the tra d e unions carries no official P arty label, still the w orkm an from th e masses in every city an d in every tow n sees a t the h ead of his tra d e un io n , as the most active leaders, those colleagues w hom he also knows as com rades, as Social D em ocrats in public life: now as R eichs­ tag, L a n d tag , or local representatives, now as tru sted m en of Social D em ocracy, m em bers of election com m ittees, P a rty ed i­ tors an d secretaries, or sim ply as speakers a n d agitators. F u r­ ther, in the ag itatio n in his tra d e unio n he hears m ostly the sam e ideas ab o u t cap italist exploitation a n d class relations w hich are p leasan t a n d u n d ersta n d a b le to him , a n d w hich he also knows from Social D em ocratic agitation. Indeed, th e m ost an d best loved speakers in the tra d e -u n io n m eetings [, those who alone “ b rin g the place to life” a n d w ho are a draw ingcard for the otherw ise poorly a tte n d e d a n d som nolent tradeunion m eetings] are these sam e Social D em ocrats. T hus, everything works tow ard giving the average class-con­ scious w orker th e feeling th a t inasm uch as he is u nionized he also belongs to his w orkers’ p arty , is Social-D em ocratically-organized. And precisely therein lies the particular recruiting strength of the German trade unions. N o t because of th e a p p e a ra n c e of n e u ­ trality, b u t because of the Social D em o cratic actu ality of th eir n atu re has it been possible for the cen tral unions to reach th eir present strength. [T oday, in fact, no one in G erm an y w ould be misled by such an app earan ce.] T h is is sim ply based on the same coexistence of different unions founded by bourgeois parties (the C atholic, th e H irsch -D u n ck er, etc.) 16 th ro u g h 15 The reference is to a line in Goethe’s Faust, in which Faust declares: “Two souls, alas! dwell within my breast. . . .” 16The Catholic trade unions were founded on the basis of Pope Leo X III’s Encycli­ cal Reruni novarum (1891), in which the misery of the working class was condemned at

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m ust them selves first recru it th eir troops from a w holly u n e n ­ lightened, bourgeois-m inded mass. T h e best exam ple of such a co u n try was, th ro u g h o u t the whole o f th e last century, a n d is to a large exten t to d ay — Eng­ land. In G erm any, how ever, p a rty relations are to tally dif­ ferent. In a country in w hich Social D em ocracy is th e m ost powerful political p arty , in w hich its recru itin g pow er is re p re ­ sented by a n arm y of over three m illion p ro letarian s, it is rid ic­ ulous to speak of the negative effect o f Social D em ocracy an d of the necessity for a fighting o rg an izatio n of the w orkers to protect its political n eu trality . T h e m ere com parison o f the num bers of Social D em ocratic voters w ith th e n u m b ers of the trad e-u n io n organizations in G erm an y is sufficient to prove to a child th a t the tra d e unions in G erm an y do not, as in E n g ­ land, w in th eir troops from the u n en lig h ten ed , bourgeoism inded masses, b u t from the masses o f p ro letarian s alread y aroused by Social D em ocracy a n d w on to the idea o f th e class struggle— from the mass of Social D em o cratic voters. M an y trad e-u n io n leaders in d ig n an tly reject, as they m ust in o rd er to m ain tain the “ theory of n e u tra lity ,” the idea th a t th e tra d e unions are a recru itin g school for Social D em ocracy. In fact, in G erm any this seem ingly insulting, b u t in reality highly fla tte r­ ing presum ption is reduced to m ere fantasy by th e sim ple cir­ cum stance th a t the relations are usually the opposite: it is So­ cial D em ocracy w hich, in G erm an y , forms th e recru itin g school for the tra d e unions. If, th en , th e o rg an izatio n al w ork of the tra d e unions is for th e most p a rt very difficult a n d toilsom e [so th a t it gives b irth to a n d nourishes in the tra d e -u n io n lead ­ ers the illusion th a t it is they w ho plow th e first furrow s a n d sow the first seed in th e new p ro le ta ria n w orld], in fa c t19 not only is the soil alread y p re p a re d by th e Social D em o cratic plow, b u t th e trad e-u n io n seed itself m ust be “ re d ,” Social D em ocratic, before the harvest can prosper. B ut w hen, in this 19 In the second edition “in fact” is replaced by “with the exception of a few areas and instances, on the whole.”

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m an n er, we com pare th e figures o f tra d e-u n io n stren g th not w ith those o f Social D em o cratic organizations b u t— w h at is th e only co rrect w ay— w ith those o f th e mass of Social D em o­ cratic voters, we com e to th e conclusion w hich is significantly different [from th a t o f th e triu m p h a n t, victory-consciousness of th e tra d e -u n io n leaders] 20: nam ely, the result is th a t th e “ Free T ra d e U n io n s” today actu ally represent b u t a m in o rity of the class-conscious w orking class o f G erm an y , th a t even w ith th eir one a n d a q u a rte r m illion organized m em bers, they have not yet been able to recru it even a h a lf o f the masses aroused by Social D em ocracy. T h e m ost im p o rta n t conclusion from th e above facts is th a t th e com plete unity of th e tra d e -u n io n an d Social D em ocratic labor m ovem ents, w hich is absolutely necessary for th e com ing mass struggles in G erm any , is actually existent. Indeed, it is in ­ co rp o rated in the w ide masses w hich form a t once th e basis of Social D em ocracy an d o f th e tra d e unions, an d in whose con­ sciousness b o th sides of th e m ovem ent are fused in a spiritual unity. T h e supposed antag o n ism betw een Social D em ocracy a n d th e tra d e unions thus shrinks to a n antagonism betw een Social D em ocracy a n d [the u p p e r stratum ] 21 of th e tra d e u n ­ ions. T his, how ever, is a t th e sam e tim e a n an tag o n ism be­ tw een this p a rt of th e tra d e -u n io n leaders an d th e p ro le ta ria n masses org anized in th e tra d e unions. T h e strong grow th o f th e tra d e -u n io n m ovem ent in G er­ m an y in th e course o f th e last fifteen years, especially in the period o f g re a t econom ic prosperity from 1895 to 1900, has n a tu ra lly b ro u g h t w ith it a g reat in d ep en d en ce o f th e trad e unions, a specialization of th eir m ethods o f struggle a n d of th eir direction, a n d finally the rise o f a reg u lar tra d e-u n io n officialdom . All these p h en o m en a are a com pletely u n d e r­ stan d ab le a n d n a tu ra l historical p ro d u ct o f th e fifteen-year grow th o f th e tra d e unions, a p ro d u ct o f th e econom ic prosper20 In the second edition, the bracketed phrase is replaced by “from the current view of the matter.” 21 In the second edition, the bracketed phrase is replaced by “a certain part.”

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ity an d the political calm in G erm any. [Especially concerning the trad e-u n io n officialdom , they are an historically necessary evil.] 22 But the dialectic o f the developm ent im plies th a t, at a certain stage o f o rg an izatio n a n d a t a certain degree o f m a tu ­ rity, precisely these necessary m eans o f p rom oting the grow th of the tra d e unions becom e obstacles to fu rth er grow th. T h e specialization of th eir professional activity as tradeunion leaders, as well as the n a tu ra lly lim ited horizon w hich is bound u p w ith th e disconnected econom ic struggles in a peaceful period, lead the tra d e-u n io n officials only too easily to bu reau cratism [and to lim ited conceptions.] 23 Both, however, express them selves in a whole series o f tendencies w hich in a great m easure m ay be fateful for the future o f the tra d e-u n io n m ovem ent. Especially im p o rta n t here is the overestim ation of the organization, w hich is ch an g ed from a m eans to a n end, g radually to an end in itself, to a m ost precious th in g to w hich the interests of the struggle should be su bordinated. In this way it is possible to u n d e rsta n d th a t openly a d m itted need for calm w hich shrinks before a g reat risk, before presum ed d a n ­ gers to the stability of the trad e unions, an d before the u n c e r­ tainty of large mass actions, as well as the overestim ation of the tra d e-u n io n m ethod of struggle itself, its prospects an d its successes. C o n tin u ally absorbed by the econom ic g uerrilla w ar, having the task o f m ak in g plausible to the w orking masses the g reat value of every sm all econom ic conquest, every increase in wages or decrease in the w orking day, the tradeunion leaders g rad u ally lose the pow er of seeing the larger connections a n d tak in g survey of the whole situation. O n ly in this w ay can it be ex plained w hy [the G erm an] 24 tra d e-u n io n leaders refer w ith such g reat satisfaction, for exam ple, to the conquests of the last fifteen years, to the m illio n -m ark pay 22 In the second edition, the bracketed sentence is replaced by “Though nseparable from certain inconveniences, they are no doubt an historically necessary evil.” 23 In the second edition, the bracketed phrase is replaced by “and to certain confined conceptions.” 24 In the second edition, the bracketed phrase is replaced by “many.”

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raises, instead of, on th e co n trary , em phasizing th e o th er side o f the coin: the sim ultaneous a n d im m ense red u ctio n of the p ro le ta ria n sta n d a rd o f living by speculation in foodstuffs, by the w hole tax an d custom s policy, a n d by lan d profiteering, w hich has raised rents in such a n ex o rb itan t m a n n e r— in a w ord, all the objective tendencies o f bourgeois policy w hich have largely m ad e illusory those conquests o f th e fifteen years o f trad e-u n io n struggles. From th e whole Social D em ocratic tru th w hich, next to the stress on tra d e-u n io n w ork an d its a b ­ solute necessity, places the em phasis on th e critique a n d th e lim ­ its of this w ork, the halj~truth o f th e tra d e unions w hich stresses only th e positive elem ents of the daily struggle is defended. A nd finally, from the concealm ent o f th e objective lim its of the trad e-u n io n struggle erected by bourgeois society grows a hos­ tility to every theoretical critiq u e w hich points to these limits in connection w ith the u ltim ate goals of the labor m ovem ent. U n lim ited praise an d boundless optim ism are m ad e th e duty of every “ friend of the tra d e-u n io n m ovem ent.” B ut, as th e So­ cial D em ocratic stan d p o in t consists precisely in fighting against u n critical tra d e-u n io n optim ism , in fighting u n critical p a rlia m e n ta ry optim ism , a front against Social D em ocratic theory is finally created: [the tra d e unions grope for a “new theory” w hich w ould correspond to their needs a n d their con­ ception],25 th a t is, for a theory w hich, in opposition to th e So­ cial D em ocratic doctrine, w ould open w holly u n lim ited p e r­ spectives o f econom ic progress w ith in th e cap italist order. Such a theory, indeed, has existed for some tim e: this is the theory of [the ex-M arxist reform er— D .H .] Professor Sombart, w hich was p ro m u lg ated w ith the express in te n t o f driving a wedge be­ tw een th e tra d e unions an d Social D em ocracy in G erm any, a n d o f enticing the tra d e unions over to the bourgeois position. [In the closest connection w ith this theoretical change on th e p a rt of some of th e tra d e -u n io n leaders, th ere is a change 25 In the second edition, the bracketed phrase is replaced by “one gropes for a new trade-union theory.”

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— wholly in the sense of S o m b a rt’s theory— in the relatio n of the leaders to the masses: in place of the collegial, u n p a id , purely idealistically m o tivated tra d e-u n io n ag itatio n by local commissions of the com rades them selves comes th e business­ like, b u reau cratically reg u lated direction of tra d e -u n io n of­ ficials who, for the m ost p a rt, are sent from outside.26 T h ro u g h the concentration of th e strings of th e m ovem ent in its hands, the capacity of ju d g in g in tra d e-u n io n affairs becom es its p ro ­ fessional specialty. T h e mass of com rades are d eg rad ed to a mass in cap ab le of ju d g in g , whose essential virtu e becom es “discipline,” th a t is, passive obedience to duty. In opposition to Social D em ocracy— w here in fact, despite the tendentious tales of “ B ebel’s D ictato rsh ip ,” 27 because of the representative an d collegial leadership th ere reigns the greatest dem ocracy, w here th e P a rty ’s executive com m ittee is in fact only a n a d ­ m inistrative organ— in th e tra d e unions the relatio n o f ruling body to lowly mass exists to a m u ch g reater degree.] 28 28 In 1900 there were 269 trade-union functionaries; in 1914 there were 2,867. In other words, where in 1900 there were four bureaucrats for every 10,000 members, in 1914 there were eleven per 10,000. Between 1890 and 1914 the number of union members grew from 300,000 to over 2.5 million. During the same period wealth of the trade unions grew from 425,845 marks to over 88 million marks. 27 This accusation against Bebel occurred frequently. In another article, ‘‘Deceived Hopes” (Neue Zeit, 1903-04, No. 2), Rosa Luxemburg notes: “The ‘dictatorship’ of a Bebel, that is, his immense prestige and his influence, are uniquely based on the im­ mense effort which he has made to make the masses politically mature. And Bebel harvests the fruits of that long effort today in that the mass follows him enthusiasti­ cally in the measure that he expresses the will and the thought of that mass.” 28 In the second edition, this paragraph is replaced by: “In close connection with this theoretical tendency is a change in the relation of the leaders to the masses. In place of the collegial direction by local commissions, with its undoubted shortcomings, steps the businesslike direction of the trade-union officials. Thus, initiative and capacity for judgment become, so to speak, professional special­ ties, while the more passive virtue of discipline is incumbent on the masses. This dark side of officialdom assuredly conceals in itself significant dangers for the Party as well, such as could easily result from the most recent innovation, the institution of local party secretaries, if the Social Democratic mass is not careful that these so-called secretaries remain pure organs of execution and are not in any way seen as the ap­ pointed bearers of the initiative and the direction of local Party life. In Social Democ­ racy, however, by the nature of things, by the character of the political struggle itself,

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O n e consequence of this conception is th e a rg u m en tatio n w ith w hich every theoretical critiq u e of th e prospects an d possibilities of the p ractice of the tra d e unions is tabooed be­ cause it presum ably represents a d an g er to th e pious tradeunion sen tim en t o f the masses. In this a rg u m en tatio n , one b e­ gins from the view th a t th e w orking masses can only be won a n d held 'br th e o rg an izatio n by blind, childlike belief in the efficacy of the tra d e-u n io n struggle. Social D em ocracy bases its influence on the insight of the masses into the contradictions of th e established o rder an d into th e very com plicated n a tu re of its developm ent, a n d on the critical a ttitu d e of th e masses tow ard all m om ents an d stages of th eir ow n class struggle. In opposition to this, according to th e perverse theory being con­ sidered, th e influence an d pow er of th e tra d e unions are based on the in cap acity of the masses for criticism an d ju d g m en t. “T h e faith of th e people m ust be m a in ta in e d ”— this is th e fun­ d a m e n ta l prin cip le by w hich m an y tra d e-u n io n offi­ cials b ra n d all criticism of the objective shortcom ings o f the tra d e-u n io n m ovem ent as an a tta c k on this m ovem ent itself. A nd finally, a result of this specialization an d this b u re a u ­ cratism am ong the tra d e-u n io n officials is also the strong in d e­ pendence a n d the “ n e u tra lity ” o f the tra d e unions in relation to Social D em ocracy. T h e external independence of th e tradeunion o rg an izatio n cam e as a n a tu ra l condition of its grow th, as a condition w hich grew on the basis of th e technical division of lab o r betw een th e political a n d the tra d e-u n io n forms of struggle. T h e “ n e u tra lity ” of th e G erm an tra d e unions, for its p a rt, arose as a p ro d u ct of the reactio n a ry tra d e-u n io n legisla­ tion of th e P ru ssian -G erm an police state. W ith tim e, both have ch an g ed th eir nature.* F rom the condition of political “ n e u tra lity ” of th e tra d e unions, im posed by the police, was sharper limits on the bureaucracy are drawn than in the trade unions. In the trade unions, the technical specialization of the wage struggles—for example, the conclusion of complicated wage agreements and the like—brings with it the situation in which the mass of organized workers is often denied the ‘overview of the whole life of the in­ dustry,’ and thus their incapacity to make judgments is established.”

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evolved an ad d itio n al theory of th e ir v o lu n tary n e u tra lity as a necessity founded in th e alleged n a tu re of th e tra d e-u n io n struggle itself. A nd th e tech n ical in d ep en d en ce of th e tra d e unions, w hich should rest on th e p ractica l division of labor w ithin the u n ita ry Social D em ocratic class struggle, has been changed into the [independence] 29 of th e tra d e unions from Social D em ocracy, from its views an d its leadership, into the so-called “equal a u th o rity ” w ith Social D em ocracy. T his ap p e a ra n c e of [independence] 30 a n d of e q u ality of the tra d e unions w ith Social D em ocracy is, how ever, for th e m ost p a rt in co rp o rated in th e tra d e-u n io n officials, nourished by the adm inistrative a p p a ra tu s of the tra d e unions. T h ro u g h the coexistence of a w hole staff of tra d e-u n io n officials, of a w holly in d ep en d en t cen tral com m ittee, of a num erous professional press, a n d finally of tra d e-u n io n congresses is created th e ex­ tern al a p p e a ra n c e of a full parallelism w ith th e ad m in istrativ e a p p a ra tu s of Social D em ocracy, th e cen tral com m ittee of the P arty, th e P a rty press, a n d the P a rty congresses. A m ong oth er things, this illusion of eq u ality betw een Social D em ocracy an d the tra d e unions has led to the m onstrous spectacle th a t the Social D em ocratic P a rty congresses an d th e tra d e -u n io n con­ gresses tre a t, in p a rt, totally analogous agendas, a n d th a t on the sam e questions different, even d iam etrically opposed d e­ cisions are taken. From th e [division of labor] 31 betw een the P arty congress (w hich represents the general interests an d tasks of th e lab o r m ovem ent) an d th e tra d e-u n io n conferences (w hich deal w ith th e m u ch m ore n arro w sphere o f special questions an d interests of the professional daily struggle) the artificial division betw een an alleged tra d e-u n io n a n d a Social D em ocratic Weltanschauung in reg ard to the same general ques­ tions an d interests of th e lab o r m ovem ent has been constituted. [H ow ever, once this ab n o rm al condition is created, it has the

29 In the second edition, “independence” is replaced by “separation.” 30 Replaced by “separation” in the second edition. 31 In the second edition, the bracketed phrase is replaced by “natural divisions of labor.”

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n a tu ra l tendency to grow a n d to becom e sharper. A t present, since the b a d h a b it of p arallel agendas a t the trad e-u n io n an d P arty congresses has developed, th e very existence o f the tradeunion congresses is a n a tu ra l in citem en t to m ore a n d m ore strong d elim itatio n a n d d e p a rtu re from Social D em ocracy. In order to prove th eir own “ in d ep en d en ce” to them selves a n d to others, in o rd er not to prove th eir own n e a r superfluity by sim ­ ply rep eatin g th e position of th e P a rty congress, th e tradeunion congresses— w hich, as is o f course well know n, are m ainly congresses of officials— m ust instinctively a tte m p t to stress th a t w hich is different, the “ specifically tra d e -u n io n ” ele­ m ent. In th e sam e w ay, th e very existence of a p arallel, in d e­ pendent, cen tral direction of the tra d e unions, a t present, leads psychologically, step by step, to a stressing of o n e’s own in d e­ pendence in relatio n to the direction of Social D em ocracy, to considering every co n tact w ith th e P a rty above all from the stan d p o in t of th e “ lim its of com petence.” ] T hus, th e p ecu liar condition has been created th a t th e sam e tra d e-u n io n m ovem ent w hich below, in th e b ro ad p ro le tarian mass, is com pletely one w ith Social D em ocracy, p arts a b ru p tly w ith it above, in th e adm in istrativ e superstructure, a n d sets it­ self up over against Social D em ocracy as a second g reat in d e­ p en d en t power. T h e G erm an lab o r m ovem ent thus assumes the p ecu liar form of a double p y ram id whose base a n d body consist in one solid mass, b u t whose sum m its are w ide ap art. It is clear from this p resen tatio n in w h a t w ay alone, in a n a tu ra l a n d successful m a n n e r, th a t com pact u n ity of the G er­ m an lab o r m ovem ent w hich is u n co n d itio n ally necessary in view of the com ing political class struggles, a n d in view of the p ro p er interest of the fu rth e r developm ent of the tra d e unions, can be created. N o th in g could be m ore ab su rd or hopeless th a n to wish to produce th a t desired u n ity by m eans of spo­ rad ic or periodic negotiations concerning indiv id u al questions betw een the leadership of the Social D em ocratic P a rty a n d the tra d e-u n io n cen tral com m ittees. It is precisely the highest cir­ cles of b o th forms of the lab o r m ovem ent w hich, as we have seen, in co rp o rate in them selves th e ir sep aratio n a n d independ-

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ence, [w hich are a t once— a n d this concerns especially th e d i­ rection of th e tra d e unions— bearers a n d supporters] 32 o f the illusion of the “ equal a u th o rity ” a n d th e p arallel existence of Social D em ocracy a n d th e tra d e unions. T o wish to produce the un ity of b o th by th e un io n o f th e P a rty executive a n d the G eneral Com m ission [of th e tra d e unions— D .H .] is to wish to build a bridge precisely a t the p o in t a t w hich the distance is the greatest a n d the crossing th e m ost difficult. [If this kind o f negotiation betw een g re a t powers becom es a system, it w ould be nothing oth er th a n the consecration o f th a t federal relatio n betw een the whole of th e p ro le ta ria n class m ovem ent a n d a p artial phenom eno n of this m ovem ent— a relatio n w hich should be set aside as a n anom aly. T h e d iplom atic-federal relation betw een the highest au th o rities o f Social D em ocracy an d the tra d e unions can only lead to a n even g reater a lie n a ­ tion a n d cooling of relations, becom ing the source o f ever new frictions. A nd this lies in th e very n a tu re of the thing. N am ely, the very form of this relatio n im plies th a t the g reat question of the harm onious unification o f th e econom ic a n d political sides of the p ro le ta ria n struggle for lib eratio n is ch an g ed into the petty question of a “friendly, n eighborly” relatio n betw een the “ au th o rities” in the L indenstrasse a n d those in th e EngelU fer,33 a n d th a t the larger view point of the lab o r m ovem ent is hidden by petty considerations o f ra n k a n d sensibilities. T h e first a tte m p t w ith th e m eth o d o f d ip lo m atic relations betw een the authorities— the negotiations of the P a rty executive w ith the G eneral Com m ission on th e question of th e m ass strike— has alread y given p ro o f o f the hopelessness of this procedure. A nd w hen the G en eral Com m ission recently ex p lain ed th a t consultations betw een it a n d th e P a rty executive have alread y been sought in individual cases by one or th e o th er side, a n d also th a t they have tak en place, this assurance m ay be very 32 In the second edition, this phrase is replaced by: “which are, therefore, them­ selves bearers.” 33 The headquarters of the Social Democratic Party were in the Lindenstrasse in Berlin. The headquarters of the trade unions were in the Engel-Ufer, also in Berlin.

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reassuring a n d im pressive from the stan d p o in t of etiquette. H ow ever, in view o f the serious tim es w hich are com ing, the G erm an lab o r m ovem ent m ust co m p reh en d all of th e p ro b ­ lems of its struggle a t a som ew hat deeper level. It has all the reasons in the w orld to push aside this C hinese m a n d a rin a te a n d to seek th e solution of its problem s th ere w here it is d i­ rectly given by the conditions themselves.] T h e g u a ra n te e of the tru e u n ity of the lab o r m ovem ent does no t lie above, am ong th e highest authorities of the leadership of th e o rg an i­ zation a n d th eir federative alliance, b u t below, in th e o rg an ­ ized p ro le ta ria n masses. In th e consciousness of th e m illion m em bers of the tra d e unions, P a rty a n d tra d e un io n are in fact one; b o th are n o th in g b u t different forms of the Social Democratic struggle for th e em an cip atio n of th e p ro letariat. A nd too, from this follows n a tu ra lly the necessity of rem oving an y frictions w hich h ave arisen betw een Social D em ocracy a n d th e 34 trad e unions, a n d of a d a p tin g th eir m u tu a l relations to the con­ sciousness o f th e p ro le ta ria n masses— th a t is, of rejoining the trade unions to Social Democracy. T h is is only the expression of th e syn­ thesis of th e real developm ent w hich led from the original in­ co rp o ratio n of the tra d e unions to th e ir sep aratio n from Social D em ocracy. A fterw ard, th ro u g h the period of th e g reat grow th of both th e tra d e unions a n d Social D em ocracy, the com ing period of g reat p ro le ta ria n mass struggles will be p rep ared , a n d the reunification of Social D em ocracy, in the interest of both, will be m ad e a necessity. It is not, of course, a question of m erging the w hole tradeunion stru ctu re into the P arty , b u t of th e p ro d u ctio n of th a t n a tu ra l relatio n betw een the directions of Social D em ocracy a n d the tra d e unions, betw een the P a rty congresses a n d the tra d e-u n io n congresses, w hich corresponds to the a c tu a l re la ­ tion betw een the lab o r m ovem ent as a w hole a n d its p a rtia l expression in the tra d e unions. Such a change, of course, will call forth a strong opposition from a p a rt of the tra d e-u n io n 34 In the second edition, “the” is replaced by “a part of the.”

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leaders. B ut it is high tim e th a t the mass of Social D em o cratic workers learn to express th eir cap acity for ju d g m e n t a n d a c ­ tion, a n d therew ith to d em o n strate th eir ripeness for th a t tim e of great struggles an d tasks in w hich they, th e masses, will be the active chorus, a n d th e leaders only the “ speaking p a rts,” the interpreters of th e will of the masses. T h e trad e-u n io n m ovem ent is n o t th a t w hich is reflected in the w holly u n d erstan d a b le b u t erroneous illusions [of a few dozen] 35 tra d e-u n io n leaders. It is th a t w hich lives in th e con­ sciousness of the masses of p ro letarian s who have been won for the class struggle. In this consciousness, the tra d e-u n io n m ove­ m ent is a p a rt of Social D em ocracy. “A nd w h at it is, it should dare to a p p e a r.” 36 Petersburg, S eptem ber 15, 1906 Translated by Dick Howard 35 In the second edition, the bracketed phrase is replaced by “a minority of.” 3(i The lines are from Schiller’s Maria Stuart. In his book, The Presuppositions of Social­ ism and the Tasks of Social Democracy, Bernstein uses these Lines as the motto for the chap­ ter which deals with “The Immediate Tasks of Social Democracy.” Since Rosa Lux­ emburg knew Schiller’s work well, it is difficult to tell whether she is alluding to Bernstein’s work here or not.

Ill T he Role of the Party

N o thing could be m ore m isleading th a n to present Rosa L u x em b u rg ’s position on th e revolutionary p a rty as a “ dem o­ c ra tic ” altern ativ e to th e “d ic ta to ria l” L eninist centralism — as, for exam ple, a previous tra n slatio n o f “ O rg an izatio n a l Q uestions of R ussian Social D em o cracy ” suggests by its title: “ L eninism or M arxism ?” 1 T h e role of th e p a rty is determ in ed by the dialectical developm ent o f p ro le ta ria n politics; u n d er different political systems, a n d a t different stages in the devel­ o p m ent of th e class consciousness a n d organization o f th e p ro ­ letariat, the p a rty has a different role to play. T h e problem of th e p a rty arises frequently in R osa L u x em b u rg ’s political w rit­ ings, a n d it is not possible to isolate h er views a n d b rin g them together system atically. For exam ple, the last section o f the “ M ass S trik e” essay deals w ith th e problem in some detail, as do R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s p o st-1914 w ritings. T herefore, th e two articles presented here m ust no t be th o u g h t of as R osa L u x ­ em b u rg ’s “ d o c trin e” of the p arty . O n the o th er h a n d , this problem is so im p o rta n t today th a t it dem an d s a sep arate ru ­ bric— if only to call atte n tio n to th e possibility o f a dialectical a p p ro ach , an d to d eb u n k the sim plistic “ a lte rn a tiv e ” o f L e n in ­ ism or L uxem burgism . T h o u g h she referred to Social D em o cratic P a rty congresses as a “ g a th erin g of B uddhists a n d Bonzes,” R osa L u x em b u rg 1Ann Arbor Paperbacks, 1961. The editor of this volume, Bertram D. Wolfe, notes in his introduction that this title was taken from a translation by the Anti-Parliamen­ tary Communist Federation (Glasgow, 1935), though Wolfe himself publishes the In­ teger version (1934), whose title is “Revolutionary Socialist Organizations,” under the Glasgow heading. I have revised the translation.

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held a peculiarly legalistic view of th eir function. P a rty resolu­ tions w ere “ law ” in th e Social D em o cratic w orld, she assum ed; an d she often showed herself a m aster w hen it cam e to ju s ti­ fying her positions in term s o f P a rty com m on law. E xam ples of this a ttitu d e have alread y been seen. R osa L u x em b u rg w an ted to have the revisionists throw n ou t of the SPD , an d renounced this project only w hen it becam e clear th a t her views w ere in the m inority— as some of the deletions in th e second edition of Social Reform or Revolution show. In th e Schippel affair, she d e ­ m an d ed th a t the P a rty congress tak e a position, th ereb y re­ solving th e affair once a n d for all in h er eyes. H e r discussion of the d em an d for the eight-hour day was clothed in sem i-legalist terms. A nd, in the discussion of th e mass strike, she took pains to explain th a t the “ tru e essence o f the J e n a resolution in this context . . .” supported h er position. T h o u g h she argued against L e n in ’s a tte m p t to elim in ate o p portunism from the party th ro u g h a rigid centralism , noting th a t “ it is not th e text of the statu te b u t the sense an d spirit w hich is b ro u g h t into th a t text by the active fighters w hich decides th e value of an organizational form ,” R osa L uxem burg m a in ta in e d h er legal­ istic view o f th e role of p a rty decisions th ro u g h o u t h er life and, as will be seen in P a rt IV , she extended it to th e role o f the I n ­ tern atio n al after the debacle o f the o u tb reak o f th e W orld W ar. O n the oth er h an d , she also m a in ta in e d th ro u g h o u t h er life th a t “ far m ore im p o rta n t . . . th a n w hat is w ritten in a program is the w ay in w hich th a t p ro g ram is in te rp re te d in ac­ tion.” As its size a n d org an izatio n al needs grew, th e SP D decided to found a P a rty School to tra in future cad re an d editors. T h e school h ad th irty students each year, chosen by local P arty an d trad e-u n io n organizations. A t th e beginning o f its second year (1907), th e Prussian governm ent inform ed the school’s d i­ rectors th a t its professors of econom ic history a n d political econom y— H ilferding a n d P annekoek— w ould be expelled from the country (both w ere foreigners) if they co n tin u ed to teach at the school. U n d e r these circum stances, R osa Lux-

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em burg was called to th e school. D u rin g th e next six years, she ta u g h t fifty hours per m o n th for six m onths each year. A ccord­ ing to all reports, R osa L u x em b u rg was a n exciting a n d p ro ­ vocative teacher, p u ttin g forth h er ideas in a clear a n d precise m an n er, as can be seen from her m an u scrip t, th e Introduction to Political Economy, w hich was based on h er courses a n d p u b ­ lished after her m u rd e r by P au l Levi. It was d u rin g th e tim e th a t she ta u g h t a t th e P a rty School th a t R osa L u x em b u rg w rote h er m ost fam ous econom ic w ork, The Accumulation o f Cap­ ital. T h e P a rty School cam e u n d e r a tta c k from th e revisionistopportunists d u rin g the N ü rn b e rg Congress of 1908. T hese “ p ractica l” m en w ere afraid th a t the P a rty School was too far left, a n d th a t it w ould tu rn o ut a b a n d of fiery radicals who w ould u n d erm in e th eir influence. H ypocritically, however, they couched th eir attack s against th e school as a criticism of its “elite” n atu re. R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s reply is an interesting co n trib u tio n to the discussion o f th e role of the P arty. She be­ gins by criticizing th e school for not p u ttin g enough stress on th e history of socialism , a subject m a tte r on whose im p o rtan ce she alw ays insisted. She th en tu rn s to a defense of th e role of theory, picking u p from the arg u m e n t of Social Reform or Revolu­ tion th a t “ th e ex tern al ch aracteristic of these [opportunistic] practices [is] hostility to ‘th eo ry .’ ” A “ C h ild ’s G uide to M a rx ” is not sufficient; theory is not th e p riv ate p ro p erty o f a few “ in ­ tellectuals.” Finally, she adm its th a t she is q u ite h a p p y w ith th e P a rty School as a tra in in g school for a party elite— although she is vague ab o u t the role w hich this elite is to play after it leaves th e school. T h e “ elite” being tra in e d a t the P a rty School was certainly not in ten d ed to be th e elite w hich forms th e L eninist v a n g u ard p arty. L e n in ’s o rg an izatio n al theory was developed in the years preceding the 1903 Congress o f th e R ussian Social D em ocratic P arty , a n d led to th e split into the “ Bolshevik” a n d “ M en sh ev ik ” factions. It is n ot possible to discuss here the historical context in w hich L e n in ’s theory was form ulated.

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T h e m ajor d eterm in an ts o f the L eninist view w ere: 1) th e a b ­ solutist R ussian state w ithin w hich he was w orking; 2) his a c ­ ceptance of the general M arxist belief in th e im possibility of skipping a stage of developm ent, a n d th a t the im m in en t prole­ ta ria n revolution in R ussia w ould result in a bourgeois dem oc­ racy; 3) his theory of th e form ation of class consciousness. It is the la tte r factor w hich determ ines the form o f L e n in ’s p arty, an d it is to this notion— a n d not th e ab stract question o f “d e ­ m ocracy”— th a t R osa L u x em b u rg directs h er argum ents. R osa L u x em b u rg ’s reply to L en in was solicited by th e Iskra, th en in M enshevik hands. T h e S D K P iL h a d been a p a rtic i­ p a n t in th e 1903 R ussian P a rty Congress, consistent w ith its in tern atio n alist perspective, b u t h a d — on R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s orders— left the Congress before th e split due to a q u a rre l w ith Lenin on the n atio n al question. T h u s, R osa L u x em b u rg a l­ ready h a d a bone to pick w ith L enin. H e r reply to L enin, how ­ ever, was w ritten in G erm an (th o u g h her R ussian was fluent) an d was actu ally published in th e Neue Zeit before it a p p eared in the Iskra. T h e article, therefore, m ust be seen w ith in the context of G erm an p a rty affairs m ore th a n R ussian ones— though L en in doesn’t seem to have realized this in his (p o sth u ­ m ously published) reply to her article. T h o u g h her reply to L enin was published before th e “ M ass S trike” essay, it has m uch in com m on w ith the latter. N o t only are the basic dialectical argum ents ab o u t th e relatio n betw een leaders a n d masses sim ilar; not only does the reply p red ict th e future developm ent of th e mass strike in R ussia w hich cu lm i­ n ated in the 1905 R evolution— th e sim ilarity of b o th analyses of Russian conditions can also be seen in th eir analyses of the im plications for Germany. R osa L uxem burg argues th a t L e n in ’s a tte m p t to fight o p ­ portunism by m eans of a highly centralized p a rty is not correct for a revolutionary org an izatio n w hich is in its childhood, w hich has no mass base, a n d w hich has to op erate in absolutist conditions. H ow ever, she continues, in a large, m ass-based p arty like the SPD , w ith its developing b u re a u c ra tic a n d par-

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liam en tary s tra ta w hich are m ore a n d m ore subject to o p p o r­ tunist tem p tatio n s, there is a different situation. H e r reasoning here seems to be th a t the “ rad icals”— or those w ho a t th e tim e seem ed to be radicals: Bebel, K autsky, Singer, etc.— w ere able to d o m in ate the P a rty congresses a n d could, in a cen tralized p arty , enforce m ore strictly th e decisions of th e highest p arty au th o rity , the P a rty congress, w hich, h ith erto , h a d been effec­ tively ignored by the “ p ractica l p oliticians.” T h e re was, in other words, no concern for any sort o f form alistic dem ocracy; R osa L u x em b u rg was interested in the m ost effective w ay to build a class-conscious fighting revolutionary p arty. O n the o ther h a n d , her view of th e p a rty leader, typified by Bebel, w ho em p ath ized w ith a n d was able to in te rp re t th e will of the people m ust be tak en into acco u n t before a ttrib u tin g m ere M ach iav ellian m otives to her. H e r position is vague, b u t on the basis of the context, it seems p ro b ab le th a t her centralism was in ten d ed to be, as she p u t it, “ a ‘self-centralism ’ o f the leading stra tu m o f th e p ro le ta ria t; . . . th e rule o f th e m ajority w ithin its own p a rty o rg an izatio n .” T h is view is borne out by her description of the role of th e leadership d u rin g th e mass strike as having “ the most a d ro it a d a p ta b ility to th e given situ­ ation a n d . . . th e closest possible co n tact w ith th e m ood of th e m asses.” It is fu rth er d em o n strated by h er a tta c k on the b u ­ re au cratic a p p a ra tu s of th e p a rty a n d unions w hich reduces th e “m ass of com rades . . . to a mass in cap ab le of ju d g in g , whose essential virtu e becom es ‘discipline,’ th a t is, passive obe­ dience to d u ty .” T h e notion of class consciousness is th e key to the critiq u e of L e n in ’s views. L en in believed th a t in the “ n o rm a l” course of cap italist developm ent— w ith heavy exploitation o f workers d u rin g the R ussian stage of prim itive accu m u latio n , w ith dis­ connected series of strike actions a n d ru d im e n ta ry tra d e-u n io n organizations, etc.— it was no t possible for the p ro le ta ria t to acq u ire a socialist consciousness. 1 he to tality view o f social d e ­ velopm ent, w hich is the m a in elem ent o f socialist conscious­ ness, h ad to be b ro u g h t to th e w orking class by th e p a rty , from

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the outside. T h a t w hich changes th e p ro le ta ria t from a class “ in its e lf’ to a class “ for its e lf’ is th e conscious action a n d in ­ tervention o f the party. O n the o th er h a n d , the w ork co n d i­ tions o f th e p ro le taria n p re p a re him for p a rtic ip a tio n in a rig ­ idly cen tralized group; he is used to tak in g orders, to doing p a rtia l tasks whose connection to th e to tality is not clear to him , w hereas the intellectu al w ho refuses this obedience re ­ veals his petty-bourgeois n atu re. T h is aspect of L e n in ’s views on the n a tu re of class consciousness showed itself after 1917 in his belief th a t indu strial developm ent of b ack w ard R ussia u n d er the direction of the w orkers’ party w ould lead to social­ ism, an d th a t capitalist m ethods of increasing produ ctiv ity (T aylorism , hierarch ical control of pro d u ctio n , etc.) w ere not only th e most efficient b u t the only possible ones. R osa L u x em b u rg ’s view of class consciousness should be clear to th e read er by now. H e r critiq u e of L en in takes u p the argum ents first used ag ain st B ernstein a n d Schippel, a n d la te r used against th e B lanquist views of the N a ro d n a y a V olya. T h e most com plete developm ent o f h er views, however,- com es in the articles w ritten in th e last years o f her life, a n d p a rtic u la rly in her speech to the F o u n d in g Congress of the G erm an C om ­ m unist P arty , an d in h e r p ro g ram m atic statem en t “W h a t Does the S partacus L eague W a n t? ” W e can conclude this in ­ troductory section w ith a citatio n from the la tte r docum ent: The Spartacus League is not a party that wants to rise to power over the mass of workers or through them. The Spartacus League is only the most conscious, purposeful part of the prole­ tariat, which points the entire broad mass of the working class toward its historical tasks at every step, which represents in each particular stage of the revolution the ultimate socialist goal, and in all national questions the interests of the proletarian world revolution. T h e re a d e r will recognize this as th e view o f the Communist Manifesto.

Speech to the Nürnberg Congress (1908) If I take th e floor, it is not to protest against the criticism s of the P a rty School, b u t on the co n trary , to com plain ab o u t the lack of a serious objective critique. T h e P a rty School is a new an d very im p o rta n t institution, w hich m ust be seriously criti­ cized a n d evaluated from all points o f view. I m yself m ust a d m it th a t, a t the beginning, I greeted th e foundation of the P arty School w ith g reat distrust, on the one h a n d out of con­ genital conservatism [Amusement], on the o ther h a n d because in th e quiet of m y h e a rt I said to m yself th a t a p a rty such as the Social D em o cratic P a rty should d irect its ag itatio n prim arily tow ard a direct effect on the masses. For th e m ost p art, m y work a t th e P a rty School has dispelled this doubt. T h ro u g h continuous co n tact w ith th e P a rty students in the school itself, I have com e to value th e new institute, a n d I can say w ith com plete conviction: I have the feeling th a t we have created som ething new whose effect we c a n n o t yet fully evaluate, b ut we have created som ething v alu ab le w hich will be useful and bring victories to the P arty. Yet th ere are still m an y things w hich can be criticized, an d it w ould be astonishing if this w ere not th e case. If I reject the d em an d for a change in th e process of selection of students— for as teachers we have h a d th e experience th a t th e results have been excellent up to now a n d I could no t wish for a b e t­ ter elite corps— I do have some criticism s of th e curriculum . T h e p rim a ry elem ent of th e cu rricu lu m m ust be the history of This is the text of a speech made to the Nürnberg Congress of the German Social Democratic Party on September 14, 1908, in the debate on the Party School. The text is from Ausgewählte Reden und Schriften, II (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1951), pp. 311-14.

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in tern atio n al socialism. [“Quite right/”] Even the visiting te a c h ­ ers from the E d u catio n C om m ittee should em phasize this question m ore, instead o f lim iting them selves to topics in p o lit­ ical econom y. T h e history of socialism is m uch easier to pres­ en t in ab b rev iated form w ithout suffering from such a presen­ tation th a n is political econom y. For us, as a fighting p arty, the history of socialism is th e school of life. W e alw ays derive new stim ulation from it. [“Quite right/”] In addition, the school suffers from the fact th a t th e relatio n of the P a rty organizations to th e ir students is no t correct; it m ust be transform ed from the g ro u n d up. A t present, it som e­ times h ap p en s th a t P a rty organizations send students to th e school like scapegoats into the w ilderness, w ith o u t w orrying w hat m ay becom e of th em ["Quite right!”], w ith o u t allow ing them sufficiently extensive responsibilities. B ut on th e o ther hand, there is also th e d an g er th a t w hen P a rty students have a post, P a rty com rades m ake far too m an y dem an d s on them . ["Quite right!”] C om rades will say: “Y ou w ent to th e P arty School, now show us h o u r by h o u r a n d on every occasion w h at you le a rn e d !” P a rty students will not be able to fulfill such hopes. From beginning to end, we have tried h a rd to m ake it clear to th em th a t they possess no finished know ledge, th a t they still m ust learn m ore, th a t they m ust study a n d learn for the rest of th eir lives. T h u s, even if P a rty students m ust la te r have the o p p o rtu n ity to use w h at they have learn ed, on the other h a n d we m ust also tak e this la tte r fact into account. So th ere are enough serious points o f view from w hich to criticize the question o f the P a rty School from all sides. B ut criticism such as th a t o f E isner is no t a p p ro p riate. E isner has such a g reat respect for scientific know ledge th a t it scares me. I am afraid th a t in relatio n to scientific know ledge in general an d to scientific socialism in p a rtic u la r, th e sam e th in g will h ap p en to Eisner as h a p p e n e d to poor old K lopstock, of w hom Lessing w rote th e etern al words: W ho w ould no t praise a K lopstock? B ut w ould anyone read him ?— No.

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W e w ould ra th e r be less h igh-m inded A nd m ore frequently read. [Amusement] A fu rth er pro o f of th e frivolity o f E isner’s criticism is the exam ple o f “ A C h ild ’s G uide to M a rx ,” tra n sp o rted here for us in th e form of C o m rad e M au ren b rech er, w hich he holds u p to us as a shining c o u n te rp a rt to th e P a rty School. [Amuse­ ment] In N ü rn b erg , M a u re n b re c h e r is supposed to tra n sm it a general ed u catio n to the p ro le ta ria t all by himself. H e has set dow n his profession of faith in w h a t E isner thinks is a n excel­ len t article in the Fränkischen Tagespost, w here it is said: “W e ’re too preoccupied w ith theory! D o the masses have to know the theory of value? [“Hear, hear!”] D o th e masses have to know w h at the m aterialistic theory o f history is? I ’ll tak e th e d are a n d say: No! T h e teach er has to know th a t— to keep it safely in his p o ck et.” [Eisner: “No, that isn’t there, you stuck it in.”] O f course I stuck it in. “ B ut for the ed u catio n o f th e masses all th a t has no d irect value, a n d can even be h a rm fu l.” I d id n ’t stick that in, M a u re n b re c h e r did say th at. [“Hear, hear!”] A nd further, he says: “ It h a sn 't often been noted, b u t theory fre­ q u en tly has th e actu al effect o f killing the pow er to com e to conclusions an d to take actio n .” T h e m aterialist concept of history, w hich is responsible for forty years o f m agnificent d e ­ velopm ent of the class struggle in G erm an y a n d th e w orld; the theory o f M a rx a n d Engels, w hich lit th e p a th o f th e R ussian p ro le ta ria t in its g reat deeds a t th e beginning o f th e century, in the R ussian R evolution [of 1905], is supposed to kill th e pow er to com e to conclusions a n d to tak e action! [“Hear, hear!”] B ut Eisner, M a u re n b re c h e r, a n d others ju d g e everything by th eir own experience. T h e y th in k th a t th e m aterialist concept of history, as they u n d e rsta n d it, has on th em th e effect of c rip ­ pling th eir ability to act a n d they therefore th in k th a t theory should n o t be ta u g h t a t th e P a rty School, b u t h a rd facts, the h ard facts of life. T h e y h a v e n ’t th e faintest idea th a t the p ro le­ ta ria t knows the h a rd facts from its everyday life, the p ro le ta r­ ia t knows th e “ h a rd facts” b etter th a n Eisner. [Enthusiastic

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agreement] W h a t th e masses lack is general en lig h ten m en t, th e theory w hich gives us th e possibility o f system atizing th e h a rd facts a n d forging th em into a d ead ly w eapon to use ag ain st our opponents. [.Enthusiastic agreement] I f a n y th in g has convinced m e of th e necessity o f th e P a rty School, o f sp read in g a n u n d e r­ standing of socialist theory in o u r ranks, it is E isn er’s c riti­ cisms. [jEnthusiastic applause] Translated by John Heckman

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in revolutionary M arxism ; it is no t for n o th in g th a t th e o p p o r­ tunist m ode of th o u g h t rings co n tin u ally in n a tio n a l seclusion. T h e following article, w ritten a t its request for th e Iskra3 the p arty organ of R ussian Social D em ocracy, should also be of p a rtic u la r interest to the G erm an public. I A u n iq u e a n d u n p reced en ted task in the history of socialism has fallen to the lot of R ussian Social D em ocracy. It m ust create a Social D em o cratic tactic based on p ro le ta ria n class struggle in an absolutist state. T h e usual com parison of the present conditions in R ussia w ith those of G erm an y a t the tim e of the antisocialist laws is w eak insofar as it considers the R ussian conditions not from th e political stan d p o in t b u t from th a t of the police. T h e obstacles placed in th e w ay o f th e mass m ovem ent by the absence of d em o cratic liberties are of re la ­ tively secondary im portance. T h e mass m ovem ent in R ussia has succeeded in overcom ing th e b arriers of th e absolutist “ constitution,” a n d has created its own, tho u g h som ew hat p re ­ carious, “ co n stitu tio n ” in street disorders. C o n tin u in g in this course, the m ovem ent will in tim e gain its com plete victory over absolutism . T h e p rin cip al difficulty of the Social D em ocratic struggle in Russia is the veiling of bourgeois class rule by absolutism ’s rule of force. T his necessarily gives th e doctrine of socialist class struggle an ab stract, p ro p ag an d istic c h aracter, w hile im m ed i­ ate political agitatio n largely takes on a dem o cratic-rev o lu ­ tionary guise. T h e antisocialist laws [in G erm any] m erely p u t the w orking class outside of th e constitution. But they did this in a highly developed bourgeois society w ith fully exposed class contradictions developed in p a rlia m e n ta ry action. T h e whole absurdity of B ism arck’s enterprise lay precisely in this. T h e opposite experim en t is on the ag en d a in R ussia: a Social D em ocratic p arty will be created w ith o u t th e d irect ru le of the bourgeoisie. N ot only the question of tra n sp la n tin g th e socialist doctrine

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to R ussian soil, n o t only th e question of ag itatio n , b u t also the question o f o rg an izatio n has taken a p ecu liar form due to this circum stance. As opposed to earlier, u to p ian socialisms, in the Social D em o cratic m ovem ent th e question o f o rg an izatio n too is not an artificial p ro d u c t of p ro p a g a n d a b u t a n historical p ro d u ct o f the class struggle, to w hich Social D em ocracy adds only political consciousness. U n d e r n o rm al conditions— th a t is, w here the developed political class ru le of the bourgeoisie precedes th e Social D em o cratic m ovem ent— the first political w elding together of th e workers is largely produced by the bourgeoisie. “A t this stage,” declares the Communist Manifesto, “ the large-scale cohesion of the w orkers is not th e result of th eir ow n unification b u t of th a t o f the bourgeoisie.” 1 T h e task of Social D em ocracy in R ussia is to replace a p a rt of the historical process by conscious intervention, a n d to lead the p ro le ta ria t from its political atom ization, w hich forms the foundation of the absolutist regim e, to th e highest form of o r­ ganizatio n, th a t of a fighting class, conscious o f its goal. T h u s the o rg an izatio n al question is p a rtic u la rly difficult for R ussian Social D em ocracy, not only because it m ust w ork w ith o u t all th e form al aids of bourgeois dem ocracy, b u t above all because in a certain w ay it m ust, like th e L ord G od, create out of n o th in g ,” in th in air, w ith o u t th e political raw m ate ria l w hich otherw ise w ould be p re p a re d by bourgeois society. T h e problem on w hich R ussian Social D em ocracy has la ­ bored for several years is how to effect a tran sitio n from the type o f divided, totally in d e p e n d e n t circles an d local clubs— w hich corresponds to the p re p a ra to ry , m ostly p ropagandistic phase o f the movement— to an o rg an izatio n such as is necessary for a unified political actio n of the masses in the en tire state. Division an d to tal autonom y, the self-rule of the local o rg an i­ zations, w ere the d o m in a n t characteristics o f the old type o f organization. In asm u ch as the old o rg an izatio n al m odel has 1 This passage of the Manifesto continues: “. . . which, in order to attain its own po­ litical ends, is compelled to set the proletariat in motion. . . .”

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becom e u n b e a ra b le a n d politically out o f d ate, it is n a tu ra l th a t the m otto of the new phase o f the g reat o rg an izatio n al work should be: centralism . T h e accen tu atio n o f th e idea of centralism was th e th em e of the th ree-y ear cam p aig n o f the Iskra in p re p a ra tio n for th e last P arty C ongress,2 w hich was, in fact, th e co n stitu en t assem bly of the P arty. T h e sam e idea is d o m in a n t am ong th e en tire young g u ard of Social D em ocracy in Russia. H ow ever, a t the P arty Congress, a n d even m ore so after it, it becam e evident th a t centralism is a slogan w hich does not com pletely exhaust the historical co n ten t a n d th e p a rtic u la rity of th e Social D em ocratic organization. O nce ag ain , it becom es clear th a t the M arx ist conception o f socialism c an n o t be fixed in rigid form ulas in an y area, in cluding th a t of th e question of o rg an i­ zation. T h e book w hich we a re review ing3 is w ritten by C o m rad e L enin, one of th e o u tstan d in g leaders a n d fighters of th e Iskra in its cam p aig n in p re p a ra tio n for th e P a rty Congress. T h e book is the system atic p resen tatio n of the u ltra -c e n tra list view ­ point in th e R ussian p arty . T h e conception expressed here in a rigorous a n d exhaustive m a n n e r is th a t o f a relentless cen ­ tralism . T h e life-principle of this centralism is, on th e one han d , the sh arp accen tu atio n o f th e distinction o f th e o rg a n ­ ized troops of explicit a n d active revolutionaries from th e unorganized, though revolutionary, m ilieu w hich surrounds them ; on th e o th er h a n d , it is th e strict discipline a n d th e d i­ rect, decisive, a n d d eterm in in g in terv en tio n of th e central com m ittee in all activities of th e local organ izatio n s of the party. It is sufficient to rem ark th a t, for exam ple, according to this conception th e cen tral com m ittee has th e pow er to o rg a n ­ ize all p a rtia l com m ittees of the p arty . T herefore, it can also determ ine the com position of th e personnel o f each in d iv id u al R ussian local o rg an izatio n from G eneva a n d Liège to T om sk 2 That is, the Party Congress of August 1903, at which the Bolshevik-Menshevik split took place. 3 What Is to Be Done?

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an d Irkutsk; it can give them its read y -m ad e rules of local o r­ g an izatio n ; it can dissolve a n d reconstitute these local groups by decree; an d finally, in this w ay it can indirectly influence the com position o f the highest p a rty au th o rity , th a t o f the p arty congress. T hus, the c en tral com m ittee ap p ears as the only active elem ent of th e p arty , a n d all the o th er o rg an iza­ tions sim ply as the tools w hich im p lem en t its decisions. L enin thinks th a t precisely th e unification of such a strict centralism w ith the Social D em ocratic mass m ovem ent is a specific rev o lu tio n ary -M arx ist principle. H e brings a series of facts to b e a r in support of his conception. Y et we m ust look m ore closely a t this. T h e re is no d o u b t th a t, in general, a strong tendency tow ard centralism is in h eren t in Social D em ocracy. Social D em ocracy grows in th e econom ic soil of capitalism , w hich itself tends tow ard centralism . Its struggle occurs w ithin the political fram ew ork o f the large, centralized bourgeois state. F u rth er, Social D em ocracy is fu n d am en tally a n outspoken o p p o n en t of every p articu larism a n d n a tio n a l federalism . It is called upon to represent, w ithin th e fram ew ork o f a given state, the totality of the interests o f the p ro le ta ria t as a class, as opposed to all p artial a n d group interests. T herefore, it follows th a t Social D em ocracy has the n a tu ra l asp iratio n of w elding together all n atio n al, religious, a n d professional groups o f th e w orking class into a unified party . It is only in exceptional, ab n o rm al cases, such as in A ustria, th a t it is forced to m ake a n exception in favor o f the federative p rin cip le.4 In this context, th ere n eith er was nor is any question o f R u s­ sian Social D em ocracy organizing itself into a federated con­ glom erate o f an im m ense n u m b er o f p a rtic u la r n atio n al an d provincial organizations. R a th e r, it m ust becom e a u n itary , com pact lab o r p a rty for the en tire em pire. T h e question, how ­ ever, concerning the g reater or lesser degree o f cen tralizatio n 4 The Austro-Hungarian Empire was a multinational state. Under the leadership of Victor Adler, the Austrian Social Democrats developed a federal relation with the na­ tional groups which operated within the Empire.

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an d its p a rtic u la r c h a ra c te r w ithin a unified a n d single R u s­ sian Social D em ocracy is a very different one. From th e stan d p o in t of the form al tasks of Social D em oc­ racy as a fighting p arty , centralism ap p ears, a t first, as a con­ dition on w hich directly d ep en d th e cap acity for struggle an d the pow er of th e party. B ut the specific historical conditions of the p ro le ta ria n struggle are m ore im p o rta n t th a n th e p o int of view o f th e form al necessities of an y fighting org an izatio n . T h e Social D em ocratic m ovem ent is the first in th e history of class societies w hich, in all its m om ents, in its en tire course, reckons on the organ izatio n an d th e in d ep en d en t d irect action of the masses. Because of this, Social D em ocracy creates a wholly different org an izatio n al type th a n th e earlier socialist m ovem ents, for exam ple, those of th e Ja c o b in or th e B lanquist type. L enin ap p ears to u n d erestim ate this fact w hen, in his book, (page 140 of th e original edition), he asserts th a t th e revolu­ tionary Social D em o crat is n o th in g b u t “ a J a c o b in indissolu­ bly connected w ith th e o rg an izatio n of th e class-conscious p ro ­ le ta ria t.” L enin sees the whole of th e difference betw een Social D em ocracy an d B lanquism in th e o rg an izatio n a n d th e class consciousness of the p ro le ta ria t as opposed to th e conspiracy of a small m inority. H e forgets th a t this difference im plies a com ­ plete revision of the concept of org an izatio n , a w hole new con­ tent for th e concept of centralism , a n d a w hole new conception of the reciprocal relatio n of the o rg an izatio n a n d th e struggle. B lanquism was no t based on the im m ed iate class conscious­ ness of th e w orking masses. T herefore, it did no t need a mass organization. O n th e co n trary . T h e g reat mass of th e people w ere to a p p e a r in the a re n a only in th e m o m en t of revolution. T h e p re p a ra to ry action for the revo lu tio n ary coup was the work of a sm all m inority. C onsequently, in order to succeed, the sh arp sep aratio n of those persons executing this mission from the masses of the people was directly necessary. T h is was possible an d p ractica b le because th ere was absolutely no in n er

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connection betw een the co n sp irato rial activity of a B lanquist o rg an izatio n a n d the daily life of th e masses. Because they h a d no connection w ith the soil of th e elem en­ tary class struggle, th e tactics a n d th e concrete tasks of the B lanquists w ere w orked out in the sm allest d etail— on the basis of free im provisation— a n d w ere fixed a n d prescribed in advance. T h u s, th e active m em bers of the o rg an izatio n n a tu ­ rally w ere transform ed into p u re im plem ents of a p re d e te r­ m ined will lying outside th eir ow n field of activity— into tools o f a cen tra l com m ittee. T his presents th e second m o m en t of a conspiratorial centralism : the absolute, blin d su b o rd in atio n of th e in d iv id u al organs of th e p a rty to its c en tral com m ittee, an d th e extension o f the decision-m aking pow er of this la tte r to the furthest peripheries of the p a rty organization. T h e conditions of Social D em o cratic action are rad ically different. T h is action grows historically out of th e elem en tary class struggle. It thus moves in th e dialectical co n trad ictio n th a t here th e p ro le ta ria n arm y is first recru ited in th e struggle itself, a n d too, only in the struggle does it becom e aw are of the objectives o f the struggle. H ere, org an izatio n , enlig h ten m en t, a n d struggle are not sep arate m echanically, a n d also tem p o ­ rally, different m om ents, as is the case w ith a B lanquist m ove­ m ent. H ere, th ey are only different sides of the sam e process. O n the one h an d , a p a rt from th e genera) p rin cip le of the struggle, th ere is no ready-m ad e, pre-established, d etailed set o f tactics w hich a cen tral com m ittee can teach its Social D em ocratic m em bership as if they w ere arm y recruits. O n the other h a n d , th e process o f th e struggle, w hich creates th e o r­ g anization, leads to a co n tin u al flu ctu atio n of the sphere of in ­ fluence o f Social D em ocracy. It follows th a t the Social D em o cratic cen tralizatio n can n o t be based on b lin d obedience, nor on th e m ech an ical subordi­ n ation of th e p a rty m ilitan ts to a c en tral pow er. O n th e other h an d , it follows th a t an absolute dividing w all c a n n o t be erected betw een the class-conscious kernel of the p ro le ta ria t,

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already organized as p a rty cadre, a n d the im m ed iate p o p u la r environm ent w hich is gripped by the class struggle a n d finds itself in the process of class enlightenm ent. For this reason, the construction of centralism in Social D e­ m ocracy, as L enin desires, on the basis of these two principles — 1) on the blin d su b o rd in atio n of all p arty organizations in the sm allest detail of th eir activity to a cen tral pow er w hich, alone, thinks, plans, an d decides for all; an d 2) th e sh arp sepa­ ration of the organized kernel of the p a rty from th e su r­ rounding revolutionary m ilieu— seems to us to be a m ech an is­ tic transfer of th e o rg an izatio n al principles of the B lanquistic m ovem ent of conspiratorial groups to the Social D em ocratic m ovem ent of the w orking masses. A nd L enin identified this perhaps m ore rigorously th a n any o f his opponents could w hen he defined his “ revolutionary Social D em o crat” as th e “J a c o ­ bin indissolubly connected w ith the org an izatio n of th e class­ conscious p ro le ta ria t.” T h e fact is, however, th a t Social D em ocracy is not b o u n d u p w ith the org an izatio n of the w orking classes; ra th e r, it is the very m ovem ent of the w orking class. Social D em o cratic cen ­ tralism m ust, therefore, be of essentially o th er coin th a n the B lanquist. It can be n o th in g b u t th e im perative sum m ation of the will of the enlightened an d fighting v an g u ard of the w ork­ ing class as opposed to its in dividual groups a n d m em bers. T his is, so to speak, a “self-centralism ” of the lead in g stratu m of the p ro le tariat; it is the rule of th e m ajority w ithin its own p arty organization. T h e investigation of th e p a rtic u la r co n ten t of Social D em o­ cratic centralism alread y shows th a t the necessary conditions for such a centralism could not be com pletely given in m odern Russia. T hese conditions are, nam ely: 1) th e existence of a notew orthy stratu m of p ro letarian s alread y schooled in the p o ­ litical struggle, a n d 2) th e possibility for these w orkers to ex­ press th eir influence a t public p a rty congresses, in th e p arty press, etc. T h e la tte r condition can, obviously, only be created w ith th e ad v en t of political freedom in Russia. T h e first— the

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b uilding of a class-conscious v a n g u a rd of the p ro le ta ria t c a p a ­ ble of self-direction:—is only now em erging, a n d m ust be seen as the p rin cip al goal of the next ag itatio n al a n d org an izatio n al work. T h e opposite conviction on th e p a rt o f L enin, according to w hom all th e preconditions for th e form ation of a large an d extrem ely centralized lab o r p arty in R ussia are alread y pres­ ent, is in this context all the m ore surprising. H e shows a far too m ech an ical conception o f the Social D em ocratic o rg an iza­ tion w hen he proclaim s th a t today “no t th e p ro le tariat, bu t m any intellectuals in the R ussian Social D em ocracy are in need o f self-education in the sense of org an izatio n an d disci­ pline” (page 145 in the original edition), a n d w hen he glorifies the ed u catio n al influence of the factory on the p ro letariat, w hich m akes it im m ediately ripe for “ org an izatio n a n d disci­ p line.” T h e “ discipline” which L enin has in m ind is im ­ p lan ted in th e p ro le ta ria t not only by the factory b u t also by the barracks, by m odern b u reau cratism — in short, by the whole m echanism of the cen tralized bourgeois state. It is n o th ­ ing b u t an incorrect use of the w ord w hen at one tim e one des­ ignates as “discipline” two so opposed concepts as the absence o f th o u g h t a n d will in a mass o f flesh w ith m an y arm s a n d legs m oving m echanically, a n d the v o lu n tary co o rdination o f con­ scious political acts by a social stratu m . T h e re is n o th in g com ­ m on to the corpselike obedience o f a d o m in ated class a n d the organized rebellion of a class struggling for its liberation. It is not by linking up w ith the discipline im p lan ted in him by the cap italist state, by the m ere transfer of a u th o rity from the h an d o f the bourgeoisie to th a t of the Social D em ocratic cen­ tra l com m ittee, b u t by breaking, u p ro o tin g this slavish spirit of discipline th a t the p ro le ta ria n can be ed u cated for the new dis­ cipline, for the v o lu n tary self-discipline of Social D em ocracy. T his sam e tra in o f th o u g h t shows fu rth er th a t centralism in the Social D em o cratic sense is not a t all an absolute concept which can be ap p lied in the sam e w ay to every phase o f the labor m ovem ent. R a th e r, it m ust be conceived o f as a tend-

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ency whose realizatio n progresses w ith th e progress in th e e n ­ lightenm ent a n d political ed u catio n of th e w orking masses in the course of th eir struggle. No doubt, th e insufficient presence today of the m ost im p o r­ ta n t presuppositions for th e com plete realizatio n o f centralism in the R ussian m ovem ent can have a form idable negative effect. Still, in our opinion, it is a m istake to believe th a t it is possible to substitute “ provisionally” th e “ tran sferred absolute pow er” of th e cen tral com m ittee of the p a rty for th e yet u n ­ realizable m ajority rule o f th e en lig h ten ed w orking class w ithin its own organ izatio n ; a n d it is a m istake to believe th a t the lack of open control by th e w orking masses over th e action an d conduct o f th e p a rty organs could be replaced by th e o p ­ posite: control by the c en tral com m ittee over th e activity o f the revolutionary w orking class. T h e ac tu a l history of th e R ussian m ovem ent gives m an y reasons for th e doubtful value of centralism in this la tte r sense. T h e o m n ip o ten t cen tral pow er w ith its u n lim ited rig h t o f in ­ tervention a n d control, such as L en in suggests, w ould be an absurdity if it h ad to lim it its a u th o rity only to m ere technical aspects of Social D em o cratic activity— to control o f th e ex ter­ nal m eans a n d resources of ag itatio n , such as th e supply of P arty literatu re, an d th e correct division of a g ita tio n a l and financial resources. L e n in ’s centralism w ould only have a clear political goal if it used its pow er for the creatio n o f a u n ita ry tactic in the struggle, for th e u n leash in g of a vast political a c ­ tion in R ussia. B ut w h at do we see in th e previous develop­ m ents of th e R ussian m ovem ent? Its m ost im p o rta n t a n d most fruitful tactical developm ents d u rin g th e last decade h av e not been “ in v en ted ” by several leaders of th e m ovem ent, a n d even less by any directio n al organizations. In each case, th ey w ere the spontaneous p ro d u ct o f th e m ovem ent in action. T his was th e case in th e first stage o f th e veritab le p ro le ta r­ ian m ovem ent in R ussia, w hich b eg an w ith th e ru d im e n ta ry ou tb reak o f the g ian t strike in P etersb u rg in 1896, an event w hich in a u g u ra te d the econom ic m ass action o f th e R ussian

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p ro le tariat. T h e sam e is tru e o f th e second phase, th a t of p o liti­ cal street dem onstrations, w hich began in a w holly sp o n tan e­ ous m a n n e r w ith the stu d en t ag itatio n in P etersb u rg in M a rc h 1901. T h e next significant tactical tu rn was th e mass strike in R ostov-on-D on, w hich opened new horizons. “ By itself,” w ith its street ag itatio n , g rea t o u td o o r m eetings, a n d public speeches— all im provised ad hoc— this strike was such th a t the boldest Social D em ocratic daredevil w ould no t have d are d to im agine it only a few years before. In all these cases, in th e beginning was “ the a c t.” 5 T h e in i­ tiative a n d conscious direction of th e Social D em ocratic o rg an ­ izations played an extrem ely lim ited role. T his was not, how ­ ever, the fault of the insufficient p re p a ra tio n of these specific organizations for th eir roles (th o u g h this m ay, to a certain d e ­ gree, have en tered into th e pictu re), a n d it was certain ly not th a t o f the absence of an all-pow erful cen tral com m ittee, as L e n in ’s p la n presents it. O n th e co n trary , such a cen tral com ­ m ittee w ould m ore th a n likely have only h a d th e effect of in ­ creasing th e indecisiveness of th e indiv id u al com m ittees of the p arty , a n d have brought forth a division betw een th e tu rb u le n t masses a n d th e tem porizing Social D em ocracy. T h e sam e p h en o m en o n — th e lim ited role of th e conscious initiative o f the p a rty direction in th e form ation of tactics— can be seen in G erm an y a n d in all o th er countries. In general, th e tactical policy of Social D em ocracy, in its m a in lines, is not “ in v en ted ” ; it is th e p ro d u ct of a progressive series of great creative acts in the often ru d im e n ta ry experim ents of th e class struggle. H ere too, the unconscious comes before th e conscious, th e logic of th e objective historical process before th e subjective logic o f its bearers. T h e role of th e Social D em o cratic lead er­ ship is, therefore, of an essentially conservative ch aracter. O n the basis of these new experiences, it attem p ts to develop the newly w on te rra in of struggle to its m ost extrem e conse5 The reference is to Faust’s monologue. This passage is often cited by Rosa Lux­ emburg.

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quences. B ut this a tte m p t reverses itself a n d becom es a b u l­ w ark against fu rth er g reat innovations on a w ider scale. T h e p resent tactics of G erm an Social D em ocracy, for ex am ­ ple, are universally a d m ired for th e ir rem ark ab le m u ltifo rm ­ ity, suppleness, a n d reliability. B ut this only signifies th a t in its daily struggle our p a rty has a d a p te d itself w onderfully, in the smallest detail, to the p a rlia m e n ta ry system, th a t it knows how to exploit the en tire field of struggle offered by p a rlia m e n ta r­ ism, a n d to do this in accord w ith its principles. A t th e sam e tim e, how ever, this specific tactical form so th o roughly covers the fu rth er horizons th a t, to a g re a t degree, the in clin atio n to eternalize, to consider the p a rlia m e n ta ry tactic as p u rely a n d sim ply the tactic of Social D em ocracy m akes itself felt. T his tendency is seen, for exam ple, in the fruitlessness of P arv u s’ a t­ tem p t d u rin g the past years to kindle the d eb ate in th e P a rty press concerning an eventual tactical change if suffrage rights are abolished, an even tu ality w hich is not considered im possi­ ble by the leaders of the P arty . T h is in ertia, how ever, can largely be explained by the fact th a t it is very difficult to pres­ en t the contours a n d conceptual forms of a not yet existing— hence im ag in ary — political situ atio n in the th in a ir o f ab stract speculation. W h a t is alw ays im p o rta n t for Social D em ocracy is not to prophesy a n d to preco n stru ct a read y -m ad e recipe for the future tasks. R a th e r, it is im p o rta n t th a t the co rrect histo r­ ical ev alu atio n of the forms of struggle corresponding to the given situation be co n tin u ally m a in ta in e d in the p a rty , a n d th a t it u n d e rsta n d the relativity of the given phase of the stru g ­ gle, a n d the necessary advance of the rev o lu tio n ary stages tow ard the u ltim ate goal of the p ro le ta ria n class struggle. H ow ever, to g ra n t to the p a rty leadership such absolute powers of a negative c h a ra c te r as L en in does is to artificially strengthen to a dangerous extent the conservatism in h e re n t in the essence of th a t institution. If the Social D em o cratic tactics are not created by a cen tral com m ittee b u t by th e whole p arty — or, b ette r still, by the w hole m ovem ent— th e n it is o b ­ viously necessary th a t the in d iv id u al p a rty organ izatio n s have

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the elbow -room w hich alone m akes possible th e u tilizatio n of the m eans presented by th e given situ atio n to stren g th en the struggle, as well as to develop the revo lu tio n ary initiative. T h e u ltra-cen tralism w hich L en in dem an d s seems to us, however, not a t all positive a n d creative, b u t essentially sterile a n d dom ­ ineering. L e n in ’s concern is essentially th e control of th e activ­ ity of the p a rty a n d not its fruition, th e n arro w in g a n d not the developm ent, th e h arassm en t a n d no t th e unification of the m ovem ent. Such an ex p erim en t seems doubly risky for R ussian Social D em ocracy a t the present m om ent. R ussian Social D em ocracy stands on the eve of g re a t revolutionary struggles for the over­ throw of absolutism . It stands before, or ra th e r, has alread y en ­ tered a p eriod of intensive creative activity in th e tactical realm a n d — as is usual in a revolutionary period— of feverish a n d vivid extensions a n d shifts of its spheres of influence. T o wish to p u t chains on the in itiativ e of the p a rty spirit a t such times, to wish to hem in its cap acity for expansion w ith a barbed-w ire fence, is, irom the outset, to ren d er it largely in ca­ pable of accom plishing th e g reat tasks of th e m om ent. From th e above consideration of th e p a rtic u la r co n ten t of Social D em o cratic centralism , it is, of course, n ot yet possible to deduce th e concrete form u latio n of th e p a ra g ra p h s of the o rg an izatio n al statu te of th e R ussian p arty. T h is form ulation n a tu ra lly depends, in th e last analysis, on th e concrete situ a­ tion in w hich th e activity of the given period takes place. Since in R ussia, however, it is a question of th e first a tte m p t at b u ild in g a large p ro le ta ria n org an izatio n , this form u latio n can h ard ly claim infallibility. It m ust first prove itself u n d e r fire. W h a t can, however, be ded u ced from th e general concep­ tion of th e Social D em ocratic o rg an izatio n are th e fu n d am en ­ tal principles a n d the spirit of th e organization. T hese im ply, especially a t th e beginnings of th e mass m ovem ent, th a t Social D em ocratic centralism has m ost o f all a co o rd in atin g , syn­ thetic c h a ra c te r a n d not a regulative a n d exclusive one. I f this spirit of political freedom o f m ovem ent, along w ith a p én étrât-

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ing vision of th e u n ity of th e m ovem ent a n d its adhesion to its principles, has ancho red itself in th e p a rty ranks, th en th e d e ­ fects of an y o rg an izatio n al statu te, even the m ost u n fo rtu ­ nately conceived, will very quickly undergo a n effective co r­ rection in practice. It is n o t th e text of th e sta tu te b u t th e sense and spirit which are b ro u g h t into th a t text by th e active fighters w hich decide th e value of a n o rg an izatio n al form.

II So far we have looked a t the question of centralism from th e stan d p o in t of the general principles of Social D em ocracy, an d to some extent from th a t of th e conditions o f m o d ern Russia. But the dom ineering spirit of th e u ltra-cen tralism advocated by L enin an d his friends is not, for them , a n accid en tal result of m istaken ideas. R a th e r, this project is related to L e n in ’s cam paign against opportunism , w hich is carried th ro u g h into the sm allest detail of th e o rg an izatio n al question. “ It is a ques­ tion,” says L en in (page 52 in th e original edition), “ of forging, by m eans of th e p a ra g ra p h s of th e o rg an izatio n al statutes, a m ore or less sh arp w eapon against opportunism . T h e deeper th e sources of opportunism , the sh arp er this w eapon m ust b e.” L enin sees th e absolute pow er o f th e cen tral com m ittee an d the strict statu to ry lim itatio n of th e p a rty as th e pow erful d am against th e o p p o rtu n ist cu rren t. H e designates as specific signs of this c u rre n t th e in b o rn predilection o f intellectuals for a u ­ tonom y a n d disorganization, an d th eir aversion to strict p arty discipline an d to every “ b u re a u c ra tism ” in th e p arty . L e n in ’s notion im plies th a t only th e socialist “ lite ra ti,” because of th eir inborn scatterbrainedness an d individualism , can be against such absolute a u th o rity of th e c en tral com m ittee. A n au th e n tic p ro letarian , on th e oth er h a n d , as a result of his revolutionary class instinct m ust feel a c ertain ecstasy a t th e strictness, rig id ­ ity, an d energy of th e highest p a rty com m ittees, an d m ust sub­ m it him self to all th e rough operations of “ p a rty discipline” w ith h ap p ily closed eyes. “T h e opposition of b u reau cracy to dem ocracy,” says L enin, “ is th e sam e as th a t of th e organiza-

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tional p rin cip le o f revolutio n ary Social D em ocracy to the o r­ g an izatio n al p rin cip le o f th e o p p o rtu n ists'5 (page 151 in the original edition). L enin stresses th a t the sam e opposition of the cen tralist a n d th e autonom ist conceptions is present in Social D em ocracy in all countries w here th e revolutionary a n d the reform ist or revisionist tendencies oppose one an o th er. H e points p a rtic u la rly to th e recent events in th e G erm an p a rty a n d th e discussions w hich arose concerning the au to n o m y of each voting district.6 For this reason, an ex am in atio n of L e n ­ in ’s parallels should n o t be w ith o u t interest or utility. Above all, it should be noted th a t the glorification o f the in ­ h eren t capacities o f the p ro le ta ria n for Social D em o cratic o r­ g anization, a n d th e distrust of th e “ in tellectu al55 elem ents of th e Social D em o cratic m ovem ent is n ot in itself a sign o f “rev­ o lu tio n ary M arx ism .” T h e affinity o f this w ith th e o p p o rtu n ist view can ju s t as easily be shown. T h e an tag o n ism betw een the p urely p ro le ta ria n elem ent a n d th e rio n p ro letarian socialist in ­ telligentsia is in fact th e com m on ideological cover u n d er w hich g a th e r such groups as th e h alf-an arch ist F rench “ T ra d e -U n io n -O n ly ” elem ents w ith th eir slogan: Méfiez-vous des politiciens! [Beware of politicians]; the English tra d e u n io n ­ ists w ho m istrust th e socialist “visionaries” ; an d , if o u r infor­ m atio n is correct, the form er P etersb u rg Rabochaya M ysl (the jo u rn a l Labor Thought), w ith its p u re “ econom ism ” a n d its transfer of th e lim itation s of tra d e unionism to absolutist Russia. In th e previous p ractice o f W est E u ro p e a n Social D em oc­ racy th e re can u n d o u b ted ly be seen a n u n d en iab le connection betw een o p p o rtu n ism a n d the intellectual elem ent, an d , on the oth er h a n d , betw een op p o rtu n ism a n d d ecen tralist tenden6 One of the main revisionist strategies was to argue that “special conditions” de­ manded such opportunist responses as, for example, the voting for the local budget, an electoral coalition, or a different agricultural policy. The revisionist-opportunist wing within German Social Democracy campaigned for years against “Berlin centralism.” As was seen in the “Mass Strike” essay, the trade unions succeeded in winning their actual autonomy from the party.

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cies in the o rg an izatio n question. H ow ever, to sep arate these phenom ena, w hich arose on a concrete historical base, from their context, m aking th em into a b stra c t m odels h av in g u n i­ versal a n d absolute value, is th e greatest o f sins ag ain st the “ H oly G host” of M arxism — nam ely, against its historicaldialectical m ode of thought. In the ab stract, we can only say th a t th e “ in te lle c tu a l,” com ing out of th e bourgeoisie an d therefore alien to th e p ro le­ ta ria t, can com e to socialism not in term s o f his ow n class feel­ ings b u t only by overcom ing these by m eans o f ideological developm ent. For this reason, the in tellectu al is m ore predis­ posed to o p p o rtu n ist escapades th a n th e p ro le tarian . T h e la t­ ter, insofar as he has no t lost th e living co n tact w ith his social base, w ith th e p ro le ta ria n masses, has a sure rev o lu tio n ary support in his im m ed iate class instincts. H ow ever, th e concrete form in w hich th e in clin atio n of th e in tellectu al tow ard o p p o r­ tunism , an d especially th e form in w hich this ten d en cy ex­ presses itself in o rg an izatio n al questions, in every case depends on the concrete social situ atio n w hich is d ealt w ith. T h e phenom enon to w hich L en in points in th e cases o f G er­ m an, F rench, an d Ita lia n Social D em ocracy grew from a wholly d eterm in ate social base— nam ely, from bourgeois p a r­ liam entarism . In asm u ch as bourgeois p a rlia m e n ta rism is, g en ­ erally, th e specific b reeding place o f the present o p p o rtu n ist cu rren t in the W est E u ro p e a n socialist m ovem ent, th e p a rtic u ­ lar tendencies of opp o rtu n ism tow ard d iso rg an izatio n also grow from it. P arliam en tarism supports not only all th e w ell-know n illu ­ sions o f m o d ern opportunism , as we have com e to know it in F rance, Italy, an d G erm an y — th e overestim ation o f reform work; th e co llaboratio n o f classes a n d parties; peaceful devel­ opm ent, etc. It also is th e soil on w hich these illusions can practically m anifest them selves, in th a t it separates th e in te l­ lectuals w ho are p a rlia m e n ta ria n s from the p ro le ta ria n mass an d raises th em above th e mass, b o th inside Social D em ocracy an d outside it. Finally, w ith the grow th o f th e lab o r move-

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m ent, this sam e p arliam en ta rism forms a sp rin g b o ard to p olit­ ical success for these intellectuals, easily becom ing a shelter for am bitious b u t shipw recked bourgeois lives. For all of these reasons, th ere exists a definite in clin atio n of the op p o rtu n istic intellectuals of W est E u ro p ean Social D e­ m ocracy tow ard disorganization a n d tow ard a lack o f disci­ pline. T h e second specific presupposition of th e present o p p o r­ tunistic c u rre n t is the existence of a n alread y highly developed stage o f th e Social D em ocratic m ovem ent, a n d therefore also of an in flu en tial Social D em o cratic p a rty organization. T his la tte r ap p ears as a bulw ark, p ro tectin g the revolutionary class m ovem ent against th e b o u rg eo is-p arliam en tary tendencies w hich w a n t to m ake it crum ble into pieces, to split it in such a w ay th a t the active kernel of the p ro le ta ria t is once ag ain dis­ solved in th e am orphous mass o f voters. It is in this w ay th a t the “ au to n o m ist” an d d ecen tralist tendencies of m o d ern o p ­ p ortunism arise. T h e y are no t a result of a n in h e re n t disorderliness a n d w eakness of ch aracter, as L enin thinks. T h e y have historically justified a n d d eterm in ed political goals to w hich they are well a d a p ted , arising from the needs of the bourgeois p a rlia m e n ta ry politician. T h ey are not to be explained by the psychology of the intellectu al b u t by the politics of the o p p o r­ tunists. All of these conditions are significantly different in absolu­ tist R ussia. O p p o rtu n ism in th e R ussian labor m ovem ent is, generally speaking, n o t a p ro d u ct of th e grow th of Social D e­ m ocracy or the decom position of bourgeois society, as in the W est. O n the contrary, it is a p ro d u ct of th e b ackw ard po liti­ cal situ atio n in Russia. T h e R ussian intelligentsia, from w hich th e socialist intellec­ tuals are recruited, clearly has a m u ch less d ete rm in a te class ch aracter, is m uch m ore déclassé (in th e strict sense of the term ) th a n the W est E u ro p e a n intelligentsia. F rom this an d th e im m a tu rity o f the p ro le ta ria n m ovem ent in R ussia, it fol­ lows generally th a t a m uch w ider space for th eo retical w an ­ dering a n d op p o rtu n istic vagaries is present. T hus, a t one mo-

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m ent one sees a total negation o f th e political side o f the labor m ovem ent; a t an o th er, th e opposite b elief in th e all-pow erful­ ness o f terro rist m eans; a n d finally th e m orass o f p o litical lib ­ eralism or “ philosop h ical” K a n tia n idealism appears. B ut not only bourgeois p arliam en tarism , w hich w ould be the positive su p p o rt for th e active ten d en cy of th e R ussian So­ cial D em ocratic intellectuals to w ard disorganization, b u t also th e corresponding psychological m ilieu does not exist in Russia. T h e W est E u ro p ean literati, d ed icatin g them selves to the cult of th eir alleged “ego” a n d to th e “ m o rality o f th e superior m a n ,” spread even into th e w orld o f socialist th o u g h t a n d struggle. T his lite ra ti are n ot typical o f th e bourgeois in ­ telligentsia in general b u t only of a d e te rm in a te phase o f its ex­ istence— nam ely, they are a p ro d u ct o f a d ecad en t, p u trescen t bourgeoisie cau g h t u p in th e vicious circle of its class d o m in a ­ tion. F or u n d erstan d a b le reasons, th e u to p ia n a n d o p p o rtu n is­ tic fads o f th e R ussian socialist intellectuals ten d to ta k e on the opposite theoretical form — th a t o f self-estrangem ent a n d selfflagellation. I f th e previous “ going to th e peo p le”— i. e., th e in ­ tellectu al’s com pulsory m asq u erad e as a farm er, living am ong the old “ sim ple folk”— was a doubtful invention o f th e in te l­ lectuals, th e sam e is tru e o f th e recent cru d e cult o f th e “ca l­ loused fist” established by th e supporters of p u re “ econom ism .” 7 If, instead o f atte m p tin g to solve th e o rg an izatio n al question by a m ech an ical transfer o f fixed m odels from W estern E urope to R ussia, one w ere to study th e a c tu a l concrete conditions in Russia, one w ould com e to a very different result. T o a ttrib u te to opportunism , as does L enin, th e tendency to prefer some specific form o f org an izatio n — say, d ecen tralizatio n — is to to ­ tally m istake its in n er n atu re. Being opportunistic, o p p o rtu n ­ ism, in th e question o f o rg an izatio n as well as in others, has 7 In her introduction to her German translation of Korolenko’s Die Geschichte memes Zeitgenossen, done while she was in prison during the war, Rosa Luxemburg paints a sympathetic and lively picture of the intellectual milieu of pre-1871 Russia, stressing the role of literature and culture in leading a backward nation to revolul ion.

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only one principle: th e absence o f principle. It alw ays chooses its m eans according to circum stances, provided these m eans suit its ow n ends. If, w ith L enin, we say th a t op p o rtu n ism is th e a tte m p t to cripple th e in d e p e n d e n t revo lu tio n ary class m ovem ent of th e p ro le ta ria t in o rd er to m ake it useful to the pow er-hungry bourgeois intelligentsia, th en in th e beginning stages of the labor m ovem ent this goal can m ost easily be reached not th ro u g h d ecen tralizatio n b u t precisely th ro u g h rigid centralism . It is by extrem e cen tralizatio n th a t th e still un clear p ro le ta ria n m ovem ent can be delivered u p to a h a n d ­ ful of intellectuals. It is characteristic th a t in G erm an y , too, a t th e beg in n in g of the m ovem ent, before a strong kernel of e n ­ lightened p ro letarian s a n d a tested Social D em ocratic tactic had b een developed, b o th tendencies w ere represented in the o rg an izatio n — nam ely, th e partisan s of a n extrem e centralism , represented by L assalle’s “G en eral A ssociation of G erm an W orkers,” a n d th e partisans of “ au to n o m ism ,” represented by the E isenach group. D espite th eir confused principles, th e ta c ­ tics of th e “ E isenachers” created a significantly g reater active p a rticip atio n of the p ro le ta ria n elem ents in the in tellectu al life of the P a rty , a g reater spirit of in itiativ e in th e w orking class itself (as was dem o n strated by th e ra p id grow th of a re m a rk ­ able n u m b e r of w orkers’ papers am ong this fraction), a n d gen­ erally a strong a n d h ealth y expansion of the m ovem ent. T h e Lassalleans, on the o th er h an d , w ith th e ir “ d ictato rs,” n a tu ­ rally h ad only sad m isadventures. In general, it can easily be show n th a t th e preferred o rg an i­ zatio n al tendency of o p p o rtu n ist intellectuals in conditions w here th e revolutionary p a rt of th e w orking masses is still dis­ organized a n d the m ovem ent itself is groping— in a word: w here conditions a re like those of m o d ern R ussia— is precisely rigid, despotic centralism . T his follows for the sam e reasons th a t at a la te r stage— in th e p a rlia m e n ta ry situation, w ith the existence of a strong, u n ite d lab o r p a rty — d ecen tralizatio n b e ­ comes th e ten d en cy of th e o p p o rtu n ist intellectuals. T hus, from the very sta n d p o in t of L e n in ’s fears of th e dan-

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gerous influences of the intelligentsia on th e p ro le ta ria n m ove­ m ent, his own o rg an izatio n al conception is th e greatest d an g e r for R ussian Social D em ocracy. N o th in g will deliver a still young lab o r m ovem ent to the in te lle c tu a rs th irst for pow er m ore easily th a n confining it in th e straitjack et o f a b u re a u ­ cratic centralism w hich degrades th e w orker to a p lia n t tool of a “com m ittee.” A nd, on th e o th er h a n d , n o th in g so surely p ro ­ tects the lab o r m ovem ent from a n am bitious intelligentsia as the in d ep en d en t revolutionary actio n of th e w orking class, as the increasing of th e ir feeling of political responsibility. Indeed, th a t p h a n to m w hich is h a u n tin g L en in to d ay can very easily becom e a concrete reality tom orrow . W e m ust not forget th a t th e revolution w hich will soon break out in R ussia is n o t a p ro le ta ria n b u t a bourgeois revolu­ tion, w hich will greatly change th e conditions of th e Social D em ocratic struggle. A t th a t tim e, the R ussian intelligentsia will rap id ly becom e im bued w ith bourgeois class ideas. T h o u g h today Social D em ocracy is th e only lead er of the w orking masses of R ussia, th e d ay after th e revolution will see the bourgeoisie— a n d in th e front ranks, th e intelligentsia— n atu rally w an tin g to use th e masses as a stepping stone to th eir p a rlia m e n ta ry dom inatio n . I f th e in d ep en d en t action, th e free initiative an d the political sense of th e m ost ad v an ced stratu m of the w orking class are no t let loose, if they are politically hindered a n d drilled by a Social D em o cratic c en tral co m m it­ tee, th en the gam e of th e bourgeois dem agogues in a ren o v ated R ussia will be m ad e easier, a n d th e harvest of th e present efforts of Social D em ocracy will tom orrow be found in th e barns of th e bourgeoisie. B ut above all, the fu n d a m e n ta l id ea of the u ltra -c e n tra list conception, w hich comes to a h ead in the notion th a t o p p o r­ tunism in th e lab o r m ovem ent can be p rev en ted by a p a rty constitution, is erroneous. U n d e r the direct influence of the most recen t events in F ren ch , Ita lia n , a n d G e rm a n Social D e ­ m ocracy, th e R ussian Social D em ocrats obviously ten d to con­ sider o pportunism in general as a foreign intrusion, alien to

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th e p ro le ta ria n m ovem ent, w hich is only b ro u g h t into the labor m ovem ent w ith the representatives of bourgeois dem oc­ racy. If this w ere th e case, the constitutional lim its of the organ izatio n in them selves w ould be powerless before this intrusion. T h e massive afflux of n o n p ro letarian s to Social D e­ m ocracy is th e result of deeply rooted social causes, such as the rap id econom ic collapse of the petty bourgeoisie, th e even m ore ra p id political collapse of bourgeois liberalism , a n d the w ithering aw ay of bourgeois dem ocracy. It is a naive illusion to im agine th a t one can stop this rising w ave th ro u g h this or th a t form ulation of the p a rty constitution. C onstitutions regu­ late the existence only of sm all sects or p riv ate societies; histor­ ical cu rren ts have alw ays know n how to pass th ro u g h the mesh of the m ost subtly w orded statute. F u rth er, it is totally erroneous to th in k th a t it is in the in te r­ est of th e lab o r m ovem ent to repel the massive afflux of re­ cruits w hich are set free by the progressive dissolution o f b o u r­ geois society. T h e proposition th a t Social D em ocracy is the representative of the class interests of th e p ro le ta ria t b u t th a t it is a t th e sam e tim e the representative of all the progressive in ­ terests of society a n d of all oppressed victim s of bourgeois soci­ ety is not to be understood as saying th a t in the p ro g ram of So­ cial D em ocracy all these interests are ideally synthesized. T his proposition becom es tru e th ro u g h th e process of historical d e­ velopm ent by m eans of w hich Social D em ocracy, as a political p arty, g ra d u ally becom es the haven of th e different dissatisfied elem ents o f society, becom ing a p a rty of the people opposed to a tiny m in o rity of cap italist rulers. But, Social D em ocracy m ust alw ays know how to subordi­ n a te the p resent pains of this colorful h erd of recruits to the u ltim ate goals of th e w orking class; it m ust know how to in te ­ g rate th e n o n p ro le ta ria n spirit of opposition into revolutionary p ro le ta ria n action; in a word, it m ust know how to assim ilate, to digest these elem ents w hich com e to it. T his, how ever, is only possible w here, as has been th e case in G erm an y , there exists a kernel of alread y strong, ed u cated p ro le ta ria n troops

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in Social D em ocracy w ho are conscious enough to pull along w ith th em the déclassé a n d petty-bourgeois recruits. In this case, a m ore rigorous ap p licatio n of the id ea of centralism in the constitution an d a stricter ap p licatio n of p a rty discipline can no d o u b t be a useful safeguard against the o p p o rtu n ist current. U n d e r these circum stances the p a rty constitution can, no doubt, be an effective w eapon in the struggle against o p p o r­ tunism , as in fact it has been for the revolutionary F ren ch So­ cial D em ocracy in fighting off the assault of the J a u rè s ia n con­ fusion. Such a revision of the constitution of the G erm an p a rty has now becom e a necessity. But, in this case too, the p arty constitution should not be seen as a kind of self-sufficient w eapon against opportunism b u t m erely as a n external m eans through w hich the decisive influence of the present revolution­ ary -p ro letarian m ajority of the p a rty can be exercised. W hen such a m ajority is lacking, the m ost rigorous w ritten constitu­ tion can n o t act in its place. H ow ever, the influx of bourgeois elem ents, as we said, is far from being the only source of the o p p o rtu n ist c u rre n t in Social D em ocracy. T h e oth er source lies in the essence of the Social D em ocratic struggle itself, in its in tern al contradictions. T h e w orld-historical advance of the p ro le ta ria t to its victory is a process whose p artic u la rity lies in the fact th a t here, for the first tim e in history, the masses of the people them selves, against all ruling classes, are expressing th e ir will. B ut this will can only be realized outside of a n d beyond the present society. O n the oth er h an d , this will can only develop in the daily struggle w ith the established order, thus, only w ithin its fram e­ work. T h e unification of the g reat mass of the people w ith a goal th a t goes beyond the whole established order, of the daily struggle w ith the revolutionary overthrow — this is th e d ialecti­ cal contradiction of the Social D em ocratic m ovem ent w hich m ust develop consistently betw een two obstacles: the loss of its mass c h a ra c te r an d th e a b a n d o n m e n t of its goal, becom ing a sect an d becom ing a bourgeois reform ist m ovem ent. For this reason it is a totally ahistorical illusion to th in k th a t

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th è revolutionary Social D em ocratic tactic can be p red e ter­ m ined once a n d for all, th a t th e lab o r m ovem ent can be d e­ fended once a n d for all against o p p o rtu n ist escapades. O f course, th e M arxist doctrine gives us d evastating w eapons against all the fu n d am en tal kinds o f opportunist thought. But, inasm uch as the Social D em ocratic m ovem ent is a mass m ove­ m ent, an d th e obstacles th re a te n in g it do not arise from h u m a n heads b u t from social conditions, th e o p p o rtu n ist errors cannot be w ard ed off in advance; only after they have taken on tan g ib le forms in p ractice can they be overcom e th ro u g h the m ovem ent itself—w ith th e aid o f th e w eapons o f M arxist theory, o f course. Looked at from this angle, op p o rtu n ism a p ­ pears as a p ro d u ct of the lab o r m ovem ent itself, as a n u n av o id ­ able m o m en t in its historical developm ent. In R ussia, w here Social D em ocracy is still y oung a n d w here th e political condi­ tions o f th e lab o r m ovem ent are so ab n o rm al, opportunism seems, for th e present, to arise largely from the unavoidable tactical groping a n d ex perim en tatio n , from the necessity of b ringing the present struggle in all its peculiarities into h a r­ m ony w ith the principles of socialism. I f this is th e case, th en it is even m ore astonishing to thin k th at, at the very beginnings of th e lab o r m ovem ent, one could prevent th e a p p e a ra n c e of the o p p ortunist cu rre n t th ro u g h this or th a t p a ra g ra p h of th e p a rty constitution. T h e attem p t to exorcise opp o rtu n ism by m eans o f a scrap o f p a p e r can in fact only affect Social D em ocracy itself, in th a t it paralyzes its living pulse a n d w eakens its cap acity for resistance not only in th e struggle against o pportun ist cu rren ts b u t also, m ore im p o r­ tan tly , against the established order. T h e m eans tu rn s against the ends. M oreover, in this anxious a tte m p t of a p a rt o f R ussian So­ cial D em ocracy to protect the very prom ising a n d vigorously progressing R ussian lab o r m ovem ent from erro r th ro u g h the g u ard ian sh ip of a n om niscient a n d om nipresent c en tral com ­ m ittee, we see th e sam e subjectivism w hich has alread y played m ore th a n one trick on th e socialist m ovem ent in R ussia. It is

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indeed droll to see the m ad capers w hich th e h o n o rab le h u m an subject of history has th o u g h t it p ro p er to c arry out. T h e ego, knocked ou t a n d pulverized by R ussian absolutism , takes its revenge in its revolutionary dream -w orld by placing itself on th e th ro n e a n d declarin g itself to be all-pow erful— as a conspiratorial com m ittee acting in th e n am e of a nonexistent “ people’s w ill.” 8 T h e “ object,” how ever, proves itself to be stronger; th e knout soon trium phs, proving itself to be th e “ le­ g itim ate” expression of th e given stage of th e historical process. Finally, an o th e r leg itim ate child of th e historical process a p ­ pears in th e p ictu re— th e R ussian labor m ovem ent, w hich m akes a beautiful beginning a t creating, for th e first tim e in R ussian history, the tru e will of th e people. B ut now th e “ ego” of the R ussian revolutionary quickly tu rn s upside dow n an d declares itself once ag ain as th e all-pow erful directo r c ' his­ tory— this tim e as his m ajesty th e cen tral com m ittee of th e So­ cial D em ocratic labo r m ovem ent. H ow ever, th e nim b le acro ­ b at fails to see th a t th e tru e subject to w hom this role of director falls is th e collective ego of th e w orking class, w hich insists on its rig h t to m ak e its own m istakes a n d to le a rn th e historical dialectic by itself. Finally, we m ust frankly ad m it to ourselves th a t errors m ad e by a tru ly rev o lu tio n ary labor m ovem ent are historically infinitely m ore fruitful a n d m ore valuable th a n the infallibility of the best of all possible “cen ­ tral com m ittees.” Translated by Dick Howard 8 This is a play on the Narodnaya Volya, the “People’s Will,” discussed already in “In Memory of the Proletariat Party.”

IV T he International

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R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s in tern atio n alism was m ore th a n ju st a phrase saved for the clim ax of mass m eetings. She took liter­ ally the saying th a t the p ro le ta ria n has no country. She took it for g ran ted th a t only th e w orld revolution of the p ro le ta ria t will p u t an end to cap italist oppression. T h e in te rn a tio n a l c h a ra c te r of the revolution is a p ro d u ct of the totality-perspec­ tive of th e dialectic. In th e discussion of th e role of th e party, R osa L u x em b u rg argued, following th e Communist Manifesto, th a t ‘‘Social D em ocracy is fu n d am en tally an outspoken oppo­ n en t of every p articu larism a n d n a tio n a l federalism . It is called u p o n to represent, w ithin th e fram ew ork of a given state, th e to tality of th e interests of th e p ro le ta ria t as a class, as opposed to all p a rtia l a n d group interests.” H e r in te rn a tio n a l­ ism w ith respect to the Polish question has been discussed. O th e r exam ples of h er a ttitu d e are presented in this section. T h e role of tra d itio n in a revolutionary m ovem ent has a l­ ready been considered. For R osa L uxem burg, the m ost im p o r­ ta n t d a te in the p ro le ta ria n c a le n d a r was M ay D ay. P a u l F rö ­ lich reports th a t h er first political article was on this subject— an d had to be rejected by Leo Jogiches because “unknow ingly, th e a g itatio n al p a m p h le t becam e a hym n in w ell-scanning verses.” E very year, she found new w ords an d im ages to glorify th e w orkers’ holiday a n d its revolutionary significance. T his was p a rtly due to the im p o rtan ce w hich th e M ay D ay celeb ra­ tion h a d tak en on for th e Polish workers. In G erm any, on the o th er h a n d , th e first M a y D ay celebration h ad gotten off to a bad start. In 1890, the S P D was ju s t em erging from its illegal­ ity u n d e r th e antisocialist laws, a n d its leaders— a n d Engels as 309

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well— did not w an t to risk an o th er stretch of illegality for such a trifle as an in tern atio n a l M ay D ay. By 1906, after th ey h a d proven th eir strength in th e question of the mass strike, the tra d e unions openly opposed th e M ay D ay celebration; a t the sam e tim e, they argued th a t th e In te rn a tio n a l h a d no pow er over th e decisions of th e n atio n al sections— a n interesting precedent for A ugust 4, 1914! As th e representative of th e S D K P iL to th e In te rn a tio n a l B ureau, R osa L u xem b u rg was directly involved in th e func­ tioning o f the Second In te rn a tio n a l. A fter 1906, one o f her m ore im p o rta n t activities in this body was to push it to tak e a resolute stan d on the overlapping questions of m ilitarism a n d im perialism . In reg ard to th e decisions of th e In te rn a tio n a l, as well as those of th e P a rty Congress, R osa L u x em b u rg m a in ­ tain ed h er “com m on law ” position. W h en th e question of the socialist response to a cap italist w ar was discussed a t th e 1907 S tu ttg art Congress of th e In te rn a tio n a l, a n d a ra th e r m ealym outhed resolution against th e w ar was introduced, she a n d L enin subm itted th e following am en d m en t: If the outbreak of war threatens, the working classes and their parliamentary delegations in the countries concerned, sup­ ported by the unitary action of the International Bureau, are obliged to use all means that they think most effective to pre­ vent the outbreak of war. These means naturally differ accord­ ing to the intensification of the class war and the general politi­ cal situation. Should a war break out in spite of this, it is their duty to intercede for its speedy end, and to strive with all their power to use the violent economic and political crisis brought about by the war to rouse the people and thereby to hasten the abolition of class rule. T h o u g h everyone was o f course against a w ar, it w as clear from the a ttitu d e of certain G erm an representatives (Noske especially) th a t they felt they w ere G erm ans first a n d in te rn a ­ tionalists second; th e “defense of th e F a th e rla n d ” was actu ally used as an arg u m en t against th e L u x em b u rg -L en in a m e n d ­ m ent. T h o u g h th e am en d m en t passed, w hen th e w ar broke

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o ut nonetheless in 1914, its authors, along w ith K a rl L ieb­ knecht, cam e to sym bolize its spirit. T h e question of im perialism h a d occupied R osa L ux­ em b u rg ’s a tte n tio n for years. In Social Reform or Revolution she h ad called atte n tio n to the colonial problem , as well as to the cen trality of the problem s of m ilitarism a n d ta riff policy. A rguing against Schippel in “ M ilitia an d M ilitarism ,” she h ad pointed out th a t his “ a tta c k only aim s a t one p o in t o f our political program . B ut in view of th e fu n d am en tal significance o f m ilitarism for the co n tem p o rary state, in p ractical term s this single p o in t alread y im plies th e ren u n ciatio n o f th e entire political struggle of Social D em ocracy.” D u rin g th e years leading u p to the o u tb reak of th e W orld W ar, a series of m ore or less m in o r flare-ups on the in te rn a tio n a l scene caused in te r­ n atio n al socialism to tu rn its a tte n tio n m ore an d m ore to the eventuality o f a w orld w ar; an d w hen th a t w ar finally did break out, no one could really say th a t he was surprised. It was in this context th a t R osa L u x em b u rg w rote h er m ajo r eco­ nom ic w ork, The Accumulation o f Capital, trying to explain the role played by the n o n cap italist w orld in the developm ent of capitalism an d its contradictions. C o in cid en t w ith the increasing tensions betw een capitalist lands, th ere developed after 1908 a n increasing restiveness in the w orking class, p a rticu la rly in G erm any. Discussion of the mass strike b egan ag ain ; polem ics w ere heftier, as can be seen in the second article on M ay D ay presented here. W ith in the SPD , a left w ing g rad u ally becam e identifiable, th o u g h its leading figures never th o u g h t for a m om ent of form ing a n o r­ ganized opposition or a new p a rty — as m odern com m unist his­ to rian s’ h in d sig h t tells us they should h av e.1 In 1913, th ree of the lead in g left-w ing figures— M archlew ski, M eh rin g , and L u x em b u rg — began to publish th e ir own sm all new spaper, the 1This judgment is by no means indisputable. As Serge Bricianer notes in Pannekoek et les conseils ouvriers (EDI, 1969; p. 43), the Dutch left did split from the rest of the party before the World War, with disastrous results. Rosa Luxemburg’s attitude toward this question is discussed below, and in the Introduction to Part V.

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Sozialdemokratische Korrespondenz. T h e goal of th e p a p e r was to m ake th e left-wing views know n in th e P arty , to a p p e a l to the masses in spite of th eir leaders. In o th er areas o f G erm an y , in Brem en a n d H am b u rg , for exam ple, oppositional groups began to grow, a n d th e mass strike tactic m oved in to th e cen ­ ter of discussion. W hen the W orld W a r broke out, th e Second In te rn a tio n a l folded like a card house, a n d alm ost w ith o u t exception its con­ stituent parties took a social-patriotic position, “ postp o n in g ” the class struggle. T h e effect of th e fall of th e In te rn a tio n a l is described by R osa L uxem burg in th e first section of h er ille­ gally published Junius Pamphlet. T h e n a tu ra l reactio n was to blam e th e leaders for b etray in g th e masses. R osa L uxem burg was not im m une to this tem p tatio n . H e r goal, how ever, was not sim ply to cast an a th e m a s a t this or th a t leader. T h e fault of the leaders was n ot to have sold o ut th e masses as if they were m ere com m odities to be used a n d abused by th eir lead ­ ers; such is the case in bourgeois revolutions. T h e fault of the p ro letarian leaders was to have persevered in th eir leadership roles, to have m a in ta in e d the p ro le ta ria t in a su b o rd in ate posi­ tion, to have failed to develop th e class consciousness a n d in d e­ pen d en t in itiativ e of th e w orking class. W h a t is im p o rta n t now, she continued, is th a t th e w orking class learn from its ex­ perience, u n d erstan d w h a t has h a p p e n e d a n d w h a t m ust be done now. T h e W orld W ar, w rote R osa L uxem burg, presents the w orld w ith a choice: Either the triumph of imperialism and the destruction of all cul­ ture and, as in ancient Rome, depopulation, desolation, degen­ eration, a vast cemetery. Or, the victory of socialism, that is, the conscious struggle of the international proletariat against im­ perialism and its method: war. This is the dilemma of world his­ tory, an E ither/O r whose scales are trembling in the balance, awaiting the decision of the class-conscious proletariat. . . . If the proletariat learns from this war to assert itself, to cast off its serfdom to the ruling classes, to become the lord of its own des­ tiny, the shame and misery will not have been in vain.

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T h e choice of Socialism or B arbarism is a w orld-historical choice w hich dem ands resolute action by the p ro letariat. In one of h er letters d u rin g th e w ar, R osa L u xem burg speaks of herself as having becom e “ as h a rd as polished steel.” T h e a rti­ cle “ E ith e r /O r ,” published as an illegal leaflet by th e S p artacus L eague, shows her resoluteness a n d refusal to com prom ise. B ut yet, before seeing this leaflet as a sign of her willingness to cause o rg an izatio n al scission for a prin cip led cause, it m ust be noted th a t w hen the oppositional R eichstag m em bers form ed the In d e p e n d e n t Social D em ocratic P a rty of G erm an y (U S P D ) a t G o th a in 1917, the S partacus L eague ad h ered to this g roup — a group led by the very people whose politics are attack ed in “ E ith e r /O r ”—-just as, previously, the left w ing h ad rem ained in th e SPD before the w ar an d d u rin g its early phases. W h en the S partacu s L eague did finally form th e G er­ m an C om m unist P arty , it was against the wishes of R osa Lux­ em burg. In the A ppendix to th e Junius Pamphlet, R osa L u xem burg presented a set of guidelines for th e reconstruction of th e In te r­ n atio n al; these guidelines w ere ad o p ted by the S partacus League, a n d are rep rin ted in “ E ith e r /O r .” H ere, h er in te rn a ­ tionalism expressed itself in its m ost concrete form, as the so­ cialist c o u n te rp a rt to capitalism -im perialism . W hether in peace or in war, the proletarian class struggle must be concentrated above all against imperialism. For the interna­ tional proletariat, the fight against imperialism is at the same time the fight for political power in the state, the decisive set­ tling of accounts between socialism and capitalism. The ulti­ mate goal of socialism will be realized by the international pro­ letariat only when it stands up against imperialism all down the line and, with its full strength and the courage to make extreme sacrifices, makes the slogan “W ar on war!” the guideline of its practical politics. T h e In te rn a tio n a l, states R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s program , should be given com plete pow er to decide th e actions of the n atio n al sections in questions of w ar. It is also to be given full say in the

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m an n er in w hich M a y D ay is to be celebrated. It is n o t su r­ prising th a t the leaders o f the U S P D w ould no t accep t these guidelines, w hich certain ly d o n ’t sound like th e views of a p ro ­ ponent of the so-called “ d em o cratic” altern ativ e to Leninism . Yet, R osa L u xem bu rg insisted: The world brotherhood of workers is the highest and most sa­ cred thing on earth to me; it is my guiding star, my ideal, my fatherland. I would rather lose my life than be untrue to this ideal. T h ere is no denying th e seriousness of this statem ent. It is no t m erely som ething th a t R osa L u x em b u rg to w hich she was giving expression. T h e In te rn a tio n a l n a tu re of capitalism creates an in tern atio n a l p ro le ta ria t w hich, actin g together, is the negation of the system w hich created it. “ R evolution in one co u n try ” w ould have been a m eaningless phrase to Rosa L uxem burg, as w ould be the notion of “ th e Socialist F ath erla n d .” H e r econom ic studies h ad shown h er this, a n d — if proof were needed— the ap p eal “T o th e P ro letarian s of All C ountries ’ m akes it clear on the basis of th e actu al experience of the beginnings of th e G erm an revolution.

W hat Are the Origins of May Day? T h e h a p p y idea of using a p ro le ta ria n holiday celeb ratio n as a m eans to a tta in th e eig h t-h o u r d ay was first b o rn in A us­ tralia. T h e w orkers th ere decided in 1856 to organize a day of com plete w ork stoppage to g eth er w ith m eetings a n d e n te rta in ­ m en t as a d em o n stratio n in favor o f th e eig h t-h o u r day. T h e d ay of this celeb ratio n was to be A pril 21. A t first, th e A u stra­ lian w orkers in ten d ed this only for th e y ear 1856. B ut this first celebratio n h ad such a strong effect on th e p ro le ta ria n masses of A ustralia, enlivening th em a n d lead in g to new ag itation, th a t it was decided to re p e a t th e celeb ratio n every year. In fact, w h at could give the w orkers g reater courage an d faith in th eir own stren g th th a n a mass w ork stoppage w hich they h a d decided them selves? W h a t could give m ore courage to the e tern al slaves of th e factories a n d th e w orkshops th a n th e m u sterin g o f th e ir ow n troops? T h u s, th e idea of a p ro le­ ta ria n celeb ratio n was quickly accepted an d , from A ustralia, began to spread to o th er countries u n til finally it h a d con­ q uered th e w hole p ro le ta ria n w orld. T h e first to follow th e exam ple o f th e A u stralian workers w ere the A m ericans. In 1886 they decided th a t M a y 1 should be the d ay of universal w ork stoppage. O n this day 200,000 of them left th e ir w ork a n d d em a n d e d th e eig h t-h o u r day. L ater, police a n d legal h arassm en t prev en ted th e w orkers for m any years from re p e a tin g this [size] d em onstration. H ow ever in 1888 th ey renew ed th eir decision a n d decided th a t th e next celeb ratio n w ould be M ay 1, 1890. Text from Ausgewählte Reden und Schriften, Il (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1951), pp. 16-18. Originally published in Polish in Sprawa Robotnicza (Paris), February 1894.

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In the m eanw hile, th e w orkers’ m ovem ent in E u ro p e h a d grown strong an d an im ated . T h e m ost pow erful expression of this m ovem ent occurred a t th e In te rn a tio n a l W orkers' C o n ­ gress in 1889. A t this Congress, a tte n d e d by four h u n d re d dele­ gates, it was decided th a t the eig h t-h o u r d ay m ust be th e first dem and. W h ereu p o n th e delegate o f th e F ren ch unions, the w orker L avigne from B ordeaux, m oved th a t this d e m a n d be expressed in all countries th ro u g h a universal w ork stoppage. T h e delegate of the A m erican w orkers called a tte n tio n to the decision o f his com rades to strike on M ay 1, 1890, a n d the Congress decided on this d ate for th e universal p ro le ta ria n celebration. In this case, as th irty years before in A ustralia, th e w orkers really th o u g h t only of a one-tim e d em onstration. T h e C o n ­ gress decided th a t th e w orkers o f all lands w ould d em o n strate together for the eig h t-h o u r day on M a y 1, 1890. N o one spoke of a rep etitio n of the holiday for th e next years. N a tu ra lly no one could p red ict the lightninglike w ay in w hich this idea would succeed an d how quickly it w ould be ad o p ted by the w orking classes. H ow ever, it was enough to celeb rate th e M ay D ay sim ply one tim e in ord er th a t everyone u n d e rsta n d an d teel th a t M ay D ay m ust be a yearly a n d co n tin u in g in stitu ­ tion. . . . T h e first o f M ay d em an d ed th e in tro d u ctio n of th e eighth o u r day. B ut even after this goal was reach ed , M ay D ay was not given up. As long as th e struggle of th e w orkers ag ain st the bourgeoisie a n d the ru lin g class continues, as long as all d e ­ m ands are not m et, M ay D ay will be the yearly expression of these dem ands. A nd, w hen b e tte r days daw n, w hen th e w ork­ ing class of the w orld has w on its deliverance— th en too h u ­ m an ity will p robably celeb rate M a y D ay in h o n o r o f th e b itte r struggles a n d th e m an y sufferings o f th e past. Translated by Dick Howard

The Idea of May Day on the March In the m iddle of the wildest orgies of im perialism , th e w orld holiday of th e p ro le ta ria t is rep eatin g itself for the tw entyfourth tim e. W h a t has tak en place in th e q u a rte r of a century since the epoch-m aking decision to celebrate M ay D ay is an immense part o f the historical path. W h en th e M ay dem onstration m ade its debut, th e v an g u a rd of th e In te rn a tio n a l, th e G er­ m an w orking class, was b reak in g th e chains of a sham eful law of exception a n d setting ou t on th e p a th of a free, legal devel­ o p m en t.*1 T h e period o f th e long depression on th e w orld m a r­ ket since th e crash of the 1870’s h a d been overcom e, a n d the capitalist econom y h ad ju st begun a phase of splendid grow th w hich w ould last n early a decade. A t the sam e tim e, after tw enty years o f u n b ro k en peace, th e w orld b reath ed a sigh of relief, rem em bering the period o f w ar in w hich th e m odern E u ro p ean state system h a d received its bloody baptism . T h e p a th seem ed free for a peaceful cu ltu ra l developm ent; illu­ sions, hopes o f a reasonable, pacific discussion betw een labor a n d cap ital grew a b u n d a n tly like green corn in th e ranks of so­ cialism. Propositions like “ td hold out th e open h a n d to the good w ill” m ark ed th e beginning o f th e 1890’s; prom ises of an im perceptible “g rad u al m ove into socialism ” m ark ed its end. Text from Rosa Luxemburg, Gesammelte Werke, Bd. IV, Gewerkschaftskampf und Mas­ senstreik (Berlin: Vereinigung Internationalen Verlags-Anstalten, 1928). Originally published in Leipziger Volkszeitung, April 30, 1913. 1That is, Bismarck’s antisocialist laws, which were in existence from 1878 to 1890. Under these laws Social Democracy, its trade unions, and its press were made illegal, having the right only to participate in electoral campaigns.

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Crises, wars, a n d revolution w ere supposed to have been things of the past, th e bab y shoes of m o d ern society; p a rlia m e n ta rism an d unions, dem ocracy in th e state a n d dem ocracy in th e fac­ tory w ere supposed to open th e doors of a new, b e tte r order. T h e course of events has su b m itted all of these illusions to a fearful test. A t th e end of th e 1890’s, in place o f th e prom ised, sm ooth, social-reform ing cu ltu ra l developm ent, b eg an a p e ­ riod of th e m ost violent a n d acu te sh arp en in g o f th e cap italis­ tic contradictions— a storm a n d stress, a crashing a n d collid­ ing, a w avering an d q u ak in g in th e foundations of th e society. In the following decade, th e ten -y ear period of econom ic pros­ perity was p aid for by two violent w orld crises. A fter tw o dec­ ades of w orld peace, in th e last decade of th e past cen tu ry fol­ lowed six bloody wars, a n d in th e first d ecad e of th e new century four bloody revolutions. In stead of th e social reform s — conspiracy laws, p en al laws, a n d pen al praxis; in stead of in ­ dustrial dem ocracy— th e pow erful co n cen tratio n of c a p ita l in cartels a n d business associations, a n d th e in te rn a tio n a l p ra c ­ tice of gigantic lock-outs. A nd instead of th e new grow th of d e ­ m ocracy in th e state— a m iserable break d o w n of th e last re m ­ nants of bourgeois liberalism a n d bourgeois dem ocracy. Specifically in the case o f G erm an y th e fate of th e bourgeois parties since th e 1890’s has b ro u g h t: th e rise a n d im m ed iate, hopeless dissolution of th e N a tio n a l Socialists2; th e split of th e “ra d ic a l” opposition a n d th e reunification of its splinters in th e m orass of th e reaction; a n d finally the tran sfo rm atio n of th e “cen ter” from a radical peoples’ p a rty to a conservative gov­ ern m en tal party . T h e shifting in th e d evelopm ent of the parties was sim ilar in o th er cap italist countries. In g eneral, th e 2 The National Socialists (Nationalsoziale Verein) were founded in 1897 by the ex­ clergyman Naumann. Strongly influenced by the views of Max Weber concerning the role of the national state, Naumann argued that the workers must be organized to support the state, and that the state must be a “social kingdom,” caring for the needs of the workers. He opposed Social Democracy and attempted to organize the workers for the 1903 elections. The failure of his party in those elections led to its dissolution. Naumann later joined the liberal bourgeois Freisinn Party.

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revolutionary w orking class sees itself today stan d in g alone, opposed to a closed, hostile reactio n of th e ru lin g classes a n d th eir m alicious tricks. T h e sign u n d e r w hich this w hole developm ent, b oth eco­ nom ic a n d political, has been consum m ated, the formula back to w hich its results point, is imperialism. T his is no new elem ent, no u nexpected tu rn in th e gen eral historical p a th of the c a p i­ talist society. A rm am en ts a n d w ars, in te rn a tio n a l co n tra d ic ­ tions a n d colonial politics acco m p an y th e history of capitalism from its cradle. It is th e m ost extrem e intensification o f these elem ents, a d raw in g together, a gigantic storm ing of these con­ tradictions w hich has p rod u ced a new epoch in the course of m odern society. In a dialectical in teractio n , both cause a n d effect o f th e im m ense accu m u latio n of cap ital a n d th e h eig h t­ ening a n d sh arp en in g of the contradictions w hich go w ith it— in ternally, betw een c ap ital a n d labor; externally, betw een the cap italist states— im perialism has opened th e final phase, the division o f th e w orld by th e assault o f cap ital. A ch ain of u n ­ ending, ex o rb ita n t arm am en ts on la n d a n d on sea in all ca p i­ talist countries because of rivalries; a ch ain of bloody wars w hich h ave spread from A frica to E u ro p e a n d w hich a t any m om ent could light th e spark w hich w ould becom e a w orld fire; m oreover, for years th e unch eck ab le specter o f inflation, of mass h u n g er in th e w hole cap italist w orld— all of these are th e signs u n d e r w hich th e w orld h oliday of labor, after nearly a q u a rte r of a century, approaches. A nd each of these signs is a flam ing testim ony of th e living tru th a n d the pow er of the id ea o f M a y D ay. T h e b rillia n t basic idea of M a y D ay is th e autonom ous, im ­ m ed iate stepping forw ard o f th e p ro le ta ria n masses, th e politi­ cal mass action of th e m illions of workers w ho otherw ise are atom ized by th e b arriers o f th e state in th e d ay -to -d ay p a rlia ­ m en tary affairs, w ho m ostly can give expression to th e ir own will only th ro u g h the ballot, th ro u g h the election of th eir representatives. T h e excellent proposal of th e F re n c h m a n La-

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vigne a t the P aris Congress of th e In te rn a tio n a l ad d ed to this p a rliam en tary , indirect m anifestation of th e will of th e p ro le­ ta ria t a direct, in te rn a tio n a l mass m anifestation: th e strike as a d em onstration a n d m eans of struggle for the eig h t-h o u r day, world peace, a n d socialism. A nd in effect w h at an upsw ing this idea, this new form of struggle has tak en on in th e last decade! T h e mass strike has becom e an in tern a tio n a lly recognized, indispensable w eapon of the political struggle. As a d em onstration, as a w eapon in the struggle, it retu rn s ag ain in in n u m erab le forms a n d g ra d a ­ tions in all countries for nearly fifteen years. As a sign of the revolutionary réan im a tio n of th e p ro le ta ria t in R ussia, as a te ­ nacious m eans of struggle in the h an d s of th e B elgian p ro le ta r­ iat, it has ju st now proved its living power. A nd the next, m ost b u rn in g question in G erm an y — th e Prussian voting rights— obviously, because of its previous slipshod tre a tm e n t, points to a rising m ass action of th e P russian p ro le ta ria t u p to th e mass strike as th e only possible solution. No w onder! T h e w hole developm ent, the w hole tendency of im perialism in the last decade leads the in te rn a tio n a l w orking class to see m ore clearly a n d m ore tangibly th a t only th e p e r­ sonal stepping forw ard of the b roadest masses, th eir personal political action, mass dem onstrations, a n d mass strikes w hich m ust sooner or late r open into a period of revo lu tio n ary stru g ­ gles for the pow er in th e state, can give th e correct answ er of the p ro le ta ria t to th e im m ense oppression o f im perialistic po l­ icy. In this m o m en t of a rm a m e n t lunacy a n d w ar orgies, only the resolute will to struggle of th e w orking masses, th e ir c a p a c ­ ity a n d readiness for pow erful m ass actions, can m a in ta in w orld peace an d push aw ay th e m en acin g w orld co n flag ra­ tion. A nd th e m ore the id ea of M ay D ay, th e id ea of resolute mass actions as a m anifestation of in te rn a tio n a l u n ity , a n d as a m eans of struggle for peace a n d for socialism, takes root in the strongest troops of th e In te rn a tio n a l, th e G erm an w orking class, th e g reater is o u r g u a ra n te e th a t out of the w orld w ar

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w hich, sooner or later, is unavo id ab le, will com e forth a defi­ nite a n d victorious struggle betw een th e w orld of lab o r an d th a t of cap ital. Translated by Dick Howard

The Crisis in German Social Democracy {The Junius Pamphlet: Part One) T h e scene has fu n d am en tally changed. T h e six weeks’ m arch to P aris has becom e w orld d ra m a .1 M ass m u rd e r has becom e a boring m onotonous daily business, a n d yet th e final solution is not one step nearer. Bourgeois ru le is cau g h t in its own tra p , an d can n o t b a n th e spirits th a t it has invoked. G one is the ecstasy. G one are th e p atrio tic street d em o n stra­ tions, th e chase after suspicious-looking autom obiles, th e false telegram s, th e cholera-poisoned wells. G one th e m ad stories of R ussian students who h u rl bom bs from every bridge of Berlin, or of F ren ch m en flying over N ü rn b e rg *12; gone th e excesses of a spy-hunting populace, th e singing throngs, th e coffee shops w ith th eir deafening p atrio tic songs; gone the violent mobs, ready to denounce, read y to m istreat w om en, read y to yell Text from Politische Schriften, II (Frankfurt: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1966), pp. 19-32. Rosa Luxemburg probably adopted the pseudonym “Junius” in reference to the series of letters in the Public Advertiser from November 21, 1768, to May 12, 1772, which were signed “Junius,” and which are considered to be the “predecessors of the political lead article,” and a “pathbreaker of modern journalism.” (See Habermas, Struktunvandel der Oeffentlichkeit, pp. 72-73.) These original “Junius Letters” attacked the established government, revealing its corruption and the significance of certain of its actions. The original author, never identified, probably took his pseudonym from Lucius Junius Brutus, a legendary' Roman patriot who is said to have led a republican revolution in early Rome. 1According to the Schließen plan, drawn up in 1899 and continually revised by the Army, Germany would occupy Paris in six weeks, the time which, it was thought, Russia would need to mobilize. The plan was put into action on August 4, 1914, but stalled after a few days. 2 These were among the semi-official rumors which circulated during the first days of the war whose goal was to stir the population to a patriotic frenzy.

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“ H u rra h a n d w hip them selves into a delirious frenzy over every w ild rum or; gone the atm osphere of ritu al m u rd er, the K ishinev a ir3 th a t left the policem an a t th e corner as th e only rem ain in g representative of h u m a n dignity. T h e show is over. T h e G erm an sages, the vacillating spirits, have long since taken th eir leave. N o m ore do train s filled w ith reservists pull out am id the joyous cries of enthusiastic m a id ­ ens. W e no longer see th eir lau g h in g faces, sm iling cheerily a t th e people from the tra in windows. T h e y tro t th ro u g h the streets quietly, w ith th eir sacks on th eir shoulders. A nd the public, w ith a disturbed face, goes a b o u t its daily tasks. In th e sober atm osphere of pale daylight th ere rings out a different chorus: the hoarse croak of th e vultures a n d hyenas of the battlefield. T e n th o u san d tents, g u a ra n te e d according to specifications; 100,000 kilos of bacon, cocoa pow der, coffee substitute— for im m ed iate delivery, cash only! G renades, lathes, am m u n itio n pouches, m arriag e b u reau s for w ar w id­ ows, le a th e r belts, w ar orders— only serious propositions con­ sidered! A nd th e p atrio tic cannon fodder th a t was loaded into th e train s in A ugust a n d S eptem ber rots on th e battlefields of Belgium an d th e Vosges, w hile profits are springing like weeds from th e fields of the dead. T h e harvest m ust be b ro u g h t quickly into the barns. From across the ocean a tho u san d greedy h an d s w an t to take p a rt in the plunder. Business is flourishing up o n th e ruins. Cities are tu rn e d to rubble, w hole countries into deserts, villages into cem eteries, whole po p u latio n s into beggars, churches into stables. In te rn a ­ tional law, treaties, alliances, the holiest w ords a n d the highest au th o rities have been torn into scraps. Every sovereign by the grace of G od is called a cretin, an un faith fu l w retch, by his cousin on the oth er side4; every d ip lo m at calls his colleague in 3 A pogrom atmosphere. In April 1905 a particularly vicious pogrom took place during Passover, probably with the connivance—if not participation—of czarist of­ ficials. In her Introduction to Korolenko’s Die Geschichte meiner Zeitgenossen, Rosa Lux­ emburg speaks of this pogrom and the reaction to it among the Russian intelligentsia. 4 Queen Victoria of England was the grandmother of George V of England, Wil-

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the en em y ’s country a crafty scoundrel; each governm ent looks upon th e o th er as th e evil genius o f its people, w orthy only o f the co n tem p t of th e w orld. H u n g e r revolts in V en etia, in Lisbon, in M oscow, in S ingapore; plague in R ussia; m isery and desperation everyw here. Sham ed, dishonored, w ading in blood a n d d rip p in g w ith filth— thus stands bourgeois society. A nd so it is. N o t as we usually see it, p retty a n d chaste, p laying the roles of peace a n d righteousness, of order, o f philosophy, ethics a n d culture. It shows itself in its true, n ak ed form — as a ro arin g beast, as an orgy of an arch y , as a pestilential b reath , d ev astatin g cu ltu re an d h u m an ity . A nd in the m idst of this orgy a w orld-historical trag ed y has occurred: the c a p itu la tio n of Social D em ocracy.5 T o close one’s eyes to this fact, to try to hide it, w ould be the m ost fool­ ish, the m ost dangerous th in g th a t the p ro le ta ria t could do. “T h e D e m o c ra t” (th a t is, th e revolutionary p etty bourgeoisie), says M arx , “ em erges from the m ost sham eful dow nfall as spot­ lessly as he w ent innocently into it. W ith the stren g th en ed con­ fidence th a t he m ust w in, he is m ore th a n ever c ertain th a t he a n d his p a rty need no new principles, th a t events a n d condi­ tions m ust finally com e to m eet th e m .” T h e m o d ern p ro le ta r­ iat em erges differently from its historical experience. Its p ro b ­ lems are as gigantic as its m istakes. N o pre-established schem a, no ritu al th a t holds good a t all tim es, shows it th e p a th th a t it m ust travel. H istorical experience is its only teach er; its V ia Dolorosa to self-liberation is covered not only w ith im m easu ra­ ble suffering, b u t w ith countless m istakes. T h e goal of its jo u r ­ ney, its final liberatio n , depends u p o n th e p ro le ta ria t, on w hether it u n d erstan d s th a t it m ust learn from its ow n m is­ takes. Self-criticism , cruel, u n sp arin g criticism th a t goes to the helm II of Germany, Czarina Alexandra of Russia, Queen Maud of Norway, Queen Eva of Spain, and Queen Marie of Rumania. Hence, the “cousin monarchies.” 5 That is, the vote of August 4, 1914, in which the parliamentary delegation of the SPD voted for the war credits “in defense of the Fatherland.”

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very root o f things is life an d light for the p ro le ta ria n m ove­ m ent. T h e catastro p h e of th e socialist p ro le ta ria t in the pres­ en t W orld W a r is an u n ex am p led m isfortune for h um anity. But socialism is lost only if the in te rn a tio n a l p ro le ta ria t is u n ­ able to m easure th e depths of th e catastro p h e a n d refuses to learn from it. T h e last forty-five years in th e developm ent o f th e labor m ovem ent are a t stake. T h e present situation is a closing o f its accounts, a sum m ing-up o f the item s o f h a lf a c e n tu ry ’s work. In the grave of the P aris C o m m u n e lies b u ried th e first phase of the E u ro p ean lab o r m ovem ent a n d the First In te rn a tio n a l. A new phase has since begun. In stead of spontaneous revolu­ tion, revolts, a n d barricades, after each o f w hich th e p ro le ta r­ iat relapsed once ag ain into its passivity, th ere began the system atic daily struggle, the u tilizatio n o f bourgeois p a rli­ am entarism , mass organizatio n , th e w edding o f th e econom ic w ith the political struggle an d of socialist ideals w ith th e stub­ born defense of im m ediate interests. F or the first tim e the cause o f th e p ro le ta ria t a n d its em an cip atio n w ere led by the guiding star of scientific know ledge. In stead of sects an d schools, u to p ia n u n d ertak in g s a n d experim ents in every coun­ try, each alto g eth er an d absolutely sep arate from the other, th ere developed a unified, in tern a tio n a l, theoretical basis th a t u n ited the nations. M arx ist theory gave to the w orking class of th e w hole w orld a com pass by w hich to fix its tactics from h o u r to h our in its jo u rn e y tow ard the one u n ch an g in g goal. T h e b earer, the advocate, th e protector o f this new m ethod was G e rm a n Social D em ocracy. T h e w ar o f 1870 a n d the dow nfall o f th e P aris C o m m u n e shifted the cen ter o f gravity of th e E u ro p e a n lab o r m ovem ent to G erm any. J u s t as F ran ce was the classic site o f th e first phase of the p ro le ta ria n class struggle, as P aris was the to rn a n d bleeding h e a rt o f th e E u ro ­ p ean w orking class o f th a t tim e, so th e G erm an w orking class becam e th e v an g u a rd o f th e second phase. By in n u m erab le sacrifices in u n tirin g sm all tasks, it b u ilt the strongest, the m odel o rg an izatio n , created the greatest press, developed the

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most effective ed u catio n al a n d p ro p a g a n d a m ethods. It col­ lected u n d er its banners the m ost gigantic masses of voters, and elected the largest n u m b er of representatives to P a rlia ­ m ent. G erm an Social D em ocracy was generally acknow ledged as the purest in carn a tio n o f M a rx ia n socialism. It held and claim ed a p ecu liar prestige as teach er a n d lead er in the Sec­ ond In te rn atio n al. In his fam ous Preface to M a rx ’s Class Strug­ gles in France, F riedrich Engels w rote: “W h atev er m ay occur in other countries, G erm an Social D em ocracy occupies a p a rtic ­ u lar place a n d therefore, for th e present a t least, has a p a rtic u ­ lar d u ty to perform . T h e two m illion voters th a t it sends to the urns, an d the young m en an d the w om en who stan d b ehind them as nonvoters, are num erically the greatest, the m ost com ­ pact mass, the m ost decisive force o f the p ro le ta ria n in te rn a ­ tional arm y .” G erm an Social D em ocracy, w rote the Wiener A r­ beiter-Zeitung on A ugust 5, 1914, was “ the jew el of the organization of the class-conscious p ro le ta ria t.” In its footsteps French, Ita lia n , an d Belgian Social D em ocracy, th e labor m ovem ents of H ollan d , S candinavia, S w itzerland, a n d the U n ited States followed zealously. T h e Slavic nations, th e R u s­ sians a n d the Social D em ocrats of the Balkans, looked u p to the G erm an m ovem ent in boundless, alm ost u n q u estio n in g a d ­ m iration. In th e Second In te rn a tio n a l, G erm an Social D em oc­ racy played th e decisive role. In every congress, in the m eet­ ings of the In te rn a tio n a l Socialist B ureau, everything w aited upon the opinion of th e G erm ans. P articu larly in the fight against m ilitarism a n d w ar, th e p o ­ sition taken by G erm an Social D em ocracy has alw ays been decisive. “W e G erm ans can n o t accept th a t” was usually suf­ ficient to determ in e the o rien tatio n of the In te rn a tio n a l. Blindly confident, it gave th e leadership to the m u ch ad m ired , m ighty G erm an Social D em ocracy, th e p rid e of every socialist, the h orror of th e rulin g classes of all countries. A nd w h at h ap p en e d in G erm an y w hen th e g reat historical test cam e? T h e deepest fall, th e m ightiest cataclysm . N ow here

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was the org an izatio n of th e p ro le ta ria t p u t so com pletely in th e service of im perialism . N ow here was th e state of siege so u ncom plainingly borne. N ow here was th e press so thoroughly gagged, public opinion so com pletely choked. N ow here was the econom ic an d political class struggle of th e w orking class so entirely a b an d o n ed as in G erm any. But G erm an Social D em ocracy was not m erely the strongest v an g u ard ; it was the th in k in g b ra in of the In te rn a tio n a l as well. 1 herefore, th e process of self-analysis a n d a p p raisal m ust begin in it a n d w ith its case. It is in honor b o u n d to lead the w ay to the rescue of in tern a tio n a l socialism, th a t is, to proceed w ith u n sp arin g self-criticism. N o o th er p arty , no o th er class in cap italist society can dare to expose its own errors, its own weaknesses, before the whole w orld in the clear m irro r of criticism , for the m irro r would reflect th e historical lim its w hich stand before it a n d th e his­ torical fate b eh in d it. T h e w orking class can alw ays look tru th a n d th e bitterest self-accusation in th e face, for its weakness was b u t an error, a n d the inexorable laws of history give it strength a n d g u aran tee its final victory. T his u n sp arin g self-criticism is n o t only th e rig h t g u a ra n ­ teed it by its existence, b u t th e highest d u ty of th e w orking class as well. W e carry th e highest treasures of h u m an ity , whose o rd ain ed protector is th e p ro le tariat. W hile bourgeois society, sham ed a n d dishonored, rushes th ro u g h the bloody orgy to its doom , the in te rn a tio n a l p ro le ta ria t will re-form its ranks a n d g ath er th e golden treasures th a t w ere allow ed to sink to th e bottom in the w ild w hirlpool of th e W orld W ar, in the m o m en t of confusion an d weakness. O n e th in g is certain : the W orld W a r is a tu rn in g p o in t for th e w orld. It is a foolish delusion to believe th a t we need only live th ro u g h the w ar as a ra b b it hides u n d e r th e bush to aw ait th e end of a th u n d ersto rm , to tro t m errily off a t th e old accus­ tom ed pace w hen it is all over. T h e W orld W a r has changed the conditions of o ur struggle, a n d has changed us m ost of all. N ot th a t the laws of cap italist developm ent have changed, or

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th a t th e life-and-death conflict betw een cap ital a n d lab o r has dim inished or altered. Even now, in th e m idst of w ar, th e masks are falling an d th e old, w ell-know n gang sneers a t us. But the tem po o f developm ent has received a m ighty forw ard im petus through th e eru p tio n of th e im perialist volcano. T h e enorm ity of th e tasks th a t tow er before th e socialist p ro le ta ria t in the im m ediate fu tu re m ake th e past struggles of th e labor m ovem ent seem b u t a delightful idyl in com parison. H istorically, the w ar is o rd ain ed to give to th e cause of th e p ro le tariat a m ighty im petus. In Class Struggles in France, M arx, whose pro p h etic eyes foresaw so m an y historical events as they lay in the w om b of the future, w rote th e following significant passage: In France, the petty bourgeoisie does what should normally be done by the industrial bourgeoisie (i.e., fight for parliamentary rights); the worker does what should normally be done by the petty bourgeoisie (i.e., fight for the Democratic Republic); but who shall solve the problems of labor? They will not be solved in France; they will be proclaimed in France. They will nowhere be solved within national boundaries. Class war in French soci­ ety will be transformed into a world war. The solution will begin only when the world war has driven the proletariat into the leadership of that nation which controls the world market, to the leadership of England. The revolution that will here find, not its end, but its organizational beginnings is no short-winded one. The present generation is like the Jews who were led by Moses through the wilderness. Not only must it conquer a new world; it must go under to make way for those who are equal to a new world. T his was w ritten in 1850, a t a tim e w hen E n g lan d was the only capitalistically developed n atio n , w hen th e E nglish prole­ ta ria t was th e best organized an d , th ro u g h th e ind u strial grow th of its n atio n , seem ed destined to tak e th e leadership in the in tern atio n al w orking class. R e a d G erm an y instead of E ngland, an d the w ords of K a rl M a rx becom e a b rillian t prophecy of th e present W orld W ar. T h is w ar is o rd ain ed to drive th e G erm an p ro le ta ria t to th e leadership of th e people,

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a n d thus to create “ the o rg an izatio n al beginnings” of th e great in te rn atio n al conflict betw een lab o r a n d cap ital for th e politi­ cal pow er of th e state. H ave we ever h a d a different conception of the role to be played by the w orking class in the w orld w ar? H av e we forgot­ ten how we used to describe the com ing event, only a few short years ago? Then will come the catastrophe. All Europe will be called to arms, and sixteen to eighteen million men, the flower of the different nations, armed with the best instruments of murder, will make war upon each other. But I believe that behind this call to arms there looms the final crash. Not we, but they themselves will bring it. They are driving things to the extreme; they are lead­ ing us straight to a catastrophe. They will reap what they have sown. The Götterdämmerung67of the bourgeois world is at hand. Be sure of that. It is in the wind. T h u s spoke Bebel, th e speaker of our delegation in th e R eichs­ tag in the Morocco debate.1 T h e official leaflet, “ Im perialism a n d Socialism ,” published by the P a rty an d d istrib u ted in h u n d red s of thousands of cop­ ies only a few years ago, closes w ith the words: Thus the struggle against militarism becomes daily more and more clearly the decisive struggle between capital and labor. The threat of war, high prices and capitalism—peace, prosperity for all, and socialism! This is the question posed. History is rushing toward great decisions. The proletariat must, work unceasingly toward its world-historical task, must strengthen the power of its organization and the clarity of its understanding. Then, come what will, whether it succeed by its power in saving humanity from the horrible cruelties of the world war, or whether capitalism shall sink back into history as it was born, in blood and violence, the his­ toric hour will find the working class prepared, and preparedness is everything. 6 Literally, “The Twilight of the Gods.” The term has literary overtones due to Wagner’s use of it as the title of the concluding opera of his four-part Ring of the Niebelungen. 7 See Glossary.

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O n page 42 of th e official Handbook for Social Democratic Voters o f 1911, the d ate o f the last R eichstag elections, stan d th e fol­ lowing com m ents on th e expected w orld w ar: Do our rulers and ruling classes dare to demand this awful thing of the people? Will not a cry of horror, of scorn and indig­ nation take hold of the people and lead them to put an end to this murder? Will they not ask: “For whom and for what is all that? Are we insane that we should be treated in this manner, or should tolerate such treatment?” He who considers dispassionately the possibility of a great Eu­ ropean world war can come to no other conclusion. The next European war will be a game of va-banque? whose equal the world has never seen. It will be, in all probability, the last war. W ith this language, our present R eichstag representatives won th eir 110 seats. W hen, in th e sum m er o f 1911, th e Panther m ad e its m ove to A gadir, a n d the noisy ag itatio n of G erm an im perialists brought E urope to the precipice o f w ar, a n in te rn a tio n a l m eet­ ing in L ondon, on the 4 th o f A ugust, ad o p ted th e following resolution : The German, Spanish, English, Dutch, and French delegates of the labor organizations hereby declare their readiness to oppose every declaration of war with every means in their power. Every nationality here represented pledges itself, in accordance with the decisions of its national and the international congress, to act against all criminal machinations on the part of the ruling classes. W hen in N ovem ber 1912 the In te rn a tio n a l Congress m et in Basel, w hen the long tra in o f labor representatives en tered the C a th ed ral [where th e m eetings w ere held], a p resen tim en t of the com ing h o u r o f fate m ad e th em shudder, a n d a heroic re ­ solve took shape in every breast. T h e cool, skeptical Victor Adler cried out: Comrades! The most im portant thing is that we here at the common source of our strength, that we, each and every one of8 8 Literally, “to go for broke,” or “to risk everything.”

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us, take back from here the strength to do in his country what he can, through the forms and means that are at his disposal, to oppose this crime of war. If it should be accomplished, if we really should be able to prevent war, then we must make sure that this is the cornerstone of our coming victory. T hat is the sentiment which is the soul of the whole Interna­ tional. And when murder, arson and pestilence sweep over civilized Europe—we can think of it only with dread, indignation, and rebellion in our breast. And we ask ourselves: are the men, the proletar­ ians, of today really nothing but sheep; can they be led mutely to the slaughter? Troelstra spoke in the n am e of th e “sm all n atio n s,” a n d in th e n am e of th e Belgians as well: With its blood and with all that it possesses, the proletariat of the small nations puts itself at the disposition of the Interna­ tional in everything that it may decide to prevent war. Again we repeat that we expect, when the ruling classes of the large nations call the sons of the proletariat to arms to satiate the lust for power and the greed of their rulers in the blood and on the lands of the small peoples, we expect that then the sons of the prole­ tariat, under the powerful influence of their proletarian parents, of the class struggle and the proletarian press, will think again before they harm us, their brothers, their friends, in the service of this anticultural project. A fter he h a d read the a n tiw a r m anifesto in the n am e of the In te rn a tio n a l B ureau, Jaurès concluded his speech: The International represents the moral forces of the world! And when the tragic hour strikes, when we must sacrifice ourselves, this knowledge will support and strengthen us. Not lightly, but from the bottom of our hearts, we declare that we are ready for all sacri­ fices! It was like a R u etli pledge.9 T h e w hole w orld looked tow ard the C a th e d ra l of Basel, w here the bells, slowly a n d solem nly, ra n g to th e a p p ro ach in g g re a t fight betw een the arm y of labor a n d the pow er of capital. 9 In 1291, a secret meeting of Swiss patriots in the Ruetli forest pledged to oust the Austrians from Switzerland. A legend grew up about Ruetli. In 1940, Swiss officers took an oath of resistance to the Nazis there.

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O n the 3rd of S eptem ber, 1912, th e lead er of th e Social D em ocratic delegation, D avid, spoke in th e G e rm a n R eichs­ tag: I avow that that was one of the most beautiful hours of my life. When the chimes of the Cathedral accompanied the long train of international Social Democrats, when the red flags were planted in the nave of the church around the altar, when the emissaries of the people were greeted by the peals of the organ that resounded the message of peace, that was an impression I can never forget. . . . You must realize what happened here. The masses have ceased to be will-less, thoughtless herds. T hat is new in history. Hitherto, the masses have always blindly let themselves be driven against one another to mass murder by those who had an interest in war. That has stopped. The masses have ceased to be the instruments and foot­ men of war profiteers. O nly a week before th e w ar broke out, on J u ly 26, 1914, the G erm an P a rty papers w rote: We are no marionettes. We fight with all our might against a system that makes men the powerless tools of blind circum­ stance, against this capitalism that is preparing to change Eu­ rope, thirsty for peace, into a smoking slaughterhouse. If de­ struction takes its course, if the determined will for peace of the German, of the international proletariat which will be expressed in the next few days in mighty demonstrations should not be able to prevent world war, then at least it must be the last war, it must be the Götterdämmerung of capitalism. A gain, on J u ly 30, 1914, the cen tral organ of G e rm a n Social D em ocracy cried out: The socialist proletariat rejects all responsibility for the events that are being precipitated by a ruling class that is blinded to the verge of madness. It knows that, for it, new life will bloomfrom the ruins. All responsibility falls on the rulers of today. For them it is a question of existence! World history is the world court of judg­ ment! [Die Weltgeschichte ist das Weltgericht/] 10 10 This passage, often found in Marxist literature, comes from Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, Paragraph 340, and is, for Hegel, the metaphorical explanation of the transition

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A nd th e n cam e the u n p reced en ted , the incredible 4 th of A ugust, 1914.*11 D id it have to come? A n event of such im p o rtan ce is cer­ tain ly n o t a gam e of chance. It m ust have deep, extensive, ob­ jective causes. B ut these causes m ay also be found in th e errors o f the lead er o f the p ro le ta ria t, Social D em ocracy itself, in the failure of ou r readiness to fight, our courage a n d o u r convic­ tions. Scientific socialism has ta u g h t us to u n d e rsta n d the o b ­ jective laws of historical developm ent. M a n does no t m ak e his­ tory o f his own volition. B ut he m akes it nonetheless. In its action, th e p ro le ta ria t is d ep e n d e n t u p o n the given degree of ripeness of social developm ent. But social developm ent does not tak e place a p a rt from the p ro le tariat. T h e p ro le ta ria t is its driving force a n d its cause as well as its p ro d u ct a n d its effect. T h e actio n of the p ro le ta ria t is itself a co d eterm in in g p a rt of history. A nd th o u g h we can no m ore skip a period in o u r his­ torical d evelopm ent th a n a m a n can ju m p over his shadow , it lies w ithin ou r pow er to accelerate or to re ta rd it. Socialism is the first p o p u la r m ovem ent in w orld history th a t has set as its goal, a n d is o rd ain ed by history, to establish a conscious sense in the social life o f m an, a definite p lan , an d thus, free will. It is for this reason th a t F ried rich Engels calls the final victory of the socialist p ro le ta ria t a leap of h u m a n ity from th e a n im a l kingdom into th e kingdom of liberty. T his “ leap ,” too, is b o u n d by iron laws o f history, by the thousands of rungs of th e la d d e r o f th e p ast w ith its tortuous, all too long developm ent. B ut it will never be accom plished if the b u rn in g spark of th e conscious will o f the g reat masses of the people does not spring from the m a te ria l conditions w hich have been b u ilt u p by p ast developm ent. Socialism will no t fall as m a n n a from heaven. It can only be w on by a long ch ain of pow erful struggles betw een the old a n d th e new powers in w hich the infrom the level of the state to that of World History. For Marxists, of course, it refers to the lessons of the historical dialectic. 11 The day on which the Social Democratic delegation to the Reichstag voted as a bloc in favor of war credits.

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tern atio n al p ro letariat, u n d e r th e leadership of Soeial D em oc­ racy, learns a n d attem p ts to tak e its fate in its own hands, to take hold o f th e ru d d e r o f social life, to becom e in stead of the powerless victim of history, its conscious guide. F riedrich Engels once said: “ C ap italist society faces a d i­ lem m a: eith er an ad v an ce to socialism or a reversion to b a rb a ­ rism .” W h a t does a “ reversion to b a rb a rism ” m ean a t th e pres­ ent stage o f E u ro p ean civilization? W e have all re a d an d repeated these words thoughtlessly, w ith o u t a notion o f th eir terrible seriousness. A t this m om ent, one glance a ro u n d us will show w h at a reversion to b arb arism in bourgeois society m eans. T h is W orld W a r— th a t is a reversion to b arb arism . T h e triu m p h of im perialism leads to th e destruction o f culture, sporadically d u rin g a m o d ern w ar, a n d forever if th e period of world w ars w hich has ju st begun is allow ed to tak e its course to its logical end. T hus, we stand today, as F ried rich Engels prophesied m ore th an a generation ago, before th e choice: E ith e r th e triu m p h o f im perialism a n d th e destruction o f all cu ltu re an d , as in a n ­ cient R om e, depo p u latio n , desolation, degeneration, a vast cem etery. O r, the victory of socialism, th a t is, th e conscious struggle of the in te rn a tio n a l p ro le ta ria t against im perialism and its m ethod: w ar. T h is is th e d ilem m a o f w orld history, an E ith e r /O r whose scales are trem b lin g in th e b alan ce, aw aiting th e decision of the class-conscious p ro le tariat. T h e fu tu re of culture an d h u m an ity depends on w h eth er th e p ro le ta ria t throw s th e sword of revolutionary struggle w ith m an ly deci­ siveness upon th e scales. Im perialism has been victorious in this w ar. Its bloody sword of m ass m u rd e r has dash ed the scales w ith overw helm ing b ru ta lity into the abyss o f sham e an d misery. I f the p ro le ta ria t learns from this w ar to assert it­ self, to cast off its serfdom to the ru lin g classes, to becom e th e lord o f its own destiny, th e sham e a n d m isery will no t have been in vain. T h e m odern w orking class m ust pay d early for each devel­ opm ent o f its consciousness o f its historic mission. T h e Golgo-

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th a -ro a d o f its class lib eratio n is strew n w ith awful sacrifices. T h e J u n e co m b atan ts [of 1848], th e victim s o f th e C om m une, th e m arty rs o f th e R ussian R evolution [of 1905]— a n endless line of bloody shadows. B ut they have fallen on th e field of honor, as M a rx w rote of th e heroes o f th e C om m une, “ to be enshrined forever in th e g reat h e a rt o f th e w orking class.” Now m illions o f p ro letarian s o f all natio n s are falling on th e field o f sham e, o f fratricide, of self-destruction, th e slave-song on their lips. A nd th a t, too, could n ot be spared us. W e are tru ly like th e Jew s w hom M oses led th ro u g h th e desert. B ut we are not lost, a n d we will be victorious if we have no t forgotten how to learn. A nd if the m odern lead er o f th e p ro le tariat, Social D e­ m ocracy, does not know how to learn, it will go u n d e r “ to m ake room for those w ho grow up in a new w orld.” Z u rich , 1916 Translation by Dick Howard

Either / Or I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out o f my mouth. — Revelations, iii, 15-16. Com rades! You are all aw are of the split th at exists a t the very h e a rt of the P a rty opposition. In fact, m an y of you who are not in agreem en t w ith the c u rre n t state of affairs in the official P a rty a n d w ith its b u re a u c ra tic politics will be ex­ trem ely distressed a b o u t this split. “ Splits ag ain a lre a d y !” some will shout indignantly. “W o u ld n ’t it th en be necessary th a t a t least everyone w ho stands u p against th e P a rty m ajo r­ ity stick closely together an d act in harm ony? D oesn’t it w eaken the opposition a n d provide grist for th e m ill of th e m a ­ jo rity ’s politics if there are still arg u m en ts a n d disputes even am ong those who have th e sam e goal— nam ely, b rin g in g the P arty m ovem ent back onto the p a th of a fu n d am en tal p ro le­ tarian class politics?” O f course, com rades! If it w ere m erely a m a tte r of personal squabbling, of trifles, of an y petty obstinacy, oversights, or socalled “ d an cin g out of step ,” th en every serious person w ould have to call it an outrage, even a crim e, if a split in the h e a rt of the opposition h ad been b ro u g h t ab o u t for the sake of such insignificant things. But th a t is not the case, com rades! W h a t b ro u g h t a b o u t this Text from Ausgewählte Reden und Schriften, II (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1951), pp. 53350. An illegal pamphlet of the Spartacus League, April 1916.

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split are fu n d am en tal political questions, the whole conception of the ways a n d m eans to lead us out of the present hopeless plight o f the P a rty to a m ore h o n o rab le situation. L e t’s consider for a m in u te w h a t all is a t stake! O n A ugust 4, 1914, official G erm an Social D em ocracy, a n d w ith it the I n ­ tern atio n al, collapsed m iserably. E v erything th a t we h a d been telling th e people for fifty years, everything th a t we h a d d e ­ clared to be our m ost holy principles and h a d proclaim ed countless tim es in speeches, pam p h lets, new spapers an d leaflets— w ith one stroke all th a t was show n to be em p ty talk. T h e p a rty of th e in tern atio n a l p ro le ta ria n class struggle has suddenly becom e, as if th ro u g h an evil spell, a n atio n al liberal party; our strong organizations, of w hich we were so proud, have tu rn e d out to be com pletely powerless, an d we have gone from being the respected an d feared enem y of bourgeois soci­ ety to being the w eak-m inded a n d justifiably despised tools of our own m o rtal enem y, th e im perialist bourgeoisie. M o re or less the sam e steep decline of socialism has tak en place in other countries. T h e p roud old call, “W orkers of th e w orld, u n ite !” has been changed on the battlefields to the com m and, “W o rk ­ ers of the w orld, cut your th ro a ts!” N ever in the history of the w orld has a political p a rty gone b a n k ru p t so w retchedly, never has a m ore noble ideal been so disgracefully b etray ed an d h um iliated! T h o u san d s upon thousands of p ro letarian s in sham e an d rage could cry bloody tears th a t all they h a d held d e a r a n d sa­ cred has now becom e th e object o f m ockery a n d derision for th e w hole w orld. T h o u san d s upon thousands are b u rn in g to wipe o u t the stain, to cleanse the P a rty of the h u m iliatio n , in order to be able to b e a r th e n am e of Social D em ocracy again with h ead held high an d w ith o u t blushing. But every com rade has to keep one th in g in m ind: only a com pletely u n ited , clear, relentless policy can bring salvation from such a deep decline. H alfw ay m easures, vacillation, or a tim id seesaw politics can never h elp us. E very one m ust now say to him self, “ E ith e r /O r .” E ith e r we are n a tio n a l liberal

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sheep in a socialist lion’s skin— th en we will also have done w ith an y gam es of opposition; O r we are fighters of th e p ro le­ ta ria n In te rn a tio n a l in th e full significance of th a t w ord— th en a com plete jo b m ust be done of opposition, th e n th e b a n n e r of the class struggle a n d of in tern atio n alism m ust be u n fu rled openly a t all costs. A nd now, P a rty com rades, look a t th e previous so-called o p ­ position, as it was represented by L edebour, H aase, a n d th eir friends. A fter having obediently en d u red voting for th e w ar credits in the R eichstag four tim es in a row, a n d thus having m ade them selves accom plices in th e b etray al of socialism , on D ecem ber 21, 1915, they finally screwed u p th eir courage to vote against it in the full assembly. Finally! w orkers said to themselves. F inally a public ren u n ciatio n o f the politics of n a ­ tionalistic fraud. F inally a t least tw enty representatives in P a r­ liam ent who cherish socialism. T h e delusion was shortlived, a n d the only ones w ho could find com plete satisfaction in th a t “courageous a c t” were those w ho looked a t things q u ite super­ ficially w ithout investigating th eir basis w ith a critical eye. Geyer a n d his com rades in the R eichstag acco m p an ied th eir refusal of th e credit w ith a n e x p lan atio n th a t destroyed w h a t­ ever good they h a d accom plished w ith th eir vote. F or w hy did they vote against the credits this tim e? “ O u r n atio n al borders are p ro tected ,” reads th e ex p lan atio n . W h a t these good people w ere aim in g a t w ith those words, whom they th o u g h t they h a d to tak e into consideration, re ­ m ains th eir affair. T h e outsider, not in itia te d into th e g ran d diplom acy b eh in d the scenes w hich m ig h t have led to this ex­ p lan atio n , will u n d ersta n d it like this: T h e tw enty a p p a re n tly voted against the cred it this tim e because th e G erm an borders are protected. T hus, not because we are fu n d am en tally o p ­ posed to m ilitarism a n d w ar, not because this w ar is a n im p eri­ alist crim e against all peoples, b u t because [G enerals] H in d en burg, M ackensen, a n d K lu ck have alread y slau g h tered enough R ussians, F rench, a n d Belgians a n d g ain ed a foothold in their countries— th a t’s w hy a G erm an Social D em o crat can

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perm it him self the luxury of voting against the w ar ex p en d ­ itures! B ut in so doing, G eyer a n d com rades are placin g th e m ­ selves, in p rinciple, on th e g ro u n d o f the m ajo rity ’s politics. A ccordingly, they w ere su p p o rtin g th e im p u d en t frau d w hich from th e very beginning presented this w ar as a defensive w ar for the p ro tectio n of our n atio n al borders. W h a t separates them from th e m ajority is thus no t a fu n d am en tal conception of the w hole position on w ar, b u t m erely a differing ev alu atio n of the m ilitary situation. A ccording to the Scheidem anns, D a ­ vids, a n d H eines, th e G erm an borders still are not protected; according to the H aases, L edebours, a n d Geyers, they alread y are. H ow ever, every sensible person will have to a d m it th a t if you look only at the b are ev alu atio n of th e m ilitary situation, the stan d p o in t of the S cheid em an n -D av id -H ein es is m ore logi­ cal th a n the stan d p o in t of the L edebour-H aases. F or who w ants to g u a ra n te e th a t th e fortunes of w ar will rem ain on the side of G e rm a n m ilitarism in the future? W h a t reasonable general w ould w an t to sw ear today th a t th e tide c a n n o t possi­ bly tu rn a n d the R ussians p erh ap s re-en ter E ast Prussia? A nd if th a t h appens, th en w hat? T h e n th e L edebour-G eyerH aases, in consequence of th eir own ex p lan atio n , w ould have to vote in favor of the w ar credits. T h a t’s no t fu n d am en tal ta c ­ tics, b u t co n ju n ctu ral politics, cu t to fit th e m ilitary situation of the m o m en t; it’s th e fam ous politics from case to case, the old o p portunistic seesaw politics in w hich the P a rty indulged so gloriously on A ugust 4, 1914. But th e m a tte r has an o th e r very serious side. If, according to th e ex p lan atio n of th e L edebour-H aases, G erm an Social D em ­ ocrats can vote against th e w ar credits today because the G er­ m an borders are safe, th en w h a t ab o u t the F rench, Belgian, R ussian, a n d S erb ian com rades w ho have the enem y in their country? I t ’s as clear as d ay to th e sim plest w orker th a t this ex­ p lan ato ry proposition offers these com rades in o th er countries the finest p retex t for justifying th e ir natio n alistic policies. In fact, F ren ch com rades from the n atio n alist m ajority have a l­ ready sn atch ed it u p eagerly as th e best su p p o rt of th e ir own

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attitudes. A nd there we have ag ain the split in the In te rn a ­ tional; th ere we have ag ain the politics w hich leads th e social­ ists of various nations against each o th er ju st as im perialism has ordered it a n d n ot u n ited against the w ar a n d the ruling classes. A nd here we com e ag ain to the g ro u n d o f th a t politics of the m ajority w hich has ru in ed us a n d the In te rn a tio n a l. A nd now we ask, com rades, w hen you look a t these things seriously an d critically: was the vote o f L edebour, H aase, an d com rades on D ecem ber 21 a step forw ard? W as it the saving act th a t we h ad all been w aiting for w ith agony in o u r hearts, an d th a t th e masses h a d been longing for? N o a n d no again! T h a t vote w ith th a t ex p lan atio n was a step forw ard and a step backw ard; it was once m ore a n agreeable illusion th a t som e­ thing m ight take a tu rn for the b etter, b u t a n illusion b eh in d w hich a disillusionm ent all the m ore b itte r was unavoidable. A nd sure enough, the disillusionm ent followed close on its heels. It is clear th a t the vote ag ain st the w ar expenditures, even if it h a d n ’t been botched essentially by th a t u n fo rtu n ate explanation, still w ould no t exhaust the en tire politics o f the opposition, b u t w ould ju s t be the first step on a new p a th , a first perceptible signal to be followed all along the line by a vigorous, consistent u n d e rta k in g in the spirit of the class stru g ­ gle. W h a t have we experienced instead? Since then, L edebour, H aase, an d com rades have been resting on the laurels o f th eir refusal of the credits— they are lead in g a shadow existence. L e t’s take ju st a few exam ples. In the splendid Baralong affair,1 N oske’s speech a n d his how ling for bloody re taliato ry m easures against the English b ro u g h t such u n p reced en ted sham e on the Social D em o cratic P a rty th a t even respectable bourgeois liberals, if th ere were still such people in G erm an y , w ould have to blush for us. A fter A ugust 4, after everything th a t followed u p o n it, it seem ed th a t our P a rty was as deep in the p it as it could go. B ut the “ re -e d u c a te d ” social im perialists 1 On August 19, 1915, a German submarine was sunk by the British ship Baralong, and the shipwrecked Germans were fired upon by the English sailors.

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a re co n tin u ally brin g in g ab o u t new surprises. T h e ir political a n d m oral co rru p tio n doesn’t seem to be m easurable by the usual stan d a rd s at all. In the Baralong affair they even sur­ passed a n d sham ed the conservatives in inciting bestial w ar in ­ stincts. A nd after such an u n p reced en ted event, w h a t did a m an of the opposition, C o m rad e L edebour, do? In stead of re ­ nouncing an y connection w ith Noske a n d his kind in the nam e of the G erm an p ro le ta ria t, instead of dressing him down, L edebour jo in ed in the h u e an d cry himself, accepted in p rin ­ ciple the retaliato ry politics of N oske a n d com rades, an d rose only to beg for m o d erate ap p licatio n of the bestial principle. A ccording to the stenographic report, L ed eb o u r’s incredible words read as follows: “ G entlem en, in ev alu atin g the Baralong incident in itself, th a t is, th e o u trag e com m itted a t sea by E ng­ lish seam en against brav e G erm an seam en, I know I am at one with all the previous speakers. I decline from elab o ratin g on their statem ents a t all.” A nd those “ previous speakers” were: Noske of th e social im ­ perialists,2 S p ah n from th e center, Fischbeck from the F rei­ sinn, a n d K n u ten o ertel of the conservatives! L ed eb o u r was a t one w ith all these m en in ev alu atin g the affair. O nce again, su p porting in p rinciple th e m ajority politics of th e socialist traitors a n d backsliding into political h arm o n y w ith th e m id ­ dle-class p arties— th ree weeks after p reten d in g to raise the b a n n e r of the class struggle. L e t’s take an o th e r exam ple. In th e so-called “sm all p a rlia ­ m en tary questions,” 3 th e representatives in the R eich stag ac­ q u ired a n in v alu ab le w eapon, m ak in g possible in this pitiful assem bly of yes-m en a n d o bedient slaves of the m ilitary d ic ta ­ torship a co n tin u al resistance to the governm ent an d the b o u r­ geois m ajority, a co n tin u al d istu rb an ce of the im perialist p h a ­ lanx, a co n tin u al shaking up of the masses. In th e h ands of tw enty resolute representatives these “ sm all p a rlia m e n ta ry 2 That is, the SPD. 3 That is, the practice of having a part of the legislature’s time devoted to posing questions to the representatives of the government.

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questions” could becom e a real bullw hip, relentlessly cracking down on the backs of th e im perialist pack. W h a t do we see in ­ stead? L edebour, H aase, an d com rades h a v e n ’t th o u g h t ab o u t m aking use of this im p o rta n t w eapon. N o t one single tim e have they tried to ap p ly it. T h e y ju st leave it to K a rl L ieb ­ knecht alone to fight on all sides a n d defend him self am idst the how ling pack. But they are a p p a re n tly afraid of th e ir own courage; they sim ply d o n ’t d are go against th e tide a n d get out from u n d e r the th u m b of the m ajority of the Social D em o ­ cratic delegation. Yes, an d still more! W h en the im perialist R eichstag m ajo r­ ity, along w ith the m ajo rity of the Social D em o cratic deleg a­ tion, m ad e the move to destroy this w eapon of the “ sm all p a r ­ liam en tary q u estio n ” th ro u g h a rb itra ry censorship by the president o f the R eichstag, L edebour, H aase, an d com rades calm ly let it hap p en . T hese m en, w ho call them selves leaders of the opposition, supported this a rb itra ry act against a n im ­ p o rta n t m eans of shaking u p the masses. T h e y took p a rt in this new treason of the P a rty m ajority. And how did th e m a tte r stand on J a n u a ry 17, w hen th e m il­ itary questions w ere u p for d eb ate in the R eichstag, w hen a good o p p o rtu n ity was provided for criticizing u nm ercifully the entire doings of this dictato rsh ip of the sword, the bestialities of this w ar, for throw ing light on the w hole situ atio n a n d b rin g ­ ing out all the m ain problem s of the wrorld crisis? T h e re again L edebour, H aase, an d com rades failed com pletely. Scarcely four weeks after th eir a p p a re n t an n o u n cem en t of w ar an d change o f front on D ecem ber 21, a m iserable fiasco took place. P ure petty gabbing ab o u t noth in g b u t superficial trivialities like th a t w hich took place in the gray day -to -d ay p a rlia m e n ­ tary h u m d ru m of peacetim e— th a t’s all these leaders of th e o p ­ position rose to in the m ilitary question. A nd th a t, com rades, is the so-called opposition as L edebour, H aase, an d th eir friends u n d erstan d it. N o t a trace of logic, of energy, o f pluck, of fu n d am en tal acuteness; n o th in g b u t su p er­ ficialities, frailties, an d illusions. B ut we have really h ad

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enough of superficialities, frailties, an d illusions. W e know w here they have got us. No one w ould question the good intentions of a L edebour, a H aase, a n A dolf H offm ann. But the road to hell is also paved w ith good intentions alone. W h a t we need now is energy, logic, a n d acuteness. A h, ju st a little of the sam e energy, logic, an d acuteness w ith w hich our enem ies the ruling classes sup­ press us an d force us into the yoke of an im perialism already d rip p in g w ith blood. W hole m en, fearless, rugged fighters, th a t’s w h at we need, not seesaw politicians, not weaklings, not fain th earted accountants. A nd th a t the so-called opposition falls short of these d e­ m ands is d em o n strated best by the leaflet C om rades L edebour an d A dolf H offm ann have ju st p u t out. In it they criticize sharp ly an d reject the principles w hich a n u m b er of com rades from various places in G erm an y have ac­ cepted as the guide for th eir views an d th eir tasks in the pres­ en t historical m om ent. W e have quoted these guidelines in full below so th a t every com rade can judge for himself. T hese p rin ­ ciples are n o th in g oth er th a n the frank, honest, an d p lain for­ m ulation of the facts an d events as the W orld W ar has brought them to light in the lab o r m ovem ent. F u rth erm o re, they are the consistent an d resolute ap p licatio n of our old P arty principles to th e co n tem p o rary situation an d problem s w hich arise for all of us w hen we finally w an t to p u t in te rn a ­ tional socialism into practice. A nd this is w h at L edeb o u r an d H aase have tu rn ed against w ith th eir dogm atic objection. T h e y claim it’s out of place to m ake the socialist In te rn a tio n a l the decision-m aking cen ter of the whole w orkers’ m ovem ent; th a t it’s w rong to lim it the local offices in th eir free decisions concerning the w ar; th a t it’s im ­ p roper an d im p ractical to place the In te rn a tio n a l above the official channels of th e G erm an P a rty an d o th er parties. T h e In te rn a tio n a l should rem ain only a loose federative o rg an iza­ tion of n a tio n a l w orkers’ parties, w hich are to rem ain com-

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pletely in d ep en d en t in th eir tactics in w ar a n d peace alike, as they w ere before the o u tb reak of th e W orld W ar. C om rades! T h is gets to the core of the w hole situ atio n ; here is the vital issue of the w orkers’ m ovem ent. O n A ugust 4, our P arty failed, as the p arties of o th er countries have failed, b e ­ cause the In te rn a tio n a l tu rn e d o u t to be ju st em p ty talk, b e­ cause the decisions of th e congresses of th e In te rn a tio n a l showed u p as idle, ineffectual p rattle. If we w an t to p u t a n end to this h u m iliatin g state of affairs, if we w an t to p rev en t a re p ­ etition of the failure of A ugust 4, 1914, th en th ere is only one w ay an d one salvation for us: to ch an g e the in te rn a tio n a l soli­ darity of the p ro le ta ria t from a p re tty p hrase into an actual, deadly serious, an d sacred m axim , to change the socialist I n ­ tern atio n al from hollow pom p into a real pow er an d build it u p to a solid d am against w hich the future waves of cap italist im perialism will break. If we w a n t to raise ourselves from the abyss of disgrace into w hich we have plunged, th en we m ust educate the G erm ans as well as the F ren ch an d every other class-conscious p ro le ta ria n in this thou g h t. T h e w orld b ro th e r­ hood of workers is the highest a n d m ost sacred th in g on ea rth to me; it is m y guiding star, m y ideal, m y fath erlan d . I w ould ra th e r lose m y life th a n be u n tru e to this ideal! And now C om rades L edebour a n d H offm ann d o n ’t w an t to have an y th in g to do w ith all th a t. A fter the w ar they sim ply w ant to re-establish the sam e old w retchedness: Every n atio n al p arty w ould have free rein the sam e as ever to tre a t the d e ­ cisions of the In te rn a tio n a l as so m uch hot air. A ccording to them , we should go back to h av in g splendid congresses, fine speeches, fireworks of enthusiasm , th re a te n in g m anifestos, an d bold resolutions every few years. B ut w hen it comes to action, the In te rn a tio n a l should ag ain stan d there u tterly powerless an d yield to the deceitful phrases of “ defense of th e F ath erla n d ,” as a ghost in the n ig h t yields to the bloody reality. So L edebour an d com rades have learn ed n o th in g from this w ar. But, com rades, th ere is no worse testim ony to a politician, to a fighter, th a n th a t he is u n ab le to learn from the h a rd

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school of history. N o one w ho has to m ake decisions in the g reat th ro n g a n d tu m u lt of struggle in w orld history is im m une to m istakes. B ut to fail to recognize o n e’s m istakes, to be u n ­ able to learn from them , to em erge from all the sham e a n d still be u n te a c h a b le — th a t borders on crim e. C om rades, if this sea of blood th ro u g h w hich we are w ading, if the horrible m oral decline o f the In te rn a tio n a l does not lead us to b etter insight a n d a sure p a th , th en we can tru ly let them bury us. T h e n aw ay w ith the in te rn a tio n a l phrases, aw ay w ith the sam e old lying stories, aw ay w ith the deception of* the masses o f the peo­ ple w ho will justifiably w an t to spit on us if we re tu rn after this w ar as the sam e old u n tea c h a b le w ord-heroes to expound in front o f th em th e idea o f a b ro th erh o o d of peoples w ith o u t ever acting in term s o f it. H ere, too, com rades, it is E ith e r/O r! E ith er we b etray the In te rn a tio n a l clearly a n d shamelessly, as H eine, D avid, S cheidem ann have done. O r we tak e it seriously a n d m ake it a solid fortress, a bulw ark o f the w orldw ide socialist p ro le tariat a n d of w orld peace. T h e re is no room today for m iddle-of-theroad, h alfh earted , or w ishy-w ashy program s. A nd th a t’s w hy it is im possible for an y real opposition to take a concerted action in com m on w ith people w ho share the view point of C om rades L edebour a n d H offm ann. C om rades! D o n ’t be c au g h t by the old phrase ab o u t the u n ity w hich w ould build strength. Even the S cheidem anns a n d E berts of th e P a rty ’s executive com m ittee are peddling this catchw ord now. Indeed, un io n m akes strength— b u t union of firm, in n er conviction, not an ex tern al m echanical coupling of elem ents th a t oppose each o th er internally. S tren g th lies not in our num bers, b u t in our spirit, in the clarity an d energy a n i­ m atin g us. H ow we fancied ourselves strong, how we boasted of our four m illion supporters before th e w ar, an d yet how our strength folded a t the first test, like a house of cards.4 H ere too 4 In the 1912 Reichstag elections the SPD received 4,250,000 votes, representing 34.8 percent of the votes cast and giving them 110 seats in the Reichstag. Despite the fact that this made them the largest party in the Reichstag, the SPD was unable to use its mandates to good advantage.

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a lesson m ust be d raw n from our disillusionm ents. W e can n o t slum p back into the old errors again! If we w an t to m ak e an energetic stand against th e p a rty status quo a n d its p a rlia m e n ­ tary delegation, then a clear, consistent, energetic policy is necessary; th en we c an n o t look to the rig h t or th e left, b u t rath er rally ’ro u n d a visible b a n n e r, ju st as those very p rin ­ ciples despised by L ed eb o u r an d com rades have described it. Away w ith all halfw ay a n d w avering m easures! Eyes set firm ly on the goal an d the class struggle tak en u p ruthlessly all along the line in the spirit of the In te rn atio n al! T h a t is our task, th a t is the ground on w hich we are assem bled. W hoever seriously an d honestly desires the resurrection of socialism c a n ’t help com ing to us, if not today, then tom orrow . C om rades, assem ble yourselves everyw here a ro u n d these principles th a t po in t out th e rest of th e w ay for us, an d tu rn all your strength to m aking your thoughts into actions. In this whole country, in all countries, the p ro le ta ria n masses, e n ­ slaved an d bled w hite, are longing for a resolute p ro le ta ria n politics w hich alone can save th em from the hell of th e status quo. It is our task, our duty, to ad v an ce th a t h o u r o f salvation by exerting ourselves to th e very last in a relentless class struggle. T herefore, u p w ith the class struggle! U p w ith th e In te rn a ­ tional ! A considerable number o f comradesfrom all parts o f Germany have ac­ cepted the following principles, which represent an application o f the Er­ furt Program to the contemporary problems o f international socialism:5 1. T h e W orld W a r has destroyed th e results of forty y ears’ labor of E u ro p ean socialism by destroying the m oral prestige of socialism an d the significance of the revo lu tio n ary w orking class as a factor of political pow er, by b reak in g u p th e p ro le­ tarian In te rn a tio n a l, leading its sections to m u tu a l fratricide an d ch ain in g th e wishes a n d hopes of the masses in th e most 5 This program was first published as an Appendix to the Junius Pamphlet.

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im p o rta n t countries of cap italist developm ent to the ship of im perialism . 2. By voting for the w ar credits a n d p ro claim in g a “ social p eace,” th e official leaders of the socialist p arties in G erm any, F rance, a n d E n g lan d (w ith the exception of the In d ep e n d e n t L ab o u r P a rty ) have reinforced im perialism , in d u ced the masses of the people to p atien tly p u t u p w ith the m isery an d th e h o rro r of w ar, a n d thus c o n trib u ted to the u n restrain ed re­ lease of im perialist frenzy, to the p rolongation of th e carnage, an d the increase in the n u m b e r o f its victim s, so as to assum e the responsibility for this w ar an d its consequences. 3. T hese tactics of th e official p a rty b u reau cracies o f the w arrin g nations, especially in G erm any, once th e leading country in the In te rn a tio n a l, signify a b etray al of th e m ost ele­ m en tary principles of in te rn a tio n a l socialism , of the vital in te r­ ests of th e w orking class, of all d em o cratic interests o f the peo­ ples. Socialist politics is thereb y con d em n ed to im potence even in those countries w here the p a rty leaders have rem ain ed faithful to th eir duties: R ussia, S erbia, Italy, a n d — w ith one exception— B ulgaria. 4. By giving up the class struggle d u rin g the w ar a n d post­ poning it u n til after the w ar, official Social D em ocracy in the leading natio n s has g ra n te d the ru lin g classes in all countries a reprieve, d u rin g w hich th ey can enorm ously stren g th en their position econom ically, politically, an d m orally a t the expense o f the p ro le tariat. 5. T h e W orld W a r serves n e ith e r the n atio n al defense nor the econom ic or political interests o f any people. It is m erely a n offspring of im perialist rivalries betw een the cap italist classes o f various countries over w orld leadership a n d the m onopoly on exploiting a n d suppressing areas n ot yet u n d e r the heel o f cap ital. In an e ra of such u n restrain ed im perialism th ere can be no m ore n atio n al w ars.6 N atio n al interests serve 6 In his review of the Junius Pamphlet, Lenin attacks this argument strongly, pointing to the development of anticolonial wars. Rosa Luxemburg’s argument as presented in detail in the Junius Pamphlet is based on her view of the totality of the capitalist system

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only as m eans of deceiving, m ak in g th e w orking masses serv­ iceable to th eir m o rtal enem y, im perialism . 6. N o suppressed n a tio n can re a p freedom a n d in d e p e n d ­ ence from the politics o f im perialist states or th e im perialist w ar. Sm all nations, whose ruling classes are ap p en d ag es an d accom plices of th eir class com rades in th e large powers, are m erely paw ns in the im perialist gam e o f th e m ajo r pow ers an d are abused as tools d u rin g the w ar, ju st like th e w orking masses, only to be sacrificed to th e cap italist interests after the war. 7. U n d e r these circum stances, every defeat as well as every victory in the cu rren t W orld W a r m eans a defeat for socialism and dem ocracy. A ny outcom e— except revo lu tio n ary in terv en ­ tion by the in tern atio n a l p ro le ta ria t— leads to a stren g th en in g of m ilitarism , o f the in te rn a tio n a l oppositions, o f w orld tra d e rivalries. It increases cap italist ex p loitation a n d dom estic p o ­ litical reaction, w eakens public control, a n d reduces p a rlia ­ m ents to m ore a n d m ore o bedient in strum ents of m ilitarism . T h e c u rre n t W orld W a r is thus developing a t the sam e tim e all the conditions necessary for new wars. 8. W orld peace can n o t be secured by u to p ia n or essentially reactio n ary plans, such as w orld courts of a rb itra tio n w ith c a p ­ italist diplom ats, d ip lo m atic agreem ents on “d isa rm a m e n t,” “ freedom of the seas,” “ abolition of p ira cy ,” “ confederations o f E u ro p ean states,” “ cen tral E u ro p ean ta riff u n io n s,” “ n atio n al buffer states,” an d the like. Im perialism , m ilitarism , a n d w ars can n o t be elim in ated or checked as long as th e cap italist classes can exercise u n d isp u ted th e ir class m astery. T h e only way to resist th em successfully, a n d th e only assurance of w orld peace, is the cap acity for political action a n d th e revolu­ tionary will o f the in te rn a tio n a l p ro le ta ria t to thro w its pow er in the balance. in its imperialist phase which must necessarily turn anticolonial and other wars into imperialist ones. Though the difference between Lenin’s and Rosa Luxemburg’s posi­ tion cannot be resolved here, it is worth asking whether the techniques of so-called neo-imperialism in relation to ex-colonies don’t in fact prove Rosa Luxemburg’s point.

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9. Im perialism , as the final phase of life a n d th e highest stage in the developm ent of w orld political d o m in atio n of c a p ­ ital, is th e com m on m o rtal enem y of th e p ro le ta ria t of all countries. B ut it shares w ith the earlier phases of capitalism th e fate of stren g th en in g th e powers of its enem ies in p ro p o r­ tion to its own developm ent. I t accelerates the co n cen tratio n of cap ital, th e g rin d in g dow n of the m iddle class, th e increase of th e p ro le ta ria t; it w akens the grow ing resistance of the masses a n d thus leads to an intensive m agnification of class opposi­ tions. W h e th e r in peace or in w ar, the p ro le ta ria n class strug­ gle m ust be co n cen trated above all against im perialism . For the in te rn a tio n a l p ro le taria t, th e fight against im perialism is a t the sam e tim e th e fight for political pow er in the state, the decisive settling of accounts betw een socialism a n d capitalism . T h e u ltim a te goal of socialism will be realized by th e in te rn a ­ tional p ro le ta ria t only w hen it stands u p against im perialism all dow n the line and, w ith its full strength a n d the courage to m ake extrem e sacrifices, m akes th e slogan “W a r on w a r!” the guideline o f its p ractical politics. 10. T o this end, th e m a in task of socialism today is directed a t u n itin g the p ro le ta ria t of all countries into a living revolu­ tionary pow er a n d a t m ak in g it th e decisive factor o f political life, as history has d em an d ed , th ro u g h a strong in te rn a tio n a l o rg an izatio n w ith a unified conception o f its interests an d tasks, w ith unified tactics and ability to ac t politically in peace as in w ar. 11. T h e Second In te rn a tio n a l has been blow n a p a rt by the w ar. Its in ad eq u acy has been proven by its in ab ility to set up a real d a m ag ain st th e n atio n a l disunion in the w ar or to carry o u t unified tactics a n d activity am ong the p ro le ta ria t in all countries. 12. In view of the b e tra y a l of the goals a n d interests of the w orking class by th e official representatives of th e socialist p arties in the leading countries; in view of th eir tu rn from the g round o f the p ro le ta ria t In te rn a tio n a l to the ground of b o u r­ geois im p erialist politics, it is a vital necessity for socialism to

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create a new w orkers’ In te rn a tio n a l w hich in all countries would assum e th e role o f d irectin g a n d u n itin g the rev o lu tio n ­ ary class struggle again st im perialism . In o rd er to solve its historical problem th e new In te rn a ­ tional m ust be based on th e following principles: 1. T h e class struggle w ithin the bourgeois states ag ain st the ruling classes an d th e in te rn a tio n a l solidarity o f the p ro le ta ria t of all countries are two in sep arab le precepts o f th e w orking class in its historical struggle for liberation. T h e re is no social­ ism outside th e in te rn a tio n a l solidarity of th e p ro le ta ria t an d there is no socialism outside th e class struggle. T h e socialist p ro letariat can n o t do w ith o u t class struggle a n d in te rn a tio n a l solidarity eith er in peace or in w ar w ith o u t co m m ittin g sui­ cide. 2. T h e class action o f the p ro le ta ria t o f all countries m ust be directed a t fighting im perialism a n d p rev en tin g w ars as its m ain goal, in peace as in w ar. P a rlia m e n ta ry action, trad eunion action, as well as th e w hole activity o f th e lab o r m ove­ m ent, m ust be su b o rd in ate to the purpose o f opposing th e p ro ­ le tariat to th e n atio n al bourgeoisie in every co u n try w ith the utm ost sharpness, in o rd er to show u p th e political a n d sp irit­ ual contrast betw een th em a t every step along th e w ay, a n d si­ m ultaneously to em phasize a n d confirm th e in te rn a tio n a l unity of th e p ro le ta ria t o f all countries. 3. T h e center of gravity of p ro le ta ria n class o rg an izatio n lies in th e In te rn a tio n a l. In p eacetim e the In te rn a tio n a l d e ­ cides on the tactics o f th e n a tio n a l sections in m atters o f m ilita ­ rism, colonial policy, tra d e policy, a n d M ay D ay celebrations; furtherm ore, it decides on all tactics to be used in w ar. 4. T h e d u ty of im p lem en tin g th e decisions o f th e In te rn a ­ tional supersedes all o th er o rg an izatio n al duties. N a tio n a l sec­ tions th a t act co n trary to its decisions place them selves outside the In te rn atio n al. 5. In struggles against im perialism a n d th e w ar, th e decisive power can be p u t to w ork only by th e solid masses o f th e p ro le­ ta ria t of all nations. C onsequently, th e tactics o f th e n atio n al

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sections a re to be directed m ain ly a t ed u catin g th e b ro ad masses to be able to act politically a n d tak e resolute initiative, a t ensuring in te rn a tio n a l co n tin u ity in th e actio n of the masses, a n d a t ex p an d in g th e political a n d tra d e-u n io n o rg an ­ izations so th a t w ith th eir m ed iatio n a n im m ed iate a n d e n er­ getic co o p eratio n of all sections c an be g u a ra n te e d a t any tim e, a n d th u s th e will o f th e In te rn a tio n a l m ay becom e the deed of th e b ro ad est masses of w orkeal p o w eran d b u ild it 6. T h e im m ed iate problem o f socialism is th e sp iritu al lib er­ ation of th e p ro le ta ria t from th e tu telag e o f the bourgeoisie, w hich is expressed in the influence of th e natio n alistic ideol­ ogy. T h e n a tio n a l sections m ust d irect th eir ag itatio n in p a r­ liam ents a n d in th e press tow ard den o u n cin g th e tra d itio n al phraseology o f n atio n alism as a tool of bourgeois dom ination. T h e only defense of all real n a tio n a l freedom today is th e revo­ lu tio n ary class struggle against im perialism . T h e fa th erlan d of th e p ro le ta ria t, whose defense m ust com e before all else, is the socialist In te rn a tio n a l. Translated by Peggy Fallen Wright

To the Proletarians of All Countries Proletarians! Working men and women! Comrades! T h e revolution has en tered G erm any. T h e masses of soldiers who for four years have been driven to slaughter for th e sake of capitalist profit, th e mass of w orkers w ho for four years have been exploited, sucked dry, a n d starved have risen. P russian m ilitarism , this m ost terrib le tool of suppression, this scourge of m an k in d , lies broken on th e ground. Its m ost visible re p re ­ sentatives, a n d therefore those m ost visibly responsible for this war, the K aiser a n d th e C row n P rince, have fled th e co u n try .*1 Everyw here, w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils have been form ed. P ro letarian s of all countries, we do n o t claim th a t all power in G erm any has actu ally com e into th e h an d s of th e w orking people, th a t th e p ro le ta ria n revolution has alread y w on full victory. In th e governm ent, th ere are still all those socialists who, in A ugust 1914, su rren d ered our m ost precious good, the In te rn atio n al, who for four years b etray ed both th e G erm an workers a n d th e In te rn a tio n a l. Text from Ausgewählte Reden und Schrifien, II (Berlin: Dietz Verlag, 1951), pp. 61216. First published in Die Rote Fahne, November 25, 1918. 1 In September 1918 the German war effort appeared to be defeated. At home, strikes broke out on a large scale. At the end of October, Ludendorff, Commander in Chief of the German Army, resigned and fled to Holland. In a last-ditch effort, the German fleet was ordered out in what was clearly a suicidal attempt against the Eng­ lish fleet. The sailors mutinied at Kiel. As the news spread, soldiers’ and sailors’ coun­ cils began to form. The workers’ agitation continued, culminating in a mass strike on November 9. On that day, Wilhelm II fled to Holland and the Chancellor, Prince Max of Baden, turned the government over to the Social Democrat, Ebert.

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To the Proletarians of All Countries

353

But, p ro le tarian s of all countries, now th e G erm an p ro le ta r­ ian him self speaks to you. W e believe we have the rig h t to speak to you in his nam e. From th e very first d ay of this w ar we have tried to do ou r in te rn a tio n a l d u ty by opposing our crim in al governm ent w ith all our m ig h t a n d by b ran d in g it as tru ly responsible for th e w ar. Now, in this hour, we are justified before history, before the In te rn a tio n a l, before th e G erm an p ro le tariat. T h e masses agree enthusiastically w ith us. L a rg er a n d larg er num bers of the p ro le ta ria t realize th a t th e h o u r of reckoning has com e for cap italist class rule. H ow ever, the G erm an p ro le ta ria t can n o t do this g reat task by itself. It can only fight an d w in by ap p ealin g to th e solidar­ ity of th e p ro le tarian s of the w hole w orld. C om rades of the nations a t w ar, we are aw are of your situ a­ tion. W e know very well th a t your governm ents, h aving won the w ar, are b lin d in g m an y social stra ta by the external splen­ dor of victory. W e know th a t the success of m u rd e r m akes peo­ ple forget its causes an d aims. But we also know som ething else. W e know th a t in your countries, too, it is the p ro le ta ria t th a t has sacrificed th e most blood a n d goods; th a t th e p ro le ta ria t is tired of th e horrible slaughter; th a t the p ro le ta ria n comes back hom e to find need a n d m isery w hile billions are h eap ed u p in th e h an d s of a few capitalists. H e has realized a n d will realize even m ore th a t your governm ents, too, fought th e w ar for the sake of the big m oneybags. A nd he will realize th a t your g o v ern m en t’s talk bfl “ law a n d civilization,” of “ pro tectin g the sm all n atio n s” m e a n t cap italist profit ust as m uch as our go v ern m en t’s talk of “ defending the F a th e rla n d .” H e will realize th a t this peace of “ law ” a n d th e “ L eague of N a tio n s” will prove to be th e sam e base ro b b ery as th e peace o f B rest-Litovsk.2 In b o th cases, 2 In March 1918 the Bolshevik leaders felt obliged to conclude a peace treaty with Germany in order to secure the gains of the Revolution. The treaty of Brest-Litovsk cost Russia the Ukraine, large parts of the Baltic states, and Finland. The justification for signing this separate peace was that the Russian Revolution could not triumph

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there is the sam e sham eless greed, the sam e will to suppression, the sam e d eterm in atio n to use th e b ru ta l pow er of m urderous w eapons to the utm ost advantage. T h e im perialism of all nations knows no “m u tu a l u n d e r­ stan d in g .” It knows only one law: cap italist profit; only one language: the sword; only one m eans: force. A nd in o u r coun­ try as in yours, its c u rre n t talk of “ L eague of N a tio n s,” “ d isar­ m am en t,” “ rights of sm all n atio n s,” “self-determ ination of all countries” is n o th in g b u t the usual lies an d em pty phrases of the rulers designed to lull the p ro le ta ria t to sleep. P roletarians of all countries! T h is w ar m ust be th e last one! T his m uch we owe the twelve m illion m u rd e red victim s; this m uch we owe our ch ild ren ; this m uch we owe m an k in d . E urope lies in ruins from this atrocious w ar. T w elve m illion corpses cover the horrid scenes of im perialist crim e. T h e flower of youth an d th e best m en of the peoples have been cu t down. Im m easurable productivity has been destroyed. M a n k in d is close to bleeding to d e a th as a consequence of this bloodletting un eq u aled in history. T h e victorious as well as th e vanquished stand on the edge of th e abyss. M a n k in d is th re a te n e d by the most terrib le fam ine, by a stop of th e en tire p ro d u ction m ech a­ nism, by epidem ics an d degeneration. A nd the g reat crim inals of this horrible an arch y , of this u n ­ leashed chaos: the ru lin g classes? T h e y are in cap ab le of con­ trolling w h at they set loose. T h e beast capitalism conjured up the hell of w orld w ar. B ut it is in cap ab le of exorcising it, in ca­ pable of re-establishing tru e order, in cap ab le of g u ara n te e in g bread a n d work, peace a n d culture, law an d freedom for to r­ tured m an k in d . W h a t th e ru lin g classes are p re p a rin g u n d e r th e n am e of peace an d law is only a n o th e r w ork o f b ru te force from w hich the h y d ra of suppression, hate, a n d new bloody w ars will rear its thousand heads. O nly socialism can achieve lasting peace, can h eal the without a world revolution in the course of which the question of lost territories would be regulated in a socialist manner.

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355

w ounds o f m an k in d , can m ake bloom ing gardens of th e waste fields o f E urope, tra m p led by th e apocalyptic horsem en of the w ar. O n ly socialism can renew tenfold the destroyed p ro d u c­ tivity, can aw aken all the physical a n d m oral energy o f m a n ­ kind, can replace h a tre d a n d discord by brotherly solidarity, by h arm o n y an d respect for every h u m a n being. O nce th e representatives of the p ro letarian s of all countries shake h an d s u n d e r the b a n n e r o f socialism, peace will be es­ tablished in a m a tte r o f hours. T h e re will be no q u a rre l about the left b a n k of the R h in e, a b o u t M esopotam ia, Egypt, or colonies. T h e re will be only one people: w orking m en of all races a n d tongues. T h e re will be only one law: eq u ality of all m en. T h e re will be only one goal: prosperity a n d progress for all. M an k in d is faced w ith the altern ativ e: dissolution a n d d e­ cline into capitalist a n a rc h y or re b irth th ro u g h social revolu­ tion. T h e h o u r of decision has struck. If you believe in social­ ism, now is the tim e to show it. I f you are socialists, now is the tim e to act. P ro letarian s of all countries, if we are calling you to jo in the com m on fight, it is not for the sake of G erm an capitalists who, u n d er th e com pany n am e of “ G erm an N a tio n ,” are try in g to escape the consequences o f th eir own crimes. It is for o u r sake a n d for yours. C onsider: T h e victorious capitalists o f your country stan d read y to suppress bloodily our revolution, w hich they fear as m uch as one in th eir own country. You yourselves have not becom e freer th ro u g h th e “victory,” b u t only m ore enslaved. I f your ru lin g classes succeed in th ro ttlin g the prole­ ta ria n revolution in G erm an y a n d R ussia, they will tu rn against you w ith double force. Y our capitalists hope th a t d e ­ feating us a n d revolutionary R ussia will give th em the pow er to scourge you w ith scorpions a n d to erect th e m illen n iu m of exploitation on the grave o f in te rn a tio n a l socialism. T herefore we call o u t to you: Fight! Act! T h e tim e of em pty m anifestos, o f p lato n ic resolutions an d resounding phrases is over: th e h o u r of action has com e for the In te rn a tio n a l. W e

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urge you: E lect w orkers’ an d soldiers’ councils to tak e over p o ­ litical pow er an d work w ith us tow ard peace. It is not for Lloyd G eorge an d P oincare, not for Sonnino, Wilson, E rzberger, or S cheidem ann to m ake peace. It is u n d er the w aving b a n n e r o f socialist w orld revolution th a t peace m ust be established. P roletarians of all countries! W e call on you to carry ou t the work of socialist liberation; to give back to the defiled world its h u m an face; to m ake the slogan com e tru e w hich used to be our greeting an d p a rtin g words: The In te rn atio n al an d m an k in d will be one! 3 Long live the world revolution o f the firoletarial! Proletarians o f all countries, unite!

In

th e nam e of the

K

arl

L

S partacus L

ie b k n e c h t ,

F ranz M

R

osa

e h r in g ,

C

L

eague:

uxem burg

lara

Z

,

e t k in

I'ranslated by Rosmarie Waldrop 3 This

is a line from the refrain of “The International.”

V Beginnings of the German Revolution

O n A ugust 4, 1914, th e Social D em ocratic delegation to the R eichstag voted in favor of the w ar credits, accepting the arg u ­ m en t th a t the w ar was a defense of the F a th e rla n d against czarist reaction, an d citing texts from M a rx a n d Engels to “ prove” th a t th e fight against czarism was a fight to defend civilization, a n d th e sacred d u ty of every p ro letarian . A “civil p eace” u n til th e w a r’s end was declared, a n d the class struggle “ ad jo u rn ed .” T h o u g h a m inority of the delegation opposed these m easures, th e faction voted as a bloc. It was only on D e­ cem ber 2, 1914, th a t K a rl L ieb k n ech t refused to vote further credits, a n d began his one-m an cam p aig n against th e w ar. Im m ediately after th e vote of A ugust 4, a m eeting was held in R osa L u x e m b u rg ’s hom e, a tte n d e d by D uncker, Eberlein, M archlew ski, M ehring, M eyer, a n d Pieck. T h is group decided to begin oppositional action, b u t refused to form an in d ep en d ­ en t p arty , preferring to w ork w ith in th e SPD . A new spaper, Die Internationale, was to be published, one n u m b er of w hich a p ­ p eared in A pril 1915. A fter R osa L uxem burg was released from prison in F eb ru ary 1916 (w here she h a d sat o ut a prew ar sentence for “ in su ltin g ” H is M ajesty), the group m et again, changed its n am e to S partacus, a n d began renew ed ag­ itatio n al work. A gitation co n tin u ed th ro u g h o u t th e w ar; yet the S p artacu s L eague was never very strong. All ag itatio n h ad to be carried out in strict secrecy, a n d th e leaders w ere m ore often th a n not in jail. T h e first a tte m p t to m o u n t a m ass dem ­ o nstration cam e on M a y D ay 1916 in Berlin. A t 8 a . m ., K arl L ieb k n ech t stepped into the m iddle of the crow d a n d cried “ Dow n w ith the w a r!” H e was im m ediately arrested, and 359

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though th ere was a large d em o n stratio n in his favor, noth in g m uch cam e o f it. R osa L uxem burg, J u lia n M archlew ski, F ranz M ehring, an d E rnest M eyer, as well as o th er S p artacu s leaders, spent m ost o f Ith e w ar in “ preventive d e te n tio n .” By the end of S eptem ber 1918 th e w ar b eg an to tu rn against G erm any. Strikes broke ou t a t hom e. T h e A rm y C h ie f o f Staff, Ludendorff, resigned a n d fled to H o llan d . O n N ovem ber 9, a general strike took place in Berlin. T h e C hancellor, P rince M ax of B aden, h an d ed over his powers to th e rep resen tativ e of the SPD , E bert, an d fled w ith th e K aiser, w ho h a d ab d icated . H earing this, S cheidem ann, a n o th e r lead er o f th e S P D “ m a ­ jo rity ,” proclaim ed th e R epublic on th e steps of the R eichstag in front of a sm all group of p a rlia m e n ta ry delegates. Tw o hours later, in the cen ter of B erlin, K a rl L ieb k n ech t p ro ­ claim ed the Socialist R epublic. No one h ad expected the sudden breakdow n o f th e state. T h e events of N ovem ber a n d D ecem ber 1918 took politicians of the R ig h t a n d Left by surprise. T h e w orking class was in a state of ebullition as w ere th e soldiers. W orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils w ere form ed th ro u g h o u t th e cou n try — a conscious im ­ itation of th e Soviet m odel— a n d represented the only real power. B ut the councils w ere not clear a b o u t th eir ow n posi­ tion an d th eir im m ediate tasks. As a rule, they w ere quickly brought u n d e r th e control of factions favorable to th e SPD , whose goal was the m ain te n a n c e of “o rd e r.” W ith th e tem p o ­ rizing o f th e councils, th e forces of reactio n w ere able to re ­ cover from th eir shock a n d begin to organize th e ir self-defense. T h e first Congress of the W o rk ers’ and Soldiers’ C ouncils m et on D ecem ber 16-21, 1918, in Berlin. T h e m ajority of the delegates w ere favorable to th e m o d erate politics o f th e SPD leaders, typified by E b e rt’s “ I h a te social revolution like the plague.” T h e S partacu s L eague h a d only ten delegates of the 489 present. R osa L u x em b u rg a n d K a rl L ieb k n ech t w ere not adm itted to th e m eeting because they w ere “ n e ith e r w orkers nor soldiers.” T h e Congress decided th a t a N a tio n a l Assembly should be elected. Elections w ere called for J a n u a ry 19, 1919.

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In the m eanw hile, the Congress decided to lim it its own pow­ ers to those of a m ere in terim executive. In th e streets, a revolutio n ary situ atio n existed. T h e re was no way o f telling w h eth er the elections w ould even tak e place. M an y m em bers of S p artacu s began to call for the form ation of a n in d ep en d en t p a rty an d the dissolution o f the Assembly if it cam e into being. T h e m odel of th e R ussian R evolution was b an d ied aro u n d , “ju stify in g ” now this, now th a t tactic. Rosa L u x em b u rg was opposed to the foundation of a new p arty , for she feared th a t it w ould be cut off from the masses by a n exag­ gerated “ p u rism ” ; h er tactical choice was to rem ain w ithin the U S P D a n d to continue th e w ork of ed u catin g the masses, counting on the objective developm ent of the revolution to drive them forw ard. She was in favor of p a rtic ip a tio n in the vote for the N atio n al Assembly, though she knew full well th a t it w ould be a farce, arg u in g th a t “ as soon as the fam ous C on ­ stituent Assem bly really decides to p u t socialism fully an d com pletely into p ractice . . . the b attle begins.” She obviously h ad in m in d th e need for a tran sitio n al p ro g ra m ,1 a n d the fact th a t socialist revolution is not m ad e by decree. T h e pressure of circum stances pushed the S p artacu s League forw ard. A n atio n al conference, called on short notice, m et in Berlin from D ecem ber 30 to J a n u a ry 1. T h e delegates were a m ixed b atch , h ard ly representative of the en tire L eague; they w ere generally young, a n d very m uch im pressed by events in Russia. T w o im p o rta n t decisions w ere taken: 1) to leave the U S P D a n d form an in d ep e n d e n t p arty , the C om m unist P arty o f G erm an y ; 2) not to tak e p a rt in th e vote for the N atio n al Assembly. T h e re was alm ost no opposition to the first decision. K a rl L ieb k n ech t explained th e reasons for the separation: T h e U S P D h a d no concrete prog ram ; it was a h y b rid org an izatio n whose rig h t w ing was led by B ernstein, an d whose left was S partacus; it believed th a t one could “m a k e ” a n d “ u n m a k e ” 1Cf. the discussion of the transitional program in the essay “In Memory of the Pro­ letariat Party.”

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revolutions; an d it h a d fallen victim to the fatal disease of “ p a rlia m e n ta ry cretin ism .” T h e S p artacu s L eague, continued L iebknecht, h a d jo in e d th e U S P D in o rd er to use it as a p la t­ form from w hich to express its views, a n d in order to recruit. But the U S P D h ad jo in e d th e governm ent of E bert-S cheidem an n , a n d h a d becom e so b u reau cratized th a t th ere was no longer room to w ork in it. T h e question of p a rtic ip a tio n in the vote for th e N atio n al Assembly was a crucial question for th e future of th e revolu­ tion. Speaking in the n am e of the cen tral com m ittee of S p a rta ­ cus, P au l Levi defended th e idea of p a rtic ip a tio n on tactical grounds, know ing full well th a t even th e conquest of a S p artacist m ajority in it w ould not “m a k e ” th e revolution. T h e cen ­ tral com m ittee felt th a t p a rtic ip a tio n in the vote w ould be a step in the education of th e G erm an p ro le tariat, a n d th a t its delegates to the Assembly w ould be able to use it as a platform to speak to the masses. L evi’s speech was co n tin u ally in te r­ ru p ted by disagreem ents from the delegates. T h e R ussian m odel was on everyone’s m ind. T y p ical argum ents against p articip atio n w ere those of R ü h le — “T h e street is the greatest trib u n al w hich we have w on”— a n d G elw itzki— “T e n m en on the street are w orth m ore th a n a th o u san d votes.” R osa L u x ­ em burg spoke in defense of p a rtic ip a tio n in the vote.2 She spoke of th e “ long revolution,” of th e need to develop th e class consciousness of the p ro le ta ria t th ro u g h a series of struggles. She criticized the gross altern ativ e of “ guns or p a rlia m e n t,” d em an d in g a “ m ore refined, dialectical choice.” F u rth e r, she pointed out, if th e masses are “ too rip e ” for an election cam ­ paign, a n d are ch am p in g a t th e bit to m ake a revolution— as h ad been m a in ta in e d by those opposed to p a rtic ip a tio n — why h a d n ’t they done m ore w ith th e pow er they h a d h a d since N o ­ vem ber 9? O bviously, th eir class consciousness needed fu rth er developm ent. At the end o f her speech, according to th e steno2 This speech is included in the Minutes of the Founding Congress recently pub­ lished for the first time in Der Gründungsparteitag der KPD, Hermann Weber, ed. (Frankfurt: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1969).

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g rap h ic report, “w eak a p p la u se ” w as registered. By a 66-23 vote, th e Congress decided against p articip atio n . A fter th e foundation o f th e G erm an C om m unist P arty, events m oved quickly— tho u g h th ere is no evidence th a t the P a rty was responsible for th eir acceleration. O n J a n u a ry 4, Em il E ich h o rn , th e C h ief of Police in B erlin a n d a m em b er of th e U SPi ), was rem oved from office by th e provisional regim e w hich arg u ed th a t he h a d not p u t a n end to th e “d iso rd er” in th e streets. E ich h o rn refused to subm it. A d em o n stratio n was called by th e U S P D a n d sup p o rted by th e C om m unists. O n J a n u a ry 6, th e building of the Vorwärts was occupied, a n d a revolution ary issue of th e p ap e r was published. T h e o ccu p a­ tion co n tin u ed until J a n u a ry 13, w hen th e S P D m inister of d e ­ fense, Noske, called in the troops to take control of th e situ a­ tion. A fter th e m assacre a t the Vorwärts, it was clear th a t th e revolution h a d failed for th e m om ent. B erlin h a d been living in a w itch h u n t atm o sp h ere for weeks; “ S p arta cu s” was th e label p in n ed on every m isdeed w hich occurred in th e dissension-torn city— a tech n iq u e a l­ ways used by th e ru lin g classes, b u t now ap p lied by th e SP D as well. T h e ch ief “crim in als” w ere L u x em b u rg a n d L iebknecht; letters even cam e to th e offices o f th e Rote Fahne asking L ieb­ k necht to “ spare m y old m aid en a u n t,” etc. T h e S p artacu s leaders refused to leave th e city. O n th e evening of J a n u a r y 15, 1919, th ey w ere tak en prisoner by governm ental troops. After a p relim in ary h earin g a t th e E d en H otel, R osa L u x em b u rg a n d K a rl L ieb k n ech t w ere tak en off, supposedly to be driven to prison. O n leaving the hotel separately, both w ere b ru ta lly b eaten a n d m u rd e red by th e soldiers. It has often been speculated th a t if R osa L u x em b u rg an d K arl L ieb k n ech t h a d lived, th ere never w ould have been the ra p id “ B olshevization” o f th e W estern com m unist parties w hich took place in th e early 1920’s. P erhaps. Y et w hen A r­ th u r R osenberg suggests th a t R osa L u x em b u rg stayed in B er­ lin for w h at were, in effect, “ petty-bourgeois reasons o f h o n o r,” a n d th a t she should have fled to tem p o rary safety like M arx

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an d Engels in 1849, or like L enin in 1917, he shows a m isun­ d erstanding of R osa L u x em b u rg ’s life an d work. H e r w ritings during the revolutionary m onths of 1918-1919 are a re­ confirm ation u n d er fire o f the positions developed d u rin g the preceding years. T h e re surely are all sorts of psychological re a ­ sons for her refusal to leave Berlin; yet her own last article— an d th a t of L iebknech t— explains the reasons for staying in a m an n er entirely consistent w ith h er w hole life’s w ork a n d her u n d erstan d in g th a t the lib eratio n o f th e w orking class m ust be its own work, the fruit o f its own struggles. L ieb k n ech t w rote: “Spartacus beaten!” Take it easy! We haven’t fled; we are not beaten! And even if you put us in chains, we are here, and we shall stay here! And we shall win! Spartacus: that signifies fire and flames; that signifies heart and soul; that signifies the will and action of the proletarian revolution. And Spartacus: that signifies need and aspiration to happiness, the readiness to struggle of the con­ scious proletariat. Because Spartacus: that signifies socialism and world revolution. . . . And whether we are alive or not when it is attained, our pro­ gram will live: it will dominate the world of a liberated hum an­ ity. Despite everything! A nd R osa L uxem burg, looking back a t th e tem p o rary failure o f the revolution, rem ark ed th a t “ the rejoicing ‘victors’ do not notice th a t an ‘o rd er’ w hich m ust be periodically m a in ta in e d by bloody b utchery is steadily a p p ro ach in g its historical des­ tiny, its doom .” T h e choice rem ains: Socialism or Barbarism! T h e p ro le ta ria t can learn from this “d efeat” because it must learn: The leadership failed. But the leadership can and must be created anew by the masses and out of the masses. The masses are the crucial factor; they are the rock on which the ultimate victory of the revolution will be built. The masses were up to the task. They fashioned this ‘defeat’ into a part of those historical defeats which constitute the pride and power of international socialism. And that is why this defeat is the seed of the future triumph.

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For R osa L uxem burg, th e p ro le tarian revolution does not depend on th e action of a few “ lead ers” ; it is th e result of the masses’ ow n developm ent, th e ir ability to learn from their present a n d th eir past. As she arg u ed against B ernstein in So­ cial Reform or Revolution, th e revolution is always, in a sense, “ p re m a tu re ” ; this is in h ere n t in th e dialectical stru ctu re of so­ cialist politics. W h a t is im p o rta n t is th a t th e h eritag e of the past, p re m a tu re revolution, becom es a living p a rt of th e pres­ ent struggle, ad d in g to it th e experiential d ep th an d conscious­ ness w hich m ak e th e ad v en t of socialism th e beginning of a new h u m a n history.

W hat Does the Spartacus League Want? i O n the n in th of N ovem ber, w orkers a n d soldiers sm ashed the old G erm an regim e. T h e P russian sab er’s m a n ia of w orld rule had bled to d e a th on the battlefields o f F rance. T h e gang of crim inals w ho sparked a w orldw ide conflagration a n d drove G erm any into an ocean o f blood h a d com e to the end of its rope. T h e people— b etray ed for four years, having forgotten culture, honesty, a n d h u m a n ity in the service of the M oloch, available for every obscene deed— awoke from its four-yearlong paralysis, only to face the abyss. O n th e 9th of N ovem ber, the G erm an p ro le ta ria t rose u p to throw off the sham eful yoke. T h e H ohenzollerns w ere driven out; w orkers’ an d soldiers’ councils w ere elected. But the H ohenzollerns w ere no m ore th a n the front m en of the im perialist bourgeoisie an d of the Ju n k ers. T h e class rule of the bourgeoisie is the real crim in al responsible for the W orld W ar, in G erm an y as in F rance, in R ussia as in E n g ­ land, in E urope as in A m erica. T h e capitalists o f all nations are the real instigators of the mass m urder. In te rn a tio n a l cap i­ tal is the insatiable god B aal, into whose bloody m aw m illions upon m illions o f steam ing h u m a n sacrifices are throw n. T h e W orld W a r confronts society w ith the choice: eith er co n tin u atio n of capitalism , new wars, a n d im m in en t decline into chaos an d an arch y , or abolition o f cap italist exploitation. W ith the conclusion of w orld w ar, the class rule o f the bourText from Politische Schriften, II (Frankfurt: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1966), pp. 159-70. First published in Die Rote Fahne, December 14, 1918.

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geoisie has forfeited its rig h t to existence. It is no longer c a p a ­ ble of leading society out of th e terrib le econom ic collapse w hich the im perialist orgy has left in its wake. M eans of p roduction have been destroyed on a m onstrous scale. M illions of able workers, th e finest a n d strongest sons of th e w orking class, slaughtered. A w aiting the survivors’ retu rn stands th e leering m isery of unem ploym ent. F am in e a n d dis­ ease th re a te n to sap the strength of the people a t its roots. T h e financial b a n k ru p tc y of th e state, due to the m onstrous b u r­ dens o f th e w ar debt, is inevitable. O u t of all this bloody confusion, this yaw ning abyss, th ere is no help, no escape, no rescue o th er th a n socialism. O n ly the revolution of the w orld p ro le ta ria t can b rin g o rd er into this chaos, can b rin g w ork a n d b read for all, can end the recip ro ­ cal slau g h ter of the peoples, can restore peace, freedom , true culture to this m arty red h u m an ity . D ow n w ith the w age sys­ tem! T h a t is th e slogan of th e hour! In stead of w age lab o r an d class rule th ere m ust be collective labor. T h e m eans of p ro d u c­ tion m ust cease to be th e m onopoly of a single class; they m ust becom e th e com m on pro p erty of all. N o m ore exploiters an d exploited! P la n n e d p roductio n a n d distrib u tio n of th e p ro d u ct in the com m on interest. A bolition not only of the co n tem p o ­ ra ry m ode of production, m ere exploitation an d robbery, b u t equally of co n tem p o rary com m erce, m ere fraud. In place of the em ployers a n d th e ir w age slaves, free w ork­ ing com rades! L a b o r as nobody’s to rtu re, because everybody’s duty! A h u m a n a n d h ono rab le life for all w ho do th e ir social duty. H u n g e r no longer the curse of labor, b u t the scourge of idleness! O n ly in such a society are n atio n al h a tre d a n d servitude uprooted. O n ly w hen such a society has becom e reality will the e a rth no m ore be stain ed by m u rd er. O n ly th en can it be said: T h is w ar was the last. In this hour, socialism is th e .only salvation for h u m an ity . T h e w ords of th e Communist Manifesto flare like a fiery menetekel1 above the cru m b lin g bastions of cap italist society: 1The reference is to the famous biblical story (Daniel, v, 25-29) of the handwriting

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Socialism or barbarism ! II T h e establishm ent of the socialist order of society is the m ightiest task w hich has ever fallen to a class an d to a revolu­ tion in the history of th e world. T his task requires a com plete transform ation of the state a n d a com plete overthrow of the econom ic an d social foundations of society. T his transform ation a n d this overthrow can n o t be decreed by any b u reau , com m ittee, or p arliam en t. It can be begun an d carried out only by the masses of people themselves. In all previous revolutions a sm all m inority of the people led the revolutionary struggle, gave it aim a n d direction, a n d used the mass only as an in stru m en t to carry its interests, th e in te r­ ests of the m inority, th ro u g h to victory. T h e socialist revolu­ tion is the first w hich is in the interests of the g reat m ajority an d can be bro u g h t to victory only by th e g reat m ajo rity of the w orking people themselves. T h e mass of th e p ro le ta ria t m ust do m ore th a n stake out clearly the aim s a n d direction of th e revolution. It m ust also personally, by its own activity, b rin g socialism step by step into life. T h e essence of socialist society consists in the fact th a t the great laboring mass ceases to be a d o m in ated mass, b u t rath er, makes the en tire political a n d econom ic life its own life an d gives th a t life a conscious, free, a n d autonom ous direction. From th e upperm ost sum m it of th e state dow n to th e tiniest parish, the p ro le tarian m ass m ust therefore replace th e in h e r­ ited organs of bourgeois class rule— the assem blies, p a rlia ­ m ents, a n d city councils— w ith its own class organs— w ith w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils. It m ust occupy all th e posts, su­ pervise all functions, m easure all official needs by the sta n d a rd of its own class interests an d the tasks of socialism. O nly through constant, vital, reciprocal co n tact betw een th e masses on the wall which read: “You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.” A mene-tekel is thus a sign of impending doom.

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of the people a n d th eir organs, th e w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ coun­ cils, can th e activity of th e people fill the state w ith a socialist spirit. T h e econom ic ov ertu rn , likewise, can be accom plished only if the process is carried ou t by p ro le ta ria n mass action. T h e n aked decrees of socialization by th e highest revolutionary a u ­ thorities are by them selves em pty phrases. O n ly th e w orking class, th ro u g h its own activity, can m ake the w ord flesh. T h e workers can achieve control over pro d u ctio n , a n d u ltim ately real pow er, by m eans o f tenacious struggle w ith cap ital, h an d to -h an d , in every shop, w ith direct mass pressure, w ith strikes an d w ith the creatio n o f its own p e rm a n e n t representative o r­ gans. From d ead m achines assigned th eir place in pro d u ctio n by cap ital, the p ro le ta ria n masses m ust learn to transform th em ­ selves in to th e free a n d in d ep en d en t directors o f this process. T h ey have to acq u ire th e feeling of responsibility p ro p er to ac­ tive m em bers of the collectivity w hich alone possesses ow ner­ ship o f all social w ealth. T h e y have to develop industriousness w ithout th e cap italist w hip, th e highest productivity w ithout slavedrivers, discipline w ith o u t th e yoke, o rd er w ith o u t a u ­ thority. T h e highest idealism in th e interest o f the collectivity, the strictest self-discipline, the tru est public spirit o f th e masses are th e m oral foundations of socialist society, ju st as stupidity, egotism, a n d co rru p tio n are the m oral foundations of capitalist society. All these socialist civic virtues, together w ith the know ledge an d skills necessary to direct socialist enterprises, can be won by th e m ass o f w orkers only th ro u g h th e ir own activity, th eir own experience. T h e socialization o f society can be achieved only th ro u g h te­ nacious, tireless struggle by th e w orking mass along its entire front, on all points w here lab o r a n d cap ital, people a n d b o u r­ geois class rule, can see th e w hites o f one a n o th e r’s eyes. T h e em an cip atio n o f th e w orking class m ust be the w ork o f the w orking class itself.

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D uring th e bourgeois revolutions, bloodshed, terror, a n d po­ litical m u rd er w ere a n indispensable w eapon in th e h a n d of the rising classes. T h e p ro le ta ria n revolution requires no terro r for its aim s; it hates an d despises killing.2 It does no t need these w eapons b e ­ cause it does not com b at individuals b u t institutions, because it does not en ter the a re n a w ith naive illusions whose disap­ p ointm ent it w ould seek to revenge. It is no t the d esperate a t­ tem pt of a m inority to m old the w orld forcibly according to its ideal, b u t the action of th e g reat massive m illions of the peo­ ple, destined to fulfill a historic mission a n d to transform his­ torical necessity into reality. But the p ro le tarian revolution is a t the sam e tim e th e d eath knell for all servitude a n d oppression. T h a t is w hy all c a p ita l­ ists, Ju n k ers, petty bourgeois, officers, all opportunists a n d p a r­ asites of exploitation a n d class rule rise up to a m an to wage m ortal com bat against th e p ro le ta ria n revolution. It is sheer insanity to believe th a t capitalists w ould goodhum oredly obey the socialist verdict of a p a rlia m e n t or of a national assembly, th a t th ey w ould calm ly renounce property, profit, the rig h t to exploit. All ru lin g classes fought to th e end, w ith tenacious energy, to preserve th eir privileges. T h e R o m an patricians an d the m edieval feudal barons alike, th e English cavaliers an d the A m erican slavedealers, th e W alach ian boyars a n d th e L yonnais silk m an u factu rers— they all shed stream s of blood, they all m arch ed over corpses, m u rd e r, an d arson, instigated civil w ar a n d treason, in order to defend their privileges a n d th eir power. T h e im perialist cap italist class, as last offspring of th e caste of exploiters, outdoes all its predecessors in b ru ta lity , in open cynicism an d treachery. It defends its holiest of holies, its profit 2 At the Founding Congress of the German Communist Party (Spartacus League), this passage was attacked by Paul Frölich and others as being a veiled criticism of the Bolshevik Revolution.

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an d its privilege of exploitation, w ith tooth a n d n ail, w ith the m ethods o f cold evil w hich it d em o n strated to the w orld in the entire history of colonial politics a n d in th e recent W orld W ar. I t will m obilize heaven a n d hell against th e p ro le tariat. It will m obilize th e peasants against th e cities, th e b ack w ard stra ta of the w orking class against the socialist v an g u ard ; it will use officers to instigate atrocities; it will try to p araly ze every so­ cialist m easure w ith a th o u san d m ethods of passive resistance; it will force a score of V endees on the revolution; it will invite th e foreign enem y, the m urderous w eapons of C lem enceau, Lloyd G eorge, an d W ilson into the cou n try to rescue it— it will tu rn th e country into a sm oking h eap o f ru b b le ra th e r th a n v oluntarily give up w age slavery. All this resistance m ust be broken step by step, w ith a n iron fist an d ruthless energy. T h e violence of the bourgeois co u n ter­ revolution m ust be confronted w ith th e revolutionary violence of the p ro le tariat. A gainst the attacks, insinuations, a n d r u ­ m ors o f th e bourgeoisie m ust stan d th e inflexible clarity of p u r­ pose, vigilance, a n d ever ready activity of the p ro le ta ria n mass. A gainst the th re a te n e d dangers o f th e counter-revolu­ tion, the arm in g of th e people a n d d isarm ing o f th e ruling classes. A gainst the p a rlia m e n ta ry obstructionist m aneuvers of the bourgeoisie, th e active o rg an izatio n o f th e mass o f w orkers a n d soldiers. A gainst the om nipresence, the th o u san d m eans of pow er o f bourgeois society, th e co n cen trated , com pact, an d fully developed pow er of th e w orking class. O n ly a solid front o f th e en tire G erm an p ro le ta ria t, th e south G erm an together w ith th e n o rth G erm an , the u rb a n a n d th e ru ral, the w orkers w ith the soldiers, the living, spirited identification o f th e G er­ m an R evolution w ith the In te rn a tio n a l, the extension of the G erm an R evolution into a w orld revolution o f th e p ro le ta ria t can create the g ran ite foundations on w hich the edifice o f the future can be constructed. T h e fight for socialism is the m ightiest civil w ar in w orld his­ tory, a n d th e p ro le ta ria n revolution m ust procure th e neces-

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sary tools for this civil w ar; it m ust learn to use th e m — to struggle an d to win. Such arm in g of the solid mass of lab o rin g people w ith all political pow er for the tasks of th e revolution— th a t is th e d ic­ tatorship of th e p ro le ta ria t a n d therefore tru e dem ocracy. N ot w here the w age slave sits next to th e capitalist, the ru ra l p ro le­ tarian next to the J u n k e r in fra u d u le n t eq u ality to engage in p arlia m e n ta ry d eb ate over questions of life or d ea th , b u t w here the m illion-headed p ro le ta ria n mass seizes the en tire power of the state in its calloused fist, like the god T h o r his ham m er, using it to sm ash the h ead of the ru lin g classes— th a t alone is dem ocracy, th a t alone is not a b etray al of th e people. In order to enable the p ro le ta ria t to fulfill these tasks, the S partacus L eague dem ands: I. As immediate measures to protect the Revolution: 1. D isarm am en t of th e en tire police force a n d o f all officers an d n o n p ro le tarian soldiers; d isa rm a m e n t of all m em bers of the ruling classes. 2. C onfiscation of all w eapons a n d m unitions stocks as well as arm am en ts factories by w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils. 3. A rm ing of the en tire a d u lt m ale p ro le ta ria n p o p u latio n as a w orkers’ m ilitia. C reatio n of a R ed G u a rd of p ro letarian s as an active p a rt of th e m ilitia for th e co n stan t pro tectio n of the R evolution against co u n ter-rev o lu tio n ary attack s a n d sub­ versions. 4. A bolition of the co m m an d a u th o rity of officers a n d n o n ­ com m issioned officers. R e p lacem en t of the m ilitary cadaverdiscipline by v o lu n tary discipline of th e soldiers. E lection of all officers by th eir units, w ith rig h t o f im m ed iate recall a t an y time. A bolition of the system of m ilitary justice. 5. E xpulsion of officers a n d cap itu latio n ists from all sol­ diers’ councils. 6. R ep lacem en t of all political organs a n d au th o rities of the form er regim e by delegates of th e w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ co u n ­ cils.

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7. E stab lish m en t of a revo lu tio n ary trib u n a l to try the chief crim inals responsible for startin g a n d prolonging th e w ar, the H ohenzollerns, L udendorff, H in d e n b u rg , T irp itz , a n d th eir accom plices, together w ith all th e conspirators of co u n ter-rev ­ olution. 8. Im m e d ia te confiscation of all foodstuffs to secure th e feeding of th e people. II. In the political and social realm: it A bolition of all principalities; establishm ent of a u n ited G erm an Socialist R epublic. 2. E lim in atio n of all p arliam en ts a n d m u n icip al councils, an d takeover of th eir functions by w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ coun­ cils, an d of th e la tte r’s com m ittees a n d organs. 3. E lection of w orkers’ councils in all G erm an y by th e e n ­ tire a d u lt w orking p o p u latio n of bo th sexes, in th e city a n d the countryside, by enterprises, as well as of soldiers’ councils by the troops (officers a n d cap itulationists excluded). T h e rig h t of workers a n d soldiers to recall th eir representatives a t an y time. 4. E lection of delegates of th e w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils in the e n tire co u n try to th e cen tral council o f th e w orkers’ an d soldiers’ councils, w hich is to elect th e executive council as the highest o rg an of the legislative a n d executive power. 5. M eetings of th e cen tral council provisionally a t least every th re e m onths— w ith new elections of delegates each tim e— in o rd er to m a in ta in constant control over th e activity of the executive council, a n d to create a n active identification betw een th e masses of w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils in th e n a ­ tion a n d th e highest g o vern m en tal organ. R ig h t of' im m ed iate recall by th e local w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils a n d rep lace­ m en t of th eir representatives in th e cen tral council, should these n o t a c t in th e interests of th e ir constituents. R ig h t of the executive council to a p p o in t a n d dismiss th e people's com m is­ sioners as well as th e cen tra l n a tio n a l au th o rites a n d officials. 6. A bolition of a h differences o f ran k , all orders a n d titles. C om plete legal a n d social e q u ality of th e sexes.

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7. R ad ical social legislation. S hortening of the lab o r d ay to control unem ploym ent a n d in consideration o f th e physical ex­ haustion o f the w orking class by w orld w ar. M ax im u m w ork­ ing day of six hours. 8. Im m ed iate basic transform ation o f the food, housing, h ealth a n d ed u catio n al systems in the spirit a n d m ean in g of the p ro le tarian revolution. III. Immediate economic demands: 1. C onfiscation of all dynastic w ealth a n d incom e for the collectivity. 2. R ep u d iatio n o f th e state an d o th er public d eb t together w ith all w ar loans, w ith the exception of sums of c ertain level to be d eterm in ed by the cen tral council of the w orkers’ an d soldiers’ councils. 3. E x p ro p riatio n of the lands a n d fields o f all large a n d m e­ dium ag ricu ltu ral enterprises; form ation o f socialist ag ricu l­ tu ral collectives u n d e r unified cen tral direction in th e entire nation. Sm all p easan t holdings rem ain in th e possession of th eir occupants u n til th e latters’ v o lu n tary association w ith the socialist collectives. 4. E x p ro p riatio n by the council R ep u b lic of all banks, mines, sm elters, together w ith all large enterprises o f industry an d com m erce. 5. C onfiscation of all w ealth above a level to be d eterm in ed by the cen tral council. 6. T akeover of the en tire public tra n sp o rta tio n system by the councils’ R epublic. 7. E lection of enterprise councils in all enterprises, w hich, in coordination w ith th e w orkers’ councils, have the task of o r­ dering the in tern al affairs of the enterprises, reg u latin g w ork­ ing conditions, controlling pro d u ctio n a n d finally tak in g over direction o f the enterprise. 8. E stablishm ent of a cen tral strike com m ission w hich, in constant collaboration w ith the enterprise councils, will fur­ nish th e strike m ovem ent now beginning th ro u g h o u t th e na-

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tion w ith a unified leadership, socialist direction an d the strongest support by th e political pow er o f the w orkers’ and soldiers’ councils. IV. International tasks: Im m ed iate establishm ent of ties w ith the fratern al parties in other countries, in order to p u t the socialist revolution on an in te rn a tio n a l footing a n d to shape an d secure th e peace by m eans o f in te rn a tio n a l b ro th erh o o d an d the revolutionary uprising of the w orld pro letariat. V. That is what the Spartacus League wants! A nd because th a t is w h at it w ants, because it is the voice of w arning, of urgency, because it is th e socialist conscience of the R evolution, it is h ated , persecuted, an d defam ed by all the open a n d secret enem ies of the R evolution an d the pro letariat. C rucify it! shout the capitalists, trem b lin g for th eir cashboxes. C rucify it! shout the p etty bourgeois, th e officers, the antiSemites, the press lackeys of th e bourgeoisie, trem b lin g for their fleshpots u n d er th e class rule o f the bourgeoisie. C rucify it! shout the S cheidem anns, who, like J u d a s Iscar­ iot, have sold the w orkers to th e bourgeoisie an d trem ble for th eir pieces o f silver. C rucify it! rep eat like a n echo th e deceived, betrayed, abused stra ta of th e w orking class a n d the soldiers w ho do not know th a t, by raging against th e S p artacu s L eague, they rage against th eir own flesh an d blood. In th eir h a tre d an d defam atio n o f the S partacus L eague, all the counter-revolutionaries, all enem ies of the people, all the antisocialist, am biguous, obscure, an d u n clear elem ents are united. T h a t is p ro o f th a t the h e a rt o f th e R evolution beats w ithin th e S p artacu s L eague, th a t th e future belongs to it. T h e S p artacu s L eague is not a p a rty th a t w ants to rise to power over th e m ass o f w orkers or th ro u g h them . T h e S p artacu s L eague is only the m ost conscious, purpose­ ful p a rt o f th e p ro le tariat, w hich points th e en tire b ro ad mass

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of the w orking class tow ard its historical tasks a t every step, w hich represents in each p a rtic u la r stage of th e R ev o lutio n the u ltim ate socialist goal, a n d in all n a tio n a l questions th e in te r­ ests of the p ro le tarian w orld revolution. T h e S partacus L eague refuses to p a rtic ip a te in g o vernm en­ tal pow er w ith th e lackeys of th e bourgeoisie, w ith the Scheidem ann-E berts, because it sees in such co llab o ratio n a betrayal of the fundam en tals of socialism , a stren g th en in g of the counter-revolution, a n d a w eakening of the R evolution. T h e S p artacu s L eague will also refuse to en te r th e govern­ m ent just because S ch eid em an n -E b ert are going b a n k ru p t a n d the independents, by co llab o ratin g w ith them , are in a d e a d ­ end street.3 T h e S partacus L eague will never tak e over governm ental power except in response to th e clear , unam biguous will o f the great m ajority of th e p ro le ta ria n mass of all of G erm an y , never except by th e p ro le ta ria t’s conscious affirm ation of th e views, aims, an d m ethods of struggle of th e S p artacu s League. T h e p ro le tarian revolution can reach full clarity a n d m a tu ­ rity only by stages, step by step, on the G o lg o th a-p ath of its own b itte r experiences in struggle, th ro u g h defeats a n d vic­ tories. T h e victory of the S partacus L eague comes not a t th e b egin­ ning, b u t a t the end o f th e R evolution: it is identical w ith the victory of th e g reat m illion-strong masses of th e socialist p ro le­ tariat. P ro letarian , arise! T o th e struggle! T h e re is a w orld to win an d a w orld to defeat. In this final class struggle in w orld his­ tory for th e highest aim s of h u m an ity , our slogan to w ard the enem y is: T h u m b s on th e eyeballs a n d knee in th e chest! 4 T

he

S partacus L

eague

Translated by Martin Nicolaus 3 The independents—the USPD—had joined the Scheidemann-Ebert government in November. They withdrew from that government on Deceml>er 29, 1918. 4 This was a well -known slogan of Lassalle

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Our Program and the Political Situation C om rades! O u r task today is to discuss a n d a d o p t a p ro ­ gram . In u n d e rta k in g this task we are not m otivated solely by th e form al consideration th a t yesterday we founded a new in ­ d ep en d en t p arty an d th a t a new p a rty m ust form ulate an official p rogram . G re a t historical m ovem ents have been the d eterm in in g causes of to d a y ’s deliberations. T h e tim e has com e w hen th e en tire Social D em ocratic socialist p ro g ram of the p ro le ta ria t has to be placed on a new foundation. C om ­ rades! In so doing, we connect ourselves to the th read s w hich M arx an d Engels spun precisely seventy years ago in th e Com­ munist Manifesto. As you know, th e Communist Manifesto dealt w ith socialism , w ith the realizatio n of th e u ltim ate goals of so­ cialism as th e im m ed iate task of th e p ro le ta ria n revolution. T his was th e conception advocated by M a rx a n d Engels in the R evolution of 1848; an d it was w h a t they conceived as the basis for in te rn a tio n a l p ro le ta ria n action as well. In com m on w ith all th e leading spirits in th e p ro le ta ria n m ovem ent, both M arx a n d Engels th en believed th a t th e im m ed iate task was th e in tro d u ctio n of socialism. All th a t was necessary, they th ought, was to b rin g ab o u t a political revolution, to seize the political pow er of the state in o rd er to m ake socialism im m ed i­ ately e n te r th e realm o f flesh a n d blood. Subsequently, as you are aw are, M a rx a n d Engels u n d erto o k a thoroughgoing revi-

This is the text of a speech to the Founding Congress of the Communist Party of Germany (Spartacus League), made on December 31, 1918. The text is from Politische Schriften, II (Frankfurt: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1966), pp. 171-201. Notations of audience response are from H. Weber, Der Gründungsparteitag der KPD, pp. 172-201.

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sion of this standpoint. In th eir jo in t Preface to the rep u b lica­ tion of the Communist Manifesto in 1872, they say: No special stress is to be laid on the revolutionary measures pro­ posed at the end of Section II. T hat passage would, in many re­ spects, be differently worded today. In view of the gigantic strides of modern industry during the last twenty-five years and of the accompanying progress of the organization of the party of the working class; in view of the practical experience gained, first in the February revolution, and then, still more, in the Paris Commune, where the proletariat for the first time held po­ litical power for two months, this program has in some aspects been antiquated. One thing especially was proved by the Com­ mune, namely, that the “working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery and wield it for its own pur­ poses.” W h at is the actual w ording of the passage w hich is said to be dated? It reads as follows: The proletariat will use its political supremacy to gradually wrest all capital from the bourgeoisie; to centralize all instru­ ments of production in the hands of the state, i.e., of the prole­ tariat organized as the ruling class; and to increase the total of productive forces as rapidly as possible. O f course, in the beginning this can only be effected by means of despotic interference into property rights and into the condi­ tions of bourgeois production; by measures, therefore, which ap­ pear economically insufficient and untenable, but which, in the course of the movement, go beyond themselves, necessitate fur­ ther inroads into the old social order, and are unavoidable as a means of revolutionizing the whole mode of production. The measures will, of course, be different in different countries. Nevertheless, in the most advanced countries, the following will be generally applicable: 1) Abolition of landed property and application of all land rents to public purposes. 2) Heavy progressive taxes. 3) Abolition of the right of inheritance. 4) Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels. 5) Centralization of credit in the hands of the state by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monop­ oly.

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6) Centralization of the means of communication and trans­ port in the hands of the state. 7) Increase in the number of factories and instruments of pro­ duction owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally, in ac­ cordance with a social plan. 8) Equal obligation upon all to labor. Establishment of indus­ trial armies, especially for agriculture. 9) Unification of agricultural and manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country. 10) Free education for all children in public schools. Aboli­ tion of children’s factory labor in its present form. Unification of education with industrial production, etc., etc. As you see, w ith a few variations, these are the tasks th a t confront us today: the intro d u ctio n , the realizatio n o f social­ ism. Betw een th e tim e w hen the above p ro g ram was form u­ lated a n d the present m om ent, th ere have intervened seventy years of cap italist developm ent, a n d the dialectical m ovem ent o f history has b ro u g h t us back to th e conception w hich M arx a n d Engels h a d a b an d o n ed in 1872 as erroneous. A t th a t tim e, there w ere good reasons for believing th a t th eir earlier views h a d been w rong. T h e fu rth e r developm ent o f cap ital has, how ­ ever, led to th e fact th a t w h at was incorrect in 1872 has b e­ come tru th today, so th a t our im m ed iate task today is to fulfill w h at M a rx a n d Engels th o u g h t th ey w ould have to accom ­ plish in 1848. B ut betw een th a t p o int in the developm ent, th at beginning, an d our own views a n d our im m ed iate task, there lies the w hole developm ent not only of capitalism b u t also of the socialist lab o r m ovem ent, above all in G erm an y as the leading lan d o f the m o d ern p ro le tariat. T h is developm ent has tak en a p ecu liar form. W hen, after the disillusionm ents o f the R evolution o f 1848, M arx a n d Engels h a d given u p th e id ea th a t the p ro le ta ria t could im m ed iately realize socialism, th ere cam e into existence in all countries Social D em o cratic socialist p arties inspired w ith very different conceptions. T h e im m ed iate task o f these parties was declared to be detail w ork, the p etty daily struggle

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in the political an d econom ic realm s, in order, by degrees, to form the arm ies of the p ro le ta ria t w hich w ould be read y to re ­ alize socialism w hen cap italist developm ent h a d m a tu re d . T h e socialist pro g ram was th ereb y established u p o n an u tte rly dif­ ferent foundation, an d in G erm an y the change took a very typical form. U n til th e collapse of A ugust 4, 1914,1 G erm an Social D em ocracy took its stand u p o n the E rfu rt P ro g ram , by w hich th e so-called im m ed iate m in im al aim s w ere placed in the forefront, w hile socialism was no m ore th a n a d ista n t g u id ­ ing star, the u ltim ate goal. F a r m ore im p o rta n t, how ever, th a n w hat is w ritten in a pro g ram is th e w ay in w hich th a t p ro g ram is in terp reted in action. F rom this p o in t of view, g reat im p o r­ tance m ust be attach ed to one of th e historical docum ents of our labor m ovem ent, to th e Preface w ritten by F ried rich E n g ­ els to the 1895 rep u b licatio n of M a rx ’s Class Struggles in France. It is not on m ere historical grounds th a t I now reopen this question. T h e m a tte r is one of extrem e im m ediacy. It has b e­ come our historical duty today to replace o u r p ro g ram upon the foundation laid by M a rx an d Engels in 1848. In view of the changes b ro u g h t ab o u t by historical developm ent, it is our duty to u n d ertak e a d elib erate revision of the views th a t guided G erm an Social D em ocracy u n til th e collapse of A ugust 4. T his revision m ust be officially u n d e rta k e n today. Com rades! H ow did Engels envisage th e question in th a t fa­ mous Preface to M a rx ’s Class Struggles in France, w ritten in 1895, [twelve years] after the d e a th of M arx? First o f all, look­ ing back upon the year 1848, he showed th a t the belief th a t the socialist revolution was im m in en t h a d becom e obsolete. H e continued as follows: History has shown that we, and those who thought like us, were all mistaken. It has shown that the state of economic develop­ ment on the continent was then far from being ripe for the abo1 The “collapse of August 4, 1914” refers to the voting of war credits by the parlia­ mentary delegation of Social Democracy, an act which marked the end of the Second International. The selection from the Junius Pamphlet printed above gives an idea of how strongly Rosa Luxemburg felt about this betrayal of all socialist principles.

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lition of capitalist production. It has proved this by the eco­ nomic revolution which since 1848 has taken place all over the continent. Large-scale industry has been established in France, Austria-Hungary, Poland, and, recently, in Russia. Germany has become a first-rank industrial country. All these changes have taken place upon a capitalist foundation, a foundation which therefore in the year 1848 was still capable of an enor­ mous extension. A fter sum m ing u p the changes w hich h a d occurred in the in tervening period, Engels tu rn s to the im m ediate tasks of the p arty in G erm any: As M arx predicted, the war of 1870-1871 and the defeat of the Commune provisionally shifted the center of gravity of the Eu­ ropean labor movement from France to Germany. Naturally, many years had to elapse before France could recover from the bloodletting of May, 1871.2 In Germany, on the other hand, in the hothouse atmosphere produced by the influx of the French billions, industry was developing by leaps and bounds.3 Even more rapid and more enduring was the growth of Social De­ mocracy. Thanks to the agreement in virtue of which the Ger­ man workers have been able to avail themselves of the universal suffrage introduced in 1866, the astounding growth of the party has been demonstrated to all the world by the testimony of figures whose signficance no one can deny.4 T h e re u p o n followed th e fam ous en u m eratio n show ing the grow th of the P a rty vote in election after election u n til the figures swelled to m illions. From this progress, Engels drew the following conclusion: The successful employment of the parliam entary vote, however, entailed an entirely new mode of struggle by the proletariat, 2 The “bloodletting of May 1871” refers to the defeat of the Commune and the bloody revenge of the bourgeoisie. 3 The Treaty of Frankfurt, which ended the Franco-German War of 1870-1871, forced France to pay five billion francs in reparations. This sum provided the base for the beginnings of German industrial development. 4 In 1866, Bismarck introduced universal male suffrage for the Reichstag, the lower house, into Germany in order to take the wind out of Social Democracy’s sails. His effort failed. In 1867, Bebel, Liebknecht and four other Social Democrats were elected.

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and this new method has undergone rapid development. It has been discovered that the political institutions in which the dom­ ination of the bourgeoisie is organized offer a fulcrum by means of which the proletariat can combat these very political institu­ tions. The Social Democrats have participated in the elections to the various Diets, to municipal councils, and to industrial courts. Wherever the proletariat could secure an effective voice, the occupation of these electoral strongholds by the bourgeoisie has been contested. Consequently, the bourgeoisie and the gov­ ernment have become much more alarmed at the legal than at the illegal activities of the labor party, dreading the results of elections far more than they dread the results of rebellion. Engels appends a detailed critiq u e of th e illusion th a t u n d er m odern capitalist conditions the p ro le ta ria t could possibly ex­ pect to gain an y th in g by street fighting, by revolution. It seems to me, how ever, th a t today, inasm uch as we are in th e m idst of a revolution, a revolution ch aracterized by street fighting an d all th a t it entails, it is tim e to p u t into question the conception w hich guided the official policy of G erm an Social D em ocracy down to our own day, th e views w hich share responsibility for our experience of A ugust 4, 1914. [“Hear! Hear/”] By this, I do not m ean to im ply th a t, on acco u n t o f these declarations, Engels m ust share personal responsibility for the whole course of the developm ent in G erm any. I m erely say th a t this is a classical d o cu m en tatio n of th e opinions prevailing in G erm an Social D em ocracy— opinions w hich proved fatal to it. H ere, com rades, Engels dem onstrates, using all his know l­ edge as an expert in m ilitary science,5 th a t it is a p u re illusion to believe th a t the w orking people could, in th e existing state of m ilitary tech n iq u e a n d of industry, a n d in view of th e c h a r­ acteristics of the great cities of today, b rin g ab o u t a n d w in a revolution by street fighting. T w o im p o rta n t conclusions w ere draw n from this reasoning. In th e first place, the p a rlia m e n ­ tary struggle was opposed to d irect revolutionary action by the p ro letariat, a n d was frankly considered as th e only m eans of 3 Engels was always interested in the art of war, and was known in the movement as the “General.”

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carrying on the class struggle. T h e logical conclusion of this critiq u e was the doctrine of “ p arliam en tarism -o n ly .” Sec­ ondly, th e w hole m ilitary m achine, precisely the m ost pow er­ ful o rg an izatio n in the class state, th e en tire mass of p ro le ta ri­ ans in m ilitary uniform , was declared, in a rem ark ab le way, on a prion grounds, to be im m une a n d absolutely inaccessible to socialist influence. W h en the Preface declares th a t, owing to the m odern developm ent of gigantic arm ies, it is insane to sup­ pose th a t p ro letarian s could stan d u p against soldiers arm ed w ith m ach in e guns a n d eq u ip p ed w ith all th e latest technical devices, the assertion is obviously based u p o n the assum ption th a t anyone who is a soldier is th ereb y a priori, once a n d for all, a support of the ruling class. It w ould be absolutely incom prehensible, in the light of con­ tem p o rary experience, th a t a m a n w ho stood a t the h ead of our m ovem ent could have com m itted such an erro r if we did not know th e ac tu a l circum stances in w hich this historical docum ent was com posed. T o th e h o n o r o f our two g reat m as­ ters, a n d especially to the credit of Engels, w ho died twelve years la te r th a n M arx , a n d was alw ays a faithful ch am p io n of his g reat co llab o rato r’s theories, th e w ell-know n fact th a t the Preface was w ritten by Engels u n d e r th e direct pressure of the p a rlia m e n ta ry delegation m ust be stressed.6 D u rin g th e early 6 This same point is made above in Social Reform or Revolution against Bernstein’s use of Engels’ Preface to justify his revisionist theory. Rosa Luxemburg did not, however, know the full details of the falsification of Engels’ work. It was not Engels who wrote the seemingly revisionist views cited here. The Party leaders, arguing that because the Reichstag was considering passage of a new antisocialist law it would be dangerous to give them grounds to attack Social Democracy, eliminated all the passages in the Preface which seemed too radical. Engels protested, but died before any changes could be made. The original version of the manuscript, with the editorial changes of the Party leaders, was discovered after the war by D. Ryazanov, editor of Marx’s and Engels’ works. Thus, to give only one example here, after Engels had discussed the strategic reasons which made barricade struggles seem antiquated (new weapons, the construction of wide streets in the new workers’ quarters, etc.), the following passages were omitted: “Does this mean that in the future street fighting will no longer play a role? Definitely not. It means only that since 1848 conditions have become less advan­ tageous for the civilian fighters, more advantageous for the military. A future street fight can thus only be won when this unfavorable situation is counterbalanced by

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1890’s after th e [antijsocialist law h a d been rep ealed , there was in G erm an y a strong left-radical c u rre n t w ithin th e G er­ m an lab o r m ovem ent w hich w an ted to save th e P a rty from a total absorption in the p a rlia m e n ta ry struggle. In o rd er to d e ­ feat the rad ical elem ents theoretically, a n d to n eu tra liz e them in practice; in order to keep th e ir views from th e a tte n tio n of the masses th ro u g h th e a u th o rity of o u r g reat m asters, Bebel an d com rades (an d this was typical of o u r situ atio n a t the tim e: th e p a rlia m e n ta ry delegation decided theoretically an d tactically th e destiny a n d th e tasks o f th e P a rty ) pressed Engels, w ho lived ab ro a d a n d h a d to rely on th eir assurances, to w rite th a t Preface, arg u in g th a t it was absolutely essential to save the G erm an lab o r m ovem ent from an arch ist deviations. From th a t tim e on, th e tactics expounded by Engels do m i­ n ated G erm an Social D em ocracy in everything th a t it did an d in everything th a t it left undone, dow n to th e a p p ro p ria te end, A ugust 4, 1914. T h e P reface was th e p ro clam atio n o f th e p a r ­ liam entarism -only tactic. Engels died th e sam e year, a n d h a d therefore no ch ance to see th e p ractica l results of this a p p lic a ­ tion of his theory. I am certain th a t those w ho know th e works o f M a rx an d Engels, those w ho are fam iliar w ith th e living, g enuine revolu­ tionary spirit th a t inspired all th e ir teachings a n d th e ir w rit­ ings, will be convinced th a t Engels w ould have been th e first to protest against th e d eb au ch of p arliam en tarism -o n ly , against the co rru p tio n a n d d e g rad atio n of th e lab o r m ovem ent w hich was ch aracteristic o f G erm an y before th e 4th of A ugust. T h e 4th of A ugust did not com e like th u n d e r o ut of a clear sky; w hat h ap p e n e d on th e 4 th of A ugust was th e logical outcom e of all th a t we h a d been doing day after day for m an y years. [“Hear! Hear!”] I am c ertain th a t Engels— a n d M arx , h ad he other moments. Thus, street fighting will occur less in the beginning of a great revolu­ tion than in the further development of such a revolution, and will have to be under­ taken with greater forces. These forces, however, will then, as in the whole French Revolution, on September 4 and October 31 in Paris, prefer open attack to the passive barricade tactics.”

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been alive— w ould have been the h ist to have protested w ith the utm ost energy, a n d w ould have used all his forces to keep the vehicle from rolling into the sw am p. B ut Engels died in the sam e y ear th a t he w rote th e Preface. A fter we lost him in 1895, the th eo retical leadership u n fo rtu n ately passed into the hands o f K autsky. T h e result of this was th a t a t every a n n u a l P arty congress th e energetic protests o f the left w ing ag ain st the pol­ icy o f p arliam en tarism -o n ly , its tenacious struggle against the sterility o f such a policy whose dangerous results m ust be clear to everyone, w ere stigm atized as an arch ism , anarcho-socialism, or a t least an ti-M arx ism . W h a t passed officially for M a rx ­ ism becam e a cloak for all the hesitations, for all the turningsaw ay from the actu al revolu tio n ary class struggle, for every halfw ay m easure w hich condem ned G erm an Social D em oc­ racy, the lab o r m ovem ent in general, a n d also the tra d e u n ­ ions, to vegetate w ithin the fram ew ork a n d on the te rra in of cap italist society w ith o u t any serious a tte m p t to shake or throw th a t society out o f gear. B ut today we have reach ed th e point, com rades, w hen we can say th a t we have rejoined M arx , th a t we are advancing u n d er his flag. I f today we declare in our p ro g ram th a t the im ­ m ed iate task o f the p ro le ta ria t is none o th er th a n — in a word — to m ake socialism a tru th an d a fact, a n d to destroy c a p ita l­ ism root a n d b ran ch , in saying this we take our stan d u p o n the g round occupied by M a rx a n d Engels in 1848, a n d from w hich in prin cip le they never swerved. W h a t tru e M arxism is has now becom e p lain ; a n d w h a t ersatz M arxism , w hich has so long been th e official M arxism o f Social D em ocracy, has been is also clear. [Applause] Y ou see w h a t M arxism of th a t sort leads to— to th e M arxism of those w ho are the hen ch m en of E bert, D avid, a n d co m p an y .7 T hese are the representatives of the do ctrin e w hich was tru m p e te d for decades as tru e, u n ­ defiled M arxism . N o, M arxism could not lead in this d irec­ tion, could not lead to co u n ter-rev o lu tio n ary activities side by 7 That is, the “socialist” government of Ebert, David, Scheidemann, Noske, etc.

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side w ith m en such as S cheidem ann. T rue M arxism fights also against those w ho seek to falsify it. B urrow ing like a m ole b e ­ n eath the foundations of cap italist society, it has w orked so well th a t the b etter p a rt o f th e G erm an p ro le ta ria t is m arch in g today u n d e r ou r b a n n e r, the storm y b a n n e r o f revolution. Even in the opposite cam p , even w here the counter-revolution still seems to rule, we have ad h eren ts a n d future com rades-inarms. C om rades! As 1 have alread y noted, th e course o f th e histor­ ical dialectic has led us b ack to th e p o in t a t w hich M a rx a n d Engels stood in 1848 w hen they first u n fu rled th e b a n n e r of in ­ tern atio n al socialism. W e stan d w here they stood, b u t w ith the ad v an tag e th a t seventy a d d itio n al years o f cap italist develop­ m ent lie b eh in d us. Seventy years ago, to those w ho review ed the errors a n d illusions o f 1848, it seem ed as if the p ro le ta ria t still h a d an infinitely long distance to travel before it could hope to realize socialism. N a tu ra lly no serious th in k e r has ever been inclined to fix a definite d a te for th e collapse of c a p ita l­ ism; b u t the d ay of th a t collapse seem ed to lie in the d istan t fu­ ture. Such a b elief too can be read in every line o f th e Preface w hich Engels w rote in 1895. W e are now in a position to draw u p the account. In com parison w ith the class struggles of the past, was it not a very short tim e? T h e progress o f large-scale capitalist developm ent d u rin g seventy years has b ro u g h t us so far th a t today we can seriously set a b o u t destroying capitalism once a n d for all. N o, still m ore; to d ay we are n ot only in a p o ­ sition to perform this task, its perform ance is no t only a d u ty tow ard the p ro le taria t, b u t its solution offers th e only m eans of saving h u m a n society from destruction. [Loud applause] C om rades! W h a t has the w ar left o f bourgeois society beyond a gigantic h e a p o f ruins? Form ally, o f course, all the m eans o f pro d u ctio n a n d m ost of th e in strum ents o f pow er are still in the h an d s o f th e ru lin g classes. W e are u n d er no illu­ sions on this score. B ut w h a t our rulers will be able to achieve w ith these powers over a n d above fran tic attem p ts to re-estab­ lish th eir system o f exploitation th ro u g h blood a n d slaughter

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will be n o th in g m ore th a n an arch y . T o d a y m atters have reached a p o in t a t w hich m a n k in d is faced w ith th e dilem m a: either collapse into an arch y , or salvation th ro u g h socialism. T h e results of th e W orld W a r m ake it im possible for th e cap i­ talist classes to find any w ay out of th eir difficulties w hile still m ain ta in in g th eir class rule a n d capitalism . W e are living today, in th e strictest sense of th e term , the absolute tru th of th e statem en t form ulated for the first tim e by M a rx a n d E n g ­ els as th e scientific basis of socialism in the g reat c h a rte r of our m ovem ent, in the Communist Manifesto: Socialism will becom e a n historical necessity. Socialism has becom e necessary not m erely because the p ro le ta ria t is no longer w illing to live u n d er th e conditions im posed by th e cap italist class but, rath er, because if th e p ro le ta ria t fails to fulfill its class duties, if it fails to realize socialism, we shall crash dow n together to a com m on doom . [.Prolonged applause] H ere, com rades, you have the general foundation of th e pro­ gram we are officially ad o p tin g today, whose outline you have all read in th e p a m p h le t What Does the Spartacus League Want? 8 O u r p ro g ram is deliberately opposed to the stan d p o in t of the E rfu rt P ro g ram ; it is deliberately opposed to th e sep aratio n of th e im m ediate, so-called m in im al dem an d s form ulated for the political a n d econom ic struggle from the socialist goal re­ garded as a m ax im al program . In this d elib erate opposition [to the E rfu rt Program ] we liq u id ate th e results of seventy years’ evolution a n d above all, th e im m ediate results of the W orld W a r, in th a t we say: For us th ere is no m in im al a n d no m axim al p ro g ram ; socialism is one a n d th e sam e th ing; this is th e m in im u m we have to realize today. [“Hear! Hear!”] I do n o t propose to discuss th e details of our program . T h a t w ould tak e too long, a n d you will form your own opinions on m atters of detail. I consider m y task to be m erely to sketch an d form ulate th e b ro ad principles w hich distinguish our program from w h a t has h ith erto been the so-called official p ro g ram of 8 This pamphlet is printed above, pp. 366-76.

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G erm an Social D em ocracy. I re g ard it, how ever, as m ore im ­ p o rta n t a n d m ore pressing th a t we should com e to a n u n d e r­ standing in our estim ate o f the concrete circum stances, of the tactics we have to ad o p t, a n d o f th e p ractica l m easures w hich m ust be u n d e rta k e n in view o f th e political situ ation , o f th e course of th e revolution u n til now, an d o f th e p ro b ab le fu rth er lines o f its developm ent. W e have to ju d g e th e political situ a ­ tion according to th e outlook I have ju st tried to ch aracterize — from the stan d p o in t of the realizatio n o f socialism as th e im ­ m ediate task w hich guides every m easure a n d every position th a t we take. C om rades! O u r P a rty Congress, th e Congress of w h a t I m ay proudly call th e only revo lu tio n ary socialist p a rty o f th e G e r­ m an p ro le tariat, h ap p en s to coincide w ith a tu rn in g p o in t in the developm ent of the G erm an revolution. “ H a p p en s to coin­ cide,” I say; b u t in tru th th e coincidence is not a n accident. W e m ay assert th a t after the events o f th e last few days, the cu rtain has gone dow n u p o n the first act of th e G e rm a n revo­ lution. W e are now in th e opening of th e second act, a fu rth er stage in the developm ent, a n d it is our com m on d u ty to subm it to self-criticism. W e shall be guided m ore wisely in th e future, an d we shall gain ad d itio n al im petus for fu rth er ad v an ce, if we exam ine critically all th a t we have done a n d created , a n d all th a t we have left undone. L et us, then, carefully ex am in e the events o f th e now -ended first act in th e revolution. T h e m ovem ent began on N ovem ber 9. T h e R ev o lu tio n of N ovem ber 9 was ch aracterized by in ad eq u acy a n d weakness. T his is n o t surprising. T h e revolution followed four years o f w ar, four years d u rin g w hich, schooled by Social D em ocracy an d the tra d e unions, th e G erm an p ro le ta ria t h a d beh av ed w ith in to lerab le ignom iny a n d h a d re p u d ia te d its socialist o b ­ ligations to a n exten t u n p a ra lle le d in an y o th er lan d . W e M arxists a n d socialists, whose guid in g p rin cip le is a recogni­ tion o f historical developm ent, could h ard ly expect th a t in the G erm any w hich h ad know n the terrib le spectacle o f A ugust 4, a n d w hich d u rin g m ore th a n four years h a d reap ed th e h ar-

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vest sown on th a t day, th e re should suddenly occur on N ovem ­ b er 9, 1918, a glorious revolution inspired w ith definite class consciousness a n d d irected tow ard a conscious aim . W h a t we experienced on N ovem ber 9 was m ore th e collapse of th e exist­ en t im perialism th a n the victory of a new principle. [“Hear! Hear!”} T h e m o m en t h a d com e for th e collapse of im perialism , a co­ lossus w ith feet of clay, cru m b lin g from w ithin. T h e sequel of this collapse was a m ore or less chaotic m ovem ent, one p ra c ti­ cally devoid of a conscious plan. T h e only source o f union, the persistent a n d saving principle, was the m otto: “ F o rm W o rk ­ ers’ a n d Soldiers’ C ouncils.” T h a t w as th e key notion in this revolution w hich, in spite of th e in ad eq u acy a n d weakness of th e opening phases, im m ediately gave it the stam p of a prole­ ta ria n socialist revolution. W e should not forget this w hen we are confronted by those w ho show er calum nies on th e R ussian Bolsheviks, a n d we m ust answ er: “W h ere did you learn the A B C ’s of y our present revolution? W as it not from the R u s­ sians th a t you learn ed to d e m a n d w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ coun­ cils?” 9 [Applause] T hose pygm ies w ho today, as heads of w hat they falsely term a G erm an socialist governm ent, m ake it one of th eir ch ief tasks to jo in w ith th e B ritish im perialists in a m urderous a tta c k u p o n the Bolsheviks, also form ally base th eir pow er on th e w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils, thereby a d m it­ ting th a t the R ussian R evolution created th e first m ottoes for th e w orld revolution. O n th e basis of the existing situation, we can p red ict w ith certain ty th a t in w h atev er country, after G er­ m any, th e p ro le ta ria n revolution m ay next b reak out, th e first step will be th e form ation of w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils. [Murmurs o f assent] Precisely here lies th e b o n d th a t unites o u r m ovem ent in te r­ nationally. T h is is th e slogan w hich com pletely distinguishes ou r revolution from all earlier bourgeois revolutions. A nd it is 9 The “socialist” government of Ebert-Scheidemann and Co. was based on the workers’ and soldiers’ councils, in which the old SPD forces still had a majority.

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very ch aracteristic of th e dialectical contradictions in w hich the revolution, like all others, moves th a t on N ovem ber 9, the first cry o f th e revolution, as instinctive as the cry o f a new ­ born child, found the w atchw ord w hich will lead us to social­ ism: w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils. T h is was the call w hich rallied everyone— a n d th a t the revolution instructively found the word, even though on the 9th of N ovem ber it was so in a d e ­ quate, so feeble, so devoid of initiative, so lacking in clearness as to its own aim s, th a t on the second day o f th e revolution nearly h a lf of the instrum ents of pow er w hich h a d been seized on N ovem ber 9 h ad slipped from the grasp of the revolution. W e see in this, on the one h an d , th a t our revolution is subject to the all-pow erful law o f historical necessity w hich g u aran tees th at, despite all difficulties a n d com plications, a n d n o tw ith ­ standing all our own errors, we shall nevertheless ad v an ce step by step tow ard our goal. O n the o th er h an d , co m p arin g this splendid b attle cry w ith the insufficiency of the p ractica l re ­ sults w hich have been achieved th ro u g h it, we have to a d m it th a t these w ere no m ore th a n the first childish a n d faltering footsteps of the revolution w hich has m an y arduous tasks to perform a n d a long road to travel before fully realizing the prom ise of th e first w atchw ords. C om rades! T h is first act, betw een N ovem ber 9 a n d th e pres­ ent, has been filled w ith illusions on all sides. T h e first illusion of the w orkers an d soldiers who m ad e th e revolution was: the illusion of u n ity u n d e r the b a n n e r of so-called socialism. W h a t could be m ore ch aracteristic of the in te rn a l w eakness of the R evolution of N ovem ber 9 th a n the fact th a t a t the h e a d of the m ovem ent ap p e a re d persons who a few hours before th e revo­ lution broke o u t h a d reg ard ed it as th eir ch ief d u ty to ag itate against it [“Hear! Hear!”\— to a tte m p t to m ake revolution im ­ possible: the E berts, S cheidem anns, a n d H aases. T h e m otto of the R evolution of N ovem ber 9 was the idea of th e u n ity of the various socialist trends in the general ex u ltatio n — a n illusion which was to be bloodily avenged. T h e events of the last few days have b ro u g h t a b itte r aw akening from our dream s. But

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the self-deception was universal, affecting th e E b e rt an d S cheidem ann groups an d th e bourgeoisie no less th a n o u r­ selves. A n o th er illusion was th a t of th e bourgeoisie a t th e end of this stage, believing th a t by m eans of th e E b e rt-H a a se com ­ bin atio n , by m eans of the so-called socialist governm ent, they w ould really be able to b rid le th e p ro le ta ria n masses a n d to strangle th e socialist revolution. Yet a n o th e r illusion was th at of th e E b ert-S ch eid em an n governm ent, th a t w ith th e aid of th e soldiers re tu rn e d from th e front, they w ould be ab le to hold dow n th e w orking masses in th eir socialist class struggle. Such w ere th e m ultifarious illusions w hich exp lain recent events. O n e a n d all, they have now been dissipated into n o th ­ ingness. It has been show n th a t th e u n io n betw een H aase an d E b ert-S ch eid em an n u n d e r the b a n n e r of “socialism ” serves m erely as a fig leaf for th e veiling of a co u nter-revolutionary policy. W e ourselves have been cured of our self-deceptions, as happens in all revolutions. T h e re is a definite revolutionary m ethod by w hich th e people can be cured of illusion, b u t u n ­ fortunately, th e cure m ust be p aid for w ith th e blood of the people. In G erm any, events have followed a course c h a ra c te r­ istic o f earlier revolutions. T h e blood of th e victim s on the C hausseestrasse on D ecem ber 6, th e blood of the sailors on D e­ cem ber 24,10 b ro u g h t th e tru th hom e to th e b ro ad masses of th e people. T h e y cam e to realize th a t w h at has been pasted to­ gether a n d called a socialist governm ent is n o th in g b u t a gov10 The “Chausseestrasse massacre” resulted from an attempted putsch in which the Berlin executive committee of the workers’ and soldiers’ councils, which was con­ trolled by the forces of Ebert-Scheidemann, was placed under arrest. This attempted putsch failed, and in the subsequent fight against government forces, a number of Spartacists and bystanders were killed. In his speech to the Founding Congress of the German Communist Party, Karl Liebknecht accused the government of having planned the putsch in order to have an excuse to attack the Spartacists. On December 24, 1918, a division of sailors on duty in Berlin refused to obey orders and took as their hostage the SPD military chief of Berlin, Otto Weis. Ebert ordered the troops of General Lequis to attack the sailors, who were aided by the Berlin work­ ers. Jn the fighting eleven sailors and fifty-six governmental soldiers were killed. This event was cited as another example of the provocation by the “socialist” regime which was only looking for excuses to attack the Spartacists.

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ern m en t representing th e bourgeois counter-rev o lu tio n , a n d th a t w hoever continues to to lerate such a state of affairs is w orking against the p ro le ta ria t a n d ag ain st socialism . [Ap­ plause] C om rades! D issipated too are th e illusions of M essrs. E b ert an d S cheidem ann th a t w ith th e aid of the soldiers from th e front they will be able to keep th e w orkers in subjection p e r­ m anently. F or w h at has been th e effect o f D ecem ber 6 a n d 24? W e have all seen a profound disillusionm ent am o n g the troops, a n d th e beginning of a critical a ttitu d e to w ard those gentlem en w ho w an ted to use th em as c an n o n fodder against the socialist p ro le tariat. T h is too lies in th e w orking of th e law of the necessary objective developm ent o f th e socialist revolu­ tion, th a t the individ u al troops of th e lab o r m ovem ent g ra d u ­ ally learn th ro u g h th e ir own b itte r experience to recognize the correct p a th o f revolution. Fresh masses of soldiers have been bro u g h t to B erlin as c a n n o n fodder for th e subjection o f social­ ist p ro letarian s— w ith the result th a t from different b arrack s there comes a d em an d for the p a m p h lets a n d leaflets o f the S p artacu s L eague. T his, com rades, m arks th e close of the first act. T h e hopes of the F b ert-S ch eid em an n s th a t they w ould be able to subjugate th e p ro le ta ria t w ith th e aid of reactio n a ry elem ents am ong the troops have alread y to a large ex ten t been frustrated. W h a t they have to expect w ithin th e very n e a r fu­ tu re is an ever clearer rev o lu tio n ary conception in the b a r ­ racks as well. T h e re b y the arm y o f th e fighting p ro le ta ria t will be au g m en ted a n d th e forces of the co u n ter-rev o lu tio n will be w eakened. In consequence o f these changes, yet a n o th e r illu ­ sion will have to go, th e illusion w hich an im ates th e bou rg eo i­ sie, the ruling class. If you read th e new spapers o f th e last few days, the new spapers issued since the incidents o f D ecem ber 24, you c an n o t fail to perceive p lain m anifestations of d isillu­ sionm ent an d in d ig n atio n : T h e servants w ho sit in the seats of the m ighty have show n them selves to be inefficient. [“Hear! Hear!”] It h a d been expected th a t E b e rt-S ch eid e m an n w ould prove

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them selves strong m en, successful lion tam ers. But w h at have they achieved? T h e y have suppressed a couple of trifling putsches, following w hich, how ever, th e h y d ra of revolution has raised its h ead m ore resolutely th a n ever. T h u s disillusion­ m en t is m u tu a l on all sides! T h e p ro le ta ria t has com pletely lost the illusion w hich h a d led it to believe th a t th e E bertS ch eid em an n -H aase u n io n w ould be a socialist governm ent. E b ert-S ch eid em an n have lost th e illusion th a t w ith th e aid of p ro letarian s in m ilitary uniform they could p erm an en tly keep dow n p ro letarian s in w ork clothes. T h e bourgeoisie have lost the illusion th a t by m eans of E b ert-S ch eid em an n -H aase they could deceive the en tire socialist revolution of G erm an y as to its goals. All these things leave a negative balance, n o th in g b u t the rags a n d tatters rem ain of destroyed illusions. B ut it is a g reat gain for th e p ro le ta ria t th a t n o th in g b u t these rags an d tatters rem ain from the first phase of the revolution, for there is n o th in g so destructive for the revolution as illusions, w hereas n o th in g is of g reater use th a n clear, n ak ed tru th . I m ay a p p ro ­ p riately recall the w ords of one of o u r classical w riters, a m an who was no p ro le ta ria n revolutionary, b u t a sp iritu al revolu­ tio n ary o f th e bourgeoisie. I refer to Lessing, who in one of his last w ritings, as lib ra ria n a t W olfenbüttel, w rote th e following w hich has alw ays aroused m y sy m p ath etic interest: I do not know whether it be a duty to sacrifice happiness and life to truth. . . . But this much I know, that it is our duty, if we desire to teach truth, to teach it wholly or not at all, to teach it clearly and bluntly, unenigmatically, unreservedly, inspired with full confidence in its powers. . . . For the cruder the error, the shorter and more direct is the path leading to truth, whereas a highly refined error is likely to keep us eternally estranged from truth, and the more readily so in proportion as we find it difficult to realize that it is an error. . . . One who thinks of conveying to mankind truths masked and painted may well be truth’s pimp, but has never been tru th ’s lover. C om rades! M essrs. H aase, D ittm a n n , etc., have w ished to b ring th e revolution, to in tro d u ce socialism, covered w ith a

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m ask a n d sm eared w ith p ain t. T h e y have thus show n th e m ­ selves to be the pim ps of th e counter-revolution. T o d a y we are free o f these am biguities, a n d w h a t was offered is disclosed in the b ru ta l a n d sturdy forms o f Messrs. E b e rt a n d Scheidem a n n .11 T oday, even th e stupidest am ong us can m ak e no m is­ take: W h a t is offered is th e co u nter-revolution in all its re p u l­ sive nudity. W h a t are th e fu rth er perspectives of developm ent, now th a t the first act is over? It is, of course, no t a question o f prophecy. W e can only hope to deduce th e logical consequences o f w h at we have alread y experienced, a n d to d raw conclusions as to the probabilities for th e future, in o rd er th a t we m ay a d a p t our tactics, our m eans o f struggle, to these probabilities. C om ­ rades! W h ere does th e ro ad lead? Some indications are given by the latest declarations of the E b ert-S ch eid em an n govern­ m ent, declarations free from am biguity. W h a t is likely to be done by this so-called socialist governm ent now th at, as I have shown, all illusions have been dispelled? D ay by d ay th e gov­ ern m en t increasingly loses th e su p p o rt o f the b ro ad masses of th e p ro letariat. In ad d itio n to the p etty bourgeoisie th ere stand behind it no m ore th a n poor rem n an ts of th e p ro le ta ria t, an d it is extrem ely dubious w h eth er th ey will long co n tin u e to stand b eh in d E b ert a n d S cheidem ann. M o re a n d m ore, the governm ent is losing th e su p p o rt of th e masses of soldiers, for the soldiers have entered u p o n th e p a th of criticism a n d selfexam ination. T ru e, this process m ay be slow a t first, b u t it will lead irresistibly to th eir acq u irin g a com plete socialist con­ sciousness. E b ert an d S ch eid em an n have lost cred it w ith the bourgeoisie, for they have n ot show n them selves strong enough. W h a t can they do now? T h e y will soon m ak e a n end o f the com edy of socialist policy. W h en you read these gen tle­ m en ’s new program , you will see th a t they are sailing u n d e r 11 Haase and Dittmann were members of the USPD who collaborated with the “so­ cialist” government of Ebert-Scheidemann in the hope of pushing it to the left. This attempt failed, and both Haase and Dittmann resigned from the government on De­ cember 29, 1918 (i.e., two days before this speech was given). See Glossary.

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full steam in to the second phase, th a t of the declared co u n ter­ revolution, or, as I m ay even say, th a t of the restoration of the earlier p rerev o lu tio n ary conditions. W h a t is th e p ro g ram o f the new governm ent? It proposes th e election o f a president w ho is to have a position in te rm e d i­ ate betw een th a t o f th e K in g of E n g la n d a n d th a t of th e Presi­ d en t o f the U n ite d States. [“Hear/ Hear!,}] H e is to be, as it were, K in g E bert. In th e second place, they propose to re ­ establish the federal council [B undesrat]. You m ay read today th e in d ep en d en tly form ulated d em an d s of th e south G erm an governm ents w hich em phasize th e federal c h a ra c te r of the G erm an state. T h e re-establishm ent o f the good old federal council, a n d n a tu ra lly of its ap p en d ag e, the G erm an R eichs­ tag, will com e in only a few weeks. C om rades, in this way E b ert a n d S cheidem ann are m oving tow ard th e sim ple resto­ ratio n of th e conditions th a t existed p rio r to N ovem ber 9. But they have thus en tered u p o n a steep incline, a n d are likely b e­ fore long to find them selves lying w ith sh attered lim bs a t the bottom of the abyss. For, th e re-establishm ent of the condition th a t h a d existed before the 9th of N ovem ber h ad a lread y b e­ com e o u t o f d a te on the 9th, a n d to d ay G erm an y is m iles aw ay from such a possibility. In o rd er to secure su p p o rt from the only class whose tru e class interests th e g o vernm ent really rep ­ resents, from th e bourgeoisie— a su p p o rt w hich has in fact notably dim inished ow ing to recen t occurrences— E b e rt an d S cheidem ann will find them selves com pelled to pursue a n in ­ creasingly co u n ter-rev o lu tio n ary policy. T h e d em an d s o f the south G erm an states, as published today in th e B erlin papers, give frank expression to th e wish to secure “en h an ced safety” for the G e rm a n R eich. In p lain language, they desire th e dec­ laratio n of a state of siege ag ain st “ a n a rc h ist,” “ p utschist,” an d “ Bolshevist” elem ents, th a t is to say, against socialists. T h e circum stances will force E b e rt a n d S ch eid em an n to the expedient of dictato rsh ip , w ith or w ith o u t th e d eclaratio n of a state of siege. B ut this, how ever, as a n outcom e of th e previous developm ent, by the m ere logic o f events a n d th ro u g h the op-

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eration of the forces w hich control E b e rt a n d S cheidem ann, will im ply th a t d u rin g th e second ac t o f the revolution a m uch m ore pronounced opposition o f tendencies a n d a g reatly a c ­ cen tu ated class struggle will tak e place. \ “Hear! Hear!”\ T his intensification of conflict will arise, n ot m erely because th e p o ­ litical influences I have alread y en u m erate d , dispelling all illusion, will lead to a declared h a n d -to -h a n d fight betw een the revolution an d th e counter-revolution; b u t ra th e r because the flames o f a new fire are spreading u p w ard from th e depths of the totality, the flam es o f econom ic struggles. Com rades! I t was characteristic o f the first period o f th e rev­ olution, w hich I have described, u n til D ecem ber 24 we m ight say, th a t the revolution rem ain ed exclusively political. W e m ust be fully conscious o f this. T h is explains th e u n c e rta in ch aracter, the in ad eq u acy , th e halfheartedness, th e aim less­ ness o f this revolution. I t was the first stage o f a revolutionary overthrow whose m ain tasks lie in th e econom ic field: to m ake a fu n d am en tal conversion o f econom ic conditions. Its steps were as naive an d unconscious as those o f a child groping its w ay w ith o u t know ing w here it is going; for a t this stage, I re ­ peat, the revolution h a d a purely political ch aracter. O nly in the last two or three weeks have strikes broken o ut q u ite spon­ taneously. L et us be clear: it is th e very essence of this revolu­ tion th a t strikes will becom e m ore a n d m ore extensive, th a t they m ust becom e m ore a n d m ore the cen tral focus, th e key aspect of the revolution. [Applause] It th en becom es a n eco­ nom ic revolution, a n d th erew ith a socialist revolution. T h e struggle for socialism has to be fought o ut by the masses, by the masses alone, b reast to b reast ag ain st capitalism , in every fac­ tory, by every p ro le ta ria n against his em ployer. O n ly th en will it be a socialist revolution. C ertainly, the thoughtless h a d a different p ictu re of the course o f events. T h ey im agined it w ould be only necessary to overthrow the old governm ent, to set u p a socialist governm ent a t the h ead of affairs, a n d th en to in a u g u ra te socialism by d e ­ cree. O n ce again, th a t was an illusion. Socialism will n o t an d

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can n o t be created by decrees; n o r can it be established by any governm ent, how ever socialistic. Socialism m ust be created by the masses, by every p ro le tarian . W h ere the chains of c a p ita l­ ism are forged, th ere they m ust be broken. O n ly th a t is social­ ism, a n d only thus can socialism be created. W h a t is the ex tern al form of struggle for socialism? It is the strike. A nd th a t is w hy the econom ic phase of developm ent has to com e to the front in the second act of the revolution. I w ould like to stress here th a t this is som ething on w hich we m ay p rid e ourselves, a n d no one will dispute th a t we of the S partacus L eague, of the C om m unist P a rty of G erm an y , are the only ones in all G erm an y w ho are on the side of th e strik­ ing an d fighting workers. [“Hear! Hear!”\ You have read an d w itnessed ag ain an d ag ain th e a ttitu d e of the In d e p e n d e n t So­ cialists [U SPD ] tow ard strikes. T h e re was no difference be­ tw een th e outlook of Vorwärts a n d th a t of Freiheit.12 B oth jo u r­ nals sang the sam e tune: Be diligent; socialism m eans m uch work. Such was th eir position w hile cap italism was still in con­ trol! Socialism c an n o t be established in th a t way, b u t only by a n energetic struggle ag ain st capitalism . Y et we see the claim s of capitalism defended, no t only by th e m ost outrageous in ­ triguers, b u t also by the In d ep e n d e n t Socialists a n d th eir organ, Freiheit. O u r C om m unist P a rty stands alone in sup­ p o rtin g th e workers. T h is suffices to show th a t, today, all those who have not tak en th eir stan d w ith us upon the p latform of revolutionary com m unism fight persistently a n d violently against th e strikes. T h e conclusion to be d raw n is no t only th a t d u rin g th e sec­ ond act o f the revolution strikes will becom e increasingly fre­ q u e n t b u t, fu rth er, th a t strikes will becom e the c en tral feature a n d the decisive factor of th e revolution, th ru stin g p u rely p o ­ litical questions into the background. Y ou u n d e rsta n d th a t the inevitable consequence of this will be th a t the econom ic strug­ gle will be enorm ously intensified. T h e revolution will thus 12 Vorwärts was the paper of the SPD; Freiheit was that of the USPD.

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come to the po in t a t w hich it will be no jo k e to the bourgeoisie. T h e bourgeoisie are q u ite agreeable to m ystifications in the political dom ain, w here m asquerades are still possible, w here such creatures as E b e rt a n d S ch eid em an n can pose as social­ ists; b u t they are horror-stricken w here profits are concerned. W hen it comes to th a t, they will present th e altern ativ e to the E bert-S cheidem ann governm ent: E ith e r p u t an end to the strikes, stop this strike m ovem ent w hich th reaten s to strangle us; or we have no m ore use for you. I believe, indeed, th a t the governm ent has alread y d am n ed itself p retty thoroughly by its political m easures. T h e E b ert-S cheidem anns are distressed to find th a t the bourgeoisie has little confidence in them . T h e bourgeoisie will th in k tw ice before they decide to cloak in e r­ m ine the crude p arv en u E bert. I f m atters go so far, they will say: “ It does not suffice for a king to have blood u p o n his hands; he m ust also have blue blood in his veins.” [“Hear! Hear!”} Should m atters reach this pass, they will say: “ I f we w an t to have a king, we will no t have a p arv en u w ho does not know how to com port him self in kingly fashion.” [Laughter] T hus, com rades, E b ert a n d S cheidem ann are com ing to the point at w hich th e counter-rev o lu tio n ary m ovem ent will ex­ ten d itself. T h ey will be u n ab le to q u en ch th e rising fires of the econom ic class struggle, a n d a t th e sam e tim e th eir best efforts will still n o t satisfy th e bourgeoisie. T h e y will eith er disap p ear, leaving in th eir stead an a tte m p t a t counter-revolution col­ lected aro u n d G roen er or p erh ap s a n u n q u alified m ilitarist dictatorship u n d e r H in d en b u rg , or p erh ap s they will have to bow before other counter-rev o lu tio n ary powers. It is im possible to speak m ore precisely or positively as to d e ­ tails o f w h at m ust come. B ut we are not concerned w ith m a t­ ters of ex tern al iorm , w ith the question o f precisely w h a t will h ap p en , or precisely w hen it will h ap p en . It is enough th a t we know the b ro ad lines o f com ing developm ents. T hese im ply: after th e first act of th e revolution, th e phase in w hich th e p o ­ litical struggle has been th e lead in g actor, th ere will succeed a phase p red o m in an tly ch aracterized by a n intensification an d

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stren g th en in g of the econom ic struggle w hich will sooner or later cause the governm ent of E b e rt a n d S ch eid em an n to take its place am ong th e shades. It is equally difficult to say w h at will h a p p e n to th e N a ­ tional A ssem bly d u rin g the second act of th e revolution. It is possible th a t if the Assem bly comes into existence, it m ay prove a new school of ed u catio n for th e w orking class. But, on th e o th er h an d , it seems ju st as likely th a t th e N a tio n a l Assem­ bly will never com e into existence. O n e can n o t m ake p red ic­ tions. L et m e say p aren th etically , to help you u n d e rsta n d the grounds on w hich we w ere defending our position yesterday, th a t our only objection was to lim iting our tactics to a single a lte rn a tiv e .13 I will not now reopen th e w hole discussion, b u t will m erely say a w ord or two lest an y of you should falsely im agine th a t I am blow ing hot a n d cold w ith the sam e b reath . O u r position today is precisely th a t of yesterday. W e do not w ant to base our tactics in relatio n to the N a tio n a l Assembly u p o n w h at is a possibility b u t n ot a certainty. W e refuse to stake everything u p o n the belief th a t th e N atio n al Assembly will never com e into existence. W e w an t to be p re p a re d for all possibilities, including the possibility of using the N a tio n a l As­ sem bly for revolutionary purposes should it ever com e into being. W h e th e r it comes into being or not is a m a tte r of in ­ difference, for w hatever happens, th e success of the revolution is assured. W h a t will th en rem ain of th e ru in e d E b ert-S ch eid em an n governm ent, or of an y o th er alleged Social D em ocratic gov­ ern m en t w hich m ay h a p p e n to be in charge? I have said th a t th e masses of p ro letarian s have alread y slipped aw ay from 13 When Rosa Luxemburg speaks of “our” position, she is referring to the central committee of the Spartacus League, composed of Luxemburg, Liebknecht, Levi, Thalheimer, Lange, Duncker, Pieck, Eberlein, Jogiches, Meyer, and Käte Duncker. The central committee had proposed that the newly formed Communist Party take part in the electoral campaign for the National Assembly, arguing that the workers were not yet politically mature and that the electoral experience would be an impor­ tant educational process, even though the National Assembly would be a farce. This proposal was defeated by a vote of 62-23.

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them , a n d th a t the soldiers too are no longer to be co u n ted on as counter-revolutionary can n o n fodder. W h a t will th e poor pygmies be able to do? H ow can they hope to save th e situ a­ tion? T h e y still have one last chance. T hose of you w ho read to d ay ’s new spapers will have seen w here the u ltim a te reserves are to be found th a t the G erm an counter-revolution proposes to lead against us should worse com e to worst. Y ou all have read th a t the G erm an troops in R ig a are alread y m arch in g shoulder to shoulder w ith the English against th e R ussian Bol­ sheviks. C om rades, I have docum ents in m y h ands w hich e n a ­ ble us to survey w h at is now going on in R iga. T h e whole thing comes from the h e a d q u a rte rs’ staff of th e E ig h th A rm y, which is collaborating w ith M r. A ugust W innig, th e G erm an Social D em ocrat a n d tra d e-u n io n leader. W e have always been told th a t the u n fo rtu n a te E b e rt an d S cheidem ann are victims of th e E ntente. B ut for weeks, since th e very beginning of the R evolution, it has been th e tactic of Vorwärts to suggest th a t the suppression of the R ussian R evolution is th e earnest desire of the E n ten te— a n d it was only in this w ay th a t th e E n ­ tente itself got the idea. W e have here d o cu m en tary evidence how all this was a rran g e d to the d e trim e n t of the R ussian p ro ­ letariat a n d of the G erm an R evolution. In a teleg ram d ated D ecem ber 26, L ie u te n a n t Colonel B urkner, ch ief of th e gen­ eral staff of the E ig h th A rm y, conveys inform ation concerning the negotiations w hich led to this ag reem en t a t R iga. T h e tele­ gram reads as follows: On December 23 there was a conversation between the German plenipotentiary Winnig, and the representative of the British government, Mosanquet, formerly consul-general at Riga. The interview took place on board the HM S Princess Margaret, and the commanding officer of the German troops or his representa­ tive was invited to be present. I was appointed to represent the Army command. The purpose of the conversation was to assist in carrying out the armistice conditions. The conversation took the following course: English: The British ships at Riga will supervise the carrying out of the armistice conditions. Upon these conditions are based the following demands:

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1) The Germans are to m aintain a sufficient force in this re­ gion to hold the Bolsheviks in check and to prevent them from extending the area now occupied. . . . F u rth er: 3) A statement of the present disposition of the troops fighting the Bolsheviks, including both the German and the Lettish soldiers, shall be sent to the British staff officer, so that the information may be available for the senior naval officer. All future dispositions of the troops carrying on the fight against the Bolsheviks must be communicated through the same officer. 4) A sufficient fighting force must be kept under arms at the following points in order to prevent their being seized by the Bolsheviks, and in order to prevent the Bolsheviks from passing beyond a line connecting the places named: Walk, Wolmar, Wenden, Friedrichstadt, Pensk, M itau [Mitaua]. 5) The railway from Riga to Libau [Liepaja] must be safe­ guarded against Bolshevik attack, and all British supplies and communications passing along this line shall receive preferential treatment. A n u m b e r o f ad d itio n al dem an d s follows. A nd th en comes the answ er of th e G erm an plen ip o ten tiary , M r. W innig: Though it is unusual that one should wish to compel a govern­ ment to retain occupation of a foreign state, in this case it would be our own wish to do so (says Mr. Winnig, German tradeunion leader), since the question is one of protecting German blood (The Baltic Barons!). Moreover, we regard it as a moral duty to assist the country which we have liberated from its former state of dependence. O ur efforts, however, would likely be frustrated, in the first place, by the condition of the troops, for our soldiers in this region are mostly men of considerable age and comparatively unfit for service and, owing to the armistice, desirous of returning home and having little will to fight. In the second place, owing to the attitude of the Baltic governments (the Lettish government is meant) by which the Germans are regarded as oppressors. But we will endeavor to provide volun­ teer troops, consisting of men with a fighting spirit. Indeed, this has already in part been done. H ere we see th e counter-rev o lu tio n a t work. Y ou read not long ago o f th e form ation o f th e Iro n D ivision expressly in-

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tended to fight the Bolsheviks in the B altic provinces. A t th a t tim e there was some d o u b t as to the a ttitu d e o f th e E bertS cheidem ann governm ent. Y ou know now th a t the initiative in the creation o f such a force actu ally cam e from th e govern­ m ent. C om rades! O n e m ore word concerning W innig. It is no chance m a tte r th a t a tra d e-u n io n lead er should perform such political services. W e can say w ith o u t hesitation th a t th e G er­ m an trad e-u n io n leaders a n d the G erm an Social D em ocrats are the m ost infam ous a n d greatest scoundrels th a t th e w orld has ever know n. [ Vociferous applause] D o you know w here these fellows, W innig, E bert, a n d S cheidem ann, ought to be by right? A ccording to the G erm an p en al code, w hich they tell us is still in force, a n d w hich continues to be the basis o f th eir own legal system, they ought to be in jail! [ Vociferous applause\ For, according to the G erm an p en al code, it is an offense p u n ­ ishable by im prisonm ent to enlist G erm an soldiers for foreign service. T o d ay , a t th e h ead o f th e “socialist” governm ent of G erm any stan d m en w ho are not m erely the Ju d ases o f the so­ cialist governm ent and traito rs to th e p ro le ta ria n revolution, b u t w ho are jailbirds, unfit to m ix w ith decent society. [Loud applause] In connection w ith this point, a t th e en d of m y rep o rt I will read a resolution w hich I hope you will ad o p t u nanim ously so th a t we will have sufficient force to punish these persons who, for the present, direct G e rm a n y ’s d estiny.14 14 In the discussion following this speech, it was agreed that the section of the speech concerning Winnig and the German anti-Bolshevik activity be distributed as a leaflet. Rosa Luxemburg’s resolution was not printed as part of this speech, and has only recently been rediscovered. It reads: “The national conference indignantly takes note of the actions in the East by the German government. The unification of German troops with those of the Baltic barons and English imperialists signifies not only the vile betrayal of the Russian proletariat; it also signifies the confirmation of the world league of the capitalists of all lands against the fighting proletariat of the whole world. In reference to these monstrosities, the Party Congress again declares: The EbertScheidemann government is the deadly enemy of the German proletariat. Down with the Ebert-Scheidemann government!”

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C om rades! T o resum e the th re a d of m y discourse, it is clear th a t all these m ach in atio n s, the form ation of Iro n Divisions an d , above all, the abovem entioned agreem ent w ith British im perialism , signify n o th in g b u t th e u ltim ate reserves w ith w hich to th ro ttle th e G erm an socialist m ovem ent. But th e c a r­ d in al question, th e question of th e prospects of peace, is in ti­ m ately associated w ith this affair. W h a t can such negotiations lead to b u t a fresh o u tb reak of th e w ar? W hile these scoundrels are p lay in g a com edy in G erm an y , try in g to m ake us believe th at they are w orking overtim e in o rd er to m ake peace, an d declaring th a t we are the disturbers of the peace who are m a k ­ ing the E n te n te uneasy an d re ta rd in g the peace settlem ent, they are them selves p re p a rin g a rek in d lin g of th e w ar, a w ar in the E ast on w hich a w ar on G erm an soil will follow. O nce again we have a situ atio n w hich c a n n o t fail to b rin g on a p e­ riod of fresh conflict. W e will have to defend not only socialism a n d the interests of revolution b u t also th e interests of w orld peace. T h is is precisely a justificatio n of the tactics w hich we S partacists have consistently a n d a t every o p p o rtu n ity pursued th ro u g h o u t the four years of the w ar. P eace signifies th e w orld revolution of the p ro letariat! T h e re is no o th er w ay o f really establishing a n d safeguarding peace th a n by the victory of the socialist p ro letariat! [.Prolonged applause] C om rades! W h a t general tactical considerations m ust we deduce from this in o rder to deal w ith th e situation w ith w hich we will be confronted in th e im m ed iate future? Y our first con­ clusion will doubtless be a hope th a t the fall of th e E bertS ch eidem ann governm ent is a t h an d , a n d th a t it will be re ­ placed by a d eclared socialist-proletarian-revolutionary gov­ ern m ent. F or m y p a rt, I w ould ask you to d irect your atten tio n not to th e leadership, not above, b u t to th e base. W e m ust not nourish a n d re p eat th e illusion of th e first phase of th e revolu­ tion, th a t of N ovem ber 9, th in k in g th a t it is sufficient to over­ throw th e cap italist governm ent a n d to set u p a n o th e r in its place in o rd er to b rin g ab o u t a socialist revolution. T h e re is only one w ay of achieving the victory of th e p ro le ta ria n revo-

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lution. W e m ust begin by u n d erm in in g step by step th e E bertS cheidem ann governm ent th ro u g h a social, rev o lu tio n ary mass struggle of the p ro le tariat. M oreover, let m e rem in d you of some of th e inadequacies of th e G erm an revolution w hich have not been overcom e w ith th e close o f the first ac t of the revolution a n d w hich show clearly th a t we are far from having reached a p o in t w hen th e overthrow of the g o vernm ent can ensure the victory of socialism. I have tried to show you th a t th e R evolution of N ovem ber 9 was, above all, a political revo­ lution, w hereas it is necessary th a t it becom e in a d d itio n an d m ainly an econom ic revolution. B ut further, th e rev o lu tio n ary m ovem ent was confined to the cities, a n d u p to the p resen t the ru ral districts rem ain practically untouched. It w ould be a folly to realize socialism w hile leaving the a g ric u ltu ra l system unchanged. F rom th e stan d p o in t of socialist econom ics in gen­ eral, m an u factu rin g ind u stry c a n n o t be rem odeled unless it is am alg am ated w ith a socialist reo rg an izatio n of ag ricu ltu re. T h e m ost im p o rta n t id ea of the socialist econom ic o rd e r is the abolition of th e opposition a n d the division betw een city a n d country. T his division, this conflict, this co n trad ictio n , is a purely cap italist ph en o m en o n w hich m ust be elim in ated as soon as we place ourselves upon th e socialist stan d p o in t. If so­ cialist reconstruction is to be u n d e rta k e n in real earnest, we m ust d irect a tten tio n ju st as m uch to th e open co u n try as to th e in d u strial centers. H ere, u n fo rtu n ately , we are no t even a t th e beginning of the beginning. T his is essential, n o t m erely because we can n o t b rin g a b o u t socialism w ith o u t socializing agriculture, b u t also because w hile we m ay th in k th a t we have reckoned w ith the last reserves of the co u nter-revolution against us a n d ou r efforts, th ere rem ains a n o th e r im p o rta n t re ­ serve w hich has not yet been tak en into account: th e peas­ antry. Precisely because th e peasants are still u n to u ch ed by so­ cialism they constitute an ad d itio n a l reserve for the cou nter-revolutionary bourgeoisie. T h e first th in g o u r enem ies will do w hen th e flames o f th e socialist strikes begin to scorch their heels will be to m obilize th e peasants, th e fan atica l de-

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votees of p riv ate property. T h e re is only one w ay o f m aking headw ay against this th re a te n in g counter-rev o lu tio n ary power. W e m ust carry the class struggle into th e co u n try dis­ tricts; we m ust m obilize th e landless p ro le ta ria t a n d th e poorer peasants ag ain st th e rich er peasants. [Loud applause] From this consideration follows w h a t we have to do to insure th e presuppositions of th e success of th e revolution. I w ould sum m arize ou r next tasks as follows: First a n d forem ost, we have to extend in all directions th e system o f w orkers’ a n d sol­ diers’ councils, especially those o f th e workers. W h a t we u n ­ dertook on N ovem ber 9 are only w eak beginnings, a n d not even th a t. D u rin g the first phase of th e revolution we actually lost extensive forces th a t w ere acq u ired a t th e very outset. You are aw are th a t the counter-revolution has been engaged in the system atic destruction o f the system of w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils. In Hesse, the councils have been definitely abolished by th e co u n ter-rev o lu tio n ary governm ent; elsewhere, pow er has been w renched from th e ir hands. T herefore, we have not m erely to develop the system of w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils, b u t we have to induce the ag ric u ltu ra l laborers an d th e poorer peasants to ad o p t this council system. W e have to seize power, a n d the problem of th e seizure of pow er poses the question: w h at does each w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ council in all G erm an y do, w h at can it do, a n d w h at m ust it do? [uBravo!”} T h e pow er is there! W e m ust u n d erm in e th e bourgeois state by p u ttin g an end everyw here to th e cleavage in public powers, to th e cleav­ age betw een legislative a n d executive powers. T hese powers m ust be u n ite d in th e h an d s of th e w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ coun­ cils. C om rades, th a t is an extensive field to till. W e m ust p rep are from the base up; we m ust give the w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils so m u ch stren g th th a t th e overthrow of th e E bertS cheidem ann or an y sim ilar governm ent will m erely be the final act in th e d ram a. T h u s, the conquest of pow er will not be effected w ith one blow. It will be a progression; we shall p ro ­ gressively occupy all the positions of th e cap italist state an d

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defend th em tooth a n d nail. In m y view a n d in th a t of m y most in tim ate associates in the P arty , the econom ic struggle, likewise, will be carried on by the w orkers’ councils. T h e d irec­ tion of the econom ic struggle a n d the co n tin u ed expansion of the area of this struggle m ust be in the h an d s of th e w orkers’ councils. 1 ’he councils m ust have all pow er in the state. W e m ust d irect ou r activities in the im m ed iate future to these ends, a n d it is obvious th a t, if we pursue this line a n d pursue these tasks, there c an n o t fail to be a n enorm ous in ten si­ fication of the struggle in the n e a r future. It is a question of fighting step by step, h an d -to -h a n d , in every province, in every city, in every village, in every m u n icip ality in order to take a n d transfer all the powers of the state bit by b it from th e bourgeoisie to th e w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils. B ut before these steps can be tak en , the m em bers of our own P a rty a n d the p ro letarian s in general m ust be educated. Even w here w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils alread y exist, th ere is still a lack of consciousness of the purposes for w hich they exist. [“Right!”] W e m ust m ake the masses u n d e rsta n d th a t the w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ council is in all senses the lever of the m ach in ery of state, th a t it m ust tak e over all pow er a n d m ust unify the power in one stream — th e socialist revolution. T h e masses of workers w ho are alread y organized in w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils are still miles aw ay from h aving ad o p ted such a n o u t­ look, a n d only isolated p ro le ta ria n m inorities are clearly con­ scious of th eir tasks. B ut this is n o t a lack, b u t ra th e r the n o r­ m al state of affairs. T h e masses m ust learn how to use power by using power. T h e re is no o th er w ay to teach them . F o rtu ­ nately, we have gone beyond the days w hen it was proposed to “ ed u cate" the p ro le ta ria t socialistically. M arxists of K a u tsk y ’s school still believe in the existence of those vanished days. T o educate the p ro le ta ria n masses socialistically m e a n t to deliver lectures to them , to circu late leaflets a n d p am p h lets am ong them . N o, the school of th e socialist p ro le ta ria t doesn’t need all this. T h e w orkers will learn in the school of action. [“Hear! Hear/”]

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O u r m otto is: In the beg in n in g was th e a c t.15 A nd th e act m ust be th a t the w orkers’ a n d soldiers’ councils realize th eir mission a n d learn to becom e th e sole public pow er of the whole n atio n . O n ly in this w ay can we m ine the g ro u n d so th a t it will be read y for th e revolution w hich will crow n our work. T h is, com rades, is th e reason, this is th e clear calcu la­ tion a n d clear consciousness w hich led some of us, a n d m e in p a rtic u la r, to say yesterday, “ D o n ’t th in k th a t the struggle will continue to be so easy.” Some com rades have in te rp re te d m e as saying th a t they w an ted to boycott th e N atio n al Assembly a n d sim ply to fold th eir arm s. It is im possible, in th e tim e th a t rem ains, to discuss this m a tte r fully, b u t let m e say th a t I never d ream ed of an y th in g of th e kind. M y m ean in g was th a t his­ tory is n o t going to m ake o u r revolution a n easy m a tte r like the bourgeois revolutions in w hich it sufficed to overthrow th a t official pow er a t the cen ter a n d to replace a dozen or so p e r­ sons in au th o rity . W e have to w ork from b en eath , a n d this cor­ responds to th e m ass c h a ra c te r of o u r revolution w hich aim s a t th e foundation a n d base of th e social constitution; it corre­ sponds to th e c h a ra c te r of the present p ro le ta ria n revolution th a t the conquest of political pow er m ust com e not from above b u t from below. T h e 9th of N ovem ber was an a tte m p t, a weak, h alfh earted , half-conscious, an d chaotic a tte m p t to overthrow the existing public pow er a n d to p u t a n end to class rule. W h a t now m ust be done is th a t w ith full consciousness all th e forces of the p ro le ta ria t should be co n cen trated in an a tta c k on the very foundations of cap italist society. T h e re , a t the base, w here th e in d iv id u al em ployer confronts his w age slaves; a t th e base, w here all the executive organs of political class rule confront th e object of this rule, th e masses; there, step by step, we m ust seize th e m eans of pow er from th e rulers a n d take th em into o u r ow n hands. In the form th a t I d ep ict it, th e process m ay seem ra th e r m ore tedious th a n one h a d im ag in ed it a t first. It is h ealthy, I th in k , th a t we should be perfectly clear as to all 15 The reference is to Faust’s monologue.

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th e difficulties an d com plications of this revolution. F or I hope th at, as in m y own case, so in yours also, th e description of the difficulties of the accu m u latin g tasks will p araly ze n eith er your zeal nor your energy. O n th e co n trary , th e g re a te r th e task, th e m ore will we g ath e r all of our forces. A nd we m ust not forget th a t the revolution is able to do its w ork w ith ex­ tra o rd in ary speed. I m ake no a tte m p t to prophesy how m uch tim e will be needed for this process. W ho am o n g us cares about the tim e; who worries, so long only as our lives suffice to bring it to pass. It is only im p o rta n t th a t we know clearly a n d precisely w h at is to be done; a n d I hope th a t m y feeble powers have shown you to some ex ten t th e b ro ad outlines of th a t which is to be done. [Tumultuous applause] Translated by Dick Howard

Order Reigns in Berlin “ O rd e r reigns in W arsaw ,” M in ister S ebastiani inform ed th e P aris C h a m b e r of D eputies in 1831, w hen, after fearfully storm ing the su burb P rag a , Paskiew itsch’s rab b le troops h ad m arch ed into the Polish cap ital a n d begun th eir h a n g m a n ’s w ork on the rebels. “ O rd e r reigns in B erlin ” is the triu m p h a n t an n o u n cem en t of the bourgeois press, of E b ert a n d Noske, a n d of th e officers o f the “victorious troops,” who are being cheered by th e pettybourgeois m ob in th e streets, w aving th eir handkerchiefs an d shouting h u rrah s. T h e glory a n d the honor of th e G erm an A rm y has been saved in th e eyes of history. T hose w ho were m iserably routed in F landers a n d th e A rgonne have restored th eir re p u ta tio n by this shining victory— over the th ree h u n ­ d red “ S p artacists” in the Vorwärts.*1 T h e days of the first glori­ ous p e n e tra tio n of G erm an troops into Belgium , th e days of G eneral von E m m ich, th e co n q u ero r of Liège, pale before the deeds of this R e in h a rd t a n d C o m p an y in the streets o f Berlin. T h e m assacred mediators, who w an ted to negotiate the su rren ­ d er of th e Vorwärts a n d w ere b e a te n beyond recognition by rifle butts, so th a t th eir bodies could not even be identified; c a p ­ tives w ho w ere p u t u p against th e w all a n d m u rd e red in a way Text from Politsche Schriften, II (Frankfurt: Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1966), pp. 203-209. Originally in Die Rote Fahne, January 14, 1919. 1On January 6, 1919, a mass of demonstrators occupied the building of the Vor­ wärts, the official journal of the SPD, and published a revolutionary issue of the paper. The occupation of the Vorwärts continued until January 13 when, in spite of efforts to negotiate, governmental troops were ordered by Noske to storm the building.

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th a t sp attered th e ir skulls a n d b rain s all over: in th e face o f such glorious acts, who is still th in k in g o f th e ignom inious d e ­ feats suffered a t the h a n d o f th e F ren ch , th e English, or the A m ericans? “ S p arta cu s” is th e n a m e of th e enem y; a n d B er­ lin, the place w here our officers know how to win. N oske, the “w orker,” 2 is the n am e o f th e general w ho knows how to o r­ ganize victories w here L u d en d o rff failed. W ho does not recall here th e d ru n k en ecstasy of th a t pack of “ law -an d -o rd er” hounds in Paris, th e b a c c h a n a l of th e b o u r­ geoisie on the bodies of th e C o m m u n ard s— th e very sam e bourgeoisie who h ad only ju st c a p itu la te d pitifully to th e Prussians an d surren d ered th e n a tio n ’s cap ital to th e foreign enem y, only to tak e to th e ir heels them selves like th e u ltim a te coward! B ut against th e badly a rm ed a n d starving P arisian proletarians, against th eir defenseless wives a n d ch ild ren — how th e m an ly courage o f the little sons o f th e bourgeoisie, of th e “golden y o u th ,” a n d o f th e officers flam ed u p again! H ow th e courage o f these sons o f M ars w ho h a d broken dow n before th e foreign enem y spent itself in bestial cruelties against the defenseless, against prisoners, a n d th e fallen! “ O rd e r reigns in W arsaw !”— “ O rd e r reigns in P aris!”— “ O rd er reigns in B erlin!” A nd so ru n th e reports o f th e g u a rd ­ ians o f “ o rd e r” every half-century, from one cen ter o f th e w orld-historical struggle to an o th er. A nd th e rejoicing “vic­ tors” do not notice th a t an “o rd e r” w hich m ust be periodically m ain tain ed by bloody bu tch ery is steadily ap p ro ach in g its his­ torical destiny, its doom . W h a t was this recent “ S p artacu s W eek ” in Berlin? W h a t has it brought? W h a t does it teach us? Still in th e m idst of th e struggle a n d th e victory cries o f th e counter-revolution, th e revolutionary p ro letarian s have to give an acco u n t o f w h a t has h ap p en ed ; they m ust m easure th e events a n d th e ir results on th e g reat scale of history. T h e revolution has no tim e to lose, it storms o n w ard — past still open graves, past “victories” an d 2 Noske was a furniture maker by trade.

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“ defeats”— tow ard its g reat goals. T o follow lucidly its p rin ­ ciples a n d its p ath s is the first task of the fighters for in te rn a ­ tional socialism. W as an u ltim ate victory of th e revo lu tio n ary p ro le ta ria t to be expected in this conflict, or th e overthrow of th e E bertS cheidem ann [governm ent] an d establishm ent of a socialist dictatorship? D efinitely not, if all the decisive factors in this issue are tak en into careful consideration. T h e sore spot in the revolutionary cause a t this m o m en t— the political im m a tu rity o f the masses of soldiers who, even now, are still lettin g th e m ­ selves be m isused by th eir officers for hostile, co u n ter-rev o lu ­ tio nary purposes— is alone alread y p ro o f th a t a lasting victory of the revolution was not possible in this encounter. O n the o th er h a n d , this im m a tu rity of the m ilitary is itself b u t a sym p­ tom of th e general im m a tu rity of th e G erm an revolution. T h e open country, from w hich a large p ercen tag e of the com m on soldiers come, is still h a rd ly touched by th e revolu­ tion, th e sam e as always. So far, B erlin is as good as isolated from the rest of th e country. O f course, th ere are revolutionary centers in the provinces— in the R h in e la n d , on th e n o rth e rn seaboard, in Brunsw ick, Saxony, a n d W ü rttem b erg — th a t are h e a rt a n d soul on th e side of the B erlin p ro le tariat. Still w h at is lacking first o f all is th e im m ed iate co o rd in atio n of the m arch forw ard, the d irect co m m u n ity of action, w hich w ould m ake th e th ru st a n d the w illingness to fight of th e B erlin w ork­ ing class in co m p arab ly m ore effective. F u rth erm o re— a n d this is b u t th e deeper cause of th a t political im m a tu rity o f the revo­ lu tion— th e econom ic struggles, th e actu al volcanic fountain w hich is co n tin u ally feeding the rev o lu tio n ary class struggle, are only in th eir infancy. From all this it follows th a t a t this m o m en t a conclusive an d lasting victory could n o t be expected. W as th e struggle of the last week therefore a “ m istak e” ? Yes, if it w ere in fact a m a tte r o f a d elib erate “ a tta c k ” or a so-called “ p u tsc h ” ! B ut w h a t was the startin g p o in t for th e last week of fighting? T h e sam e as in all previous cases, th e sam e as on D ecem ber 6 a n d D ecem ber

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24: a b ru ta l provocation by the governm ent! J u s t as before, in the case of the blood b a th involving defenseless dem onstrators on the Chausseestrasse, or in th e b u tch ery of the sailors, like­ wise this tim e th e cause of all subsequent events was th e as­ sault on the B erlin police h ead q u arters. T h e revolution does not operate voluntaristically, in a n open field, according to a cunning p lan laid out by “strategists.” Its opponents too have initiative; in fact, as a rule, they exercise it m uch m ore th a n the revolution itself. Faced w ith the sham eless provocation of th e E bert-S cheidem anns, the revolutionary w orking class was forced to tak e up arms. Yes, it was a matter o f honor for th e revolution to repel the attack im m ediately a n d w ith all due energy, lest th e co u n ter­ revolution be encouraged to ad v an ce further, a n d lest th e rev­ olutionary ranks of the p ro le ta ria t a n d the m oral cred it of the G erm an revolution in th e In te rn a tio n a l be shaken. Im m ed iate resistance cam e forth spontaneously from the masses of B erlin w ith such an obvious energy th a t from the very beg inning th e m oral victory was on th e side of the “street.” Now it is an in tern al law of life of the revolution never to stand still in inaction, in passivity, once a step has been taken. T h e best p a rry is a forceful blow. N ow m ore th a n ever this ele­ m en tary rule of all struggles governs each step of th e revolu­ tion. It goes w ithout saying, a n d it testifies to the sound in ­ stinct an d fresh in tern al strength of the B erlin p ro le ta ria t, th a t it was not appeased by th e rein statem en t of E ich h o rn , th a t it spontaneously proceeded to occupy o ther outposts of th e co u n ­ ter-revolution’s pow er: th e bourgeois press, th e semi-official news agencies, the Vorwärts. All these m easures resulted from the people’s instinctive recognition th a t, for its p a rt, th e co u n ­ ter-revolution w ould not rest w ith th e defeat it h a d suffered, b u t ra th e r w ould be b en t on a general test of strength. H ere, too, we stand before one o f th e g reat historical laws of revolution against w hich are d ashed to pieces all th e sophis­ tries a n d the pseudo-science of those little “ revolutionaries” of

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the U S P D b ra n d who, in every fight, look only for pretexts for retreating. As soon as the fu n d a m e n ta l problem of th e revolu­ tion has been clearly posed— a n d in this revolution it is to over­ throw th e E b ert-S ch eid em an n regim e, th e first obstacle to the triu m p h o f socialism — th en this p roblem will recur rep eated ly as a pressing need of the m om ent, a n d each indiv id u al episode of the struggle will b ro ach the p roblem in its en tirety w ith the fatality of a n a tu ra l law , how ever u n p re p a re d the revolution m ay be for its solution, how ever u n rip e the situation m ay still be. “ D ow n w ith E b ert a n d S ch eid em an n !”— this slogan is in ­ evitably h e ard in every revo lu tio n ary crisis as the single for­ m u la sum m ing u p all p a rtia l conflicts, thereby au to m atically , by its own in tern al, objective logic, propelling each episode of the struggle to the extrem e, w h eth er one w ants it or not. From this co n trad ictio n betw een th e increasing gravity of the task a n d the lack of th e preconditions for its solution it fol­ lows, in an initial phase of the revolutionary developm ent, th a t th e in d iv id u al fights of the revolution form ally en d w ith a defeat. B ut revolution is the only form of “w a r”— this, too, is its p a rtic u la r life p rin cip le— in w hich the final victory can be p re ­ p ared only by a series of “ defeats” ! W h a t does th e w hole history o f m odern revolutions an d of socialism show us? T h e first flare-up of th e class struggle in E u ­ rope— th e revolt of the silk w eavers of Lyons in 1831— ended w ith a severe defeat. T h e C h a rtist m ovem ent in E n g la n d — w ith a defeat. T h e rebellion of th e P arisian p ro le ta ria t in the J u n e days of 1848 en d ed w ith a crushing defeat. T h e Paris C om m u n e ended w ith a d read fu l defeat. T h e whole p a th of so­ cialism , as far as revolutio n ary struggles are concerned, is paved w ith sheer defeats. A nd yet, this sam e history leads step by step, irresistibly, to the u ltim a te victory! W h ere w ould we be today without those “ defeats” from w hich we have d raw n historical experience, know ledge, pow er, idealism ! T o d ay , w here we stan d directly before the final b a ttle of th e p ro le ta ria n class struggle, we are stan d in g on precisely those defeats, not a one o f which we could

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do w ithout, an d each of w hich is a p a rt of our stren g th an d clarity of purpose. In this respect, revolutionary struggles are the d irect oppo­ site of p a rlia m e n ta ry struggles. In the course of four decades we have h a d n o th in g b u t p a rlia m e n ta ry “victories” in G er­ m any, we have ad vanced directly from victory to victory. A nd w ith the g reat test of history on A ugust 4, 1914, th e result was: a devastating political a n d m oral defeat, an u n p reced en ted debacle, an u n p aralleled b an k ru p tcy . R evolutions have brought us n o th in g b u t defeats till now, b u t these u n av o id ab le defeats are only h eap in g g u a ra n te e u p o n g u a ra n te e of the com ing final triu m p h . O n one condition, of course! T h e question arises, u n d e r w hich circum stances each respective defeat was suffered: w hether it resulted from th e forw ard-storm ing energy of the masses being dashed against the b a rrie r of the lack o f m a tu rity of the historical presuppositions, or, on the o th er h an d , w hether it resulted from the revolutionary action itself being p aralyzed by incom pleteness, vacillation, a n d in n e r frailties. Classic exam ples for b o th cases are, on the one h a n d , the F rench F eb ru ary R evolution, an d th e G erm an M a rc h R ev olu ­ tion on th e other. T h e courageous action of th e P arisian p ro le­ ta ria t in 1848 has becom e the living source of class energy for the entire in tern atio n al p ro le tariat. T h e d ep lo rab le facts of the G erm an M a rc h R evolution [1848] have clung to the w hole d e­ velopm ent of m odern G erm an y like a ball a n d ch ain . In the p a rtic u la r history of official G erm an Social D em ocracy, they have pro d u ced after-effects well into th e m ost recent incidents of the G erm an revolution— an d into the d ra m a tic crisis we ju st experienced. H ow does the defeat in this so-called S p artacu s W eek a p ­ p ear in light of the above historical question? W as it a defeat due to raging revolutionary energy a n d a situation th a t was insufficiently ripe, or ra th e r due to frailties a n d halfw ay u n ­ dertakings? Both! T h e divided c h a ra c te r of this crisis, the co n trad ictio n

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betw een th e vigorous, resolute, aggressive show ing o f th e peo­ ple of B erlin a n d the indecision, tim idity, a n d in ad eq u acy of th e B erlin leadership is th e p a rtic u la r ch aracteristic o f this la t­ est episode. T h e leadership failed. But the leadership can a n d m ust be created anew by the masses a n d out o f th e masses. T h e masses are the cru cial factor; they are the rock on w hich th e u ltim ate victory o f the revolution will be built. T h e masses w ere up to th e task. T h e y fashioned this “ d efeat” into a p a rt of those his­ torical defeats w hich constitute th e p rid e a n d pow er of in te r­ n a tio n al socialism. A nd th a t is w hy this “ d efeat” is th e seed of the future triu m p h . “ O rd e r reigns in B erlin!” Y ou stupid lackeys! Y our “ o rd e r” is b u ilt on sand. T h e revolution will “ raise itself u p again clashing,” a n d to your h o rro r it will proclaim to the sound of trum pets: I was, I am, I shall be.3 Translated by Peggy Fallen Wright 3 Always conscious of history, Rosa Luxemburg is citing lines from two poems by the nineteenth-century German revolutionary and friend of Marx, F. Freiligrath. The first, “Abschiedswort,” was published in the final issue of Marx’s Neue Rheinische Zeitung on May 19, 1849; the entire issue was printed in red ink. The second line, “1 was, I am, I shall be,” is from Freiligrath’s popular poem, “Die Revolution,” written in 1851.

Glossary

Glossary The “Academic Socialists,” or “Socialists of the C hair” {Kathedersozialisten) were a group of liberal reformist ac­ ademics belonging to the “Association for Social Reform.” They were one of Rosa Luxemburg’s favorite targets for sarcasm, and she wrote several articles attacking their views. Cf. Social Reform or Revolution, p. 88 , n. 23, and the articles “Die deutsche Wissenschaft hinter den Arbeitern,” and “Im Rate der Gelehrten,” both in Ausgewählte Reden und Schriften, II. A d l e r , V ic t o r (1852-1918). Founder and leader of Austrian Social Democracy. Member of the International Socialist Bureau. In­ fluential in German Social Democracy because of his close friend­ ship with Bebel. Became Minister of Foreign Affairs in the bour­ geois regime which followed the collapse of the Habsburg monarchy. A l l ia n c is t s . Bakuninists. When the First International called for the founding of legal parties as the first step to revolution, they fought this measure, along with the Blanquists. They were defeated nar­ rowly at the 1872 meeting of the International at The Hague, and founded a new International of their own. Though their influence was limited to Italy and Spain for the most part, their rejection of the First International was in large part responsible for its demise. A u e r , I g n a z (1846-1907). Saddle maker. Joined socialist cause early, and was an active participant at the Gotha unification Con­ gress in 1875. Reichstag member in 1877, and again from 1890 until his death. Was one of the triumvirate which led the SPD, along with Bebel and Liebknecht. His goal was the unification of the different tendencies within the Party, though his penchant for “practical politics” led him to side with the opportunist and re­ visionist currents. B a b e u f , F r a n ç o is N o ë l (1760-1797). Leader of the “Conspiration A c a d e m ic S o c i a l i s t s .

419

420

Glossary

des Egaux,” which in 1796 attempted to establish a revolutionary dictatorship because of the contradiction between the proclaimed political rights and the lack of social equality in the French Revo­ lution. Hanged. Became influential through Buonarotti’s history of the “Conspiration des Egaux,” written in 1828, which became a bible of conspiratorial groups during the July M onarchy in France. B a k u n i n , M ik h a il (1814-1876). Russian. Emigrated to Germany where he took part in the movement of the Young Hegelians, along with Karl Marx. Took an active part in the 1848 Revolu­ tion. Captured during the revolt in Dresden in 1849. Sentenced to death in 1851, but sent instead to Siberia whence he fled in 1861 to London. Thrown out of the First International along with his followers, the “Alliancists,” for his refusal to recognize the role of political struggle. B e b e l , A u g u s t (1840-1913): Darwinian Marxist. Working-class ori­ gin. Learned socialism from Wilhelm Liebknecht and joined First International in 1866. Social Democratic representative to Parlia­ ment in 1867. Along with Liebknecht, founded the Eisenach group in 1869. Sentenced to two years in jail for opposing the Franco-Prussian W ar of 1870-1871. Most influential leader in the SPD, and a powerful voice in the International. Popular with the masses, but not a theoretician. B e r n s t e i n , E d u a r d (1850-1932). Joined Eisenach group in 1872. Editor of the Sozialdemokrat, illegal paper of the SPD during the an­ tisocialist laws. Friend of Engels; later his literary executor along with Bebel. Exiled in England because of the antisocialist laws; friendly with the English Fabians. The article series “Problems of Socialism” and the book The Presuppositions of Socialism and the Tasks of Social Democracy began the revisionist controversy. Return to Germany in 1901; election to Parliament in 1902. Continued de­ fense of revisionist views, though qualified support of the mass strike as a defensive measure. Voted for war credits on August 4, 1914. Q uit the SPD in 1916 for pacifist reasons, joining the USPD in 1917. Returned to the SPD after the war. B l a n q u i , L o u is A u g u s t e (1805-1881). Leader of a continual series of conspiratorial coups. Active in the 1848 Revolution and in the Commune. Spent thirty-six years of his life eal power and build itneral attended by over 200,000 Parisian workers. Blanquism is the

Glossary

421

doctrine that a handful of resolute revolutionaries can make a so­ cialist revolution for the proletariat and in its name. B ö h m - B a w e r k , E u g e n (1851-1914). Austrian economist. Founder of the Austrian school of marginal utility. Criticized M arx’s Capital for a supposed inconsistency between the theory of value and the theory of prices. Wrote Karl Marx and the Close of His System (1896), Capital and Interest (1884), and The Positive Theory of Capital (1889). B ö m e l b u r g , T h e o d o r (1862-1912). President of the Construction Workers Union. Strongly opposed the mass strike at the Cologne Trade-Union Congress, speaking of the need to defend what had taken so long to build, etc. B ö r n e , L u d w i g (1786-1837). German essayist and friend of Heine. Member of liberal-radical group whose works influenced the Young Hegelian milieu. Rosa Luxemburg admired his prose, writ­ ing to Seidel (June 23, 1898): “Do you know what is taking my time now? I am unhappy with the way articles are usually written in the Party. It’s all so conventional, so wooden, so schematic. I have made up my mind that in writing I must never forget to be­ come enthusiastic about the subject every time, and to go deeply into it. For just this reason, I read from time to time old Börne. . . . ” B r e n t a n o , L u j o (1844-1931). Academic Socialist. Professor at M u­ nich. Friend of the revisionist leader Vollmar, whose politics he supported. Favored the development of a system of cooperatives along the English model. C h a r t is m . After the first wave of English organizing, ending with the Reform Bill of 1832, a new wave broke out in 1838 with the de­ mands of the “People’s Charter” : equal and secret voting rights, pay for representatives, change in voting districts, etc. Due to the economic crisis of 1839-1843, the petition circulated rapidly and was a huge success. Leadership split between the liberal “Moral Force Party” and the more radical “Physical Force Party” which called for a mass strike. The 3,300,000 signatures on the petition won the ten-hour day and the repeal of the Corn Laws, but by 1848 the movement ebbed after the failure of a mass strike and the defeat of the continental revolutions of that year. M arx considered the movement—and especially the winning of the ten-hour day— an im portant first step. He felt that it showed the power of the pro­ letariat, and that the continental proletariat had drawn an impor­ tant lesson from the Chartists.

422

Glossary

Catholic unions whose fundamental position was determined by the Encyclical Rerum novarum of Pope Leo X III in 1891. Though their political goals and tactics were similar to the socialist unions, they were adam ant antisocialists. At its founda­ tion in 1894, for example, the Christian Miners’ Association de­ clared that “by joining the Association, each member acknowl­ edges himself as an opponent of the principles and efforts of Social Democracy.” At their prewar peak, they had 350,930 members. C o m m u n e . After the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871, Thiers tried to disarm the Paris National Guard. The workers took control of the government, instituting certain reforms (separation of church and state, forbidding night work, limiting rents). After a one-week siege by the counier-revolution, the Com­ mune was drowned in blood: at least 14,000 were killed, 5,000 jailed, and 5,000 exiled. M arx glorified the Commune in his “Ad­ dress to the General Council of the International on the Civil W ar in France.” In it M arx develops the idea that the working class cannot simply take possession of the state as is and use it to their own ends. The notion of the “withering away of the state” is con­ cretized: “The Commune was not to be a parliamentary organiza­ tion, but a working tool, executive and legislative at once.” C o o p e r a t i v e s . The origins of the cooperative movement go back to Robert Owen’s New Harmony, to Fourier, Budez, Blanc, etc. In Germany, the cooperative movement was begun by nonsocialists in 1903 under the leadership of Adolf von Elm. They grew contin­ ually, both in socialist and nonsocialist forms. In 1911-1912, for example, there were 1142 local cooperatives with 1,300,000 mem­ bers. M any revisionists saw the cooperatives as a way of gradually undermining the capitalist order from within. D a v i d , E d o u a r d (1863-1930). Revisionist. Worked with Vollmar on the agricultural question in the 1890’s. Supported Voilm ar’s statesocialist and federalist ideas throughout his life. During the war he supported the majority and a politics of expansion. First president of the National Assembly in 1919. Minister without portfolio in 1919-1920. D i t t m a n n , W i l h e l m (1874-1954). Cabinet maker by origin. Reichs­ tag representative, associated with the group around Haase. Leader of the USPD. Minister in the Ebert-Scheidemann govern­ ment, resigning with Haase on December 29, 1918. Vice-president of the Reichstag in 1920. C h r is t ia n U

n io n s .

Glossary

423

(1874-1960). Joined SPD in 1893, becoming a full-time functionary in 1903, the year that he completed his doc­ torate. Active as an editor and travelling teacher, he taught at the Party School after 1911. Antiwar, founding member of the Spartacus League, and member of the first central committee of the Ger­ man Communist Party. Active Communist; arrested in 1933, fled to Denmark, then France and the United States, returning to Ger­ many in 1947. Member of the SED in East Germany, and Profes­ sor at Rostock University until his death. E b e r l e i n , H u g o (1887-1944). Left-wing member of SPD and co­ founder of the Spartacus League. Central committee of Spartacus, then of German Communist Party. Arrested, then freed during the January 1919 events in Berlin. Communist Party deputy from 1921-1933; active in Comintern. Arrested in Stalin’s purges in 1937 and died in prison camp. E b e r t , F r ie d r ic h (1871-1925). Worker and trade-union leader. Deputy in 1912. Took over chairmanship of the SPD executive after Bebel’s death in 1913. Remained with the SPD majority dur­ ing the war. Advised the then chancellor, Prince Max of Baden, to send Noske to put down the revolt of the sailors at Kiel. W anted to keep a monarchy along English lines. Events led him to form a provisional government on November 9, 1918. Became first presi­ dent of the W eimar Republic, 1919-1925. As president, he consid­ ered it his duty to represent “the people” and not the party. E i c h h o r n , E m il (1863-1925). One of the editors of the Sächsische Ar­ beiterzeitung when Rosa Luxemburg was its chief editor for a brief time in 1899. Opposed her views at that time. Later member of the USPD during the war. Was police chief in Berlin at the end of the war. Fired January 4, 1919, by the Minister of the Interior for supposedly being too tolerant of the Spartacus agitations. He re­ fused to leave his office. Demonstrations in his favor were called, eventually leading to the outbreak of “Spartacus Week.” Eich­ horn later joined the German Communist Party, and represented it in the Reichstag. E is e n a c h G r o u p . Founded by Bebel and Wilhelm Liebknecht in 1869, the Eisenach group represented the Marx-Engels views within the German labor movement. At the Gotha Congress in 1875, it united with the Lassallean group to form the SPD. The “M arxism” of the Eisenach group was of a rather diffuse nature, D

uncker,

H

erm ann

424

Glossary

and came in for strong criticism in M arx’s Critique of the Gotha Pro­ gramme. E is n e r , K u r t (1867-1919). Social Democratic journalist; editor of Vorwärts (1898-1905). Revisionist at the time. Opposed to the war along with Bernstein for ethical reasons. Convicted of treason for his antiwar activities. Released from prison to run for the Reichs­ tag during the campaign of 1919. One of his campaign meetings literally turned into a revolution, overthrowing the Bavarian House of Wittelsbach and proclaiming the Bavarian Republic. The revolution was shortlived, and Eisner was shot by a reac­ tionary. E r f u r t P r o g r a m . Drafted by Kautsky (the theoretical part) and Bernstein (the practical tasks) for the first legal congress of the SPD after the end of the antisocialist laws in 1891. Replaced the Gotha Program as official policy of the SPD. Model for the pro­ grams of other parties. Introduces the notion of minimal and max­ imal demands, but stops short of the notion of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Cf. Engels’ critique of the Erfurt Program. F e n d r i c h , A n t o n (1868-1949). Lassallean; later revisionist leader. After 1910, joined the Freisinn, then the center party. Nationalist. F is c h e r , E d m u n d (1864-??). Revisionist. Best known for his 1907 ar­ ticle in the Sozialistische Monatsheften proposing a politics directed toward the winning of the middle classes, without whom, it is as­ serted, the proletariat will always remain a minority. Along with Bernstein and Eisner, opposed the war for ethical reasons, joining the USPD. F o u r ie r , F r a n ç o is M a r ie C h a r l e s (1772-1837). Self-taught uto­ pian. Opposed individualism, working out a cooperativist utopia in his Théorie des Quatre Mouvements (1808). Develops the notion of a series of “phalansteries,” agricultural communities based on coop­ eration. Most important elaboration of his theory is Le Nouveau Monde Industriel (1830). Tried to get capitalist backing for his uto­ pian ideas, but with no luck. After 1830, attracted a number of fol­ lowers who started a newspaper, the most important of whom was V. Considérant. Brook Farm in America was a Fourierist commu­ nity. F r e e T r a d e U n i o n s . The socialist trade unions were called the Free Trade Unions during the period of the antisocialist laws in order to distinguish them from the Christian unions. Their main leader

Glossary

425

was Carl Legien (1861-1920). In their Appeal of 1891, the Free T rade Unions stated that their goal was to work within bourgeois society. They were highly centralized and grew rapidly: 1892— 237,000 members; 1900—680,000; 1908— 1,800,000; 1912— 2,600,000. Between 1885 and 1910, they won a 100 percent in­ crease of the workers’ real wages. They composed one-third of the parliamentary delegation of the SPD, and were a conservative in­ fluence. Freiheit. Journal of the USPD. Began publication on November 15, 1918 under the editorship of Rudolf Hilferding, who was replaced by D ittm ann in 1922. After the reunion of the USPD and the SPD on September 30, 1922, the paper ceased publishing and Vorwärts again became the central journal. F r e i s i n n . Left-liberal political party favoring a state or national form of socialism. Became important after N aum ann and his N a­ tional Socialist followers joined it in 1903. G e y e r , F r ie d r ic h A u g u s t C a r l (1853-?). Cigar maker. Editor of the journal of the cigar-makers’ union, Der Tabakarbeiter. Editor of the Leipziger Volkszeitung 1890-1895. Member of Reichstag, 1886 and 1890-1924. Joined USPD in 1917. Later joined the Commu­ nist Party (1920), and was expelled in the late twenties as a “hid­ den centrist.” G r o e n e r , W i l h e l m (1867-1939). German general. Succeeded Ludendorff at the end of World W ar I, but resigned in protest against the Versailles Treaty. Minister of Defense in the W eimar Repub­ lic (1928-1932), and Minister of the Interior (1931-1932). H a a s e , H u g o (1863-1919). Lawyer. Member of the International Bureau. Deputy 1897-1918. Took Bebehs place as leader of the SPD Reichstag delegation. Opposed voting the war credits, but accepted the decision of the majority, even making the speech sup­ porting the SPD vote. Founded the USPD in 1916. Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Ebert coalition. Resigned December 29, 1918. Shot on the steps of the Reichstag by a monarchist officer. H e i n e , W o l f g a n g (1861-1944). Revisionist supporter of Bernstein’s at the 1898 Stuttgart Congress. W anted to stick to pure tactical discussions. An editor of the revisionist journal, the Sozialistische Monatsheften. Moralist who, after 1910, often voted with Lieb­ knecht, Mehring, and Luxemburg on military questions. H e r k n e r , H e i n r i c h (1863-1932). Student of the Academic Socialist

426

Glossary

Lujo Brentano. Author of Die soziale Reform als Gebot des wirtschaft­ lichen Fortschrittes (1891), and Die Arbeiterfrage (1894), among other works. Vice-president of the Association for Social Reform irom 1911; president from 1917-1929. H i l f e r d i n g , R u d o l f (1877-1941). Austrian medical doctor who be­ came a socialist. Editor of the Vorwärts after the government re­ fused to let him teach at the Party School. Held this post from 1907-1915. Joined the USPD and edited its newspaper, Freiheit, from 1918-1922, seeking a reconciliation with the SPD. W hen this occurred, became Minister of Finances for three months in 1923, and again 1928-1929. Died in exile. Best known for his book, Das Finanzkapital, often considered to have been the first Marxist at­ tempt to go beyond M arx and analyze modern capitalist develop­ ments. Also known as a leader of the so-called “Austro-Marxist School.” H i n d e n b u r g , P a u l v o n B e n e c k e n d o r f f u n d v o n (1847-1934). Fought in the war against France in 1870-1871. Became a general in 1903. Retired in 1911. Recalled during the World War. Victor at Tannenberg (1914) and the M asurian Lakes (1915) against Russia. Later field marshal. W anted to fight the war until the bit­ ter end. Replaced by Groener. His war memoirs created the im­ pression that Germany had not been militarily beaten, but rather betrayed by the revolution within. Replaced Ebert as president of the Weimar Republic in 1925. Coexisted with Hitler until his death. H ir s c h - D u n c k e r U n i o n s . Founded in 1868 to oppose the influence of the Lassallean socialist unions. Opposed to strikes, believing in the common interests of capital and labor. Favored self-help or­ ganizations and cultural programs. Were the only unions not banned by the antisocialist laws. Small influence: 1872— 18,803 members; 1890—62,643; 1900—91,661; 1910— 122,571; 1922— 230,000; 1931— 149,000. In 1933, with the Christian unions, de­ clared themselves apolitical and offered to work with the Hitler re­ gime. H o f f m a n n , A d o l f (1858-1930). Member of the SPD, then the USPD during the war. Reichstag representative 1902-1924. M in­ ister of Public Worship and Education (Kultusminister) in 19181919, resigning in January 1919 (not with the other USPD minis­ ters who resigned in December). Author of a moralizing book, The

Glossary

427

Ten Commandments and the Propertied Class (1891; re-edited, 1922). H o h e n z o l l e r n D y n a s t y . Founded by Friedrick of Hohenzollern, Burgrave of Niirnburg, who became Elector of Brandenburg in 1415. In 1618, Friedrick Wilhelm of Brandenburg, the “Great Elector,” became Duke of Prussia. Under Bismarck, the dynasty became the principal power in the North German Federation and, after the victory over France, the King of Prussia became Emperor of Germany. The dynasty ended with the abdication of Wilhelm II on November 9, 1918. I h r e r , E m m a (1857-1911). Organized socialist woman’s organiza­ tion in 1886. It was banned, and she was sent to prison. Founded the woman workers’ paper, Die Arbeiterin, in 1889. Later founded Die Gleichheit which was later edited by Clara Zetkin. Member of the executive committee of the trade unions from 1890. Member of the executive committee of the young workers’ organization after 1909. I n d e p e n d e n t S o c ia l D e m o c r a t ic P a r t y o f G e r m a n y (USPD). Founded at Gotha in April 1917 after eighteen members of the SPD parliam entary delegation (Haase, Ledebour, Dittmann, etc.) refused to vote the war credits and were thrown out of the SPD. The Spartacus group adhered to the USPD in order to recruit. In 1918-1919, USPD politics differed little from those of the SPD: they wanted a parliamentary democracy, though they wanted to socialize parts of heavy industry and to institute workers’ control. Joined the Ebert-Scheidemann government, but resigned in De­ cember 1918. Reunited with the SPD in 1922, though iheir left wing joined the Communist Party. I skra . Founded in 1900. First all-Russian journal of revolutionary Marxism. Published abroad; illegally distributed in Russia. Im­ portant in Lenin’s campaign to build the party. Taken over by the Mensheviks after the split at the Second Party Congress in 1903. J a c o b in s . The most radical group during the French Revolution of 1789. Their powrer was based on the Parisian sans-culottes. Most fa­ mous leaders were M arat and Robespierre. Today, the term is a synonym for radical. J a u r è s , J e a n (1859-1914). Professor of philosophy. Deputy in 1885, though not a member of any party. Discouraged with parliamen­ tarism, returned to teaching. Socialist in 1890. Deputy in 1893. Very active during the Dreyfus affair; a popular orator. Not a

428

Glossary

Marxist, he said that his socialism was “French,” based on Justice and Humanism. It is no doubt for this reason that Rosa Lux­ emburg speaks of “Jaurèsian confusion.” Founder of the news­ paper U Humanité in 1904. After the reunification of the French socialist parties in 1905, Jaurès was their intellectual chief. Assassi­ nated by a nationalist on July 31, 1914, because of his antiwar sentiments. J e v o n s , W il l ia m S t a n l e y (1835-1882). English philosopher and economist. M ade important contributions to the mathematical methods of the marginalist school of economics in his Theory of Practical Economy (1871). J o g ic h e s , L e o (1867-^1919). Revolutionary activist in Russian Po­ land. Emigrated to Zurich in 1890, where he began working with Rosa Luxemburg. Co-founder of the SDKPiL. Quarrels with Plekhanov, Lenin, and other Russian socialists. Active in Warsaw during the 1905 Revolution (under the pseudonym Tyszka); ar­ rested (with Rosa Luxemburg) and sentenced to prison. Escaped. Splits occur in the SDKPiL due to his “authoritarian” leadership, especially after the “Radek case.” During the World W ar, leader of Spartacus, living clandestinely. Arrested in M arch 1918, but freed by the outbreak of the Revolution. After the deaths of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, became leader of German Communist Party. M urdered on M arch 10, 1919. Cf., J. P. Nettl’s Rosa Luxemburg on Jogiches and his relation with Rosa Lux­ emburg. J u n e C o m b a t a n t s . After the overthrow of Louis-Philippe on Febru­ ary 24, 1848, the new Republic wanted to compel all young work­ ers to join either the army or labor groups. The workers gathered together on June 23, 1848, and decided to fight. They were crushed by the army. J u n g e . A group whose members, after the fall of the antisocialist laws and the return to legality of the SPD, opposed the parliamentary road. They were led by Wilhelm W erner and Carl Wildberger, among others, and their anarchist views were attacked by Engels (in the Sozialdemokrat, September 13, 1890). At the Erfurt Congress of Social Democracy in 1891, this group was expelled from the Party. They were, however, at least partly responsible for what re­ mains of a revolutionary tone in the Erfurt Program. K a s p r z a k , M a r c i n . Polish worker. Member of the first Proletariat

Glossary

429

Party. Knew Rosa Luxemburg as a youth, helping smuggle her out of Poland in 1889. Later arrested. Escaped to Germany. Ac­ cused by the nationalist Polish Socialist Party of being a police agent. Defended by Rosa Luxemburg and cleared by a committee of the International. R an for the Reichstag in 1898, was defeated. Took part with Rosa Luxemburg in campaigning in Prussian Po­ land. Imprisoned and hanged during the 1905 Revolution in W ar­ saw. K a u t s k y , K a r l (1854-1938). Popularizer of Marxism in Germany. Founded the Neue Zeit in 1883. Wrote the theoretical part of the Erfurt Program. Led the “left” wing of the party until after 1905, then leader of the center—though his political position hadn’t changed. His Marxism was strongly mixed with Darwinism. Was one of the dominant theoreticians of the International: even Lenin accepted his authority until 1914. K r u p p , A l f r e d (1812-1887) and F r e d e r ic k A l f r e d (1854-1902). Steel tycoons. The elder Krupp practiced a kind of paternalist so­ cial action in his firm whose admitted goal was to “protect” his workers from socialism. The son was a personal friend of the Em­ peror. The name K rupp is synonymous with the armaments in­ dustry. L a b r i o l a , A n t o n io (1843-1904). Professor at the University of Rome. First professor to openly become an adherent of the M arx­ ist theory and an active leader of a socialist movement. Came to Marxism through his studies of Hegel, and the realism of Herbart. Best known for his book Essays on the Materialist Conception of History. L a n g e , F r ie d r ic h A l b e r t (1828-1875). Neo-Kantian philosopher. Defended a kind of utopian ethical socialism in his two important books: The Labor Question and History of Materialism. Bernstein, in his Presuppositions of Socialism, suggests that Social Democracy needs a critical thinker like K ant or Lange, and Lange was in fact very popular during the 1890’s. L a s s a l l e , F e r d i n a n d (1825-1864). Son of a Jewish merchant. Stud­ ied philosophy in Berlin. Knew M arx during 1848 when he was a member of the “League of Communists.” Lawyer. Philosophical works after 1854. In 1862-1864 he became a popular labor organ­ izer, founding the General Association of German Workers (ADAV) in 1863, which was united with the M arxian Eisenach group in 1875 at Gotha. Lassalle tried to get M arx’s support for

Glossary

431

May Day demonstration in Berlin in 1916 for crying “Down with the war!” Released from prison at the end of October 1918 and began agitating for the revolution. Took part in the foundation of the German Communist Party. M urdered by German army officers after his arrest on January 15, 1919. L i e b k n e c h t , W i l h e l m (1826-1900). Took part in the Revolution of 1848. Exiled in England where he was a friend of M arx and Engels. Returned to Berlin in 1862, a Marxist though still full of the liberalism of 1848. Formed a political movement with Bebel in Saxony in 1866. In 1869, he and Bebel founded the Eisenach group. Deputy; sentenced to two years in prison for refusing to vote for the war credits in 1870. Until his death, the “grand old m an” of the SPD. L is t , F r ie d r ic h (1789-1846). Advocate of protective tariffs to stimu­ late the growth of national industry. These were liberal views at the time, and he sought exile in the United States in 1825. Re­ turned later, writing his most im portant book, The National System of Political Economy (1841). L u d e n d o r f f , E r ic h (1865-1937). German general who helped build the German Army before the war. Hindenburg’s chief of staff dur­ ing the war. When defeat was certain, he wanted to fight on to an “honorable death.” After the war, he was involved in the Kapp putsch of 1920, and in H itler’s 1923 Munich putsch. L u d P o l s k i . Founded in 1892 by Boleslav Limanowski from the re­ maining members of the Proletariat Party and the Polish Socialist Party. Took its name from the first vaguely socialist Polish group, founded in Portsmouth by exiles from the 1830-1831 Polish insur­ rection. Nationalist, and composed largely of intellectuals. Be­ lieved Lavrov’s assertion of the weakness of the Narodnaya Volya and refused an alliance with it. M a u r e n b r e c h e r , M a x . German revisionist. Taught at the Party High School in Berlin until 1903. Chauvinist and procolonialist. M e n g e r , K a r l (1840-1921). Austrian economist. Member of the Austrian psychological school which led to the development of marginal ist economics. His theory is similar to that of Jevons, though developed independently. M e r c a n t il is m . Economic theory which equates wealth and money. Therefore, nations must try to amass as much precious metal as possible by exporting much and importing little. This leads to

432

Glossary

keeping colonies as suppliers of raw materials—a doctrine which led to England’s losing her American colonies. M e y e r , E r n s t (1887-1930). Editor of the Vorwärts before the war. Co-founder of the Spartacus League. Delegate to the Zimmerwald and Kienthal conferences. In “protective custody” during part of the war. In 1918, leader of the German section of the Soviet newsburo. After outbreak of German Revolution, member of central committee of Spartacus, then of the German Communist Party. Opposition to Party leadership of Ruth Fischer in 1924-1925; back on central committee in 1926, and in 1927 leader of the Party along with Ernst Thälm ann. Excluded from central com­ mittee in 1929 as “reconciliationist.” M i c h e l s , R o b e r t (1876-1936). Former member of the SPD. Be­ came professor of sociology in Italy, developing a conservative theory of the creative role of minorities in power, a theory which influenced the theoreticians of fascism. Well known for his analysis of the nature of political parties—an analysis based on his own ex­ perience as a member of the German SPD—published in 1911 as Zur Soziologie des Parteiwesens. M o r o c c o D e b a t e . In 1905-1906, Germany attempted to keep France from colonizing Morocco. A crisis was opened by a provoc­ ative speech by Wilhelm II in Tangiers. The Kaiser saw that he was not prepared for war, and an international conference regu­ lated the problem. Again in 1911, Morocco was a center of con­ flict. Wilhelm II sent the Panther to Agadir “to protect local Ger­ man interests.” The SPD feared to take a stand on the question because of the approaching elections. As a member of the Interna­ tional Bureau, Rosa Luxemburg published the letter of the Ger­ man representative to the Bureau, leading to a conflict of opinion within the Party and a growing awareness of the problems posed by imperialism. N a r o d n a y a V o l y a . Russian terrorist organization who believed in a national regeneration through the peasantry. Their vague ideol­ ogy was covered by their terrorist actions and their idealistic belief in m an’s goodness. Cf. “In Memory of the Proletariat Party,” above. N a t io n a l S o c ia l is t s (Nationalsozialer Verein Founded by Friedrich Naumann, a minister who left the Church in 1897, one year after founding the National Socialists. He was influenced by the ideas of

Glossary

433

Max Weber on the national state, and thought that the workers must help Germany to expand, and that the “social Kaiserdom” had to care for political and social reforms in the interest of na­ tional strength. The party dissolved in 1903 after its intense elec­ toral efforts were unsuccessful. N aum ann and most of the mem­ bers joined the Freisinn. N a u m a n n , F r ie d r ic h (1860-1919). Founder of the National Socialist Association. Later, active member of the Freisinn and, after 1918, of the Democratic Party. Believed in a Christian and national “so­ cialism.” During the war was in favor of German expansion. When he died, Max Weber wrote: “He came too soon and too late” : too late to oppose Bismarck (who made the workers into an enemy of the state), and too soon to be a leader of the German Re­ public. He is referred to in the text as “Pfarrer”—or Parson— Naumann. N o s k e , G u s t a v (1868-1946). Ex-furniture maker. Became the SPD’s authority on national defense and military questions. At the 1907 meeting of the International at Stuttgart, he argued against the Luxemburg-Lenin resolution against war on nationalist grounds. He became Defense Minister of the Ebert-Scheidemann govern­ ment, putting down the January revolution. He was known as the butcher and hangman. O p p e n h e i m e r , F r a n z (1864-1943). Economist and sociologist. Lib­ eral socialist who saw the origin of misery in the monopoly of property of land. Bernstein cites favorably Oppenheimer’s book on cooperatives in his Presuppositions of Socialism, noting that these ideas were never put into practice save, perhaps, by the Mormons. Bernstein also stresses Oppenheim er’s distinction between buying and selling cooperatives, with a stress on the role of the former. P a n n e k o e k , A n t o n (1873-1960). Dutch professor of astronomy. Ac­ tive within the German SPD before World W ar I as a member of the “Bremen Left.” Known during this time especially for his long polemical series of articles written with Kautsky, during which Kautsky’s “centrism” showed itself clearly for the first time. Dur­ ing and after World W ar I, a leader of the “Council Commu­ nists,” the radical left attacked by Lenin as “an infantile sickness of communism.” By the mid-1920’s had retired from active politics to teach astronomy at Leyden, though he continued to write polit­ ical articles under various pseudonyms. The “Council Commu-

434

Glossary

nists,” led by Pannekoek and his friend, the Dutch poet Herm ann Gorter, shared much with the political perspectives of Rosa Lux­ emburg. Cf., the collection of his essays, and the historical com­ mentary by Serge Bricianer, Pannekoek et les Conseils ouvriers (EDI, 1969; to be published in English by the New Critics Press). P a r v u s , pseudonym of A l e x a n d e r H e l p h a n d (1867-1924). Russian, active in the SPD after 1891. Was the first in German SPD to at­ tack the revisionism of Bernstein. Radical. Took part in the Rus­ sian Revolution of 1905, becoming president of the Petersburg So­ viet after the arrest of Trotsky. Imprisoned, escaped from Siberia to Germany. Between 1910 and 1914 made a fortune in Turkey. Supported the German war effort in hopes of furthering the possi­ bility of a revolution in Russia. Tried to help Lenin, but the latter refused for fear of the complications due to Parvus’ close relations with the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. P e r e i r e , I sa a c (1806-1880). French financier who was part of the Saint-Simonian group along with his brother Jacob (1800-1875). They saw the importance of the development of railroads, and contributed to the foundation of the Crédit Mobilier, which led them into competition with the Rothschilds. P e t t y , S ir W il l ia m (1623-1687). Father of modern political econ­ omy. Developed the notion of “political arithmetic”— that govern­ mental affairs must be worked out with mathematical precision. M aintained a quantity theory of money. His most im portant book is the Treatise on Taxes and Contributions (1662), in which he devel­ oped a version of the labor theory of value. P h y s io c r a t s . Literally, believers in the “rule of nature.” Founded by Quesnay, the Physiocratic group was later led by M irabeau, P. S. du Pont de Nemours, and P. P. le Mercier de la Rivière. They be­ lieved in natural law, and wanted to adjust positive law to the canons of natural law. T hey opposed the mercantilist economic position, favoring an agricultural society and arguing that wealth is not money but the products of the soil. Though their belief in natural law led them to oppose the monarchical system, they wanted to replace it only by an “enlightened” or “legal despot­ ism.” P ie c k , W i l h e l m (1876-1960). Carpenter. Party official in Bremen in 1905. Student at the Party School, 1907-1908. Co-founder of Spartacus League. “Protective custody” during 1915; then freed to

Glossary

435

join army. Fled to Holland in January 1918, returning to Berlin in October to join central committee of Spartacus, and then that of German Communist Party. Arrested with Liebknecht and Lux­ emburg, but freed. Deputy. Fled to Russia after 1933, replacing Thälm ann as head of German Communist Party. Returned to Berlin in 1945 as leader of the SED. From 1949 to his death, presi­ dent of the German Democratic Republic. P o l is h S o c ia l is t P a r t y (PPS). Founded in 1893 from the remnants of the Proletariat Party. It was a trinational party which managed to wield influence in the International because of the close rela­ tions of its leader Daszynski with the Austrian socialist leader Vic­ tor Adler. Rosa Luxemburg’s SDKPiL fought the PPS over the national question. The PPS split in 1906 after the Revolution of 1905 had shown that its right wing under the leadership of Pilsudski was more interested in national liberation than socialism. Pilsudski later became the national-fascist dictator of Poland, while the left wing of the group joined first the SDKPiL, and then the Polish Communist Party. P o t t e r - W e b b . See under Webb, Sidney. P u t t k a m e r , R o b e r t v o n (1828-1900). Prussian Minister of the In­ terior in 1881. Used by Bismarck to conciliate the Catholic Center Party in 1888, and to employ it against Social Democracy. He was very unpopular and, though he tried to re-establish the old Prus­ sian autocracy, he finally had to resign. Q u e s n a y , F r a n ç o is (1694-1774). Physician and economist. Wrote his famous Tableau Economique at the request of Louis XV, showing that the farmer alone adds to the wealth of the nation. The Tableau is a reproduction schema of capitalist society. In it, Quesnay showed for the first time the difference between fixed and circulat­ ing capital. Among the descendants of the Tableau—besides Marx —are W alras’ general equilibrium analysis and LeontiefFs inputoutput analysis. R i c a r d o , D a v i d (1772-1823). English political economist who de­ veloped the bourgeois economic principles to their fullest. Most important work is Principles of Political Economy and Taxation (1817). Also wrote important works on money and banking. Applied the labor theory of value. His main notions are: 1) profits vary in­ versely with wages; 2) wages depend on the price of necessary food, shelter, etc.; 3) rent increases with the growth of population. His most im portant disciples were McCulloch and James Mill.

436

Glossary

(1805- 1875). Economist and politician. Liberal, defending a form of state so­ cialism. Argued that the workers get less and less of the national revenue, and proposed that to remedy this the state decide, in an authoritarian manner and once and for all, the percentage to be paid workers. His influence within German Social Democracy was important, especially as concerns his underconsumption crisis theory taken from Sismondi. Cfl, Rosa Luxemburg’s argument against Schippel, p. 153 ff., above. R o s e n ov, E m il (1871-1904). Deputy and editor. Considered the most important Social Democratic poet and dramatist of his time by his contemporaries. Author of Kater Lampe and Die im Schatten Leben. R ü h l e , O t t o (1874-1943). Teacher; fired for political reasons in 1902. Editor of Party papers. Far left wing of Party along with Liebknecht, with whom, in M arch 1915, he voted against the war credits in the Reichstag. Co-founder of the Spartacus League, he worked with the Left Radicals who joined with the Spartacus League to found the German Communist Party. Opposition to the Communist Party as early as 1919. Co-founder of the Communist Workers Party (KAP), a left opposition to the CP. Left Germany in 1932 for Prague, then went to Mexico in 1936, where he was an advisor in the Ministry of Education. Died in Mexico. S a y , J e a n B a p t is t e (1767-1832). French economist, best known for his Traité d}Economie Politique (1803; revised ed., 1814), in which he defends what is now known as “Say’s Law” : that supply creates its own demand, and therefore there is always enough demand. Crises, therefore, are said to result from the disproportionality of the different branches of production, and this disproportionality will correct itself by means of the mechanism of supply and de­ mand. Thus, Say’s Law is a defense of a laissez-faire economy. S c h e i d e m a n n , P h i l i p p (1865-1939). Right-wing Social Democrat. Deputy 1903-1918, and 1920-1933. Vice-president of the Reichs­ tag in 1912, but ousted for refusing to pay homage to the Kaiser. Defended SPD politics during the war with the famous words: “We Social Democrats defend the Fatherland in order to conquer it.” In the provisional government of Prince Max von Baden. Pro­ claimed the Republic on November 9, 1918, two hours before Liebknecht. Quit the cabinet on June 20, 1919, in protest against the Treaty of Versailles. R

odbertus

(J o h a n n

C arl

R

o d b e r t u s -J a g e t z o w )

Glossary

437

(1759-1805). Poet, dramatist, and philosopher. First drama, Die Räuber (1781), was a great success. In 1785 wrote the “Ode to Joy,” which was later set to music in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Developed an aesthetic theory. Then wrote a number of historical dramas, among them Wallenstein, Maria Stuart, and Wilhelm Tell. Very popular in the Ger­ man Social Democratic Party. S c h i p p e l , M a x (1859-1928). Revisionist, active in the Reichstag on military questions. Later worked with the trade unions. Became a professor at the end of his life. Though she attacked his politics, out of party loyalty, Rosa Luxemburg campaigned successfully for him in Posen and Chemnitz in 1903. S c h m i d t , K o n r a d (1865-1932). Formerly a member of the group of the Junge (anarchists), he later became an editor of Vorwärts, and one of the founders of the revisionist journal, the Sozialistische Mo­ natshefte. Best known today for his economic work, and particularly for his correspondence with Engels about that work. Cf., especially the letter of October 8, 1888, in which Schmidt’s anticipation of the theory of the average rate of profit is discussed, and the letters of October 27, 1890, and M arch 12, 1895, in which the themes of ideology, the dialectic, and their relation to the economic infra­ structure are discussed. In the latter letter, Schmidt is accused of being a K antian in his interpretation of the labor theory of value as a necessary postulate of practical reason, and of not seeing the true nature of the totality, and of the concept. S c h m o l l e r , G u s t a v v o n (1838-1917). Academic Socialist. Believed in a Prussian state socialism. Influential economist, attempting to give economics an empirical foundation in line with the theory of the German historical school. Member of the Prussian Academy of Science. S i n g e r , P a u l (1844-1911). Joined the SPD in the 1870’s and was a leader of its Berlin section under the antisocialist laws. In Reichs­ tag in 1884, and again from 1888 to his death. Leader of the SPD Reichstag faction. Along with Bebel and W. Liebknecht, leader of the SPD executive committee. Resolute opponent of opportunism. S m i t h , A d a m (1723-1790). Professor of moral philosophy at Glas­ gow. Empiricist; wrote a Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759. Most famous for his Wealth of Nations (1776) in which economics was first put on a scientific basis. Developed the labor theory of value. Sup­ ported a laissez-faire liberalism. S c h i l l e r , J o h a n n C h r i s t o p h F f r ie d r ic h

von

438

Glossary

S o c ia l D

em ocracy

of

the

K

in g d o m

of

P oland

and

L it h u a n ia

(SDKPiL). Founded in 1893, led by Rosa Luxemburg, Jogiches, Marchlewski, Warski, Radek, Dzierzynski, Hanecki, Unszlicht, and Leder. Small group, but very influential due to the interna­ tional activities of its leaders, many of whom were leaders in Ger­ many and later in Soviet Russia. Antinationalist, opposing the Polish Socialist Party line on Polish independence. Rosa Lux­ emburg was its representative to the International Bureau for years. Later became the Communist Party of Poland. S o m b a r t , W e r n e r (1863-1941). Economist and sociologist. For­ merly a Marxist in his theoretical pursuits. Specialist on socialism and arch-opponent of Social Democracy. Most important book is Modem Capitalism, a historical study of the origins of capitalism. In 1934 wrote Deutscher Sozialismus, an apology for Nazism. S t u m m , F r e ih e r r v o n (1836-1901). Paternalist-authoritarian fac­ tory owner. W anted to use this technique to fight socialism, setting up pension plans, factory housing, etc. Had a strong influence on the young Kaiser Wilhelm II. T i r p it z , A l f r e d v o n (1849-1930). Chief builder of the German fleet at the turn of the century. His building of the fleet is considered militarily a feat of genius. When the fleet was not used during the war, he resigned in 1916. Later became an active rightist. I r o e l s t r a , P. J. (1860-1932). Leader of the Dutch Social Democ­ racy, following the line of the German SPD against the anarchist direction led by Domela Niewenhuis. After 1903 and the failure of the Dutch mass strike, the Party split. Troelstra and Vliegen founded a party, as did the radical Left, led by Henriette RolandHolst, H. Gorter, and Anton Pannekoek. During the war, Troel­ stra supported a policy of “national self-defense.” USPD. See Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany. U s p e n s k i , G l e b I v a n o v i c h (1843-1902). Russian writer. Populist. Wrote Rain, The Power of Evil, and a collection of short stories, The Morals of the Street of Disorder. V e n d e e . French province. Heavily monarchist during the French Revolution, it was used as a base for plots by priests and m onar­ chists. An insurrection in 1793 was finally defeated with difficulty. Remained heavily royalist, fighting against Napoleon during the Hundred Days, and revolting again in 1832. Has become a syno­ nym for counter-revolutionary action, generally led by peasants.

Glossary

439

(1850-1922). Long-time socialist after having been a Catholic mercenary soldier. At first an anarchist, even de­ claring his solidarity with the Russian nihilists in a Reichstag speech. His experience as a deputy led to his becoming a “practi­ cal politician” and state socialist. After 1890 fought against the “Berlin dictatorship” in SPD, arguing for local autonomy within the Party. Because of his strong base in Bavaria he could not be too strongly attacked by the Party. Did not have a Marxist poli­ tics, spoke to the “people” with a very broad program. Voted in favor of the Bavarian budget in 1894, leading to a crisis in SPD. Continued his reformist politics. At one time it was thought that the Kaiser would bring him into the government as the “German M illerand.” Nationalist during the war, though too sick to be ac­ tive. V orwärts . The former Berliner Volksblatt whose name was changed on January 1, 1891, and made the central organ of the SPD. Pro­ hibited by the Nazis in 1933. Published in exile for some time. Still exists today as a weekly published by the modern SPD. W a r y n s k i , L u d w i k . Founded the Proletariat Party in 1882 after his return from Switzerland. Opposed Polish independence as being a divergence from the real aim of economic liberation. Arrested in 1883 and sentenced to sixteen years’ imprisonment. Died in prison in 1889. W e b b , S i d n e y (1859-1947), and B e a t r ic e P o t t e r - (1858-1943). Be­ atrice Potter-Webb was the daughter of a wealthy Englishman. Worked with her cousin, Charles Booth, on his seventeen-volume Life and Labor of the People of London, one of the important empirical sociological studies. M arried Sidney Webb, with whom she wrote all of her works from that time on. Sidney Webb was a founder of the Fabian Society (1889). With his wife, he founded The New Statesman. Among their books: The History of Trade Unionism (1894) and Industrial Democracy (1897). He later became the first Baron Passfield. W e i t l i n g , W i l h e l m (1808-1871). German tailor. Wrote three im­ portant books before 1844: Man As He Is and Ought to Be, Guarantees of Harmony and Freedom, and 7 he Evangel of the Poor Fisherman . A very important leader of the first stages of German socialism. Marx spoke very highly of his works before 1844, though he later criti­ cized them strongly, especially after Weitling’s communism beV

ollm ar,

G eorg

von

440

Glossary

came more and more messianic. After 1848, Weitling emigrated to the United States. W iener A rbeiterzeitung . Central organ of Austrian Social Democ­ racy, founded in Vienna in 1889, published daily from 1895. W i n n i g , A u g u s t (1878-1956). President of the German Builders’ Union. Strong nationalist during the war, supporting an annexa­ tionist politics which he thought was in the interest of the German working class. After November 1918 became Reich Commissar to the Baltic States. Founded an army to fight against the Russian Revolution. After the 1920 K app putsch, became a rightist. W o l f , J u l iu s (1862-1937). Austrian economist, became a professor at Zurich at twenty-six. Among his students there were Marchlewski and Daszynski, as well as Rosa Luxemburg. O f the latter, he wrote in his memoirs: “The most gifted of the students during my Zurich years, Rosa Luxemburg, who— it is true—came to me from Poland and Russia already a Marxist. . . .” As an economist, Wolf was an eclectic. Rosa Luxemburg often poked fun at him as a typical liberal academic. W o l t m a n n , L u d w i g (1871-1907). Revisionist. Strongly influenced by Darwinism, he later founded a political-anthropological jour­ nal, developing a racist theory along the lines of that of Gobineau. Z e m s k y S o b o r . An early Russian form of national assembly often used during the last half of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries in order to hold together the nation in face of the centrif­ ugal force of the individual ambitions of the nobility. In 1598, a Zemsky Sobor elected Boris Godunov Czar, and in 1613 the same body was called to end the struggles for succession, electing M i­ chael, the first Romanov Czar. With the development of a strong central government under the Romanovs, and the growth of the institution of serfdom, the Zemsky Sobor lost its original impor­ tance as an independent assembly, and fell into disuse. During the slightly more than one hundred years when it was used, it played a significant political role in maintaining Russian unity and re­ solving political crises. Z e t k i n , C l a r a (1857-1933). Editor of the SPD woman’s paper, Die Gleichheit. Consistently left wing. Member of the Party control commission. Member of the Spartacus League. Later, member of the German Communist Party and supporter of the Bolsheviks. Important pamphlet: Lenin on the Woman Question. Close friend of

Glossary

441

Rosa Luxemburg’s, later writing a book, partly to “prove’’ that she was not really anti-Bolshevik. Rosa Luxemburg is reported to have remarked that on their gravestones should be written: “Here lie the last two men in Social Democracy.”