Rosa Luxemburg and the Growth of the Labor Movement

Friedman, Gerald

Publisher:  Dollars & Sense
Date Written:  15/01/2016
Year Published:  2016  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20006

Today is the 97th anniversary of the assassination of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, two of the leading exponents of revolutionary socialism in Germany in the early 20th century. Both were prominent figures in the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) up to the First World War and, alienated by the reformist and pro-war politics of the SPD, founders of the Spartacus League in 1916. Both were killed by right-wing Freikorps death squads -- which had support from the Social Democratic government -- on January 15, 1919. The following is an excerpt from Gerald Friedman's Reigniting the Labor Movement (Routledge, 2007). Friedman describes Rosa Luxemburg's revolutionary politics and her understanding of the role of the mass strike -- not as the means for a decisive “one hit” victory for the working class, but as part of what Friedman terms a "long-term process of consciousness-building through participation in class struggle."

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