UCL Institute of Archeology Lecture Theatre 31-34 Gordon Square WC1H 0PY
7pm, UCL Institute of Archeology Lecture Theatre
31-34 Gordon Square
On 15 January 1919 Rosa Luxemburg was murdered by the proto-Nazi Freikorp with the connivance of the Social Democratic government. Her murder was part of the brutal repression of the revolutionary working-class movement that swept through Germany in the aftermath of the First World War.
One hundred years on, Luxemburg remains one of our most important thinkers. She rose to the leadership of the international working-class movement in its heroic period - when many millions were active revolutionary socialists, when combative workers’ movements won great reforms such as the eight hour day and universal suffrage and when mass workers’ parties vied for (and in Russia's case won) state power. This period was also a high water mark for left political culture - when socialist theory took great leaps forward as debate raged between activists across many countries.
In the hundred years since her death the international left has been dominated by the ideas of reformism and Stalinism. Luxemburg’s political life stands as an example of an alternative. It was a continuous struggle from the left against the rightward shift and bureaucratisation of the socialist and trade union movement in which she was deeply involved.
To stop the barbarism of capitalism that she warned of, socialists must learn the lessons from her life and thought.
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