The National Question

Selected Writings

Rosa Luxemburg


Aakar Books, New Delhi, 2009

320 pages

Price INR 325
Book Club Price INR 244

Collected here are Rosa Luxemburg’s Writings on the question of national self-determination and its relationship with socialism. Originally written in Polish, these works are relatively unknown to readers of English until the first edition of this book in 1976, although the controversy they created-specifically, the prominent conflict between Luxemburg and Lenin over the question of national self determination-was indeed widely Known. Many Marxist who have canonized Rosa Luxemburg have nonetheless been careful to excise from their collections of her writings everything that reflected her view of the national questions. This volume is therefore a necessary supplement to all the available Luxemburg anthologies. Of great value for any student of Marxism, The National Question present some of the most important work by one of the twentieth century’s most significant socialist theorists.

Rosa Luxemburg

Rosa Luxemburg (5 March 1871 – 15 January 1919) was a Marxist theorist, philosopher, economist and revolutionary socialist of Polish-Jewish descent who became a naturalized German citizen. She was, successively, a member of the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDKPiL), the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD), and the Communist Party of Germany (KPD).

In 1915, after the SPD supported German involvement in World War I, she and Karl Liebknecht co-founded the anti-war Spartakusbund ("Spartacus League"), which eventually became the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). During the German Revolution, she co-founded the newspaper Die Rote Fahne ("The Red Flag"), the central organ of the Spartacist movement.

She considered the Spartacist uprising of January 1919 a blunder, but supported it as events unfolded. With the crushing of the revolt by Friedrich Ebert's social democratic government and by the Freikorps (World War I veterans who banded together into right-wing paramilitary groups), Freikorps troops captured Luxemburg, Liebknecht and some of their supporters. Luxemburg was shot and her body thrown in the Landwehr Canal in Berlin.