Rosa Luxemburg was one of the prominent representatives of the socialist movement and she was one of the major contributors to the development of socialist ideas in the early 20th century. Her works influenced consistently the development of socialist movement. In this respect, it is worth mentioning her “Rosa Luxemburg Speaks”¯ in which she presents her basic ideas concerning socialism, current political situation, the development of capitalism and importance of the struggle of the working class and its education. In such a way, she attempted to clarify her position and draw the public attention to the socialist movement encouraging the working class to the ongoing struggle for their rights.
Basically, the book comprises essays which convey the vision of the author on different aspects of socioeconomic and political life as well as her vision of the development of socialist movement. The collection of essay allows readers to be acquainted with different issues and views of the author on these issues. At first glance, such organization of the book seems to be a bit chaotic, but, on the other hand, it opens a wide scope for research of the epoch and capitalist system severely criticized by Rosa Luxemburg as well as it is possible to trace the development of the socialist movement and the author’s vision of its future.
In this respect, it is worth mentioning the fact that Rosa Luxemburg apparently supports radical trends within the socialist movement because she criticizes German socialist leaders, whose political activities and position she treats as a betrayal of the true socialism. She argues that “Marxism is a revolutionary worldview that must always struggle for new revelations”¯ (Luxemburg, 136). She insists on the necessity of liberation of working men and their education because “freedom is always, and exclusively, freedom for the one who thinks differently”¯ (Luxemburg, 121). Consequently, she supports more radical socialist ideas, which imply the destruction of the existing social order and extinction of capitalism. Such a conclusion can be made on the ground of her criticism of German socialist leadership, which was relatively moderate and, thus, unacceptable for Rosa Luxemburg.
However, capitalism is the subject of the most severe criticism from the part of the author. She argues that bourgeoisie is the primary cause of economic disparity and poverty among the working class: “Bourgeois class domination is undoubtedly an historical necessity, but, so too, the rising of the working class against it. Capital is an historical necessity, but, so too, its grave digger, the socialist proletariat”¯ (Luxemburg, 73). Ā Such criticism is quite natural taking into consideration the ideological background of Rosa Luxemburg. At the same time, her interpretation of causes and essence of World War I is quite logical. To put it more precisely, she closely intertwines the beginning of the war with the growing imperialistic ambitions of leading countries of the world, which are ruled by bourgeoisie and the war actually aims at the enrichment of the few, while many will pay too high price for it, sacrificing their health and life for the sake of victory in the war. At this point, it is possible to agree with the author in regard to reasons of the war, which was provoked by the conflict between leading nations over the domination in the world and further colonization.
On the other hand, Rosa Luxemburg’s radicalism makes her book quite emotional and it seems as if the author exaggerates the existing social order, while the solutions suggested by the author, which lead to the socialist revolution, are too radical to be accepted as reasonable solutions. She supports’ Marx’sĀ idea of the social revolution and liberation of the enchained working class: “Those who do not move, do not notice their chains”¯ (Luxemburg, 147) At the same time, it is very important that the author raises the problem of the position of the working class since rights of workers were not protected at the epoch.
Thus, the book is a valuable source of information on the development of the socialist movement in Europe in the early 20th century. Rosa Luxemburg clearly defines her own position in this regard, but her position is quite radical.