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Socialism UnboundPrinciples, Practices, and Prospects$
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Stephen Eric Bronner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153836

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153836.001.0001

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A Bridge to the Present

A Bridge to the Present

Rosa Luxemburg and the Underground Tradition

(p.123) 5 A Bridge to the Present
Socialism Unbound

Stephen Eric Bronner

Columbia University Press

For most of the twentieth century, economic reformism and political authoritarianism have vied for influence over the labor movement. But there was another tradition lurking in the background. Its trajectory would extend from the Paris Commune and the Russian mass strike of 1905 to the student revolts of 1968. Its partisans were electric and bound by a spirit of revolutionary humanism and libertarian socialism. This chapter focuses on Rosa Luxemburg, the most visible representative of the underground tradition. Luxemburg confronted sexism and showed a woman could become a major theorist, superb orator, and a leading revolutionary activist. She stood for socialism, democracy, and internationalism. She employed the method of Marx to contest his own predictions and claims. Consistent in her attack on reformism, and clear about authoritarian dangers of communism, her reflections on the mass strike are remarkably salient in thinking about 1989. Her views on internationalism and self-administration also strike a chord given the need for a progressive response to globalization.

Keywords:   Rosa Luxembourg, revolutionary humanism, libertarian socialism, labor movement, socialism, democracy, internationalism, reformism, communism

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