Category Archives: Workshop March 2014

Michael Brie: Rosa Luxemburg’s Symphony on the Russian Revolution

Rosa Luxemburg was an avid botanist. Beyond the fact that she studied biology next to
social sciences and humanities, her entire life was marked by a strong attraction to nature.  Her works are full of metaphors of wild landscapes and the power of life; her letters from prison speak of her yearning for free nature. Even ninety years after Rosa Luxemburg’s death her thinking and her actions can still not be coldly classified and solidly ordered. Neither in the geometrically ordered gardens of the history of Marxist-Leninist thinking nor in the beautifully landscaped gardens of superficial liberalism does she find her place. More

Jan Toporowski: Rosa Luxemburg and Finance

Rosa Luxemburg is best known for her attempt in her book The Accumulation of Capital to show that capitalist accumulation requires external markets in order to overcome a tendency to stagnation.  These external markets formed the basis of her theory of imperialism, which was taken over by Lenin and subsequent Marxists.  However, in chapter xxx of that book, on ‘International Loans’, Rosa Luxemburg examined the role of finance in capital accumulation.  This analysis was perhaps peripheral to her argument.  But it has sufficient critical elements to warrant a place for Luxemburg among the pioneers of critical finance, while the fate of that analysis among Marxists reveals how the most important school of radical political economy in the twentieth century came to an attenuated view of finance as a factor in capitalist crisis. In this paper, it is argued that Luxemburg put forward an analysis of international finance that not only allows for a disturbing character of finance, but also looks forward to important aspects of Minsky’s analysis in the second half of the twentieth century. More

Jan Toporowski: Tadeusz Kowalik: Radical Political Economist, Solidarity Advisor, and Critic of Globalised Capitalism

Tadeusz Kowalik, the doyen of Polish political economists, died at his home in Warsaw on the 30 July (in 2012 – ed). … In the English-speaking world Tadeusz Kowalik is best known as the last surviving co-author of the great Polish economist, Michał Kalecki (1899-1970), an advisor to the Polish trades union movement Solidarity during the 1980s, when it played a key part in bringing down the Communist Government in Poland, and subsequently as a fierce critic of the capitalism established in his country. In his work he challenged both the commonly accepted view of the ‘Keynesian Revolution’ and inability of Polish communists to come to terms with their revolutionary past and find a place for themselves in the modern world. More

Dominika Dinušová: Roza Luxemburg´s Contribution to the Current Debate on Strategies for Social Change

Anniversary of The Accumulation of capital is an opportunity for reflection on contemporary situation due to parallels which associate our current socio-economic reality with reality of Roza Luxemburg and her contemporaries. We live in a capitalist society, and thus the writings of Marx, Engels, Luxemburg and other theorists of the early twentieth century are up to date now while we try to understand the social, economic and political processes that affect our daily existence. More

Frank Engster: Das Außen des Kapitals. Landnahme als Produktion zusätzlicher Arbeitszeit und die Krise relativer Mehrwertproduktion

Es gibt einen regelrechten Grundzug, der Rosa Luxemburgs Die Akkumulation des Kapitals (AK)
durchzieht. Luxemburg interessiert sich für den Urkommunismus und für die vom
Imperialismus zerstörten nicht-kapitalistischen Produktionsweisen, des Weiteren
für die ursprüngliche Akkumulation und die seitdem anhaltende Notwendigkeit des
Kapitals zur Erweiterung der Akkumulation und schließlich für die Grenzen und
die Ausweglosigkeit eben dieser Akkumulation. Der Grundzug entspricht einer
bestimmten Geschichte, More

Paul Zarembka: Marx’s Evolving Conception of Value and Luxemburg’s Legacy: A Process of Intellectual Production

In his work on value theory, Marx began by recognizing economic categories as socially determined (1847). He then introduced ‘abstract labor’ as a concept (1859). Later this was followed with the concept of ‘labor power’ and that value is the substance of exchange-value but distinct from it (1867). We review this development, including subsequent discussion of Sieber’s 1871 work on value that Marx himself read and appreciated. More

100th Anniversary of “The Accumulation of Capital: A Contribution to an Economic Explanation of Imperialism”: A Century-Old Work Remains Current, Provocative and Seminal

Rosa19.5.A hundred years since the first Berlin edition of “The Accumulation of Capital: A Contribution to an Economic Explanation of Imperialism,” no one needs a commemorative address to introduce the work. The work is still being referenced by scholars, writers and people all around the world who fight for democracy and justice; for a life of dignity, solidarity and ecological responsibility; and for socialism. Its continued prominence is a tribute to its author, her academic methodology and the topicality of the questions she posed, yet also demonstrates a corresponding weakness in the modern Left, particularly among socialists. Continue reading