two rare texts on the national question

by Chris Kane

At The Commune’s successful day-school on the Russian Revolution some debate arose on the national question during the discussion on Ukraine and Hungary. A key point of reference on the national question for communists to this day is the debates which took place amongst Marxists within the Second International and the period of the First World War (1914-1918).

Russian Social Democrats

The national question took on a new importance after the outbreak of the war and the collapse of the Second International. Currents which had taken shape prior to 1914 were forced to reconsider their views and re-articulate positions in light of the crisis of international socialism.

A diverse trend of Social-Democrats, (as Marxists called themselves in this period) argued against the concept of the right of nations to self-determination, including the Polish Marxists Luxemburg and Radek. Today Lenin is seen as the principle defender of the right of national-self determination, and he was supported by the majority of the RSDRP(Bolsheviks) Central Committee. However he was challenged by a strong body of opinion in his own party, its foremost representative being Yuri Pyatakov, and Yevgenia Bosh, both leading Bolsheviks in Ukraine, who in exile in 1915 joined with Nikolai Bukharin to publish the Stockholm-based journal Kommunist. Continue reading “two rare texts on the national question”

revolutionary history: rosa luxemburg issue

Rosa Luxemburg: Selected Political and Literary Writings
Guest Editor: Mike Jones

Mike Jones has edited August Thalheimer and German communism, and is a frequent contributor to the journal Revolutionary History.

Editorial Committee: Ted Crawford, Paul Flewers, Esther Leslie and John Plant

Rosa Luxemburg, perhaps the most remarkable and original figure among German Marxists thinkers and activists, was one of the earliest victims of fascism, murdered in Berlin, in 1919. This volume presents selected political essays, writings previously unavailable in English.

They reveal Luxemburg’s aversion to splits in the Labour movement, particularly in Germany and Russia, and aspects of her thinking about culture, nationalism and women’s rights. Each essay is annotated, introduced and placed in context. Continue reading “revolutionary history: rosa luxemburg issue”