Click here to go to the Home Page Rosa Luxemburg: The Future Everywhere Belongs to Revolution! - Represent Our Resistance - By Dr. Lenore J. Daniels, PhD - BC Editorial Board

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Now this same H. Paasche has recently been arrested - as it seems, the arrest was caused by a leaflet in which he is said to have appealed to the women workers in the munitions branch of industry to hold a mass strike!...The fact is that he is undergoing investigation. Isn�t it wonderful that suddenly one can still discover human beings, real men, {and women], and in circles where they are least to be expected?

Letter to Clara Zetkin, [Breslau,] November 24, 1917, (The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg )

What a charade! Congress does not vote for his policies! Barrack Obama to the American people: It�s Urgent! Call, write, email, tweet the U.S. Congress! You�re your congressional representative to support Obama�s policies!

News is hardly distinguishable from the cultural production heard on NPR or from the commercial advertising on television or from the art work on display at a local gallery; in other words, it, too is generated by corporate �artists� blurring the lines between fiction and myth. Consequently, the omission of this government�s move toward totalitarianism is not news! So you might have missed this: Obama�s signing into law the Federal Restriction Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act in March, 2012 - and, no, it is not about improving the landscape of federal buildings. It is, however, about keeping those well-kept lawns clean of taxpayers, specifically, protesting taxpayers!

See you are being urged to call, write, email, tweet your Congressional representatives from your home, if your home is not in foreclosure or if you have a home at all. Get active! Protest! Yes, protest - but from home - stay off the streets or anywhere the haloed local, state, or federal represents might be speaking and, most important, stay clear away from wherever the Haloed One on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue might make an appearance, unless you are one of the �selected� citizens chosen to represent - the powerful, increasing centralized authority of the State.

Think of the well-choreographed parades and ceremonies in North Korea!

Do not leave your home and assemble with other Americans in protest on the lawns of a government building or anywhere Obama or those Congressional represents might be speaking if you are not pleased with the way your government fails to represent you and your interests or the way in which the Empire spends billions on wars and kills with the weapons you pay for, if you have employment here in the U.S. You will be arrested if you dissent and make your voice heard by showing up to protest in front of a public building.

The right to assemble and �peacefully� protest along with fellow citizens is now a felony!

Sounds like the policies of a totalitarian state in the making?

You cannot protest where government officials are nearby! This new law grants the secret Service with the right to arrest you and those assembling to protest.

Simply standing with a bullhorn, holding up a sign, promoting a contentious message or even being on the grounds of a Secret Service secured event will now make it possible for the government to detain, arrest and charge those involved in these �disruptions� (even if you just happen to be passing through) with a felonious criminal act. (Brasscheck TV)

The President, those Congressional Democrat and Republican represents who signed the bill into law do not have to see protesters. If protected by the Secret Service, you do not have to see them either! Protesters can be arrested on the spot for your convenience.

Just call, write, email and tweet the haloed ones from your home, please! The President does not want to see you on a street near him! That is good government. Government by and for the people!

Human rights violation? Yes, again because the law ultimately favors the 1%, the corporate rulers who, in turn, need to keep their representatives, the president and the congressional folks, safe from you, the protester! As we all know, corporations are persons! Their rights cannot be violated!

You rights can be violated!

Remember Shays� Rebellion in the summer of 1786. Resentment in the western Massachusetts sent citizens in the streets to protest �against the legislature in Boston.� �Illegal conventions began to assemble�to organize opposition to the legislature,� historian Howard Zinn writes, Plough Jogger spoke: he was greatly abused. He did more than his share in the war. But now all the �great men are going to get all we have and I think it is time for us to rise and put a stop to it� (A People's History of the United States). Daniel Shays� �seven hundred� organized �armed farmers,� veterans of the Revolution, marched to Springfield where, despite their permit to parade, confrontations between the farmers and militia ensued. Ultimately Shays� Rebellion was quelled after several protesters were arrested and some executed (People�s History).

In France, Thomas Jefferson may have thought a �little rebellion now and then� was �good thing;� others in the government did not see it that way. Alexander Hamilton, specifically citing Shays� Rebellion, (in the The Federalist Papers ), offered his thoughts about repressing �domestic faction and insurrection�: �The tempestuous situation from which Massachusetts has scarcely emerged evinces that dangers of this kind are not merely speculative� (People�s History).

The people fought the �great� because wealthy guys put the great Jackboots to work!

For those who fought on the side of justice, the lesson of Shays� Rebellion exposed the contradictions inherent in the newly formed government. �Democracy� exists for the ruling class and their representatives in government, but for the majority of citizens, they are subject to militarized violence and government executions.

�Anti-democratic� forces must be crushed - for our security. Formed through a revolution, the U.S. government is now the world�s leading imperialist state and its main business, at which it is best, is the forging of democratically-applied measures to restrict, hinder, interrupt and otherwise interfere with the development of human potential for the benefit of corporate moguls for whom corporations only exist. Their representatives in the U.S. government seem happy to oblige them - �democratically.�

As a united front of Republican and of Democrats, Congress, in service to the corporate-imperialist state, keeps one eye on their gods, the corporate rulers, and the other on the majority, restricting and regulating the temperament and movement of this group - always seeing to it that the 1% are well feed, clothed, housed, and well guarded. The gods keep both eyes on the Market.

When it is a criminal act to support your own 99% opposition to government policies that favor the corporate rulers? Then, more than your First Amendment rights are at stake!

�The scandal for socialism will be definitive if once again peace is dictated by cannon - American cannon this time - rather than by the action of the proletariat� (Letter to Adolf Geck, Breslau, September 14, 1918, The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg).

In her activism and in her written works, Rosa Luxemburg advanced a narrative of liberation for all and from any bourgeois model of organization. Only the workers themselves can free themselves from capitalism and imperialism. �Leaders� do not free a people. Only the continual struggle of the people (that �tempestuous situation�) offers the remedy to rid us of this corporate government.

Luxemburg witnessed the capitulation of the leaders in the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) - opportunistic leaders, she called them, who revised Marxism to advance to powerful, controlling positions, and, who, as opportunists, betrayed the struggle of the poor and working class.

As a thinker, Rosa Luxemburg was greatly feared by the leadership in Germany. When Luxemburg turned her attention to the Russia revolution and its leaders, she was consistent in her criticism because she was consistent in her convictions. No compromise! The struggle is for and by the people! The government is for and by the people! A government that decrees that the people have no right to protest injustice is not a government for and by the people! A government that even permits injustice to flourish is not a peoples� democratic government!

Written while Luxemburg was serving a prison term for her opposition to World War I, the essay, �The Russian Revolution,� never published in her lifetime, [1] is her plea for the creation of a �revolutionary democracy after the seizure of power� (The Rosa Luxemburg Reader). It is critical of the Bolshevik leadership for their establishment of a Central Committee resulting in a vanguard of leaders after what she describes as the �mightiest event of the world war,� - the peoples� revolution (�The Russian Revolution�).

�Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat� (Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program, 1875) - not a dictatorship of the vanguard.

Against a Karl Kautsky counter-revolution in the rear of the peoples� struggle in Russia, Luxemburg writes, one that influences the Mensheviks� �utopian and fundamentally reactionary character� and its determination to cling to �a coalition with the bourgeois liberals,� Lenin�s party is the �only one in Russia which grasped the true interest of the revolution in that first period.� His party, she continues, �really carried on a socialist policy� (�The Russian Revolution�).

It is this which makes clear, too, why it was that the Bolsheviks, though they were at the beginning of the revolution a persecuted, slandered and hunted minority attacked on all sides, arrived within the shortest time to the head of the revolution and were able to bring under their banner all the genuine masses of the people: the urban proletariat, the army, the peasants, as well as the revolutionary elements of democracy, the left wing of the Socialist-Revolutionaries.

During the internal scrabble between fractions, she continues, the Russian revolution continues on, advancing at a rapid, �stormy and resolute tempo,� breaking down �all barriers with an iron hand,� and placing its �goals ever farther ahead.�

Luxemburg reiterates: �The party of Lenin was the only one which grasped the mandate and duty of a truly revolutionary party and which, by the slogan - �All power in the hands of the proletariat and peasantry� - insured the continued development of the revolution.� And, in turn, the Bolsheviks won the first goal: the majority of the protesters �became a �majority�� of the citizenry. The Bolsheviks, she explains, offered a �far-reaching revolutionary program� - �a dictatorship of the proletariat for the purposes of realizing socialism.�

Whatever a party could offer of courage, revolutionary far-slightness and consistency in an historic hour, Lenin, Trotsky and the other comrades have given in good measure.

Luxemburg continues: �Their October uprising was not only the actual salivation of the Russian Revolution, it was also the salvation of the honor of international socialism.�

However---there is a bottom line with Rosa Luxemburg!

The struggle is a permanent struggle - in this Luxemburg agreed with Trotsky. With Marx, she concurs: revolutionaries continue their �education� as they continue the struggle. But the struggle cannot be manipulated by �leaders.� It is not the task of the �leaders� to ��anticipate the process of revolutionary development�� and seize power ��as an enlightened and conspiratorial minority,�� writes Alex Callinicos, paraphrasing Marx (The Revolutionary Ideas of Karl Marx).

What I am in favor of, in general, is that things should proceed slowly and thoroughly rather than hastily and superficially. It is an entire process of political schooling that must be gone through by the masses of our people, and that requires time. In such times of transition, patience is the duty of a political person and a leader, even if it is not a pleasant duty. And you too must practice this patience, but as calmly and cheerfully as possible�I know, dearest, all the things that disturb your peace, but I also know that you are above all a person with a strong sense of responsibility who gets consumed with worry at the thought of not being able to lend a hand when the labor seems so urgently necessary. It is precisely this false notion of yours that I would like to clear away� [It is] my strongest inner conviction�not to want to do too much; a few, calm, well-aimed steps - that�s what is now necessary but also completely sufficient (from a letter to Clara Zetkin, [Sudende,] March 9, 1916, The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg)

�Leaders� do not undermine a revolution!

But here are the leaders displaying, writes Luxemburg, a �quite cool contempt� for the Constituent Assembly, universal suffrage, freedom of press and assemblage - �the whole apparatus of the basic democratic liberties of the people which, taken together, constitutes the �right to self-determination� inside Russia� - but they hold the �right to self-determination of nations.� Inside Russia, limitations on civil liberties, outside Russia, bordering nations have the �right to self-determination.�

Luxemburg continues: Since socialism opposes �every form of oppression, including also that of one nation by another,� what is the point of this slogan but �hallow, petty-bourgeois phraseology and humbug� (�The Russian Revolution�). Consequently, bordering nations sought the protection of German imperialism against �the Russian Revolution.� What class resided over these nations, Luxemburg asks, and she answers: the bourgeois classes who �preferred the violent rule of Germany to national freedom.� People divided into nations are best for the capitalist class.

Nations also justify military forces and, of course, imperialist aspirations.

Luxemburg charges that Lenin�s position with regard to the separation of nations brought the �greatest confusion� into �socialist ranks and�actually destroyed the position of the proletariat in the boarder countries.�

To be sure, in all these cases, it was really not the �people� who engaged in these reactionary policies, but only the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois class, who - in sharpest opposition to their own proletarian masses - perverted the �national right of self-determination� into an instrument of their counter-revolutionary class policies.

Luxemburg also charges Lenin�s construction of the Central Committee, complete with its language of rigidly and discipline, rules and regulations for the continuation of �the revolution� - of stifling of the peoples free participation of spontaneous or organized protests. Indeed, the stifling of the very freedoms the people fought to gain. [2]

And did we consider, she writes, �the destruction of the most important democratic guarantees of a healthy public life and of the political activity of the laboring masses: freedom of the press, the rights of association and assembly, which have been outlawed for all opponents of the Soviet regime.� Why are the �soviets� the �only true representation� offered to the laboring masses? Luxemburg asks. Look to the suits, the gentlemen leaders.

Lenin, continues Luxemburg, declares that the bourgeois state is �an instrument of oppression of the working class; the socialist state, of the bourgeoisie.� But this is too simple. Why would the bourgeois rule have any need of political training and education? For the proletarian dictatorship, on the other hand, �political training and education� is the �life element, the very air without which it is not able to exist.�

Trotsky, she continues, gives praise to the �laboring masses� for accumulating, �in short time,� a considerable amount of political experience while advancing �quickly from one state to another of their development.� But the leadership has �blocked up the fountain of political experience and the source of this rising development by their suppression of public life!�

Whose narrative is this?

The giant steps taken by the Bolsheviks necessitated �intensive� political training not Lenin and Trotsky�s �ready-made� formula for the socialist transformation, Luxemburg exclaims. Was the Bolsheviks� revolution for the elites to pursue power at the expense of those who fought in the revolution?

Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of one party - however numerous they may be - is no freedom at all. Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.

Luxemburg continues: The socialist system of society is �an historic produce,� born out of its own experiences, �born in the course of its realization.� Its development is living history, Luxemburg exclaims. It is of an �organic nature.� It always �has a fine habit,� she writes, of producing along with any real social need �the means to its satisfaction along with the task simultaneously the solution.�

Socialism cannot be decreed from above! �The whole mass of the people must take part in it. Otherwise, socialism,� Luxemburg argues, �will be decreed from behind a few official desks by a dozen intellectuals.� Do not think that Lenin does not know that socialism demands �a complete spiritual transformation of the masses degraded by centuries of bourgeois class rule.� Overseers in the factories, �draconic penalties,� ruled by terror are �but palliatives.� And rule by terror demoralizes!

When the rights of the people are �eliminated,� asks Luxemburg, �what really remains?�

Luxemburg concludes: �The basic error of the Lenin-Trotsky theory is that they, too, just like Kautsky, oppose dictatorship to democracy.� That is, they oppose the dictatorship of the proletariat and prefer the democracy of the bourgeois society. The favored �dictatorship� for Lenin and Trotsky is modeled on the �dictatorship of the bourgeois.� Once again, only the chosen few shall rule! The 1% - not the 99%!

The dictatorship of a class, not a party, Luxemburg writes, is but �a clique,� not a majority and not for the majority since it is the �clique� of leaders who determine if, when, and where citizens may assemble to meet or protest grievance with the government. Otherwise, the majority is no more than spectators, alienated from the activities of the so-called peoples� government.

In the Lenin-Trotsky narrative, democracy is eliminated! No Shays� Rebellion here!


To be sure, every democratic institution has its limits and shortcomings, things which it doubtless shares with all other human institutions. But the remedy which Trotsky and Lenin have found, the elimination of democracy as such, is worse than the disease it is supposed to cure; for it stops up the very living source from which alone can come the correction of all the innate shortcomings of social institutions.

She adds:

That source is the active, untrammeled, energetic political life of the broadest masses of the people.

The question is not one of tactics employed by the protesters, Luxemburg explains, �but of the capacity for action of the proletariat, the strength to act, the will to power of socialism as such.� The battle between capital and labor �could not be solved in Russia. And in this sense, the future everywhere belongs to �Bolshevism.��

�I embrace you a thousand times, your R.� Editorial Board member, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has a Doctorate in Modern American Literature/Cultural Theory. Click here to contact Dr. Daniels.

[1] �The Russian Revolution� was published by Luxemburg�s lawyer, Paul Levi, after his expulsion from the SPD in 1922. See The Rosa Luxemburg Reader, editors Peter Hudis and Kevin Anderson, 2004.

[2] Lenin: �The parties affiliated to the Communist International must be built up on the principle of democratic centralism. In the present epoch of acute civil war of the Communist party will be able to perform its duty only if it is organized in the most centralized manner, only if iron discipline bordering on military discipline prevails in it, and if its party center is a powerful organ of authority, enjoying wide powers and the general confidence of the members of the Party� (�Organization,� (Lenin Reader, editor, Stephan T. Possony, Henry Renery Co., 1966).

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May 24, 2012 - Issue 473
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