Rosa Luxemburg Biography and Theory

Rosa Luxemburg (1870-1919) Biography and Theory

Rosa was the leader of the left wing German working class social movement and unfortunately had her life cut short by the German right wing. In 1913, Luxemburg published Accumulation of Capital-An Anti-Critique and presented additional insight to the imperialism train of thought.

In similarity to Hobson, Luxemburg's theory of imperialism was based on Marxian Sectoral imbalances between production and consumption where consumer demand could not keep up with growth and productive capacity. However, Luxemburg added to the thought by suggesting the notion that external investment was only possible after destroying existing, traditional social institutions and cultures through bloody, social upheavals. She suggested that imperialist struggle had four objectives: (1) to get more raw materials, (2) to create more wage laborers that were freed from means of production by destroying traditional methods of production, (3) to transform an economy into a market economy, and (4) to separate or disembed an economy into market components of trade, industry, and agriculture.

According to Luxemburg's analysis, militarism was a predominant and necessary feature of capitalism that served three purposes: (1) it was a weapon to promote the capitalist cause, (2) it was a source of demand for production (not if financed through taxation of workers), and (3) it helped mitigate the instability of capitalism. For Rosa, imperialist subjugation and exploitation were permanent features of capitalism.