The Junius Pamphlet: The Crisis of German Social Democracy

By Rosa Luxemburg (1915)

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(1871 - 1919)

Rosa Luxemburg (German: [ˈʁoːza ˈlʊksəmbʊʁk] (About this soundlisten); Polish: Róża Luksemburg; also Rozalia Luksenburg; 5 March 1871 – 15 January 1919) was a Polish Marxist, philosopher, economist, anti-war activist and revolutionary socialist who became a naturalized German citizen at the age of 28. Successively, she was a member of the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDKPiL), the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), the Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD) and the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). (From: Wikipedia.org.)


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The Junius Pamphlet

From : Marxists.org

Chapters

9 Chapters | 42,356 Words | 267,177 Characters

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Written: February–April 1915 (while in prison). First Published: In Zurich, February 1916, and illegally distributed in Germany. Source: Politische Schriften, pp.229-43, pp.357-72. Translated: (from the German) by Dave Hollis. Transcription/Markup: Dave Hollis, Brian Baggins, Einde O’Callaghan. Copyleft: Luxemburg Internet Archive (marxists.org) 1996, 1999, 2003. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License. The voting of war credits in August 1914 was a shattering moment in the life of individual socialists and of the socialist movement in Europe. Those who had worked for and wholly believed in the ability of organized labor to stand against war now saw the major social democratic parties of Germany, France, and England rush to the defense of their fatherlands. Worker solidarity had proved an impotent myth. Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) had for ye... (From : Marxists.org.)

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The scene has changed fundamentally. The six weeks’ march to Paris has grown into a world drama. Mass slaughter has become the tiresome and monotonous business of the day and the end is no closer. Bourgeois statecraft is held fast in its own vise. The spirits summoned up can no longer be exorcized. Gone is the euphoria. Gone the patriotic noise in the streets, the chase after the gold-colored automobile, one false telegram after another, the wells poisoned by cholera, the Russian students heaving bombs over every railway bridge in Berlin, the French airplanes over Nuremberg, the spy hunting public running amok in the streets, the swaying crowds in the coffee shops with ear-deafening patriotic songs surging ever higher, whole city neighborhoods transformed into mobs ready to denounce, to mistreat women, to shout hurrah and to induce delirium in themselves by means of wild rumors. Gone, too, is the atmosphere of ritual murder, the Kishinev air whe... (From : Marxists.org.)

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“We are now facing the irrevocable fact of war. We are threatened by the horrors of invasion. The decision, today, is not for or against war; for us there can be but one question: by what means is this war to be conducted? Much, aye everything, is at stake for our people and its future, if Russian despotism, stained with the blood of its own people, should be the victor. This danger must be averted, the civilization and the independence of our people must be safeguarded. Therefore we will carry out what we have always promised: in the hour of danger we will not desert our fatherland. In this we feel that we stand in harmony with the International, which has always recognized the right of every people to its national independence, as we stand in agreement with the International in emphatically denouncing every war of conquest. Actuated by these motives, we vote in favor of the war credits demanded by the Government.” With these words the Reichstag group issued... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Our party should have been prepared to recognize the real aims of this war, to meet it without surprise, to judge it by its deeper relationship according to their wide political experience. The events and forces that led to August 4, 1914, were no secrets. The world had been preparing for decades, in broad daylight, in the widest publicity, step by step, and hour by hour, for the world war. And if today a number of socialists threaten with horrible destruction the “secret diplomacy” that has brewed this devilry behind the scenes, they are ascribing to these poor wretches a magic power that they little deserve, just as the Botokude whips his fetish for the outbreak of a storm. The so-called captains of nations are, in this war, as at all times, merely chessmen, moved by all-powerful historic events and forces, on the surface of capitalist society. If ever there were persons capable of understanding these events and occurrences, it was the members of the German social dem... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Turkey became the most important field of operations of German imperialism; the Deutsche Bank, with its enormous Asiatic buSiness interests, about which all German oriental policies center, became its peacemaker. In the 50’s and 60’s Asiatic Turkey worked chiefly with English capital, which built the railroad from Smyrna and leased the first stretch of the Anatolian railroad, up to Ismit. In 1888 German capital appeared upon the scene and procured from Abdul Hamid the control of the railroad that English capital had built and the franchise for the new stretch from Ismit to Angora and branch lines to Scutari, Bursa, Konya and Kaizarili. In 1899 the Deutsche Bank secured concessions for the building and operation of a harbor and improvements in Hardar Pasha, and the sole control over trade and tariff collections in the harbor. In 1901 the Turkish Government turned over to the Deutsche Bank the concession for the Great Baghdad railroad to the Persian G... (From : Marxists.org.)

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But czarism! In the first moments of the war this was undoubtedly the factor that decided the position of our party. In its declaration, the social democratic group had given the slogan: against czarism! And out of this the socialist press has made a fight for European culture. The Frankfurter Volksstimme wrote on July 31: “The German social democracy has always hated czardom as the bloody guardian of European reaction: from the time that Marx and Engels followed, with far-seeing eyes, every movement of this barbarian government, down to the present day, where its prisons are filled with political prisoners, and yet it trembles before every labor movement. The time has come when we must square accounts with these terrible scoundrels, under the German flag of war.” The Pfälzische Post of Ludwighafen wrote on the same day: “This is a principle that was first established by our August Bebe... (From : Marxists.org.)

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Of equal importance in the attitude of the social democracy was the official adoption of a program of civil peace, i.e., the cessation of the class struggle for the duration of the war. The declaration that was read by the social democratic group in the Reichstag on the fourth of August had been agreed upon in advance with representatives of the government and the capitalist parties. It was little more than a patriotic grandstand play, prepared behind the scenes and delivered for the benefit of the people at home and in other nations. To the leading elements in the labor movement, the vote in favor of the war credits by the Reichstag group was a cue for the immediate settlement of all labor controversies. Nay more, they announced this to the manufacturers as a patriotic duty incurred by labor when it agreed to observe a civil peace. These same labor leaders undertook to supply city labor to farmers in order to assure a prompt harvest. The leaders of the social democratic... (From : Marxists.org.)

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“But since we have been unable to prevent the war, since it has come in spite of us, and our country is facing invasion, shall we leave our country defenseless! Shall we deliver it into the hands of the enemy? Does not socialism demand the right of nations to determine their own destinies? Does it not mean that every people is justified, nay more, is in duty bound, to protect its liberties, its independence? ‘When the house is on fire, shall we not first try to put out the blaze before stopping to ascertain the incendiary?’” These arguments have been repeated, again and again in defense of the attitude of the social democracy in Germany and in France. Even in the neutral countries this argument has been used. Translated into Dutch we read for instance: “When the ship leaks must we not seek, first of all, to stop the hole?” To be sure. Fie upon a people that capitulates before invasion and fie upon a party t... (From : Marxists.org.)

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In spite of the military dictatorship and censorship of the press, in spite of the abdication of the Social Democrats, in spite of the fratricidal war, the class struggle rises with elemental force from out of the Burgfrieden; and the international solidarity of labor from out of the bloody mists of the battlefield. Not in the weak and artificial attempts to galvanize the old International, not in pledges renewed here and there to stand together again after the war. No! Now in and from the war the fact emerges with a wholly new power and energy that the proletarians of all lands have one and the same interests. The war itself dispels the illusion it has created. Victory or defeat? Thus sounds the slogan of the ruling militarism in all the warring countries, and, like an echo, the Social Democratic leaders have taken it up. Supposedly, victory or defeat on the battlefield should be for the proletarians of Germany, France, England, or... (From : Marxists.org.)

Chronology

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1915
The Junius Pamphlet — Publication.

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March 6, 2021; 5:57:30 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
Added to https://www.RevoltLib.com.

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