Rediscovering Rosa Luxemburg

Autumn 2015

‘I was, I am, I shall be!’

Rosa Luxemburg, ‘Order reigns in Berlin’, 1919. Her last written words.

Rosa Luxemburg’s name lives on among left-wingers – but while she is remembered as a hero, her ideas about the intrinsic unsustainability of capitalism have been consistently misunderstood and neglected. This has begun to change recently, with reappraisals of her thought seeing her as a forerunner of contemporary understandings of the role of credit in economic growth. This renewed understanding of her ideas makes her highly relevant to current debates about the role of credit in the financial crash of 2008 and ongoing stagnation which has followed in its wake. But these reappraisals can go further. So far they have focused on showing how, according to Luxemburg’s ideas, credit is required in order to make growth possible; what they have not focused on is how her ideas show that such growth cannot go on forever.

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Renewal Vol 23 No. 3