Rosa Luxemburg
The Industrial Development of Poland


Our task is finished. We believe that we can conclude from the foregoing that all apprehensions about the future of Polish industry – at least insofar as they relate to the danger threatened by the Russian government – are quite groundless and nothing but an uncritical, superficial reflection of the intimate entrepreneurial wrangle between the Lodz and Moscow entrepreneurs. If one looks deeper into the situation, one must arrive at the conclusion that Poland, in economic terms, not only does not have any separation from Russia in store, but, rather, the tendencies arising from the general internal nature of large-scale capitalist production itself are binding Poland much more strongly to Russia with every passing year. It is an immanent law of the capitalist method of production that it strives to materially bind together the most distant places, little by little, to make them economically dependent on each other, and eventually transform the entire world into one firmly joined productive mechanism. This tendency, of course, works most strongly within one and the same state, within the same political and tariff borders. The capitalist development of Poland and Russia has yielded this result. As long as both countries were predominantly agricultural and indeed natural-economy countries, thus until the 1860s, they remained economically foreign to each other and each represented for itself a closed whole with particular economic interests. Since factory production began here and there on a larger scale, however, since natural economy gave way to money economy, since industry became a determining factor in the social life of both countries, the self-containment of their material existence has more and more disappeared. Exchange and the division of labor have strung thousands of threads between Russia and Poland, and these manifold economic interests are so intertwined that the Polish and Russian economies today form more and more one complicated mechanism.

The process portrayed above is mirrored in many different ways in the consciousness of the different factors in Polish public life. The Russian government sees Poland as a tool for its plans for rule, believes that Poland has been unconditionally surrendered up to its power and that it has founded a thousand-year empire of despotism. The Polish bourgeoisie sees in this a fundamental of its own class rule in the country and an inexhaustible source of riches; it indulges in the sweetest dreams of the future in its thoughts about Asia and believes itself able to build a thousand-year empire of capital. The various nationalist elements of Polish society perceive the entire social process as a unique, great national misfortune, which mercilessly shattered their hopes for the reconstruction of an independent Polish state. They sense instinctively the power of the economic bonds which capitalism has created between Poland and Russia and, without being able to hold back the fatal process in reality, they can at least put an end to it in their own imagination; they cling in desperation to this illusion and expect the Russian government itself to nullify Poland’s hated capitalist development with its own hands and so recreate a basis for nationalism.

We believe that the Russian government, the Polish bourgeoisie, and the Polish nationalists have all equally been struck with blindness, and that the capitalist fusion process between Poland and Russia also has an important dialectical side that they have completely overlooked. This process is bringing to fruition in its own womb the moment when the development of capitalism in Russia will be thrown into contradiction with the absolute form of government, and when Czarist rule will be brought down by its own works. Sooner or later, the hour will strike when the same Polish and Russian bourgeoisie which is today pampered by the Czarist government will become weary of their political attorney – Absolutism – and will checkmate the king. Moreover, this capitalist process is moving with impetuous haste toward the moment when the development of the productive forces in the Russian Empire becomes irreconcilable with the rule of capital and when, in the place of private commodity economy, a new social order based on planned, cooperative production will appear. The Polish and Russian bourgeoisies are hastening this moment with their combined forces; they cannot make one step forward without increasing and pushing forward the Polish and Russian working classes. The capitalist fusing of Poland and Russia is engendering as its end result that which has been overlooked to the same degree by the Russian government, the Polish bourgeoisie, and the Polish nationalists: the union of Polish and Russian proletariats as the future receiver in the bankruptcy of, first, the rule of Russian Czarism, and then the rule of Polish-Russian capital.

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Last updated on: 28.11.2008