Rosa Luxemburg

To the National Council of the French Worker’s Party

Source: Le Socialiste, May 5-12, 1901;
Translated: for by Mitch Abidor.

Dear Comrades:

May First is, above all, a review of the international forces of socialism, of their progress, of their forms. How different is the situation of the workers’ battalions today from what it was twelve years ago at the time of the celebration of this day!

But what about the internal crisis that we are going through more or less everywhere? What about the doubts, the skepticism, the deviations in our ranks? Well, these too are nothing but a symptom of our growth.

In the last ten years, on the heels of the definitive collapse of bourgeois democracy, new layers of society have little by little passed over to us in their entirety, mainly among the petit-bourgeoisie and its ideologues, the intellectuals.

But these elements, which were pushed to us by the social, political and intellectual poverty of current conditions, bring with them a way of thinking that is totally foreign to us, a different conception of the goal and the methods of struggle of socialism. In the first place they must be raised up by education to the class point of view of the proletariat. They must be subordinated, assimilated to proletarian socialism.

In truth, this won’t happen without serious friction, without a loss of forces, without violent crises. But these crises are only the false costs of the development of our strength; these are accessory phenomena of our growth, inevitable from the point of view of our historical evolution.

France was once the classic land, the experimental field, of the old revolutionary methods, of the raid, of barricades.

France today is the experimental field of the so-called “practical methods” of socialism, which propose, not to destroy capitalist society, but to infiltrate it, to meld with it in a composite mixture.

But France, the country to which we owe the international demonstration for the eight hour day – that idea at one and the same time the most practical and the most revolutionary – socialist France will yet again emerge victorious from this crisis.

Comrades, you are fighting today a difficult combat; you are placed in the most exposed posts in defense of the very basis of proletarian emancipation: the class struggle. It’s in the name, in the interests of all – of international socialist democracy – that you defend the future of socialism in France. And whoever knows the past of the French Worker’s Party, whoever knows its history, the devotion of its troops of the first order, knows that you will do your duty – as you have until now – up to the end, up to victory!

Salut et fraternité
Rosa Luxemburg

Last updated on: 29.11.2008