Rosa Luxemburg

The National Question


First Published: In a series of articles on The national question and autonomy which appeared in Luxemburg’s Cracow magazine, Przeglad socialdemokratyczny, 1908-1909.
Source: The National Question - Selected Writings by Rosa Luxemburg, edited and introduced by the late Horace B. Davis, Monthly Review Press, 1976.
Translated: (from the Polish).
Transcription/Markup: Ted Crawford/Brian Baggins.
Public Domain: You can freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the source above as well as the Marxists Internet Archive.
Recommended Prerequisites: The Polish Question and the Socialist Movement; The Polish Question at the International Congress in London
Recommended Follow-up: Theses of the Editors of Gazeta Robotnicza: Imperialism and National Oppression; II The So-Called Right of Self-Determination of Nations; III. The Polish Question and Social Democracy

The Right of Nations to Self-Determination
The Nation-State and the Proletariat
Federation, Centralization, and Particularism
Centralization and Autonomy
The National Question and Autonomy

Publisher’s Notes

Rosa Luxemburg published a series of articles under the general title, The Problem of Nationality and Autonomy, in her theoretical journal, Przeglad Sozialdemokratyczny (Krakow), in nos.6-10, 12, and 14-15, 1908 and 1909. The paging was as follows: Article 1 pps.482-515; 2, 597-612; 3, 613-631; 4, 687-710; 5, 795-818; 6 (Special Problems of Poland), pp.136-63, 351-76. The first five articles (but not the sixth) are included in the present collection.

The Notes are somewhat confusing. They have been renumbered and those that were by Rosa Luxemburg or her publisher attributed while the others are by the editor Horace B. Davis in the Monthly Review edition.

Editor’s Note
[by Horace B Davies]

The theses here presented are the work of Radek, Stein-Krajewski, and M. Bronski, who were then located in Switzerland; before the draft was published, it was submitted also to Hanecki in Copenhagen. This was the so-called Rostamowcy fraction of the old SDKPiL. Nationalism was not an issue between this group and the Zarzadowcy faction to which Rosa Luxemburg belonged, so these theses are intended as an expression and continuation of Rosa Luxemburg’s position on the national question. Of course, Rosa Luxemburg herself had by this time modified her position slightly, as will be evident from a study of the “Junius” pamphlet, published at the same time as these theses; her position two years later, in the pamphlet, The Russian Revolution (a chapter of which is included in the present collection), is again not precisely the same. However, the theses do express her general point of view.

Last updated on: 1.12.2008