Seminar: The Accumulation of Capital

A century-old work remains current, provocative and seminal

A hundred years since the first Berlin edition of “The Accumulation of Capital: A Contribution to an Economic Explanation of Imperialism,” no one needs a commemorative address to introduce the work. The work is still being referenced by scholars, writers and people all around the world who fight for democracy and justice; for a life of dignity, solidarity and ecological responsibility; and for socialism. Its continued prominence is a tribute to its author, her academic methodology and the topicality of the questions she posed, yet also demonstrates a corresponding weakness in the modern Left, particularly among socialists.

Rosa Luxemburg, one of the most fascinating characters in the struggle for freedom in equality, radically criticized capitalism’s social relations and capital accumulation, and fought equally radically against the resulting outcomes of human oppression and natural destruction. After her murder on 15 January 1919 by her political enemies, her legacy lived on, as it still does today: both her writings and the political, scholarly and cultural interest she inspires. It continues to educate, to motivate political engagement and to foment communication and collaboration.

As an intellectual exchange those interested were asked to submit texts of up to 10,000 words written in German or English by  December 1st, 2013. These texts are used as the basis for the international workshop. From the point of view of content the workshop will give impulses to the Rosa Luxemburg Study Days. In 2014 they will be focused on the war.

The workshop will also acknowledge the academic and political work of Frieder Otto Wolf, who has been a close partner of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation for many years and celebrated his 70th birthday in February 2013.

We shall welcome scholars, writers as activists from social movements and left political organizations from Argentina, Canada, China, Germany, Ghana, India, Poland, Slovakia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States.

On March 7th we shall start at 3 p.m. with an introductory lecture of Nancy Fraser. Frieder Otto Wolf will speak on Rosa Luxemburg‘s „Accumulation of Capital“ as an epistemological and political challenge today. He will highlight her contribution to the critique of social theory and of historical reality as an orientation for radical political practice. Then we shall have time for an in-depth discussion.

On March 8th we shall have the morning lecture “A Feminist Re-appropriation of Rosa Luxemburgs ‘Land grabbing’ Concept” of Tove Soiland with a discussion about it. Then we shall have contributions with discussions in the plenary and in three working groups. We have scheduled contributions from Julian Park, Klaus Dörre, Jan Toporowski, Hanna Szymborska, Paul Zarembka, He Ping, Michael Brie, Markus Wissen, Kojo Opoku Aidoo, Maria Backhouse, Mariano Feliz, Dominika Dinušová, Jaha Mehta, Ranabir Samaddar, Michael Krätke, Frank Engster, and Ingo Schmidt

On March 9th we propose to have a longer reflection on the workshop experience so far (hopefully by David Harvey) and a longer contribution “Rosa Luxemburg as a Challenge and Chance for the Solidarity-Emancipatoric Left, further questions for research” by Patrick Bond. We shall end our workshop at 1 or 1.30 p.m..

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Interested persons are requested to register no later than February 28th.