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Rosa Luxemburg: War and the Working Class (January 1916)

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4. The obligation to execute the resolutions of the International takes precedence over all other organizational obligations. National sections that violate these resolutions forfeit membership in the International.

5. In the struggles against imperialism and war, decisive power can be deployed only by the compact masses of the proletariat in all countries. The chief tactical concern of the national sections shall thus be directed at honing the broad masses' capacity for taking political action and resolute initiative, at securing international coordination of mass action, and at building up political and trade-union organizations in such a way that their coordination guarantees speedy and energetic cooperation among all sections, and hence that the will of the International is translated into the action of the broadest working masses.

6. The immediate task of socialism is the intellectual liberation of the proletariat from the tutelage of the bourgeoisie, as this manifests itself in the influence of nationalist ideology. The national sections must gear their agitation in parliament and the press towards denouncing the traditional slogans of nationalism as an instrument of bourgeois rule. The sole defense of all genuine national liberty today is the revolutionary class struggle against imperialism. The fatherland of the proletariat, whose defense must take precedence over all else, is the socialist International.

Source: Rosa Luxemburg, "Die Aufgaben der internationalen Sozialdemokratie" ["The Tasks of International Social Democracy"], in Ernst Meyer, ed., Spartakus im Krieg: Die illegalen Flugblätter des Spartakusbundes im Krieg [Spartacus during the War: The Illegal Pamphlets of the Spartacus League during the War]. Berlin, 1927, pp. 111-12.

Reprinted in Wolfdieter Bihl, Deutsche Quellen zur Geschichte des Ersten Weltkrieges [German Sources on the History of the First World War]. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1991, pp. 176-77.

Translation: Jeffrey Verhey and Roger Chickering

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