What is the final aim of Marxist politics, asked Rosa Luxemburg. To improve the conditions of life under capitalism or to overthrow capitalist social relations and found a just order?
German Socialism in the late 19th century was torn on this question, with Eduard Bernstein the influential advocate for the centrality of reforms. This view was known as “revisionism” — the revision of Marxism downwards from revolution to reformism. Luxemburg argued, in this influential pamphlet, that Bernstein’s revisionism would liquidate Marxist politics. She based her critique of Bernstein on her close reading of Marx and of the social dynamic of capitalism.