Thursday 15 September 2022

Rosa Luxemburg & International Law: online workshop

Rosa Luxemburg & International Law: online workshop followed by public lecture by Dana Mills

About the project

Last year marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Rosa Luxemburg: a revolutionary theorist and political activist, whose work has provided important political economy critiques of imperialism, capitalism, nationalism and advocated for the collective commitment to social justice. While recent books have celebrated her life and intellectual and political legacy, engagement with her work in international law, although with some notable exceptions, has been largely marginal. Despite her sharp and insightful analysis of the nexus between colonialism and capitalist accumulation and her commitment to anti-militarism and internationalism, Luxemburg’s work remains less visible and prominent than male social thinkers. We believe that placing Rosa Luxemburg’s work into conversation with international law - historically and with an eye to the future - can add significantly to our understanding of international legal debates in relation to imperialism, capitalism, ableism, and questions of race, class and gender critique. We aim to collectively explore what an engagement with Luxemburg’s work may offer at this juncture of neoliberal capitalism, climate disaster, and pandemic. (Events that Rosa Luxemburg didn’t live to see but predicted with her work.)

Organisers: Christine Schwobel-Patel ( and Serena Natile (

About the public lecture by Dr Dana Mills 'Socialism or Barbarism, 150 years on' (4.30pm): in this talk the legacy and contribution of Rosa Luxemburg to radical history and theory will be examined against the backdrop of the world in 2022. What can we learn from this giant of social justice, exactly 150 years after she was born?

Bio: Dana Mills received her DPhil from Mansfield College, Oxford in 2014. She has held teaching and research positions at NYU, Northwestern, American Dance Festival, University of Oxford and University of Amsterdam, among others. She is the author of Dance and Politics: Moving beyond Boundaries (Manchester University Press, 2016); Rosa Luxemburg (Reaktion, 2020) and Dance and Activism (Bloomsbury, 2020). Since March 2021 she is the Director of External Relations and Development at Peace Now.


9.45-10 Introduction

10.00-11.15 Imperialism and Primitive Accumulation

Chaired by Christine Schwobel-Patel, Warwick Law School

• Kanad Bakchi (Max Plank Institute International and Comparative Law, Heidelberg), Central Banking as ‘Primitive Accumulation’: International Law and the Transformation of Monetary Policy

• Santosh Anand (South Asian University, New Delhi), Foreclosed Temporalities: International Criminal Law, Imperialism and the Legacy of Rosa Luxemburg

• Jackson Reese Faust (Howard University), Luxemburg, Accumulation and Dispossession: Republican Lawscapes toward Global Spatial Justice

• Michele Tedeschini (Harvard Institute for Global Law and Policy), Lessons from Luxemburg: The emptiness of international law and the dialectic of capital accumulation

11.30-12.30 Anti-Militarism

Chaired by Christine Schwobel-Patel, Warwick Law School

• Marnie Lloydd (Victoria University of Wellington, Te Herenga Waka), “A few not too troublesome restrictions”, Restraints on Violence, Solidarity and International Law

• Chloe Truong-Jones (New York University), Jurisdictional Accumulation and the US Police Power

• Antal Attila (Eötvös Loránd University), The New Form of Capitalist Militarism: The Permanent State of Exception. The Challenges of Anti-War Theory and Activism

13.30-14.45 Self-determination

Chaired by Serena Natile, Warwick Law School

• Marcel Garbos (Harvard, History), A Laboratory for Internationalism: Time, territory, and post-imperial transformation in Rosa Luxemburg’s writings on autonomy and self-determination, 1895-1919

• Nathalia Penha Cardoso de França (Mackenzie Presbyterian University), Rosa Luxemburg and self-determination: a point of view of the Brazilian democratic decline process

• Paola Zichi (QMUL, History), Rosa Luxemburg and Self-Determination in Feminist Approaches to International Law

• Eric Loefflad (KLS), Conquest After Conquest: Rosa Luxemburg, Partitioned Poland, and the Fetish of Title by Subjugation

14:45-15.45 Reparations

Chaired by Serena Natile, Warwick Law School

• Mia Swart (Edge Hill University), ‘Pushed into the burning desert’: Rosa Luxemburg’s analysis of imperialism through the lens of reparations

• Serena Natile (Warwick), The reparative potential of a grassroots-inspired transnational social security law: lessons from Rosa

• Christine Schwobel-Patel (Warwick), Radical mooting: teaching the Luxemburgian trial of rapture

16:00 Reflections

16.30 Public Lecture: Dana Mills – Socialism or Barbarism: 100 years on

My lecture is about: The New Form of Capitalist Militarism: The Permanent State of Exception. The Challenges of Anti-War Theory and Activism.