On 18th and 19th August 2011, the Institute of Scientific Socialism of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation Vietnam held a workshop on “Rosa Luxemburg’s thoughts on the labour movement and their meaning in present‑day context in Germany and Vietnam”.
Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) was one, or actually the women, at the front of the earlier German labour movement. She belonged to the far-left wing of the Social Democratic Party of Germany and was a major figure behind the split of the party and the foundation of the Communist Party of Germany in 1917 and 1918, after the reformist-wing of the social democrats had allied with bourgeois and chauvinist forces before the First World War. She had an overall optimistic, yet critical view of the Russian October Revolution, criticizing it for failing to establish the freedoms of opinion, assembly and association. She was murdered in 1919, shortly after the Spartacist Uprising, leaving a heritage of critical socialist thinking that is an inspiration for contemporary socialism.
In the workshop, the thoughts of Rosa Luxemburg led to diverse contributions and discussions. The main focus was on the role of the Vietnamese working class in a modernized economy and changing society. The three German contributors Dr. Holger Politt, Dr. Daniela Fuchs-Frotscher and Dr. Michael Herms shared their knowledge about Rosa Luxemburg, as well as experiences with the transformation of ex‑socialist eastern Germany to a democratic market economy. The Vietnamese speakers Prof. Trinh Quoc Tuan, Prof. Luu Dat Thuyet, Assoc. Prof. Nguyen An Ninh and Assoc. Prof. Nguyen Hoang Giap exchanged their ideas about the strengthening of the Vietnamese working class and its role during the transformation to a socialist market economy. Of particular interest during the discussion were questions on the functions of unions in the three‑side‑mechanism of state, employers and employees, as well as education and development of the working class.
After the workshop, prospects for future work on the impulses for societal progress in Vietnam through Rosa Luxemburg’s thinking were discussed, and foundations for future cooperation on the topic were laid.