Marina Ginestà i Coloma by Juan Guzmán © Marina Ginestà i Coloma by Juan Guzmán



20.-22. June 2024

Oskar Morgenstern-Platz 1
1090 Vienna

VHS Urania
Urania-Straße 1
1010 Vienna

The conference is organised by the Institute for Historical Social Research (IHSF Vienna), the Institute for Contemporary History at the University of Vienna, the International Rosa Luxemburg Society and Nord Universitet Bodø and will take place from 20-22 June 2024.

The opening event on Thursday, 20 June will take place in the Skylounge, Oskar Morgenstern-Platz 1, 12th floor, 1090 Vienna. The programme on Friday, 21 June and Saturday, 22 June will take place in the attic hall of the VHS Urania, Urania-Straße 1, 1010 Vienna

Admission is free, please register either via the link on the left or by e-mail to

Lectures and discussions will be held mostly in English and partly in German.

About the Conference

In the years leading up to the First World War, the international labor movement made considerable efforts to counteract an escalation in international politics. In fact, however, in the respective historical-political context of their time, numerous influential left-wing theorists, who, for example, strictly opposed an armed conflict of the European powers, had to take the position that violence was “[the] means of the offensive [...] where the legal terrain of the class struggle has yet to be conquered.” (Rosa Luxemburg, 1902). Against the background of this apparent contradiction, the conference in Vienna will examine left-wing positions on violence in the 19th and 20th centuries.


Thu., 20. 06.2024

18:30Welcoming Remarks
18:45Keynote & Discussion

Mark Jones (Dublin): Making the Atrocities Go Away: Reflections on Violence in the German Revolution of 1918–19

Fri., 21. 06.2024

09:00Panel 1

Zwischen Gewalterfahrung und Gewaltwahrnehmung / Left Wing Intellectuals and the Question of Violence 

Chair: Florian Wenninger

Mario Kikaš (Bodø): The Cultural Front on the Semi-Periphery: Cultural Workers of Yugoslavia during the Second World War

Mari-Leen Tammela (Tallinn): Use(fulness) of Violence in Political Struggle: Views on the Use of Violence in Estonian Left-Wing Newspapers’ Editorial Offices from 1906 to 1914

David Mayer (Vienna): Focus and Ambiguity – The South America Debates on Guerilla Warfare in the Long 1960s

11:00Panel 2

Linke Gewaltpraxen / The Left's Use of Violence

Chair: Frank Jacob

Cristina Diac (Bucharest): Anarchism, Communism or Radical-Left Terrorism? The Bombing of the Romanian Senate in December 1920 

André Pina (Porto): The Red Legion: Radical-Left Terrorism in the Portuguese 1st Republic (1919–1925) 

Monica Quirico (Stockholm/Turin): Between the Strategy of Tension and Second-Wave Feminism: Lotta Continua and the Issue of Violence (1969–197

13:30Panel 3

Strategische und Taktische Beurteilungen von Gewalt / Strategic & Tactical Assessments of Violence

Chair: Lucile Dreidemy

Nicholas Bujalski (Oberlin, Ohio): ‘Knight of the Proletariat’: Feliks Dzierżyński and the Antinomies of Russian Revolutionary Violence

Sean Scalmer (Melbourne): Sabotage and Violence: Historical Transformations

Antonio J. Pinto (Malaga): Postcolonialism in Africa and … in Europe? The Algerian Experience and its Influence on Eta (Spain) and IRA (Ulster) in the 1960s

16:00Panel 4

Gewaltrezeptionen / Perceptions of Violence

Chair: Jowan Mohammed

Ottavia dal Maso (Genova): Women Leading Turinese Bread Riots: Between Violence and Spontaneity, August 1917 

Kostas Paloukis (Thessaloniki): The Views of the Interwar Communist Party of Greece (KKE) on Revolutionary and Labor Violence

Judith Tauber (Ithaka, New York): The Cause of the People: Gauche prolétarienne on Violence and Consensus 

Sat., 22. 06.2024

09:00Panel 5

Linke Intellektuelle und die Gewaltfrage / Left-Wing Intellectuals and the Question of Violence

Chair: Charlotte Rönchen

David Bernardini (Milan): ‘All the Violence Necessary to Win, but Nothing More’: Errico Malatesta and the Matter of Violence

Ari Ofengenden (New Orleans): Kautsky and Trotsky on Terrorism and Communism

Ben Lewis (Leeds): Dictatorship, Terror and Sacrifice in Clara Zetkin‘s Thought

11:00Panel 6

Erinnerungen an Gewalt / Memories of Violence

Chair: Linda Erker

Kyra Schmied (Vienna): Gewalt erinnern: Eine feministische Relektüre der Pariser Commune (1871) 

Linh Vu (Tempe, Arizona): Laboring and Sacrificing Life: Narratives of Brutality in Worker Movements in Early Twentieth-Century China 

Kumru Toktamis (Brooklyn, New York): Lessons from Historical Praxis of Violently Defeated Left Movements in Chile and Turkey

14:00Panel 7

Zur linken Organisation von Gewalt / On Left Organization of Violence

Chair: Ben Lewis

Paul Dvořak (Vienna): Vom Bellizismus zum Pazifismus? Die französische Linke, der Krieg und die Armee im langen 19. Jahrhundert 

Chris Ealham (Madrid): ‘All power to the Unions’: The Genealogy of Spanish ‘Anarcho-Bolshevism’ and the Anarcho-Syndicalist Revolutionary Armed Struggle (1917–1936) 

Sebastian Engelmann (Karlsruhe): Wie lernt die Klasse kämpfen? Gewalt in der proletarischen Pädagogik zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts