Rosa Luxemburg
Overview
 
Rosa Luxemburg was a Marxist theorist, philosopher, economist and activist of Polish Jewish descent who became a naturalized German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 citizen. She was successively a member of the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania
Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania
The Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania was a Marxist political party founded in 1893. Its original name was the "Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland" and it eventually became part of the Communist Workers Party of Poland...

 (SDKPiL), the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 (SPD), the Independent Social Democratic Party
Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany was a short-lived political party in Germany during the Second Reich and the Weimar Republic. The organization was established in 1917 as the result of a split of left wing members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany...

 (USPD), and the Communist Party of Germany
Communist Party of Germany
The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956...

 (KPD).

In 1915, after the SPD supported German involvement in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, she and Karl Liebknecht
Karl Liebknecht
was a German socialist and a co-founder with Rosa Luxemburg of the Spartacist League and the Communist Party of Germany. He is best known for his opposition to World War I in the Reichstag and his role in the Spartacist uprising of 1919...

 co-founded the anti-war Spartakusbund (Spartacist League) which eventually became the Communist Party of Germany (KPD).
Quotations

Bourgeois class domination is undoubtedly an historical necessity, but, so too, the rising of the working class against it. Capital is an historical necessity, but, so too, its grave digger, the socialist proletariat.

The Junius Pamphlet (1915)

What is our task in the question of peace? It does not consist merely in vigorously demonstrating at all times the love of peace of the Social Democrats; but first and foremost our task is to make clear to the masses of people the nature of militarism and sharply and clearly to bring out the differences in principle between the standpoint of the Social Democrats and that of the bourgeois peace enthusiasts.

The friends of peace in bourgeois circles believe that world peace and disarmament can be realised within the frame-work of the present social order, whereas we, who base ourselves on the materialistic conception of history and on scientific socialism, are convinced that militarism can only be abolished from the world with the destruction of the capitalist class state.

Militarism in both its forms — as war and as armed peace — is a legitimate child, a logical result of capitalism, which can only be overcome with the destruction of capitalism, and that hence whoever honestly desires world peace and liberation from the tremendous burden of armaments must also desire Socialism. Only in this way can real Social Democratic enlightenment and recruiting be carried on in connection with the armaments debate.

The Utopianism of the standpoint which expects an era of peace and retrenchment of militarism in the present social order is plainly revealed in the fact that it is having recourse to project making. For it is typical of Utopian strivings that, in order to demonstrate their practicability, they hatch "practical" recipes with the greatest possible details. To this also belongs the project of the "United States of Europe" as a basis for the limitation of international militarism.

Plausible as the idea of the United States of Europe as a peace arrangement may seem to some at first glance, it has on closer examination not the least thing in common with the method of thought and the standpoint of social democracy . . . At the present stage of development of the world market and of world economy, the conception of Europe as an isolated economic unit is a sterile concoction of the brain. Europe no more forms a special unit within world economy than does Asia or America.

The times when the centre of gravity of political development and the crystallising agent of capitalist contradictions lay on the European continent, are long gone by. To-day Europe is only a link in the tangled chain of international connections and contradictions.

Encyclopedia
Rosa Luxemburg was a Marxist theorist, philosopher, economist and activist of Polish Jewish descent who became a naturalized German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 citizen. She was successively a member of the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania
Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania
The Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania was a Marxist political party founded in 1893. Its original name was the "Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland" and it eventually became part of the Communist Workers Party of Poland...

 (SDKPiL), the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 (SPD), the Independent Social Democratic Party
Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany was a short-lived political party in Germany during the Second Reich and the Weimar Republic. The organization was established in 1917 as the result of a split of left wing members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany...

 (USPD), and the Communist Party of Germany
Communist Party of Germany
The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956...

 (KPD).

In 1915, after the SPD supported German involvement in World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, she and Karl Liebknecht
Karl Liebknecht
was a German socialist and a co-founder with Rosa Luxemburg of the Spartacist League and the Communist Party of Germany. He is best known for his opposition to World War I in the Reichstag and his role in the Spartacist uprising of 1919...

 co-founded the anti-war Spartakusbund (Spartacist League) which eventually became the Communist Party of Germany (KPD). During the German Revolution she founded the Die Rote Fahne
Die Rote Fahne
The German newspaper Die Rote Fahne was created on 9 November 1918 by Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg in Berlin, first as organ of the left wing revolutionary Spartakusbund. After the founding of the Communist Party of Germany on 1 January 1919 it became the central publication of the party,...

(The Red Flag), the central organ of the Spartacist movement.

She regarded the Spartacist uprising
Spartacist uprising
The Spartacist Uprising , also known as the January uprising , was a general strike in Germany from January 5 to January 15, 1919. Its suppression marked the end of the German Revolution...

 as a blunder, but supported it after Liebknecht ordered it without her knowledge. When the revolt was crushed by the social democrat government and the Freikorps
Freikorps
Freikorps are German volunteer military or paramilitary units. The term was originally applied to voluntary armies formed in German lands from the middle of the 18th century onwards. Between World War I and World War II the term was also used for the paramilitary organizations that arose during...

 (World War I veterans who banded together into right-wing paramilitary groups), Luxemburg, Liebknecht and some of their supporters were captured and murdered. Luxemburg was shot and her body thrown in the Landwehr Canal in Berlin. After their deaths, Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht became martyrs for Marxists
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

. According to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, commemoration of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht continues to play an important role among the German far-left.

Poland

Luxemburg was born to a Jewish family in Zamość
Zamosc
Zamość ukr. Замостя is a town in southeastern Poland with 66,633 inhabitants , situated in the south-western part of Lublin Voivodeship , about from Lublin, from Warsaw and from the border with Ukraine...

, in Russian
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

-controlled Congress Poland
Congress Poland
The Kingdom of Poland , informally known as Congress Poland , created in 1815 by the Congress of Vienna, was a personal union of the Russian parcel of Poland with the Russian Empire...

. She was the fifth child of timber trader Eliasz Luxemburg and Line Löwenstein. After being bedridden with a hip ailment at the age of five, she was left with a permanent limp.

On her family's moving to Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

, Luxemburg attended a Gymnasium
Gymnasium (school)
A gymnasium is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual...

 from 1880. From 1886 onward, she belonged to the Polish, left-wing Proletariat party
Proletariat (party)
Proletariat is the name used to refer to three Polish political parties:*The First Proletariat , also called the Great Proletariat....

 (founded in 1882, anticipating the Russian parties by twenty years). She began in politics by organizing a general strike
General strike
A general strike is a strike action by a critical mass of the labour force in a city, region, or country. While a general strike can be for political goals, economic goals, or both, it tends to gain its momentum from the ideological or class sympathies of the participants...

; this resulted in four of its leaders being put to death and the party being disbanded, though remaining members, Luxemburg among them, met in secret. In 1887, she passed her Matura
Matura
Matura or a similar term is the common name for the high-school leaving exam or "maturity exam" in various countries, including Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Kosovo, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Serbia,...

 examinations. After fleeing to Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 to escape detention in 1889, she attended Zürich University (as did the socialists Anatoli Lunacharsky and Leo Jogiches
Leo Jogiches
Leo Jogiches , also known by his party name of Leon Tyszka was a Marxist revolutionary active in Lithuania, Poland, and Germany....

), studying philosophy, history, politics, economics, and mathematics. She specialized in Staatswissenschaft (the science of forms of state
Form of government
A form of government, or form of state governance, refers to the set of political institutions by which a government of a state is organized. Synonyms include "regime type" and "system of government".-Empirical and conceptual problems:...

), the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, and economic and stock exchange crises.

In 1893, with Leo Jogiches and Julian Marchlewski
Julian Marchlewski
Julian Baltazar Marchlewski was a Polish communist. He was also known under the aliases Karski and Kujawiak....

 (alias Julius Karski), Luxemburg founded the newspaper Sprawa Robotnicza ("The Workers' Cause"), to oppose the nationalist policies of the Polish Socialist Party
Polish Socialist Party
The Polish Socialist Party was one of the most important Polish left-wing political parties from its inception in 1892 until 1948...

, believing that only through socialist revolution in Germany, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, and Russia could an independent Poland exist. She maintained that the struggle should be against capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

, and not just for an independent Poland. Her position denying a national right of self-determination
Self-determination
Self-determination is the principle in international law that nations have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no external compulsion or external interference...

 under socialism
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 provoked philosophic tension with Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

. She and Leo Jogiches
Leo Jogiches
Leo Jogiches , also known by his party name of Leon Tyszka was a Marxist revolutionary active in Lithuania, Poland, and Germany....

 co-founded the Social Democratic Party of the Kingdom of Poland (SDKP) (later Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania
Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania
The Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania was a Marxist political party founded in 1893. Its original name was the "Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland" and it eventually became part of the Communist Workers Party of Poland...

 [SDKPiL) by merging with Lithuania's social democratic organization. Despite living in Germany for most of her adult life, Luxemburg was the principal theoretician of the Polish Social Democrats, and led the party in a partnership with Jogiches, its principal organizer.

Nor was she especially concerned with the plight of Jews. She said, “Why do you come to me with your special Jewish sorrows? I feel just as sorry for the wretched Indian victims in Putamayo, the Negroes in Africa.... I cannot find a special corner in my heart for the ghetto. I feel at home in the entire world wherever there are clouds and birds and human tears.”

Germany

The recently published Letters of Rosa Luxemburg shed important light on Rosa Luxemburg’s life in Germany. As Irene Gammel
Irene Gammel
Irene Gammel is a literary historian, biographer, and curator. She has published numerous books including Baroness Elsa, a groundbreaking cultural biography of New York Dada artist and poet Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, and more recently, Looking for Anne of Green Gables, revealing the...

 writes in a review of the English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 translation of the book in the Globe and Mail: “The three decades covered by the 230 letters in this collection provide the context for her major contributions as a political activist, feminist and writer. In her controversial tome of 1913, The Accumulation of Capital, as well as through her work as a co-founder of the radical Spartacus League, Luxemburg helped to shape Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

’s young democracy by advancing an international, rather than a nationalist, outlook. This farsightedness partly explains her remarkable popularity as a socialist icon and its continued resonance in movies, novels and memorials dedicated to her life and oeuvre.” Gammel also notes that for Rosa, “the revolution was a way of life,” and yet the letters also challenge the stereotype of “Red Rosa” as a stupid fighter.

Before World War I

In 1898 Luxemburg married Gustav Lübeck, obtained German citizenship, and moved to Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

. There, she was active in the left wing of the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 (SPD), in which she sharply defined the border between her faction and the Revisionism Theory of Eduard Bernstein
Eduard Bernstein
Eduard Bernstein was a German social democratic theoretician and politician, a member of the SPD, and the founder of evolutionary socialism and revisionism.- Life :...

 by attacking him in an 1899 brochure titled Social Reform or Revolution
Social Reform or Revolution
Reform or Revolution is the title of a pamphlet written by Rosa Luxemburg in 1900. It was published to confront the revisionist ideology beginning to emerge in Europe shortly after the internal conflicts amongst Marxists at the Second International....

. Luxemburg's rhetorical skill made her a leading spokeswoman in denouncing the SPD's reformist
Reformism
Reformism is the belief that gradual democratic changes in a society can ultimately change a society's fundamental economic relations and political structures...

 parliamentary course. She argued that the critical difference between capital
Capital (economics)
In economics, capital, capital goods, or real capital refers to already-produced durable goods used in production of goods or services. The capital goods are not significantly consumed, though they may depreciate in the production process...

 and labour could only be countered if the proletariat
Proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

 assumed power
Political power
Political power is a type of power held by a group in a society which allows administration of some or all of public resources, including labour, and wealth. There are many ways to obtain possession of such power. At the nation-state level political legitimacy for political power is held by the...

 and effected revolutionary
Revolutionary
A revolutionary is a person who either actively participates in, or advocates revolution. Also, when used as an adjective, the term revolutionary refers to something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavor.-Definition:...

 changes in production methods. She wanted the Revisionists ousted from the SPD. That did not occur, but Karl Kautsky
Karl Kautsky
Karl Johann Kautsky was a Czech-German philosopher, journalist, and Marxist theoretician. Kautsky was recognized as among the most authoritative promulgators of Orthodox Marxism after the death of Friedrich Engels in 1895 until the coming of World War I in 1914 and was called by some the "Pope of...

's leadership retained a Marxist influence on its programme.

From 1900 Luxemburg published analyses of contemporary European socio-economic problems in newspapers. Foreseeing war, she vigorously attacked what she saw as German militarism
Militarism
Militarism is defined as: the belief or desire of a government or people that a country should maintain a strong military capability and be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests....

 and imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

. She wanted a general strike to rouse the workers to solidarity and prevent the coming war; the SPD leaders refused, and she broke with Karl Kautsky in 1910. Between 1904 and 1906 she was imprisoned for her political activities on three occasions. In 1907, she went to the Russian Social Democrats
Russian Social Democratic Labour Party
The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party , also known as Russian Social Democratic Workers' Party or Russian Social Democratic Party, was a revolutionary socialist Russian political party formed in 1898 in Minsk to unite the various revolutionary organizations into one party...

' Fifth Party Day in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, where she met Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

. At the Second International
Second International
The Second International , the original Socialist International, was an organization of socialist and labour parties formed in Paris on July 14, 1889. At the Paris meeting delegations from 20 countries participated...

 (Socialist) Congress, in Stuttgart
Stuttgart
Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 600,038 while the metropolitan area has a population of 5.3 million ....

, she moved a resolution
Resolution (law)
A resolution is a written motion adopted by a deliberative body. The substance of the resolution can be anything that can normally be proposed as a motion. For long or important motions, though, it is often better to have them written out so that discussion is easier or so that it can be...

, which was accepted, that all European workers' parties should unite in attempting to stop the war.

Luxemburg taught Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 and economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

 at the SPD's Berlin training centre. A student of hers, Friedrich Ebert
Friedrich Ebert
Friedrich Ebert was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany .When Ebert was elected as the leader of the SPD after the death of August Bebel, the party members of the SPD were deeply divided because of the party's support for World War I. Ebert supported the Burgfrieden and...

 later became SPD leader, and later the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

's first president. In 1912 she was the SPD representative at the European Socialists congresses. With French socialist Jean Jaurès
Jean Jaurès
Jean Léon Jaurès was a French Socialist leader. Initially an Opportunist Republican, he evolved into one of the first social democrats, becoming the leader, in 1902, of the French Socialist Party, which opposed Jules Guesde's revolutionary Socialist Party of France. Both parties merged in 1905 in...

, she argued that European workers' parties should organize a general strike when war broke out. In 1913 she told a large meeting: "If they think we are going to lift the weapons of murder against our French and other brethren, then we shall shout: 'We will not do it!'" But in 1914, when nationalist crises in the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 erupted to violence and then war, there was no general strike and the SPD majority supported the war – as did the French Socialists. The Reichstag
Reichstag (German Empire)
The Reichstag was the parliament of the North German Confederation , and of the German Reich ....

 unanimously agreed to financing the war. The SPD voted in favour of that and agreed to a truce (Burgfrieden
Burgfrieden
Burgfrieden—literally "fortress peace" or "castle peace" but more accurately "party truce"—is a German term used for the political truce the Social Democratic Party of Germany and the other political parties agreed to during World War I...

) with the Imperial government, promising to refrain from any strikes during the war. This led Luxemburg to contemplate suicide: The "revisionism
Reformism
Reformism is the belief that gradual democratic changes in a society can ultimately change a society's fundamental economic relations and political structures...

" she had fought since 1899 had triumphed.

In response Luxemburg organised anti-war demonstrations
Demonstration (people)
A demonstration or street protest is action by a mass group or collection of groups of people in favor of a political or other cause; it normally consists of walking in a mass march formation and either beginning with or meeting at a designated endpoint, or rally, to hear speakers.Actions such as...

 in Frankfurt
Frankfurt
Frankfurt am Main , commonly known simply as Frankfurt, is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth-largest city in Germany, with a 2010 population of 688,249. The urban area had an estimated population of 2,300,000 in 2010...

, calling for conscientious objection to military conscription and the refusal to obey orders. On that account, she was imprisoned for a year for "inciting to disobedience against the authorities' law and order".

During the war

In August 1914 Luxemburg, along with Karl Liebknecht
Karl Liebknecht
was a German socialist and a co-founder with Rosa Luxemburg of the Spartacist League and the Communist Party of Germany. He is best known for his opposition to World War I in the Reichstag and his role in the Spartacist uprising of 1919...

, Clara Zetkin
Clara Zetkin
Clara Zetkin was a German Marxist theorist, activist, and fighter for women's rights. In 1910, she organized the first International Women's Day....

, and Franz Mehring, founded the Die Internationale group; it became the Spartacus League in January 1916. They wrote illegal, anti-war pamphlets pseudonymously signed "Spartacus
Spartacus
Spartacus was a famous leader of the slaves in the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic. Little is known about Spartacus beyond the events of the war, and surviving historical accounts are sometimes contradictory and may not always be reliable...

" (after the slave-liberating Thracian
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

 gladiator who opposed the Romans
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

); Luxemburg's pseudonym was "Junius" (after Lucius Junius Brutus
Lucius Junius Brutus
Lucius Junius Brutus was the founder of the Roman Republic and traditionally one of the first consuls in 509 BC. He was claimed as an ancestor of the Roman gens Junia, including Marcus Junius Brutus, the most famous of Caesar's assassins.- Background :...

, founder of the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

).

The Spartacist League vehemently rejected the SPD's support for the war, trying to lead Germany's proletariat to an anti-war general strike. As a result, in June 1916 Luxemburg was imprisoned for two and a half years, as was Karl Liebknecht. During imprisonment, she was twice relocated, first to Posen (now Poznań
Poznan
Poznań is a city on the Warta river in west-central Poland, with a population of 556,022 in June 2009. It is among the oldest cities in Poland, and was one of the most important centres in the early Polish state, whose first rulers were buried at Poznań's cathedral. It is sometimes claimed to be...

), then to Breslau (now Wrocław).

Friends smuggled out and illegally published her articles. Among them was "The Russian Revolution", criticising the Bolsheviks, presciently warning of their dictatorship
Dictatorship
A dictatorship is defined as an autocratic form of government in which the government is ruled by an individual, the dictator. It has three possible meanings:...

. Nonetheless, she continued calling for a "dictatorship of the proletariat
Dictatorship of the proletariat
In Marxist socio-political thought, the dictatorship of the proletariat refers to a socialist state in which the proletariat, or the working class, have control of political power. The term, coined by Joseph Weydemeyer, was adopted by the founders of Marxism, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, in the...

", albeit not the One Party Bolshevik model. In that context, she wrote "Freiheit ist immer die Freiheit des Andersdenkenden" ("Freedom is always the freedom of the one who thinks differently"). Another article, written in 1915 and published in June 1916, was "Die Krise der Sozialdemokratie" ("The Crisis of Social Democracy").

In 1917 the Spartacist League was affiliated with the Independent Social Democratic Party
Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany was a short-lived political party in Germany during the Second Reich and the Weimar Republic. The organization was established in 1917 as the result of a split of left wing members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany...

 (USPD) (anti-war, ex-SPD members, founded by Hugo Haase
Hugo Haase
Hugo Haase was a German politician, jurist and pacifist.-Biography:Haase was born in Allenstein , Province of Prussia, the son of Jewish shoemaker and small businessman, Nathan Haase, and Pauline née Anker. He studied law in Königsberg and established himself as a lawyer...

). In November 1918 the USPD and the SPD assumed power in the new republic upon the Kaiser's abdication
Abdication
Abdication occurs when a monarch, such as a king or emperor, renounces his office.-Terminology:The word abdication comes derives from the Latin abdicatio. meaning to disown or renounce...

. This followed the German Revolution begun in Kiel
Kiel
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 238,049 .Kiel is approximately north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the...

, when Workers' and Soldiers' Councils seized most of Germany, to put an end to World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and to the monarchy. The USPD and most of the SPD members supported the councils
Workers' council
A workers' council, or revolutionary councils, is the phenomenon where a single place of work or enterprise, such as a factory, school, or farm, is controlled collectively by the workers of that workplace, through the core principle of temporary and instantly revocable delegates.In a system with...

, while the SPD leaders feared, they could found a Räterepublik ("Council Republic"), in emulation of the system of Soviets
Soviet (council)
Soviet was a name used for several Russian political organizations. Examples include the Czar's Council of Ministers, which was called the “Soviet of Ministers”; a workers' local council in late Imperial Russia; and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union....

 of the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917.

German Revolution of 1918–1919 and murder

Luxemburg was freed from prison in Breslau on 8 November 1918. One day later Karl Liebknecht, who had also been freed from prison, proclaimed the Freie Sozialistische Republik (Free Socialist Republic) in Berlin. He and Luxemburg reorganised the Spartacus League and founded the Red Flag newspaper, demanding amnesty
Amnesty
Amnesty is a legislative or executive act by which a state restores those who may have been guilty of an offense against it to the positions of innocent people, without changing the laws defining the offense. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the...

 for all political prisoner
Political prisoner
According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, a political prisoner is ‘someone who is in prison because they have opposed or criticized the government of their own country’....

s and the abolition of capital punishment
Capital punishment
Capital punishment, the death penalty, or execution is the sentence of death upon a person by the state as a punishment for an offence. Crimes that can result in a death penalty are known as capital crimes or capital offences. The term capital originates from the Latin capitalis, literally...

. On 14 December 1918 they published the new programme of the Spartacist League.

From 29–31 December 1918, they took part in a joint congress of the Spartacist League, independent Socialists, and the International Communists of Germany (IKD), that led to the foundation of the Communist Party of Germany
Communist Party of Germany
The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956...

 (KPD) under the leadership of Karl Liebknecht and Luxemburg on 1 January 1919. She supported the new KPD's participation in the Weimar National Assembly
Weimar National Assembly
The Weimar National Assembly governed Germany from February 6, 1919 to June 6, 1920 and drew up the new constitution which governed Germany from 1919 to 1933, technically remaining in effect even until the end of Nazi rule in 1945...

 that founded the Weimar Republic
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

; but she was out-voted.

In January 1919 a second revolutionary wave swept Berlin. Unlike Liebknecht, Luxemburg rejected this violent attempt to seize power. But the Red Flag encouraged the rebels to occupy the editorial offices of the liberal press.

In response to the uprising, Social Democratic leader Friedrich Ebert
Friedrich Ebert
Friedrich Ebert was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany .When Ebert was elected as the leader of the SPD after the death of August Bebel, the party members of the SPD were deeply divided because of the party's support for World War I. Ebert supported the Burgfrieden and...

 ordered the Freikorps
Freikorps
Freikorps are German volunteer military or paramilitary units. The term was originally applied to voluntary armies formed in German lands from the middle of the 18th century onwards. Between World War I and World War II the term was also used for the paramilitary organizations that arose during...

 to destroy the left-wing revolution. Luxemburg and Liebknecht were captured in Berlin on 15 January 1919 by the Freikorps' Garde-Kavallerie-Schützendivision. Its commander, Captain Waldemar Pabst
Waldemar Pabst
Waldemar Pabst was a German soldier and political activist involved in far right and anti-communist activity in both his homeland and Austria.-Anti-communism:...

 (1880–1970), along with Horst von Pflugk-Harttung questioned them violently and then gave the order to execute them. Luxemburg was knocked down with a rifle butt by Otto Runge (1875–1945), then shot in the head by lieutenant Hermann Souchon
Hermann Souchon
Hermann Wilhelm Souchon was a German Navy officer who, according to the testimonies of two accomplices, assassinated Rosa Luxemburg on January 15, 1919, in Berlin.- Biography :...

 (1894–1982); her body was flung into Berlin's Landwehr Canal
Landwehrkanal
The Landwehr Canal, or Landwehrkanal in German, is a long canal parallel to the Spree river in Berlin, Germany, built between 1845 and 1850 according to plans by Peter Joseph Lenné...

. In the Tiergarten
Tiergarten
Tiergarten is a locality within the borough of Mitte, in central Berlin . Notable for the great and homonymous urban park, before German reunification, it was a part of West Berlin...

 Karl Liebknecht was shot and his body, without a name, brought to a morgue.

After the murders, a new series of violent outrages in Berlin and whole Germany started, with thousands of KPD members, other revolutionaries and civilians being killed. Finally Workers' and Soldiers' councils and the People's Navy Division (Volksmarinedivision), who had positioned themselves to the left side meanwhile, disbanded.

The German revolution went to its terminal phase, with numbers of armed outrages and strikes all over Germany up to May 1919, including Berlin, Bremen Soviet Republik, Saxony, Saxony Gotha, Hamburg, the Rhinelands and the Ruhr region. Last to stand was the Munich Soviet Republic until 2 May 1919.

More than four months after the murders, on 1 June 1919 Luxemburg's corpse was found and identified after an autopsy at the Berlin Charité
Charité
The Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin is the medical school for both the Humboldt University and the Free University of Berlin. After the merger with their fourth campus in 2003, the Charité is one of the largest university hospitals in Europe....

 hospital.

For her murder, Otto Runge was imprisoned for two years, while Pabst and Souchon went unpunished. The Nazis later compensated Runge for having been jailed, and they merged the Garde-Kavallerie-Schutzendivision into the SA
Sturmabteilung
The Sturmabteilung functioned as a paramilitary organization of the National Socialist German Workers' Party . It played a key role in Adolf Hitler's rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s...

. In an interview given to the German news magazine "Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel is a German weekly news magazine published in Hamburg. It is one of Europe's largest publications of its kind, with a weekly circulation of more than one million.-Overview:...

" in 1962 and again in his memoirs, Pabst maintained that two SPD leaders, defense minister Gustav Noske
Gustav Noske
Gustav Noske was a German politician of the Social Democratic Party of Germany . He served as the first Minister of Defence of Germany between 1919 and 1920.-Biography:...

 and chancellor Friedrich Ebert, had approved of his actions. This statement has never been confirmed, since neither parliament nor the courts examined the case.

Luxemburg and Liebknecht were buried at Friedrichsfelde Central Cemetery
Zentralfriedhof Friedrichsfelde
The Friedrichsfelde Central Cemetery , also known as the Memorial to the Socialists , is a cemetery in the borough of Lichtenberg in Berlin. When the cemetery was founded in 1881 it was called the Freidrichsfelde Municipal Cemetery Berlin...

 in Berlin, where socialists and communists commemorate them every year, on the second Sunday of January.

Mystery of body

On 29 May 2009 Spiegel online, the internet branch of news magazine Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel
Der Spiegel is a German weekly news magazine published in Hamburg. It is one of Europe's largest publications of its kind, with a weekly circulation of more than one million.-Overview:...

, reported the possibility that someone else's remains had mistakenly been identified as Luxemburg's and buried as hers.

Forensic pathologist Michael Tsokos, head of the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences at the Berlin Charité
Charité
The Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin is the medical school for both the Humboldt University and the Free University of Berlin. After the merger with their fourth campus in 2003, the Charité is one of the largest university hospitals in Europe....

, had recently discovered a preserved corpse lacking head, feet, or hands, in the cellar of the Charité's medical history museum. He considered the corpse's autopsy report suspicious and decided to perform computer tomography on the remains. The body showed signs of having been waterlogged at some point, and CT scans showed that it was the body of a woman of 40–50 years of age who suffered from osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, is a group of mechanical abnormalities involving degradation of joints, including articular cartilage and subchondral bone. Symptoms may include joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, locking, and sometimes an effusion...

 and had legs of differing length. At the time of her murder Rosa Luxemburg was 47 years old, and furthermore suffered from a congenital dislocation of the hip which resulted in her legs being of different lengths. A laboratory in Kiel
Kiel
Kiel is the capital and most populous city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, with a population of 238,049 .Kiel is approximately north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula, and the southwestern shore of the...

 also tested the corpse using carbon dating techniques and confirmed that it dated from the same period as Luxemburg's murder.

The original autopsy performed on 13 June 1919 on the body that was eventually buried at Friedrichsfelde showed certain inconsistencies which supported Tsokos' hypothesis. The autopsy explicitly noted an absence of hip damage, and stated that there was no evidence that the legs were of different lengths. Additionally, the autopsy showed no traces on the upper skull of the two blows by rifle butt inflicted upon Luxemburg. Finally, while the 1919 examiners noted a hole in the corpse's head between left eye and ear, they did not find an exit wound or the presence of a bullet within the skull.

Assistant pathologist Paul Fraenckel appeared to have had doubts at the time that the corpse he had examined was that of Rosa Luxemburg, and in a signed addendum distanced himself from his colleague's conclusions; it was this addendum and the inconsistencies between the autopsy report and the known facts that persuaded Tsokos to examine the remains more closely. As regards the missing hands and feet, according to eyewitnesses, when Luxemburg's body was thrown into the canal, weights were wired to her ankles and wrists which could have caused her extremities to become severed in the months her corpse spent in the water.

Tsokos realized that the optimum way to confirm or deny the identity of the body as that of Luxemburg's was to use DNA testing. His team had initially hoped to find traces of DNA on old postage stamps that Luxemburg had licked, but it transpired that Luxemburg had never done this, preferring to moisten stamps with a damp cloth instead. They therefore opted to find a surviving blood relative and in July 2009 the German Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag reported that a great-niece of Rosa Luxemburg's had been located, 79-year old Irene Borde, who donated some strands of her hair for purposes of DNA comparison testing.

In December 2009 it was reported that Berlin authorities had seized the corpse to perform an autopsy before burying it in Luxemburg's grave.

Dialectic of Spontaneity and Organisation

The Dialectic of Spontaneity and Organisation was the central feature of Luxemburg's political philosophy, wherein "spontaneity" is a grass roots
Grass Roots
Grass Roots is an Australian television series produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation between 2000 and 2003.The series is set around the fictional Arcadia Waters Council near Sydney, and was primarily a satirical look at the machinations of local government...

 approach to organising a party-oriented class struggle
Class struggle
Class struggle is the active expression of a class conflict looked at from any kind of socialist perspective. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote "The [written] history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle"....

. Spontaneity and organisation, she argued, are not separable or separate activities, but different moments of one political process; one does not exist without the other. These beliefs arose from her view that class struggle evolves from an elementary, spontaneous state to a higher level:


"The working classes in every country only learn to fight in the course of their struggles.... Social democracy... is only the advance guard of the proletariat
Proletariat
The proletariat is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian...

, a small piece of the total working masses; blood from their blood, and flesh from their flesh. Social democracy seeks and finds the ways, and particular slogans, of the workers' struggle only in the course of the development of this struggle, and gains directions for the way forward through this struggle alone."


Luxemburg did not hold "spontaneism" as an abstraction, but developed the Dialectic of Spontaneity and Organisation under the influence of mass strikes in Europe, especially the Russian Revolution of 1905. Unlike the social democratic orthodoxy of the Second International
Second International
The Second International , the original Socialist International, was an organization of socialist and labour parties formed in Paris on July 14, 1889. At the Paris meeting delegations from 20 countries participated...

, she did not regard organisation as product of scientific-theoretic insight to historical imperatives, but as product of the working classes' struggles:


"Social democracy is simply the embodiment of the modern proletariat's class struggle, a struggle which is driven by a consciousness of its own historic consequences. The masses are in reality their own leaders, dialectically creating their own development process. The more that social democracy develops, grows, and becomes stronger, the more the enlightened masses of workers will take their own destinies, the leadership of their movement, and the determination of its direction into their own hands. And as the entire social democracy movement is only the conscious advance guard of the proletarian class movement, which in the words of the Communist Manifesto represent in every single moment of the struggle the permanent interests of liberation and the partial group interests of the workforce vis à vis the interests of the movement as whole, so within the social democracy its leaders are the more powerful, the more influential, the more clearly and consciously they make themselves merely the mouthpiece of the will and striving of the enlightened masses, merely the agents of the objective laws of the class movement."


and


"The modern proletarian class does not carry out its struggle according to a plan set out in some book or theory; the modern workers' struggle is a part of history, a part of social progress, and in the middle of history, in the middle of progress, in the middle of the fight, we learn how we must fight... That's exactly what is laudable about it, that's exactly why this colossal piece of culture, within the modern workers' movement, is epoch-defining: that the great masses of the working people first forge from their own consciousness, from their own belief, and even from their own understanding the weapons of their own liberation."

Criticism of the October Revolution

In an article published just before the October Revolution
October Revolution
The October Revolution , also known as the Great October Socialist Revolution , Red October, the October Uprising or the Bolshevik Revolution, was a political revolution and a part of the Russian Revolution of 1917...

, Luxemburg characterized the Russian February Revolution
February Revolution
The February Revolution of 1917 was the first of two revolutions in Russia in 1917. Centered around the then capital Petrograd in March . Its immediate result was the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II, the end of the Romanov dynasty, and the end of the Russian Empire...

 of 1917 as a "revolution of the proletariat", and said that the "liberal bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

" were pushed to movement by the display of "proletarian power." The task of the Russian proletariat, she said, was now to end the "imperialist" world war, in addition to struggling against the "imperialist bourgeoisie." The world war made Russia ripe for a socialist revolution. Therefore "the German proletariat are also ... posed a question of honour, and a very fateful question."

In several works, including an essay written from jail and published posthumously by her last companion, Paul Levi
Paul Levi
Paul Levi was a German Jewish Communist political leader. He was the head of the Communist Party of Germany following the assassination of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in 1919.-Early years:...

 (publication of which precipitated his expulsion from the Third International) entitled "The Russian Revolution", Luxemburg sharply criticized some Bolshevik policies, such as their suppression of the Constituent Assembly
Russian Constituent Assembly
The All Russian Constituent Assembly was a constitutional body convened in Russia after the October Revolution of 1917. It is generally reckoned as the first democratically elected legislative body of any kind in Russian history. It met for 13 hours, from 4 p.m...

 in January 1918, their support for the partition of the old feudal estates to the peasant communes, and their policy of supporting the purported right of all national peoples to "self-determination." According to Luxemburg, the Bolsheviks' strategic mistakes created tremendous dangers for the Revolution, such as its bureaucratisation.

Her sharp criticism of the October Revolution and the Bolsheviks was lessened insofar as she compared the errors of the revolution and of the Bolsheviks with the "complete failure of the international proletariat"

Bolshevik theorists such as Lenin and Trotsky responded to this criticism by arguing that Luxemburg's notions were classical Marxist ones, but did not fit Russia in 1917. They stated that the lessons of actual experience, such as the confrontation with the bourgeois parties, had forced them to revise the Marxian strategy. As part of this argument, it was pointed out that after Luxemburg herself got out of jail, she was also forced to confront the National Assembly in Germany – a step which they compared with their own conflict with the Constituent Assembly
Russian Constituent Assembly
The All Russian Constituent Assembly was a constitutional body convened in Russia after the October Revolution of 1917. It is generally reckoned as the first democratically elected legislative body of any kind in Russian history. It met for 13 hours, from 4 p.m...

.


"In this erupting of the social divide in the very lap of bourgeois society, in this international deepening and heightening of class antagonism lies the historical merit of Bolshevism, and with this featas always in large historic connectionsthe particular mistakes and errors of the Bolsheviks disappear without trace.


After the October Revolution, it becomes the "historic responsibility" of the German workers to carry out a revolution for themselves, and thereby end the war. When a revolution also broke out in Germany in November of 1918, Luxemburg immediately began agitating for a social revolution:


"The abolition of the rule of capital, the realization of a socialist social order this, and nothing less, is the historical theme of the present revolution. It is a formidable undertaking, and one that will not be accomplished in the blink of an eye just by the issuing of a few decrees from above. Only through the conscious action of the working masses in city and country can it be brought to life, only through the people's highest intellectual maturity and inexhaustible idealism can it be brought safely through all storms and find its way to port."


The social revolution demands that power is in the hands of the masses, in the hands of the workers' and soldiers' councils. This is the program of the revolution. It is, however, a long way from soldier from the "Guards of the Reaction" (Gendarmen der Reaktion) to revolutionary proletarian.

Quotations

  • Luxemburg's best-known quotation is: Freedom is always the freedom of the one who thinks differently (Freiheit ist immer Freiheit der Andersdenkenden), this is from a fuller quotation:

Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of a partyhowever numerous they may beis no freedom at all. Freedom is always the freedom of the dissenter. Not because of the fanaticism of "justice", but rather because all that is instructive, wholesome, and purifying in political freedom depends on this essential characteristic, and its effects cease to work when "freedom" becomes a privilege.

  • "Without general elections, without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly, without a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element".

  • "For us there is no minimal and no maximal program; socialism is one and the same thing: this is the minimum we have to realize today".

  • "We stand today... before the awful proposition: either the triumph of imperialism and the destruction of all culture, and, as in ancient Rome, depopulation, desolation, degeneration, a vast cemetery; or, the victory of socialism."

  • "Those who do not move, do not notice their chains."

Last words: belief in the revolution

Luxemburg's last known words, written on the evening of her murder, were about her belief in the masses, and in what she saw as the inevitability of revolution:


"The leadership has failed. Even so, the leadership can and must be recreated from the masses and out of the masses. The masses are the decisive element, they are the rock on which the final victory of the revolution will be built. The masses were on the heights; they have developed this 'defeat' into one of the historical defeats which are the pride and strength of international socialism. And that is why the future victory will bloom from this 'defeat'.


'Order reigns in Berlin!' You stupid henchmen! Your 'order' is built on sand. Tomorrow the revolution will already 'raise itself with a rattle' and announce with fanfare, to your terror:

I was, I am, I shall be!"

Memorials

In Berlin Mitte
Mitte
Mitte is the first and most central borough of Berlin. It was created in Berlin's 2001 administrative reform by the merger of the former districts of Mitte proper, Tiergarten and Wedding; the resulting borough retained the name Mitte. It is one of the two boroughs which comprises former West and...

, the Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz
Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz
The Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz is a square in Berlin-Mitte, Germany.The square is dominated by the Volksbühne and by the Karl-Liebknecht-Haus, the headquarters of the German Left Party...

 and a U-Bahn
Berlin U-Bahn
The Berlin is a rapid transit railway in Berlin, the capital city of Germany, and is a major part of the public transport system of that city. Opened in 1902, the serves 173 stations spread across ten lines, with a total track length of , about 80% of which is underground...

 station were named in her honour by the East German government. The Volksbühne
Volksbühne
The Volksbühne is a theater in Berlin, Germany. Located in Berlin's city center Mitte on Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz in what was the GDR's capital....

 (People's Theatre) is in Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. The names remain unchanged since reunification in 1989.

During the People's Republic of Poland
People's Republic of Poland
The People's Republic of Poland was the official name of Poland from 1952 to 1990. Although the Soviet Union took control of the country immediately after the liberation from Nazi Germany in 1944, the name of the state was not changed until eight years later...

, in Warsaw
Warsaw
Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland. It is located on the Vistula River, roughly from the Baltic Sea and from the Carpathian Mountains. Its population in 2010 was estimated at 1,716,855 residents with a greater metropolitan area of 2,631,902 residents, making Warsaw the 10th most...

's Wola district, a manufacturing facility of electric lamps, was established and named "Imienia Róży Luksemburg" after Polish spelling of her name (Róża Luksemburg).

In 1919, Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director.An influential theatre practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht made equally significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter particularly through the seismic impact of the tours undertaken by the...

 wrote the poetic memorial Epitaph honouring Rosa Luxemburg, and, in 1928, Kurt Weill
Kurt Weill
Kurt Julian Weill was a German-Jewish composer, active from the 1920s, and in his later years in the United States. He was a leading composer for the stage who was best known for his fruitful collaborations with Bertolt Brecht...

 set it to music as The Berlin Requiem:
Red Rosa now has vanished too. (...)
She told the poor what life is about,
And so the rich have rubbed her out.
May she rest in peace.


The British New Left
New Left
The New Left was a term used mainly in the United Kingdom and United States in reference to activists, educators, agitators and others in the 1960s and 1970s who sought to implement a broad range of reforms, in contrast to earlier leftist or Marxist movements that had taken a more vanguardist...

 historian Isaac Deutscher
Isaac Deutscher
Isaac Deutscher was a Polish-born Jewish Marxist writer, journalist and political activist who moved to the United Kingdom at the outbreak of World War II. He is best known as a biographer of Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin and as a commentator on Soviet affairs...

 wrote of Rosa: "In her assassination Hohenzollern Germany celebrated its last triumph and Nazi Germany its first".

A different viewpoint, however, was common among the Russian White emigres who settled in Weimar Berlin. According to one,
"Infamous, that fifteen thousand Russian officers should have let themselves be slaughtered by the Revolution without raising a hand in self-defense! Why didn't they act like the Germans, who killed Rosa Luxemburg in such a way that not even a smell of her has remained?"

Rosa Luxemburg Memorial

At the edge of the Tiergarten, on the Katharina-Heinroth-Ufer, which runs between the southern bank of the Landwehr Canal and the bordering Zoologischer Garten (Zoological Garden) a memorial has been installed on which the name of Rosa Luxemburg appears in raised capital letters, marking the spot where her body was thrown into the canal by Freikorps troops.

Works

  • The Accumulation of Capital
    The Accumulation of Capital
    The Accumulation of Capital is the principal book length work of Rosa Luxemburg first published in 1913.It is in three sections as described below :# The Problem of Reproduction#...

    .
    trans. A. Schwarzschild in 1951. Routledge Classics edition, 2003. Originally published as Die Akkumulation des Kapitals in 1913.
  • The Accumulation of Capital: an Anticritique written in 1915.
  • Gesammelte Werke ("Collected Works"), 5 volumes, Berlin 1970–1975.
  • Gesammelte Briefe ("Collected Letters"), 6 volumes, Berlin 1982–1997.
  • Politische Schriften ("Political Writings"), edited and preface by Ossip K. Flechtheim, 3 volumes, Frankfurt am Main 1966 ff.
  • The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg, 14 volumes, London and New York 2011-.

Popular culture and literature

  • Die Geduld der Rosa Luxemburg
    Rosa Luxemburg (film)
    Rosa Luxemburg is a 1986 West German drama film directed by Margarethe von Trotta. It was entered into the 1986 Cannes Film Festival where Barbara Sukowa won the award for Best Actress.-Cast:* Barbara Sukowa as Rosa Luxemburg...

    (1986), in German & Polish, Directed by Margarethe von Trotta. The film, which stars Barbara Sukowa
    Barbara Sukowa
    Barbara Sukowa is a German theatre and film actress.- Work :Sukowa's stage debut was in Berlin in 1971, in a production of Peter Handke's Der Ritt über den Bodensee. Günter Beelitz invited her to join the ensemble of the Darmstädter National Theatre in the same year...

     as Luxemburg, was the winner of the Best Actress Award at the 1986 Cannes Film Festival
    1986 Cannes Film Festival
    - Jury :*Sydney Pollack*Alexandre Mnouchkine*Alexandre Trauner*Charles Aznavour*Danièle Thompson*István Szabó*Lino Brocka*Philip French*Sonia Braga*Tonino Delli Colli-Feature film competition:* After Hours by Martin Scorsese...

    .
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder
    Rainer Werner Fassbinder
    Rainer Werner Maria Fassbinder was a German movie director, screenwriter and actor. He is considered one of the most important representatives of the New German Cinema.He maintained a frenetic pace in film-making...

     was planning a film on Luxemburg at the time of his death in 1982, and was said to want Jane Fonda
    Jane Fonda
    Jane Fonda is an American actress, writer, political activist, former fashion model, and fitness guru. She rose to fame in the 1960s with films such as Barbarella and Cat Ballou. She has won two Academy Awards and received several other movie awards and nominations during more than 50 years as an...

     for the lead.
  • In 2010, French song-writer Claire Diterzi created a musical "Rosa la Rouge" (Rosa the red), inspired by the life of Rosa Luxemburg.
  • "Rosa" a novel by Jonathan Rabb published in 2005, gives a fictional account of the events leading to Luxemburg's murder.
  • British math-rock band, The Murder of Rosa Luxemburg took their name from the imfamous event.

Further reading

  • Lelio Basso
    Lelio Basso
    Lelio Basso was an Italian democratic socialist politician and journalist.-Early life:Lelio Basso was born in Varazze into a Liberal bourgeois family. In 1916, he and his family moved to Milan where he attended the Berchet grammar school...

    : Rosa Luxemburg: A Reappraisal, London 1975
  • Stephen Eric Bronner: Rosa Luxemburg: A Revolutionary for Our Times, 1984
  • Raya Dunayevskaya
    Raya Dunayevskaya
    Raya Dunayevskaya was the founder of the philosophy of Marxist Humanism in the United States of America. At one time Leon Trotsky's secretary, she later split with him and ultimately founded the organization News and Letters Committees and was its leader until her death.-Biography:Of Jewish...

    : Rosa Luxemburg, Women's Liberation, and Marx's Philosophy of Revolution, New Jersey, 1982
  • Elzbieta Ettinger: Rosa Luxemburg: A Life, 1988
  • Paul Frölich
    Paul Frölich
    Paul Frölich was a journalist and left wing political activist who was a founding member of the Communist Party of Germany and founder of the party's paper, Die Rote Fahne. A Communist Party deputy in the Reichstag on two occasions, Frölich was expelled from the Party in 1928, after which he...

    : Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Work, 1939
  • Norman Geras The legacy of Rosa Luxemburg, 1976
  • Klaus Gietinger: Eine Leiche im Landwehrkanal Die Ermordung der Rosa L. (A Corpse in the Landwehrkanal — The Murder of Rosa L.), Verlag 1900 Berlin ISBN 3-930278-02-2
  • Peter Hudis and Kevin B. Anderson (eds.): The Rosa Luxemburg Reader, Monthly Review 2004
  • Frederik Hetmann: Rosa Luxemburg. Ein Leben für die Freiheit, Frankfurt 1980, ISBN 3-596-23711-4
  • Ralf Kulla: "Revolutionärer Geist und Republikanische Freiheit. Über die verdrängte Nähe von Hannah Arendt
    Hannah Arendt
    Hannah Arendt was a German American political theorist. She has often been described as a philosopher, although she refused that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with "man in the singular." She described herself instead as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact...

     und Rosa Luxemburg. Mit einem Vorwort von Gert Schäfer", Hannover: Offizin Verlag 1999 (=Diskussionsbeiträge des Instituts für Politische Wissenschaft der Universität Hannover Band 25) ISBN 3-930345-16-1
  • J. P. Nettl, Rosa Luxemburg, 1966 - long considered the definitive biography of Luxemburg
  • Donald E. Shepardson: Rosa Luxemburg and the Noble Dream, New York 1996

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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