Rosa Luxemburg [1871-1919], the Polish-born revolutionary and writer, was one of the most original theoretical minds of the early twentieth century. Her work stands as a testament to the great social of upheavals of the time and a life lived in struggle for a better world. She ultimately suffered for her convictions, spending time in jail between 1904 and 1906 and again for three and a half years for opposing the First World War, before her brutal and untimely death in 1919 at the hands of the proto-fascistic Freikorp. Today we have an extract from The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg that shows her characteristic mix of astute political and social analysis and incredible compassion for her fellow creatures. The letter, written around Christmas 1917 from her prison cell in Breslau to fellow SPD-member Sophie Liebknecht, relates an incident in the prison courtyard between a guard and a buffalo carrying piles of torn and bloodied clothes sent from the frontlines.
One hundred years after the publication of her masterpiece, The Accumulation of Capital, Rosa Luxemburg’s ideas have come back in a big way across much of the left. If she were still here, what would Rosa say about contemporary feminist movements, the mass strike and Occupy, our deepening ecological crisis, or other crucial issues of our time? Join us at Verso Books on Friday night, August 21, and then at The New School during the day on August 22, to learn and discuss.