In International Women's Week, the Guardian asks 'who are the heroines of literature?' The Books podcast 'Heroines and feminists' profiles Rosa Luxemburg.
Claire Armitstead, literary editor of the Guardian, spoke to self-confessed Rosa Luxemburg "fanette" Susie Orbach, David Edgar and Dr Lea Haro at the launch at the Swedenborg Society about why Luxemburg's work is so personally inspirational for them and its value for society today.
Harriet Walter read a selection of Rosa Luxemburg's letters, ranging from her arrival in Berlin in 1898, to one of her very last to Clara Zetkin before her death in 1918. Included in the selection is a letter that shows Luxemburg to be a critic of the use of political language, revealing her own passionate approach.
In an article for the Guardian, Gareth Peirce presents the case for why a full and open inquiry is needed to discover why so many Libyans seeking asylum in the UK were subject to control orders. Following the bombing on 7 July 2004, she writes, Tony Blair had initiated a deportation agreement with Gaddafi in order to remove dissidents whose presence, Blair claimed, was a grave threat to British national security:
In order to achieve the men's removal to Libya, a country whose leader had a grim record of eliminating opponents, the government had created new mechanisms: memorandums of understanding (MOU), whereby regimes known to practice torture might sign up to an unenforceable promise that they would not torture deported individuals. Gaddafi was evidently a man who could be trusted, but for good measure an independent organisation would monitor the wellbeing of the men deported to Libya: the Gaddafi Foundation, headed by Gaddafi's son Saif.
A talk by Nina Power at last year's Liverpool Bienniale, which takes Hervé Juvin's The Coming of the Body as the starting point for a discussion about the changing meaning of the body, and how it relates to work in the 21st century.
Visit the Liverpool Bienniale on Vimeo to see this talk and others including Chantal Mouffe, Simon Critchley and Alfredo Jaar.
Jacqueline Rose and Lea Haro speak to Louise Hidalgo about Rosa Luxemburg's life and work for "Witness" on BBC World Service.
Harriet Walter brings The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg to life, beginning with one of the first—a love letter to Leo Jogiches, written from Switzerland in 1893.
Rose and Haro give insights into Luxemburg's childhood in Poland, and the start of her political life whilst attending secondary school in Warsaw. They follow her through her rise in German Social Democracy and the development of her ideas, including about the mass strike, her opposition to the First World War, the founding of the Spartacist league, her imprisonments and finally to her murder.
Luxemburg spent much of the war in prison, following news of the Russian Revolution from behind bars. In November 1917, she writes to Clara Zetkin,
I am now convinced that in the next few years a great upheaval in all of Europe is unavoidable especially if the war lasts much longer. The events in Russia are of amazing grandeur and tragedy. Lenin and his people will not of course be able to win out against the tangle of chaos, but their attempt by itself stands as a deed of world historical significance and a genuine milestone.
Visit the BBC World Service to listen to the programme.
Tariq Ali interviewed by Sarfraz Manzoor for the Guardian about his life in dissent, student protests and the Arab uprisings.