Sheila Rowbotham reviews The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg for the Guardian, bringing into relief the portrait of Luxemburg's passionate political and personal life painted by the letters:
George Shriver's new translation of The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg is the most comprehensive collection of her correspondence yet to appear in English. It transports us directly into the private world of a woman who has never lost her inspirational power as an original thinker and courageous activist in first the Marxist Social Democratic party, and then the German revolutionary group, the Spartacist League. She suffered for her convictions; jail sentences in 1904 and 1906 were followed by three and a half years in prison for opposing the first world war. Her brutal death at the hands of the militaristic Volunteer Corps during the 1919 workers uprising in Berlin has contributed to her mystique: she is revered as the revolutionary who never compromised. This collection of her letters reveals that the woman behind the mythic figure was also a compassionate, teasing, witty human being.
Citing Luxemburg as an influence on her own work, Rowbotham, the author of Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the Twentieth Century and Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love, untangles Luxemburg's ambivalent relationship with the feminist movement of her time:
Luxemburg's criticism of Marxism as dogma and her stress on consciousness exerted an influence on the women's liberation movement which emerged in the late 60s and early 70s. When I was writing Woman's Consciousness, Man's World during 1971, I drew on her analysis in The Accumulation of Capital (1913) of capital's greedy quest for non-capitalist markets, adapting it as a metaphor for the commodification of sexual relations and the body
Watch Tariq Ali on the “Riz Khan” show on Al Jazeera discussing how the changes sweeping the Middle East will affect American foreign policy and its relationship with the region.
Visit Al Jazeera for more on the Middle East.
Owen Jones, writing for the Guardian, takes apart "the common language of today's political establishment"—the discourse of 'social mobility'—noting that it is merely
the idea of creaming off a small minority of able working-class kids and catapulting them into the middle classes. You accept the class system, merely offering ladders for some to escape the bottom.
Read an English translation of Alain Badiou's recent article for Le Monde. Translation kindly provided by Cristiana Petru-Stefanescu.
The Eastern wind is getting the better of the Western one. How much longer will the poor and dark West, the "international community" of those who still think of themselves as masters of the world, continue to give lessons of good management and behaviour to the whole planet? Isn't it laughable to see certain intellectuals on duty, disconcerted soldiers of the capital-parliamentarism that stands as a shabby paradise for us, offering themselves to the magnificent Tunisian and Egyptian peoples in order to teach these savage populations the basics of "democracy"? What a distressing persistence of colonial arrogance! Given the miserable political situation that we are experiencing, isn't it obvious that it is us who have everything to learn from the current popular uprisings? Shouldn't we, in all urgency, closely study what has made possible the overthrow through collective action of governments that are oligarchic, corrupt and—possibly, above all—humiliatingly the vassals of Western states?
Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri write in the Guardian about the Arab uprisings and their hope "that through this cycle of struggles the Arab world becomes for the next decade what Latin America was for the last - that is, a laboratory of political experimentation between powerful social movements and progressive governments."