Blog post

Deborah Eisenberg to read from The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg

Clara Heyworth11 March 2011

Rosa Luxemburg will be celebrated this coming Monday March 14th in New York at NYU's Tishman Auditorium where actress and writer Deborah Eisenberg will bring Rosa's remarkable correspondence to life on stage. Eisenberg will join a distinguished panel of Luxemburg scholars who will remind us of the continuing importance of Luxemburg's work today : Paul Le Blanc, Helen C. Scott, Peter Hudis and Annelies Laschitza. As a taster, here's an excerpt from one of the several letters Eisenberg will read—from Rosa (in prison) to Mathilde Wurm, February 16, 1917 ...

You argue against my slogan, "Here I stand—I can do no other!" Your argument comes down to the following: that is all well and good, but human beings are too cowardly and weak for such heroism, ergo one must adapt one's tactics to their weakness and to the principle che va piano, va sano. What narrowness of historical outlook, my little lamb! There is nothing more changeable than human psychology. That's especially because the psyche of the masses, like Thalatta, the eternal sea, always bears within it every latent possibility: deathly stillness and raging storm, the basest cowardice and the wildest heroism. The masses are always what they must be according to the circumstances of the times, and they are always on the verge of becoming something totally different from what they seem to be. It would be a fine sea captain who would steer a course based only on the momentary appearance of the ocean's surface and did not understand how to draw conclusions from signs in the sky and in the ocean's depths. My dear little girl, "disappointment with the masses" is always the most reprehensible quality to be found in a political leader. A leader with the quality of greatness applies tactics, not according to the momentary mood of the masses, but according to higher laws of development, and sticks firmly to those tactics despite all disappointments and, for the rest, calmly allows history to bring its work to fruition.

For more on Monday's event, please visit "The Life, Letters & Legacy of Rosa Luxemburg."