Rosa Luxemburg (1871–1919) is widely regarded as one of the most creative writers of modern socialism and the foremost female theoretician of European radicalism. Her wide-ranging and incisive works, which include studies on capitalism’s inherent drive for global expansion, the relation between spontaneity and organization, and the inseparability of democracy and socialism, have made her a pole of attraction for theorists and activists around the world. Her fiercely independent intellect and uncompromising defense of human liberty speaks more powerfully to our era than to any other.
At the same time, however, a great deal of her work—over 75%—has yet to be translated into English. This includes several thousand pages of writings in German (on anthropology, non-Western societies, imperialism, wage labor, and democracy) that have only been discovered in recent years and some 3,000 pages of largely unknown Polish-language material—much of it composed during her involvement in and reflection on the 1905–6 Russian Revolution. To fill this gap, The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg will make her entire body of work available for the first time. It will contain all of her books, pamphlets, essays, articles, letters and manuscripts, all in new and accurate English translations. It will be published in fourteen volumes, each with comprehensive annotations and introductions.
So far two volumes have appeared—Economic Writings 1 (containing the first full English translation, by David Fernbach, of the Introduction to Political Economy, as well as eight recently discovered manuscripts on pre-capitalist society, economic history, and capitalist crises, translated by George Shriver) and Economic Writings 2 (containing a new translation, by Nick Gray, of The Accumulation of Capital and the Anti-Critique, translated by George Shriver). This is in addition to the companion volume to the series, the 600-page Letters of Rosa Luxemburg (Verso, 2011), the most comprehensive edition of her letters ever published in English.
Three volumes of her writings “On Revolution” are now being prepared as part of the rubric of the Complete Works devoted to her political writings, which will contain the first full compilation in any language of her writings on the 1905 and 1917 Russian Revolutions and 1918 German Revolution.
A highly successful conference in New York City in August 21–22, 2015, sponsored by Verso Books and the New York office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, explored some of the new insights produced by this work, such as the illumination her work sheds on contemporary issues like climate change, feminism, political organization, and struggles against imperialism and racism. A newly expanded editorial board for the project was formed following the conference, consisting of general editor Peter Hudis, Paul Le Blanc, Margaret Crane, Ahelí Alvardo Díaz, Rory Castle, Raphaële Chappe, Therese Grisham, Lea Haro, Henry Holland, Bill Pelz, Sandra Rein, Axel Fair-Schulz, Helen C. Scott, Nicole Shippen, George Shriver, Jason Schulman, andSusan Weissman.
We welcome you to contribute to this ongoing project by obtaining the volumes, discussing and debating their content, and providing us with feedback and criticism. We especially urge you to contribute to the Toledo Translation Fund, which along with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation helps to pay for the cost of translations.