Rosa Luxemburg In Memoriam

January 16, 2016 § Leave a comment

Today is the anniversary of Rosa Luxemburg’s death in 1919. She was a revolutionary and political theorist who opposed the First World War. She believed in democracy with the widest possible mandate, from the bottom up (in this she opposed Lenin’s centralism) and she wrote on many aspects of politics and life. Along with fellow revolutionary Karl Liebknecht, she was captured and murdered in Berlin by the proto-Nazi Freikorp militia, who shot her then threw her body into the Landwehrkanal alongside Berlin zoo. There’s a commemorative cast-iron sculpture of her name at the spot where this took place. Elsewhere in Berlin, at Rosa Luxemburg Platz, the cobblestones of the square itself have quotations from her writings set across them in bronze.
Because of her political activities she was imprisoned many times. From Breslau prison in 1917 she wrote, in a letter that expresses her kinship with all creatures deprived of their freedom, of seeing a buffalo being treated brutally for pulling a wagon too slowly. You can read this eloquent and heart-breaking letter, which the publisher Verso has posted on its website to mark the anniversary of her death:

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