We did not want any »amnesty«, nor pardon, for the political prisoners who were the victims of the old order. We demanded our right to freedom, through struggle and revolution, for the hundreds of faithful and brave men and women who were languishing in prison because they had fought for popular freedom, for peace and for socialism against the bloody dictatorship of the imperialist criminal bands. They are now all free.
Rosa Luxemburg was a tireless author. Countless speeches, letters, articles and essays by her have been preserved. Her collected works are published by Karl Dietz Verlag, Berlin. Individual texts are published alongside selected materials that were produced by people studying Luxemburg’s life and engaging with her work.
»Order prevails in Warsaw!« declared Minister Sebastiani to the Paris Chamber of Deputies in 1831, when after having stormed the suburb of Praga, Paskevich’s marauding troops invaded the Polish capital to begin their butchery of the rebels.
»Order prevails in Berlin!« So proclaims the bourgeois press triumphantly, so proclaim Ebert and Noske, and the officers of the »victorious troops«, who are being cheered by the petty-bourgeois mob in Berlin waving handkerchiefs and shouting »Hurrah!«
An unprecedented task in the history of the socialist movement has fallen to the lot of the Russian Social Democracy. It is the task of deciding on what is the best socialist tactical policy in a country where absolute monarchy is still dominant. It is a mistake to draw a rigid parallel between the present Russian situation and that which existed in Germany during the years 1879–90, when Bismarck’s anti-socialist laws were in force. The two have one thing in common—police rule. Otherwise they are in no way comparable.
Rosa Luxemburg flees Poland to become a leading theorist in German Social Democracy. At first, the debate over revolutionary principles is abstract – then the 1905 revolution breaks out, and Luxemburg goes undercover, into thick of the action, in Warsaw, only to find herself in jail. On her release, she writes a pamphlet that shakes the reformist leaders of Western Europe to their core.
Rosa Luxemburg is teaching Marxism to German workers – but Marx wrote Das Kapital fifty years before, and capitalism has changed. Luxemburg writes a book predicting the downfall of imperialism, on the eve of a war in which millions will die. From her prison cell, as she attacks the hypocrisy and slaughter, even some revolutionaries think she has gone too far.
First Russia, then Germany. Released from her prison cell as the German empire collapses, Rosa rushes to Berlin to form the Communist Party. Amid mass protests and the formation of workers and soldiers councils, she is torn between caution and the need to push hard for a break with the old order. After a failed…
An animated short film by renowned young artist Viet Su Kieu Hung in cooperation with the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Southeast Asia about Rosa Luxemburg’s life. Full of dedication, the film reconstructs Rosa Luxemburg’s life to show her incomparable legacy. Through an imaginary letter that Rosa could have written in the last moments of her extraordinary life, we…
“Rosa Luxemburg’s legacy, texts, work and organizational construction inspire women who seek to occupy a political office to position ourselves and be protagonists of a transformation and social revolution”, says Erika Hilton, city councilor in Sao Paulo. Parliamentarians and activists from Brazil, Chile, and Germany reflect on the significance of Rosa Luxemburg for their current…
The first time I went down to the yard known as the Lazaretthof during the recreation hour, as an inmate in the Barnimstrasse Women’s Prison, I found a lady there with a voluptuous figure, dressed in fine clothes and wearing the contents of a small jewellery shop on her fingers and bosom, which sparkled whenever she moved.
Excerpt from a letter by Rosa Luxemburg to Hans Diefenbach, 30 March 1917, read by Leslie Malton.
Despite the beautiful state of inner harmony that I have been at such pains to cultivate, yesterday before I fell asleep I was seized again by a despair far blacker than the night. And today is another grey day, without sun—a cold east wind … I feel like a frozen bumblebee. Have you ever found a bumblebee like that in the garden on the first frosty morning in autumn—lying on its back in the grass, quite stiff, as though dead, its little legs drawn in and its little fur coat covered with frost?
Excerpt from a letter by Rosa Luxemburg to Luise Kautzky, September 1904, read by Leslie Malton.
Back when I was at home, I used to creep across to the window very early in the morning—getting up before Father was, of course, strictly forbidden—open it quietly and peek out at the big courtyard. There was, admittedly, not much to see. Everything was still asleep.
Excerpt from a letter by Rosa Luxemburg to Mathilde Wurm, 28 December 1916, read by Leslie Malton.
I want to answer your Christmas letter immediately, while the rage it stirred up in me is still fresh. Yes, your letter made me wild with anger because every line in it, brief as it is, shows how very much you are once again under the spell of your milieu.
Sonyishka, my little bird, I was so happy to read your letter, I wanted to answer it right away, but I had a lot to do just then and I had to concentrate very hard, so I couldn’t allow myself the luxury. And then I thought I would rather wait for a good opportunity, because it is so much nicer when we can chat in private, without constraint.
What am I reading? Mainly scientific books: plant geography and animal geography. Yesterday I was reading about why songbirds are disappearing in Germany: it is the spread of efficient forestry, horticulture and crop farming methods that is to blame.
Excerpt from a letter by Rosa Luxemburg to Sophie Liebknecht, before 24 December 1917, read by Leslie Malton.
Excerpt from a letter by Rosa Luxemburg to Sophie Liebknecht, 2 May 1917, read by Leslie Malton.
From 1889, she studied in Zurich. She enrolled in philosophy, mathematics, botany and zoology, and later studied political science and national economics. Only in Switzerland was higher education accessible to women at that time.
Excerpt from a letter by Rosa Luxemburg to Hanna-Elsbeth Stühmer, 10 March 1917, read by Leslie Malton.
Habent sua fata libelli—books have their fates. When I wrote my Accumulation a thought depressed me from time to time: all followers of Marxist doctrine would declare that the things I was trying to show and carefully substantiate were self-evident. Nobody would voice a different opinion; my solution of the problem would be the only possible one imaginable. It turned out very differently: a number of critics in the Social Democratic press declared that the book was totally misguided to start with and that such a problem calling for solution did not exist at all.
The Russian Revolution is the mightiest event of the World War. Its outbreak, its unexampled radicalism, its enduring consequences, constitute the clearest condemnation of the lying phrases which official Social Democracy so zealously supplied at the beginning of the war as an ideological cover for German imperialism’s campaign of conquest. I refer to the phrases concerning the mission of German bayonets, which were to overthrow Russian Tsarism and free its oppressed peoples.
An interview with Peter Hudis, editor of the Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg, published by Verso Books in cooperation with the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung.
To mark the 100th anniversary of Rosa Luxemburg’s assassination, Eleanor Penny from the London-based media collective Novara Media travelled to Berlin in January 2019.