Born in Russian controlled Poland, she was a Marxist theorist, philosopher and economist and activist of Polish Jewish descent who became a nanturalised German citizen. She became a member of the Social Democracy of the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania (SDK Pil), and then the Social Democrat Party of Germany (SPD), and the Independent Social Democratic Party (USPD) and the Communist Party of ermany (KPD).
In 1915 after the SPD supported German involvement in Word War I, she and Karl Liebnecht co-founded the anti war Spartacist League which became the Communist Party of Germany.
The Spartakists attempted an uprising , and subsequently she and Liebnecht were singled out by the authorities and she and other supporters were captured and murdered.
Her faith was a socialist idea that combined the powerful passion of both mind and heart. She devoted herself to the cause of revolution,and its preparation. She lived and breathed its fire, with selflessness and devotion, in every waking moment she dedicated herself to its cause. Standing bravely up for freedom with a strong powerful intellect. An individualist, she formulated her own ideas, using her own words to energise and radicalise the people and bring about a socialist revolution. She argued that " The mass strike is the first natural, impulsive form of every great revolutionary struggle of the proletariat and the more highly developed the antagonism is between capital and labour, the more effective and decisive must mass strikes become. The chief form of bourgeois revolutions, the fight at the barricades, the open conflict with the armed poor of the state, is in the revolution today only the culminating point, only a moment on the process of the proletarian mass struggle."
She followed no leader, was no ones puppet and when she criticised Lenin, it was in relation to dictatorial aspects. She said " Terror has not crushed us. How can you put your trust in terror."
She quoted Leon Trotsky saying
"As Marxists we have never been idol worshippers of formal democracy." She went on
"All that really means is: We have always distinquished the social kernal of social inequality and lack of freedom hidden under the seet shell of formal equality and freedom - not in order to reject the latter but to spur the working class into being satisfied with the shell, but rather, by conquering political poer, to create a socialist democracy to replace bourgeois democracy - not to elininate democracy altogether....... but socialist democracy is not something which begins only in the promised land, after the foundations of socialist economy are created, it does not come as some sort of Christmas present for the worthy people who, in the interim, have loyally supported a handful of socialist dictators. Socialist democracy begins simultaneously with the beginnings of the destruction of class rule and the construction of socialism. It begins at the very moment of the seizure of poer by the Socialist party. It is the same thing as the dictatorship of the proletariat. Yes, dictatorship! But this dictatorshiip consists in the manner of applying democracy, not in its elimination, but in energetic, resolute attacks upon the well-entrenched rights and economic relationships of bourgeois society, without which a socialist transformation cannot be accomplished. But this dictatorship must be the work of the class and not of a little leading minority in the name of the class - that is, it must proceed step by step out of the active participation of the masses, it must be under their direct influence, subjeected to the control of complete public activity; it must arise out of the political training of the mass of the people."
Possibly her believe in democracy is what failed her philosophically, nevertheless the questions she posed still worth looking at today. She also wrote " the revolution is the sole form of war, and this is also its most vital law - in which the final victory can be prepared only by a sense of defeat.".
She had determination by the buckets and a steely willful commitment. A combatant who strove for peace, who did not hesitate in her beliefs, to speak and proclaim with her own independent reason her own opinion. For that alone I respect her. Her idellible mark has been left on the world, who combined ideals with action, so or long may Red Rosa be remembered.
Epitaph by Bertolt Brecht is a short poem written by Bertolt Brecht in honour of Rosa Luxemburg.
Rosa Luxemburg: A reapraisal - Lelio Besco
Andre Deutsch, 1975.
Rosa Luxemburg: A life
- Elizvieta Ettinga , Beacon Press 1987.
"either capitalism will continue, with fresh wars and a rapid plunge intp chaos and anarchy, or else capitalist exploitation will be abolished." Rosa Luxemburg 14/12/18 Rote Fahne
"Revolutionary idealism .... can be maintained over any period of time only through the intensely active life of the masses themselves under conditions of unlimited freedom." Rosa Luxemburg