oas its the 140th anniversary of her birth.
over recent weeks i have taken some steps back in my own journey in revolutionary socialism and revisited soe beginnings.that has included paul frolichs biography of rosa luxemburg and aselected volue of her letters to her long term collaborator/partner,jorgiches.
i hopeto post mor about my rereading of those books in further posts in the near future,but in the meantine,i would make the following observations about her as a person.
everything written by and about her spells out loud and clear that she was an intellectual and human giant.she strikes me as a professional revolutionary in the best sense,who would not refuse life and living only to the revolutionary cause of working people.she comes across to me as much mor balanced and approaqchable as a human person than either her partner or indeed lenin.whilst she always placed her political responsibilties aside,she always sought to live,to conduct a life in the here and now.
atheists who are revolutionary socialists often criticise religion,or ore specifically christianity for being@pie in the sky@,in which living a quality of life is placed forward into eternity beyond life itself.yet it also seems that some of those same people,atheists/revolutionaries also postpone their own lives for the caause with a similar damaging impact on themselves and those they are close to.it seems to me that if we dont plant and know the seeds of the world we are working for now then hoiw can we assure ourselves that any kind of future will be worth living.sufferring may well be amajor part of our lives but i don't think we should accept or allow it to be that way.to do so turns our compassion and desire for better into tinder dry sticks aqnd worse.we need to be sparks for a fire and light to a better way to live.
luxemburg clearly struggled with that balance but her affection,love and concern for her friends,colleagues,comrades,family and indeed the ordinary mass of working people shines out of the biography and her letters.she cared about what she did in public life yet also about entoring and brining oin her students and valued those around her.
i regret that i am not convinced that her partner loved her,and there are times when she shows the neuroses of the times which may well be associated with such gender relations of the time.i would hope but not convinced that those relational dynamics might be different now though i am not optiistic.that all said,and despite the occassional sexist coment by frolich as her biographer he clearly did love,admire and honour her.
whilst she is s superstar in any marixts firmament,she is not perfect or without fault or difficulty.yet for me it is those very foibles that make her so great.she sought to overcome them but remaiuned sympathetic,authentic and approachable.if i were asked who i would want a coffee and cake in a cafe with,or a pint in a bar with,i would certainly choose rosa luxemburg aoing them although i also think i would still be so overawed that i would have been content to be amongst her students.indeed,whilst i started reading her accumulation of capital i struggled with it and did not get far.im intending to try and will undoudtedly struggle with it again.whilst i got a good grounding in marxist political economy,those student days did not include assistance with luxemburg.i could definitely benefit from her own teaching of her work.
so i have a question and a suggestion-is there anyone out there who could assit me in this task?david harvey and others have written useful approaches to marx,sos there anyone who could also focus on luxemburg in a similar way.
and taht allows me to end on another positive note-that luxemburg is not just againt cast in the dead stone of memory but a vibrant spectre in a living tradition that might armm the class with vision and tools with which to frighten,end and bury capitalist and class society forever.