March 5th, 2011 will mark 140 years since the birth of a figure who should be as well-known and celebrated as Che Guevara: her name is Rosa Luxemburg. To commemorate the occasion, and to inaugurate a decade-long project to properly restore the life and thought of this extraordinary woman, Verso Books presents The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg.
The most comprehensive collection of Luxemburg’s letters ever published in English—over half of them translated here for the very first time—The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg is an irresistible compendium of correspondence from the heroic German revolutionary to her comrades, friends and lovers. Even for those who are familiar with her work, this is Rosa as never seen before— revealed in all her wit, eloquence and human warmth.
The letters will be accompanied by a plate section showcasing Luxemburg’s sketches and handwritten notes as well as photographs of her key correspondents, including leading figures in the international labor and socialist movements whom she counted as her closest friends: Leo Jogiches, Karl Kautsky, Clara Zetkin and Karl Liebknecht.
As a woman, a Pole and a Jew, Luxemburg’s climb to the top of German Social Democracy was one shadowed by great hostility. But bursting forth from these letters is the intellect and sheer dedication to a cause of an individual who would not be quietened—one well aware of her own power: “I want to affect people like a clap of thunder, to inflame their minds not by speechifying but with the breadth of my vision, the strength of my conviction, and the power of my expression.”
To quote Peter Hudis, writing in his Introduction, “Rediscovering Rosa Luxemburg”: One of the most insightful theorists and original personalities of modern radicalism, Rosa Luxemburg deserves a new hearing in light of the complex problems facing efforts at social transformation today … Her painstaking analysis and opposition to the logic of capital speaks especially powerfully to our time, poised as we are at the edge of an economic, political and ecological catastrophe …
Luxemberg’s fiercely independent intellect and uncompromising defense of human liberty speaks more powerfully to our era than to any other.
Rosa Luxemburg’s time is now.