On Saturday 15 January, Wellred Books hosted a launch event for The Revolutionary Legacy of Rosa Luxemburg, a new biography of the revolutionary on the anniversary of her death (pre-order here). The online event was a huge success, attended by over 300 people from over 18 countries, with watch parties organised all over the world. As was clear from the many searching questions posed to the author, Marie Frederiksen, in the Q&A, there is a keen interest in the life and ideas of Rosa Luxemburg, and it is long overdue that the record on her revolutionary legacy is set straight. This book does just that.
Every year,on 16 January, thousands of people the world over remember the anniversary of the murder of Rosa Luxemburg. It was appropiate then, that the launch took place on the 103rd anniversary of her murder alongside her comrade, Karl Liebknecht, at the hands of the proto-fascist Freikorps. Comrades gathered from Mexico, France, Belgium, Canada, USA, Pakistan, Poland, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Britain, South Africa, Czech Rep, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Italy to celebrate her legacy. However, since her death, this legacy has been subject to systematic distortion.
Reclaiming that legacy is the topic of a new book, The Revolutionary Legacy of Rosa Luxemburg, by Marie Frederiksen – activist and writer for the Danish Marxist newspaper Revolution, and a leading member of the International Marxist Tendency. At the book launch, she burst a number of the most myths, and particularly the idea that she somehow represented a ‘softer’, less revolutionary Marxism than the supposed ‘authoritarianism’ of Lenin and the Bolsheviks.
Marie explained that, by reading what Rosa Luxemburg wrote herself one can see that she was a staunch Marxist revolutionary. The distortions to which her thought has been subjected are the product of cherry-picking her quotes and presenting them out of context.
Marie’s introduction to Luxemburg’s life and ideas was echoed in the range of questions asked from the floor, covering subjects from the immediate response to her death, to why her ideas have been so widely abused and distorted.
In her summing up, Marie explained that, whilst Luxemburg understood the need to build a revolutionary party with cadres that are steeled in theory and armed with a programme for the overthrow of capitalism, she came to this realisation too late in her life – in the midst of the 1918 German Revolution. The excellent mood of the event was reflected in the donations of more than £900 from the comrades attending.
"If you read everything she read and said you will see Rosa was on the side of Lenin and the Bolsheviks, but her real thought has been completely distorted" Marie Frederiksen dispelling the myths on Rosa Luxemburg pic.twitter.com/yHxexkJgKT— Jorge Martin (@marxistJorge) January 15, 2022
Today, the oppression, exploitation and violence of capitalism that Luxemburg fought so hard against still exists. The need to overthrow this decrepit system has never been more necessary. It is therefore the duty of all genuine Marxists to study the life and ideas of Luxemburg in order to absorb the lessons they contain for the working class.
The Revolutionary Legacy of Rosa Luxemburg is a unique book, and a weapon in our arsenal for carrying on this struggle to overthrow capitalism.
Pre-order the book today here: The Revolutionary Legacy of Rosa Luxemburg.