Tony Cliff

Rosa Luxemburg


On 15 January 1919 a soldier’s rifle butt smashed the skull of Rosa Luxemburg, revolutionary genius, fighter and thinker. A personification of the unity of theory and practice, Rosa Luxemburg’s life and work require a description of her activities as well as her thoughts – they are inseparable. In the framework of a pamphlet, however, one cannot hope to do justice to both. In trying to avoid falling between two stools, this pamphlet concentrates mainly on Rosa Luxemburg’s ideas, as they contain her main permanent contribution to the international socialist movement.

Little of her writing has been translated into English. It is, therefore, useful to give as varied a selection from her work (largely translated from the original German) as possible.

A scientific socialist, whose motto was “doubt all”, Rosa Luxemburg could have wished for nothing better than a critical evaluation of her own work. The present essay is written in a spirit of admiration and criticism of its subject.


Last updated on 20.4.2003