Rosa Luxemburg was a towering figure of the classical socialist movement—a brilliant thinker, sharp-tongued rhetorician, and trailblazing leader of the proletarian cause. Although the obstacles to her pursuing her aims in life were legion, she rose to become one of the paramount leaders of the largest and strongest socialist movement in the world, German Social Democracy.
Yet since being cut down by proto-fascist thugs in January 1919, Luxemburg has been memorialized as a martyr and symbol of the tragic highs and lows of the twentieth century more than anything else. Her name and image remain iconic, but her prodigious intellectual output and numerous contributions to socialist theory are often reduced to footnotes.
In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of her birth, we ask: what can Luxemburg teach us about economic crisis, gender relations, revolutionary patience, and the struggle for a world beyond capitalism? Where have her ideas remained relevant, and where do they require modification? We still have much to be learned from the life and legacy of this incredible woman, for whom “the most revolutionary thing one can do is always to proclaim loudly what is happening”.