Letter to Clara Zetkin

Berlin, Rosa Luxemburg 29 November 1918


     I'm nearly perishing not only because of the work and the turmoil but also out of concern for the Rote Fahne, in which there is so much still lacking and so many things are still bad. Thalheimer is helping us with touching zeal, but he is still somewhat inexperienced editorially, and the good [Fritz] Rück is still very young. His recent piece signed "Juvenis," which was slipped in there without my knowledge, with the outrageous "polemic" against the Independents [the USPD], nearly gave me a stroke. I have taken measures so that no such thing will happen again.

     In general we hear only one voice on all sides and in particular from the Independents themselves: "Rote Fahne is the only socialist paper in Berlin." As for the Freiheit, all its people are disappointed with it, to the utmost. Recently at a session of the central executive for Greater Berlin, as well as at the press commission for Freiheit, a universal, sharply critical appraisal of Freiheit was expressed and the Rote Fahne was contrasted to it as an example to follow. Only Haase and Hilferding [the chief editor] defended it, weakly. Däumig, Eichhorn, and others argued for taking a stand entirely on the same grounds as ours, and the same was true for Ledebour, Zietz, Kurt Rosenfeld—and the masses! The "Left" not only approves our criticism but reproaches us in part for not criticizing the Independents enough. Their aspirations are obviously to free themselves as quickly as possible from the fatal link with the Scheidemanns and to march together with us. We are therefore demanding a party congress [of the USPD].

     Now about our Fahne. A decision has been made to have a weekly supplement of half a signature as a women's paper. You should be the one to put it together. Go about that as you see fit. We are thinking of a supplement that would not be theoretical—somewhat in the style of the Leipziger Volkszeitung supplement—but popular and agitational, more or less like the Rote Fahne as a whole, of the same caliber. Of course you yourself will have to put together material for it from the press. We would like to ask you to always put a leading article [with your signature] in this supplement, about one or one and a half columns in length, and then there would be all sorts of subsections and news items, foreign, domestic, about the bourgeois women's movement, economic items, etc. You yourself should involve anyone you consider necessary as collaborators, but from among people who officially stand on our position (e.g., not Zietz or Mathilde Wurm, because right now that would lead to confusion). We have the best relations with these two women personally, but we want to wait until they too come over to us openly, which is surely inevitable. The only ones that can be considered [as contributors] now, I'm afraid, are Kate [Duncker], Regina Ruben, and—I don't know of any others. The main work would of course fall on your shoulders, and anyhow you yourself are the one to make the arrangements and you will definitely see how it is to be done. In terms of money the group is in a position to bear all the necessary expenses and also to pay you a subsistence allowance such as we all receive. One more catch! All these plans depend on paper—which has to be fought for daily here [in Berlin]. At any rate it is only a question of weeks, perhaps days, before we will be able to come out with six pages and to bring out a weekly women's supplement. Above all, you must answer immediately whether you are in agreement with this plan and how you conceive of carrying out this task, that is, whether we can to some extent count on you for help.

     Your proposal concerning leaflets has been generally accepted, and you should write the first one as soon as possible. Only there's one condition: keep it short! The thing is that we're not getting any paper that could be used for four-sided leaflets, so figure on two-sided only. We're waiting for the manuscript. It should be a general leaflet about women workers and the revolution.

     In addition, we want to introduce a small section entitled "From the Women's Movement," of roughly one-third or one-half column, which would mainly carry small bits of news, sometimes a commentary, etc. Kate [Duncker] should put this together. But only when we come out with six pages.

     If only you knew how much I have to say to you and what life is like for me here—it's like being in a witch's cauldron. Last night I didn't get home until 12:00 midnight, and then only because we were both—Karl [Liebknecht] and I—thrown out of the only hotel in this district (near Potsdamer Platz [Potsdam Square] and the Anhalter railroad station)!

     A thousand greetings, I must close. I embrace you.
     Your R.

[P.S.] I just received the information, after a consultation, that there will be no difficulty with paper for a women's supplement. You can therefore begin as soon as you are ready! Once again, love and kisses!

Quotes taken from Rosa Luxemburg: The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg, edited by George Adler, Peter Hudis and Annelies Laschitza, translated by George Shriver, Verso 2011, p. 482-484.