Zündende Funke: The Spark Lights Up in Action

by Michael Löwy

1. Marx, Thesen über Feuerbach , in Marx, Engels, Die deutsche Ideologie, Berlin, Dietz Verlag, 1960, 584.

2. Rosa Luxemburg, Reforme ou Révolution? 1899 in Œuvres, I, Paris, Maspero, 1969, 79.

3. Rosa Luxemburg, Selected Political Writings, edited and introduced by Robert Looker, tr. William D.Graf (London, Jonathan Cape) 98.

4. Cf. Rosa Luxemburg, Organisationsfragen der russischen Sozialdemokratie (1904), in Die Russische Revolution, Hrsg. Ossip K. Flechtheim, Frankfurt, Europäische Verlaganstalt, 1963, 27-28, 42, 44.

5. R. Luxemburg, Massenstreik, Partei und Gewerkschaften in Gewerkschaftskampf und Massenstreik, Eingeleitet und Bearbeitet von Paul Frölich, Berlin, Vereinigung Internationaler Verlagsanstalten, Berlin, 1928, 426-427.. This book contains not only the well known 1906 brochure on the mass strike, but various other articles by Rosa Luxemburg on the same topic. It was compiled and prefaced by her gifted disciple and biographer Paul Frölich, who was excluded from the German Communist Party in the 1920’s. I found the book at a second hand bookshop in Tel-Aviv ; the copy had a seal: Kibutz Ein Harod, Hasifria Hamerkazit, Haseminarion Harayoni (Central Library, Seminar of Ideas). The owner of the book was probably a Leftist German Jew who emigrated to Palestine after 1933, and gave it to the library of the kibbutz which he or she joined. For some years, there were lively ideological debates in a seminar of the kibbutz, and Rosa Luxemburg was probably one of the references. After the death of the older kibbutzniks, since the new generation doesn’t read German — and probably has less interest in Marxist theory — the librarian sold to a used-books shop his stock of works in Marx’s language… Part of the history of the Israeli Left is summarized in this seal.

6. Ibid, 455-457.

7. Ibid. 147, 150.

8. R.Luxemburg, Anhang : Leitsätze über die Aufgaben der Internatgionale Sozialdemokratie , in Die Krise der Sozialdemokratie von Junius, Bern, Unionsdruckerei, 1916, 97

9. See K. Liebknecht, “A Rosa Luxemburg: Remarques à propos de son projet de thèses pour le groupe ‘Internationale,’” in Partisans, no. 45, January 1969, 113.

10. Rosa Luxemburg, Die Krise der Sozialdemokratie von Junius, Bern, Unionsdruckerei, 1916, p.11. This copy of the original edition of the book belonged to my teacher and PhD director Lucien Goldmann, and was generously given to me, after his untimely death, by his wife, Annie Goldmann. Lucien Goldmann belonged in his youth to the Left Zionist movement Hashomer Hatzair, before joining the Rumanian Communist Youth, from which he was soon excluded for “Trotskyist tendencies.” After settling in France, he became a leading scholar in Marxist sociology of culture.

11. Rosa Luxemburg, Die Krise der Sozialdemokratie, 11..

12. Engels, Anti-Dühring, Paris, Ed. Sociales, 1950, 189, emphasis mine — ML..

13. Ibid., 68.

14. See Isabel Loureiro, Rosa Luxemburg. Os dilemas da açâo revolucionaria, S.Paulo, Unesp, 1995, 123.

15. Die Russische Revolution, Frankfurt, Europäische Verlagsanstalt, 1963, 73-76.

16. G. Lukacs, Geschichte und Klassenbewusstsein (1923), Nwied, Luchterhand, 1968, 212, 216.

17. Ibid. 460.

18. Rosa Luxemburg, “Rede zum Programm der KPD (Spartakusbund)”, Ausgewählten Reden und Schriften, Berlin, Dietz Verlag, 1953, Band II, p. 687. The copy which I’m using here has a curious history. It is a selection of writings by Rosa Luxemburg published by the Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin Institut beim ZK der SED , with a preface by Wilhelm Pieck, the Stalinist leader of the GDR, followed by introductions of Lenin and Stalin, emphasizing the various “errors” of the Jewish/Polish/German revolutionary. I bought this copy in a used bookshop in Tel-Aviv, and discovered that it had a handwritten dedication with the following words: “Sorry, we couldn’t find an edition of R.L. Works without this superfluous ‘introduction.’ With kindest regards, Tamara and Isaac. Throttle Green, 25 August 1957.” Obviously, the authors of the inscription were Tamara and Isaac Deutscher. I couldn’t find the name of the recipient, but it is interesting that Rosa Luxemburg was the link between the Deutschers — quintessential “non-Jewish Jews” — and their Israeli correspondent. The reasons why the book ended in the shop are probably similar to those of the Frölich collection mentioned above.