A Mere Semblance of Life | Rosa Luxemburg, 1871-1919

 Rosa Luxemburg, 1871-1919


“People for the most part pass by the loveliest things in life without paying attention.”

“Without general elections, without unrestricted freedom of press and assembly, without
a free struggle of opinion, life dies out in every public institution, becomes a mere
semblance of life, in which only the bureaucracy remains as the active element.”

“What presents itself to us as bourgeois legality is nothing but the violence
 of the ruling class, a violence raised to an obligatory norm from the outset.”

"In the army, capitalist development leads to the extension of obligatory military service
to the reduction of the time of service and consequently to a material approach to a popular
 militia. But all of this takes place under the form of modern militarism in which the
domination of the people by the militarist State and the class character of the
State manifest themselves most clearly."

"Credit reproduces all the fundamental antagonisms of the capitalist world.
It accentuates them. It precipitates their development and thus pushes the
capitalist world forward to its own destruction."

"The clergy, no less than the capitalist class, lives on the backs of the people,
profits from the degradation, the ignorance and the oppression of the people."

"Freedom for supporters of the government only, for members of one party only no matter
how big its membership may be is no freedom at all. Freedom is always freedom for
the man who thinks differently."

"The high stage of world-industrial development in capitalistic production finds expression
 in the extraordinary technical development and destructiveness of the instruments of war."

"Bourgeois society stands at the crossroads, either transition to socialism or regression into barbarism."


Rosa Luxemburg, 1871-1919


“The most revolutionary thing one can do is always to proclaim loudly what is happening.”

“Freedom is always the freedom of the dissenter”

“During the night two delegates of the railwaymen were arrested. The strikers immediately
demanded their release, and as this was not conceded, they decided not to allow trains leave
 the town. At the station all the strikers with their wives and families sat down on the
 railway track-a sea of human beings. They were threatened with rifles salvoes.”

“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”

“Life is singing also in the sand crunching under the slow and heavy steps
of the guards, when we know how to listen to it.”

"The scene has thoroughly changed. The six weeks' march to Paris has come world drama.
Mass murder has become a monotonous task, and yet the final solution is not one step nearer.
 Capitalist rule is caught in its own trap, and cannot ban the spirit that it has Gone is the first
mad delirium. Gone are the patriotic street demonstrations, the chase after suspicious-looking
automobiles; the false telegrams, the cholera-poisoned wells. Gone the mad stories of Russian
students who hurl bombs from every bridge of Berlin, or French men flying over Nuremberg;
gone the excesses of spy-hunting populace, the singing through, the coffee shops with their
 patriotic songs; gone the violent mobs, ready to denounce, ready to persecute women, ready
 to whip themselves into a delirious frenzy over every wild rumor; gone the atmosphere
of ritual murder, the Kishinev air that left the policeman at the corer as the only remaining
representative of human dignity."

"With the true artist, the social formula that he recommends is a matter of secondary
importance; the source of his art, its animating spirit, is decisive."

"The most revolutionary act is a clear view of the world as it really is."

"It is in the tiny struggles of individual peoples that the great movements of history
are most truly revealed."

"There is no democracy without socialism, and no socialism without democracy."


Rosa Luxemburg in Warsaw prison, 1906


"[Geology] opens up such wide intellectual vistas and supplies a more perfectly unified
and more comprehensive conception of nature than any other science."

"Only through the conscious action of the working masses in city and country can it be brought
 to life, only through the people's highest intellectual maturity and inexhaustible idealism can
it be brought safely through all storms and find its way to port."

“Tomorrow the revolution will 'rise up again, clashing its weapons,' and to your horror
 it will proclaim with trumpets blazing: I was, I am, I shall be!”

"Before a revolution happens, it is perceived as impossible; after it happens, it is seen as
 having been inevitable."

"Only to the rude ear of one who is quite indifferent does the song of a bird seem always the same."

"Being human means throwing your whole life on the scales of destiny when need be,
all the while rejoicing in every sunny day and every beautiful cloud."


Rozalia Luxenburg, 1871-1919 

philosopher, economist, anti-war activist and revolutionary socialist 

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