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The Complete Works of Rosa Luxemburg, Volume I: Economic Writings 1 Hardcover – Nov 12 2013

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“One cannot read the writings of Rosa Luxemburg, even at this distance, without an acute yet mournful awareness of what Perry Anderson once termed ‘the history of possibility.’” —Christopher Hitchens, Atlantic

“Luxemburg’s criticism of Marxism as dogma and her stress on consciousness exerted an influence on the women’s liberation movement which emerged in the late ’60s and early ’70s.” —Sheila Rowbotham, Guardian

“One of the most emotionally intelligent socialists in modern history, a radical of luminous dimension whose intellect is informed by sensibility, and whose largeness of spirit places her in the company of the truly impressive.” —Vivian Gornick, Nation

About the Author

Rosa Luxemburg (1871–1919) was a Polish-born Jewish revolutionary and one of the greatest theoretical minds of the European socialist movement. An activist in Germany and Poland, the author of numerous classic works, she participated in the founding of the German Communist Party and the Spartacist insurrection in Berlin in 1919. She was assassinated in January of that year and has become a hero of socialist, communist and feminist movements around the world.

Peter Hudis is a Lecturer at Oakton Community College. He coedited The Letters of Rosa luxemburg; The Rosa Luxemburg Reader; and Raya Dunayevskaya’s Selected Writings on the Dialectic in Hegel and Marx.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A Valuable Addition to any Political Library May 7 2014
By Terence Coggan - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter Hudis and his colleagues have done a great service to those trapped inside the English language by providing translations of these economic works of Rosa Luxemburg long available only in their original German. The book is well organized, with useful footnotes and a comprehensive glossary of names. Centerpiece of the volume is "Introduction to Political Economy" and transcripts of other lectures Luxemburg gave at the SPD party school in 1909-10. Together these form one of the best introductions to Marxist economics I have ever read. What a privilege it would have been to be one of Rosa's students! As Hudis states in his Introduction, Luxemburg "sought to make Marx's ideas more accessible, not by rephrasing or abbreviating them in a simplified or vulgarized fashion, but rather by elucidating their complexity by showing how they relate to both the emergence and the dissolution of capitalist society".

However I think the reader should be advised that not all of Hudis's commentary is reliable. He states for instance that "One will search in vain to find in her work a discussion of one of the most important Marxian concepts - the fetishism of commodities". It will be remembered Marx explained that in any society based on commodity production, we see "nothing but the definite social relation between men themselves which assume here the fantastic form of a relation between things". In the section of her "Introduction to Political Economy" entitled "Commodity Production", Luxemburg elucidates this brilliantly. She writes "Thus the shoemaker has no connection with society as a human being, only his boots allow him to adhere to society............Commodity production is the condition of life, and a state of society thereby comes into being in which people all lead their particular existence as completely separate individuals, who do not exist for each other, but only through their commodities attain a constantly fluctuating membership of the whole, or again are excluded from membership."