Rosa Luxemburg Lecture Series Unique Women

Rosa Luxemburg

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Anna Caballé


  1. Anna CaballéAnna Caballé

    Profesora titular de Literatura Española de la Universidad de Barcelona, donde es responsable de la Unidad de Estudios Biográficos. Ha sido profesora visitante de la Universidad de Virginia (Estados Unidos), de la Wszechnica Polska (Varsovia) y de la PUCRS (Brasil). Especialista en escritura auto/biográfica, es autora de los libros: La vida y la obra de Paulino Masip (1987), L'adeu a Adrià: homenatge a Marguerite Yourcenar (1989), Narcisos de tinta. Ensayo sobre la literatura autobiográfica en lengua castellana (1939-1975) (1995), Mi vida es mía, (2000, en colaboración con Joanna Bonet), Francisco Umbral. El frío de una vida (2004), Cinco conversaciones con Carlos Castilla del Pino (2005), Una breve historia de la misoginia (2006), El bolso de Ana Karenina (2008), Carmen Laforet. Una mujer en fuga (2010, con Israel Rolón, Premio Gaziel de Biografías), El feminismo en España. La lenta conquista de un derecho (2013), ¿Por qué España? Memorias del hispanismo estadounidense (2014) y Pasé la mañana escribiendo. Poética del diarismo español (2015, Premio Manuel Alvar de estudios humanísticos), entre otros.

    Además ha editado La tía Tula y Amor y pedagogía de Miguel de Unamuno (1990 y 1991) y Mi defensa. Recuerdos de provincia de Domingo Faustino Sarmiento (1996) y ha dirigido la colección La vida escrita por las mujeres (2003 y 2004), en cuatro volúmenes.

    Ha sido editora de la revista Memoria, dedicada al rescate y estudio del patrimonio autobiográfico del ámbito hispánico. Es colaboradora habitual del suplemento cultural ABC Cultural del periódico ABC y preside la Asociación Clásicas y Modernas.

    Su último libro es la biografía Concepción Arenal (2018) en la colección "Españoles eminentes", dirigida por la Fundación Juan March y editada por Taurus.

Rosa Luxemburg (or Luksenburg) was born in 1871 in the Polish city of  Zamość (while ruled by Tsarist Russia), but shortly after her family, which was Jewish, moved to Warsaw where little Rosa witnessed the first pogroms suffered by the Polish capital's ghettoes, including the street where she lived: Zlota street. This experience would deeply mark her and show her the fragility of the social and political structures. When 13 years old, she faced the visit of  Wilhelm II, German Emperor and King of Prussia, to whom she directed a mordant letter in Polish (when Russian was the language imposed by the Tsarist Russia) showing her admiration for his capacity to get on first-name terms with the Head of neighboring state: "Tell that sly villain of Bismarck, do it for Europe, Western Emperor, order him not to soil the trousers of peace". We could say that from this point, the political conscience of Luksenburg expands like a supernova: she is Jewish and Polish, and thus a victim of the boiling antisemitism of the time, and of the Tsarist domain, clearly anti-Polish. She discover social democracy, and just when she is about to be arrested she manages to escape with the help of her friend Karcin Kasprzak. She hides in Zurich, which had the only university in Europe where there were no barriers for women wanting to study. In the "Slavic pensions" of Zurich, Russians and Polish debated extensively about the possibilities of a social and political revolution in each of their countries. We should change the world! Most probably, Rosa Luksenburg became the first female doctorate Cum Laude in Political Sciences. She obtained her PhD in 1898, a time when in Spain the first female university students obtained their degree, like its the case of Dolors Aleu who practiced medicine.

"...How interesting and significative! It had to be a woman the first one to write the first profuse work on the industrial development of both Russian Poland and Russia, showing  how connected are both countries economically, and thus, how much one depends of the other politically. ¡We congratulate the feminine universe for this moral victory! This work is a new argument for the equality of rights between women and men, just in case new arguments are needed. We congratulate our comrade for this substantial, clear and captivating work".  These were words of the socialist editor Robert Seidel, in the newspaper Zürcher Volksrecht upon the publication of Luksenburg's thesis. She decides to get installed in Berlin and join the SPD. Very soon she collaborates as a social shaker: traveling to places where no other wanted to go, speaking with the workers, writing and participating in meetings and demonstrations. She proves to be unsatisfied with the procedures of the leaders of her political party as she feels that they are more worried about their own selfs that any other thing: "I am not satisfied with the way that articles are normally written in our party. Everything is so conventional, so dry, so stereotyped... I am aware it is a different world with a need for different words". Luksenburg would become an intelectual authority and celebrity within the workers realm due to the authenticity of her thinking. Reformation or revolution?, the big question within the core of the socialist parties that she resolved with clarity: Both things! The political activism of the great Polish thinker, defender of general strikes as a combat weapon and convinced pacifist, granted her with several detentions and long stays in prison that she confronted with study, writing her most important work, keeping correspondence with intelectual all over Europe, cultivating her herbariums, and creating small gardens in her cells. Her energy was unlimited. She was assassinated in 1919.