Tony Cliff

Rosa Luxemburg: a life of struggle

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When Rosa Luxemburg was murdered 90 years ago this month, the international workers' movement lost one of its greatest revolutionaries. Here we reprint an evaluation of her life from a pamphlet by Socialist Workers Party founder Tony Cliff, first published in 1959.

Rosa Luxemburg was born in the small Polish town of Zamosc on 5 March 1871. From early youth she was active in the socialist movement. She joined a revolutionary party called Proletariat, founded in 1882, some 21 years before the Russian Social Democratic Party (Bolsheviks and Mensheviks) came into being. From the beginning Proletariat was, in principles and programme, many steps ahead of the revolutionary movement in Russia.

Haven in a Heartless World

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The third volume of Tony Cliff's selected writings is now available and contains this extract on the family, first published in 1984.

The family does not serve as a safe haven insulated from the world of work. Work intrudes into every aspect of the worker's life. Lasch writes [in 'Haven in a Heartless World']: 'The same historical developments that have made it necessary to set up private life - the family in particular - as a refuge from the cruel world of politics and work, an emotional sanctuary, have invaded this sanctuary and subjected it to outside control. A retreat into "privatism" no longer serves to shore up values elsewhere threatened with extinction.'

1972: A Great Year for the Workers

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Thirty years ago Britain's workers were on the offensive. We reprint an article from 'Socialist Worker' which explains how solidarity and socialist politics can strengthen the workers' movement.

1972 was a tremendous year for Britain's working class. The struggle rose to new heights, both in terms of the number of workers involved, the size of strikes and their length, and above all in the quality of the struggle. There have been far more large-scale and prolonged strikes this year than in the previous ten years. November and December figures have not yet been published, but there is no doubt that the total number of strike days has reached or exceeded 30 million this year.

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