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New: Rosa Luxemburg biography comic book


red rosa, Rosa Luxemburg, Kate Evans, comic book, Verso BooksA comic book about one of the twentieth century’s greatest revolutionaries.

‘Red Rosa’ tells the life story of philosopher, economist, publisher, writer, organiser, political leader and martyr Rosa Luxemburg in full-colour, graphic form.

This beautifully drawn graphic life gives ‘Red Rosa’ her due as an iconic radical, but also portrays a fascinating woman with a rich love life, struggles with physical disability and an abiding love of literature and theatre.

It is, quite simply, a comic book that will contribute to the growing understanding of one of the twentieth century’s greatest revolutionaries.

The story follows Rosa from her family life in Jewish Poland where she became the leader of a general strike at age fifteen and was exiled from her homeland at eighteen to her immersion into the then largest radical party in the world, the German Social Democratic Party (SPD), to her founding of the German Communist Party and leadership of the German revolution of 1919.

Kate Evans is a radical cartoonist, artist, author and activist who draws a weekly strip for The Morning Star and feature-length cartoons in The Spark magazine.

She is also the author of numerous books, comics and zines, including ‘Funny Weather: Everything you Didn’t Want to Know About Climate Change but Probably Should Find Out’ and ‘The Food of Love’.

Red Rosa is also pretty much the perfect book for socialist-curious: Red Rosa: A Graphic Biography of Rosa Luxemburg is somewhat in the spirit of the ‘For Beginners’ and ‘Introducing’ graphic novel series.

But this is better; longer, and with more detail about Luxemburg’s really fascinating life.

She was a supersmart Polish immigrant in France/Germany who got her PhD in Economics when most women couldn’t even go to college, and who fought for democracy and workers’ rights at a time – around the beginning of the 20th century – when women couldn’t even vote.

It is an independent work put out by Verso Books, a publisher willing to put out something with more ‘adult’ content: and there is some actual nudity in here, because people, even famous thinkers (gasp) have sex. Not that it’s gratuitous, nor titillating – is just part of Luxemburg’s life.

Luxemburg had lovers, some of them younger than her, and she practised birth control.

Evans also includes personal details about Luxemburg having to wear – and hating – corsets, and discovering the French invention of the bra.

And Evans also provides, sometimes in Luxemburg’s own words, some good short introductions to or reviews of Marxism, and Marx’s critique of capitalism.

And then, for her, there is Socialism, which is really the idea that the government regulates business to protect people, and sets up systems outside the business world to take care of people.

Worth reading with most of us still floundering in our supposed economic recovery – for what Rosa Luxemburg wrote about and predicted is scarily relevant today.

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