On this date in 1871, Rosa Luxemburg was born in Russian Poland to a middle-class Jewish family. A revolutionary agitator by her teens, she moved to Zurich, in part to avoid possible imprisonment. She studied at the University of Zurich, receiving her doctorate in 1898. From Warsaw, Luxemburg tried to help the Russian revolution. She wrote more than 700 pamphlets, articles, speeches and books, advocating mass strikes by proletariats. She was in and out of prison, once for advocating during World War I that German soldiers turn their guns upon the government and overthrow it. In 1919, she and two leaders of the German Communist Party, which Luxemburg helped found, were arrested. She was knocked out, shot and thrown in a river. Although socialism, not freethought, was her life's passion, she wrote the article "Socialism and the Churches," in 1905, first published by the Polish Social Democratic Party. Luxemburg, who strongly believed in freedom of conscience, sought to show that the church, originally considered a refuge for workers, was now clearly oppressing them. D. 1919.
“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. ”
—Rosa Luxemburg, "Socialism and the Churches," 1905
Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor
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