An excerpt from an in-progress silk-screened artist’s book inspired by the prison letters of Rosa Luxemburg. These letters are full of cogent political analysis but also loving descriptions of the birds, mice and bees that visit her cell, and musings on literature, music and love that add an extra dimension to our idea of the revolutionary.
Text- “I know it saddens you that I am not free right now to gather up the sparks that are flying about over there, to help and to provide direction there and elsewhere. Certainly that would be a fine thing, and you can imagine how every part of me is itching to do that, and every bit of news from there hits me like an electric shock that I feel all the way to my fingertips. But my not-being-able-to-take-part doesn’t get me down, not one bit, nor does it occur to me to diminish my own joy over these events by moaning and groaning about something I cannot change.
You see, I’ve just learned from the history of the past few years, and looking farther back, from history as a whole, that one should not overestimate the impact or effect that one individual can have. Fundamentally the powerful, unseen, plutonic forces in the depths are at work, and they are decisive, and in the end everything straightens itself out, so to speak, “of its own accord.” Don’t get me wrong: I’m not pronouncing my word in favor of a cheap, fatalistic optimism, which only seeks to veil its impotence. No, no, I am ready at my post at all times and at the first opportunity will begin striking the keys of World History’s piano with all ten fingers so that it will really boom. But since right now I happen to be “on leave” from World History, not through any fault of my own but because of external compulsion, I just laugh to myself and rejoice that things are moving ahead without me, and I believe with rock-hard certainty that all will go well.”