Arnon Grunberg



An evening in Amsterdam about Rosa Luxemburg (Zamość, 1871-Berlin, 1919), philosopher, anti-war activist, revolutionary socialist, passionate letter writer, not necessarily in this order.

I said something about her Jewish background, the early dissolution of the Weimar Republic and her interesting love life, and of course I quote her most famous maxim:

"Freedom only for the members of the government, only for the members of the Party — though they are quite numerous — is no freedom at all. Freedom is always the freedom of dissenters."

Hannah Arendt might have misinterpreted Luxemburg's ideas about freedom, might have forgotten that Luxemburg was till the end a believer in a more or loess spontaneous revolution coming from workers and soldiers, but nevertheless she understood quite early that Lenin's ideas about bolshevism would curtail essential freedoms.

To defend the freedom of dissenters, to defend the freedom of those who are abhorrent in our eyes remains essential. I would say that to be free of humiliation is also an essential freedom. Even those who have or might have humiliated others should not be humiliated themselves, we should do our utmost to avoid their humiliation.

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