Tuesday, February 23, 2016

History and Inspiration: "Red Rosa" by Kate Evans



I end up reading a fair number of graphic novels. The thing is that I normally just grab them from the library because I hate paying what is a higher price for a book that I will read much faster than a normal book. It makes my dollar per entertainment hour ratio increase and I’m sure that’s how most normal humans judge if they should buy a book. I am, however, glad that I purchased this book, because I can support my favorite radical publisher (Sorry, Haymarket) and I have a book I can pass along to like-minded friends – a book that most likely would not have been in my library anyways.

And it’s a good book. Before reading Red Rosa, I was only vaguely aware of her as the writer of Reform or Revolution and the General Strike. I also knew that she was a martyr to the cause of worldwide socialism. What I didn’t realize was that she had to fight her own party to not just go along with the bourgeois parties, like for example voting  to a man (and they were all men) for entry into WWI,  and instead work towards the last lines in the manifesto – “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Working Men of All Countries, Unite!” It is these lines that illuminated and drove her life from a precocious young woman in Poland to a death before her time.  Well worth reading for both history and inspiration.