Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Stalkers, Abusers, and Depression

I somehow managed to write my way through the Lenin-Luxemburg polemics in a way that my first reader (i.e., my daughter) claims to find intelligible. Now I am researching my way through the period from the 1905 Russian Revolution to the start of the World War, and what I am finding more troubling than any aspect of her politics is Luxemburg's relationship with Leo Jogiches. Consider, for example, this passage from a letter she wrote to Konstantin Zetkin (son of her dear friend Clara Zetkin, and her lover after she ended the romantic relationship with Jogiches):
Yesterday [Leo Jogiches was here], and this much is clear, that he wants to accompany me on my trip, in order to, in the event that I meet you, shoot you and himself. Can I make the trip under such circumstances? I can’t get away from him here, but also everything in me rebels against sneaking away like some sort of slave. The state of mind he’s in is no joke any longer, his inner self is shattered, he’s become abnormal, and he lives only with this idea fixed in his sight. And so once again I’m beside myself. Even if I were to sneak way by some luck, he would surely come to where you are immediately, and don’t imagine that anyone could persuade him not to carry out his plan.

This was written a full year after she had ended the romantic relationship, though their political relationship remained active, mediated by the SDKPiL--and provided the alibi for Jogiches' ready access to her. They are both well into their thirties, and Jogiches is acting like the protagonist of a Dostoevsky novel. Like a stalker. Like no man I ever want my daughter to have to deal with. Like "Karl" in this post about the British SWP.

All the evidence seems to suggest that the combination of Jogiches' treatment of her, and the shock she experienced returning from the revolutionary upheaval of Warsaw to the staid placidity of the German movement, put Rosa into a state of depression in which she could accomplish no significant political work. Another of her letters from this period, address to Clara, admits to thoughts of suicide and says, "You know that state of mind from your own experience."

What a sad waste. And how do I convey even a fraction of it to the mind of a child?

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