28 Oct. 2022

Parallel Lives: Rosa Luxemburg and Hannah Arendt

Join us as we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the opening of our office in New York with a conversation about the intersecting lives of these two influential thinkers


Hannah Arendt was introduced to the work of Rosa Luxemburg by her mother Martha Cohn, who took her to see Luxemburg speak at a general strike rally shortly before she was assassinated by the Freikorps in January 1919. The life and work of Luxemburg left a lasting impression on the young Arendt. Drawing from Luxemburg’s work on political economy and imperialism in The Origins of Totalitarianism and her writing on expropriation in The Human Condition, Arendt wrote about modern worldly alienation and what happens when government and economics become inseparable. In her essay, “Rosa Luxemburg,” Arendt writes: “What mattered most in her view was reality, in all its wonderful and all its frightful aspects, even more than revolution itself.” And yet, Luxemburg was a revolutionary who fought for socioeconomic justice and social democracy. Her biography is one of resistance and revolt. She was a vocal critic of Russian revolutionary and German social democracy rule. Lenin ordered her book, The Russian Revolution, to be burned. Join us for an evening to discuss the lives and works of Hannah Arendt and Rosa Luxemburg. How might their work might help us to think about contemporary problems society faces today?

Join us, Friday, October 28th, at Goethe-Institut New York (30 Irving Place, NYC) for Parallel Lives: Rosa Luxemburg and Hannah Arendt. With Seyla Benhabib (Eugene Meyer Professor Emerita of Political Science and Philosophy, Yale University and Senior Research Scholar at Columbia Law School and Center for Contemporary Critical Theory), law professor Drucilla Cornell (co-editor of Creolizing Rosa Luxemburg) and Arendt biographer and Brooklyn Institute faculty Samantha Hill, we’ll explore the intersecting lives and works of Luxemburg and Arendt, two 20th-century thinkers whose ostensible differences seem to mask deeper affinities.

Parallel Lives: Rosa Luxemburg and Hannah Arendt, co-sponsored by Goethe-Institut New York and Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, is being held in conjunction with Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung New York Office’s 10th Anniversary celebration.

When: Friday, October 28, 7:00 PM

Where: Goethe-Institut New York, 30 Irving Place, New York City

Attendance is free with RSVP. Please register here.