July 30, 2018

Rosa Luxemburg’s Ethical Feminism

Drucilla Cornell

In this essay, Drucilla Cornell discusses the relevance of Rosa Luxemburg’s socialist feminism for our times. Presented as a keynote address at the annual conference of the International Rosa Luxemburg Society in Chicago earlier this year, Cornell makes the case that Luxemburg’s take on feminism was not just about “gender trouble.” Rather, she situated gendered inequalities within a broader context of imperial and colonial domination and recognized—decades before the framework of intersectionality was first introduced into feminist theory—how gendered, racial, and class exploitation are intrinsically linked. In this text, Cornell argues that if we are to take Luxemburg’s feminism seriously, emancipation and liberation can only be achieved by following a new practice of being human—one that is at once gentle and principled.