Dear Dirty America


In Prisons Jammed with "Politicals"

March 07
15:00 2012

Rosa Luxembourg wrote in her journal on March 13, 1906, after being arrested by Polish authorities:

I’m sitting here in the City Hall [prison], where “politicals”, common criminals, and the mentally ill are all crammed together. My cell, which is a jewel in this setting (an ordinary single cell that in normal times holds one person), now holds fourteen guests, fortunately all politicals.

And not real thugs or rapists or murderers, and so on. She continued:

Next door to us are two large double-cells, each with about thirty persons all in a state of confusion. But these conditions, I am told, are like paradise. Earlier there were sixty people in a cell, and at night they slept in shifts for a couple of hours each while the others were walking. Now we all sleep like kings, lying across wooden benches and packed next to one another like sardines, and everything going quite well–as long as no extra music is brought in, as happened yesterday, for example, when we received a new colleague, a raving mad Jewish woman, who for twenty-four hours straight kept [everyone in] all the cells holding their breath because of her screaming and running around, and she brought quite a few of the politicals to tears.

In 1919, Luxembourg was arrested in Berlin during the Spartakist Uprising by the German Army and Freikorps (which later became the Nazi party). Soon after, Rosa was shot in the back of the head while in prison.

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