I take her flowers. I lay them on her grave. I raise my fist. I sing the Internationale. I stand in silence. Then I turn and go. It is a cold day at Lichterfelde Cemetery in the East of Berlin. I raise the collar of my coat, pull my gloves on tight and had off to get the tram back to the city centre.
There are two women whose graves I visit who I never knew. One, as some of you will know is Marlene Dietrich. She is buried far from here in the western half of the city. Today I have been paying my respects to a very different woman, the socialist revolutionary, Rosa Luxemburg who died in 1919, murdered by far right thugs, 43 years before I was born.
Rosa was born in the Russian partition of Poland in 19871 and ended up in Berlin after studying in Zurich. She was a committed socialist, a principled opponent of the War as most of her party the SPD obediently danced to the patriotic tune, later on a doomed revolutionary in the chaos that engulfed Germany in the months that followed the collapse of the Kaiser’s regime. She was, above all, a woman of wide ranging interests, (she was a keen amateur botanist for example, but a woman of intellectual brilliance, fluent in five languages, incredibly widely read but always hungry for new knowledge, new ideas. It was this that attracted me to her. She is my secret crush, a crush that transcends time. I can never know her body. But I can engage with her mind. And engaging with brilliant minds can be deeply erotic.
My sexual energy is what powers many aspects of my life. It powers my deep reading both of fiction and history and philosophy, it powers my writing, it powers my activism. It opens doors to me. Doors to engage with a range of people in ways that are erotically deeply satisfying, but which do not have to involve my body engaging with theirs. This realisation has been a life saver over the last year. And Rosa is always there for me, as a symbol of this.
These are dark times for progressive politics generally, let alone socialist politics. The I too will not live to see the overthrow of the capitalist neoliberal order and the struggle will be, for all of us, about scraps, about small gains, I so what I do as an act of love for her, who loved, for love is what will save us all, it is what makes our brief journey through this mess worthwhile.
A post for Kink of the Week – Sapiosexuality. Click on the badge to see how this theme has inspired other bloggers – some of them with minds more brilliant than my own and who I might, just find rather sexy.