Clara Zetkin

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Clara Zetkin

Clara Zetkin (5 July 1857 – 20 June 1933) was a German Marxist theorist, communist activist, and advocate for women's rights.


  • The woman of the proletariat has achieved her economic independence but neither as a person nor as a woman or wife does she have the possibility of living a full life as an individual. For her work as wife and mother she gets only the crumbs that are dropped from the table by capitalist production.
    Consequently, the liberation struggle of the proletarian woman cannot be – as it is for the bourgeois woman, a struggle against the men of their own class. She does not need to struggle, as against the men of her own class, to tear down the barriers erected to limit her free competition... The end goal of her struggle is not free competition with men, but bringing about the political rule of the proletariat. Hand in hand with the men of her own class, the proletarian woman fights against capitalist society.
  • Where there’s a will there’s a way. We have the will to world revolution, therefore we must find the way to reach the masses of the exploited and the enslaved women, whether the historical conditions make it easy or difficult.
  • The liberation of the workers can only be the work of the working class itself, it can never accomplish this gigantic and terrible work of history, however, if it is torn in two halves by the sex distinction. As the men and women of the proletariat are united body and soul in their crushing life of misery, so must they also unite a burning hatred of capitalism with a more confident, more daring will to fight for the Revolution.
  • [About Rosa Luxemburg] With a will, determination, selflessness and devotion for which words are too weak, she consecrated her whole life and her whole being to Socialism. She gave herself completely to the cause of Socialism, not only in her tragic death, but throughout her whole life, daily and hourly, through the struggles of many years ... She was the sharp sword, the living flame of revolution.
    • As quoted in Rosa Luxemburg, Ideas in Action (1972) by Paul Frölich, p. x
  • [About Rosa Luxemburg] Rarely was heard on her lips the phrase, “I cannot”; more frequently were heard the words, “I must.”

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