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Aldred, Guy A. Pioneers of Anti-Parliamentarism. Glasgow: Bakunin Press.

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Karl Liebknecht
Rosa Luxembourg

MARTYRED Berlin, January 15th, 1919

Section title: Liebknecht and Spartacus

Liebknecht assumed the pen-name of "Spartacus for a pamphlet which he wrote in 1916. Subsequently Rosa Luxembourg, Clara Zetkin, and Franz Mehrin wrote under the same name. Their articles were not printed, but mimeographed. Boldly they attacked the Imperial German Government, the patriotic majority Socialists, and the semi-patriotic minority.

Liebknecht proved himself more than worthy of the great name which he adopted as his own. He was truly the Spartacus of our century--a veritable giant, not of towering physique, but of splendid intellect and boundless daring.

In order to gain a correct conception of the Spartacus of Berlin, let us go back to the life of his historical parallel, the Spartacus of old Rome.

Returning from one of their expeditions of conquest, the Romans brought with them as a slave, a Thracian of herculean proportions. On account of his splendid physique, it was decided that he be sent to the training schools of Capua in order to be instructed in the gentle arts of gladiatorial combat. He was to be given a short sword and a net; he would amuse patrician and plebian; he would make conquest after conquest, and with every combat the excitement of his anticipated doom would intensify, and thus satiate the decadent lust for brutality and blood on the part of the Roman public.

Little did they know, however, of what quality the material this huge slave was made. And why should they know? Were not all slaves merely creatures of servility? But Spartacus was to teach his masters a lesson, a great historic lesson.

Spartacus was a willing scholar under the guidance of the slave gladiator instructors. He learned how to manipulate the sword with skill; he learned how to swing the net and dexterously trap his man, and finally he was prepared to meet half a dozen opponents simultaneously--and leave them on the arena, to be dragged off by the Plutos.

Spartacus, however, had not the slightest intention of ever allowing himself to be dragged from the arena and having his skull smashed by the Pluto's horrible sledge-hammer.


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