Who was Junius?

img273Junius has been used a pseudonym a number of times over the years, most famously by Rosa Luxemburg.

The “original” Junius, Lucius Junius Brutus, was real and was the founder of the Roman Republic and one its the first consuls.

The name Junius was first used as a pseudonym by a Whig polemicist of the late 1760s and early 1770s who wrote letters to the press under the name Junius (for moreon this click here). The writer’s identity is still unknown.

Junius was also used by Whig writers in the USA in the 1840s.

Rosa Luxemburg used the name to author her pamphlet on the First World War The Crisis in German Social Democracy.

The pamphlet is better known as the Junius Pamphlet (Juniusbrochure) as it was written under the pseudonym Junius after the 18th century author, rather than the Roman consul, though like many Marxists of the time Luxemburg was fond of making classical allusions, as can noticed from taking the name Spartacus for the leaflets (“briefe”, letters) or the reference to the Labour of Sisyphus that so enraged the leaders of the trade unions during the Bernstein/Revisonist affair.

kurtrosaThe pamphlet was written whilst in she was in prison for anti-war activity in 1915 but wasn’t published until June 1916.

She had finished it in April 1915 and smuggled it out of prison, but such was the lack of organisation of her group, that it was still sitting on her desk when she was released from prison in early 1916. It took another three months before it was eventually published in Switzerland.

Lenin highly rated the Junius pamphlet, but in his article praising it, was unaware of the identity of the actual author referred to Junius as “he” throughout.

It is one of less read of her famous works. It is also one of the best.

It can be got hold of reasonably cheaply (for instance at Abebooks) or is available on-line at the Marxists Internet Archive

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One response to “Who was Junius?

  1. Enjoyed your blog and see you’ve reproduced an article by Paul Mason. I’ve an interview with him that might interest you @ http://www.katewebb.wordpress.com. Just getting going in the blogosphere – let me know what you think.

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