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Rudolf Rocker

Rudolf Rocker
Born March 25, 1873(1873-03-25)
Mainz, Germany
Died September 19, 1958
Crompond, New York, United States
Known for Anarcho-syndicalist writings and activism

Johann Rudolf Rocker (March 25, 1873– September 19, 1958) was an anarcho-syndicalist writer and activist. A self-professed anarchist without adjectives, Rocker believed that anarchist schools of thought represented "only different methods of economy" and that the first objective for anarchists was "to secure the personal and social freedom of men".[1]

Contents

Mainz

Early life

Rudolf Rocker was born to the lithographer Georg Philipp Rocker and his wife Anna Margaretha née Naumann as the second of three sons in Mainz, Hesse (now Rhineland-Palatinate), Germany on March 25, 1873. This Catholic, yet not particularly devout, family had a democratic and anti-Prussian tradition dating back to Rocker's grandfather, who participated in the March Revolution of 1848. However, Georg Philipp died just four years after Rocker's birth. After that, the family managed to evade poverty, only through the massive support by his mother's family.[2] Rocker's uncle and godfather Carl Rudolf Naumann, a long-time member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), became a substitute for his dead parents and a role model, who directed the boy's intellectual development. Rocker was disgusted by his schoolteacher's authoritarian methods calling the man a "heartless despot". He was, therefore, a poor student. When he was ten, the Rocker household was joined by his mother's new husband Ludwig Baumgartner. Rocker was shocked once again as his mother died in February 1877. After his stepfather re-married soon thereafter, Rocker was put into an orphanage.[3]

Disgusted by the unconditional obedience demanded by the Catholic orphanage and drawn by the prospect of adventure, Rocker ran away from the orphanage twice. The first time he just wandered around in the woods around Mainz with occasional visits to the city to forage for food and was retrieved after three nights. The second time, which was at the age of fourteen and a reaction to the orphanage wanting him to be apprenticed as a tinsmith,[4] he worked as a cabin-boy for Köln-Düsseldorfer Dampfschiffahrtsgesellschaft. He enjoyed leaving his hometown and traveling to places like Rotterdam. After he returned, he started an apprenticeship to become a typographer like his uncle Carl.[5]

Political activism

"Political rights do not originate in parliaments; they are, rather, forced upon parliaments from without. And even their enactment into law has for a long time been no guarantee of their security. Just as the employers always try to nullify every concession they had made to labor as soon as opportunity offered, as soon as any signs of weakness were observable in the workers' organizations, so governments also are always inclined to restrict or to abrogate completely rights and freedoms that have been achieved if they imagine that the people will put up no resistance. Even in those countries where such things as freedom of the press, right of assembly, right of combination, and the like have long existed, governments are constantly trying to restrict those rights or to reinterpret them by juridical hair-splitting. Political rights do not exist because they have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with the violent resistance of the populace . Where this is not the case, there is no help in any parliamentary Opposition or any Platonic appeals to the constitution."

Rudolf Rocker, Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory & Practice, 1947 [6]

Carl also had a substantial library consisting of socialist literature of all colors. Rocker was particularly impressed by the writings of Constantin Franz, a federalist and opponent of Bismarck's centralized German Empire; Eugen Dühring, an anti-Marxist socialist, whose theories had some anarchist aspects; novels like Victor Hugo's Les Misérables and Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward; as well as the traditional socialist literature such as Karl Marx's Capital and Ferdinand Lasalle and August Bebel's writings.[7] Although Rocker is unlikely to have grasped all of the political and philosophical implications of what he read, he became a socialist and regularly discussed his ideas with others. His employer became the first person he converted to socialism.[8]

Under the influence of his uncle, he joined the SPD and became active in the typographers' labor union in Mainz. He volunteered in the 1890 electoral campaign, which had to be organized in semi-clandestinity because of continuing government repression, helping the SPD candidate Franz Jöst retake the seat for the district Mainz-Oppenheim in the Reichstag. Because the seat was heavily contested, important SPD figures like August Bebel, Wilhelm Liebknecht, Georg von Vollmar, and Paul Singer visited the town to help Jöst and Rocker had a chance to see them speak.[9]

In 1890, there was a major debate in the SPD about the tactics it would choose after the lifting of the Anti-Socialist Laws. A radical oppositional wing known as Die Jungen (The Young Ones) developed. While the party leaders viewed the parliament as a means of social change, Die Jungen thought it could at best be used to spread the socialist message. They were unwilling to wait for the collapse of capitalist society, as predicted by Marxism, rather they wanted to start a revolution as soon as possible. Although this wing was strongest in Berlin, Magdeburg, and Dresden, it also had a few adherents in Mainz, among them Rudolf Rocker. In May 1890, he started a reading circle, named Freiheit (Freedom), to study theoretical topics more intensively. After Rocker criticized Jöst and refused to retract his statements, he was expelled from the party. The same would happen to the rest of Die Jungen in October 1891. Nonetheless, he remained active and even gained influence in the socialist labor movement in Mainz. Although he had already encountered anarchist ideas as a result of his contacts to Die Jungen in Berlin, his conversion to anarchism did not take place until the International Socialist Congress in Brussels in August 1891. He was heavily disappointed by the discussions at the congress, as it, especially the German delegates, refused to explicitly denounce militarism. He was rather impressed by the Dutch socialist and later anarchist Domela Nieuwenhuis, who attacked Liebknecht for his lack of militancy. Rocker got to know Karl Höfer, a German active in smuggling anarchist literature from Belgium to Germany. Höfer gave him Bakunin's God and the State and Kropotkin's Anarchist Morality, two of the most influential anarchist works, as well as the newspaper Autonomie.[10]

Mikhail Bakunin

Rocker became convinced that the source of political institutions is an irrational belief in a higher authority, as Bakunin claimed in God and the State. However, Rocker rejected the Russian's rejection of theoretical propaganda and his claim that only revolutions can bring about change. Nevertheless, he was very much attracted by Bakunin's style, marked by pathos, emotion, and enthusiasm, designed to give the reader an impression of the heat of revolutionary moments. Rocker even attempted to emulate this style in his speeches, but was not very convincing. Kropotkin's anarcho-communist writings, on the other hand, were structured logically and contained an elaborate description of the future anarchist society. The work's basic premise, that an individual is entitled to receive the basic means of living from the community independently of his or her personal contributions, impressed Rocker.[11]

In 1891, all Die Jungen were either expelled from the SPD or left voluntarily. They then founded the Union of Independent Socialists (VUS). Rocker became a member and founded a local section in Mainz, mostly active in distributing anarchist literature smuggled in from Belgium or the Netherlands in the city. He was a regular speaker at labor union meetings. On December 18, 1892, he spoke at a meeting of unemployed workers. Impressed by Rocker's speech, the speaker that followed Rocker, who was not from Mainz and therefore did not know at what point the police would intervene, advised the unemployed to take from the rich, rather to starve. The meeting was then dissolved by the police. The speaker was arrested, while Rocker barely escaped. He decided to flee Germany to Paris via Frankfurt. He had, however, already been toying with the idea of leaving the country, in order to learn new languages, get to know anarchist groups abroad, and, above all, to escape conscription.[12]

Paris

In Paris, he first came into contact with Jewish anarchism. In Spring 1893, he was invited to meeting of Jewish anarchists, which he attended and was impressed by. Though neither a Jew by birth nor by belief, he ended up frequenting the group's meeting, eventually holding lectures himself. Solomon Rappaport, later known as S. Ansky, allowed Rocker to live with him, as they were both typographers and could share Rappaport's tools. During this period, Rocker also first came into contact with the blending of anarchist and syndicalist ideas represented by the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), which would influence him in the long term. In 1895, as a result of the anti-anarchist sentiment in France, Rocker traveled to London to visit the German consulate and examine the possibility of his returning to Germany but was told he would be imprisoned upon return.[13]

London

Rocker's first years in London

Rocker decided to stay in London. He got a job as the librarian of the Communist Workers' Educational Union, where he got to know Louise Michel and Errico Malatesta, two influential anarchists. Inspired to visit the quarter after reading about "Darkest London" in the works of John Henry Mackay, he was appalled by the poverty he witnessed in the predominantly Jewish East End. He joined the Jewish anarchist Arbeter Fraint group he had obtained information about from his French comrades, quickly becoming a regular lecturer at its meetings. There, he met his lifelong companion Milly Witkop, a Ukrainian-born Jew who had fled to London in 1894. In May 1897, having lost his job and with little chance of re-employment, Rocker was persuaded by a friend to move to New York. Witkop agreed to accompany him and they arrived on the 29th. They were, however, not admitted into the country, because they were not legally married. They refused to formalize their relationship. Rocker explained that their "bond is one of free agreement between my wife and myself. It is a purely private matter that only concerns ourselves, and it needs no confirmation from the law." Witkop added: "Love is always free. When love ceases to be free it is prostitution." The matter received front-page coverage in the national press. The Commissioner-General of Immigration, the former Knights of Labor President Terence V. Powderly, advised the couple to get married to settle the matter, but they refused and were deported back to England on the same ship they had arrived on.[14]

Unable to find employment upon return, Rocker decided to move to Liverpool. A former Whitechapel comrade of his persuaded him to become the editor of a recently founded Yiddish weekly newspaper called Dos Fraye Vort (The Free Word), even though he did not speak the language at the time. The newspaper only appeared for eight issues, but it led the Arbeter Fraint group to re-launch its eponymous newspaper and invite Rocker to return to the capital and take over as its editor.[15]

1899 advertisement for a lecture by Emma Goldman in Arbayter Fraynd

Although it received some funds from Jews in New York, the journal's financial survival was precarious from the start. However, many volunteers helped by selling the paper on street corners and in workshops. During this time, Rocker was especially concerned with combating the influence of Marxism and historical materialism in London's Jewish labor movement. In all, the Arbeter Fraint published twenty-five essays by Rocker on the topic, the first ever critical examination of Marxism in Yiddish, according to William J. Fishman. Arbeter Fraint's unsound financial footing also meant Rocker rarely received the small salary promised to him when he took over the journal and he depended financially on Witkop. Despite Rocker's sacrifices, however, the paper was forced to cease publication for lack of funds. In November 1899, the prominent American anarchist Emma Goldman visited London and Rocker met her for the first time. After hearing of the Arbeter Fraint's situation she held three lectures to raise funds, but that was not enough.[16]

Peter Kropotkin

Not wanting to be left without any means of propaganda, Rocker founded the Germinal in March 1900. Compared to Arbeter Fraint, it was more theoretical, applying anarchist thought to the analysis of literature and philosophy. It represented a maturation of Rocker's thinking towards Kropotkin-ite anarchism and would survive until March 1903. 1902 saw the London Jews being targeted by a wave of anti-alien sentiment, while Rocker was away for a year in Leeds. Upon return in September, he was happy to see the Jewish anarchists had kept the Arbeter Fraint organization alive. A conference of all Jewish anarchists of the city on December 26 decided for a re-launch of the Arbeter Fraint newspaper as the organ of all Jewish anarchists in Great Britain and Paris and made Rocker the editor. The first issue appeared on March 20, 1903. Following the Kishinev pogrom in the Russian Empire, Rocker led a demonstration in solidarity with the victims, the largest ever gathering of Jews in London. Afterwards he traveled to Leeds, Glasgow, and Edinburgh to lecture on the topic.[17]

Jewish anarchism's golden years

December 1906 edition of Germinal

From 1904, the Jewish labor and anarchist movements in London reached their "golden years", according to William J. Fishman. In 1905, publication of Germinal resumed, it reached a circulation of 2,500 a year later, while Arbeter Fraint reached a demand of 5,000 copies. In 1906, the Arbeter Fraint group finally realized a long-time goal, the establishment of a club for both Jewish and gentile workers. The Workers' Friend Club was founded in a former Methodist church on Jubilee Street. Rocker, by now a very eloquent speaker, became a regular speaker. As a result of the popularity of both the club and Germinal beyond the anarchist scene, Rocker befriended many prominent non-anarchist Jews in London, among them the Zionist philosopher Ber Borochov.[18]

From June 8, 1906, Rocker was involved in a garment workers' strike. Wages and working conditions in the East End were much lower than in the rest of London and tailoring was the most important industry. Rocker was asked by the union leading the strike to become part of the strike committee along with two other Arbeter Fraint members. He was a regular speaker at the strikers' gatherings. The strike failed, because the strike funds ran out. By July 1, all workers were back in their workshops.[19]

Rudolf Rocker (back row, second from left) with several London anarchists; his arm over Milly Witkop's shoulder

Rocker represented the federation at the International Anarchist Congress in Amsterdam in 1907. Errico Malatesta, Alexander Shapiro, and he became the secretaries of the new Anarchist International, but it only lasted until 1911. Also in 1907, his son Fermin was born. In 1909, while visiting France, Rocker denounced the assassination of the anarchist pedagogue Francisco Ferrer, leading him to be deported back to England.[20]

In 1912, Rocker was once again an important figure in a strike by London's garment makers. In late April, 1,500 tailors from the West End, who were more highly skilled and better-paid than those in the East End, started striking. By May, the total number was between 7,000 and 8,000. Since much of the West Enders' work was now being performed in the East End, the tailors' union there, under the influence of the Arbeter Fraint group, decided to support the strike. Rudolf Rocker on the one hand saw this as a chance for the East End tailors to attack the sweatshop system, but on the other was afraid of an anti-Semitic backlash, should the Jewish workers remain idle. He called for a general strike. His call was not followed, since over seventy percent of the East End tailors were engaged in the ready-made trade, which was not linked with the West End workers' strike. Nonetheless, 13,000 immigrant garment workers from the East End went on strike following a May 8 assembly at which Rocker spoke. Not one worker voted against a strike. Rocker became a member of the strike committee and chairman of the finance sub-committee. He was responsible for collecting money and other necessities for the striking workers. On the side he published the Arbeter Fraint newspaper on a daily basis to disseminate news about the strike. He was spoke at the workers' assemblies and demonstrations. On May 24 a mass meeting was held to discuss the question of whether to settle on a compromise proposed by the employers, which did not entail a closed union shop. A speech by Rocker convinced the workers to continue the strike. By the next morning, all of the workers' demands were met.[21]

World War I

Rocker opposed both sides in World War I on internationalist grounds. Although most in the United Kingdom and continental Europe expected a short war, Rocker predicted on August 7, 1914 "a period of mass murder such as the world has never known before" and attacked the Second International for not opposing the conflict. Rocker with some other Arbeter Fraint members opened up a soup kitchen without fixed prices to alleviate the further impoverishment that came with the Great War. There was a debate between Kropotkin, who supported the Allies, and Rocker in Arbeter Fraint in October and November. He called the war "the contradiction of everything we had fought for".[22]

Shortly after the publication of this statement, on December 2, Rocker was arrested and interned as an enemy alien. This was also the result of the anti-German sentiment in the country.[23] Arbeiter Fraynd was suppressed in 1915. The Jewish anarchist movement in Britain never fully recovered from these blows.[24]

Back in Germany

FVdG

Domela Nieuwenhuis

In March 1918, Rocker was taken to the Netherlands under an agreement to exchange prisoners through the Red Cross. In Holland, he stayed at the house of the socialist leader Domela Nieuwenhuis. There he recovered from the health problems he suffered from as a result of his internment in the UK and met up with his wife Milly Witkop and his son Fermin. He returned to Germany in November 1918 upon an invitation from Fritz Kater to join him in Berlin to re-build the Free Association of German Trade Unions (FVdG). The FVdG was a radical labor federation that quit the SPD in 1908 and became increasingly syndicalist and anarchist. During World War I, it had been unable to continue its activities for fear of government repression, but remained in existence as an underground organization.[25]

Rocker was opposed to the FVdG's alliance with the communists during and immediately after the November Revolution, as he rejected Marxism, especially the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Soon after arriving in Germany, however, he once again became seriously ill. He started giving public speeches in March 1919, including one at a congress of munitions workers in Erfurt, where he urged them to stop producing war material. During this period the FVdG grew rapidly and the coalition with the communists soon began to crumble. Eventually all syndicalist members of the Communist Party were expelled. From December 27 to December 30, 1919, the twelfth national congress of the FVdG was held in Berlin. The organization decided to become the Free Workers' Union of Germany (FAUD) under a new platform, which had been written by Rocker: the Prinzipienerklärung des Syndikalismus (Declaration of Syndicalist Principles). It rejected political parties and the dictatorship of the proletariat as bourgeois concepts. The program only recognized de-centralized, purely economic organizations. Although public ownership of land, means of production, and raw materials was advocated, nationalization and the idea of a communist state were rejected. Rocker decried nationalism as the religion of the modern state and opposed violence, championing instead direct action and the education of the workers.[26]

Heyday of syndicalism

On Gustav Landauer's death during the Munich Soviet Republic uprising, Rocker took over the work of editing the German publications of Kropotkin's writings. In 1920, the social democratic Defense Minister Gustav Noske started the suppression of the revolutionary left, which led to the imprisonment of Rocker and Fritz Kater. During their mutual detainment, Rocker convinced Kater, who had still held some social democratic ideals, completely of anarchism.[27]

In the following years, Rocker became one of the most regular writers in the FAUD organ Der Syndikalist. In 1920, the FAUD hosted an international syndicalist conference, which ultimately led to the founding of the International Workers Association (IWA) in December 1922. Augustin Souchy, Alexander Schapiro, and Rocker became the organization's secretaries and Rocker wrote its platform. In 1921, he wrote the pamphlet Der Bankrott des russischen Staatskommunismus (The Bankruptcy of Russian State Communism) attacking the Soviet Union. He denounced what he considered a massive oppression of individual freedoms and the suppression of anarchists starting with the a purg on April 12, 1918. He supported instead the workers who took part in the Kronstadt uprising and the peasant movement led by the anarchist Nestor Makhno, whom he would meet in Berlin in 1923. In 1924, Rocker published a biography of Johann Most called Das Leben eines Rebellen (The Life of a Rebel). There are great similarities between the men's vitas. It was Rocker who convinced the anarchist historian Max Nettlau to start publication of his anthology Geschichte der Anarchie (History of Anarchy) in 1925.[28]

Decline of syndicalism

During the mid 1920s, the decline of Germany's syndicalist movement started. The FAUD had reached its peak of around 150,000 members in 1921, but then started losing members to both the Communist and the Social Democratic Party. Rocker attributed this loss of membership to the mentality of German workers accustomed to military discipline, accusing the communists of using similar tactics to the Nazis and thus attracting such workers. At first only planning a short book on nationalism, he started work on Nationalism and Culture, which would be published in 1937 and become one of Rocker's best-known works, around 1925. 1925 also saw Rocker visit North America on a lecture tour with a total of 162 appearances. He was encouraged by the anarcho-syndicalist movement he found in the US and Canada.[29]

Returning to Germany in May 1926, he became increasingly worried about the rise of nationalism and fascism. He wrote to Nettlau in 1927: "Every nationalism begins with a Mazzini, but in its shadow there lurks a Mussolini". In 1929, Rocker was a co-founder of the Gilde freiheitlicher Bücherfreunde (Guild of Libertarian Bibliophiles), a publishing house which would release works by Alexander Berkman, William Godwin, Erich Mühsam, and John Henry Mackay. In the same year he went on a lecture tour in Scandinavia and was impressed by the anarcho-syndicalists there. Upon return, he wondered whether Germans were even capable of anarchist thought. In the 1930 elections, the Nazi Party received 18.3% of all votes, a total of 6 million. Rocker was worried: "Once the Nazis get to power, we'll all go the way of Landauer and Eisner" (who were killed by reactionaries in the course of the Munich Soviet Republic uprising).[30]

In 1931, Rocker attended the IWA congress in Madrid and then the unveiling of the Nieuwenhuis memorial in Amsterdam. In 1933, the Nazis came to power. After the Reichstag fire on February 27, Rocker and Witkop decided to leave Germany. As they left they received news of Erich Mühsam's arrest. After his death in July 1934, Rocker would write a pamphlet called Der Leidensweg Erich Mühsams (The Life and Suffering of Erich Mühsam) about the anarchist's fate. Rocker reached Basel, Switzerland on March 8 by the last train to cross the border without being searched. Two weeks later, Rocker and his wife joined Emma Goldman in St. Tropez, France. There he wrote Der Weg ins Dritte Reich (The Path to the Third Reich) about the events in Germany, but it would only be published in Spanish.[31]

In May, Rocker and Witkop moved back to London. There Rocker was welcomed by many of the Jewish anarchists he had lived and fought alongside for many years. He held lectures all over the city. In July, he attended an extraordinary IWA meeting in Paris, which decided to smuggle its organ Die Internationale into Nazi Germany.[32]

United States

First years

On August 27, Rocker with his wife emigrated to New York. There they were reunited with Fermin who had stayed there after accompanying his father on his 1929 lecture tour in the US. The Rocker family moved to live with a sister of Witkop's in Towanda, Pennsylvania where many families with progressive or libertarian socialist views lived. In October, Rocker toured the US and Canada speaking about racism, fascism, dictatorship, socialism in English, Yiddish, and German. He found many of his Jewish comrades from London, who had since emigrated to America, and became a regular writer for Freie Arbeiter Stimme, a Jewish anarchist newspaper. Back in Towanda in the Summer of 1934, Rocker started work on an autobiography, but news of Erich Mühsam's death led him to halt his work. He was working on Nationalism and Culture, when the Spanish Civil War broke out in July 1936 instilling great optimism in Rocker. He published a pamphlet The Truth about Spain and contributed to The Spanish Revolution, a special fortnightly newspaper published by American anarchists to report on the events in Spain. In 1937, he wrote The Tragedy of Spain, which analyzed the events in greater detail. In September 1937, Rocker and Witkop moved to the libertarian commune Mohegan Colony about 50 miles (80 km) from New York City.[33]

Nationalism and Culture and Anarcho-Syndicalism

In 1937, Nationalism and Culture, which he had started work on around 1925, was finally published with the help of anarchists from Chicago Rocker had met in 1933. A Spanish edition was released in three volumes in Barcelona, the stronghold of the Spanish anarchists. It would be his best-known work.[34] In the book, Rocker traces the origins of the state back to religion claiming "that all politics is in the last instance religion": both enslave their very creator, man; both claim to be the source of cultural progress. He aims to prove the claim that culture and power are essentially antagonistic concepts. He applies this model to human history, analyzing the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and modern capitalist society, and to the history of the socialist movement. He concludes by advocating a "new humanitarian socialism".

In 1938, Rocker published a history of anarchist thought, which he traced all the way back to ancient times, under the name Anarcho-Syndicalism. A modified version of the essay would be published in the Philosophical Library series European Ideologies under the name Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism in 1949.[35]

World War II, Pioneers of American Freedom, and final years

In 1939, Rocker had to undergo a serious operation and was forced to give up lecture tours. However, in the same year, the Rocker Publications Committee was formed by anarchists in Los Angeles to translate and publish Rockers writings. Many of his friends died around this time: Alexander Berkman in 1936, Emma Goldman in 1940, Max Nettlau in 1944; many more were imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps.[36] Although Rocker had opposed his teacher Kropotkin for his support of the Allies during World War I, Rocker argued that the Allied effort in World War II was just, as it would ultimately lead to preservation of libertarian values. Although he viewed every state as a coercive apparatus designed to secure the economic exploitation of the masses, he defended democratic freedoms, which he considered a result of a desire for freedom of the enlightened public. This position was criticized by many American anarchists, who did not support any war.[37]

After World War II, an appeal in the Fraye Arbeter Shtime detailing the plight of German anarchists and called for Americans to support them. By February 1946, the sending of aid parcels to anarchists in Germany was a large-scale operation. In 1947, Rocker published Zur Betrachting der Lage in Deutschland (Regarding the Portrayal of the Situation in Germany) about the impossibility of another anarchist movement in Germany. It became the first post-World War II anarchist writing to be distributed in Germany. Rocker thought young Germans were all either totally cynical or inclined to fascism and awaited a new generation to grow up before anarchism could bloom once again in the country. Nevertheless, the Federation of Libertarian Socialists (FFS) was founded in 1947 by former FAUD members. Rocker wrote for its organ, Die Freie Gesellschaft, which survived until 1953.[38] In 1949, Rocker published another well-known work. In Pioneers of American Freedom, a series of essays, he details the history of liberal and anarchist thought in the United States, seeking to debunk the idea that radical thought was foreign to American history and culture and had merely been imported by immigrants.[39] On his eightieth birthday in 1953, a dinner was held in London to honor Rocker. Messages of gratitude were read by the likes of Thomas Mann, Albert Einstein, Herbert Read, and Bertrand Russell.[40]

On September 10, 1958, Rocker died in the Mohigan Colony.

Works

References

  1. ^ Avrich 2006, p. 7
  2. ^ Krämer 2002, p. 315-316; Wienand 1981, p. 17; Graur 1997, p. 16, 22
  3. ^ Wienand 1981, p. 20, 28; Graur 1997, p. 17
  4. ^ Graur 1997, p. 17-18
  5. ^ Krämer 2002, p. 316; Wienand, p. 30; Graur 1997, p. 18
  6. ^ Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory & Practice: An Introduction to a Subject which the Spanish War has Brought into Prominence, by Rudolf Rocker, Modern Publishers, 1947, pg 130
  7. ^ Krämer 2002, p. 316-317; Wienand 1981, p. 34-38; Graur 1997, p. 20-21
  8. ^ Graur 1997, p. 21
  9. ^ Krämer 2002, p. 318; Graur 1997, p. 22
  10. ^ Krämer 2002, p. 318-321; Graur 1997, p. 22-34
  11. ^ Graur 1997, p. 34-36; Wienand 1981, p. 77-80, 95-96
  12. ^ Krämer 2002, p. 321-323; Graur 1997, p. 39-41; Wienand 1981, p. 110-112
  13. ^ Fishman 1974, p. 231-234 and Rübner 2007
  14. ^ Fishman 1974, p. 235-238
  15. ^ Fishman 1974, p. 239
  16. ^ Fishman 1974, p. 239-242
  17. ^ Fishman 1974, p. 243, 247-248, 251-252
  18. ^ Fishman 1974, p. 257, 261-262, 265, 286
  19. ^ Fishman 1974, p. 280-284
  20. ^ Rübner 2007
  21. ^ Fishman 1974, p. 295-299 and Fishman 1966, p. 48-49
  22. ^ Fishman 1974, p. 306-307
  23. ^ Fishman 1974, p. 307
  24. ^ Fishman 2004
  25. ^ Vallance 1973, p. 77-78
  26. ^ Vallance 1973, p. 80-81
  27. ^ Vallance 1973, p. 80
  28. ^ Vallance 1973, p. 81-85 and Rübner 2007
  29. ^ Vallance 1973, p. 86-88
  30. ^ Vallance 1973, p. 82-83, 88-89
  31. ^ Vallance 1973, p. 90-91
  32. ^ Vallance 1973, p. 91
  33. ^ Vallance 1973, p. 91-93 and Reichert 1976, p. 476, 483
  34. ^ Rothfels 1951, p. 839
  35. ^ Vallance 1973, p. 93
  36. ^ Vallance & 1973 93-94
  37. ^ Rübner 2007 and Reichert 1976, p. 483-484
  38. ^ Vallance 1973, p. 94-95
  39. ^ Dorfman 1950, p. 363
  40. ^ Reichert 1976, p. 484

Bibliography

  • Avrich, Paul (2006). Anarchist Voices. Stirling: AK Press. ISBN 1904859275. 
  • Dorfman, Joseph (August 1950). "Review: Pioneers of American Freedom: Origin of Liberal and Radical Thought in America by Rudolf Rocker". The Journal of Political Economy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press) 47 (4): 362–363. doi:10.1086/256970. ISSN 0022-3808. OCLC 1754747. 
  • Fishman, William J. (January 1966). "Rudolf Rocker: Anarchist missionary (1873-1958)". History Today (London: History Today Limited) 16 (1): 75–95. ISSN 0018-2753. OCLC 1644842. 
  • Fishman, William J. (1974). Jewish Radicals: From Czarist Stetl to London Ghetto. New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 0-394-49764-3. 
  • Fishman, William J. (2004). "Rocker, Rudolf (1873–1958)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/58606. Retrieved September 9, 2007. 
  • Graur, Mina (1997). An Anarchist Rabbi: The Life and Teachings of Rudolf Rocker. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-17273-7. 
  • Krämer, Reinhard (2002). "Die Mainzer Jahre des Anarchisten Rudolf Rocker" (in German). Mainzer Zeitschrift (Mainz: Verlag Philipp von Zabern) 96/97: 315–323. ISSN 0076-2792. OCLC 1413993. 
  • Reichert, William O. (1976). Partisans of Freedom: A Study in American Anarchism. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press. ISBN 0-87972-118-9. 
  • Rothfels, Hans (July 1951). "Review: Die Entscheidung des Abendlandes by Rudolf Rocker". American Historical Review (Washington: American Historical Association) 56 (4): 839–841. doi:10.2307/1851988. ISSN 0002-8762. OCLC 1830326. 
  • Rübner, Hartmut (2007). "Rocker, Rudolf" (in German). Datenbank des deutschsprachigen Anarchismus. http://dadaweb.de/wiki/Rocker,_Rudolf. Retrieved November 23, 2007. 
  • Vallance, Margaret (July 1973). "Rudolf Rocker—a biographical sketch". Journal of Contemporary History (London/Beverly Hills: Sage Publications) 8 (3): 75–95. doi:10.1177/002200947300800304. ISSN 0022-0094. OCLC 49976309. 
  • Wienand, Peter (1981) (in German). Der "geborene" Rebell: Rudolf Rocker - Leben und Werk. Berlin: Karin Kramer Verlag. ISBN 3-87956-0. 

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

I am an Anarchist not because I believe Anarchism is the final goal, but because there is no such thing as a final goal.
For the Anarchist, freedom is not an abstract philosophical concept, but the vital concrete possibility for every human being to bring to full development all capacities and talents with which nature has endowed him, and turn them to social account.

Rudolf Rocker (25 March 187319 September 1958) was an anarcho-syndicalist writer, historian and prominent social activist.

Contents

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We should stop regarding social processes as deterministic manifestations of a necessary course of events. Such a view can only lead to the most erroneous conclusions and contribute to a fatal confusion in our understanding of historical events.
The causes which underlie the processes of social life have nothing in common with the laws of physical and mechanical natural events, for they are purely the results of human purpose, which is not explicable by scientific methods.
All social phenomena are the result of a series of various causes, in most cases so inwardly related that it is quite impossible clearly to separate one from the other. We are always dealing with the interplay of various causes which, as a rule, can be clearly recognised but cannot be calculated according to scientific methods.
We have come more and more under the dominance of mechanics and sacrificed living humanity to the dead rhythm of the machine without most of us even being conscious of the monstrosity of the procedure. Hence we frequently deal with such matters with indifference and in cold blood as if we handled dead things and not the destinies of men.
A truly free man does not like to play the part of either the ruler or the ruled. He is, above all, concerned with making his inner values and personal powers effective in a way as to permit him to use his own judgment in all affairs and to be independent in action.
  • I am an Anarchist not because I believe Anarchism is the final goal, but because there is no such thing as a final goal.
    • The London Years (1956)

Nationalism and Culture (1937)

As translated by Ray E. Chase (1952)
Book I
  • The deeper we trace the political influences in history, the more are we convinced that the "will to power" has up to now been one of the strongest motives in the development of human social forms. The idea that all political and social events are but the result of given economic conditions and can be explained by them cannot endure careful consideration. That economic conditions and the special forms of social production have played a part in the evolution of humanity everyone knows who has been seriously trying to reach the foundations of social phenomena. This fact was well known before Marx set out to explain it in his manner. A whole line of eminent French socialists like Saint–Simon, Considerant, Louis Blanc, Proudhon and many others had pointed to it in their writings, and it is known that Marx reached socialism by the study of these very writings.
    • Ch. 1 "The Insufficiency of Economic Materialism"
  • Every process which arises from our physical being and is related to it, is an event which lies outside of our volition. Every social process, however, arises from human intentions and human goal setting and occurs within the limits of our volition. Consequently, it is not subject to the concept of natural necessity. ... We are here stating no prejudiced opinion, but merely an established fact. Every result of human purposiveness is of indisputable importance for man's social existence, but we should stop regarding social processes as deterministic manifestations of a necessary course of events. Such a view can only lead to the most erroneous conclusions and contribute to a fatal confusion in our understanding of historical events.
    It is doubtless the task of the historian to trace the inner connection of historical events and to make clear their causes and effects, but he must not forget that these connections are of a sort quite different from those of natural physical events and must therefore have quite a different valuation.
    • Ch. 1 "The Insufficiency of Economic Materialism"
  • However fully man may recognise cosmic laws he will never be able to change them, because they are not his work. But every form of his social existence, every social institution which the past has bestowed on him as a legacy from remote ancestors, is the work of men and can be changed by human will and action or made to serve new ends. Only such an understanding is truly revolutionary and animated by the spirit of the coming ages. Whoever believes in the necessary sequence of all historical events sacrifices the future to the past. He explains the phenomena of social life, but he does not change them. In this respect all fatalism is alike, whether of a religious, political or economic nature. Whoever is caught in its snare is robbed thereby of life's most precious possession; the impulse to act according to his own needs. It is especially dangerous when fatalism appears in the gown of science, which nowadays so often replaces the cassock of the theologian; therefore we repeat: The causes which underlie the processes of social life have nothing in common with the laws of physical and mechanical natural events, for they are purely the results of human purpose, which is not explicable by scientific methods. To misinterpret this fact is a fatal self-deception from which only a confused notion of reality can result.
    • Ch. 1 "The Insufficiency of Economic Materialism"
  • No thinking man in this day can fail to recognise that one cannot properly evaluate an historical period without considering economic conditions. But much more one-sided is the view which maintains that all history is merely the result of economic conditions, under whose influence all other life phenomena have received form and imprint.
    There are thousands of events in history which cannot be explained by purely economic reasons, or by them alone.
    It is quite possible to bring everything within the terms of a definite scheme, but the result is usually not worth the effort. There is scarcely an historical event to whose shaping economic causes have not contributed, but economic forces are not the only motive powers which have set everything else in motion. All social phenomena are the result of a series of various causes, in most cases so inwardly related that it is quite impossible clearly to separate one from the other. We are always dealing with the interplay of various causes which, as a rule, can be clearly recognised but cannot be calculated according to scientific methods.
    • Ch. 1 "The Insufficiency of Economic Materialism"
  • The will to power which always emanates from individuals or from small minorities in society is in fact a most important driving force in history. The extent of its influence has up to now been regarded far too little, although it has frequently been the determining factor in the shaping of the whole of economic and social life.
    • Ch. 1 "The Insufficiency of Economic Materialism"
  • The view which sees in every capitalist only a profit machine may very well meet the demands of propaganda, but it is conceived much too narrowly and does not correspond to reality. Even in modern giant capitalism the power-political interests frequently play a larger part than the purely economic considerations, although it is difficult to separate them from each other... The morbid desire to make millions of men submissive to a definite will and to force whole empires into courses which are useful to the secret purposes of small minorities, is frequently more evident in the typical representatives of modern capitalism than are purely economic considerations or the prospect of greater material profit. The desire to heap up ever increasing profits today no longer satisfies the demands of the great capitalistic oligarchies. Every one of its members knows what enormous power the possession of great wealth places in the hands of the individual and the caste to which he belongs. This knowledge gives a tempting incentive and creates that typical consciousness of mastery whose consequences are frequently more destructive than the facts of monopoly itself.
    • Ch. 1 "The Insufficiency of Economic Materialism"
  • Because of his social position there are left no limits to the power lust of the modern capitalist. He can interfere with inconsiderate egoism in the lives of his fellowmen and play the part of Providence for others. Only when we take into consideration this passionate urge for political power over their own people as well as over foreign nations are we able really to understand the character of the typical representatives of modern capitalism. It is just this trait which makes them so dangerous to the social structure of the future.
    • Ch. 1 "The Insufficiency of Economic Materialism"
  • This Caesarean madness stops at no barrier. Without compunction it rides roughshod over those achievements of the past which have all too often had to be purchased with the heart's blood of the people. It is always ready to smother with brutal violence the last rights and the last liberties which might interfere with its plans for holding all social activities within the rigid forms set by its will. This is the great danger which threatens us today and which immediately confronts us. The success or failure of monopolistic capitalistic power plans will determine the structure of the social life of the near future.
    • Ch. 1 "The Insufficiency of Economic Materialism"
  • We have increased and developed our technical ability to a degree which appears almost fantastic, and yet man has not become richer thereby; on the contrary he has become poorer. Our whole industry is in a state of constant insecurity. And while billions of wealth are criminally destroyed in order to maintain prices, in every country millions of men live in the most frightful poverty or perish miserably in a world of abundance and so-called "overproduction." The machine, which was to have made work easier for men, has made it harder and has gradually changed its inventor himself into a machine who must adjust himself to every motion of the steel gears and levers. And just as they calculate the capacity of the marvellous mechanism to the tiniest fraction, they also calculate the muscle and nerve force of the living producers by definite scientific methods and will not realise that thereby they rob him of his soul and most deeply defile his humanity. We have come more and more under the dominance of mechanics and sacrificed living humanity to the dead rhythm of the machine without most of us even being conscious of the monstrosity of the procedure. Hence we frequently deal with such matters with indifference and in cold blood as if we handled dead things and not the destinies of men.
    • Ch. 15 "Nationalism — A Political Religion"
  • To maintain this state of things we make all our achievements in science and technology serve organised mass murder; we educate our youth into uniformed killers, deliver the people to the soulless tyranny of a bureaucracy, put men from the cradle to the grave under police supervision, erect everywhere jails and penitentiaries, and fill every land with whole armies of informers and spies. Should not such "order," from whose infected womb are born eternally brutal power, injustice, lies, crime and moral rottennesslike poisonous germs of destructive plagues gradually convince even conservative minds that it is order too dearly bought?
    • Ch. 15 "Nationalism — A Political Religion"
  • The growth of technology at the expense of human personality, and especially the fatalistic submission with which the great majority surrender to this condition, is the reason why the desire for freedom is less alive among men today and has with many of them given place completely to a desire for economic security. This phenomenon need not appear so strange, for our whole evolution has reached a stage where nearly every man is either ruler or ruled; sometimes he is both. By this the attitude of dependence has been greatly strengthened, for a truly free man does not like to play the part of either the ruler or the ruled. He is, above all, concerned with making his inner values and personal powers effective in a way as to permit him to use his own judgment in all affairs and to be independent in action. Constant tutelage of our acting and thinking has made us weak and irresponsible; hence, the continued cry for the strong man who is to put an end to our distress. This call for a dictator is not a sign of strength, but a proof of inner lack of assurance and of weakness, even though those who utter it earnestly try to give themselves the appearance of resolution. What man most lacks he most desires. When one feels himself weak he seeks salvation from another's strength; when one is cowardly or too timid to move one's own hands for the forging of one's fate, one entrusts it to another. How right was Seume when he said: "The nation which can only be saved by one man and wants to be saved that way deserves a whipping!"
    • Ch. 15 "Nationalism — A Political Religion"

Anarcho-Syndicalism (1938)

Freedom is the very essence of life, the impelling force in all intellectual and social development, the creator of every new outlook for the future of mankind. The liberation of man from economic exploitation and from intellectual and political oppression, which finds its finest expression in the world-philosophy of Anarchism, is the first prerequisite for the evolution of a higher social culture and a new humanity.
Anarchism is a definite intellectual current in the life of our times, whose adherents advocate the abolition of economic monopolies and of all political and social coercive institutions within society.
Every culture, if its natural development is not too much affected by political restrictions, experiences a perpetual renewal of the formative urge, and out of that comes an ever growing diversity of creative activity. Every successful piece of work stirs the desire for greater perfection and deeper inspiration; each new form becomes the herald of new possibilities of development.
Organisation is, after all, only a means to an end. When it becomes an end in itself, it kills the spirit and the vital initiative of its members and sets up that domination by mediocrity which is the characteristic of all bureaucracies.
Political rights do not exist because they have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with the violent resistance of the populace.
Even revolutions can only develop and mature the germs which already exist and have made their way into the consciousness of men; they cannot themselves create these germs or create new worlds out of nothing.
The peoples owe all the political rights and privileges which we enjoy today in greater or lesser measure, not to the good will of their governments, but to their own strength.
  • Anarchism is a definite intellectual current in the life of our times, whose adherents advocate the abolition of economic monopolies and of all political and social coercive institutions within society. In place of the present capitalistic economic order Anarchists would have a free association of all productive forces based upon co-operative labour, which would have as its sole purpose the satisfying of the necessary requirements of every member of society, and would no longer have in view the special interest of privileged minorities within the social union.
    In place of the present state organisation with their lifeless machinery of political and bureaucratic institutions Anarchists desire a federation of free communities which shall be bound to one another by their common economic and social interest and shall arrange their affairs by mutual agreement and free contract.
    • Ch. 1 "Anarchism: Its Aims and Purposes"
  • The economic dictatorship of the monopolies and the political dictatorship of the totalitarian state are the outgrowth of the same political objectives, and the directors of both have the presumption to try to reduce all the countless expressions of social life to the mechanical tempo of the machine and to tune everything organic to the lifeless machine of the political apparatus. Our modern social system has split the social organism in every country into hostile classes internally, and externally it has broken the common cultural circle up into hostile nations; and both classes and nations confront one another with open antagonism and by their ceaseless warfare keep the communal social life in continual convulsions.
    • Ch. 1 "Anarchism: Its Aims and Purposes"
  • Anarchism is no patent solution for all human problems, no Utopia of a perfect social order, as it has so often been called, since on principle it rejects all absolute schemes and concepts. It does not believe in any absolute truth, or in definite final goals for human development, but in an unlimited perfectibility of social arrangements and human living conditions, which are always straining after higher forms of expression, and to which for this reason one can assign no definite terminus nor set any fixed goal. The worst crime of any type of state is just that it always tries to force the rich diversity of social life into definite forms and adjust it to one particular form, which allows for no wider outlook and regards the previously exciting status as finished. The stronger its supporters feel themselves, the more completely they succeed in bringing every field of social life into their service, the more crippling is their influence on the operation of all creative cultural forces, the more unwholesomely does it affect the intellectual and social development of any particular epoch.
    • Ch. 1 "Anarchism: Its Aims and Purposes"
  • Anarchism recognises only the relative significance of ideas, institutions, and social conditions. It is, therefore not a fixed, self enclosed social system, but rather a definite trend in the historical development of mankind, which, in contrast with the intellectual guardianship of all clerical and governmental institutions, strives for the free unhindered unfolding of all the individual and social forces in life. Even freedom is only a relative, not an absolute concept, since it tends constantly to broaden its scope and to affect wider circles in manifold ways. For the Anarchist, freedom is not an abstract philosophical concept, but the vital concrete possibility for every human being to bring to full development all capacities and talents with which nature has endowed him, and turn them to social account. The less this natural development of man is interfered with by ecclesiastical or political guardianship, the more efficient and harmonious will human personality become, the more will it become the measure of the intellectual culture of the society in which it has grown.
    • Ch. 1 "Anarchism: Its Aims and Purposes"
  • Every culture, if its natural development is not too much affected by political restrictions, experiences a perpetual renewal of the formative urge, and out of that comes an ever growing diversity of creative activity. Every successful piece of work stirs the desire for greater perfection and deeper inspiration; each new form becomes the herald of new possibilities of development.
    • Ch. 1 "Anarchism: Its Aims and Purposes"
  • Power operates only destructively, bent always on forcing every manifestation of life into the straitjacket of its laws. Its intellectual form of expression is dead dogma, its physical form brute force. And this unintelligence of its objectives sets its stamp on its supporters also and renders them stupid and brutal, even when they were originally endowed with the best of talents. One who is constantly striving to force everything into a mechanical order at last becomes a machine himself and loses all human feeling.
    It was from the understanding of this that modern Anarchism was born and now draws its moral force. Only freedom can inspire men to great things and bring about social and political transformations. The art of ruling men has never been the art of educating men and inspiring them to a new shaping of their lives. Dreary compulsion has at its command only lifeless drill, which smothers any vital initiative at its birth and can bring forth only subjects, not free men. Freedom is the very essence of life, the impelling force in all intellectual and social development, the creator of every new outlook for the future of mankind. The liberation of man from economic exploitation and from intellectual and political oppression, which finds its finest expression in the world-philosophy of Anarchism, is the first prerequisite for the evolution of a higher social culture and a new humanity.
    • Ch. 1 "Anarchism: Its Aims and Purposes"
  • Ideas do not make a movement; they are themselves merely the product of concrete situations, the intellectual precipitate of particular conditions of life. Movements arise only from the immediate and practical necessities of social life and are never the result of purely abstract ideas. But they acquire their irresistible force and their inner certainty of victory only when they are vitalised by a great idea, which gives them life and intellectual content.
  • Ch. 2 "The Proletariat and the Beginning of the Modern Labour Movement"
  • Modern Anarcho-Syndicalism is a direct continuation of those social aspirations which took shape in the bosom of the First International and which were best understood and most strongly held by the libertarian wing of the great workers' alliance.
    • Ch. 4 "The Objectives of Anarcho-syndicalism"
  • Participation in parliamentary politics has affected the Socialist labour movement like an insidious poison. It destroyed the belief in the necessity of constructive Socialist activity and, worst of all, the impulse to self-help, by inoculating people with the ruinous delusion that salvation always comes from above.
    Thus, in place of the creative Socialism of the old International, there developed a sort of substitute product which has nothing in common with real Socialism but the name. Socialism steadily lost its character of a cultural ideal, which was to prepare the peoples for the dissolution of capitalist society, and, therefore, could not let itself be halted by the artificial frontiers of the national states. In the minds of the leaders of this new phase of the Socialist movement the interests of the national state were blended more and more with the alleged aims of their party, until at last they became unable to distinguish any definite boundaries between them. So inevitably the labour movement was gradually incorporated in the equipment of the national state and restored to this equilibrium which it had actually lost before.
    • Ch. 4 "The Objectives of Anarcho-syndicalism"
  • For the Anarcho-Syndicalists the trade union is by no means a mere transitory phenomenon bound up with the duration of capitalist society, it is the germ of the Socialist society of the future, the elementary school of Socialism in general. Every new social structure makes organs for itself in the body of the old organism. Without this preliminary any social evolution is unthinkable. Even revolutions can only develop and mature the germs which already exist and have made their way into the consciousness of men; they cannot themselves create these germs or create new worlds out of nothing. It therefore concerns us to plant these germs while there is still yet time and bring them to the strongest possible development, so as to make the task of the coming social revolution easier and to ensure its permanence.
    All the educational work of the Anarcho-Syndicalist is aimed at this purpose.
    • Ch. 4 "The Objectives of Anarcho-syndicalism"
  • For the state centralisation is the appropriate form of organisation, since it aims at the greatest possible uniformity in social life for the maintenance of political and social equilibrium. But for a movement whose very existence depends on prompt action at any favourable moment and on the independent thought and action of its supporters, centralism could but be a curse by weakening its power of decision and systematically repressing all immediate action ... Organisation is, after all, only a means to an end. When it becomes an end in itself, it kills the spirit and the vital initiative of its members and sets up that domination by mediocrity which is the characteristic of all bureaucracies.
    • Ch. 4 "The Objectives of Anarcho-syndicalism"
  • It has often been charged against Anarcho-Syndicalism that it has no interest in the political structure of the different countries, and consequently no interest in the political struggles of the time, and confines its activities to the fight for purely economic demands. This idea is altogether erroneous and springs either from outright ignorance or wilful distortion of the facts. It is not the political struggle as such which distinguishes the Anarcho-Syndicalists from the modern labour parties, both in principle and in tactics, but the form of this struggle and the aims which it has in view. They by no means rest content with the ideal of a future society without lordship; their efforts are also directed, even today, at restricting the activities of the state and blocking its influence in every department of social life wherever they see an opportunity. It is these tactics which mark off Anarcho- Syndicalist procedure from the aims and methods of the political labour parties, all of whose activities tend constantly to broaden the sphere of influence of the political power of the state and to extend it in ever increasing measure over the economic life of society.
    • Ch. 5 "The Methods of Anarcho-Syndicalism"
  • Political rights do not exist because they have been legally set down on a piece of paper, but only when they have become the ingrown habit of a people, and when any attempt to impair them will meet with the violent resistance of the populace. Where this is not the case, there is no help in any parliamentary Opposition or any Platonic appeals to the constitution. One compels respect from others when he knows how to defend his dignity as a human being. This is not only true in private life, it has always been the same in political life as well.
    The peoples owe all the political rights and privileges which we enjoy today in greater or lesser measure, not to the good will of their governments, but to their own strength.
    • Ch. 5 "The Methods of Anarcho-Syndicalism"
  • True intellectual culture and the demand for higher interests in life does not become possible until man has achieved a certain material standard of living, which makes him capable of these. Without this preliminary any higher intellectual aspirations are quite out of the question. Men who are constantly threatened by direst misery can hardly have much understanding of the higher cultural values. Only after the workers, by decades of struggle, had conquered for themselves a better standard of living could there be any talk of intellectual and cultural development among them. But it is just these aspirations of the workers which the employers view with deepest distrust. For capitalists as a class, the well-known saying of the Spanish minister, Juan Bravo Murillo, still holds good today:"We need no men who can think among the workers; what we need is beasts of toil."
    • Ch. 5 "The Methods of Anarcho-Syndicalism"
  • Above all it is necessary to cure the labour movement of its inner ossification and rid it of the empty sloganeering of the political parties, so that it may forge ahead intellectually and develop within itself the creative conditions which must precede the realisation of Socialism. The practical attainability of this goal must become for the workers an inner certainty and must ripen into an ethical necessity. The great final goal of Socialism must emerge from all the practical daily struggles, and must give them a social character. In the pettiest struggle, born of the needs of the moment, there must be mirrored the great goal of social liberation, and each such struggle must help to smooth the way and strengthen the spirit which transforms the inner longing of its bearers into will and deed.
    • Ch. 5 "The Methods of Anarcho-Syndicalism"

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