Remembering Rudolf Rocker

Sketch of Rudolf Rocker

Rudolf Rocker carved an unforgettable place as a social philosopher

Throughout his long and active life as a writer, speaker and libertarian activist, Rudolf Rocker carved for himself an unforgettable place as one of the great social philosophers of the Twentieth Century.  When he died on September 19, 1958 [57 years ago this week], the Argentina periodical La Protesta sadly noted, “With the passing of the old and dearly loved master the cycle of a brilliant generation of anarchist thinker and militant is closed.”

His works live on

Indeed, it was, but his many works live on after him as silent tributes to this monumental figure. Chief among them is Nationalism and Culture, a book that has been hailed around the world by such noted persons as Bertrand Russell, Albert  Einstein, Charles A. Beard, Will Durant and Lewis Mumford.  Nationalism and Culture has an enduring attraction for people throughout the world, having already been published in German, Italian, Spanish, English, Yiddish, Swedish and Dutch.  The fourth English language edition of Nationalism and Culturewhich is available in a quality, distinctive edition, reflects the worldwide respect this book has earned in its some 80 years of existence.

Unparalleled Social Philosopher

Rudolf Rocker’ insights into the origin and foundation of the State have cast a whole new perspective on political philosophy.  With the precision of a fine surgeon, he dissects the State in all its manifestations and shows how and why throughout the long course of human history the State has been the principal enemy of human social life and cultural development.  Nationalism and Culture, his masterpiece, earned for him a lasting place among modern social critics.

Rocker’s legacy continues

For those who want to know more about Rudolf Rocker, be sure to check out 33 Dunstan Houses, a book written by Rocker’s son Fermin.  It records the family history during the early years of the Twentieth Century, with a special emphasis on the World War I war years when Rudolf Rocker was imprisoned in a British prison ship for the crime of being German.

Another marvelous book by Rudolf Rocker–one that has long been out of print–is again available: The Six.  It’s Rocker’s tour de force review of six  famous literary characters. The book is a collection of lectures that Rocker gave to fellow prisoners during his captivity on an English prison ship during the First World War.

You may also find a special issue of the dandelion magazine of interest if you are a fan of Rocker.  I published it years back to commemorate the republishing of Nationalism and Culture.  It is based on a memorial meeting sponsored by the Libertarian Book Club that was held at the Workmens’ Circle Center in New York City. 

 Until later . . .

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