When Rudolf Rocker died in 1958, the world lost a remarkable historian and social critic, and a marvelous story teller. He stepped out of obscurity in the early 20th Century to become a leading figure in anarchist circles around the world, but with his passing a long twilight of forgetfulness set in as this anarchist legend began his journey back into obscurity.
Outposts of men and women, however, remembered the powerful influence Rocker had on their lives–as a thinker, as a social activist and as a friend. Among these were the Workmen’s Circle and the Libertarian Book Club, both in New York City.
I don’t remember how I learned about the book club, but when I did I became a frequent customer and among the stash of books I bought were several by Rocker. I was so impressed with his work that I hunted out everything of his I could find. Among the Rocker collection I acquired was his magnum opus, Nationalism and Culture. When I learned it was out of print, I decided it deserved to be resurrected, so I republished it, adding a Rocker bibliography for researchers.
That’s when one of life’s miracles occurred: I met Valerio Isca–one of the workers who filled Libertarian Book Club orders. He wrote to tell me that the Workmen’s Circle and the book club were sponsoring a Rudolf Rocker memorial meeting . “Would I be able to attend–and would I give a speech?” he asked. “Of course,” I immediately replied.
That meeting was held at the Workman’s Circle on May 10, 1979. The speakers included Valerio Isca, Paul Avrich, Abe Bluestein and me. I collected those speeches and included them in an issue of the anarchist magazine I was publishing, the dandelion. That issue of the magazine also contains messages from William J. Fishman and Armando Borghi together with selected passages from Nationalism and Culture.
In the years since publishing Nationalism and Culture, I have republished other books by or about Rocker, including The Six, and 33 Dunstan Houses. I also published a memorial edition of the dandelion dedicated to my old friend Valerio Isca.
Anyone ordering a copy of any of the three books by or about Rudolf Rocker will receive a complimentary copy of the “Rudolf Rocker: A Memorial edition” of the dandelion. Just mention this bonus offer when ordering. This offer is good for as long as copies of the magazine are still available.
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