This month we celebrate the life of the German anarcho-syndicalist, writer and publicist Rudolf Rocker, who died in the USA in September 1958 at the age of 85. A native of Mainz, Germany, Rudolf Rocker became a bookbinder after school and wandered around Europe as a craftsman’s apprentice. In 1891 he first came into contact with anarchist views, which made a strong impression on him. From 1893 to early 1895 he was a political refugee in Paris and then went to London. Here began what was probably the most unusual period of his life. A non-Jew, Rocker lived among the poor Jews of Whitechapel in London’s East End. He learned their Yiddish language, and, as editor of various Yiddish-language labour newspapers, gained strong influence in the anarcho-syndicalist Jewish trade unions in England. After the outbreak of World War I, Rocker was interned. He returned to Germany in 1919, where he co-founded the Free Workers Union of Germany (FAU), and was elected secretary of the International Workingmen’s Association in Berlin in late 1922, an organisation representing more than a million workers worldwide at the time. After the Nazis seized power, Rocker escaped to the USA, where he lived until his death in 1958. Throughout his life, Rocker was warning against totalitarian tendencies, nationalism and the idea that a fixed end goal can be achieved with anarchism or other socially progressive movements. Here’s a quote that touches upon the latter:
“Anarchism is no patent solution for all human problems, no Utopia of a perfect social order, as it has 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 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.”
This month’s design by Semi Legal Art is to celebrate Rudolf Rocker’s life-long commitment to anarchism and libertarian ideas. The slogan “Born a Rocker – Dia a Rocker” is to emphasise this commitment and pay tribute to the fact that Rudolf Rocker is continuing to ‘rock’ many peoples’ minds and hearts around the world! Are you a Rocker, too?
This design is available as white and red t-shirts as well as grey melange hoodies.
Estimated date of shipping
November 10, 2023
Estimated delivery time
Estimated delivery time for Germany, the EU, UK and Switzerland is on average 4-7 days from the date of shipping . USA and rest of the world is 7-14 days on average from the date of shipping.