ANARCHO-SYNDICALISM Theory and Practice by Rudolf Rocker. Preface by Noam Chomsky, Introduction buy Nicolas Walter


In 1937, at the behest of Emma Goldman, Rudolf Rocker (1873–1958) wrote this political and philosophical masterpiece as an introduction to the ideals fueling the Spanish social revolution and resistance to capitalism the world over. Within, he introduces anarchist ideas, a history of the international workers movement, and an outline of the strategies and tactics embraced at the time (internationalism, federalism, anti-militarism, direct action, sabotage, and the General Strike).


Rocker surveys the development of these [anarcho-syndicalist] ideas and the struggle to achieve them, and illuminates their fundamental significance. His approach is far from ‘Utopian’; this is not an abstract discourse, but a guide to action, drawing from the lessons of past failures and successes. Like other serious anarchists, Rocker ‘rejects all absolute schemes and concepts’ and appreciates that we can set no ‘definite final goals for human development’, but can only contemplate ‘an unlimited perfectibility of social arrangements and human living conditions, which are always straining after higher forms of expression’, based on new understanding, new insight. The lessons of history teach us a good deal, but nothing more clearly than the fact that we often remain quite unaware of the forms of oppression of which we are victims, or sometimes agents, until social struggle liberates our consciousness and understanding.