Rudolf Rocker citations

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Rudolf Rocker

Date de naissance: 25. mars 1873
Date de décès: 19. septembre 1958

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Rudolf Rocker , historien et écrivain anarchiste, est une figure majeure du mouvement libertaire international, théoricien de l'anarcho-syndicalisme et du socialisme libertaire.

Citations Rudolf Rocker

„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.“

— Rudolf Rocker
Context: 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"

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„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.“

— Rudolf Rocker
Context: 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"

„What the Russian autocrats and their supporters fear most is that the success of libertarian Socialism in Spain might prove to their blind followers that the much vaunted "necessity of dictatorship" is nothing but one vast fraud which in Russia has led to the despotism of Stalin“

— Rudolf Rocker
Context: For two decades the supporters of Bolshevism have been hammering it into the masses that dictatorship is a vital necessity for the defense of the so-called proletarian interests against the assaults of counter-revolution and for paving the way for Socialism. They have not advanced the cause of Socialism by this propaganda, but have merely smoothed the way for Fascism in Italy, Germany and Austria by causing millions of people to forget that dictatorship, the most extreme form of tyranny, can never lead to social liberation. In Russia, the so-called dictatorship of the proletariat has not led to Socialism, but to the domination of a new bureaucracy over the proletariat and the whole people. … What the Russian autocrats and their supporters fear most is that the success of libertarian Socialism in Spain might prove to their blind followers that the much vaunted "necessity of dictatorship" is nothing but one vast fraud which in Russia has led to the despotism of Stalin and is to serve today in Spain to help the counter-revolution to a victory over the revolution of the workers and the peasants. The Tragedy of Spain (1937)

„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.“

— Rudolf Rocker
Context: 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"

„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.“

— Rudolf Rocker
Context: 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"

„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.“

— Rudolf Rocker
Context: 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"

„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.“

— Rudolf Rocker
Context: 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"

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„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.“

— Rudolf Rocker
Context: 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"

„For two decades the supporters of Bolshevism have been hammering it into the masses that dictatorship is a vital necessity for the defense of the so-called proletarian interests“

— Rudolf Rocker
Context: For two decades the supporters of Bolshevism have been hammering it into the masses that dictatorship is a vital necessity for the defense of the so-called proletarian interests against the assaults of counter-revolution and for paving the way for Socialism. They have not advanced the cause of Socialism by this propaganda, but have merely smoothed the way for Fascism in Italy, Germany and Austria by causing millions of people to forget that dictatorship, the most extreme form of tyranny, can never lead to social liberation. In Russia, the so-called dictatorship of the proletariat has not led to Socialism, but to the domination of a new bureaucracy over the proletariat and the whole people. … What the Russian autocrats and their supporters fear most is that the success of libertarian Socialism in Spain might prove to their blind followers that the much vaunted "necessity of dictatorship" is nothing but one vast fraud which in Russia has led to the despotism of Stalin and is to serve today in Spain to help the counter-revolution to a victory over the revolution of the workers and the peasants. The Tragedy of Spain (1937)

„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.“

— Rudolf Rocker
Context: 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"

„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.“

— Rudolf Rocker
Context: 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"

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„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.“

— Rudolf Rocker
Context: 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"

„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.“

— Rudolf Rocker
Context: 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"

„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.“

— Rudolf Rocker
Context: 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"

„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.“

— Rudolf Rocker
Context: 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"

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