By circular, with adaptations:
This month is the 50th anniversary of the death of the great Rudolf Rocker. The Jewish East End Celebration Society (JEECS) is holding, on Sunday 21st September,
- an afternoon event and celebration at Toynbee Hall (details below)
- a walk in the morning (details below)
Rocker was a non-Jewish German anarchist bookbinder who lived for a couple of decades in the East End of London as the “rabbi” of the Yiddish anarchist and labour movement there. He later lived in Germany, where he was a key figure in the syndicalist movement, and then in upstate New York, where he was associated with the Freie Arbeiter Stimme group and the libertarian education movement. His great works include The Tragedy of Spain, The Truth About Spain, Anarchism or Sovietism and his magnum opus Nationalism and Culture.
The afternoon celebration
Chaired by Anthony Rudolf:
The event is at 2.30. It is £10 to get in (£8 for JEECS members), including ham sandwiches – the food of choice for the East End Jewish anarchists [FiG – oh, what a turn-off]. Further details from Jeecs chairman Clive Bettington, 07941 367882 or mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- the keynote speaker, if his health allows, will be Bill Fishman, Cable Street veteran, author of the wonderful East End Jewish Radicals and well-known tour guide.
- Ben Gidley on “Why Rudolf Rocker matters”. Ben Gidley is a researcher at the Centre for Urban and Community Research at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has researched Jewish radicals in East London, focusing on the period around World War I, and has written about British Jewish responses to the Kishinev pogrom. He has contributed to Limmud’s New Voices in Jewish Thought, Jewish Socialist, Democratiya and other periodicals.
- Brian Morris will speak on “Rocker as an anarchist”. Brian Morris, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London, is a leading intellectual historian of anarchism. His works include Bakunin: The Philosophy of Freedom (1993), Kropotkin: The Politics of Community (2003), the essay collection Ecology and Anarchism (1996), and several key works in anthropology and ethnobotany. He has also contributed to periodicals such as Anarchist Studies, Freedom, The Raven (on Tolstoy and anarchism), Green Anarchist (on Rocker) and Philosophy Now (on Nietzsche and anarchism).
- Julia Weiner will also speak, on Fermin Rocker, Rudolf’s son, a great artist and illustrator, whose 100th birthday would have been last Autumn. (His painting of his family, from AskArt, is on the right here, and his engraving of his father, from Jon’s anarchist librarian web page, is above.)
Walk details – Rudolf Rocker and the Radical History of the Jewish East End
Clive Bettington looks at the life of anarchist leader Rudolf Rocker and the general history of radical politics in the Jewish East End. 10.30 am from Aldgate Tube. £8/£6. 07941 367 882 email@example.com
And on Radio 3
Also, BBC Radio 3’s Sunday Feature will be broadcasting “The First War on Terror” on Sunday 28th September, on the policing of anarchists in early twentieth century London, presented by Hari Kunzru and featuring JEECS’ Clive Bettington, Ben Gidley and others.