Archive for May, 2010

Rudolf Rocker’s Yiddish translation of Nietzsche’s ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ (1910)

Title page of Rocker's Yiddish translation of 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra'

German radical Rudolf Rocker was one of the most prominent figures of the anarcho-syndicalist movement during the classical period. His works such as Nationalism and Culture (as well as works of literary criticism like The Six) also made him anarcho-syndicalism’s most noted intellectual in the Anglophone world. A polyglot, Rocker learned Yiddish and became a well-known organizer of Jewish workers when he lived in London.

Lesser known is Rocker’s work as a translator, and his most interesting work was a Yiddish translation of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra. The Yiddish edition can be read online here.

Some of his Rocker’s works in Yiddish are available here as well.

(Special thanks to the Russian anarchist blogger Laplandian for finding these resources.)

Walter Laqueur on Assassinations of Arab Binationalists (1972)

The attempts to find ‘reasonable Arab leaders’ continued. During the war [[World War II]] a ‘Committee of Five’ had been established, which included some of the most respected members of the Jewish community. With the blessing of the Jewish agency they made contact with leading Arab personalities in yet another effort to find a common language. They met and talked and prepared more blueprints, only to realize in the end that in spite of all the outward civilities there was no common ground. There were occasional rays of hope: at one stage Ihud found Fawzi Darwish Hussaini, a respected Arab personality and a cousin of the mufti, willing to sign an agreement with his Jewish friends providing for a bi-national state based on the principle of no domination of one nation over the other. He suggested the immediate establishment of political clubs and a daily newspaper to combat the influence of the Arab war party. On 11 November 1946, five members of Young Palestine, Fawzi’s group, signed an agreement concerning common political action with Ihud representatives, but this promising initiative came to a sudden and tragic end. Twelve days later Fawzi was killed by Arab terrorists and his group dispersed. ‘My cousin stumbled and received his proper punishment’, Jamal Hussaini, one of the leaders of the extremist party, declared a few days later. In September 1947, Sami Taha, a prominent Haifa trade resident, was killed; his society declared itself in favor of a Palestinian, not an Arab state, acknowledging that Jews too had certain rights. He never pressed the point very strongly, but the mere suspicion of such lack of patriotism was sufficient to make him a target for extremists. With these and other murders, the few hopes for a Zionist-Arab dialogue were buried and the stage set for a direct military confrontation.

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from A History of Zionism by Walter Laqueur (NY: Schocken Books, 1972/1989), p 267.

RADICAL ARCHIVES NOTE: On the page before, Laqueur describes Ihud (Union) as a Zionist, binationalist, anti-partition group which included Judah Magnes, as well as members of Brit Shalom and Hashomer Hatzair.

Spencer Sunshine: “Nietzsche and the Anarchists” (2005)

The proposal to combine Nietzsche and anarchism must sound audacious to many people. Even if one doesn’t hold to the old belief that the “working class” (whoever that might be today) are the only ones who can make revolutionary change, wasn’t Nietzsche an influence on the fascists, and an individualist who championed the right of the strong to rule over the weak? And doesn’t Nietzsche himself repeatedly denounce the anarchist movement of his day, calling them “dogs” and accusing them of ressentiment?

Without consulting Nietzsche’s works themselves in an attempt to “prove” or “disprove” whether he is compatible with anarchism or not, I believe that a more fruitful way to approach this proposed conjunction is to look at the historical record of how left-wing anarchists have approached Nietzsche. The surprising answer is that many of them quite liked him, including the “classical anarchists”; in fact, some of them even used his ideas to justify anarchist beliefs about class struggle.

The list is not limited to culturally-oriented anarchists such as Emma Goldman, who gave dozens of lectures about Nietzsche and baptized him as an honorary anarchist. Pro-Nietzschean anarchists also include prominent Spanish CNT–FAI members in the 1930s such as Salvador Seguí and anarcha-feminist Federica Montseny; anarcho-syndicalist militants like Rudolf Rocker; and even the younger Murray Bookchin, who cited Nietzsche’s conception of the “transvaluation of values” in support of the Spanish anarchist project.

There were many things that drew anarchists to Nietzsche: his hatred of the state; his disgust for the mindless social behavior of “herds”; his (almost pathological) anti-Christianity; his distrust of the effect of both the market and the State on cultural production; his desire for an “overman” — that is, for a new human who was to be neither master nor slave; his praise of the ecstatic and creative self, with the artist as his prototype, who could say, “Yes” to the self-creation of a new world on the basis of nothing; and his forwarding of the “transvaluation of values” as source of change, as opposed to a Marxist conception of class struggle and the dialectic of a linear history.

Continue reading ‘Spencer Sunshine: “Nietzsche and the Anarchists” (2005)’

Libertarian League: “What We Stand For” (1963)

The “free” world is not free; the “communist” world is not communist. We reject both: one is becoming totalitarian; the other is already so.

Their current power structure leads inexorably to atomic war and the probable destruction of the human race.

We charge that both systems engender servitude. Pseudo-freedom based on economic slavery is no better than pseudo-freedom based on political slavery.

The monopoly of power which is the state must be eliminated. Government itself, as well as its underlying institutions, perpetuates war, oppression, corruption, exploitation, and misery.

We advocate a world-wide society of communities and councils based on cooperation and free agreement from the bottom (federalism) instead of coercion and domination from the top (centralism). Regimentation of people must be replaced by regulation of things.

Freedom without socialism is chaotic, but socialism without freedom is despotic. Libertarianism is free socialism.

_ _ _

These ideas are expanded upon in the provisional statement of the principles of the Libertarian League and in other literature that will be supplied free on request.


P.O. Box 261, Cooper Station
New York 3, N.Y.

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from View and Comments, #45 (Fall 1963), back cover [p 26]


RADICAL ARCHIVES NOTE: Earlier versions of this statement, which were somewhat shorter, were printed in previous issues of Views and Comments.

Social Revolutionary Anarchist Federation (SRAF) declaration (1972)

The overwhelming majority of people have no control over the direction or the use to which our lives are put. We fight for self-direction, self-initiation, self-management and the end to all bosses and leaders. We fight for economic freedom, where we can all enjoy the full leisure and wealth we produce, or are kept from producing.

Instead of government, which takes power from us and gives only the weakness of slavery, we propose the cooperative federation of equal people, full of the dignity which authorities and their functionaries deny.

Instead of taxation and the profit system which pretends to distribute wealth and resources in an equitable manner, we propose collective self-management of our surpluses, and collective rationing of any scarcities.

These collective decisions shall be made by popular assemblies, general and open to all. Thus constituted, all will have access to those with the knowledge of how to make, move or produce all things and services; and to those who actually have the needs to be met.

In other words, we will all have access to each other. No longer will bureaucracies isolate us from each other. Gone will be the leaders and the technicians who claim to know, or claim the exclusive expertise to be able to find out how to do everything from making match-books to bargaining for us, for our benefit.

Without the social distortion produced by tax and profit systems, we can cease the production which is a mere waste of time and resources; and which will suffocate everyone in the service of profit and the power accumulations of a very few ruling parasites.

We fight joyfully, irreverently, and resolutely against all hierarchies, all bosses and leaders, all mediating hierarchy. Bureaucrats are a doomed species.

We relate among ourselves as absolute equals, deserving of equal dignity in all things regardless of strength of mind and body. In federation we develop the audacity to change the world.

But no unity can be coerced. As heretics, we invite heresy. Any locality (self-defined) can veto any decision made on a more general basis as it applies to that locality. Dissenting minorities care not to be denied the means of adequate existence to maintain their intellectual, spiritual or physical independence. In the SRAFederation, dissenting minorities cannot be expelled, or denied recognition as anarchists, or even as members of the SRAFederation. Any resignation by a minority must be voluntary and a part of that minority’s process of self-determination.

We federate together to practice anarchist forms of relating among people for social and private purposes.

We practice now the forms we want to see develop further, along with new forms, in the revolutionary society we will help to build.

We federate together now to focus our strength for the maximum impact on society which our energy and numbers can create.

We federate now, not for our children, but so that we ourselves may enjoy the fruits of our efforts. If we do this, there will be a future for our children to build and shape in their own way.

The wreckers of the world — the profit takers, the leaders, generals, popes, and presidents, the authorities and their functionaries, the bureaucrats —  have been doing their worst to us for long enough! It must now end.

It is clear that an anarchist society lies in the future and not the past. Join with us for yourselves and your future.

(adopted by general assembly of the bulletin
April-August, 1972.)


The affiliated groups, 7 in Canada and 18 in the US, are listed below the declaration:

ED-SRAF, Edmonton, Alberta
SRAF-Tucson, Tucson, Arizona
VAN-SRAF, Vancouver, British Columbia
NADA, Vancouver, British Columbia
BERKELEY SRAF, Berkeley, California
SRAF-LA, Los Angeles, California
SRAFprint, Mountain View, California
SF-SRAF, San Francisco, California
CC-SRAF, Chicago, Illinois
MAYDAY GANG, Evanston, Illinois
CIA, Ames, Iowa
MFA, Orono, Maine
SRAF-A2, Ann Arbor, Michigan
MESABA SFAF, Cotton, Minnesota
FoM, Buffalo, NY
FREESPACE, New York City
HAL-SRAF, Halifax, Nova Scotia
SRAF, Toronto, Ontario
MAKHNO BRIGADE, Indiana, Pennsylvania
LIVING THEATRE, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
SEA SRAF#2, Seattle, Washington
MADISON SRAF, Madison, Wisconsin
MIL-SRAF, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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taken from Black Star Review, an anarchist publication of the Social Revolutionary Anarchist Federation, vol 1, #3; p 31.

Hakim Bey Joins the IWW (1991)


Hakim Bey, the Association for Ontological Anarchy

People who think that they know our politics, who know that we are individualists (or even worse, “neo-individualists”), will no doubt be shocked to discover us taking an interest in the IWW. They’ll be even more flabbergasted to hear that Mark Sullivan & I joined the NY Artists & Writers Job Branch of the IWW this January at the urging of Mel Most (who subsequently went & died on us!). Actually, we’re a bit shocked ourselves. “Never complain, never explain” ……; but perhaps this time we’ll relax the rule a bit — hence the apologia.

The Mackay Society, of which Mark & I are active members, is devoted to the anarchism of Max Stirner, Benj. Tucker & John Henry Mackay. Moreover, I’ve associated myself with various currents of post-situationism, “zero work”, neo-dada, autonomia & “type 3” anarchy, all of which are supposed to be anathema to the IWW & syndicalism in general. Other members of the NY Artists Branch are also individualists or pacifist-anarchists (in the Julian Beck line of transmission); some unease has already been expressed during meetings about the Preamble & other IWW texts…..; so, aside from making a sentimental gesture in honor of Mel’s memory….. why are we collaborating with the IWW?

First: what’s wrong with a little sentiment? When I first discovered anarchism at about 12 or 13 I wanted to be a hobo (more practical ambition than piracy, I figured), & the Wobbly organizers appeared to me as authentic American heros. I still think so.

Continue reading ‘Hakim Bey Joins the IWW (1991)’