File Name: nationalism and culture rudolf rocker .zip
The will to power as a historical factor. Science and historical concepts.
- Nationalism and culture - Rudolf Rocker
- Anarchism and Nationalism
- 1. The Insufficiency of Economic Materialism
- Anarchism and Nationalism
Nationalism and culture - Rudolf Rocker
Opposition to nationalism is an almost trivial starting point for anarchist politics, reflected in antimilitarist actions, antifascism, and migrant solidarity to name a few. Anarchists work towards a society that would see the end of nations and nationalism, along with social classes and all forms of domination. So much for the propaganda line. This chapter, however, seeks to elaborate some philosophical questions that arise, not from the anarchist opposition to national chauvinism as such, but from the engagement with race and ethnocultural identity more broadly.
Yet this idea brings out very sharply the tension between the deconstructive impulse of anarchist thought and the demands of decolonial solidarity in the anarchist movement.
The move to deconstruct ethnocultural peoplehood, apart from its poststructuralist attractions, remains appealing in the critique of ethno-nationalist state ideologies and in the confrontation with the far right. On the other hand, ethnocultural identity is central to movements in which anarchists are participants or accomplices, from indigenous and black liberation in North America to national liberation movements in Chiapas, Palestine and Rojava.
Are appeals to ethnocultural identity subject to deconstructive critique selectively, on a friend-or-foe basis?
Or is this an inevitable disjuncture of theory and practice which can only be approached as a record of the social antinomies that underlie it, and resolved through their eventual transformation?
Eilgad , or the anti-German prejudices of Bakunin Shatz xxix-xxi and Kropotkin Kinna 4. Yet these were rooted in personal bigotry rather than anarchist ideology, and were never influential in the wider movement. This creates an ethical filter which takes personal stakes and asymmetries of power into account in the practice of anarchist philosophy.
By setting up the discussion in these terms, I am using the lens of nationalism to read between theoretical and political commitments and to suggest a new starting point for discussions of decolonial solidarity. Then, starting with the traditional anarchist critique of the nation as a state construct as opposed to the idea of peoples , I identify three different approaches to the role of ethnicity in collective identity.
These are the naturalist approach which sees specific peoples as part of a human family ; a class-centric approach which dismisses ethnocultural identity and the culturalist approach. The latter, expressed most fully by Rudolf Rocker, deepens the attack on nationalism by systematically undermining the stability and significance of kinship and language, as foundations for the peoplehood that nationalism claims to own.
As a proposed resolution, I suggest an ethics of deconstruction informed by the principle of subsidiarity and by attention to positionality. I close with a comment on decolonising bioregionalism. Nation, People, Class and Culture Anarchist engagements with nationalism were influenced by the movement's own transnational composition and cosmopolitan ethos Levy , Bantman The commonplace Eurocentric view notwithstanding, anarchists were active in Argentina, Cuba and Egypt as early as the s, whereas the first two decades of the 20th century saw sophisticated anarchist movements emerge from the Philippines, Peru and Japan to South Africa, Chile and Turkey Anderson , Turcato , Shaffer , Khuri-Makdisi , Ramnath In Britain and in North and South America, the influx of Jewish, Italian and Irish immigrants created multicultural working class communities in which a radical cosmopolitan outlook took hold, embracing diversity and solidarity across ethnic and cultural lines Fishman , Moya , Katz , Zimmer These transnational encounters continue to animate the anarchist movement today Cuevas Hewitt , Kalicha and Kuhn Anarchists were also early and consistent opponents of racism and slavery.
Later, at the height of lynching murders in the American South, the anarchist James F. Morton wrote an extensive pamphlet against racism and its use to dehumanise and justify atrocities. Damiani Jean Grave, as part of his critique of nationalism and militarism, disparaged both the irrationality of notions of racial and cultural superiority, and their insidious role in causing workers to legitimate their own exploitation. Another important context for anarchist responses to nationalism has been the engagement with national liberation movements.
On the one hand, Proudhon and Bakunin both opposed the Polish insurrection, which despite significant differences of approach they both saw as an elite-led effort that sidestepped the social question and threatened to embolden either French or Prussian expansionism Kofman Others, however, offered support to the liberation struggles of peoples under foreign rule, within the context of a revolutionary project to abolish domination and the institutions that maintain it.
Nationalism, in this context, is defined and rejected as an ideology of loyalty to an existing nation state cf. Goldman b, Tolstoy As for ethnocultural identity and peoplehood, we can distinguish between three approaches. I will call these the naturalist, classist and culturalist approaches. Cahm a.
Such an approach, while positively encouraging cultural diversity, sets up a continuum leading from the individual through the ethno-cultural group and on to the human species.
Similarly for Jean Grave , Certainly we do not want to assert that all races are absolutely identical; but we are persuaded that all have certain aptitudes, certain moral, intellectual, and physical qualities, which, had they been allowed to evolve freely, would have enabled them to take their part in the labor of human civilization.
A second approach denies ethnocultural identity any validity as a political point of reference, supplanting it with class. Therefore, The ethnic base of today consists of the whole of the exploited people who live in a given territory of a given nation, there being no common ethnic base between exploiter and exploited. It is logical that this class basis will be destroyed along with the destruction of the political state, where the ethnic limit will no longer coincide with the exploited…but with the whole of the men and women living in that territory who have chosen to live their lives freely ibid.
Bonanno goes beyond a rejection of ethnicity as identity — the concept is instead ontologically absorbed into class. The logic proceeds through the recursive application of a specific account of revolutionary accomplishment to pre-revolutionary conditions.
Aside from the blatant mystification of identifying class with ethnicity, this formulation cannot account for realities such as ethnic divisions within exploited populations, as seen both in colonial circumstances and in the multiethnic global north. The third, culturalist approach is also critical, but instead of supplanting ethnic identity with class, it destabilises appeals to common kinship, language and heritage as constitutive of human groups. What remains is an effectively anti-foundationalist concept of folk culture, identified with localised patterns of human interaction which remain in flux as they relay populations, practices and ideas.
Anarchic a priori, this subaltern free culture exists underneath and as-against hierarachical social relations. The organic and free unfolding of spirit among the people is contrasted to the mechanistic and compulsive state, and poised to replace it with voluntarism and mutual aid.
But the result is a concept of the folk clearly removed from any naturalist presumption of an ethnocultural basis for peoplehood. Rudolf Rocker, in Nationalism and Culture , is more explicit. In the first part of the book he is concerned with a historical and ideological critique of the modern nation state, and in this context sets up the distinction between the nation and the people in familiar naturalist terms: A people is the natural result of social union, a mutual association of men [sic] brought about by a certain similarity of external conditions of living, a common language, and special characteristics due to climate and geographic environment.
In this manner arise common traits, alive in every member of the union, and forming a most important part of its social existence Yet this formulation is misleading, since in the second part of the book Rocker reboots the critique of nationalism, extending it to an attack on the stability and significance of language and ethnic ties.
Yet in introducing this critique he points beyond the mere rejection of racial supremacism to a questioning of ethnocultural distinctiveness in itself.
We will return to the comment on indigenous people later on. For the moment, it should be noted that with his emphasis on flux and change, Rocker is seeking to excise any stable ethnic characteristics from his cultural account of peoplehood. Every new culture is begun by such a fusion of different folk elements and takes its special shape from this Yet this is a very thin universalism, which leaves the substantive content of cultural articulation open and inherently mutable.
Decolonial Destabilisations Alongside naturalist accounts of ethnocultural identity, anarchists have also questioned its stability and significance in their critiques of nationalism. I would like to argue that anarchist solidarities within a decolonial politics call into question all three of the approaches reviewed above. Decolonial thinking has been described as an act of "epistemic disobedience" whereby people who share the "colonial wound" can carry out a "political and epistemic de-linking" from western dominance and the ways of thinking it imposes Mignolo Decolonial approaches thus place systemic racism at the centre of social critique, and in the context of past and present dispossessions of peoples from their land through conquest, slavery, genocide and modern corporate power.
For radical social movements, a decolonial approach means that struggles for social transformation should be carried out with explicit attention to the colonial and thus racialised dimension of inequality, rather than uncritically reproducing the same western universalist formulas that have masked the colonial project, and that political decolonisation should be integrated into their programme for social change.
Naturalist approaches need to respond to this critique, at least to the extent that they appeal to universalist humanism. But it poses the most serious problems for the classist approach, especially in its first version above. This is because they deny non-white people historical subjectivity as such, bracketing the ethnic basis of their struggles while projecting onto them a Eurocentric conception of the proletariat.
Alston Instead, anarchists should hold race on par with gender, class, age and other irreducible axes of domination. An intersectional approach, which avoids granting any of these regimes analytical primacy Shannon and Rogue , is therefore more theoretically sound and politically inclusive than class reductionism.
The thinner universalism of culturalist approaches might escape this specific critique. However, the way in which Rocker moves from a rejection of the nation to a rejection of the ethnicity of peoples still leaves a case to be answered.
His attempt to undercut the validity of ethnic and language groups, understandable in the context of his ontological attack on European nationalism and racism, would also undermine the constitutive role of common ancestry and language in the struggles of indigenous peoples and other oppressed ethnic groups.
However, as Ramnath 21 argues, Where ethnicity is brutalized and culture decimated, it is callous to discount the value of ethnic pride, asserting the right to exist as such…in the colonial context, the defense of ethnic identity and cultural divergence from the dominant is a key component of resistance. Just as anarchists have an obligation to take into account their own positionality in their relationship with ethnoculturally-constructed movements cf.
Barker and Pickerill , so must anarchist thought find a way to reconcile the deconstructive impulse with its politics of recognition. Instead, it is about the likelihood of a national liberation taking a statist and capitalist form and thus replacing one oppressive system with another.
However, as I have argued elsewhere Gordon , anarchists can support national liberation movements even if they aspire to statist independence. First, while new states may maintain oppressive social relations of different kinds, this will most often be preferable to a status quo that is even more oppressive and deadly. Second, stateless groups already live under occupying states, be they Israel, Turkey or Indonesia, and the formation of a new national state creates only a quantitative change, not a qualitative one.
Subsidiarity is the principle that people should have power over an issue in proportion to their stake in it. It is a basic feature of anarchist organisational thinking, tied to values of decentralisation and autonomy. Applied in a decolonial context, subsidiarity places leadership in decolonial struggles in the hands of indigenous groups, and has implications for the way in which non-natives or citizens of an occupying state can offer them support and solidarity.
According to Walia , Taking leadership means being humble and honouring front-line voices of resistance…offering tangible solidarity as needed and requested…taking initiative for self-education…organizing support with the clear consent and guidance of an Indigenous community or group, building long-term relationships of accountability and never assuming or taking for granted the personal and political trust that non-natives may earn from Indigenous peoples over time.
In Israel-Palestine, where armed conflict is on-going and segregation is the norm, Israeli anarchists have also developed principles for their engagement in joint struggle with Palestinian popular committees in the West Bank. According to Snitz , The first principle is that although the struggle is joint, Palestinians are affected more by the decisions taken within it, and therefore are the ones who should make the important decisions.
Second, Israelis have a special responsibility to respect Palestinian self-determination, including respecting social customs and keeping out of internal Palestinian politics. This decolonial logic is not only relevant to settler-colonial societies, but also to Europe given its absorption, limitation and securitisation of migration from former colonies and current conflict zones.
In this context, European activists against borders and deportations share an ethos of taking leadership from self-organised movements of refugees and migrants, and of avoiding both a saviour mentality and the condescension of revolutionary tutelage.
Anarchism and Nationalism
Nationalism and Culture, Rudolf Rocker: German anarcho-syndicalist Rudolf Rocker's classic text, that he started working on around in Germany, on nationalism and culture, downloaded from libcom. Nationalism and Culture was originally supposed to be published in Germany in , but the Machtergreifung and Rocker's emigration intervened. It was not published until , by the Spanish anarchist Diego Abad de Santilln and the publishing house Tierra y Libertad. Soon after the release, however, the Spanish Civil War made the book hard to sell. Alexander Berkman, one of Rocker's friends and also a well-known anarchist, started an English translation.
1. The Insufficiency of Economic Materialism
From anarchosyndicalism. Well done Toms! Maybe if I have enough time this week I'll try to fill in the rest of the chapters. Basically, what I said was for books with chapters, you do not need to create separate articles and manually link them to here.
Anarchism and Nationalism
Over 30 years of anarchist writing from Ireland listed under hundreds of topics. Pro-Choice articles WSM abortion rights policy. Articles on Feminism Towards Womens Freedom. Rudolf Rocker is recommended by Chomsky, whose own anarchist thinking is strongly influenced by him, as one of the best writers on anarchism and this is probably his finest work - a brilliant libertarian analysis of the development of power, the cult of the state and their relationship with human liberty and culture. Rocker sees the impulse to power as a vital element in influencing the type of society we have. Though acknowledging the crucial role economics plays in the structure of society, he argues that explaining the types of society solely in terms of their underlying economic structure is utterly inadequate. He sees power relationships as a restraining factor on human development because when you're compelled to carry out orders, you become little more than a machine rather than an individual with a free will, personal thoughts and feelings.
Skip to search form Skip to main content You are currently offline. Some features of the site may not work correctly. DOI: Napoleon hated freedom on principle, as does every tyrant who has become clearly aware of the nature of power.
Nationalism and Culture is a nonfiction book by German anarcho-syndicalist writer Rudolf Rocker. In this book, he criticizes religion , statism , nationalism , and centralism from an anarchist perspective. The ideas expressed in the book, Rocker claimed, dated back to the time before World War I , when he was a leader in the Jewish anarchist labor movement in London. Over the years, many parts of Nationalism and Culture were published in various essays and lectures. At first, he only planned a short book on nationalism, but over the years the material grew. At the time, Rocker was becoming more and more disillusioned as a wave of nationalism spread about Germany. This development culminated when the Nazi Party under Hitler came to power in
Steven. Sep 5 Hi Toms, many thanks for posting all this! I commented on chapter 1 of this already, not seeing what it.
Понятно, домой он так и не ушел и теперь в панике пытается что-то внушить Хейлу. Она понимала, что это больше не имеет значения: Хейл и без того знал все, что можно было знать. Мне нужно доложить об этом Стратмору, - подумала она, - и как можно скорее. ГЛАВА 38 Хейл остановился в центре комнаты и пристально посмотрел на Сьюзан.
Оказавшись наконец в шифровалке, Сьюзан почувствовала, как на нее волнами накатывает прохладный воздух. Ее белая блузка промокла насквозь и прилипла к телу. Было темно.
Никто не ответил, и Беккер толкнул дверь. - Здесь есть кто-нибудь? - Он вошел. Похоже, никого. Пожав плечами, он подошел к раковине.