The London Years - Rudolf Rocker

A first hand account of legendary anarcho-syndicalist Rudolf Rocker's years in London, where he became involved in the Jewish anarchist movment of the East End. In his time in London, he helped set up the Jewish Bakers' Union, organised mass demonstrations as well as the 1912 Jewish tailor's strike.

Submitted by obnoxious1 on February 28, 2019



4 years 3 months ago

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Submitted by syndicalist on March 1, 2019

Way cool. I believe this is the first on-line version of the abbreviated version of the 1950s English translation.The original translated version was over 350 pages.

I believe it was the late Sam Dolgoff who tole me that Rocker disliked the english translation. And that the translator took liberties in their translation. Making Rocker more moderate and less revolutionary in regards to the radical workers movement.


1 year 10 months ago

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Submitted by DL on August 12, 2021

The previous comment is not right, actually. Apart from a foreword by Herbert Read and an Introduction by the translator which both appear in the original 1956 edition, the actual text of the 2005 and 1956 editions is the same, minus some minor changes such as splitting a paragraph into two and the like. They are just typeset differently: the 1956 edition is an old-fashioned, hardback print with a large font, whereas the 2005 edition by AK Press has been reset to a more modern standard and contains fewer pages (it is also a paperback). But the material itself is in fact the same translation of the original text by the same translator, I can assure because I have contrasted both editions (and I should state that both editions explicitly state that the text is an abridgement of Rocker's overall memoirs, published in Yiddish in 1952, though this is by the by, as the 2005 edition is simply reporting information from the 1956 edition; the 2005 edition even reproduces the drawing of Rocker's from the 1956 edition).

As for the claim that Rocker was displeased with the translator, I am sceptical. The translator was a family friend and in the Introduction to the 1956 edition he reports that the Rockers were in fact quite pleased with the end product. Plus, it's not at all obvious how he is being made more moderate or less radical at all - he sounds pretty much as in many of the other biographical writings of his I have read.


1 year 9 months ago

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Submitted by DL on August 14, 2021

I have both editions, and the text of the 2005 edition attached above is the exact same text as that of the original 1956 edition - it's the same translation, but typeset differently (the 1956 edition is an old-fashioned hardback with a large font, whereas the 2005 edition was reset to a more modern standard, and hence the different number of pages). There are some minor changes, like splitting paragraphs into two and some spelling changes, but it is the same text. Both texts are of course an abridgement of the original memoirs in Yiddish, published in 1952.


1 day 5 hours ago

Submitted by syndicalist on June 7, 2023

I can only share what was told to me by someone who knew Rocker. Of course, Dolgoff may have only sharing his own views on this.