Rudolf Rocker: Anarchist Missionary 1873-1958
W.J. Fishman writes that Rocker devoted nearly twenty years of his life to organising and inspiring the immigrant Jewish tailors in the East End of London.
The East End of London is no stranger to political ideologues and Messianists. Its off-beat environment is propitious for the emergence of chiliastic sects and eccentric zealots. The paradox is that this reservoir of the under-privileged and persecuted from a variety of nations should have once housed men who have made history, as well as those of peculiar genius whom history has unjustly passed by. There were many of the former.
In 1907 Stalin and Litvinov, delegates to a Bolshevik congress in London, lived in a Stepney doss-house, which still stands. Marx and Lenin often came to this area inhabited by their classic proletarians; and in Whitechapel, William Booth set up his first platform to preach salvation for their souls. Of the latter, one came to bring social regeneration to the outcast Jew. He was Rudolf Rocker, the German anarchist gentile, who devoted nearly twenty years of his life to organizing and inspiring the most despised of East End plebs—the immigrant Jewish tailors.