Tue, 21/06/2011 - 22:55

Resolution Concerning the Legal Rights to Rudolf Rocker's Works

Heiner M. Becker, historian and private scholar, living in Nordwalde, has actually initiated a preliminary investigation by the public prosecution against the internet publishing of at least one work of the famous anarchosyndicalist, Rudolf Rocker (1873 1958).

Heiner M. Becker has been assistant for several anarchist papers in Great Britain and France, he bought anarchist bequests for the IISG in Amsterdam whereby he became a friend of Fermin Rocker, Rudolf Rocker's son. Before his death in 2004, Fermin Rocker conferred all rights of Rudolf Rocker's works to Heiner M. Becker.

Rudolf Rocker is one of the most famous protagonists of historical anarchosyndicalism. He was secretary of the International Workers Association (IWA) and of the Free Workers Union, Germany (FAUD), in whose historical tradition the FAU sees itself. As an anarchosyndicalist activist, he published many articles, brochures and other texts for this fierce grassroots union movement, including texts such as the Principles of Revolutionary Syndicalism, Anarchism and Syndicalism and  Anarchosyndicalism.

Rocker's works have been translated and spread in all different languages for years. It is a solid part of a global movement which fights for economical and political liberation from the yoke of capital and state. Never before did anybody try to claim the rights to exploit Rocker's propaganda texts, neither during his life nor after his death. Just thinking of it would have caused astonishment and incomprehension.

Heiner M. Becker was a profiteer from the anarchosyndicalist movement's wish to spread Rocker's texts as far as possible. When he published Rocker's main work, Nationalism and Culture, an ex-FAU member lent him 20.000DM (~10.000). Other members of the FAU supported him technically, supporting a series of titles by his company, Thélème, which hasn't published anything for years.

Heiner M. Becker has many reasons to be thankful to the anarchosyndicalist movement's support. But what he did, he paid the credit back right now, after 15 years, after several dunning letters and without paying interest on it. But something else outweighs that. He thanks FAU for support by claiming bourgeois ownership rights of Rocker's works and even mobilizes the police and criminal justice system to execute them.

Against this background, the FAU Congress  declares unmistakably, that we and our sister unions in the IWA and others believe Rocker's texts are the common property of all who fight against capitalist exploitation and state repression for a free and self-organized economic and social world. We call upon Heiner M. Becker to assume responsibility and waive all bourgeois property rights to Rudolf Rocker's and Milly Wittkop-Rocker's works and publish it under a Creative Commons Licence. As for the prosecutions going on, we demand they stop immediately.

Unanimous decision of FAU's annual Congress and delegates attending from FAU-Bern (CH)

Dörverden, June 12,  2011.