The CNT started small, counting 26, members represented through several trade unions and other confederations. Also in , the trade union adopted its name formally. These pistoleros are credited with killing 21 union leaders in 48 hours. At its founding congress in , influential members with strong anarchist or anarcho-syndicalist sympathies like Thomas J. It was characterized by mass strikes, worker manifestations as well as self-management experiments through land and factories occupations. The agitations also extended to the agricultural areas of the Padan plain and were accompanied by peasant strikes, rural unrests and guerilla conflicts between left-wing and right-wing militias.

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To the extent that I thought it opposed the authority of the State, I assumed that it was accountable to no authority at all. Therefore, I inferred that no individual would be accountable to any group or collective.

I was wrong in drawing this inference. However, to understand why, I needed to understand that the term "Anarchism" is a roof over many different, competing ideologies.

However, even this inference might be wrong. This book written in is concerned with just one of the forms of Anarchism called "Anarcho-Syndicalism". Importantly, "Anarchism" is just one limb of a hyphenated ideology. The dual term calls upon us to understand how much "Syndicalism" adds to the hyphenate. Such authority "undermines the relationship between man and man.

Rocker describes this goal of Freedom in terms of "Liberalism" or what some people more recently might call "Libertarianism": "the right of man over his own person.

It is designed to be both a fighting organization and an educational organization of labor. Thus, Syndicalism implies a level of collective action, in contrast to my preconceived notion of individualistic and uncoordinated action. In order to achieve equality, Anarchists demand — " Together and hyphenated, Anarcho-Syndicalism constitutes Libertarian Socialism.

The Marxist differentiation between "Socialism" and "Communism" posits a transitional period of Socialism during which there will be a "Dictatorship of the Proletariat" and the eventual outcome of Communism during which the State would "wither away".

What we know as Communism i. As early as , the Anarchist Bakunin said: "I am not a Communist because Communism unites all forces of society in the state and becomes absorbed in it; because it inevitably leads to the concentration of all property in the hands of the state, while I seek the abolition of the state - the complete elimination of the principle of authority and governmental guardianship, which under the pretence of making men moral and civilising them, has up to now always enslaved, oppressed, exploited and ruined them.

The goal is Socialism and Liberalism. However, it aims to avoid the Dictatorship of the Proletariat: "Dictatorship, however, has nothing whatever in common with Socialism, and at best can only lead to the most barren of state capitalism.

Lenin, in particular, regarded the Anarchists as a spanner in the works when it came to harnessing the forces necessary to effect a Revolution. He did everything within his power to establish the Bolsheviks as the controlling influence in the Revolution, then in the control of the State and ultimately in the ongoing Dictatorship of the Proletariat.

When many Anarchists visited the post-Revolutionary Soviet Union, it was Socialists and Anarchists whom they found in the jails.

However, these were the very people who had predicted the failure of Communism. In 12 months before Lenin died and was succeeded by Stalin , the International Congress of Syndicalists made the following declaration: "Revolutionary Syndicalism is the confirmed enemy of every form of economic and social monopoly, and aims at its abolition by means of economic communes and administrative organs of field and factory workers on the basis of a free system of councils, entirely liberated from subordination to any government or political party.

The question remains: how would an Anarcho-Syndicalist society operate? As with the question of how the last stage of Communism would work, the details are vague: "Anarchists desire a federation of free communities which shall be bound to one another by their common economic and social interest and shall arrange their affairs by mutual agreement and free contract.

This assumes that people who negotiate with each other will discover a commonality of interest. It also tends to assume that they will honor their obligations, and that no version of the State will be required to enforce contracts by way of legal proceedings. State of Siege Equally importantly, this vision assumes that this new society will not be immediately subjected to a state of siege by forces that wish to overturn the Revolution. Arguably, some form of State will be necessary to defend Anarcho-Syndicalism until it is safe from external or internal threat.

This is a self-fulfilling prophecy if the forces of conservatism initiate a Counter-Revolution, which would have to be inevitable now. Both ideologies use the metaphor of slavery for a worker who is paid by an employer for their labor. Because capitalism owns the product of my labor, it is supposed to own me and my person as well. As a result, they both advocate the collective ownership of the means of production. Communism as we have seen it to date Bolshevism makes the State the owner.

For workers, arguably, this makes absolutely no difference to their relationship with the product of their labor. Anarcho-Syndicalism pushes ownership down to much more localized and democratic syndicates. State or No State? Two things supposedly work against the existence of a State. One is the multiplicity of syndicates. The other is the belief that the role of the syndicates is not to govern people, but to simply organise and administer labor, production, distribution and consumption.

The opponents of Communism have always asserted that human nature dictates that those in power will cling to it and turn the rest of us into serfs. It makes no difference to these people whether they are in charge of government or administration.

What is to be Done? Bolshevism has been tested and failed. Where it has been tested, it has quickly plunged into a state of siege. It would have to embrace dictatorial practices in order to protect its achievements. I believe that capitalism or any alternative method of production is a relationship between labor and capital, and that the solution lies in the terms of that relationship just as it does in the case of gender relations.

Joint Venturism Production like reproduction is a joint venture. Both labor and capital are essential. The one must recognise the importance of the other. Ultimately, one major role of the State should be to create an economic environment within which the two negotiate and agree on fair terms. A single employee cannot negotiate adequately on their own behalf. Therefore, inevitably a greater involvement of collective bargaining via trade unions or syndicates is required.

The problem is not so much the trade of your labor for a wage. The problem is not realistically described as "wage slavery". Work and production will be required under any economic, political and social system.

It is the conditions of employment that need to be changed to convert metaphorical slavery into practical joint venture. This includes a recognition that it is not capital alone that creates profit, but the relationship between labor and capital. Thus, apart from the conditions of the work environment work hours, safety, remuneration, dismissal , I think it involves profit-sharing i.

The role of any State, therefore, is to facilitate joint ventures between labor and capital.



While the party leaders viewed the parliament as a means of social change, Die Jungen thought it could at best be used to spread the socialist message. Unwilling to wait for the collapse of capitalist society which Marxism predicted, they wanted to start a revolution as soon as possible. Although this wing was strongest in Berlin , Magdeburg , and Dresden , it also had a few adherents in Mainz, among them Rudolf Rocker. In May , he started a reading circle, named Freiheit Freedom , to study theoretical topics more intensively. The same would happen to the rest of Die Jungen in October Nonetheless, he remained active and even gained influence in the socialist labor movement in Mainz.


Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice

Anarcho-Syndicalism Since the First World War Ideology of Anarchism Anarchism is a definite intellectual current of social thought, whose adherents advocate the abolition of economic monopolies and of all political and social coercive institutions within society. In place of the capitalist economic order, Anarchists would have a free association of all productive forces based upon cooperative labour, which would have for its sole purpose the satisfying of the necessary requirements of every member of society. In place of the present national states with their lifeless machinery of political and bureaucratic institutions, Anarchists desire a federation of free communities which shall be bound to one another by their common economic and social interests and arrange their affairs by mutual agreement and free contract. Anyone who studies profoundly the economic and political development of the present social system will recognise that these objectives do not spring from the utopian ideas of a few imaginative innovators, but that they are the logical outcome of a thorough examination of existing social maladjustments, which, with every new phase of the present social conditions, manifest themselves more plainly and more unwholesomely. Modern monopoly capitalism and the totalitarian state are merely the last stages in a development which could culminate in no other end. The portentous development of our present economic system, leading to a mighty accumulation of social wealth in the hands of privileged minorities and to a constant repression of the great masses of the people, prepared the way for the present political and social reaction and befriended it in every way.


Rudolf Rocker




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