(What Is Anarcho-Syndicalism?)
By George Woodcock. Ed. By Scott R.
Ed. Note: Anarcho-Syndicalism = Anarchism + Syndicalism [from greek an + archos (without+leader) + syn + dikale, (together+justice); the international Anarchist labor movement; an evolution of libertarian socialism].
Adapted from George Woodcock, Railroads & Society, 1943 (Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library, No. 18, April 1999).
Syndicalism is a method of social organization which goes away from all the traditional conceptions of authority and government, of Capitalism and the State. While Communism in abolishing individual capitalism, creates a worse monster in its place in the form of the economic state, Syndicalism leaves all the patterns of administration which have in the past resulted only in the oppression and exploitation of man by man, and sets out to build an organizational form based on the natural needs of man rather than on the interests of ruling classes, based not on the dictates of authority, but on the voluntary cooperation of free and equal individuals in satisfying the economic needs of the men who form society.
By Scott R.
Medicine today has become highly specialized and is permeated with interference from insurance corporations and drug manufacturers [some of the world’s biggest capitalists]. It is difficult and expensive to get basic medical care [public hospitals in working class communities are being closed by the government]. Timely diagnosis and treatments also seem to be myths of the medical industrialists as well. Ambulance services may only be available to those with money in the near future. Paramedics are attached to fire departments, many of which are voluntary. Dental, optical, prenatal, pediatric, and elderly care are even more neglected [less available to those who need them]. Governments have closed public mental hospitals until the primary sources of treatment/medication for mentally ill persons are the State and County prison systems. US military hospitals are overwhelmed with patients from the latest US-Iraq War to before the US-Viet Nam War.
By Scott R.
“To each according to their needs.”
WHAT IS A “LIVING WAGE”? It is a minimum quality of life which is due to all people. LW = FOOD + CLOTHING + SHELTER + HEALTH + TRANSPORTATION. It is what you need to get to work/school and be productive. It is something you need for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. The workers organizations fight for this as a basic “human right” for all people (workers, families, retirees, etc.). It is a measure of the humanity of a social system.
By Scott R.
In the future land use planning must be done by the community with the immediate and long term needs of the community in mind. Worker self-management will direct the functions of workplaces, but so-called “property rights” will no longer be transferrable. Community self-management will be by workers in the community who will have to balance the need for housing with the social economic needs of workplaces and residents in the community [production/distribution/exchange of resources and products for use/needs, not profit]. A volunteer workers housing committee in the workplace will gather housing need information from workers. In the community, a volunteer housing working group will survey housing needs and potential existing housing resources. Both will include persons with building safety expertise [structure safety (fire, vermin, quake), electricity, plumbing, etc.]. We want to enable workers and their families to safely live in the communities where they work. Slumlords should be identified and have their wealth and resources expropriated to help make their former residential properties more safe and habitable.
By Scott R.
“The emancipation of the working class must be the task of the workers themselves.”
Anarcho-Syndicalists do more than workplace organizing. We believe in creating counter-institutions which preconfigure the society we would like to live in; in advance of a Social Revolution which would completely transform our communities. We call this “building the New Society within the shell of the old.” In this way we educate ourselves and demonstrate to others that our ideas are practical. Our model community was inspired by the Paris Commune (1871) and Spanish Civil War (1936). Many of our collectives [affinity groups] are involved with projects that reflect aspects of the following:
(Building the Free Commune)
By Scott R.
Whether you live in a City, town, or country, working people deserve fair compensation for their labor. Every person who looks for work should be able to find it. Every worker and student should be entitled to food, housing and good health. It is possible for no one to have to live in poverty, be exploited, or be discriminated against.
People prosper best in a society with political AND economic freedom. This means worker self-management in the workplace and direct democracy [self-management] in the community.
Working class communities today are a form of colonialism where abscentee capitalist landlords own everything and use the occupation forces of their cops [and sometimes the military], courts and jails to terrorize people into submission while they squeeze as much money out of people as possible through taxes, rents, redlining [discrimination, underserving, overpricing], etc..
Gaza is in flames. Its population terrorized by the incessant bombing of Israeli warplanes against its public and residential districts and even its schools (3). Countless of the Gaza Strip’s mostly impoverished residents are dead, many of these children, women and the elderly. Many more Palestinians have lost loved ones, have maimed, both physically and psychologically, and all are living without access to basic necessities, water, food, medical care, etc. All of this as the consequence of the largest military assault (codename: “Operation Cast Lead”) waged by Israeli armed forces since 1967 War against the Gaza Strip and its approximately 1.5 million residents.
By Scott R.
Working class communities [especially, communities of color] have historically been used as industrial dumping grounds by capitalists [e.g., Love Canal, etc.]. WORKER SELF-MANAGEMENT enables us to stop using our children’s futures as open sewers [or using up our children’s futures]. We can question the goods we produce and the bi-products [pollution, global warming, extinction] from their production. We can also address proper worker safety in production. Unlike Capitalists, We will not prostitute our health, or the health of people in our community, for productivity [work speed-ups] or profit or a cost-benefit analysis [e.g., that told us it is cheaper to be sued than poison people]. We also don’t shutter manufacturing plants and move our business to another country [leaving polluted industrial sites].
By Scott R.
How do you exchange a pack of gum, or a comb, or a beer? For some things, money is the most convenient form of exchange. Many communities have marketplaces for food or goods where goods can be traded or bartered and sellers are self-employed or craft workers (with no taxes). This kind of “free marketplace” is sometimes called an AGORA (from greek).
(The Methods of Anarcho-Syndicalism)
By Rudolf Rocker. Ed. By Scott R.
Exerpted from: Rudolf Rocker, Anarcho-Syndicalism (1938).
People owe all the political rights and privileges which we enjoy today in greater or lesser measure, not to the good will of their governments, but to their own strength. Governments have employed every means that lay in their power to prevent the attainment of these rights or to render them illusory. Great mass movements among the people and whole revolutions have been necessary to wrest these rights from the ruling classes, who would never have consented to them voluntarily. Even the freest ballot cannot do away with the glaring contrast between the possessing and non-possessing classes in society. It can only serve to impart to a system of social injustice the stamp of legal right and to induce the slave to set the stamp of legality on his own servitude. But, most important of all, practical experience has shown that the participation of the workers in parliamentary activity [trusting politicians, political parties, labor law, etc.] cripples their power of resistance and dooms to futility their warfare against the existing system. Parliamentary participation has not brought the workers one iota nearer to their final goal; it has even prevented them from protecting the rights they have won against the attacks of the reaction.