In this chapter, we will analyse some of the changes to capitalism and society since World War II, the point at which anarcho-syndicalism was all but wiped out by fascism, Stalinism, total war and social partnership. We will see how the post-World War II social democratic settlement limited the space for a re-emergence of radical currents in the workers’ movement by integrating trade unions, as the representatives of workers, into the capitalist system. We will then look at the upsurge of class struggles from 1968 which marked the crisis of the social democratic settlement, and how their eventual defeat paved the way for the rise of neoliberalism and the “offshoring” of the traditional centres of militancy in the mines and factories. In analysing neoliberalism, we bring the analysis up to date with the conditions for organising today, characterised by casualised service sector employment and a withering of the institutions of political and economic representation – political parties and trade unions – which were central to the post-war settlement.
July 17, 2021