Audible Anarchism

Fighting For Ourselves - Chapter Three - Anarcho-syndicalism in the 20th Century

July 10, 2021

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In this chapter we will introduce anarcho-syndicalism as a synthesis of the anarchist politics and syndicalist methods we encountered in the previous chapter. This will be explored through the theory of Émile Pouget, the Argentine FORA (Argentine Regional  Workers’ Federation), the German FAUD (Free Workers’ Union of Germany) and the Spanish CNT (National Confederation of Labour). While the mainstream workers’ movement is separated into political (party) and economic (trade union) wings, anarcho-syndicalism's revolutionary unions are at the same time political and economic organisations. In countries where reformist trade unionism was not well established (such as Spain) this revolutionary current sometimes became the mainstream. Where trade unions were stronger (such as Germany), anarcho-syndicalism constituted a revolutionary alternative to the mainstream workers’ movement. This chapter will also show how this synthesis of anarchism and syndicalism has taken different forms in response to different conditions, but always rejected the division of the workers’ movement into economic and political wings, and rejected representation in favour of associations for direct action.

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