Audible Anarchism

Fighting For Ourselves - Chapter Two Revolutionary - Currents Within the Workers Movement

July 3, 2021

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This excellent book by Solfed aims to recover some of the lost history of the workers' movement, in order to set out a revolutionary strategy for the present conditions. In clear and accessible prose, the book sets out the anarcho-syndicalist criticisms of political parties and trade unions, engages with other radical traditions such as anarchism, syndicalism and dissident Marxisms, explains what anarcho-syndicalism was in the twentieth century, and how it's relevant - indeed, vital - for workers today. 

This chapter will introduce three radical currents from the historical workers’ movement. First we will look at anarchism, the name given to the anti-state socialists in the European workers’ movement of the 19th and 20th centuries. Anarchism, as a political doctrine, opposed itself to all statist politics, whether parliamentary or ‘revolutionary’, instead placing its emphasis on human capacities for voluntary co-operation, mutual aid and working class direct action. Second, we will encounter syndicalism. Emerging in France, the syndicalist movement of rank and file controlled, radical unions spread to many countries taking new forms in different conditions. We will focus on the French CGT, the North American IWW and the syndicalist currents in the workers’ movement in Britain. In all cases, working class direct action was the watchword of the syndicalists who, often under anarchist influence, formed unions based on the shared economic interests of workers. Finally, we will look at council communism, a radical Marxist current which broke with orthodoxies such as the necessity of the Party and the capture of state power. The council communists drew some very similar conclusions to many anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists, but we will also explore some important differences

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