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Syndicalism is a type of proposed [1]

Its theory and practice is the advocation of multiple cooperative productive units composed of specialists and representatives of workers in each respective field to negotiate and manage the economy. Syndicalism also refers to the political movement (praxis) and tactics used to bring about this type of system.

For adherents, labour unions and labour training (see below) are the potential means of both overcoming economic aristocracy and running society fairly and in the interest of informed and skilled majorities, through union democracy. Industry in a syndicalist system would be run through co-operative confederations and mutual aid. Local syndicates would communicate with other syndicates through the Bourse du Travail (labour exchange) which would cooperatively determine distributions of commodities.

Syndicalism is also used to refer to the tactic of bringing about this social arrangement, typically expounded by trade unions, such as the CNT. Throughout its history, the reformist section of syndicalism has been overshadowed by its revolutionary section, typified by the Federación Anarquista Ibérica section of the CNT.[2]


  • Syndicalism and anarcho-syndicalism 1
  • History 2
  • See also 3
  • Footnotes 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6

Syndicalism and anarcho-syndicalism

Syndicalism can be accurately divided into the purely economic-focused camp, exemplified by the Italian USI (Unione Sindacale Italiana, the largest Italian syndicalist union in 1920, taking part in Biennio rosso[3] and the anarcho-syndicalism of the CNT (national confederation of labour), taking both political and economic action, wishing to take control of both workplace and political life, while syndicalism has traditionally focused on the economic sector alone.[4]

Although the terms anarcho-syndicalism and revolutionary syndicalism are often used interchangeably, the anarcho-syndicalist label was not widely used until the early 1920s (some credit Sam Mainwaring with coining the term). "The term 'anarcho-syndicalist' only came into wide use in 1921-1922 when it was applied polemically as a pejorative term by communists to any syndicalists [...] who opposed increased control of syndicalism by the communist parties".[5]

Traditionally the revolutionary political syndicalism of figures such as Rudolph Rocker (widely credited as the father of anarcho-syndicalism) has overshadowed the more reformist or economically-focused syndicalism.

Related theories include anarchism, socialism, Marxism, Leninism, and communism.


Syndicalisme/Sindicalismo is a French/Spanish word meaning "trade unionism". More moderate versions of syndicalism were overshadowed in the early 20th century by revolutionary anarcho-syndicalism, which advocated, in addition to the abolition of capitalism, the abolition of the state, which was expected to be made obsolete by syndicalist economics. Anarcho-syndicalism was most powerful in Spain in and around the time of the Spanish Civil War, but also appeared in other parts of the world, such as in the US-based Industrial Workers of the World and the Unione Sindacale Italiana - the Italian Syndicalist Union.

The earliest expressions of syndicalist structure and methods were formulated in the Central Organisation of the Workers of Sweden (SAC) (in Swedish the Sveriges Arbetares Centralorganisation), formed in 1910, are a notable example of an anarcho-syndicalist union influenced by the CGT. Today, the SAC is one of the largest anarcho-syndicalist unions in the world in proportion to the population, with some strongholds in the public sector.

The Catalonia. Another Spanish anarcho-syndicalist union, the Confederacion General del Trabajo de España, is now the fourth largest union in Spain and the largest anarchist union with tens of thousands of members.

The Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), although explicitly "not" syndicalist,[6] were informed by developments in the broader revolutionary syndicalist milieu at the turn of the twentieth-century. At its founding congress in 1905, influential members with strong anarchist or anarcho-syndicalist sympathies like Haymarket Affair in 1886.

An emphasis on World War II led to the formerly prominent theory being repressed, as the three nations where it had the most power were now under fascist control. Support for Syndicalism never fully recovered to the height it enjoyed in the early 20th century.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ A page dealing with the Italian factory occupations in detail about the actions of the USI
  4. ^ describes anarcho-syndicalism in detail, strongly referenced
  5. ^ David Berry, A History of the French Anarchist Movement, 1917-1945, (Greenwood, 2002), p. 134. ISBN 0-313-32026-8
  6. ^
  7. ^ Salvatore Salerno, Red November, Black November: Culture and Community in the Industrial Workers of the World (State University of New York Press, 1989), pp. 69-90, ISBN 0-7914-0089-1

Further reading

  • Melvyn Dubofsky, We Shall Be All: A History of the Industrial Workers of the World, Quadrangle Books, 1969.
  • William Z. Foster, "The Socialist and Syndicalist Movements in France," Industrial Worker, vol. 3, no. 1, whole 105 (March 23, 1911), pp. 1, 4.
  • William Z. Foster, Syndicalism (with Earl Ford), Chicago, 1913.
  • Lenny Flank (ed), IWW: A Documentary History, St Petersburg, Florida: Red and Black Publishers, 2007.
  • Dan Jakopovich, Revolutionary Unionism: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, New Politics, vol. 11, no. 3 (2007).
  • James Joll, The Anarchists, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1980.
  • PM Press, 2014. ISBN 1604869569
  • James Oneal, Sabotage, or, Socialism vs. Syndicalism. St. Louis, Missouri: National Rip-Saw, 1913.
  • David D. Robert, The Syndicalist Tradition and Italian Fascism, University of North Carolina Press, 1979.
  • Rudolf Rocker, Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice, London, 1938; AK Press, 2004.
  • J. Salwyn Schapiro, Liberalism and The Challenge of Fascism, Social Forces in England and France (1815–1870),New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1949.
  • Lucien van der Walt & Michael Schmidt, Black Flame: The Revolutionary Class Politics of Anarchism and Syndicalism, AK Press, 2009.

External links

  • The Association for Union Democracy
  • Rudolf Rocker, a major proponent of anarcho-syndicalism
  • General Strikes, maps with locations where strikes have occurred; includes resource links
  • Small history of the UGT in Catalonia Workers at the Center of Mataró and the 1888 Congress of the C / Talleres de Barcelona was born the UGT under the socialist ideals of people like Pablo Iglesias, Reoyo Toribio, Salvador Ferrer, and many others in the problems that the workers had of that century.
  • Syndicalism's lessons. Socialist Worker, April 22, 2015.
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