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A group for all syndicalists

Members: 53
Latest Activity: Aug 30, 2015

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Jewish tailors – the East End’s forgotten sweatshop strikers

Here's a piece I've written for Union-News to mark the centenary of the 1912 Jewish tailors strike, inspired by Rudolf Rocker:…Continue

Started by Donnacha DeLong May 22, 2012.

The Constructive Side of Syndicalism 7 Replies

The Constructive Side of Syndicalismby Arturo Giovanitti (1913)(For more on Giovanitti-…Continue

Started by Paul Lenart. Last reply by Paul Lenart Jul 24, 2011.

Tom Mann in Australia

This is a recent article that reflects on the contribution of Tom Mann to the Australian union movement and the socialist movement at the turn of last century. I would welcome any comments - critical…Continue

Started by Don Sutherland Oct 4, 2010.

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Comment by Gordon Glick on September 2, 2010 at 6:26
I would suggest that these people should read "Mutual Aid, A Factor of Evolution" by Pyotr Kropotkin. Obeisance to authority began with agriculture. The old saying by Ben Franklin is apt: "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither," or words to that effect. When a class seizes property, as in the Sumerian granaries, or the Enclosure acts, whatever, you have a regime created and propped up by violent force. Civilization is less than 10,000 years old; Capitalism is only 500 years old. Kropotkin cites numerous examples of the cooperation within species for the survival of the group. It was more a critique of Spencer, and the Victorian perversions of Darwin's theory to fit the ethic of supremacy of some races over others, those "born to ride" and those "born to be ridden". Those who would argue that human oppression is justified due to our animal nature would also, incoherently, argue for the respect to the authority of an omniscient deity. Cute kid, by the way.
Comment by Matthew Allen on September 2, 2010 at 6:02
Thanks so much! Great ammo! My FSP friend and I have a reading club where we trade reading assignments.

Anyway, I wanted to say that I recently went to Nara and saw a reconstruction of this palace from 1,300 years ago. The amazing thing was that it was neither a residence, defensive structure, nor seat of government - it was only used like twice a year for ceremonies in which the nobles would show obsequience to the emperor. This human addiction to hierarchy - and the need to build massive structures to make it clear who people should be following is fascinating to me.

So, what would you say to someone who argued that that kind of hierarchical instinct is inherent in our species - like lions with their prides, etc.?
Comment by Gordon Glick on September 2, 2010 at 5:42
Comment by Matthew Allen on September 2, 2010 at 5:27
God, I'm in the right place. I donated to the FSP and was led to believe I was a member, only to be later told I wasn't ideologically pure enough. Looking up the Kronstadt rebellion now...
Comment by Nathan Moore on September 2, 2010 at 5:18
Well said, Gordon!
Comment by Gordon Glick on September 2, 2010 at 4:58
My experience with CPUSA, SWP, and all other Left-hierarchical organizations has been negative. The class analyses are useful, as are the critiques of Capital, but they spend more time policing everybody else for ideological purity than they do organizing. If they question the ability of anarcho-syndicalists to organize, tell them to check out the CNT in Spain and the FAI in France. Tell them to organize the unemployed, or barristas, or day laborers: they won't, because these workers don't fit their antiquated stereotypes. I know about FSP, some of them are good socialists and they have a strong feminist wing. They can go ahead and organize for the revolution if they want to, but they alienate most people I know in the working class, will eternally argue with us, with people still involved in electoral politics, with their cats, and with themselves. Don't waste your breath. Chomsky is not prescriptive because he is an academic and knows it: he has certain skills that are useful. True worker control at the point of production comes from the shop floor or the waterfront or the office, not from a cookie-cutter program designed by the guy who broke the back of the Kronstadt rebellion and murdered anarchists all across Russia.
Comment by Nathan Moore on September 2, 2010 at 4:57

I like Rudolf Rocker's classic book "Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice." I think Chomsky wrote the Introduction to the edition that I have. Rocker's work has some very clear tactical and theoretical strategies that answer some of the more authoritarian socialist critics.
Comment by Matthew Allen on September 2, 2010 at 4:46
One of my friends (and fellow union members) is a socialist (member of the FSP). He, and other socialists, always criticize anarchists for not having a plan or realistic strategy/goals. The same criticisms are launched at Chomsky - for only being descriptive and not also prescriptive. What's your take on this?
Comment by Gordon Glick on September 2, 2010 at 4:06
I only have 14 books by Uncle Noam.
@ David: I thought I had a long commute to GMB meetings. Yeesh.
We haven't figured out a purpose yet. Suggest vigorous debate followed by eating, drinking and playing some music.
Comment by Matthew Allen on September 2, 2010 at 2:37
Yeah, I dig your avatar. I'm from Australia and live in Japan - am a member of an English teachers' union. I lived in Ottawa for 4 years when I was a kid...

I love Chomsky's point about the negative impression of unionism promoted by the mainstream media (ON THE WATERFRONT, etc.).

So, what's the goal of this group?

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