Instead of trying to squeeze Marxism into syndicalism, it would be better to ask why so many “Marxists” rejected the legacy of Marx and embraced positions (revolutionary unionism, primacy of economic struggle, the general strike, unions as the structure of a socialist society, etc.) which were expounded by Bakunin and attacked by the founders of their ideology. Looking at what the syndicalists themselves said, the ideas of Bakunin and what Marx and Engels advocated, it quickly becomes apparently that Marxism was not one of the “core ideological elements” of syndicalism. In reality, syndicalism was simply, as so many syndicalists and others stressed, a new name for the ideas raised in the IWMA and for which Bakunin was a leading advocate.Syndicalism, Anarchism and Marxism
With the current crisis, many on the right are proclaiming their usual mantras on the need to attack working class pay and conditions to solve the economic problems. The idea is that by cutting wages and breaking unions the crisis will be ended and the conditions made favourable for economic growth to return. With increasing growth, so wealth will trickle down and everyone will benefit.
Mutualism is a libertarian form of market socialism. It is most associated with Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, the first person to call himself an anarchist. However, he did not invent the term but rather picked it up from workers in Lyons when he stayed there in the 1840s.
Mark Leier is a Canadian historian of working class history and the director of the Centre for Labour Studies at
The rise of fascism in
Since the 1970s, capitalist economic policy has been rooted in “fighting inflation,” an euphemism for “crushing the workers.” This policy is rooted in the notion of the “Non-Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment” (or NAIRU) and, like most of the silly and/or nasty ideas in modern economics, has its roots in the works of the late and unlamented Milton Friedman.
This is an excellent work. Wide ranging, both in terms of subjects covered and geography. The latter makes a welcome break from most accounts of anarchism which are sadly all-too Eurocentric. The former sees anarchist analysis expanded from the usual subjects of political authority and economic class into gender and imperialism (and national liberation struggles). It covers such perennial issues as anarchist organisation (including Platformism), the Spanish Revolution and a host of others.
To quote someone who sums up the intellectual times in which we live, Sarah Palin: “now is not the time to experiment with socialism” This, during the worse crisis since the 1930s! Anarchists would say that is precisely the time – but only as long as we are talking about libertarian socialism!
In the highly unequal society produced by 30 years of Thatcherism, earning over £50,000 does not make you “middle-class” or a “middle-income” family. It puts you squarely in the top 5% of the population in terms of income. Yes, really, according to the Daily Mail the bottom-end of the top 5% is the middle!
Pluto Press, 1989 (Translated by John Beverly Robinson (1923))
This year marks the 200th anniversary of Proudhon’s birth, the person who first used the word “anarchist” in a positive light. This was in his 1840 book What is Property? so making anarchism as a named socio-economic theory and movement 170 years old next year.