First off, I should mention my A Brief History of Anarchism article I posted to celebrate May Day. This was a write-up of a talk I gave at Housemans bookshop to mark the publication of volume 2 of An Anarchist FAQ. It was a well attended event and the speech seemed to have went down well. They may have me back for something to do with Proudhon.
This is a write up of a talk I did at the 2012 London anarchist bookfair. It explores the interwoven nature of revolutionary anarchism and syndicalism, showing how the standard Leninist account of both is false. It shows how syndicalism evolved as a key anarchist tactic within the First International and how revolutionary anarchists like Bakunin and Kropotkin advocated syndicalist ideas and tactics. Suffice to say, this is the talk I hoped to give – the actual one may not have equalled these hopes! The title is a Kropotkin quote, one much repeated in his works
When I was producing my recent lengthy response to yet more AWL nonsense about anarchism, it got me thinking about precisely the difference between communism and syndicalism within anarchism. This lead me think about the importance of narrative, of how we explain ideas and movements.
This is the published version of a reply to an article by Marxist Ralph Darlington in Anarchist Studies (vol. 17, no. 2). Darlington's original article appeared in Volume 17, Number 1 of Anarchist Studies and discusses the anarchist origins of syndicalism and refutes attempts to include Marxism as one of its influences. It discusses Bakunin’s syndicalist ideas and shows how Marx and Engels explicitly rejected them. Ralph Darlington declined to reply
This is a very edited version of the review article Syndicalism, Marxist Myth and Anarchist Reality and will appear in the new issue of Black Flag (235) out May 2012. This issue also has as its revolutionary reprint Kropotkin’s 1890 article The Use of the Strike and this is included at the end of this review.
“In drawing up theses for the international workers’ movement we must not begin with theoretical, preconceived assumptions… If we forsake the empirical road and take one that is doctrinaire, we cannot create an International of struggle.”
Augustin Souchy at the Second Congress of the Communist International