Anarcho-Syndicalism by Rudolf Rocker Anarchism and Its Aspirations by Cindy Milstein On Anarchism by Noam Chomsky The Accumulation of Freedom by. Anarcho-syndicalism: theory & practice;: An introduction to a subject which the Spanish War has brought into overwhelming prominence [Rudolf Rocker] on. Anarcho-Syndicalism: Theory and Practice (Working Classics) [Rudolf Rocker, Noam Chomsky, Mike Davis, Nicolas Walter] on *FREE* shipping.

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Its Aims and Purposes. The Forerunners of Syndicalism. The Objectives of Anarchosyndicalism. The Methods of Anarcho-Syndicalism. The Evolution of Anarcho-Syndicalism. Anarchism versus economic monopoly and state power; Forerunners of modern Anarchism; William Godwin and his work on Political Justice; P. Bakunin the Collectivist and founder of the Anarchist movement; P.

Kropotkin the exponent of Anarchist Communism and rockwr philosophy of Mutual Aid; Anarchism and revolution; Anarchism a synthesis of Socialism and Liberalism; Anarchism versus economic materialism and Dictatorship; Anarchism and the state; Anarchism a tendency of history; Freedom and culture. Anarchism is a definite intellectual current in the life of our times, whose adherents advocate the abolition of economic monopolies and of all political and social coercive institutions within society.

Anarcho-syndicalism: Theory and Practice | The Anarchist Library

In place of the present capitalistic economic order Anarchists would have a free association of all productive forces based upon co-operative labour, which would have as its sole purpose the satisfying of the necessary requirements of every member of society, and would no longer have in view the special interest of privileged minorities within the social union.

In place of the present state organisation with their lifeless machinery of political and bureaucratic institutions Anarchists desire a federation of free communities which shall be bound to one another by their common economic and social interest and shall arrange their affairs by mutual agreement and free contract.

Anyone who studies at all profoundly the economic and social development of the present social system will easily recognise that these objectives do not spring from the Utopian ideas of a few imaginative innovators, but that they are the logical outcome of a thorough examination of the present-day social maladjustments, which with every new phase of the existing social conditions manifest themselves more plainly and more unwholesomely.

Modern monopoly, capitalism and the totalitarian state are merely the last terms in a development which could culminate in no other results.

The portentous development of our present economic system, leading to a mighty accumulation of social wealth in the hands of privileged minorities and to a continuous impoverishment of the great masses of the people, prepared the way for the present political and social reaction. It sacrificed the general interest of human society to the private interest of individuals, and thus systematically undermined the relationship between man and man.

People forgot that industry is not an end in itself, but should only be a means to ensure to man his material subsistence and to make accessible to him the blessings of a higher intellectual culture. Where industry is everything and man is nothing begins the realm of a ruthless economic despotism whose workings are no less disastrous than those of any political despotism.

The two mutually augment one another, and they are fed from the same source. The economic dictatorship of the monopolies and the political dictatorship of the totalitarian state are the outgrowth of the same political objectives, and the directors of both have the presumption to try to reduce all the countless expressions of social life to the mechanical tempo of the machine and to tune everything organic to the lifeless machine of the political apparatus.

Our modern social system has split the social organism in every country into hostile classes internally, and externally it has broken the common cultural circle up into hostile nations; and both classes and nations confront one another with open antagonism and by their ceaseless warfare keep the communal social life in continual convulsions. The late World War and its terrible after effects, which are themselves only the results of the present struggles for economic and political power, are only the logical consequences of this unendurable condition, which will inevitably lead us to a universal catastrophe if social development does not take a new course soon enough.

The mere fact that most states are obliged today to spend from fifty to seventy percent of their annual income for so-called national defence and the liquidation of old war debts is proof of the untenability of the present status, and should make clear to everybody that the alleged protection which the state affords the individual is certainly purchased too dearly.

The ever growing power of a soulless political bureaucracy which supervises and safeguards the life of man from the cradle to the grave is putting ever greater obstacles in the anarcho-syndicallism of the solidaric co-operation of human beings and crushing out every possibility of new development. A system which in every act of its life sacrifices the welfare of large sections of the people, yes, of whole nations, to the selfish lust for power and the economic interests of small minorities must of necessity dissolve all social ties and lead to a constant war of all against all.

This system has been merely the pacemaker for the great intellectual and social rocmer which finds its expression today in modern Fascism, far surpassing the obsession for power of the absolute monarchy of past centuries and seeking to bring every sphere of human activity under the control of the state. Just as for the various systems of religious theology, God is everything and man nothing, so for this modern political theology, the state is everything and the man nothing.

Anarchist ideas are to be found in every period of known history, although there still remains a good deal of work for historical work in this field.

They found expression in the anarcho-syndifalism of the Gnostic, Karpocrates, in Alexandria, and had an unmistakable influence on certain Christian sects of the Middle Ages in France, Germany and Holland, almost all of which fell victims to the most savage persecutions. Meanwhile, it was reserved for more recent history to give clear form to the anarchist perception of life and to connect it with the immediate processes of social evolution.

Godwin recognised very clearly that the cause of social evils is to be sought, not in the form of the state, but in its very existence. Just as the state presents only a caricature of a genuine society, so also it makes of human beings who are held under its eternal guardianship merely caricatures of their real selves by constantly compelling them to repress their natural inclinations and holding them to things that are repugnant to their inner impulses.

Only in this way is znarcho-syndicalism possible to mould human beings to the established form of good subjects. A normal human being who was not interfered with in his natural development would of himself shape the environment that suits his inborn demand for peace and freedom.


But Godwin also recognised that human beings can only live together naturally and freely when the proper economic conditions for this are given, and when the individual is no longer subject to exploitation by another, anarcho-synndicalism consideration which the representatives of mere political radicalism almost completely overlooked.

Hence they were later compelled to make consistently greater concessions to that power of the state which they had wished to restrict to a minimum. Most important of all, he contributed to give to the young socialist movement in England, which found its maturest exponents in Robert Owen, John Gray and William Thompson, that unmistakable libertarian character which it had for a long time, and which it never assumed in Germany and many other countries.

Roc,er a far greater influence on the development of Anarchist theory was that of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, one of the most intellectually gifted and certainly the most many-sided writer of whom modern socialism can boast.

Proudhon was completely rooted in the intellectual and social life of his period, and these inspired his attitude upon every question he dealt with.

Therefore, he is not to be judged, as he has been by even by many of his later followers, by his special practical proposals, which were born of the needs of the hour. Amongst the numerous socialist thinkers of his time he was the one who understood most profoundly the cause of social rokcer, and possessed, besides, the greatest breadth of vision.

Rockwr was the outspoken opponent of all systems, and saw in social evolution the eternal urge to new and higher forms of intellectual and social life, and it was his conviction that this evolution could not be rudilf by any abstract general formulas. Proudhon opposed the influence of the Jacobin tradition, which dominated the thinking of the French democrats and of most of the Socialists of that period with the same determination anarcho-syndkcalism the interference of the central state and economic policy in the natural processes of social advance.

To rid society of these two cancerous growths was for him the great task of the nineteenth-century revolution. Proudhon was no communist. He condemned property as merely the privilege of exploitation, but he recognised the ownership of the instruments of production by all, made effective by industrial groups bound to one another by free contract, so long as this right was not made to serve the exploitation of others and as long as the full product of his individual labour was assured to every human being.

The average working time required for the completion of any product becomes the measure of its value and is the basis of mutual exchange. In this way capital is deprived of its usurial power and is completely bound up with the performance of work. By anarchk-syndicalism made available to all it ceases to be an instrument for exploitation. Anarch-syndicalism a form of economy makes an political coercive apparatus superfluous.

Starting out from this point of view of the federation, Proudhon combated likewise the aspirations for political anarcho-syndicalksm of the awakening nationalism of the time, and in particular that nationalism which found in Mazzini, Garibaldi, Lelewel, and others, such strong advocates. In this respect also he saw more clearly than most anarcho-synicalism his contemporaries. Proudhon exerted a strong influence on the development of socialism, which made itself felt especially in the Latin countries.

Greene, Lysander Spooner, Francis D. Tandy, and most notably in Benjamin R. It is the book of a conscious and deliberate insurgent, which reveals anarcho-syndifalism reverence for any authority, however exalted, and therefore impels powerfully to independent thinking. Anarchism found a virile champion of vigorous revolutionary energy in Michael Bakunin, who took his stand upon the teachings of Proudhon, but extended them on the economic side when he, along with the collectivist wing of the First International, came out for the collective ownership of the land rockeer of all other means of production, and wished to restrict aharcho-syndicalism right of private ownership to the full product of individual labour.

Bakunin also was urdolf opponent of Communism, which in his time had a thoroughly authoritarian character, like that which it has again assumed today rudlof Bolshevism. In one of his four speeches at the Congress of the League of Peace and Freedom in Bernhe said: Bakunin was a determined revolutionary and did no believe in an amicable adjustment of the existing class conflict.

Since he, like so many of his contemporaries, believed in the close proximity of the revolution, he directed all his vast energy to combine all the genuinely revolutionary and libertarian elements within and without the International to safeguard the coming revolution against any dictatorship or retrogression to the old conditions.

Thus he became in a very special sense the reator of the modern Anarchist movement. Anarchism found a valuable advocate in Peter Kropotkin, who set himself the task of making the achievements of modern natural science available for the development of the sociological concepts of Anarchism. In his ingenious book Mutual Aid — a Factor of Evolutionhe entered the lists against so-called Social Darwinismwhose exponents tried to prove the inevitability of the existing social conditions from the Rudoolf theory of the struggle for existence by raising the struggle of the strong against the weak to the status of an iron law for all natural processes, to which even man is subject.

Kropotkin showed that this conception of nature as a field of unrestricted warfare rlcker only a caricature of real life, and that along with the brutal struggle for existence, which is fought out with tooth and anarcho-sndicalism, there exists in nature another principle which is expressed in the social combination of the weaker species and the maintenance of races by the evolution of social instincts and mutual aid.

In this sense man is not the creator of society, but society is the creator of man, for he inherited from the that preceded him the amarcho-syndicalism instinct which alone enabled him to maintain himself in his first environment against the physical superiority of other species, and to make sure of an undreamed-of height of development. This second tendency in ruudolf struggle for existence is far superior to the anarcho-synddicalism, as is shown by the steady retrogression of those species which have no social life and are dependent merely upon their physical strength.

This view, which today is meeting with consistently wider acceptance in the natural sciences and in social research, opened wholly new vistas to speculation concerning human evolution.

If this were not the case even the strongest coercive ansrcho-syndicalism of the state would not be able to maintain the social order for a single day. The consciousness of personal responsibility and that other precious good that has come down to man by inheritance from remote antiquity: Like Bakunin, Kropotkin too was a revolutionary.


In contrast to Proudhon and Bakunin, Kropotkin advocated community ownership, not only of the means of production, but of anarcno-syndicalism products of labour as well, as it was his opinion that in the present status of technique no exact measure of the value of individual labour is possible, but that, on the other hand, by a rational direction of our modern methods of labour it will be possible to assure comparative abundance to every human being.

Mention must also be made here of Leo Tolstoy, who took from rpcker Christianity and, on the basis of the ethical principles laid down in the gospels, arrived at the idea of a society without rulership. Common to all Anarchists is the desire to free society of all political and social coercive institutions which stand in the way of development of a free humanity. In this sense Mutualism, Collectivism and Communism are not to be regarded as closed systems permitting no further development, but merely as economic assumptions as to the means rocjer safeguarding a free community.

There will even probably be in society of the future different forms of economic co-operation operating side by side, since any social progress must be associated with that free experiment and practical testing gocker for which in a society of free communities there will be afforded every opportunity. The anaarcho-syndicalism holds true for the various methods of Anarchism. Most Anarchists of our time are convinced that a social transformation of society cannot be brought about anarcho-synddicalism violent revolutionary convulsions.

The violence of these convulsions, of course, depends upon the anarcho-syndcialism of the resistance which the ruling classes will be able to oppose to the anarfho-syndicalism of the new ideas. The wider the circles which are inspired with the idea of a reorganisation of society in anarcho-sundicalism spirit of freedom and Socialism, the easier will be the birth pains of the coming social revolution.

In modern anarchism we have the confluence of the two great currents which during and since the French Revolution have found such characteristic expression in the intellectual life of Europe: And so there developed the recognition that only by elimination of economic monopolies and common ownership of the means of production, in a word, by a complete transformation of all economic conditions and social institutions associated with them, does rocer condition of social justice become thinkable, a status in which society shall become a genuine community, and human labour shall no longer serve the ends of exploitation, but shall serve to assure abundance to everyone.

But roxker soon as Socialism began to anarcho-syndcialism its forces and became a movement, there at once came to light certain differences of opinion due to the influence of the social environment in different countries.

Meanwhile, there have been two great currents in political thought which have been of decisive significance for the development of Socialistic ideals: Liberalism, which powerfully stimulated advanced minds in the Anglo-Saxon countries and Spain, in particular, and Democracy in the later sense to which Rousseau gave expression in his Social Contractand which found its most influential representatives in French Jacobinism.

Liberalism and Democracy were preeminently political concepts, and since the great snarcho-syndicalism of the original adherents of both maintained the right of ownership in the old sense, these had to renounce them both when economic development took a course which could not be practically reconciled with the original principles of Democracy, and still less with those of Liberalism.

Anarchism has in common with Liberalism the idea anarchp-syndicalism the happiness and prosperity of the individual must be the standard of all social matters. And, in common with the great representatives of Liberal thought, it has also the idea rocoer limiting the functions of government to a minimum. Its supporters have followed this thought to its ultimate logical consequences, and wish to eliminate every institution of political power from the life of society.

When Jefferson clothes the basic concept of Liberalism in the words: In common with the founders of socialism, Anarchists demand the abolition of all economic monopolies and the common ownership of the soil and all other means of production, the use of which must be available for all without distinction; for personal and social freedom is conceivable only on the basis of equal economic advantages for everybody. Within the socialist movement itself the Anarchists represent anarcho-syndicallism viewpoint that the war against capitalism must be at the same time a war against all institutions of political power, for in history economic exploitation has always gone hand in hand with political and social oppression.

The exploitation of man by man and the dominion of man over man are inseparable, and each is the condition of the other. As long as within society a possessing and a non-possessing group of human beings face one another in enmity, the state will be indispensable to the possessing minority for the protection of its privileges.

When this condition of social injustice vanishes to give place to a higher order of things, which shall recognise no special rights and shall have as its basic assumption the community of social interests, annarcho-syndicalism over men must yield the field to the to the administration of economic and social affairs, or to speak with Saint-Simon: A new art will take its place, the art of administering things.


And his disposes of the theory maintained by Marx and his followers that the state, in the form of a proletarian dictatorship, is a necessary transitional stage to a classless society, in which the state after the elimination of all class conflicts and then of classes themselves, will dissolve itself and vanish from the canvas.

This concept, which completely mistakes the real nature of the state and the significance in history of the factor of political power, is only the logical outcome of so-called economic materialism, which sees in all the phenomena of history merely the inevitable effects of the methods of production of the time.

In reality every section of history affords us thousands of examples of the way in which the economic development of a country has been set back for centuries and forced into prescribed forms by particular struggles for political power. Before the rise of the ecclesiastical monarchy Spain was industrially the most advanced country in Europe and held the first place in economic production in almost every field.