The Alliance Syndicaliste on Kropotkin, Malatesta and Bakunin

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A three-part series of articles from 1975/6, written by the Alliance syndicaliste révolutionnaire et anarcho-syndicaliste (ASRAS), published in their newspaper Solidarité Ouvrière. The articles take a critical approach to aspects of Kropotkin and Malatesta, whilst offering forward parts of Bakunin as a remedy to their faults.

Translated by Daniel Rashid
February 2021
Sourced from http://1libertaire.free.fr/BrochureAlliance05.html

During 1975-76, Solidarité Ouvrière1 published a series of articles on Bakunin, Kropotkin and Malatesta. Undoubtedly, these articles did not help reduce the suspicion some libertarians, in particular those of the Fédération Anarchiste, had about us. A rumour circulated that we were “crypto-Marxists”, a label that has remained stuck to some of us, even after the dissolution of the Alliance. Reflecting on the issue, this suspicion was not entirely unfounded, on the surface. Our concern was to restore to anarchism a theory of proletarian revolution, a theory it should have never given up, and not to justify a vague revolt against “authority”. In doing so, we could give the impression of using a language that brought us closer to Marxism: the articles below talk about “method”, “dialectic”, “class struggle”, etc.

Moreover, this series of articles did not just go against Kropotkin but also Malatesta, even if the latter was called to the rescue in order to criticise the former. It was quite iconoclastic…

Only Bakunin was doing well in the whole affair, which only made us seem all the more suspicious. Bakunin had always been kept a bit on the sidelines by the French libertarian movement; it was suspected that, despite his opposition to Marx, he was still too “Marxist”.

René Berthier, March 2008

PS. We must keep in mind that in 1976 we were very young, and that we undoubtedly had the faults of youth – categorical opinions, and a bit of arrogance. However, as I re-read these articles, I realise that my overall view of the problems addressed has not fundamentally changed, even if I have formulated them differently in my more recent studies.

René Berthier, February 2021

  • 1. Workers’ Solidarity, the paper of the “Alliance syndicaliste révolutionnaire et anarcho-syndicaliste”, ASRAS. The title of the paper was chosen as a reference to the Spanish Solidaridad Obrera, created in 1907, which in 1910 became the daily newspaper of the Catalan CNT, having a circulation of more than 200 000 copies. ASRAS, known as the “Alliance syndicaliste” or simply the “Alliance” (an obvious reference to Bakunin), had close links with the clandestine CNT in Spain. As the name implies, ASRAS was an alliance of syndicalists operating within the French unions to put forward revolutionary unionist ideas, to encourage militancy, and to prevent the capture of union branches by political factions.

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sherbu-kteer
Feb 27 2021 10:07

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  • In Malatesta [...] the two temptations of the libertarian movement are united: the need for mass action, and the need for action by revolutionaries. But they meet in such a way as to make them incompatible with each other: sitting with your arse between two chairs, you end up falling on the floor.

    The Alliance Syndicaliste

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