Second thoughts on revolutionary syndicalism - Marcel van der Linden

Second thoughts on revolutionary syndicalism - Marcel van der Linden

An academic article discussing what defines revolutionary syndicalism and the reasons for its decline since the early 20th century.

Marcel van der Linden, Internationaal Instituut voor Sociale Geschiedenis, Amsterdam [1]

Research into the history of revolutionary-syndicalist movements has yielded a great many new insights in the last twenty-five to thirty years. Nevertheless it is still much too early to make an internationally comparative synthesis. Some attempts in this direction have been made,[2] but these are still very much explorative, and leave many questions unanswered or even undiscussed. In this contribution I want to discuss some problems which seem important to resolve before we can achieve a comprehensive interpretation of syndicalism as a world-wide phenomenon.

In the first place we shall have to be clear about our definition of revolutionary syndicalism. This is a difficult undertaking because there are 'narrow' as well as 'broad' definitions in use. Wayne Thorpe and I use the term 'in the broadest sense' of 'all revolutionary, direct-actionist' organisations.[3] But this has incurred the understandable reproach that we tend 'to blur the distinctions between industrial unionism, syndicalism, and revolutionary socialism'.[4] Some other authors use the term 'revolutionary syndicalism' in a much more restricted sense to refer only to a subset of the revolutionary, direct actionist movements. Just as in questions of taste, it is pointless to quibble about definitions. There does not exist any 'objective' criterion on the strength of which we would be able to say that the 'narrow' term is better than the 'broad' term, and vice versa. The only thing we can do is always to make it clear in which sense we are using the concept.

Even so, such a specification is really still insufficient: if we adhere to, for example, a 'narrow' definition, it still remains unclear what exactly we are talking about. In practice there seem to be at least three analytical levels which quite often are not, or not sufficiently, distinguished. In the first place, we could distinguish the ideological level, at which one thinks about the movement in a general, political-philosophical way At issue here are questions such as: what is the world really like? What is unjust, bad, etc.? Who are our enemies and friends? What social changes are possible, and how can they be accomplished? [5] Secondly, we could distinguish the organisational level: how is the trade union structured (for example subscriptions, strike funds) and how does it behave in daily practice, when labour confiicts occur, towards employers and the state?

Thirdly, there is the shopfloor level: are the workers who are members militant and strike prone? What forms of action do they favour? A source of confusion is that these three levels sometimes point in the same direction, but often do not. Everyone can agree that an organisation which ideologically defends anarchosyndicalism, organisationally possesses a federative structure without a strike fund, and on the shopfloor is extremely militant and strike prone, can be defined as revolutionary syndicalist. But things become more difficult when a movement does not correspond to the ideal type at all three levels. Then where should we draw the boundary? Traditionally there exists a strong tendency among historians to see the ideological level as decisive. This can lead to a conception of movements without any relevant trade union practice as 'syndicalist' because they orient attitudinally towards anarcho-syndicalism.[6] Here again 'objective' rules are absent. My personal inclination is to regard the ideological criterion as the least important; what counts is what the movement does in practice, and not how it justifies what it does. But at the same time I would resist calling movements 'revolutionary syndicalist' if they exhibit syndicalist tendencies exclusively on the shopfloor, or exclusively at the level of organisation. Shopfloor and organisation levels together form what Anthony Giddens once called 'practical consciousness', that is 'those things which actors know tacitly about how to go on m the contexts of social life without being able to give them direct discursive expression'. These contrast with the ideological level, which Giddens would call discursive,[7] and in combination constitute the essence of syndicalism.

According to my personal criteria of a broad approach, emphasising shopfloor and organisation levels, not only the movements in the Latin tradition such as the French Confederation Generale du Travail (CGT) or the Spanish Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) belong to syndicalism, but also centralist industrial unions such as the Industrial Workers ofthe World (IWW). Those who use other criteria will obviously arrive at another set of movements. Most studies of syndicalist movements until now have focused on the ideological and organisational levels and have taken a narrative-institutional approach in so doing That is certainly not a bad thing; knowledge ofthe institutional sphere is crucial as a basis for all other research that we could do, on which I will elaborate later. About some movements we know relatively a great deal in this respect (for example the French GGT, the American IWW and the Spanish GNT), but some other movements (like a number of Latin American ones) remain until now almost unknown territory The increased interest taken in syndicalist influences in Germany and Eastern Europe is remarkable. [8]

THE SHOPFLOOR LEVEL
Wayne Thorpe and I have defended the thesis that syndicalism was disproportionally influential among two groups of workers. First, project workers, like agricultural day labourers, dockers, gas workers and construction workers who frequently changed jobs (including transoccupational migration), were not bound to a single, long-term employer and had to act under severe time constraints. Such working conditions naturally encouraged 'direct action' methods. Second, workers whose working conditions were being restructured as a consequence of the second industrial revolution (such as miners, railway workers and factory workers). They experienced dilution of skills, labour intensification, reorganisation of work processes and increased job mobility There are, as far as I know, relatively few differences of opinion about the importance ofthe first category But I am not sure that the arguments for the second category are equally persuasive. The first category is, as it were, structurally predisposed towards direct-actionist patterns of behaviour and ways of thinking, but this applies to a much lesser extent to the second category. The loss of craft privileges, for example, does not necessarily lead to social radicalism. There are enough examples of threatened craft workers who articulated their resistance through social democratic, Christian-democratic or muslim organisations. Further comparative research could be very useful here. Perhaps (this is only a speculation for which I do not have much evidence) the most important factor which leads craft workers to syndicalist sympathies is not primarily the dilution of their skills, but their increased occupational and geographical mobility This is suggested among others by the work of Gerard Noiriel, who has made a good case for the view that the growth of the French CGT in the beginning of this century is connected to the increased turnover of the industrial workforce.'[9]

ORGANISATION AND IDEOLOGY
The organisational aspects of syndicalism have suffered from a peculiar neglect. Admittedly there is an extensive literature about the organisational conceptions of syndicalist leaders and theoreticians, but it has rarely been asked how the organisations actually functioned in everyday life (this is incidentally not only a shortcoming of research about syndicalism; the same applies to the history of social democratic, communist and other labour organisations).[10] For example: was there an implicit division of labour between men and women? How were branch meetings organised? Who had formal or informal authority, and why? One of the crucial aspects of every proletarian organisation is money. Where did it come from, how much was there, how was it managed, and on what was it spent? These seem vulgar questions to ask, contrasting perhaps somewhat unpleasantly with the heroic aura syndicalism has, but they are essential; all the more because they have also had practical-political implications in the past. Thus for example in the 1930s, the Dutch Nationaal Arbeids-Secretariaat (NAS) was reproached by serious left-wing critics on the ground that it 'exists only thanks to the toleration and financial support of the bourgeois government'.[11]

In his pathbreaking research into the French bourses du travail (crucial for the CGT), Peter Schottler has shown how these labour exchanges were structurally ambivalent: materially they were to a great extent dependent on the municipal authorities but, in their aims and aspirations, they belonged to the trade union movement. The consequence was, according to Schottler, a zig-zagging loyalty.[12] Michel Pigenet and others have subsequently studied the finances of the CGT itself[13] Such research obviously contributes a lot to our insight into the material background of CGT policy It certainly merits emulation with respect to other movements.''[14]

For a long time the ideological level has been viewed by historians as decisive. Research concentrated on congresses, resolutions and writings by the leaders. Not infrequently this fixation has gone to the point that, for example, Georges Sorel was portrayed as the 'mastermind' of the French and other movements - without seriously investigating whether Sorel really had influence among the workers and, if so, how extensive that influence was.'[15]

Naturally there continues to be a point in studying the conceptions of syndicalist individuals and congresses, but it is - at least from the standpoint of the historiography of syndicalist movements - essential that such studies are expressly situated in the context of working class struggles. Attempts in that direction have been made recently by, among others, Joseph White and Marco Gervasoni,'[16] but the work in the older genre still seems to predominate.[17]

INTERNATIONAL DIFFUSION
Syndicalism was not only an international phenomenon, but also an internationalist movement. National currents influenced each other, learnt from each other, criticised each other, and not only - and not even primarily - via the 'official' International Working Men's Association, about which we know much more today thanks to Wayne Thorpe's research (even though the history of the IWMA after 1922 remains very much less researched).[18]

In the course of time, three more or less consecutive 'models' crystallised, which to a certain extent functioned as nuclei for international syndicalist 'families': the French CGT, the American IWW and the Spanish CNT. About the relative influence of these 'models' a considerable amount has been written, but mostly on a bilateral level. One issue that has been contested for a long time is whether or not the French CGT had an influence on the early American IWW Historians like Melvyn Dubofsky and Joseph Conlin have emphatically denied this, but Salvatore Salerno has recently provided a case to show that this contention warrants revision, certainly at the cultural level.'[19]

Obviously diffusion is not a unilinear process, in the sense that one movement completely imitates the other (this is implicitly the reasoning of those who consider some social movements as 'alien' for example). Rather a combination is involved of endogenous and exogeneous influences. The exogeneous influences are sometimes more powerful and sometimes less powerful, but never predominate over everything else.

For the spread of syndicalist models in this 'moderate' sense three factors seem to have been of importance.

i) International migration. The history of, for example, Argentinian or Brazilian anarcho-syndiealism ean hardly be understood without regard to the influence of radical southern European migrants in those countries.[20]

ii) International labour processes. Sailors played an important role in spreading the IWW model to Australia, New Zealand, Chile and other countries.[21]

iii) Cross-border activities. Movements in one country regularly, if not intentionally, had an influence on parts of the labour movement in another neighbouring country. A striking example is that of the Mexican activities of the Wobblies, about which Norman Caulfield has written.[22]

These three factors could complement each other or negate each other. Take the Chilean example. After World War I, the IWW gained a foothold through sailors (which was clear in the strikes by maritime workers in Iquique, Valparaiso and Antofagasta) and subsequently gained influence among bakers, bricklayers, shoe workers and munition workers. The Chilean IWW, as well as a communist split-off from 1925, were both destroyed in 1927 by the incoming dictator General Ibanez. After the fall of Ibanez four years later, a new trade union movement was founded, but this organisation was no longer oriented to the IWW (which took industry as its basic unit of organisation), but to the older Federacion Obrera Regional Argentina (FORA) in neighbouring Argentina, which was set up according to the regional principle.[23]

CULTURE
Crossing the three levels which I distinguished earlier (ideology, organisation, rank-and-file) there is another aspect which finds expression at all levels, namely the culture of the movement, the world of meanings within which it moves and in which it expresses itself. The historians of syndicalism were hardly interested in this topic until recently; they (including myself) concentrated on institutional aspects.[24] Such a one-sided approach is however in principle incorrect, because, as Marshall Sahlins has justly remarked, 'there is no material logic apart from the practical interest, and the practical interest [...] is symbolically constituted'.[25] Through symbolic processes we give meaning to our existence and produce classificatory grids for creating order in our environment. An essential element of each culture, and therefore also of syndicalist movements, is gender, and it ought to be emphasised that 'gender is inherent in all aspects of social life, whether women are present or not'.[26]

Perhaps the greatest breakthrough in syndicalist research in recent years has been the 'discovery' of syndicalism's gendered nature. The work of Francis Shor and Eva Blomberg has cast the subject in an entirely new light. Their studies suggest, that syndicalist culture - despite evident national differences - was characterised by a conception of masculinity, in which independence and 'homosocial alliances' occupied a central place. Francis Shor has among other things made a convincing case that behind the opposition of Australian IWW members to security (in the name of initiative and job control) there was a peculiar conception of 'virile syndicalism'.[27] And Eva Blomberg has shown that in Sweden syndicalism among a group of miners could continue to exist for a long time (longer than one would expect on the basis of general schemata) because this group had constructed a specific male identity.[28] With this type of research an important new venue for syndicalist research has been opened. Earlier studies of syndicalist women's organisations (of which the Mujeres Libres are of course the most well known), the attitude of syndicalist organisations towards female wage labour and the like can now be integrated as well in a broader gendered analysis of the movements.[29] The role of violence in syndicalist ideology and practice is in this way also placed in a new light.

Francis Shor has argued that sabotage not only formed 'a necessary challenge to the power and authority of the capitalist', but also 'a ritualistic test by which one could claim one's manhood'.[30] We could extend this analysis to other terrains. One thinks of fighting bouts between workers themselves, the importance of physical strength, and the role of verbal aggression. A final cultural factor which deserves our attention is ethnicity Syndicalist movements probably belonged to those parts of the international labour movement which were least inclined to racism. But research is needed to establish whether racism was absent in the same measure at all levels. Pieter van Duin for example has suggested that the 'South African section' of the IWW 'never attempted to organize non-white workers, nor [...] involve non-whites in any of its activities'[31] despite explicit anti-racist claims.

VARIATIONS
Why have syndicalist movements in some countries been much larger and relatively more important than in other countries? In the past various answers to this question have already been presented. In part, the kind of answer given appears to depend on whether a broad concept of syndicalism is adopted or not. Authors who restrict revolutionary syndicalism to the 'families' of the CGT and CNT often mention the 'Latin temper' as a reason why the French, Spanish, Italians and others were so 'sensitive' to the syndicalist persuasion.[32] Even if one uses a narrow definition of syndicalism restricted to Latin Europe, this remains rather dubious. The 'national character' is after all - despite its commonsense character – a very polyvalent concept without a sharp analytical focus.[33]

If one adopts a broad concept of syndicalism and tries to avoid the trap of psychologism, then a multivariate approach which draws together a number of different dimensions seems to yield the best results. Wayne Thorpe and I suggested five factors which in combination can probably explain the success of syndicalism or its absence: the general growth of a radical mood; the nature and changes of labour processes; dissatisfaction with the dominant labour strategy; the feasibility of general strikes; spatial and geographical influences.[34] New research suggests that our list is not exhaustive. The work of Gerald Friedman is very interesting in this regard. He argues that the policy of the French state had an important influence on the nature of the French trade union movement. In summary, in the period 1895-1906 the French liberal state regularly intervened in favour of the strikers, and was more likely to do so if the number of strikers was greater. The paradox was that the success of revolutionary syndicalists depended on 'an implicit alliance between them and a liberal state they despised. Revolutionary syndicalists believed that direct workers action was a substitute for political action, but when confronting powerful employers they depended on the state to gain concessions they could not win on their own.'[35]

The supportive role of the state had the result that the trade unions tended to levy low membership contributions, so that the number of members increased. The low contributions however implied few financial means and small strike funds. This in turn meant that union leaders could not restrain rank-and-file militancy: 'Without control over significant resources, national union leaders could not reward local unions for carefully planning and timing their strikes, and national leaders lacked the means to punish locals that conducted impulsive and poorly planned strikes.'[36] Friedman's analysis reminds us once again that state intervention is a crucial variable. In some cases, dictatorial repression made the development of syndicalist organisations difficult from the start, while in other cases the authorities stimulated - though not intentionally - the development of syndicalism.

The follow-up question is naturally why the state sometimes acted in a hostile way and sometimes did not? Such a question is obviously not easy to answer, if only because state policy is the product of long-term processes. But the work of the French sociologist Pierre Birnbaum perhaps gives us a clue. According to Birnbaum, one of the crucial factors which can explain the emergence of syndicalist movements is the relationship between the state and the ruling class. In Germany, for example, the state was unable to differentiate itself from the aristocracy, with the result that the state and the dominant class were fused. The labour movement therefore perceived political and economic power as a single whole and became receptive to Marxism. 'German social democracy was organised in the very image of the state it hoped to conquer; it was as centralised and disciplined as the state itself'[37] In France however the state was much more independent from the dominant class. 'The absolute state, or the bureaucratised state, presented itself as a machine for dominating civil society and not as the instrument of the dominant class. Domination was thus experienced first in its political dimension, which perhaps explains the initial upsurge of anarchist theories and the subsequent spread of anarchosyndicalism.'[38]

Extending this line of reasoning, we could regard the United States as a third pole: after all, domination there was experienced primarily in its economic dimension. But these are at present only speculations, which suggest great possibilities for comparative studies. [39]

DECLINE
How and why did syndicalist movements largely disappear? Wayne Thorpe and I have defended the thesis that the emergence of the welfare state and of so-called Fordist accumulation patterns placed the movements before a trilemma. A movement could:

- hold on to its principles, in which case it would inevitably become totally marginalised;

- change course fundamentally and adapt to the new conditions, in which case it would have to abandon its syndicalist principles; or,

- if these two alternatives were unpalatable, disband, or what comes to the same thing, merge into a non-syndicalist trade union organisation.[40]

Several authors have applied this schema in case studies,[41] but a warning is in order. The trilemma focuses attention on the general political-economic conditions undermining the foundations of syndicalist movements; it situates those movements in the long-term developmental pattern of advanced capitalist countries and describes their historically reduced room for manoeuvre. But that does not mean that the experiences of the syndicalist movement were completely determined thereby, for two reasons. In the first place the trilemma starts out from the political-economic parameters within which the movements developed themselves. But precisely because culture is more than a mirror of structural developments, cultural factors can sustain movements longer than would be logical from a purely material standpoint. The Swedish mineworkers studied by Eva Blomberg are a good example of this.[42] In the second place movements could for various reasons disappear long before Fordism and the welfare state made their appearance. I will give five examples which will clarify the range possibilities to an extent.

i) For the French case, Gerald Friedman has argued that the same factor which initially assisted the syndicalists (namely the relatively favourable attitude of the liberal state) around 1906 turned into its opposite: 'the syndicalists' reliance on mass strikes undermined the basis for their success because in the long run such strikes antagonised state officials and drove frightened employers to mobilize collectively in self-defence. ' [43]

ii) As far as the American IWW is concerned, Melvyn Dubofsky has argued that the appearance of the motor car in the 1920s in part changed the social basis of the movement. The culture of the migratory hands changed in essence as a result: 'Where once migratory workers had been mostly unattached men who beat their way from job to job on the "sidedoor coach", they were fast becoming more and more family units that travelled as far and as often as their battered secondhand cars carried them. For the migratory who rode the rods and camped in the jungles, an IWW red card had been a necessity of life: his insurance policy against coercion by detectives, brakemen, gamblers and thugs. For the family of harvesters which travelled by auto as a self-contained unit, the red card was much less important. As the years passed and more migratories took to automobiles and more families joined the annual migrations of harvest hands, the IWW's appeal to agricultural workers diminished proportionally. '[44]

iii) In Italy the fascists were able, in the period 1922-1927, to integrate part of the syndicalist rank-and-file in their own National Confederation of Syndicalist Corporations using violence and intimidation on the one hand, and political seduction on the other.[45]

iv) The Russian October Revolution of 1917 caused in many countries a wave of enthusiasm for the communist movement which affected the syndicalists as well. After a short period of relative harmony between both currents, they distanced themselves again after 1921, but by then the communists had in many cases already recruited a significant part of the syndicalist rank-and-file and thus weakened the old revolutionary trade union movement.[46]

v) National-Socialism and Francoism meant, as is well known, the end of the syndicalist current in Germany and Spain.[47]

A FINAL POINT
It would be interesting to compare the syndicalist movements with the newer radical labour movements in countries without a developed welfare state, such as the Polish Solidarnosc or the movement of metal workers, urban poor and landless peasants in Brazil. Such movements obviously differ in several respects from the movements we are talking about at this conference, but at the same time they had (at least in their initial phases) a similar sort of directly-democratic and direct-actionist approach. The question then could be: why did these movements develop, despite some homologies, in a different direction than syndicalism? To answer this question would not only give us more insight into the peculiarities of syndicalism, but would also show once again that workers' radicalism has known many forms of expression and still does.

REFERENCES
1. 'Keynote address, conference 'Syndicalism: Swedish and International Historical Experiences', Stockholm University, March 13-14, 1998. I wish to thank Bert Altena, Melvyn Dubofsky, Lex Heerma van Voss, Michael Seidman and Wayne Thorpe for their comments on a previous draft of this paper.

2. Larry Peterson, 'The One Big Union in International Perspective: Revolutionary Industrial Unionism, 1900-1925', in James Cronin and Carmen Sirianni (eds). Work, Community and Power, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1983, pp. 49-87; Peter Schottler, 'Syndikalismus in der europaischen Arbeiterbewegung: Neuere Forschungen in Frankreich, England und Deutschland', in Klaus Tenfelde (ed.), Geschichte der Arbdterschaftmd der Arbeiterbewegung, Munich: Oldenbourg, 1985, pp. 419-75; Marcel van der Linden and Wayne Thorpe, 'The Rise and Fall of Revolutionary Syndicalism', in van der Linden and Thorpe (eds). Revolutionary Syndicalism: An International Perspective, Aldershot: Scolar Press, 1990, pp. 1-24. Older comparative attempts are: Hans Botcher, Zur revolutiondren Gewerkschaftsbewegung in Amerika, Deutschland und England. Eine vergleichende Betrachtung, Gustav Fischer, 1922 and Philip Holgate, Aspects of Syndicalism in Spain, Sweden and USA', Anarchy, 1, 2 (1961), pp. 56-64.

3. Van der Linden and Thorpe, 'The Rise and Fall", pp. 1 and 23.

4. Erik Olssen, review of Van der Linden and Thorpe, Revolutionary Syndicalism, International Review of Social History, 37 (1992), pp. 107-9, quotation from p. 108.

5. I have been inspired here by the three 'fundamental modes of ideological interpellation' in: Goran Therborn, The Ideology of Power and the Power of Ideology, Verso, 1980, p. 18.

6. Bert Altena, 'Een broeinest der anarchie'. Arbeiders, arbeidersbeweging en maatschappelijke ontwikkeling, Vlissingen 1875-1929, 2 vols, Haarlem: Thesis Publishers, 1989. See also the debate on this issue between Altena and myself in Bijdragen en Mededelingen betrejfende de Geschiedenis derNederlanden, 105 (1990), pp. 605-13.

7. Anthony Giddens, The Constitution of Society, Gambridge: GUP, 1984, pp. 41-5, 374-5. The distinction between both levels remains problematic, despite their obvious meaning. Edward Thompson once remarked: 'The sailor "knows" his seas' {The Poverty of Theory, Merlin, 1978, p. 199), to indicate that there is such a thing as practical consciousness. But Paul Hirst has noted here: 'Of course sailors do, but they also know where not to go in order to avoid the sea monsters and they know the fate awaits the poor fool who set out into the Atlantic to sail to Gathay These things form a single "knowledge", confirmed a hundred times over by "experience".' - Paul Q. Hirst, Marxism and Historical Writing, Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1985, p. 73.

Anderson notes that the concept of 'experience' in ordinary language contains an ambiguity: 'On the one hand, the word denotes an occurrence or episode as it is lived by the participants, the subjective texture of objective actions [...]. On the other, it indicates a subsequent process of learning from such occurrences, a subjective alteration capable of modifying ensuing objective actions'. - Arguments Within English Marxism, Verso, 1980, p. 26. Anderson states the distinction between the two as follows: the first type is 'a set of mental and emotional responses as it were "given with" a set of lived events to which they correspond' (what Sartre called I'experience-qui-comporte-sa-propre-interpretation. - 'Reponse a Glaude Lefort', Us Temps Modernes, April 1953, pp. 1577-9, 1588-9). The second type is experience as an objective sector of "social being", which is then processed or handled by the subject to yield a particular "social consciousness". The possibility'of different ways of "handling" the same experience is epistomologically secured.' Anderson, Arguments nn 29-30.

8.On Germany see among others: Hans Manfred Bock, 'Anarchosyndikalismus in Deutschland. Eine Zwischenbilanz', Internationale wissenschaflliche Korrespondenz zur Geschichte der deutschen Arbeiterbewegung [hereafter IWK], 25 (1989), pp. 293-358; Hans Manfred Bock, 'Nachwort zur Neuausgabe 1993', Syndikalismus und Unkskommunismus von 1918 bis 1923, second edition, Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1993, pp. 475-93; Dieter Nelles, 'Syndikalismus und Unionismus: Neuere Ergebnisse und Perspektiven der Forschung', IWK, 31 (1995), pp. 348-56; Larry Peterson, German Gommunism, Workers' Protest, and Labor Unions: The Politics of the United Eront in Rhineland-Westphalia 1920-1924, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1993; Hartmut Rubner, Ereiheit und Brot: Die Ereie Arbeiter- Union Deutschlands. Eine Studie zur Geschichte des Anarchosyndikalismus, Berlin and Gologne: Libertad, 1994.

On Eastern Europe: Samuel Goldberger, 'Ervin Szabo, Anarcho-Syndicalism and Revolution in Turn-of-the-Gentury Hungary' (PhD Dissertation, Golumbia University, 1985), 603 pp.; Lucjan Kieszczyriski, 'Syndykalizm Polski' [Polish Syndicalism], Kwartalnik Historii Ruchu Zawodowego, 22, 1/2 (1983), pp. 98-108; Jacek Salwihski, 'Krakowscy 192 Second thoughts on revolutionary syndicalism anarchosyndikalisci Augustyna Wroblewskiego (przed pierwsza wojna swiatowa)' [Augustyn Wroblewski and the Cracow Anarcho-syndicalists Before World War I], Studm Historyczne, 34 (1991), pp. 247-60; Vaclav Tomek, 'Tschechischer Anarchismus um die Jahrhundertwende', Archiv fiir die Geschkhte des Widerstandes und der Arbeit, No. 12 (1992), pp. 97-130; Vaclav Tomek, 'Anarchismus als eigenstandige politische Partei oder als breite Gefilhls- und Ideenstromung. Dokumente zu einer Diskussion uber die Zukunft des tschechischen Anarchismus im Jahr 1914', Archiv fur die Geschichte des Widerstandes und der Arbeit, No. 13 (1994), pp. 63-90.

9. Gerard Noiriel, Les ouvriers dans la sodete frangaise, XlXe-XXe siecle, Paris; Seuil, 1986, chapter 3.

10. '"There are of course exceptions to the rule. See for example Michel Pigenet, 'Le metier ou l'industrie? Les structures d'organisation et les enjeux au tournant du siecle', Cahiers d'histoire de I'institut de recherches marxistes. No. 62 (1996), pp. 25-41.

11. "Writings of Leon Trotsky (1937-38), New York: Pathfinder, 1976, p. 82.

12. Peter Schottler, Die Entstehung der 'Bourses du Travail': Sozialpolitik und franzosischer Syndikalismus am Ende des 19. JahrhunderU, Frankfurt/Main and New York: Campus, 1982. French translation: Naissance des Bourses du Travail, Paris: PUF, 1988. See also Schottler's 'Politique sociale ou lutte des classes: notes sur le syndicalisme "apolitique" des bourses du travail', Le mouvement social. No. 116 (1981), pp. 3-20, and 'Zwischen Arbeitsvermittlung und Arbeitskampf: Die Bourses du Travail wahrend der Belle Epoque', in: Ulrike Brummert (ed.), Jean James. Frankreich, Deutschland und die ^weite Internationale am Vorabend des Ersten Weltkrieges, Tubingen: Gunter Narr, 1989, pp. 131-60. On labour exchanges now also Rolande Trempe, Solidaires. Les Bourses du Travail, Paris: Scandeditions, 1993.

13. Michel Pigenet, 'Prestations et services dans le mouvement syndical frangais (1860-1914)', Cahiers d'histoire de I'institut de recherches marxistes. No. 51 (1993), pp. 7-28; 'Les finances, une approche des problemes de structure et d'orientation de la CGT (1895-1914)', Le mouvement social. No. 172 (1995), pp. 53-88; Claude Geslin, 'Les finances syndicates en Bretagne avant 1914', Annales de Bretagne et des Pays de I'Ouest, 102, 3 (1995), pp. 11-36.

14. What is remarkable is that the labour exchanges as such (except for Schottler's work) have hardly been studied. This is even more true of Italy; the only relevant work I know of is already more than a hundred years old: Werner Sombart, 'Studien zur Entwicklungsgeschichte des italienischen Proletariats: IV, Die Arbeiterkammern (Camere del lavoro) in Italien', Archivftir Soziale Gesetzgebung und Statistik, 8 (1895), pp. 521-74.

15. The stream of publications about Sorel continues. In the last ten years, the following studies appeared among others: Jacques JuUiard, Autonomie ouvriire. Etudes sur le syndicalisme d'action (Paris: Seuil, 1988), pp. 231-55; Bas van Stokkom, Georges Sorel: de ontnuchtering van de verlichting, Zeist: Kerkebosch, 1990; Gian Biagio Furiozzi, 'II mito bolscevico in Sorel', Socialismo Storia, 3 (1991), pp. 557-71; E.A. Samarskaia, 'Zhorzh Sorel': Vechnyi eretik (1847-1922)' [Georges Sorel (1847-1922): The Eternal Heretic], Novaia iNoveishaia Istoria, 1994, 2, pp. 103-24; and Giovanna Cavallari, Georges Sorel: archeohgia di un rivotuzionario, Naples: Jovene, 1994. See also the journal Mil neufcent: Cahiers Georges Sorel.

16. Joseph White, Tom Mann, Manchester University Press, 1991; Marco Gervasoni, 'II linguaggio politico del sindacalismo d'azione diretta in Francia: la rappresentazione del sociale e la concezione dell'autonomia della C.G.T. di fronte allo stato repubblicano (1895-1914)', Sodetd e storia. No. 74 (1996), pp. 771-820; '"Liberta" e "autonomia" nell'immaginario delle Borse del Lavoro francesi tra anarchismo c socialismo', Rivista storica dell'anarchismo, 3, 1 (1996), pp. 5-29.

17. For example: Edgardo Bilsky, 'Aux origines de la tradition sorelienne en Argentine: le syndicalisme revolutionnaire (1904-1910)', Cahiers des Ameriques Latines, 9 (1990), pp. 81-95; Susanna De Angelis, 'Sergio Panunzio: rivoluzione e/o stato dei sindacati', Storia contemporanea, 11 (1980), pp. 969-87; Paolo Favilli, 'Marxismo e sindacalismo rivoluzionario in Italia', Sodeta. e storia, No. 64 (1994), pp. 315-59 and 65 (1994), pp. 559-609; John Laurent, 'Tom Mann on Science, Technology, and Society', Science & Society, 53 (1989), pp. 84-93; Mario Sznajder, 'I miti del sindacalismo rivoluzionario', Storia Contemporanea, 24 (1993), pp. 21-57; Sandor Vadasz, 'A francia anarchoszindikalizmus ideologiaja' [The Ideology of French Anarcho-Syndicalism], Pdrttorteneti Kozlemenyek, 1982, 1, pp. 59-89; Hommc Wedman, 'Christiaan Cornelissen: Marxism and Revolutionary Syndicalism', in Marcel van der Linden (ed.). Die Rezeption der Marxschen Theorie in den Mederlanden, Trier: Karl-Marx-Haus, 1992, pp. 84-105.

18. Wayne Thorpe, 'The Workers Themselves': Revolutionary Syndicalism and International Labour, 1913-1922, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1989; 'Syndicalist Internationalism before World War IF, in Van der Linden and Thorpe, Revolutionary Syndicalism, pp. 237-60. See also: Susan Mil ner, The Dilemmas of Internationalism. French Syndicalism and the International Labour Movement, 1900-1914, Oxford: Berg, 1990.

19. Salvatore Salerno, Red Mvember, Black November: Culture and Community in the Industrial Workers ofthe World, Albany: SUNY Press, 1989, pp. 93-115.

20. John W F Dulles, Anarchists and Communists in Brazil, 1900-1935, Austin: Texas University Press, 1973, chapter l;GuyBourde, Urbanisation et immigration en Amerique Latine: Buenos Aires (XIXe etXXe siecles), Paris: Aubier, 1974, parts 3 and 4.

21. Erik Olssen, The Red Feds. Revolutionary Industrial Unionism and the New Zealand Federation of Labour 1908-1914, Oxford University Press, 1988; Verity Burgman, Revolutionary Industrial Unionism: The IWW in Australia, Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 1996; Peter DeShazo, Urban Workers and Labor Unions in Chile, 1902-1927, Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983. On international IWW activities: Patrick Renshaw, The Wobblies: The Story of Syndicalism in the United States, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1967, pp. 275-93.

22. Norman Caulfield, 'Wobblies and Mexican workers in Mining and Petroleum, 1905-1924', International Review of Social History, 40 (1995), pp. 51-75.

23. Fanny Simon, 'Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism in South America', Hispanic American Historical Review, 26 (1946), pp. 38-59, here p. 53.

24. But see Michele Battini, 'L'etica dei produttori e le culture del sindacalismo francese, 1886-1910', Critica Stonca, 20 (1984), pp. 548-620, or Salerno, Red November, Black November.

25. Marshall Sahlins, Culture and Practical Reason, Chicago and London: Chicago University Press, 1976, p. 207.

26. John Tosh, 'What Should Historians do with Masculinity? Reflections on Nineteenth-century Britain', History Workshop Journal, No. 38 (1994), pp. 179-202, here 180.

27. Francis Shor, 'Masculine Power and Virile Syndicalism: A Gendered Analysis of the IWW in Australia', Labour History, No. 63 (1992), pp. 83-99.

28. Eva Blomberg, Man i mdrker. Arbetsgivare, reformister och syndikalister. Politik och identitet i svensk gruvindustri 1910-1940, Stockholm: Almquist & Wicksell International, 1995, especially pp. 300-45.

29. For instance, Martha A. Ackelsberg, Free Women of Spain: Anarchism and the Struggle for the Emancipation of Women, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1991; Jacqueline Heinen, 'Espagne (1936-1938): Les femmes dans la guerre civile', in Annick Mahaim, Alix Holt and Jacqueline Heinen, Femmes et mouvement ouvrier: Attemagne d'avant 1914, Revolution russe. Revolution espagnole, Paris: La Breche, 1979, pp. 131-223; Mary Nash, Mujery movimiento obrero en Espana, Barcelona: Fontamara, 1981; Mary Nash' Defying Male Civilization: Women in the Spanish Civil War, Denver: Arden Press, 1995; Cornelia Regin, 'Hausfrau und Revolution. Die Frauenpolitik der Anarchosyndikalisten in der Weimarer Republik', IWK, 25 (1989), pp. 379-98; Michael Seidman, 'Women's Subversive Individualism in Barcelona during the 1930s', International Review of Social History, 37 (1992), pp. 161-76; Jeremy Jennings, 'The CGT and the Couriau Affair: Syndicalist Responses to Female Labour in France before 1914', European History Quarterly, 21 (1991), pp. 321-37.

30. Shor, 'Masculine Power', p. 93.

31. Pieter van Duin, 'South Africa', in Marcel van der Linden and JUrgen Rojahn (eds). The Formation of Labour Movements, 1870-1914, Leiden: Brill, 1990, vol. II, pp. 623-52, here 649. The only serious study of the South African IWW I know of is: John Philips, 'The South African Wobblies: The Origin of Industrial Unions in South Africa', Ufahuma, 8, 3 (1978), pp. 122-38.

32. For example FF Ridley, Revolutionary Syndicalism in France, Cambridge University Press, 1970, pp. 11-15.

33. Daniel Bell distinguishes 'five different elements that are often lumped together and confused as national character when writers use the term. These are: 1. national creed; 2. national images; 3. national style; 4. national consciousness; 5. modal personalities.' Daniel Bell, 'National Character Revisited' (1968), in Bell, Sociological Journeys. Essays 1960-1980, Heinemann, 1980, pp. 167-83, quotations from 181.

34. Van der Linden and Thorpe, 'Rise and Decline'.

35. Gerald C. Friedman, 'Revolutionary Unions and French Labour: The Rebels behind the Cause; or. Why Did Revolutionary Syndicalism Fail?', French Historical Studies, 20 (1997), pp. 155-81, here 177.

36. Gerald Friedman, 'Strike Success and Union Ideology: The United States and France, 1880-1914,Journal of Economic History, 47 (1988), pp. 1-25, here 10.

37. Pierre Birnbaum, 'States, Ideologies and GoUective Action in Western Europe', in Ali Kazangigil (ed.). The State in Global Perspective, Aldershot: Gower/UNESCO, 1986, pp. 232-49, here 237-38.

38. Birnbaum, 'States', p. 238. See also Birnbaum's States and Collective Action: The European Experience, Gambridge University Press, 1988, Chapters 4 and 5.

39. The relationship between the state and the economically dominant class also has a geographic aspect. In his short essay 'Anarchism, Revolution and Civil War in Spain: The Challenge of Social History', International Review of Social History, 37 (1992), pp. 398-404, 402, Julian Casanova has proposed that 'in Spain the main industrial centers (Bilbao and Barcelona) did not coincide with the main political center (Madrid)'; this would explain in part why the anarchists did not take over centralised power during the Civil War.

Victor Kiernan has mooted the idea, that in Western Europe and the USA the capital city is usually geographically separated from the economic centre (he mentions London, Paris, Brussels, Vienna, Madrid, Rome), while this is a different matter further to the East. 'Here we see government (and finance) and industry closer together in location, because closer in mutual need: the State requiring technology for power-politics, the factories requiring tariffs, subsidies, orders, the kind of patronage that bankers or trading corporations always had greedy beaks upon.' Examples are Budapest, Berlin, St Petersburg. Victor Kiernan, 'Victorian London: Unending Purgatory', New Left Review, No. 76 (1972), pp. 73-90, quotation from p. 79. Perhaps we should incorporate these sorts of observations in our further analyses.

40. Van der Linden and Thorpe, 'Rise and Fall', p. 18. See also Marcel van der Linden, 'Vorlaufiges zur vergleichenden Sozialgeschichte des Syndikalismus', in Heribert Baumann, Francis Bulhof and Gottfried Mergner (eds), Anarchismus in Kunst und Politik. Zum 85.' Geburtstag von Arthur Lehning, Oldenburg: Bibliotheks- und Informationssystem der Universitat Oldenburg, 1984, pp. 41-57, quotation from pp. 53-4.

41. For example, Altena, Een broeinest der anarchie', vol. 1, p. 418; Rubner, Frei/ieit und Brot, pp. 260-1.

42. Blomberg, Mdn i mdrker.

43. Triedman, 'Revolutionary Unions', p. 177.

44. Dubofsky, We Shall Be AIL A History ofthe Industrial Workers ofthe World, Ghicago: Quadrangle, 1969, pp. 447-8.

45. The literature in this area is rather extensive. One ofthe first attempts at analysis was Kathe Leichter, 'Vom revolutionaren Syndikalismus zur Verstaatlichung der Gewerkschaften', in Festschrift fiir Carl Griinberg zum 70. Geburlstag, Leipzig: Hirschfeld, 1932, pp. 243-81. See also Tobias Abse, 'Syndicalism and the Origins of Italian Fascism', Historical Journal, 25 (1982), pp. 247-58; Ferdinando Cordova, Le origine dei sindacati fascisti, 1918- 1926, Bari: Laterza, 1974; Angelo Oliviero Olivetti, Dal sindacalismo riwluzionario al corporativismo, Rome: Bonacci, 1984; David D. Roberts, The Syndicalist Tradition and Italian Fascism, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1979;JohnJ. Tinghino, Fdmondo Rossoni: From Revolutionary Syndicalism to Fascism, New York, Peter Lang, 1991. For an urban case study, see: Alberto DeBernardi, 'Operai, sindacati e regime negli anni venti. II caso di Milano', Societa e storia, 40 (1988), 335-78..

46. The social aspects of the relationship between early communism and syndicalism have been little researched. See however Kathryn E. Amdur, 'La tradition revolutionnaire entre syndicalisme et communisme dans la France de l'entre-deux-guerres', Le Mouvement Social, No. 139 (1987), pp. 37-50; and Larry Peterson, 'Revolutionary Socialism and Industrial Unrest in the Era ofthe Winnipeg Strike: The Origins of Communist Labour Unionism in Europe and North America', Labour/Le Travailleur, No. 13 (1984), pp. 115-31.

47. About the experiences of syndicalism during the Nazi dictatorship we know a little more in recent years. See Wolfgang Haug, ' "Eine Flamme eriischt". Die Freie Arbeiter-Union Deutschlands (Anarchosyndikalisten) von 1932-1937', IWK, 25 (1989), pp. 359-78. On the CNT under Franco see Jose Berruezo, Contribudon a la historia de la CNTde Espana en el exilio, Mexico: Mexicanos Unidos, 1967; Juan M. Molina, El movimiento clandestine en Espana 1939-1949, Mexico: Mexicanos Unidos, 1976; Walther L. Bernecker, 'Die Arbeiterbewegung unter dem Franquismus', in Peter Waldmann et al.. Diegeheime Lfynamik autoritdrer Diktaturen. Vier Studien Uber soiialen Wandel in der Franco-Ara, Munich: Vogel, 1982, pp. 61 -198; Sebastian Balfour, Dictatorship, Workers and the City. Labour in Greater Barcelona since 1939, Oxford: Clarendon, 1989, and the epilogue in Julian Casanova, De la calle alfrente. El anarcosindicalismo m Espana, 1931-1939, Barcelona: Critica, 1997, pp. 238-46.

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Joseph Kay
Feb 15 2011 01:03

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