A demystifying review essay and analysis summarizing the events of May-June 1968 in France with an almost exclusive focus on the strikes of the workers, based on reports and testimonies garnered from a voluminous bibliography, providing a sobering reassessment of the largest nationwide strike in French history, which the author defines as a “generalized non-insurrectional work stoppage”.
The Charter of Amiens was adopted by the Confédération Générale du Travail in 1906. It marked a watershed in the development of French anarcho-syndicalism and of the French labour movement more broadly (later reversed of course) by underlining the independence from and opposition to political parties and the state. It is a defining document of the revolutionary and anarcho-syndicalist movements, no less so than the IWW Preamble is for anglophone anarcho-syndicalists.
Edmund Silberner on antisemitism among some key figures of the syndicalist movement in France.
Revolutionary unions and French labor: The rebels behind the cause; or, Why did revolutionary syndicalism fail?
Rejecting the conclusions reached by author Peter Stearns that French revolutionary syndicalism never gained worker support and American economists John R. Commons and Selig Perlman that conservative unionism was the only unionism workers would accept, the author provides statistical evidence disproving both. Rather, the author suggests that the failure of the CGT to create cross-class alliances contributed to its isolation and eventually, the decline of revolutionary syndicalism. We do not agree with some of the article, but reproduce for useful information.
In this essay published in 1908, Victor Griffuelhes discusses the basic principles of revolutionary syndicalism; advocates the tactic of struggle as opposed to conciliation; summarizes the results of the strike wave of the turn of the century in Germany, France and England; reaffirms the primacy of the old slogan of the International—The emancipation of the workers must be the task of the workers themselves—and concludes with a brief review of a contemporary French labor conflict which underscores the importance of Direct Action.
First published in France in 1901, this seminal classic of revolutionary syndicalism, now available for the first time in English translation, is more than just a history of the Bourses du Travail: alternating with some (rather dry) accounts of the internal procedures of the Bourses, the book features fascinating glimpses of the living conditions of French sailors, fishermen and agricultural laborers, an extensive report on the ambitious program of the Bourses (libraries, “Museums of Labor”, a statistical service, adult education courses, agrarian and maritime propaganda, etc.) and proposals regarding the role of the workers organizations in the future society.
A short intellectual biography of one of the founders of French revolutionary syndicalism, Fernand Pelloutier, written in 1932 by the “Herodotus of anarchism”, Max Nettlau, featuring extensive quotations from Pelloutier’s dialogue, What Is the General Strike? (Qu’est-ce que la Grève générale?) (written in collaboration with Henri Girard in 1894) and The Corporative Organization and Anarchy (L'Organisation corporative et l'Anarchie) (1896).
An introduction to the principles of revolutionary syndicalism written by one of its leading theoreticians--who was also a member of Jules Guesde's Parti Ouvrier Francaise (Marxiste)--which defines syndicalism as "the socialism of institutions" and claims that it is the practical (positive) complement to Marx's (negative) theory; displaying the influence of Sorel, Bergson and Nietzsche, this essay reflects the intellectual atmosphere of the French syndicalist movement at its high point before WWI.