Syndicalists and Leninists in Latin America

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posi
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Dec 8 2006 21:19
Syndicalists and Leninists in Latin America
OliverTwister, in the 'Unions and Communists' thread wrote:
on an international scope we can see that the anarcho-syndicalist presence in Latin America dwarfed that of the Leninists even into the 30s, and it was not until the latter allied with military dictatorships that they were able to supplant the former.

I know nothing about this, but it sounds interesting. Can someone tell more? How did syndicalists get so big in the first place? When did Leninists ally with military dictatorships?

Feighnt
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Dec 8 2006 23:16

i cant say much, but i wouldnt be surprised if spain has at least a little to do with it... almost all the time i read about latin american Anarchist movements, they really get kicked off when a ton of spanish Anarchists emigrate to one of the latin american countries.

in the case of cuba, i dimly recall it being mentioned in Frank Fernandez's book "Cuban Anarchism" that Anarchism had pretty well dominated the socialist movement and such for a good long time... eventually, a Communist Party was formed (presumably during or after Stalin), which was only the enemy of the government for a very short time (like, somewhere around months or a year) before they went and started to make a bunch of deals with the authorities, who realized they could tame the working class much more impressively if they were tied closely with the Communists (so, the government cracked down on non-Communist controlled unions, allowing the Communists to move in and take ground). of course, i havent read the book recently, so my memory might be hazy, but i *believe* it was somewhere along these lines. but, really, the CP there, according to Fernandez, almost instantly earned the hate of much of the working class by allying very closely with every dictator or would-be dictator who popped up in Cuba, right till Castro! (think they even allied with Batista early on, too)

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Steven.
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Dec 8 2006 23:34

Fernandez stuff is here:
http://libcom.org/library/frank-fernandez

Good stuff also in Selfed pamphlets (PDF):
http://merlin.xssl.net/~admin75/selfed/pdfs/units.pdf

We're OCRing a pamphlet about the anarcho-syndicalist FORA from Argentina as well, have a tiny bit about them here:
http://libcom.org/library/anarchism-in-argentina-1897-1950

Other south American history here:
http://libcom.org/history/south%20america

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syndicalistcat
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Dec 8 2006 23:35

There were very large anarcho-syndicalist unions in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Brazil in the 1920s. They were affiliated to the IWA. But in the early '30s there were military dictatorships in all these countries that crushed the radical left, and tried to impose corporatist solutions to labor conflict.

There is a lot of info on this history in Victor Alba's History of the Labor Movement in Latin America. (Alba was a member of the POUM who migrated to the western hemisphere after the Spanish civil war.)

t.

syndicalist
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Dec 9 2006 02:48

A tid bit or two.

See also for some additional tid bits on Puerto Rico, Gutamala and Nicargua in Dologoff's book on Cuba:
http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/bright/dolgoff/cubanrevolu...

The early unions in Guayaquil, Educador and La Paz, Bolivia were anarchist initiated.

In Argentina and Uruguay, Italians and East European Jews played important roles in their respective syndicalist and libertarian movements. In Montevideo the FORU issued a newspaper in Yiddisg. In Buenos Aires appeared a Yiddish language anatchist newspaper.

syndicalist
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Dec 9 2006 03:05

If someone can find this aricle "Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism in Latin America",by Fanny Simon in Hispanic American Review, Vol XXVI, Feb. 1946 you would find it of interest. I'm trying to locate a non-pay link.

booeyschewy
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Dec 9 2006 22:04

Briefly there was massive immigration to latin america by mostly spanish, portuguese, and italian immigrants (it rivaled that of the US). These countries had serious anarchist movements, and often anarchists got deported to LA to calm tensions at home. This led to them building many of the first unions all over LA and launching general strikes and even insurrections. Sadly many of the first leninists came out of anarchist organizations as well from latin america.

A good book is called something like anarchists and communists in brazil. Larry Gambone also has some histories of the chilean IWW and argentinian FORA. This chapter of LA history is hella sexy.

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OliverTwister
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Dec 12 2006 22:40

Briefly: In 1929 or 1930 the IWA-affiliated organizations in Latin America united into the ACAT ("Continental Association of American Workers") which had rather large sections stretching from Mexico to Argentina. The Secretariat was with the FORA in Buenos Aires. If I remember correctly the total membership was either >1,000,000 or >100,000 (I can't remember which :blush:.

The ACAT lasted into the thirties, but just like in Europe, it's constituent organizations were crushed one-by-one by successive corporatist dictatorships. The main difference was that these dictatorships often openly welcomed communists into the government as "labor ministers" and generally favored stalinists taking over the workers movement.

the ACAT sections were often based on previous IWW sections and had healthy relationships with the Marine Transport Workers of the IWW (who were very close to the IWA generally).

syndicalist
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Dec 13 2006 04:43

As far as I know, the only IWW section to be close to ACAT was in Chile. Who else?

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Steven.
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Dec 13 2006 14:36
OliverTwister wrote:
The Secretariat was with the FORA in Buenos Aires. If I remember correctly the total membership was either >1,000,000 or >100,000 (I can't remember which :blush:.

Don't be embarrassed, I think you're both right. The FORA was originally very big - 1.5m members or something; there was massive repression and splits, however, and the main anarchist FORA which was left was around 100,000 people.

There were a couple of different acronyms but I mix them up, this one may have been the FORA-X. This is the one held up as a model by some anarcho-syndicalists today, like KRAS, as it was only open to anarchists, not non-anarchist militant workers.

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OliverTwister
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Dec 15 2006 01:49

I meant the total membership of the ACAT, not the FORA. I'd be surprised if the FORA X still had 100,000 members in the 1930s - i'd say 1/10 of that is likely.

Also, I said that the IWW sections in Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, etc. laid the groundwork for many of these syndicalist unions, but I was clear to say that this was all previous, and the main interchange was with the MTW.

syndicalist
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Dec 15 2006 04:51

On the southern America's, Rocker writes:

"In Argentina the Federacion Obrera Regional Argentina, founded in 1891, was for many years the centre of most of the big labour struggles in that country. Its history is one of the most tempestuous chapters in the annals of the labour movement. The movement ran a daily organ, La Protesta, for over twenty-five years and quite a number of weekly papers all over the country. After the coup d'etat of General Uriburu, the FORA was suppressed, but it carried on underground activity, as it also did under Peron. In May, 1929 the F.O.R.A. summoned a congress of all the South American countries to meet in Buenos Aires. At this congress, besides the F.O.R.A. of Argentina there were represented: Paraguay by the Centro Obrero del Paraguay: Bolivia by the Federacion Local de la Paz, La Antorcha and Luz y Libertad; Mexico by the Confederacion General de Trabajo; Guatemala by the Comite pro Accion Sindical; Uruguay by the Federacion Regional Uruguaya. Brazil was represented by trade unions from seven of the constituent states. Costa Rica was represented by the organization Hacia la Libertad. At this congress the Continental American Workingmen's Association was brought into existence, constituting the American division of the I.W.M.A. The seat of this organisation was at first at Buenos Aires, but later, because of the dictatorship, it had to be transferred to Uruguay."
http://flag.blackened.net/rocker/aasind.htm#ww1

syndicalist
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Dec 15 2006 04:53

Oliver, I think you're overstating when you wite:" the IWW sections in Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, etc. laid the groundwork for many of these syndicalist unions". I just briefly searched this on the IWW site (http://www.iww.org/culture/chronology/international.shtml)and knowing a bit about the history of these countries still believe it's a bit of a strecth to say it was the IWW which laid the basis for syndicalist unions. It's like saying that the old Malmo (Sweden) Branch of the IWW laid the basis for the SAC. I think it's fair to say that the IWW was active in most of these countries at certain times. It is equally fair (and accurate) to note that libertarian worker organizations were active in these countries since the turn of the 20th century.

booeyschewy
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Dec 15 2006 06:15

Actually there were anarchist unions in latin america before the IWW existed as well (as far back as the late 1800s). But I think he's right about Chile?

syndicalist
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Dec 15 2006 13:54

Larry Gambone write in his article "THE LIBERTARIAN MOVEMENT IN CHILE-1840-the Present":

From 1900 to 1910 the anarchists were the best organized of all the radical groups. They were strong in such trades as printing, baking, shoemaking, and the port workers of Valparaiso. There were anarchist coal miners at Concepcion. Escobar founded the first important Resistence Society, the Carpenters Union, which played a major role in the Santiago General Strike of 1907. Anarchists were instrumental informing the Printers Federation in Santiago in 1902 which had 7000 members.24 An early attempt at forming an anarcho-syndicalist federation occurred in 1906 with the formation of FTCh, the Workers Federation of Chile. Anarchists also led the Shoemakers Federation which helped organize FOCH, the first sucessful national federation.
http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/anarchist_Archives/worldwidemovements/chilemo...

In another article from Black Flag magazine by Jose Antonio Gutierrez Danton of Colectivo Arbol Negro and "Solidaridad Obrera", 1995 entitled "1872-1995: Anarchism in Chile" ( http://libcom.org/history/1872-1995-anarchism-in-chile ) the tradition of the IWW is acknowledged and respected by a younger generation of mililiants. So it is clear that, in Chile, both traditions of revolutionary unionism and miliatnt workers action have an important place in the Chilean working class.

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OliverTwister
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Dec 18 2006 20:06

Syndicalist I simply meant that a) the IWW had a significant presence in many south american countries until at least WW1-ish, and b) although there were prior 'anarcho-syndicalist'esque unions in Latin America prior to the IWW sections, many of the organizations which formed the ACAT were formed later, and on the 'same ground' so to speak as the IWW.

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pingtiao
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Dec 19 2006 00:39
syndicalist wrote:
If someone can find this aricle "Anarchism and Anarcho-Syndicalism in Latin America",by Fanny Simon in Hispanic American Review, Vol XXVI, Feb. 1946 you would find it of interest. I'm trying to locate a non-pay link.

Here you go comrade

http://www.jstor.org/view/00182168/di008502/00p0199q/0

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pingtiao
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Dec 19 2006 00:46

syndicalist- have emailed you a pdf of the article.

syndicalist
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Dec 19 2006 03:53

Help educate me... I know nothing about the IWW in Ecudor. I had a long term relationship with an Ecudorian and heretofore knew nothing about the IWW. I only see on the IWW site that an "Administration" was set up. So I'd be interested in learning about this.

As for your other comments, yeah, well, not really sure, but it's moot at this point. But interesting history nevertheless.

syndicalist
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Dec 19 2006 13:44

Thanks alot pingtao for sending me the article.

--mitch