Anarcho-syndicalism beyond the workplace

Submitted by Juan Conatz on December 23, 2010

Rudolf Rocker, at this time the leading figure of both the German and international syndicalist movement, emphasized in the FAUD’s Prinzipienerklärung [Declaration of the principles of Syndicalism] that Socialism was, in the end, a cultural question. Accordingly, Anarcho-syndicalists did not confine themselves to organizing at the workplace, but took part in a number of significant movements, in order to promote their ideas and tackle economic and cultural tasks with their method of self-organization and self-management. [In the following sections] the various auxiliary organizations of the FAUD, as well as associated alternative movements, will be discussed. Of additional importance are the efforts on the part of the Anarcho-syndicalists to bolster their declining numbers through greater participation in cultural activities. Deserving particular mention is the active role played by Syndicalists in the “Free Thinkers’ Movement” and the “Guild of libertarian Friends of Books” (Gilde freiheitlicher Bücherfreunde), which was closely aligned with the FAUD. The influence of Anarcho-syndicalism on the various proletarian singing organizations has yet to be more fully researched, and in this work it will have to suffice to say that a number of Syndicalists were actively engaged in Singers’ Associations and Glee Clubs.