Chapter 2. Basic Industry

Submitted by Juan Conatz on December 21, 2010


Agriculture is the most important branch of the basic industries, not oply owing to the enormous number of people engaged in it in all countries, but also owing to the role it plays in the life of a nation.

The fate of Communism depends to a great extent on agriculture. At the same time, agriculture is the most difficult field for communization. Here the positive aspect of Capitalism, which consists in the mechanization of production and the socialization of labor, is insignificant. For that reason agriculture, in the technical and organizational sense, is the most retarded branch of production. Tens of millions of agricultural units present an unorganized, individualistic, small-ownership element which, apart from its technological backwardness, is an obstacle in the path of Communism which will be difficult to surmount. This fact is tremendously important, since the forms of land ownership and the technique of land cultivation are an indication of the extent and the character of the social reorganization that is possible in a given time.

Capitalism, by uniting individual producers in one enterprise, socializes labor and in this way prepares the ground for the socialization of ownership which inevitably leads to a communization of production. It creates a prototype of the Communist form of organizing labor and ownership -- the factory as the free producer-consumer commune of the future. In manufacturing and in some branches of the primary industries, capitalism has thus already prepared the ground for Communism and the syn-dicalization of industry by the expropriation of capitalists and the State -- today the imperative and the only feasible solution to the workingman's problem. Socialized labor facilitates this transition to communist 'ownership by way of syndicalization.

The story is far different in agriculture. Here the socializing force of capitalism is insignificant; the small-scale peasant farm is the predominant type of agricultural organization, in which individual ownership and individualized labor are inevitable components. This important fact renders the process of transition of agriculture to communism the opposite to that of industry.

In industry collective labor leads inevitably, through expropriation to collective ownership. In agriculture, collective ownership will lead to collective labor.

Collective ownership in agriculture does not, however, by itself imply collective labor which, in the primitive management conditions of an agricultural economy based on tens of millions of scattered peasant farms, could not to any considerable extent change the conditions necessary for successful production. Collective ownership will lead to collective labor only through a conversion from extensive to intensive agriculture, and a mechanization of farming, replacing the primitive methods of cultivation by those which, by their nature, demand the unification of the working efforts of several members of an agricultural commune. But, since communal habits cannot be altered by decree, and since their transformation depends on the gradual aggregation of insignificant changes, the socialization of labor which would complete the communisation of agriculture will take a considerable period.

The socialization of agriculture, then, consists of two elements:

1. Socialization of the original means of production, i.e. the land.
2. Socialization of labor.

The socialization of the land is a revolutionary and compulsory act whose success depends on force; the socialization of labor is a process, requiring for its development specific circumstances which do not as yet exist and which must be created in conditions of collectivism in land ownership.

The communization of agriculture, in other words, has two aspects whose emergence does not coincide entirely in terms of time. Hence the Anarcho-Syndicalist program for the communization of agriculture falls into two sections: socialization of land and socialization of labor.

1. Socialization of Land.
1. Complete abolition of ownership in land -- individual, group, co-operative, communal, municipal or State. The land is public property.

2. The fact of socialization will withdraw land from the commodity market; no-one will have the right to buy, sell or rent land or to draw unearned income from it. Everyone will have to work it by personal or co-operative effort.

3. Everyone will have an equal right to an equal area of land and to apply his labor freely to it.

4. The general form of land utilization, and the area to be available for each person's use, will be determined by a National Congress of the Association of Peasant Communes which will form part of the general Confederation of Labor.

5. As in the various branches of industry which will be under the management of the Trade Unions concerned, the land, land management, resettlement and all agricultural matters must be in the hands of the Association of Peasant Communes.

2. Socialization of Labor

1. The socialization of land is an essential precondition for the socialization of labor which would complete the process of communization of agriculture. Only where labor and ownership are both socialized, does die product of labor also become socialized, i.e. full communism becomes a reality.

2. The society that emerges from the Revolution, after it has socialized the manufacturing and in part the basic industries, must seek the methods which will place the agricultural population on an equal, or almost equal, footing with the urban population, since an absence of equilibrium favoring the latter might result in a spontaneous flow of the agricultural population into the cities, which in turn would result in great economic difficulties and the disorganization of the production apparatus.

3. Full harmony of the agricultural regime with the regime of socialized industry is possible only with communism in agriculture. Therefore the organization of farming communes must be on the agenda from the first days of the Revolution.

Proceeding to the organization of communism in agriculture, Anarcho-Syndicalists see progress neither in the destruction of the small peasant farms nor in the establishment of mammoth economic units, and they consider compulsory general labor service a reactionary phenomenon. Instead, they aim at the co-ordination of the labor efforts of small units on a voluntary basis, compatible with the freedom of both the individual and the collectives.

The economic forms of these units would be: (a) co-operative, as most accessible to the consciousness and level of development of the majority of the agricultural population, which in general will be unable to relinquish economic individualism, or (b) communistic, in the form of free agricultural communes which will form part of the entire communistic econ'omy in the same manner and on the same conditions as do the factories.

4. In the interests of efficient production the agricultural communes must not be too large. A normal-sized example would be an association of ten peasant farms of average productive capacity, not including the households, which should remain separate. Depending on varying local conditions the agricultural communes might, and would, consist also of unified settlements, not broken up into farms, as well as of co-operatives.

5. In this manner agriculture in the Transition Period would be run by three fundamental types of economic organization: la) individual, (b) co-operative, and (c) communistic. The predominant type during the first period would doubtless be the individual unit.

6. To make certain that the individual forms of agricultural economy are removed speedily and successfully, thus transforming the entire country into one producer-consumer commune, methods must be sought which by their nature would propel the individualistic elements logically and inevitably on to the path of communism and thus remove the corrupting influences of the individualistic system of agriculture on the socialized economy. These methods should not only lessen the discord between two i ontrasting economic systems, but also establish the harmony essential to the normal development of the process of socializing labor and agriculture. The objective conditions dictate two types of method: (A) a system of offensive measures and (B) a system of defensive measures.

1. System of offensive measures, i.e. measures of direct action towards hastening the socialization of labor in agriculture, consisting of:

1. Socialization without exception of all agricultural units in which labor is already socialized by the process of production itself, owing to mechanization. The inclusion of these units in the general system of communistic economy on the same conditions as the factories.

2. Socialization of all enterprises engaged in the processing of agricultural products and their inclusion in the system of communistic economy on the same conditions as other processing industries.

3. Socialization and co-operation in those branches of agriculture which are closely bound with processing industries, such as sugar, textile, wine, tobacco, etc. and the incorporation of the agricultural communes concerned into the general system of the communistic economy.

4. Socialization of large-scale flour mills and creameries, with their inclusion into the general system of the communistic economy, and the establishment of co-operatives among small flour mills and creameries.

5. Organization of associations for the common cultivation of land.

6. Establishment of new agricultural settlements on the basis of full communism, with their inclusion into the general system of the communistic economy, as well as the organization of new settlements on the basis of associations for the common cultivation of the land.

7. Industrialization of agriculture, i.e. unification of agriculture with industry, by means of the erection in appropriate agricultural areas of industrial enterprises processing agricultural products -- i.e. textiles, sugar, fruit and vegetable canning, tobacco, beer, wine and spirits, starch and molasses, rope and twine, etc. The establishment of composite agro-industrial units, with the industrial enterprise in the center, which, by virtue oi their organization of labor and the connection of the industrial enterprise with the suppliers of raw materials, will be of the following types:

1. Communistic industrial enterprises of the usual kind cooperating with the surrounding individualistic agricultural units on the basis of commercial book-keeping, like the Russian creamery producer co-operatives.

2. Composite agro-industrial units -- as a link in the general communistic economic chain -- which will work seasonally and whose industrial workers will take part in agriculture during the periods of most intensive field labor and whose farm workers will work in industry during the periods of inactivity on the land.

3. Composite units working continuously, where the fields surrounding the enterprise, together with the enterprise itself, are united and labor is organized in such a way that eath member, taking his turn, works definite hours daily in the field\nd in the factory.

2. System of Defensive Measures, i.e. measures of integrating the millions of individualistic units and their reciprocal activities with the communistic economy of the country, consisting primarily of the comprehensive permeation of the system of individualistic units by various types of co-operatives -- credit co-operatives, producers' and subsidiary co-operatives.

The system of defensive measures will belong to the Transition Period and all institutions established in connection therewith will afterwards gradually disappear or will be converted into institutions of the free producer-consumer communes. Hence the co-operatives of the Transition Period cannot be copies of those developing within the limits of the capitalist structure. The interests of the transition to communism demand internal organizational unity, and the fulfilment of complex functions by local collectivities which will be united in their diversity through the process of federalization.

The tasks of the peasant co-operatives in the Transition Period will be to provide the sole liaison between the communistic economy of the country in general and the individualistic agricultural units which it surrounds, to organize for these two divergent economic systems the true and natural financial exchange process, and to convert themselves gradually into the distributing agencies of a unified labor commune.

The basic collective unit of the co-operatives will be the agricultural village association, combining the local functions of distribution, buying-and-selling, processing, subsidiary production, stud farms, machine-renting stations, housebuilding and radio-electric associations. Unions of village associations, covering the entire country and headed by the High Council of village associations, will enter into close contact with the organs of the communistic economy, and will represent the organizational system of individualistic agriculture, based on the concept of full independence for the population itself.

The Agricultural Banks for credit in cash and goods, organized by the communistic economy, will have many departments, and will deal with the agricultural associations on functional lines. Apart from their credit and loan activities, these Banks will conduct all operations of exchange, both within the country and abroad.

Since the village associations will emerge within the basic associations which apportion the land, i.e. the Peasant Communes, the two must become unified organs autonomously fulfilling their specific functions.


Like cultivation, cattle raising is of great importance in the life of each country and of the world at large, and society, when it emerges from the Revolution, must assure not only the integration of this branch of agriculture into the general structure of the new national economy, but must also find the most rational methods by which to attract into its orbit those cattle raising nomads who live a migratory life and to accustom them gradually to cultural co-operation with the rest of the people.

Since cattle raising is inevitably linked to farming, communization must be accomplished firstly in cattle raising farms of a purely commercial character, e.g. stud farms, dairy farms, chicken farms. The peasants' livestock, however, cannot be socialized before the transformation of the entire economy on a communistic basis; it will be socialized with the socialization of agriculture.

Thus, until the full socialization of agriculture, and in order to speed its accomplishment, it will be necessary to consider seriously the systematization of peasant livestock breeding and the improvement in breeds of livestock. Co-operatives and industries engaged in the processing of livestock products are powerful means to that end.

The industrialization of cattle breeding must develop in full harmony with the general industrialization of agriculture, and on the same principles. The socialization of industrial enterprises engaged in the processing of livestock products, their integration into the general communistic system, and the transfer of slaughter houses, meat-packing plants and of all enterprises engaged in such processing from the cities into ranching areas or the erection there of new plants, will speed the growth of socialization.

With regard to the tribes of nomadic cattle raisers there can, of course, be no thought of introducing communism among them until they settle down and their cultural standards are raised, if only to the level of present-day Russian peasants. The most powerful influence in this respect will be the fact that they will find themselves in a higher cultural environment. The organization of their education, the foundation of agronomic enterprises, and the gradual increase in the use of co-operatives in the sale of cattle and the purchase of essential products of urban industry, will all help in the process. The Agricultural Bank will have to institute cash and goods exchange and credit facilities for them, and it will thus become a powerful factor in transforming the entire economic and intellectual standards of the migratory cattle raisers. Improvement in transportation and the development of communistic enterprises for the processing of cattle products in the provinces adjacent to migratory camps, or even in the camps themselves, will have a vast effect on them in a communistic direction.


Since vegetable plots and gardens are inseparable parts of agriculture, only the commercial gardens will be subject to immediate socialization. The socialized undertakings must be industrialized at once, i.e. they must be organized according to a system of composite agro-industrial settlements -- with an industrial unit in the center (for jams, syrups and other products) -- whose labor will be fully integrated.


The forests are a natural resource, which, like the land, became private property only through the use of naked force. They must therefore be returned to universal usage, i.e. become the property of society as a whole.

The plundering management of the timber economy by capitalism has resulted in the destruction of forests in many countries. But the conservation of forests everywhere is of great importance both for climate and for soil. Forests provide not only building and heating materials, not only raw materials for many manufacturing industries, not only the areas where beasts and birds multiply, but also a factor which determines the navigability of rivers and the moisture of the soil -- in its turn vital to agriculture. Hence, for the sake of the common good and the preservation of timber resources, the forests must be socialized, i.e. all rights to private, State or any other ownership must be abolished. By socialization, the forests will cease tc be a commercial commodity: no-one will have the right to sell, buy, give or rent either them or their products, or to draw an unearned income from them.

Small woodlands, located in agricultural districts, which cannot be exploited in the interests of socialized industry, will everywhere be transferred to the management of peasant associations, for use as fuel and building material, and to satisfy other needs of the individualistic agricultural units. All other woodlands will be included in the general system of the communistic economy be means of syndicalization, i.e. they will be transferred to and managed by the association of lumbermen and of workers in the industries processing timber products.

Shortages of timber in agricultural units will be met at cost price out of socialized forest resources through the peasant cooperatives and the Bank of cash-and-goods credit.

The socialization of forestry will result in the socialization of all timber industries and all plants engaged in the processing of timber products. Those home industries which are connected in one way or another with the use of timber will be organized into co-operatives and brought into the closest contact with commu-nized forestry. The timber economy will be united with industry by means of the integrated organization of labor, and, where possible, with agriculture by means of the transfer and erection of suitable enterprises in farming areas, and the utilization of land cleared of forest for cultivation and cattle raising.


A. Fishery.

The socialization of water resources. Socialization of fishing trades and plants, and their integration into the general system of the communistic economy.

Organization into co-operatives of small fishery trades, smokehouses and pickling plants.

The systematic organization of fishing and the installation of fish preserves.

B. Hunting.

The inclusion of the hunting trade into the system of composite communistic forestry units. Organization of co-operatives in the peasant hunting trade. Organization of purchase and exchange divisions by the Bank of Cash and Goods Credit in districts populated by hunting tribes. Elaboration of methods for the co-operative unification of the individual efforts of the hunting tribes and the raising of their cultural level. Systematic organization of hunting and the establishment of forest preserves.

The management of the fishing and hunting trades will be entrusted to the associations and scientific societies concerned.


Those branches of industry which are connected with the extraction of mineral resources, like the manufacturing industries, have been subjected to a capitalist development which has created favorable conditions for socialization, and their importance in the general economic system is indeed so great that their socialization is imperative. For that reason, society must proclaim from the very beginning of the social Revolution the full socialization of mineral resources.

1. Syndicalization of all large-scale enterprises and their integration into the general communist economy of the country.

2. Co-operative unification of small-scale and home industries for the sale of their products to the communistic economy.

3. Industrialization of the various branches of the mining industry, i.e. their unification with the chemical, metallurgical and other branches of the processing industry through the organization of composite units on the basis of integrated labor.

4. The ruralization of industrialized and non-industrialized enterprises of the branches of production concerned, i.e. their unification with agriculture by means of composite combines gradually drawing into their economic orbits the surrounding farming population and organizing labor on the principle of integration.

5. Like the plants in the processing industries the enterprises in the forms of production under consideration will be managed by production committees and the industry as a whole by an association of such committees.