The Socialist Future of the Syndicates - Georges Sorel

Georges Sorel

Sorel's 1898 text, the Socialist Future of the Syndicates, is often referred to as his most directly syndicalist work. At this point a committed, albeit unique Marxist, Sorel gives an assessment of trade unions as a vehicle for revolutionary politics. Reproduced for reference, not out of agreement.

Sorel - Socialist Future of the Syndicates.pdf8.7 MB

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Jun 26 2019 09:03


  • In order to sum up my thinking in capsule form, I say that the whole future of socialism rests on the autonomous development of the workers' syndicates.

    Georges Sorel


Jun 26 2019 16:55

Thanks for this. Im neither a fan or lover of Sorel, but this strikes me of interest.

Jan 30 2020 11:56

Ever get round to reading this syndicalist? Curious to know your thoughts (and everyone else's)

Jan 31 2020 22:47

No, sorry, never did. I did actually copy. paste and pained out

Apr 24 2020 19:08

After reading the debates between Trotsky and the french syndicalists I am sort of surprised how similar the arguments of the syndicalist of the late 20's against political organisation through communist party was to those of Sorel against the social-democrats in this one. I.e that syndicalism is better and more revolutionary because they organize the proletariat as a class without specialists and intellectuals. Though the french syndicalists had to concede that neither CGT nor CGTU ever organized anything near a majority of the french working-class and in a sense acted as a militant minority.

Apr 25 2020 03:21

I don't think it's necessarily about organising without specialists or intellectuals altogether, but avoiding them becoming the "directors" of the movement. For instance the CNT solved that problem by merely creating sections for middle class professions, eg academics and clerks and so on. The concern of the syndicalists was that subordination to a communist party would effectively amount to a "dictatorship of the specialists/intellectuals" -- not exactly a ridiculous concern.

I also would not say that the syndicalists had to "concede" that they were only a minority, they were pretty open about that fact, eg in Pouget's Direct Action there's quite a lot lauding the value of the organised minority. What's key is the kind of influence the union has, what sectors it controls, etc not merely whether it's in the numerical majority or not.

But admittedly I haven't read the Trotsky vs. syndicalist polemics. These are between Trotsky and Monatte & co, right?