Leaflet: An introduction to National-Syndicalism

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Leaflet: An introduction to National-Syndicalism

Post by Rapaille on Fri Nov 22, 2013 12:04 am

Leaflet: An introduction to National-Syndicalism - English translation (2013)

This leaflet is a publication of the National-­Syndicalist Platform (NSP). The National-­Syndicalist Platform was founded to advance the
national-syndicalist idea, and in a broader sense the anticapitalist struggle in the Netherlands.

In this leaflet you will find a short introduction to national-­syndicalism, its essence and its origination. Especially during this time of the general crisis of capitalism and the uprise of proletarian resistance in the whole of Europe the thesis of national-­syndicalism has become just as relevant as it was in the beginning of the last century. Hopefully the theory and practice of national-­syndicalism can also provide an essential source of inspiration in the struggle against capitalism and plutocracy during the 21st century.


Read more: http://resistmagazineonline.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/nsp_leaflet_english.pdf

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Re: Leaflet: An introduction to National-Syndicalism

Post by Celtiberian on Mon Dec 16, 2013 6:30 pm

It's clear from reading this pamphlet that the National-Syndicalist Platform of the Netherlands is engaged in historical fabrications of the highest order. A tendency exists within radical organizations to locate a period of time wherein the party's political philosophy was, in some sense, influential. But that does not excuse the flagrant distortion of history.

The pamphlet begins with an error, i.e., Georges Sorel's alleged "revision" of Marxism (p. 4). However, it was Sorel's view that the social democratic parties of the Second International were the ones guilty of revising Marxism, and that his theory of class struggle was, on the contrary, more consistent with Marx's own. Admittedly, Sorel's political philosophy goes beyond traditional Marxism—e.g., by his incorporation of moral and cultural concerns (derived, in part, from Proudhon's work)—but it's entirely reasonable for Marxist theoreticians to supplement the doctrine in such ways, given the limited range of subjects Marx and Engels dealt with in their lifetimes.

The pamphlet goes on to state that "[a]t the beginning of the 20th century Sorel [sought] rapprochement [with] the integral nationalists of Action Française and later on to the Cercle Proudhon" (p. 4), and describes how this began a process of nationalist and syndicalist symbiosis. But to leave it there, as the pamphlet's author does, is incredibly misleading. First of all, Sorel never sought rapprochement with the Cercle Proudhon, the organization merely claimed to be inspired by certain aspects of his writings. He instead chose to work with the nationalist journal L'indépendance during that period. Secondly, Sorel's involvement with the right-wing was very brief; it was the result of his disillusionment with the French proletariat's failure to organize in a manner sufficiently threatening to the Third Republic. He erroneously believed that a tactical alliance with the royalist right-wing on the basis of a shared nationalism could prove fruitful to the task of erecting a syndicalist commonwealth. However, Sorel soon realized that any such notion was fanciful and withdrew from further collaborations with the right. His disciple, the great revolutionary syndicalist theoretician and temporary member of the Cahiers du Cercle Proudhon, Édouard Berth, came to the same realization. So too did the relatively conservative Sorelian Georges Valois, who ended his life on the communist libertarian left. Thus to celebrate this egregious strategic error in this history of syndicalism, as the National-Syndicalist Platform apparently does, is reprehensible. Equally reprehensible is mentioning Arturo Labriola in the same sentence as Agostino Lanzillo, Angelo Oliviero Olivetti, and Sergio Panunzio, thereby creating the impression that their respective political philosophies were homogeneous.

But it gets worse.

In discussing the history of Italian National Syndicalism, the pamphlet neglects the main theoretical deficiencies of the theory per se. The tendency started by abandoning, in toto, the concept of class struggle representing the motive force of history and serving as the means by which the proletariat would achieve a higher organization of production. As a consequence of this fundamental break with Marxism, it was practically inevitable that National Syndicalism's chief theorists, e.g., Paolo Orano, Edmondo Rossoni, Sergio Panunzio, and Angelo Olivetti, would avow fidelity to the imperialist, authoritarian, and class collaborationist doctrines which would later constitute the foundation of Italian fascism. Thus to claim, as the pamphlet does, that these National Syndicalist activists 'betrayed' their prior radicalism when they entered the National Fascist Party is inaccurate. They had already done so following First World War, when they categorically rejected the class struggle. This is nowhere clearer than in their response to the biennio rosso of 1919-1920:

"The end of the war led to the biennio rosso and the threat of socialist revolution. In response, the [national] syndicalists finally began cutting themselves off from the old orthodoxy for good, condemning the working class, declaring the class struggle to be counterproductive, and calling for collaboration between the workers and productive sectors of the bourgeoisie. Although some of them had begun to contemplate a nonproeltarian preliminary revolution before the war, it was the biennio rosso which finally led the [national] syndicalists explicitly to repudiate the orthodox revolution and to determine more precisely what an alternative revolution would have to involve. It would be a national, populist, political revolution, one with no special role for the proletariat."
David D. Roberts, The Syndicalist Tradition and Italian Fascism (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1979), pp. 154-155 (bold emphasis added).

As I've written elsewhere, these former syndicalists' sole concern had become developing Italy's productive forces in order to assert the nation's hegemony in geopolitical affairs. So, in addition to condemning the workers involved in the biennio rosso for failing to appreciate their fascistic political objectives, they also denounced the 'undisciplined' factory occupations which workers had been conducting, because, in their opinion, 'efficient' production fundamentally required "hierarchical differentiation" [Roberts, Op. cit., p. 156]—illustrating just how far from the syndicalist tradition they had wavered. . . . Capital was no longer the enemy of the working class in their eyes either, it was now "unproductive" financial speculation and liberalism. Unlike the '"parasitical" politicians of the liberal parliamentary system, according to Angelo Olivetti, "the economic classes are a logical and natural reality" [Roberts, Op. cit., pp. 160-161 (emphasis added)]. No longer were the proletariat and bourgeoisie to be thought of as antagonistic classes, destined to compete with one another over the social product for the duration of class society, because both classes were considered valuable "producers," natural and indispensable to society, and sharing common 'national interests.'

Perhaps the reason the National-Syndicalist Platform chose to abstain from drawing attention to this ignoble history is because the political philosophy they espouse contains some of their predecessors shortcomings. For example, on page 11—after incorrectly citing Georges Sorel as the progenitor of their creed—we are informed that, in contradistinction to Marxism, they uphold the legitimacy of "individual property," so long as it's subordinated to national and social prerogatives, of which they fail to elaborate. We are also never provided with a justification for their defense of such property. We can, however, reasonably infer that by "individual property" they have in mind petit-bourgeois enterprises—for no Marxist opposes the ownership of possessions for active, personal use—which indicates they favor the perpetuation of wage slavery and production for exchange. One would therefore be quite justified in criticizing their use of the term 'syndicalism' to describe their utterly confused political philosophy.

Curiously, the author of this tract found no difficulty in claiming, shortly thereafter, that "national-syndicalism is based on the concept of class struggle." However, as I have demonstrated in this post, National Syndicalism's ideological forebears decided to break away from traditional syndicalism solely on the basis of their differences of opinion concerning the class struggle (the former explicitly rejecting it)!

With this pamphlet the National-Syndicalist Platform has attempted to reconstruct the history of National Syndicalism in order to shape it into conformity with their idiosyncratic views. But one cannot acknowledge the reality of the class struggle (as they do), nor oppose authoritarianism and imperialism, while simultaneously claiming to descend from the National Syndicalist tradition.

I would advise any of the individuals who were influenced by this pamphlet to research the subject for themselves. Moreover, if they are attracted by the notion of a genuine syndicalism which accepts the reality of nationalism, they should await the inauguration of the Revolutionary Syndicalist Federation and consider joining us.

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"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
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Re: Leaflet: An introduction to National-Syndicalism

Post by VLR on Wed Dec 18, 2013 2:58 pm

Celtiberian wrote: Moreover, if they are attracted by the notion of a genuine syndicalism which accepts the reality of nationalism, they should await the inauguration of the Revolutionary Syndicalist Federation and consider joining us.

And when will that be?  Surprised 
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Re: Leaflet: An introduction to National-Syndicalism

Post by Rev Scare on Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:07 pm

VLR wrote:And when will that be?  Surprised 

Tomorrow morning, a little past noon.

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Re: Leaflet: An introduction to National-Syndicalism

Post by VLR on Thu Dec 19, 2013 7:03 am

Looking forward to it.
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Re: Leaflet: An introduction to National-Syndicalism

Post by Rapaille on Fri Dec 27, 2013 6:35 pm

Thanks for this very clear analysis Celtiberian. I will certainly see if I can get hold of the sources your refered to.

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Re: Leaflet: An introduction to National-Syndicalism

Post by Celtiberian on Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:36 am

VLR wrote:And when will that be?  Surprised 

Realistically, by the summer or autumn of 2014.

Rapaille wrote:Thanks for this very clear analysis Celtiberian.

You're quite welcome.

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"The dogma of human equality is no part of Communism . . . the formula of Communism: 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs', would be nonsense, if abilities were equal."
—J. B. S. Haldane Hammer Sickle

"Nationality. . . is a historic, local fact which, like all real and harmless facts, has the right to claim general acceptance. . . Every people, like every person, is involuntarily that which it is and therefore has a right to be itself. . . Nationality is not a principle; it is a legitimate fact, just as individuality is. Every nationality, great or small, has the incontestable right to be itself, to live according to its own nature. This right is simply the corollary of the general principle of freedom."
—Mikhail Bakunin Red Star
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