A New Path For Syndicalism

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A New Path For Syndicalism

Post by Rebel Redneck 59 on Sat Oct 08, 2011 9:00 pm

Allright so I have been thinking about Syndicalism and the direction it should go in and I thought I might as well write my thoughts down here. After all forums like these are good for feedback I suppose.

Now then, to be honest, Im not your typical Syndicalist. Hell the truth is Im not quite sure what the definition of Syndicalism actually is. I think its something along the lines of " rule by revolutionary trade unions" but I really dont know. And quite frankly I dont care. Why? Because I think Syndicalism needs a new path. It needs to break free from its original ideas of the past and pick up new ones. In short Im going to write about a new version of Syndicalism.

So first of all, I think the main goal of Syndicalism should be to get as many workers as possible away from the trade unions and into the syndicates. Why? Because trade unions may have very well been one of the main obstacles to a genuine socialist revolution in the past 200 years. Think about it: Trade unions have NEVER been revolutionary. They have never set the destruction of Capitalism as their main goal. They have never called on the workers to take over the means of production and distribution in order to run them cooperatively. The only thing they have really fought for is a regulated form of Capitalism, where the workers are supposed to receive a decent wage and protection from the law. Granted the Unions have done some good for the workers by advocating for a living wage, safety regulations, compensation, etc but in the long run these things are useless. Because, as all serious Socialists know, without a socialist revolution there will always be a class of scumbags who steal from the workers. Therefore revolution should be the main goal of Syndicalism. And revolution cannot take place via organizations that are essentially reformist ( in this case trade unions).

Workers should send the trade unions to hell and organize themselves into groups called syndicates ( or whatever you want to call them). The purpose of each individual syndicate should be to seize a means of production or distribution and make it the property of all its members, who shall then run it cooperatively. Naturally all syndicates should cooperate with each other to achieve such a revolution.

Another important thing that must be mentioned is that Syndicalism must be combined with Nationalism once more. Cosmopolitan fools have for far too long monopolized the term Syndicalism since the last Great War ( at least that is generally the case in Europe). You can see these pathetic idiots at " Anti fascist" ( aka Anti Nationalist) rallies holding posters with their soft callus free hands ( which have never once seen a day of hard work) that decry the Nation in the name of Syndicalism. Well I say fuck that. Syndicalism would be good for the bulk of any Nation. And whatever is good for the bulk of the Nation is in the National interest. There is no reason to damn the Nation in the name of the workers when what is good for the workers is also good for the Nation, since the Nation after all, is mostly made up of workers.

Not to mention that there always have and always will be rivalries among Nations. It is a myth to suggest that workers of different nationalities can get along in the name of " proletarian solidarity" when they have been killing each other for decades. Likewise it is a myth to claim that workers of different nationalities could and should live together in one Country without any sort of bad blood between them once Capitalism is overthrown. No nationality is an important fact of life that Syndicalism must embrace if it is to succeed.

Therefore I say it is time for a new form of National Syndicalism to arise. One that is not International but National and not Reformist but Revolutionary.

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Re: A New Path For Syndicalism

Post by Celtiberian on Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:09 pm

Rebel Warrior 59 wrote:Now then, to be honest, Im not your typical Syndicalist. Hell the truth is Im not quite sure what the definition of Syndicalism actually is. I think its something along the lines of " rule by revolutionary trade unions" but I really dont know.

What really distinguishes syndicalism from other variants of socialism is the means by which it believes revolution will occur. During the Fin de siècle, the socialist movement diverged in two directions: those who believed socialism could be achieved through participation in parliament, and those who felt that only proletarian direct action was capable of ushering in socialism. The latter faction consisted primarily of syndicalists, who advocated establishing broad-based, radical trade unions which could organize general strikes capable of crippling the economy; as well as factory occupations and various forms of industrial sabotage.

Another distinguishing characteristic of syndicalism is its emphasis on worker control of the means of production and distribution, as opposed to state control. There are, however, several other schools of socialist thought which also advocate on behalf of workers' control, so it is revolutionary tactics which really sets syndicalism apart from other forms of socialism.

So first of all, I think the main goal of Syndicalism should be to get as many workers as possible away from the trade unions and into the syndicates. Why? Because trade unions may have very well been one of the main obstacles to a genuine socialist revolution in the past 200 years. Think about it: Trade unions have NEVER been revolutionary. They have never set the destruction of Capitalism as their main goal. They have never called on the workers to take over the means of production and distribution in order to run them cooperatively. The only thing they have really fought for is a regulated form of Capitalism, where the workers are supposed to receive a decent wage and protection from the law. Granted the Unions have done some good for the workers by advocating for a living wage, safety regulations, compensation, etc but in the long run these things are useless. Because, as all serious Socialists know, without a socialist revolution there will always be a class of scumbags who steal from the workers. Therefore revolution should be the main goal of Syndicalism. And revolution cannot take place via organizations that are essentially reformist ( in this case trade unions).

I completely agree with every point you made. In fact, the vast majority of syndicalists would agree as well, since syndicalist organizations have always staunchly opposed yellow and reformist trade unions. Examples of explicitly syndicalist unions include the IWW and the CNT-FAI. What has typically prevented workers from joining radical trade unions thus far is the fact that employers adamantly refuse to work with such unions (for obvious reasons). Therefore, if workers are interested in collectively bargaining for higher wages or a better health plan, for example, they have no choice but to become members of an officially recognized trade union—in the United States, the most popular of the state-recognized unions is the AFL-CIO.

As history has shown, however, reformist unions cannot withstand the power the of bourgeois state for long, which is why fewer than 7% of private sector workers are members of a trade union in the United States today. Despite the fact syndicalist unions cannot collectively bargain with employers, they do have the potential to organize vast sectors of the non-unionized workforce and they can organize strikes. More importantly, they can provide institutions which offer various services to workers (e.g. funds for when members are struggling through financial hardships, educational programs, etc.) As far as I'm concerned, every revolutionary socialist organization should be engaged in such activity, as it would greatly assist the proletariat in establishing class consciousness, and it would present socialism in a very positive light within communities.

Workers should send the trade unions to hell and organize themselves into groups called syndicates ( or whatever you want to call them). The purpose of each individual syndicate should be to seize a means of production or distribution and make it the property of all its members, who shall then run it cooperatively. Naturally all syndicates should cooperate with each other to achieve such a revolution.


Aside from the occasional worker buyout, it's exceedingly difficult for workers to take over their businesses. The only way the working-class can truly seize the means of production would be during the proletarian revolution, as happened in the Paris Commune, the early Soviets in Russia and the Ukraine, and in Spain during the syndicalist uprisings of the 1930s. If a group of workers were to try to take over their business today, the state would simply arrest them for violating the owner's "property rights."

Another important thing that must be mentioned is that Syndicalism must be combined with Nationalism once more. Cosmopolitan fools have for far too long monopolized the term Syndicalism since the last Great War ( at least that is generally the case in Europe). You can see these pathetic idiots at " Anti fascist" ( aka Anti Nationalist) rallies holding posters with their soft callus free hands ( which have never once seen a day of hard work) that decry the Nation in the name of Syndicalism. Well I say fuck that. Syndicalism would be good for the bulk of any Nation. And whatever is good for the bulk of the Nation is in the National interest. There is no reason to damn the Nation in the name of the workers when what is good for the workers is also good for the Nation, since the Nation after all, is mostly made up of workers.

I agree that cosmopolitanism must be exorcised from syndicalism if the movement ever hopes to reaffirm itself. The problem is that many self-identified syndicalists today are anarcho-syndicalists, and therefore reject the validity of the nation-state (whether it be a socialist self-determined nation or not). This, of course, alienates broad segments of the working-class—which is why many of these anarcho-syndicalists are students as opposed to actual workers. But, as I frequently stress, the folly of the cosmopolitans represents our opportunity to gain influence within the proletariat.

Not to mention that there always have and always will be rivalries among Nations. It is a myth to suggest that workers of different nationalities can get along in the name of " proletarian solidarity" when they have been killing each other for decades.


As you know, I disagree with the notion that nations cannot peacefully coexist, but I don't think that topic should serve to sidetrack this thread.

Therefore I say it is time for a new form of National Syndicalism to arise. One that is not International but National and not Reformist but Revolutionary.

Absolutely. However, I think it's advisable to refrain from using the term "National Syndicalism," due to its historic association with fascism. Many of the organizations which used that term in the past promoted imperialism and corporativism, which we obviously oppose. Personally, I favor the term "Revolutionary Syndicalism."

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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: A New Path For Syndicalism

Post by Rebel Redneck 59 on Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:53 pm

Celtiberian wrote:What really distinguishes syndicalism from other variants of socialism is the means by which it believes revolution will occur. During the Fin de siècle, the socialist movement diverged in two directions: those who believed socialism could be achieved through participation in parliament, and those who felt that only proletarian direct action was capable of ushering in socialism. The latter faction consisted primarily of syndicalists, who advocated establishing broad-based, radical trade unions which could organize general strikes capable of crippling the economy; as well as factory occupations and various forms of industrial sabotage.

Another distinguishing characteristic of syndicalism is its emphasis on worker control of the means of production and distribution, as opposed to state control. There are, however, several other schools of socialist thought which also advocate on behalf of workers' control, so it is revolutionary tactics which really sets syndicalism apart from other forms of socialism.

Thanks for the information. I appreciate it.

I completely agree with every point you made. In fact, the vast majority of syndicalists would agree as well, since syndicalist organizations have always staunchly opposed yellow and reformist trade unions. Examples of explicitly syndicalist unions include the IWW and the CNT-FAI. What has typically prevented workers from joining radical trade unions thus far is the fact that employers adamantly refuse to work with such unions (for obvious reasons). Therefore, if workers are interested in collectively bargaining for higher wages or a better health plan, for example, they have no choice but to become members of an officially recognized trade union—in the United States, the most popular of the state-recognized unions is the AFL-CIO.

As history has shown, however, reformist unions cannot withstand the power the of bourgeois state for long, which is why fewer than 7% of private sector workers are members of a trade union in the United States today. Despite the fact syndicalist unions cannot collectively bargain with employers, they do have the potential to organize vast sectors of the non-unionized workforce and they can organize strikes. More importantly, they can provide institutions which offer various services to workers (e.g. funds for when members are struggling through financial hardships, educational programs, etc.) As far as I'm concerned, every revolutionary socialist organization should be engaged in such activity, as it would greatly assist the proletariat in establishing class consciousness, and it would present socialism in a very positive light within communities.

Well I sure as hell dont have any sort of problem with a group of workers ( who believe in taking over the means of production and distribution) that happen to call themselves a trade union. Personally I believe such groups should avoid using that term to avoid confusion with useless reformist groups but hey, labels are just labels. Its the beliefs that count.

Aside from the occasional worker buyout, it's exceedingly difficult for workers to take over their businesses. The only way the working-class can truly seize the means of production would be during the proletarian revolution, as happened in the Paris Commune, the early Soviets in Russia and the Ukraine, and in Spain during the syndicalist uprisings of the 1930s. If a group of workers were to try to take over their business today, the state would simply arrest them for violating the owner's "property rights."

I believe that such groups should band together and stage a socialist revolt at the right time.

I agree that cosmopolitanism must be exorcised from syndicalism if the movement ever hopes to reaffirm itself. The problem is that many self-identified syndicalists today are anarcho-syndicalists, and therefore reject the validity of the nation-state (whether it be a socialist self-determined nation or not). This, of course, alienates broad segments of the working-class—which is why many of these anarcho-syndicalists are students as opposed to actual workers. But, as I frequently stress, the folly of the cosmopolitans represents our opportunity to gain influence within the proletariat.

Indeed. Ive seen and met a few Anarcho Syndicalists about two years ago and they seemed to be chummy with Anti Nationalists of all sorts. Which is a pity since its possible for one to be an Anarchist and a Nationalist. I will make one correction though: The Syndicalist movement is not as dominated by college kids trying to be cool as I wrote in my first paragraph ( at least not in every country). I mean I saw a good number of Syndicalist workers in Barcelona while passing through two years back.

As you know, I disagree with the notion that nations cannot peacefully coexist, but I don't think that topic should serve to sidetrack this thread.

Fair enough.

Absolutely. However, I think it's advisable to refrain from using the term "National Syndicalism," due to its historic association with fascism. Many of the organizations which used that term in the past promoted imperialism and corporativism, which we obviously oppose. Personally, I favor the term "Revolutionary Syndicalism."


Well I suppose you may be right. It really depends on the country your trying to stage a revolution in. Personally I dont really care about what I label my beliefs. After all I only use the word National Syndicalist out of convenience. I may ditch it once I become involved in more serious activity.

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Re: A New Path For Syndicalism

Post by Celtiberian on Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:20 am

Rebel Warrior 59 wrote:Thanks for the information. I appreciate it.

No problem, comrade.

Well I sure as hell dont have any sort of problem with a group of workers ( who believe in taking over the means of production and distribution) that happen to call themselves a trade union. Personally I believe such groups should avoid using that term to avoid confusion with useless reformist groups but hey, labels are just labels. Its the beliefs that count.

When the proletarian revolution occurs, I doubt the organizations which seize the means of production from the bourgeoisie will refer to themselves as 'trade unions,' but I agree that the labels which are ultimately employed are basically irrelevant.

Indeed. Ive seen and met a few Anarcho Syndicalists about two years ago and they seemed to be chummy with Anti Nationalists of all sorts. Which is a pity since its possible for one to be an Anarchist and a Nationalist.

I suppose it may be possible to be a National Anarchist, it really just depends on how one defines a nation and the manner in which they envision anarchist communes would be governed. However, I will say that a significant number of the self-proclaimed 'National-Anarchists' today would definitely not qualify as legitimate anarchists, at least insofar as the ideology has been understood traditionally.

I will make one correction though: The Syndicalist movement is not as dominated by college kids trying to be cool as I wrote in my first paragraph ( at least not in every country). I mean I saw a good number of Syndicalist workers in Barcelona while passing through two years back.

It undoubtedly varies by nation. In Spain (to use your example), syndicalism still attracts a sizable portion of the working-class due to the largely positive legacy of the CNT-FAI.

Personally I dont really care about what I label my beliefs. After all I only use the word National Syndicalist out of convenience. I may ditch it once I become involved in more serious activity.

It's a shame that term 'National Syndicalism' has been irredeemably sullied by its unfortunate association with early fascism, but as you correctly pointed out, labels are of no consequence online and should only be seriously considered when partaking in genuine political activism.

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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: A New Path For Syndicalism

Post by Altair on Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:35 am

Celtiberian wrote:What really distinguishes syndicalism from other variants of socialism is the means by which it believes revolution will occur. During the Fin de siècle, the socialist movement diverged in two directions: those who believed socialism could be achieved through participation in parliament, and those who felt that only proletarian direct action was capable of ushering in socialism. The latter faction consisted primarily of syndicalists, who advocated establishing broad-based, radical trade unions which could organize general strikes capable of crippling the economy; as well as factory occupations and various forms of industrial sabotage.

Another distinguishing characteristic of syndicalism is its emphasis on worker control of the means of production and distribution, as opposed to state control. There are, however, several other schools of socialist thought which also advocate on behalf of workers' control, so it is revolutionary tactics which really sets syndicalism apart from other forms of socialism.

Thank you for this explanation. I have refrained from declaring a tendency on this forum, at least formally, because of the lack of available information on the Internet regarding the distinct differences between socialism and syndicalism. I always want to know more. Your explanation has told me exactly what I wanted to know in a clear and concise way, which is hard to come by. Now can how say that I am definitely leaning towards syndicalism, whereas before I doubted myself on the issue and thought I aligned more with socialism and then decided to refrain from declaring a tendency. With the other knowledge I have, it makes much more sense to me than other proposed ideas and previous explanations.

Perhaps there already is one, and I am merely being mindless, but it would be extremely helpful (especially for political newbies and forum guests) for someone to make a topic comparing and contrasting syndicalism vs. socialism, or any variation thereof.

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Re: A New Path For Syndicalism

Post by Red Aegis on Fri Oct 28, 2011 10:27 pm

Altair wrote:Perhaps there already is one, and I am merely being mindless, but it would be extremely helpful (especially for political newbies and forum guests) for someone to make a topic comparing and contrasting syndicalism vs. socialism, or any variation thereof.

I second this opinion.
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Re: A New Path For Syndicalism

Post by Iron Vanguard on Tue Dec 27, 2011 9:58 pm

Celtiberian wrote:It's a shame that term 'National Syndicalism' has been irredeemably sullied by its unfortunate association with early fascism, but as you correctly pointed out, labels are of no consequence online and should only be seriously considered when partaking in genuine political activism.

I too find that "national syndicalism", if broken down to its base meaning, perfectly fits my ideology. Shame those falangists had to ruin good comrades' fun by cow-towing to Franco! It would be nice to reinvent the term, an initiative that may be possible given the obscurity of national syndicalism as a fascist ideology.

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Re: A New Path For Syndicalism

Post by Admin on Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:30 am

Iron Vanguard wrote:I too find that "national syndicalism", if broken down to its base meaning, perfectly fits my ideology. Shame those falangists had to ruin good comrades' fun by cow-towing to Franco! It would be nice to reinvent the term, an initiative that may be possible given the obscurity of national syndicalism as a fascist ideology.

Surely, a number of terms, if reduced to their most basic lexical interpretations, could fit many ideological syntheses derived from the aforementioned (socialist-nationalist) framework. Unfortunately, employing the word 'national' in such contexts remains a tremendous political liability.

Therefore, from a political standpoint, it is far more practical for a movement or party to keep its 'nationalism' out of its organizational title and simply allow it to distinguish itself through its theoretical and ideological substance.

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Re: A New Path For Syndicalism

Post by Iron Vanguard on Sat Dec 31, 2011 11:22 pm

I would just be interested in finding a statist syndicalist group that supports a vanguard-party run state along side the syndicates. Even the non anarcho-syndicalists support a strongly weakened and intensely democratic version of the state (which I disagree with). I am more of a Sorelian syndicalist who would like to see a strong vanguard party administering defense, foreign policy, and public works.

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Re: A New Path For Syndicalism

Post by RedSun on Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:17 pm

Intensely democratic, yes, but how is the state strongly weakened?

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Re: A New Path For Syndicalism

Post by Iron Vanguard on Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:42 pm

RedSun wrote:Intensely democratic, yes, but how is the state strongly weakened?
Intensely democratic states are unable to achieve the level of decisiveness necessary to administer the revolution. It would be much more reasonable to outlaw opposition parties and employ democratic centralism.

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Re: A New Path For Syndicalism

Post by Rev Scare on Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:05 am

Iron Vanguard wrote:Intensely democratic states are unable to achieve the level of decisiveness necessary to administer the revolution. It would be much more reasonable to outlaw opposition parties and employ democratic centralism.

This reasoning is uninspiring. If your interpretation of democracy is one of perpetual political anarchy, then your conclusions would follow, but this is not the case. The precise degree of democratic flexibility engendered in any revolutionary political exercises will, of course, vary according to circumstance, but the cardinal purpose of the vanguard party, which many of us accept as an indispensable vessel for the advancement of proletarian emancipation, is to diffuse democratic fervor for socialism amongst the working class as well as to formulate and guide demands for the overthrow of bourgeois relations.

The decisive qualities of democratic governance are no more subject to subversion than authoritarian structures (less so, in my estimation), for they allow just input and transparency. It is also possible to eliminate or diminish negative democratic processes by imposing universal restrictions (a constitution is a logical primary barrier). Consequently, your general statement amounts to little more than a platitude.

Furthermore, I would be interested to know of any legitimately democratic government that has subsequently failed to administer socialism; in fact, I would care to know of a single relatively recent manifestation of an "intensely democratic" government.

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Re: A New Path For Syndicalism

Post by Iron Vanguard on Mon Jan 02, 2012 9:56 am

Rev Scare wrote:This reasoning is uninspiring. If your interpretation of democracy is one of perpetual political anarchy, then your conclusions would follow, but this is not the case. The precise degree of democratic flexibility engendered in any revolutionary political exercises will, of course, vary according to circumstance, but the cardinal purpose of the vanguard party, which many of us accept as an indispensable vessel for the advancement of proletarian emancipation, is to diffuse democratic fervor for socialism amongst the working class as well as to formulate and guide demands for the overthrow of bourgeois relations.

The decisive qualities of democratic governance are no more subject to subversion than authoritarian structures (less so, in my estimation), for they allow just input and transparency. It is also possible to eliminate or diminish negative democratic processes by imposing universal restrictions (a constitution is a logical primary barrier). Consequently, your general statement amounts to little more than a platitude.

Furthermore, I would be interested to know of any legitimately democratic government that has subsequently failed to administer socialism; in fact, I would care to know of a single relatively recent manifestation of an "intensely democratic" government.

I am by no means saying that I do not support democracy being infused into socialist society, I am just saying that it would make sense to regulate said democracy with democratic centralism (which would avoid situations like today's USA, where a minority regularly pesters the incumbent) and outlaw anti-socialist candidates. I would also take the step of diminishing the role of political parties after the revolution, and have candidates run as individual statesmen.

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