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Fighting for ourselves

The Solidarity Federation's book, Fighting for ourselves: anarcho-syndicalism and the class struggle, aims to recover some of the lost history of the workers' movement, in order to set out a revolutionary strategy for the present conditions. In clear and accessible prose, the book sets out the anarcho-syndicalist criticisms of political parties and trade unions, engages with other radical traditions such as anarchism, syndicalism and dissident Marxisms, explains what anarcho-syndicalism was in the twentieth century, and how it's relevant - indeed, vital - for workers today.

Unit 24: The spirit of anarcho-syndicalism

This Unit aims to

  • Take anarcho-syndicalist history and project it forward into the first years of the 21st Century.
  • Provide some ideas as to the choices on offer to us in changing society today.
  • Provide a discussion of some of the ideas at the core of anarcho-syndicalism today.
  • Present some notes and comments on 3 examples of types of struggles taking place today.
  • Contribute to new and more effective action; from which we can collectively bring about a better society.

Introduction

Unit 23: Roots of modern anarcho-syndicalism: morality, culture & tactics

This Unit aims to

  • Follow on from Unit 22, tracing the origins, motivations and ideas of anarcho-syndicalism.
  • Summarise the character of anarcho-syndicalism.
  • Illustrate when and how anarcho- syndicalism developed and incorporated cohesive ideas, principles and tactics.

Introduction

Unit 22: Roots of modern anarcho-syndicalism: freedom, oppression & rebellion

This Unit aims to

  • Summarise the main origins and motivations in the development of modern anarcho-syndicalism.
  • Recap on some of the achievements that have been brushed under the carpet of capitalist history.
  • Emphasise the sheer extent of anarchist influence on revolutionary movements.
  • Examine the lessons from these experiences that are still relevant for us to apply today and in the future.

Terms and abbreviations

Primitivist: Someone who believes that civilisation has gone to far and we need to dismantle it and return to a simple way of life without modern technology. 

Unit 21: anarcho-syndicalism 1939-99

This Unit aims to

  • Trace the development of the IWA in the post-war era, following on from the period covered in Unit 13.
  • Examine the re-emergence of the CNT in Spain.
  • Look at the attempts to turn the CNT towards reformism.
  • Analyse the reasons behind the formation of the CGT.

Terms and abbreviations

IWA: International Workers’ Association, the international anarcho- syndicalist movement, founded in 1922 (see Unit 13), note that the acronym is AIT in Spanish.
CNT: Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo (National Confederation of Labour). Anarcho-syndicalist union
FAUD: Freie Arbeiter-Union Deutschlands, German anarcho- syndicalist union federation up to its suppression by the Nazis

Unit 20: Britain, 1950-1990 - Decline of Social Democracy

This Unit aims to

  • Continue on from Unit 19, following the economic and political scene in Britain after the Second World War.
  • Investigate the failure of Keynesian demand management.
  • Examine the post-war shop stewards movement.
  • Look at the decline of the Communist Party and the emergence
  • of the ‘new left’ and rank and file movement.
  • Chart the onslaught of Thatcherism on the working class.

Terms and abbreviations

Keynesian Economics: An economic theory advocating government intervention, or demand side management of the economy, to achieve full employment and stable prices.
Macro-economic: The performance of the overall economy, inflation, unemployment, and industrial production.

Unit 19: Britain, 1930-1950 - The Era of Reform

This Unit aims to

  • Examine the period when reforms and state interventionist policies came to dominate Britain and the rest of the advanced capitalist world.
  • Look at the role of the trade unions during this critical time.
  • Analyse the role of the Communist Party during the inter-war period.

Terms and abbreviations

SWF: Syndicalist Workers’ Federation. Anarcho-syndicalist group formed in 1950.
DAM: Direct Action Movement. Anarcho-syndicalist group formed in 1979.
TUC: Trades Union Congress.
NUWCM: National Unemployed Workers Committee Movement.
CP: Communist Party.
TGWU: Transport and General Workers’ Union.
NUR: National Union of Railwaymen.

Unit 18: Spain - The Collectives

This Unit aims to

  • Give an overview of how the collectives in the Spanish
  • Revolution were organised.
  • Consider the problems faced by the collectives.
  • Describe how the collectives functioned internally.
  • Examine the mechanisms for the production and distribution ofgoods.
  • Indicate how lessons learned from the Spanish collectives are still relevant today.

Terms and abbreviations

CNT: Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo (National Confederation of Labour). Anarcho-syndicalist union.
LEC: Local Economic Council
UGT: Union General de Trabajadores (General Workers’ Union). Reformist trade union controlled by the socialists.

Unit 17: Spain 1936-39: Revolution and Civil War

This Unit aims to

  • Give a short introduction to and provide a chronology and commentary on the political and military events of 1936-39 in Spain.
  • Chart the reasons behind the entry into government by the CNT.
  • Examine the workers’ militias.
  • Discuss the rise in influence of the Communists.

Terms and abbreviations

CNT: Confederacion Nacionaln del Trabajo (National Confederation of Labour). Anarcho-syndicalist union.
PSO: Partido Socialista Obrero (Workers’ Socialist Party)
POUM: Partido Obrero de Unificacion Marxista (United Marxist Workers Party). Dissident revolutionary Communist Party
FAI: Federacion Anarquista Iberica (Iberian Anarchist Federation)

Unit 16 Spain: Culture, education, women and sexuality

This Unit aims to

  • Examine attitudes toward women in 1930s Spain.
  • Look at the approaches of the anarcho-syndicalists to women’s emancipation.
  • Review the anarcho-syndicalist approach to culture, education and sexuality.
  • Highlight the importance of the social dimension to the revolutionary struggle in Spain.

Terms and abbreviations

CNT: Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo (National Confederation of Labour) Anarcho-syndicalist union. 
FRE: Federación Regional Española (Spanish Regional Federation). The Spanish region of the First International
FTRE: Federación del Trabajadores Regional Española (Federation of Workers of the Spanish Region)

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