Introduction

“Against the offensive of capital and politicians of all hues, all the revolutionary workers of the world must build a real International Association of Workers, in which, each member will know that the emancipation of the working class will only be possible when the workers themselves, in their capacities as producers, manage to prepare themselves in their economic organisations to take possession of the land and the factories and enable themselves to administer them jointly, in such a way that they will be able to continue production and social life.”

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 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.