On the trade unions and “boring from within”

The frequency of wildcat strikes by postal workers is one example of struggles going beyond the official leadership, but rank-and-file control cannot be imposed from above

I’ve written a number of pieces now on anarchist activity within the trade union movement. In particular, I’d point to Trade unions, worker militancy, and communism from below, What is anarcho-syndicalism: revolutionary unionism, Anarcho-syndicalism and the limits of trade unionism, and my most recent post on Building the rank-and-file. However, these have all focused primarily on the difference between … Continue reading

The pros and cons of the black bloc

The black bloc formed at the TUC March for the Alternative was the largest ever seen in Britain

A black bloc, despite all the controversy around it, isn’t a complicated thing. It is simply the act whereby great numbers of people wear all-black clothing and cover their faces on demonstrations. They then come together as a unit, for both strength in numbers and anonymity. That’s it. It is not an organisation, as conspiracy … Continue reading

Defeating the cuts – an anarcho-syndicalist strategy

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The following is a draft text which I hope to incorporate into a pamphlet in the near future. The intention is to draw together the different strands of discussion and theory regarding the fight against the cuts and to provide a broader argument for an anarcho-syndicalist strategy in this struggle. As with every blog I … Continue reading

Anarcho-syndicalism and the limits of trade unionism

Revolutionary unions, such as the German FAU, cannot be created from the reformation of traditional trade unions

One statement that I quite often make is that I’m not a trade unionist. This can confuse those who know me, because I am a member and active rep within the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS). However, though I believe in worker organisation as a part of class struggle and the challenge to capitalism, … Continue reading

Where does peaceful protest get us?

Solidarity forever: members of the Polish ZSP picket the German embassy in support of the banned FAU

On 26th March, the Trades Union Congress are calling a march in London against the government’s austerity measures. This has reignited one of the longest-running debates in activist politics: that of peaceful protest versus direct action. In particular, the line is drawn between those worried that a violent minority will hijack the event and distract … Continue reading

What is anarcho-syndicalism: building the new world within the shell of the old

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The seventh and final part of a series exploring anarcho-syndicalism, its aims and principles, and the practicalities of enacting them in the real world. The basic foundation of anarcho-syndicalism is that ordinary people, through solidarity and direct action, have the power to improve our own lives. We do not need bosses, bureaucrats, or political parties … Continue reading

What is anarcho-syndicalism: a radical vision of community organisation

The sixth part of a series exploring anarcho-syndicalism, its aims and principles, and the practicalities of enacting them in the real world. In part five of this series, I examined how to rebuild the community consciousness and sense of solidarity that once defined the working class. Here, I want to look at building upon that … Continue reading

What is anarcho-syndicalism: forging community consciousness

The succesful occupation of Lewisham Bridge primary school, in order to prevent its closure, is one example of a community taking action for itself in order to oppose the power of those in charge

The fifth part of a series exploring anarcho-syndicalism, its aims and principles, and the practicalities of enacting them in the real world. One of the first things that I pointed out in this series was that anarcho-syndicalism is more than just syndicalism. That is, it is not just concerned with the workplace and with class … Continue reading

What is anarcho-syndicalism: the line you do not cross

Pickets from the United Auto Workers union beat a man for attempting to cross the picket line during a strike

The fourth part of a series exploring anarcho-syndicalism, its aims and principles, and the practicalities of enacting them in the real world. There is one principle that organised workers of different tendencies all agree on. Ask trade unionists, syndicalists, anarcho-syndicalists, communists, and socialists of any stripe, and you’ll get the same answer. Never cross the … Continue reading

What is anarcho-syndicalism: revolutionary unionism

An IWW cartoon which captures how important the general strike is as a tool to bring about revolution

The third part of a series exploring anarcho-syndicalism, its aims and principles, and the practicalities of enacting them in the real world. Although it isn’t limited to workplace struggles as traditional syndicalism is, industry remains an important battleground for anarcho-syndicalism. After all, it is here that the working class create the wealth of the world, … Continue reading