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

Standing on the picket line

Tom Mann, the syndicalist leader of the Liverpool Transport Strike committee, addresses a mass assembly of workers

During the election campaign that saw Labour sweep to power in 1997, Tony Blair boasted that his government “would leave British law the most restrictive on trade unions in the Western world.” And so it did, not only maintaining the anti-strike laws implemented by Margaret Thatcher and Norman Tebbit but adding to them. Aside from … 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

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