Social revolution

Would wide scale anarcho-syndicalist success entail a social change independent of the workplace revolutuon? Can anyone recommend a text for a beginner, something that I would learn the most relevent from?

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lem
Nov 15 2005 08:49

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lem
Nov 15 2005 10:07

Er, well both beyond the workplace and beginners would be good. Cheers

the button
Nov 15 2005 10:38
lem wrote:
Would wide scale anarcho-syndicalist success entail a social change independent of the workplace revolutuon?

Yes it would.

One of the ways in which capital operates is through the imposition of work (and the rigid distinction between work & "leisure"), so a revolution would completely transform what we mean by work, as well as what we mean by a workplace.

This link is for the website of the Solidarity Federation, which is the British section of the anarcho-syndicalist International Workers Association (IWA) -- there might be some stuff on there that would help.

http://www.solfed.org.uk/

Steve
Nov 15 2005 11:02
lem wrote:
Would wide scale anarcho-syndicalist success entail a social change independent of the workplace revolutuon? Can anyone recommend a text for a beginner, something that I would learn the most relevent from?

They would be linked as the workplace is a social construct. By an anarcho-syndicalist success if you mean a social general strike that would entail the occupation of workplaces and the seizing of the means of production as well as the working class taking on other functions usually run by the state. So as well as workplace committees there would be neighbourhood committees, the police would be replaced by a workers militia, transport, the media, etc would all be run by the workers through general assemblies.

There cannot be an overnight transformation from capitalism to communism so some structures are needed to carry through the changes. These structure would be controlled from the bottom up though.

Try http://www.selfed.org.uk/ and look at Unit 24 'The Spirt of anarcho-syndicalism'

ftony
Nov 15 2005 12:07

i assume that's meant to be solfed wink

Steve
Nov 15 2005 12:13
ftony wrote:

i assume that's meant to be solfed :wink:

No, selfed = self education

Steven.
Nov 15 2005 13:31
Steve wrote:
No, selfed = self education

But the selfed site's now just been dissolved into the solfed one hasn't it?

the button
Nov 15 2005 13:41

Nope, it's still a seperate website, linked to from the SolFed site.

One change is that the whole of the history of anarcho-syndicalism thing can now be downloaded in one mighty pdf, as well as a chapter a time.

Steven.
Nov 15 2005 13:47
the button wrote:
Nope, it's still a seperate website, linked to from the SolFed site.

One change is that the whole of the history of anarcho-syndicalism thing can now be downloaded in one mighty pdf, as well as a chapter a time.

#

Ah right i take that back. The new site(s) are very practical. Well done.

the button
Nov 15 2005 13:50
John. wrote:
Well done.

Why thankyou. 8) Not that I did fuck all. tongue

However, there's a certain poster on here with a 3-letter username who did a hell of a lot towards it......

billysmith
Nov 15 2005 15:34
Steve wrote:
They would be linked as the workplace is a social construct. By an anarcho-syndicalist success if you mean a social general strike that would entail the occupation of workplaces and the seizing of the means of production as well as the working class taking on other functions usually run by the state. So as well as workplace committees there would be neighbourhood committees, the police would be replaced by a workers militia, transport, the media, etc would all be run by the workers through general assemblies.

There cannot be an overnight transformation from capitalism to communism so some structures are needed to carry through the changes. These structure would be controlled from the bottom up though.

Try http://www.selfed.org.uk/ and look at Unit 24 'The Spirt of anarcho-syndicalism'

What I still don't get is how you prevent this from becoming used by political parties of the left to create a Bolshevik-type dictatorship.

Lazlo_Woodbine
Nov 15 2005 15:46
billysmith wrote:
What I still don't get is how you prevent this from becoming used by political parties of the left to create a Bolshevik-type dictatorship.

yeah, the key would be that the local committees would actually be sovereign, but we've seen in Cuba and venezuela how political parties and the state can manipulate supposed workplace/neighbourhood groups.

Steve
Nov 15 2005 16:25
billysmith wrote:
What I still don't get is how you prevent this from becoming used by political parties of the left to create a Bolshevik-type dictatorship.

Well there are no guarantees but I see the social general strike coming after a series of strikes that get ever more confrontational. Workers being organised in an anarcho-syndicalist union will gain the experience of organising from the bottom up without political parties. I think a ‘spontaneous’ revolt without the benefit of having an established organisation already is far more open to manipulation by those seeking to seize power.

As stated this won’t be done in isolation, if workers are organised in a libertarian manner in the workplace it makes logical sense for them to organise the same way in their communities and vice versa. The argument against Bolshevik ways of organising and seizing state power needs to be constantly reiterated so to lessen the chance of some sort of coup occurring.

billysmith
Nov 16 2005 10:08

I see where you are coming from and, as you know, I appreciate the need for working class organisation. I suppose I'm still not convinced about not having some kind of political party at least as a short term measure to take over the state.

Nikos
Nov 16 2005 15:00

'Anarchism' by Sean M. Sheehan started me off, quite good. Very informative, but i think the best way to get started is not to read a book, but talk to other anarchists and learn as u go, that way u can make up ur own decisions and not have it drummed into u by a book.

Mike Harman
Nov 16 2005 19:06
Nikos wrote:
'Anarchism' by Sean M. Sheehan started me off, quite good. Very informative, but i think the best way to get started is not to read a book, but talk to other anarchists and learn as u go, that way u can make up ur own decisions and not have it drummed into u by a book.

Nikos, most people are able to read books yet still make up their own minds about things. I think you can get away without reading too much theoretical work, but understanding revolutionary history is very, very important if you're not going to reinvent the wheel every time you do something. There's hundreds of years of successes and failures documented in various class-based revolutionary movements around the world, and though there's no point in trying to blindly imitate any of them, there's a lot can be learned.

Nikos
Nov 18 2005 10:33
Catch wrote:

Nikos, most people are able to read books yet still make up their own minds about things. I think you can get away without reading too much theoretical work, but understanding revolutionary history is very, very important if you're not going to reinvent the wheel every time you do something. There's hundreds of years of successes and failures documented in various class-based revolutionary movements around the world, and though there's no point in trying to blindly imitate any of them, there's a lot can be learned.

I can't see how learning revolutionary thought relevant to the situation in the 19th Century is in any way beneficial to the situation in the 21st century. I think anyone can quite easily think what is best for humanity for themselves. I had completly anarchist politics before i even properly knew what anarchism was. Yes, it's nice to read books and learn the history behind what your doing but it is definately not neccesary. red n black star

Lazy Riser
Nov 18 2005 12:41

Hi

Quote:
I can't see how learning revolutionary thought relevant to the situation in the 19th Century is in any way beneficial to the situation in the 21st century.

Do you see how learning Newtonian mechanics is beneficial to understanding Relativity?

Love

LR

Lazlo_Woodbine
Nov 18 2005 17:09
Lazy Riser wrote:
Hi
Quote:
I can't see how learning revolutionary thought relevant to the situation in the 19th Century is in any way beneficial to the situation in the 21st century.

Do you see how learning Newtonian mechanics is beneficial to understanding Relativity?

Love

LR

Do you see how learning Newtonian alchemy is beneficial to understanding relativity?

http://www.alchemylab.com/isaac_newton.htm

Lazy Riser
Nov 18 2005 18:46

Hi

Possibly. What are you getting at?

Love

LR

Mike Harman
Nov 18 2005 18:52
Nikos wrote:

I can't see how learning revolutionary thought relevant to the situation in the 19th Century is in any way beneficial to the situation in the 21st century.

Understanding how past struggles have developed, their successes and failures is essential if you're to have any chance of not repeating the mistakes of previous generations, and try to learn everything from scratch. Not everyone has to read this stuff for a revolution to occur, but if you consider yourself a revolutionary, why ignore the experience of millions of revolutionaries before you?

Class society is a result of myriad historical processes and events - if you want to get to a future classless society, then unless that's going to be ahistorical dreaming, you need to understand how we got to our present condition - from there it's possible to see the latent potentialities now and how the course of events might move in our favour.

Reading about things doesn't stop you from rejecting them and trying to come up with new methods - but plenty of people on the side of capital know their history very well, and they'll be using it against us. Anarchism shouldn't boil down to some kind of memoryless existential condition.

meanoldman
Nov 18 2005 21:50
Nikos wrote:
'Anarchism' by Sean M. Sheehan started me off, quite good. Very informative, but i think the best way to get started is not to read a book, but talk to other anarchists and learn as u go, that way u can make up ur own decisions and not have it drummed into u by a book.

I manage to read books I disagree with all the time and not feeling like I'm having something drummed into me, let alone being unable to make my own decisions on it.

Lazlo_Woodbine
Nov 19 2005 20:15
Lazy Riser wrote:
Possibly. What are you getting at?

That social and physics theories are both decended from useless iseas as well as from useful ones.

Lazy Riser
Nov 19 2005 20:48

Hi

Quote:
social and physics theories are both descended from useless ideas as well as from useful ones.

That’s an interesting perspective. So ideas that look useless at the time can become useful later, if only to demonstrate an error.

Love

LR

Nikos
Nov 21 2005 11:51
Catch wrote:

Understanding how past struggles have developed, their successes and failures is essential if you're to have any chance of not repeating the mistakes of previous generations, and try to learn everything from scratch. Not everyone has to read this stuff for a revolution to occur, but if you consider yourself a revolutionary, why ignore the experience of millions of revolutionaries before you?

How do the extremely different circumstances of long past struggles have any correlation to now? If we were to start learning from revolutionaries in the 19th century then were gonna fuck up even more.

Rob Ray
Nov 21 2005 12:20

There are certain correlations with the tactics used by the ruling classes then and those used now. Knowing those repeated tactics is a useful tool (the whole Sun Tzu 'know your enemy' thing).

Also of course, many of the tactics we use now in union disputes (strikes, occupations, walk-outs, go-slows etc) have been done many times over the years and refined by learning from past mistakes - not to mention the learned tactics at deomonstrations, riots etc which have, on occasion, made the difference between beating the police and losing to them.

Learning from the past is a highly important means of improving future tactics - though I agree that learning should not be at the expense of the living situation.

Lazlo_Woodbine
Nov 21 2005 13:47
Lazy Riser wrote:
That’s an interesting perspective. So ideas that look useless at the time can become useful later, if only to demonstrate an error.

No, my point was that, in the seventeenth century, alchemy seemed 'useful' and what we now call 'scientific physics' seemed to be a fringe concern.

But you knew that wink

Mike Harman
Nov 21 2005 21:28
Nikos wrote:

How do the extremely different circumstances of long past struggles have any correlation to now? If we were to start learning from revolutionaries in the 19th century then were gonna fuck up even more.

Saii answered this well enough. There's also learning from stuff going on now (or very recently) like the dockers, gate gourmet, MacDonalds Workers' Resistance, then things overseas like the Zapatistas, the Zanon factory in Argentina. They aren't applicable to everyone's situation now either, but it doesn't stop them being worth learning from (both what to do and what not to do).

lem
Jan 13 2006 17:02

Looking at the google earth spot a black helicoptor thread it occured to me, that how the hell would any kind of revolution where the rulers are in a position to use force, not be utterly crushed.

ftony
Jan 13 2006 17:14

when some of the armed forces are actually on our side

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!

no, seriously. the lower ranks of the armed forces are working class, so in class struggle terms, why not?

gav
Jan 13 2006 18:22
lem wrote:
Looking at the google earth spot a black helicoptor thread it occured to me, that how the hell would any kind of revolution where the rulers are in a position to use force, not be utterly crushed.

Comrade, do not despair, we have the workers bomb.

I can't see any bourgeoisie surving that, can you?