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industrial weapons, and the syndicalist society realized after a process of sabotage and partial strikes, culminating in a general strike.

Syndicalism is thus a doctrine of class struggle, a call to direct action, and a scheme for a new economic society of which the union is the dominating factor. The fighting groups of to-day will be the producing and distributing groups of tomorrow.Between to-day and to-morrow those groups will wage their last great triumphant struggle, and when to-morrow dawns there will be no capitalists, no state.

Syndicalism a Reaction. Like most new movements, syndicalism came as a reaction. It was born of disappointment-disappointment at the apparent failure of orthodox unionism, co-operation, industrial arbitration and conciliation, political action and collectivism. The old unions, in their hunt fur small concessions, seemed to get no further forward in the struggle with capitalism. Co-operation had done much, but had still only touched the fringe of the problem; it had become an ordinary business concern, shorn of its early idealism. But the failure of unionism and co-operation was as nought when compared with the dismal futility of political action. Labour had poured out its energy without stint in order to build up strong Labour or Socialist parties—and with what result? Since parliamentary candidates could seldom hope to be returned on a working-class vote alone, they had watered down their ideals in order to secure the votes of the middle class and peasants. The class war was an unpopular idea with many, and so had been thrown overboard. Socialist truths had become overlaid with opportunism and compromise. Even when a man was returned on a thoroughly socialistic platform, his sword-waving soon turned to sword-swallowing. The social lure of political life demoralized the Socialist politician. He became flabby, soft as the upholstery of Parliament House, and forsook the great truths of socialism for the fleshpots, assured salary, and perquisites of political life. Socialists who had taken office in capitalist governments soon lost all their fire, became opportunists, talked about “social peace" where there was no peace, dabbled in schemes of social reform, but left the really fundamental issues alone. Even when socialists controlled the government, they did nothing to bring socialism into being. They toyed with small things and predicted big results; they frittered away their time dealing with matters which were of no conceivable interest to their sufporters. In their attitude towards Labour, especially state employees, they alternated between bribery and bullying. When called upon to deal with any big dispute, they outdid capitalist ministries in the rigour of their suppression, and frowned upon any industrial agitation lest it should injure their chances at the next election. “Never did a socialist society appear so far from realization as when socialists had nearly attained power. Socialists in power are merely a new garrison in the old fortress-nothing

“Experience has shown that there are no worse reactionaries than socialists when once they have attained to power. Such are the conclusions drawn by syndicalists from decades of political action.

The syndicalist's disappointment goes further. He hears the socialists speak of “two wings” of the labour movement-political and economicbut notes that they look upon the latter as being much less important than the former. He sees that they fear any economic action which it not under their control, and suspects that they regard the unions merely as a means to a political end. Against this he revolts. If there are to be two wings, the econcmic is far more important than the political; industrial action can

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achieve more in a few weeks than political action can in years. Finally, he is dissatisfied with the results of nationalization. To the old socialist, nationalization solved everything; to the syndicalist it solves nothing. He surveys the field of state enterprise, and finds that the public employer is little if any more considerate of the lot of his workpeople than is the private capitalist. “Government capitalism is no better than any other form of capitalism,” and may be worse.

Syndicalism in France. France was the birthplace of syndicalisni. The French wage-earner's mind has been fitted by over a century of upheavals to think in terms of revolution. After the events of 1789, 1848, and 1871 another violent change—this time economic-is quite within the bounds of possibility. No idea is too revolutionary, and no proposal can be dismissed which offers a release from the squalid political atmosphere in which France lived after 1871. The history of that period is marked by bitter quarrels and big scandals. The Panama fraud, the Dreyfus case, the Caillaux affair, and the novels of Anatole France all showed the depths to which public life had sunk. In this atmosphere the trade union movement grew up. Unions were legalized in 1884, and made some progress during the following years. At the same time the socialist party was growing, and made frequent attempts to capture the unions. Faction was rife, but nevertheless by 1900 there was a strong group in the Chamber of Deputies and Millerand entered the ministry. It was hoped by many that this entry of a socialist into office would mean a new era in legislation and administration, but these hopes were soon shattered. Viviani and Briand followed Millerand, and seemed to leave their socialism outside when they entered their ministerial offices. The party allied for tactical reason with socialist sections, and lost thereby its independence. To the critic outsiäe it seemed evident that the parliamentary atmosphere was fatal to the socialistic faith. Events soon came to strengthen this distrust, not merely of politics, but of the state as a whole. During a strike at the Longwy steel works in 1905, French and German troops co-operated in protecting the plant. “Look,” said the syndicalist, “capitalist governments sink their differences to protect the property of their masters against labour.” In 1910 came the famous railway strike. Briand, ex-socialist and one-time preacher of the general strike, was premier, and although the men asked only for a minimum wage of five francs a day, a weekly day of rest, and a better pension scheme, Briand declared that the strike was a rebellion. The strikers were called out as reserves, compelled to don uniforms, and then ordered under mi ary law to work the railways. No further proof was needed. The state was the enemy.

French unionism grew slowly, and organized itself in thousands of small local or sectional bodies. These gradually grouped themselves into local and national federations, which culminated about 1900 in the General Confederation of Labour (Confédération Générale du Travail), popularly known as the C.G.T. In this federation two schools of thought—business unionism” and “revolutionary unionism”—soon appeared. The moderatis wanted an eight-hour day, better wages, collective bargaining, etc. The extremists wanted revolutionary syndicalism; some of them in earlier days had been advocates of anarchism, a fact which influenced their conception of union policy and aims; and before 1914 their vigorous language and energetic propaganda dominated the C.G.T.


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Syndicalist Tactics. To the syndicalist the union must be a fighting body pure and simple. All friendly society work must be abandoned. Dues and levies must be kept as small as possible, in order to secure big membership amongst the very poor. Political connections must be avoided, since the only weapons of any use are in the economic armoury. Some syndicalists regard industrial unions, or one big union, as being best fitted for the task ahead. Others think the matter of little importance; the chief task is too get workers into any sort of union, big or little, and then imbue the active minority in the unions with the proper spirit. Since the class war is always going on in the capitalist system, the syndicalist opposes any truce or bargain between capital and labour. Agreements are anathema. Therefore don't make them, or, if you do, break them whenever you think fit. Don't binil yourselves or limit in any way your complete freedom to harass the employer at every turn.

Another method of harassing capital is sabotage. The term is derived from the French word "sabot,” a wooden clog. Two explanations are given of its meaning. One is that in the thirties of last century the hand-locm weavers of Lyons rose in revolt against the new power-looms, and used their sabots to break the windows of the mills and the machinery. Sabotage, therefore, means the destruction of the capitalist 's property. The second explanation is that a man wearing sabots walks more slowly ani clumsily than one better shod. Hence sabotage means to do one's work slowly and badly, “go slow,'66


canny, and practise any tactics which will be a blow at “the masters' pocket-books." Its most common manifestation is the limitation or reduction of output, and the production of inferior work. In its more subtle form it spoils tools, breaks or loses vital parts of machinery, puts emery powder into bearings, etc. Railway men can delay the transit of perishables, bump “fragile” packages about, alter destination labels on goods or freight cars, or simply carry out to the letter all the working rules and regulations of the company. Shop assistants can under. charge, give overweight, or tell customers the truth about the quality of goods on the shelves.

To the argument that all this is unscrupulous, immoral, the syndicalist replies, “What does that matter, so long as it is effective?Scruples, morals, rights and wrongs, and all other present-day ethical standards are merely by-products of capitalism; they are part of the system, the props of the order he is fighting, and he is out to destroy capitalistic ethics as well as capitalistic industry. To quote one American syndicalist, “The I.W.W. is avowedly levying war on capitalist society, and so its tactics are neither justifiable nor unjustifiable, because the only law of war is to inflict tha greatest possible harm with the least possible effort.” "We create our own laws, our own moral values.'' "Our ethics are the ethics of power. We are going to do what we need and intend to do, because we have the power to do it."

Anything is justified if it succeeds in bringing nearer the breakdown of capitalism.

The General Strike. Better organization, refusal to keep agreements, sabotage, partial strikes, are all preludes to the supreme effort, the general strike. The general strike is not a syndicalist invention. Owen dreamed of one in the thirties to win an eight-hour day; general stoppages of work have taken place in various lands to secure some economic or political. concession or resist some reactionary move. But the syndicalist general strike will be different, since it is to overthrow the whole economic system of

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organized robbery." It will, by completely disorganizing the mechanism of capitalistic society, expose the weakness of the structure and the strength of the strikers, whereupon the latter, realizing their power, will seize the "social means of production and proceed to operate them in their own interests." The strike may be accompanied by violence, though syndicalists will first have won the support of the police and soldiers, and so need fear little armed opposition. Or it may be perfectly peaceful, and the strikers will simply exercise their “right to be lazy''; they will fold their arms and sit still, baffling the enemy by their perfect orderliness; eventually the employers, recognizing that they are defeated, will throw up the sponge and let the workers have their way.

The New Order. And then what? How will the new society be planned? What will it be like? The answer, so far as one is given, is as follows: Each industry will pass into the hands of those who work in it, organized in their industrial union. The workers will then choose their foremen, managers, etc., though whether the choice will be on the basis of election or on that of fitness for the post is not quite clear. In this way the worker will cease to be a mere “hand”; he will have a voice in the control of his industry, just as to-day he has one in the control of the state. Each industry will supply to the others the goods or services they require, and receive in return what it needs for its own work. Self-government is to apply to the useful professions as well. Education, public health, etc., will be in thc hands of professional unions, and the teachers will say how the educational system shall be worked, instead of being dictated to by a bureaucratic department. Then when the wealth has been produced, it will be distributed, not according to the socialist formula, “To each the full social value of his labour,” but according to the anarchist doctrine, “From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs.” The state, of course, will vanish.

Italy and America. The ideas outlined above aroused the enthusiasm of large sections of labour during the decade before the war, not merely in France, but in Italy, Spain, Russia, and the United States.

In Italy in 1914 about 100,000 unionists accepted syndicalism as their creed, and were at loggerheads with the larger moderate and political sections. By 1920 the number had grown considerably, and in that year several attempts were made to seize and control textile, motor, rubber, metallurgical, and other factories in the north of Italy. Instead of using the general strike, a new weapon—the lock-in-was tried; the men stopped in the works, and endeavoured to carry on production instead of stopping it. In America, where political and industrial conditions favoured the growth of revolutionary ideas, syndicalism-or “revolutionary industrial unionism,” as it was called —found devotees. The exclusiveness and conservatism of the craft unions and the Federation of Labour, the low standard of political life, and the ruthless exploitation practised in many industries called for vigorous action. In 1905, therefore, a number of socialists and advocates of industrial action met in Chicago and formed the Industrial Workers of the World. This body, pledged to class war, was to seek to bring the workers together “on the political as well as on the industrial field”); one big union was to be built up, superseding the craft unions, a union “big enough to take in the black man and the white man, big enough to take in all nationalities-an organization that will be strong enough to obliterate state boundaries, obliterate national boundaries, and become the great industrial force of the


working classes of the world.” Political and industrial action were to go hand in hand, but soon the industrialists quarrelled with the politicians. A split occurred, and De Leon and other socialists went off to Detroit to form a political-plus-industrial I.W.W., while the Chicago body concentrated solely on industrial action. Of the two I.W.W.'s the latter was the more important; it soon discovered a task near to hand in organizing the nonEnglish-speaking population, and this work it undertook with considerable success at the time of the Lawrence strike in 1912. On this occasion Russians, Belgians, French, Italians, Poles, Slavs, etc., were for the first time organized, and fought a peaceful well-conducted strike in face of great odds. But in taking up this new task the I.W.W. had to put aside its advocacy of an ultimate revolution, and struggle simply to get better wages and industrial conditions for the alien unskilled population. Since 1914 the I.W.W. has won members among wharf labourers and others, and in 1920 had about 260,000 members. It has grown less doctrinaire, has encouraged the shop committee and shop steward idea, and urges its members to study technical problems, so as to be able to take charge of industries when the revolution comes.

Australia. Syndicalist ideas came to Australia via America, chiefly in the form of I.W.W. pamphlets and propagandists. Their influence is seen chiefly in the advocacy of industrial unionism and the O.B.U. agitation, in which phrases from the I.W.W. preamble are common currency. It also manifests itself in the virulence with which left-wing industrialists criticize parliamentarians, in the condemnation of arbitration courts, and in the advocacy of strikes. But very few unionists endorse, or even know of, the syndicalist aim. Australian labour has scarcely been touched by any current of revolutionary thought since the nineties. The country is too insular, isolated, moderate-minded, and comfortable.

Comment and Criticism. Such is syndicalism-a skeleton plan for a new society, and a gospel of direct action. Some men accept the aim, but dislike the weapon; many more like the weapon but care little about the aim. Syndicalism has rendered two great services to the labour movement. In the first place, it has called to the unions to think for themselves and think of ultimate aims. After the failure of the revolutionary unions of Owen's day, organized labour dropped into a rut. It accepted the capitalist system as it found it; an extra penny an hour, a shorter working day, and an ample fund for friendly society benefits—these things bounded its horizon. With the rise of labour parties conditions changed somewhat, as the unions were hitched to the political waggon. This was in many ways unfortunate, for not merely were excellent union secretaries taken away to become mediocre politicians, but the unions were persuaded to believe that economic problems were best solved by political methods. "Leave it to parliament!” became a veritable lullaby; “Work out your own salvation!” was a cry which fell on deaf ears, and unionism fell mentally asleep, leaving its work in the hands of the parliamentary nurse. From this slumber it was awakened by the failure of political action to deal effectively with economic problems, and found syndicalism calling upon it to think out its position and formulate a bold policy, with the union as the basis of action and reconstruction.

Secondly, syndicalism has been of service in stressing the rights of the producer. Collectivism thinks primarily of the consumer, and co-operation in its most successful form works in the interest of the purchaser. Mean


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