Two long and interesting theory articles. What in the hell … is right and wrong with autonomist marxism? looks at Negri and other authonomists and their problematic axioms on historical materialism and inadequacy on the organisation question. (Here’s more on Hardt and Negri from the same source.) Trade unions, worker militancy, and communism from below by Property is Theft looks at the history of militant working class self-organization.
Relevant to the latter issue are the next few items, mostly from Conatz, on anarcho-syndicalist and other forms of self-organization.
Most relevant, from Argentina, a report on worker-run factories.
Via the Turista, Tom Wetzel on the fight for free unionism in Germany. Includes a brief history of the FAU:
The FAU itself is roughly the German equivalent of the American IWW. The FAU derives from a tradition that goes back to the decentralist unions of the late 1800s and early 1900s, which separated from the main centralist labor federation (predecessor of the present DGB) over the issue of local autonomy. After World War 1, the autonomous unions came together to form the Freie Arbeiter Union Deutchlands (FAUD). The FAUD was part of the radical grassroots unionism in Germany in the years immediately after World War 1. Famous German anarcho-syndicalists like Rudolph Rocker and Augustin Souchy participated in the FAUD in those years.
In the late ’20s the FAUD had about 30,000 members. The FAUD was banned after the Nazis came to power in 1933, and many of its members ended up in concentration camps. Kersten, my Frankfurt FAU contact, told me that during World War 2, the German SS rounded up thousands of FAUD members and formed them into an armed battalion and stuck them out on the eastern front, facing the Red Army. An SS division was behind them, armed with machine guns. The FAUD people were told, “You fight the Russians or we kill you.” Few FAUD members survived to tell about that.
More info here.
Also from the Turista, 2010 is the CNT’s centenary.
In Brazil, the Federação Anarquista de São Paulo (FASP – Anarchist Federation of São Paulo) has been launched, This is from its manifesto:
The FASP is part of a tradition that has always been a majority in the libertarian camp, that of “social anarchism” or “anarchism of the masses”, which was responsible for the rise of certain phenomena of great importance such as revolutionary syndicalism. However, notwithstanding our belief in the need for anarchism to act within the popular movements – what some have called the “vectors of social anarchism” – we believe that in order to do this it is essential for there to be specific anarchist organization, a position that has not always been a majority one. This is, though, the position historically held, since the birth of anarchism, by Bakunin (Alliance of Socialist Democracy), Malatesta, and even Kropotkin at certain times, and also by the Russian anarchist communists of Delo Truda and the Federation of Anarchist Communists of Bulgaria (FAKB). In Latin America there have been important experiences such as the Junta of the Partido Liberal Mexicano, the Federación Anarquista Uruguaya and Resistência Libertária in Argentina.
In Brazil, this mass tradition of social anarchism has existed for over 100 years, and was responsible for the union mobilizations that were so important in the early 20th century. It was comrades from this tradition who organized the Brazilian working class that started the struggle for gains such as the eight-hour working day. They inspired events such as the 1917 Strike, which had significant anarchist participation. With regard to specific anarchist organizations, there have been groups who tried to organize militants, but without much success, given that at that time, anarchism in Brazil – like elsewhere in the world – was hegemonised by syndicalist ideas, which did not deem the establishment of anarchist organizations important for work in the unions. Examples of organizations of this type are the first Brazilian Communist Party (1919), the Anarchist Alliance of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo groups that formed around newspapers at the time, and which supported differentiated levels of activity – the anarchist organization and the popular movements, known by some as “organizational dualism”.
Previously on this topic: Libertarian socialism.