The latest addition to our collection:
The Birth of an International Anarcho-syndicalist Current
Published in Workers of the World, Volume I, Number 4 (January 2014)
This article aims to define anarcho-syndicalism through the way it has been historically constructed. First, we have to be precise about what our object of study is since the term has been used in a confusing way or has been quite neglected by historians. Anarcho-syndicalism is difficult to understand precisely because it does not have any “scientific” definition nor even one that would be common to those who endorse it. Without claiming to solve this problem, I aim to contribute in this article to clarifying the meanings of anarcho-syndicalism in historical context.
The term anarcho-syndicalism first appeared as a derogatory commentary and an insult against certain working-class militants in the nineteenth century. It was often used to refer as a whole to the trade-union activities of individuals and groups who defined themselves as anarchists. To study such an object is in fact a multifaceted task, involving the analysis of a wide plurality of historical practices and comparisons. In this respect, I differ from the historiographical current specialised in studying French syndicalism, represented primarily by Jacques Julliard.
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— Pierre Besnard in Anarcho-Syndicalism and Anarchism