I was reading tweets the other day and saw a few that made me say to myself, “so what is an Anarcho-Syndicallist?” Wikipedia is real helpful, it says that Anarcho-syndicalism is a branch of anarchism which endorses syndicalism. Well, OK then, so what then is this “syndicalism” thing? Syndicalism is said to be an alternative co-operative economic system that some believe could bring revolutionary change. I am for co-operation, as long as it is voluntary and not coercive, and lord knows I am for change from this horrific status quo we have now.
Wikepedia says of syndicalism:
Syndicalism is a type of economic system proposed as a replacement for capitalism and an alternative to state socialism, which uses federations of collectivised trade unions or industrial unions. It is a form of socialist economic corporatism that advocates interest aggregation of multiple non-competitive categorised units to negotiate and manage an economy.
For adherents, labour unions are the potential means of both overcoming economic aristocracy and running society fairly in the interest of the majority, through union democracy. Industry in a syndicalist system would be run through co-operative confederations and mutual aid. Local syndicates would communicate with other syndicates through the Bourse du Travail (labor exchange) which would manage and transfer commodities.
Replace capitalism? We don’t have capitalism: we have crony-capitalism or corporatism. But let us leave that aside and move on. A form of “socialist economic corporatism”? “Union democracy”?
Syndicalism is also used to refer to the tactic of bringing about this social arrangement, typically expounded by anarcho-syndicalism and De Leonism, in which a general strike begins and workers seize their means of production and organise in a federation of trade unionism …
Uh oh, looks like we have old style socialism dressed up in new cloths. They propose to start by stealing someone’s factory and then running it for themselves leaving everyone else out in the cold. To top it off, they think that “democracy” in running the factory is somehow non-coercive to everyone?
Murray Rothbard once wrote in an article about syndicalism:
Syndicalism, on the other hand – i.e., full worker “ownership” of “their” industries – does not even attempt to achieve a rational allocation of resources. Both the free method of market allocation and the coercive method of central dictation are eliminated. And what is to take their place? In effect, nothing but chaos. Instead of a coordinating mechanism there is now only the chaotic will of groups of brawling monopoloid syndics, each demanding parity and control regardless of economic law.
Does anyone think for one moment that the horse-and-buggy workers would have permitted higher wages in the budding automobile industry? Or have permitted the dismissal of workers? All one need do is to observe the arrogant behavior of unions with monopoly power to know the answer. But the problem lies deeper than bad will on the part of union syndics. The problem is that, even in a community of “saints,” even in an improbable world of meek and altruistic union monopolists, there would be no way for the syndics to make their decisions on wages, employment, or allocation of production. Only a system of market pricing and wage rates, guided by profit-and-loss considerations for market firms, can provide a mechanism for such decisions.
It would appear then that the anarcho-shndicallist is another commie who thinks that the laws of economics were designed by “the man” to keep the masses in their place. So he decides he and a few buddies will replace “the man” and control the masses “for their own good”. (new rulers, same old crap)
If one believes in the Non Aggression Principle, then one has to believe in private property ownership as the basis for a working society. Each person owns her body and the fruits of her labor. One person may hire another (if they are willing) to help her with her business. This hiring does not give the second person ownership in the business unless the contract provided for that. Does the man you hired to mow your lawn now have part ownership in your home?
Professor Noam Chomsky expressed a great deal of worry about the rise of the “right-wing” libertarian movement, concerned that we might succeed in abolishing the State before the State has succeeded in abolishing private property. So who controls (owns) the property? Why committees run by Chomsky and other “better sorts” no doubt. Does anyone remember the committees in the USSR? Chomsky went on to say that anarcho-capitalistism would be the greatest tyranny the world has ever seen. Yes indeed, the tyranny of the individual no doubt.
As I see it; the Anarcho-Syndicallist is no anarchist at all. He is simply a control freak looking to sell communism under a different name.