the Disillusioned kid: Community Syndicalism
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Monday, February 21, 2005

Community Syndicalism

Regular readers will know that I periodically pontificate on the activities of the Independent Working Class Association (IWCA), which I think is doing much from which other lefties and radicals could learn from. This doesn't mean however that I support their activities uncritically, but I couch any criticisms with the proviso that I don't, as yet, have anything better to offer myself.

One of my major issues, is with their participation in elections. This is particularly true with regard to their fielding a candidate in Oxford East for the forthcoming General Election. Apparently my concerns are shared (albeit somewhat more strongly) by an Anarchist calling himself Anarcho. In an article for Anarchist journal Black Flag, Anarcho critiques the party's electoralism (read: participation in elections) and makes the case instead for what he calls "community syndicalism", an idea evoking the concept of anarcho-syndicalism (an Anarchist ideology which focused on the labour movement), which still has considerable currency within the Anarchist movement. Intriguingly the term is also reminiscent of one description of the IWCA as a "trade union for the community". The ideas Anarcho espouses are very interesting and his reference to real world examples are valuable as a demonstration of the plausibility of what he advocates. Nonetheless the whole debate (such as it is) is meaningless until people set about realising what he suggests.. Given the apparent weakness of the Anarchist movement in the UK at the present time, I have little faith that this will happen, but I don't discount the possibility and sincerely hope that I'm wrong.

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