James Connolly: Syndicalism and the Struggle for Irish Independence – National Liberation through Class Struggle!

James Connolly, Irish SyndicalistAuthor: Various  |  File size: 1.01 MB

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JAMES CONNOLLY (1868-1916) is a revolutionary hero, known for his role in the struggle for Irish independence from British imperialism, and for his revolutionary syndicalist politics – he was part of a long tradition of anarchist and syndicalist anti-imperialism worldwide. The texts in this pamphlet outline Connolly’s life and ideas, as relevant to anarchists, syndicalists and anti-imperialists today as at his death.

Connolly promoted a radical vision of decolonisation: a “workers republic,” under worker-peasant self-management, free of both British imperial and native Irish elites, and part of a larger socialist world community and struggle. He was active in the syndicalist-influenced Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU) — which built its own militia (armed forces), the Irish Citizens Army, in 1913.

Connolly and the Irish Citizens Army joined with Irish republicans in the armed 1916 Irish Easter Rising against British imperialism. Severely wounded during the fighting that followed, he was arrested and shot by a British firing squad. The Irish war of independence that followed the Easter Rising was a major defeat for British power, but ended in a capitalist Ireland far short of Connolly’s “workers republic.”

It is essential to reclaim alternative anarchist and syndicalist visions of anti-imperialism, like Connolly’s, which show a better way.

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Anarchists and the Trade Unions: Be active! be involved!

Anarchists and the Trade Unions by Gregor KerrAuthor: Gregor Kerr  |  File size: 356 KB

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Trade Unions are important organs of the working-class. Gregor Kerr – a member of the Irish National Teachers Organisation who has been involved in campaigns against “social partnership” and in many strike support groups – argues that trade union involvement should form a central part of the political activity of all anarchists.

This article is from the WSM’s publication Red and Black Revolution, #3

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In Place of Compromise: Why we need a Rank and File Movement

In Place of Compromise: Why we need a Rank and File Movement - AWGAuthor: Anarchist Workers Group  |  File size: 936 KB

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The most striking feature of recent industrial struggles has been the way in which the ruling class has attempted, and largely succeeded, in using the power of the bureaucracies within the trade unions to its own advantage. The militant Syndicalist miners in their pamphlet ‘The Miners Next step’ urged that:

“The old policy of identity of interests between employers and ourselves be abolished and a policy of open hostility be installed”.

But the trade union leadership will not do this for us. We must do it for ourselves. This pamphlet outlines how.

First published by the Anarchist Workers Group
October 1988, Huddersfield, England

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Direct Action in Industry

Direct Action in Industry: A Direct Action Movement PublicationAuthor: Direct Action Movement  |  File size: 339 KB

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To improve one’s working conditions one does not immediately have to resort to strike action. There are ways to achieve what one wants quite simply and effectively by taking ‘direct action on the job’, which also has the advantage of not losing one’s wages while airing one’s grievances!

This pamphlet then, lists several of these direct action methods. To make the most of these methods one needs good job organisation and a general consensus among the workers, that there is something to take action about. Even then, it could be possible that the chosen method does not work. In that case a prolonged strike might be the only answer.

First published by the Direct Action Movement, now
Solidarity Federation
  |  www.solfed.org.uk
The pamphlet is undated but appears to be from the early 1970’s

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[Leaflet] Do you really want to overthrow capitalism?

Do you really want to overthrow capitalism?Author: Nate Hawthorne  |  File size: 41.5 KB

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Some of us struggle to articulate our core values and our main ideas in a non-specialist vocabulary. There’s a place for specialized vocabulary, but we need to challenge ourselves to be able to make our points in other vocabularies as well. The following two documents attempt this. They were written shortly after the Jimmy John’s Workers Union campaign went public in Minneapolis. The first appeared in the newsletter of the Twin Cities branch of the IWW.

From: RECOMPOSITION: Notes for a New Workerism
http://recompositionblog.wordpress.com  |   http://recomposition.info/

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Principles of Syndicalism

Principles of Syndicalism by Tom BrownAuthor: Tom Brown  |  File size: 321 KB

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Written by the well-known activist and propagandist Tom Brown, this text explains clearly the principles according to which syndicalist unions organise, and the new society they aim to create “within the shell of the old”.

This simple introduction to syndicalism, workers control and libertarian communism originally appeared as a series of articles in War Commentary for Anarchism in 1943. Excerpted from Tom Brown’s Syndicalism, Phoenix Press, London, July 1990.
This text from: Anarcho-Syndicalism 101

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Anarcho-Syndicalism and Principles of Urban Planning

Anarcho-Syndicalism and Principles of Urban Planning by Scott RittenhouseAuthor: Scott Rittenhouse  |  File size: 517 KB

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Urban Planning is neither boulevards for conquerors, nor a landscape for the palaces of the rich, nor an opportunity for land speculators, nor a design opportunity for artists, nor a conspiracy for social engineers.

Urban planning is conducted to promote the health, safety, and well-being of people living together in urbanized areas; to enable people in urbanized areas to use scarce resources efficiently (all natural resources are “scarce”: supply and demand equals scarcity); and to mitigate the impact of population growth on the health of the planet.

Under capitalism, planning has been used to service the interests of the rich who own property [real estate] and the means of production. Under Anarchism, these will be “socialized”: expropriated, collectively “owned” by the Free Commune / Community, used and self-managed by workers and residents, non-transferable, and non-saleable. People will be able to make the land use decisions which meet their needs and make their lives better. There will be no “property values” or land speculation….

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Industrial Unionism and Constructive Socialism

Industrial Unionism and Constructive Socialism by James ConnollyAuthor: James Connolly  |  File size: 235 KB

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“There is not a Socialist in the world today who can indicate with any degree of clearness how we can bring about the co-operative commonwealth except along the lines suggested by industrial organisation of the workers.

Political institutions are not adapted to the administration of industry. Only industrial organisations are adapted to the administration of a co-operative commonwealth that we are working for. Only the industrial form of organisation offers us even a theoretical constructive Socialist programme. There is no constructive Socialism except in the industrial field.”

The above extracts from the speech of Delegate Stirton, editor of the Wage Slave, of Hancock, Michigan, so well embody my ideas upon this matter that I have thought well to take them as a text for an article in explanation of the structural form of Socialist society. In a previous chapter I have analysed the weakness of the craft or trade union form of organisation alike as a weapon of defence against the capitalist class in everyday conflict on the economic field, and as a generator of class consciousness on the political field, and pointed out the greater effectiveness for both purposes of an industrial form of organisation…

From Socialism Made Easy, 1908

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[Leaflet] How to Stop Unemployment

[Leaflet] How to Stop UnemploymentAuthor: Unknown  |  File size: 193 KB

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“Now we all know – the last fifty years’ experience has proved it –that nothing will be done unless the working men … show their teeth to the richer classes. Talk, talk and again talk – and nothing else will be done unless the rich feel menaced in their fortunes and their senseless, lazy existence. Talk in the churches, talk in Parliament, talk in the drawing rooms amidst small “Society talk,” talk in the Boards of Guardians; and – damnably true it is! – as much talk and no action – in the Socialist’ and Labour meetings….”

Reprinted from Freedom: A Journal of Anarchist Communism, October, 1908

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Direct Action

Direct Action by Emile PougetAuthor: Emile Pouget  |  File size: 850 KB

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“Direct Action is the symbol of revolutionary unionism in action. This formula is representative of the twofold battle against exploitation and oppression. It proclaims, with inherent clarity, the direction and orientation of the working class’s endeavours in its relentless attack upon capitalism.

Direct Action is a notion of such clarity, of such self-evident transparency, that merely to speak the words defines and explains them. It means that the working class, in constant rebellion against the existing state of affairs, expects nothing from outside people, powers or forces, but rather creates its own conditions of struggle and looks to itself for its means of action…”

First published by the Fresnes-Antony Group of the French Anarchist Federation, 1994

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[Leaflet] Solidarity against Sexism on the Shop Floor

[Leaflet] Solidarity against Sexism on the Shop FloorAuthor: Angel Gardner  |  File size: 81.5 KB

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If there is anything that I have learned from working in the restaurant and retail industry for over 14 years, it is that sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace is an issue that has not gone away. Perhaps you have become more tolerant of being sexually objectified. Maybe you are afraid that being uncomfortable with sexual advances or comments means that you are a prude or hopelessly outdated. The reality is that sexual harassment and sexism are all about power. We feel uncomfortable about standing up for ourselves in these situations because to do so questions power relations; not only in the workplace, but in society in general….

This article originally appeared in the Industrial Worker, the paper of the IWW

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Weakening the Dam

Weakening the Dam - Twin Cities IWWAuthor: Twin Cities IWW  |  PDF file size: 350 KB

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A pamphlet put out by the Twin Cities IWW branch for the purpose of promoting the development of workplace organisers, based on their experiences of organising at work. It offers the sort of practical advice we could all be implementing in our own workplaces.

The Workers’ Committee: An Outline of its Principles and Structure

The Workers’ Committee: An Outline of its Principles and Structure by J.T. Murphy

Author:  J.T. Murphy

File size: 1.53 MB

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We will support the officials just so long as they rightly represent the workers, but we will act independently immediately they misrepresent them. Being composed of delegates from every shop and untrammelled by obsolete law or rule, we claim to represent the true feeling of the workers. We can act immediately according to the merits of the case and the desire of the rank and file.

This pamphlet was written by J.T.Murphy and published by the Sheffield Workers’ Committee in 1917. It describes the structure of the rank and file workers’ committees that developed during the First World War.

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Anarcho-Syndicalism, Technology and Ecology

Anarcho-Syndicalism, Technology & Ecology by Graham PurchaseAuthor: Graham Purchase  |  PDF file size: 219 KB

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In an anarchist society, the absence of centralised state authority will permit a radically new integration of nature, labour and culture. As the social and ecological revolution progresses, national boundaries will become cartographical curiosities, and divisions based upon differences in geography, climate and species distribution will re-emerge. This essay addresses the question of what role unionism will play in these changes.