Rethinking Syndicalism in America

So here in the U.S., we encounter an issue in building socialism that our European and Asian comrades don't necessarily have. Namely that the labor movement has been safely kept from actual political power (namely forming anything even resembling a labor party) by the established government, that "communism" is more associated with foreign movements and a "fad" adopted by coastal elite liberals than a legitimate proletarian movement, and our rapidly slipping position as global hegemon allowed the previous generation of workers to see both a large increase in their standard of living as well as comfortable wages leaving communism to the kind of people who would engage in radical politics in times of prosperity: alienated youths and social recluses.

Overall, the mere act of building a cohesive communist movement in America is stymied by these myriad factors all playing off each other: if a communist party is formed it isn't expected to achieve or do anything, if it grows large enough it'll be split by bored coastal suburbanites adopting one strange tendency or another to LARP as being "deep political thinkers" or engage in spectacle politics, finally those making up the movement, initially, would be the kind of people who can afford to dedicate such a large portion of their life to politics so isolated from the common working man that it can hardly be argued that they represent the interest of the proletariat.

Thus, it appears to me that there's only one way to properly organize a leftist movement that doesn't fall into the trap of the three prior points I mentioned: radical unionism. Being elected doesn't matter, because votes alone are just the illusion of power.

Labor, however, is power. Even a small union in a big city can do more to affect policy and economics, than a large party operating only in the electoral sphere. You cannot commodify unionism, as unions are diametrically opposed to the Capitalist class and so advertisement of any workers organization, even if it's "tamed" unions collaborating with the bourgeoisie, would be cancerous on Capitalism's growth. Finally you crack down on woke-takes from IdPol types, after all it's easy for some bougie fuck to claim some "oppressed nationality" and then silence criticism by claiming you committed some terrible (race, sex, etc)-ism against them, or that so and so socialist party is terrible and should be boycotted because they don't cater to their bourgeois idpol tendencies enough, yet when factoring in the union element you wall these people off. They hide among the universalism of Marxism, of this abstract notion of "the people" to claim that since it's for "the people" then it should create a welcoming environment for "all people", thus allowing their liberal wrecking to commence under the guise of making things more "welcoming" for one abstract and superficial group or another. But unions are rooted firmly in the real world, in the real work place and at the real intersection of politics.

How can a bougie journalist condemn a group of coal miners or retail workers for their "intolerance" when they're not a real part of the union, when they don't even work in the same trade? Unions are not passing fads to join like a political party is, but a real commitment that roots you to a group and a work place. It's made up of real people, who at least are part of the workplace and the working class and are "normal" folks trying to make a decent living instead of political-obsessed weirdos.

Thus, in the U.S. at least, adopting a syndicalist line would probably be better for the growth of a real worker's movement than trying to grow a specific tendency in Marxism.

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You should go with Richard D. Wolff's workplace democracy line. Syndicalism by itself is too weak.

In the US unions have never fought capitalism they organized to barter with capitalism. Syndicalism would just create a labour aristocracy

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This, you're literally better off trying to do People's War in Appalachia, the Rocky mountains, and Northern California where cops are underfunded and few. The Bundy larpers were literally able to fight the law and win.

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let's just establish american national syndicalism

Even if so, increased union activities push the Overton window left, same way that succdems do. And though neither would likely have any chance to take out capitalism, the shear existence of these movements open up more opportunities for wider radicalisation

Not all of them though. And while the unions themselves are conservative, the members would and could be radicalized

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you do realize that the cpusa reached the height of it's popularity because of their work in support and creation of trade unions in the 30s, and that browder thought that they could basically take over the democratic party with their connections to unions and the fdr's pro-union new deal stances

Someone should learn their history.

Trying to larp like we're in warlord China wont solve problems, and a sad truth is that this is another reason I made this post: people adopt a "tendency" like they adopt other fads, like they take those silly Harry Potter quizzes to see what "house" they're in, it's so they feel unique but also a part of something, so they have some little toy to trot out and pretend it gives them character. It's like personality tests for radlibs, they assign some meaning or importance to being an INFJ or ENTJ or what have you and think it says *anything*!

At the end of the day though, it just comes down to a particularly obtuse kind of LARP that hampers organization.

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Is this an actual joke? Are people here really this proud of there ignorance that they can post these obvious lies and expect to get away with it? Fucking Christ man. A hundred years ago mobs of workers battling cops on the streets of Chicago was considered just a part of everyday life.

Unions need parties to win but they've often proven themselves to be the main vehicle of class struggle, especially in America. This board's flagrant dismissal of them is one of the main reasons it's largely an anticommunist board.


No they don't there is no "overton window"
Revolutionary activity can encourage more people to join the cause however unions today are not revolutionary

they don't

succdems are capitalists they seek the preservation of capitalist as much as free marketers

I didn't say "100% every single union has never been revolutionary."
What I said was in the US unions ended up not fighting capitalism but bargaining with it.

yeah hows that going for them?

I'm aware like I said above: I didn't say "100% every single union has never been revolutionary."
What I said was in the US unions ended up not fighting capitalism but bargaining with it.

key word "a hundred years ago"
Just because some workers fought cops does not contradict what I said.

Who are the Bundy larpers?

This is entry-level anticommunist propaganda, my good retards. You're not going to convince anyone here by spewing the same horseshit lies we read and listen to every single day of our lives.

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I never said this

No one is saying do not organize. What OP is advocating for has already failed, we don't have to reinvent the wheel

And what hasn't failed, parties? Last time I checked they totally fell short of giving us global communist society. The CPUSA had a history of bargaining with the bourgeois state too when it became a prominent supporter of the War against Fascism. That doesn't prove that parties are useless, because it isn't their whole history. Just like it isn't the whole history of unions.

America is literally the worst possible example you could use to prove the inferiority of unions. Every major socialist party here that ever got big owed their modest electoral successes to the unions, which were the real backbone of the movement.

a few years ago some "libertarian" tea party conservatives or whatever decided to irl shitpost by forcibly occupying a federal building with guns on a nature reserve in oregon and yell on camera about how everyone needs to do the same thing to protest big government

Syndicalism has failed, Leninism has the highest success rate.
Communism is the first world post WW2 has also failed so the material conditions are not right for a Marxist Leninist uprising.
syndicalism can be disregarded

yeah and hows that working out?

Never been tried :^)

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it can't fail if it hasn't been implemented

It fails precisely because it cannot be implemented, the unions aren't going to take over the state, it's not in their nature.

thats not how you measure failure

Way better than your tendency, that's for fucking sure.

syndicalist successful over thrown capitalism: 0

marxist leninist successfully over thrown capitalism: pic related

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Kaiserreich plebs btfo

You said "U.S. Unions never fought capitalism", that's an absolute statement, it's not "Well a few ended up bartering with capitalism after a while", it's "they never fought capitalism, ever."

Secondly this is blatantly untrue given the IWW began to lose membership precisely BECAUSE they refused to "moderate" themselves after WWII

How many years has it been since the revolution in Russia again?

It's in essence saying people shouldn't. There's nothing wrong with organizing, period. You're saying rather than even try, just give up in advance because "that method of organizing failed because I said so."

Again, how do you even define a "failure"? That a revolution didn't happen? Well in part we have the brief success of the bolsheviks to thank for that, snatching up revolutionary fervor from other leftist ideologies, and where are the bolsheviks today?

They wont according to who? And who will? Some hipster in the SEP sipping coffee with the 12 members of the Portland chapter?

Yes and how many of those countries are red today? How long did that overthrow of capitalism even last?

The revolutionaries of the 20th century hang around the modern left like an anchor preventing any and all kinds of new thinking. The modern left is wholly incapable of theorizing new movements, instead it's constantly trying to summon the ghost of Lenin and fetishizing catastrophes. None of these leftist parties have any plan for when the "catastrophe" goes down or even how to recognize it, but they're hoping for this nigh-apocalyptic event that will allow them to seize power rather than just get trampled over by the fascists as is more likely to happen.

Mao, Trotsky, Lenin, most of these figures have become chains for the modern left, they act as useless identarian signifiers no more telling than as an advertisement on your twitter profile. Worse yet, they serve to actually stifle creative action, "Yeah you might think that works, but Lenin says this" or "Mao did this" or "Trotsky argued this", it's inflexible, and every time these revolutionary's philosophies have tried to be exported outside of their home countries they ended up either falling into secular-heresy "revisionism" or even destroying local marxist parties (as was the case with the CPUSA)

New ideas have to be tried.

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A few did not end up bartering, a majority did and now they all do.
The Unions in the US never fought capitalism petty street fights do not count.

Yeah wheres the people's war they conducted? Where is any revolutionary activity done by the IWW in any meaningful way? What did the achieve?
How is the IWW doing now?

Not as long as the founding of the IWW :^)

I never said this, in fact I said the opposite.
Yes, I already said this
Again I said the exact opposite of what you are claiming I said. Stop trying to put words into my mouth
No it failed because it never made any progress.

Not achieving what it set out to do.
nor was it even attempted.

Not to mention the leftist movements inspired by and funded by the bolsheviks. The massive contributions to the goal of Communism done by Lenin, Stalin and other Marxist Leninists

the entire history of Unions

Definitely not the Burgerville Union are you are trying to have people believe

China, the DPRK, Laos, Vietnam, Cuba. Communes in Nepal, Kurdistan Iraq, Syria, There are Communist movements all over South America, all Marxist-Leninists

The biggest problem the modern left is having is exactly NOT taking in the revolutionaries of the 20th century and instead liberalizing.

You are just projecting your past lost debates though.
Also CPUSA is a CIA honeypot this is well known.

ummm your ideas are not new
In fact Syndicalism is older than Marxist Leninism

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Literally all of the big ones after the 1890's were explicitly in favor of abolishing the wage-system and private property. Even in the 30's most American unions were communist-controlled. Most of the "Marxist" parties were actually reformist until the Bolsheviks came to power so unions were the main vehicle of socialism before 1917.

American union men wanted a better life than what they had. And they were prepared to knock the teeth out of the skulls of any cops or pinkertons who stood in the way of that. Can you say the same you little coward? When's the last time you put your life on the line fighting the state with guns and your own two hands like the boys in Colorado, West Virginia, and Illinois did?

You keep talking about it like its relevant 100 years later. It didn't workout then and these days are even more hostile to unions.

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I love how you just keep owning yourself and I don't have to do anything but point it out. You were the one that started bringing up history in an attempt to prove your point, not me. So where are all the big communist parties people are flocking to in droves again? Since unions were such a colossal failure and parties never made any mistakes at all I'm sure it'll be easy for them to attract membership.

At any rate fighting without the unions and party together is like waging a war on a single front. I personally believe unions are more important (an opinion shared by most of the well-known American socialist leaders) as direct action invokes more class-consciousness than sitting on your ass and waiting for an election every four years, but that's a whole different discussion.

except I'm not and you're failing to even have a counter argument

I already answered that here

I never said this
I also never said this

I never advocated for this.

Now you back peddle from syndicalism to unions

I don't even give a fuck about "syndicalism" which is largely a concept created after-the-fact and applied in retrospect onto the unions that existed a century ago, and I never said I was a syndicalist either. What I was attacking was the points in your posts where you repeatedly ridiculed and downplayed the successes of unions in the United States. Deny it if you want, anyone can read your posts and see the truth.

You aren’t advocating anything. You just came into the thread, argued that unions can’t do anything against capitalism, never did anything against capitalism, and “syndicalism failed” because it didn’t create a state that doesn’t even exist anymore. When people call you on essentially coming into this thread to say don’t do anything related to union work, you whine and say “well that isn’t what I am really saying”.

The party system has totally failed in America, every single Marxist party is an unbridled failure, and the only response Maoists have is that it’s impossible to have a communist revolution in the US, while Leninists wait for some vague “catastrophe” that will end Capitalism for them rather than just giving fascists power.

There’s not a single Leninist in the United States capable of forming an even barely functional party, they always, without fail, end up becoming social clubs for bougie college students and isolated little islands of insanity and micro politics.

When is the last time a Leninist party here even did anything? It’s all waiting around and hoping people come to you.

ok well thats the OP topic and what I'm arguing against.

do I need to be?
This is an over simplification. I argued that Unions in the US have not done anything useful to fight capitalism or establish syndicalism

Yeah and then they made the typical reformist mistake
Then all the actual communists got purged from the unions during the Red Scare whilst the liberals in the union happily went along with it. The conservative union leadership that cucked themselves to the Democrats are what remained after.

Its a start..

IWW related effortish post warning
The IWW isn't syndicalist, you absolute fucktards (, so I'm gonna stop you right there
The reason the Wobblies reject all autistic forms of sectarianism is that they inherently believe all forms of Leftism follow a similar form of technocratic centralization (read Hoxie on trade unions)

Stop using Debs as an example of a socialist leader( he denounced the IWW for representing "anarchistic Jabonism", and kicked out the left factions)

What is Harlan County, for 500.

While Im not entirely a syndicalist myself, realize this board is full of MLs who consider states thst fell apart due to corruption in the 90s, caved into capitalism around thst time or slightly before, or small isolated states as "successfu)"

I think they call that fascism.

Remember that time the IWW sent people to talk with Arafat's men

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what about it?

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Scorching hot take

Unions at one point were forced by law to take an anticommunist pledge

It's not LTV in as many words but at my ibew local they at least teach "if they weren't profiting feom our labor they wouldn't be in business so we are worth it"

The non union guys have an even stronger "temporarily embarassed millionaire" attitude despite being poorer

I never said this.


I think Mao put it best. Revolution in America or most Western countries is near impossible. They are too powerful for even a national revolution. And the majority of the American populous aren't class conscious. The best target for revolution is third world nations the U.S relies on i.e Saudi Arabia, India, revolution in Japan or South Korea could even be more possible than revolution in America. I am in Placer County, Northern California, and have realized the formation of a vanguard party/red guard is borderline futile. Syndicalism has a general tendency to fail in that in the modern day, companies have far more power than ever and unions hardly exist. ML/MLMism is most likely to do well in America than syndicalism. I'd say, radicalize the CPUSA/REVCOM and send them to third world countries.

That's literally the context of "labor aristocracy": the idea that if the working class isn't destitute they will reject communism. It's an extra fucking hot take to take it a step further and say unionized workers will be even more pro capitalist because they're not as poor.

Is america fertile ground for a revolution? Probably not. But the unionized workers in my experience are a lot more class conscious than the non union workers, who get hammered with "unions are bad for you because you'll get paid as much as the lazy workers, and you sir are the hardworking est smartest worker I got!" Unions pay guys to sit down and learn labor history. Non union shops want you to think pinkerton is a synonym for fingerblasting

That's the only type of syndicalism, at least other than fascism.

We helped give you those, dweeb

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it has nothing to do with being "destitute"
People in the first world who do not own the means of production but making huge amounts of money have almost nothing in common with the working class and laborers

ok and? No one is arguing against unions. The OP topic wasn't simply unions = good
but your argument dissolved into that


Sounds like maoist third worldist retarded conjecture to me

Sounds like someone ran out of an argument

"Developed world workers have nothing in common with third world workers because they can afford lattes and socks" is a total non sequitur

but that isn't what I said

It's not the amount of money they make, it's where the money comes from. Trying to separate workers solely based on income is clumsy and not suitable for making a structural analysis of society. Where the real distinction lies is between workers who only have income from wages and workers who have partial income from investments (be they realestate, stocks, commodities, currencies, ect). Workers who only have wages, even if those wages are high and even if they live in the first world, are still aligned with the rest of the working class. But workers who have investments naturally become sympathetic with the class interests of the bourgeoisie because the growth of their investments require the victory of capital over labor.

confirmed not even reading what I wrote.

I literally said that PROLETARIANS who make huge amount of money have little in common with laborers
No where was I "separating workers solely based on income"
You're derailing

Separating workers based on the amount of money they make is LITERALLY separating them solely based on income. Is English not your first language?

Do you have anything relevant to the conversation? You're just going off topic at this point

I already said I'm not separating them based solely off income but to say a doctor has the same class interest or consciousness as a factory worker is retardation

Im not going to continue this any further if you're going to keep going off topic

True, you actually said less, you just said "first world workers have nothing in common with the third world because ???"

Like I said, conjecture.

Not what I said

Now you're just disingenuously denying your own arguments.

American communists should join the American Party of Labor.

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You're just straw manning my arguments also you're off topic

There's multiple people trying to talk to you, and no one can understand what the fuck you're saying.

I am being perfectly clear

Big if true.

you're just shitposting now

Hot opinion

Irrelevant LARP group.

Trade unions are all inherently corrupt today. The average worker knows this. Simply look at the salaries of the union leadership across all unions and you'll figure out that unions are now the labor arm of capital and the only way workers can strike successfully now is to break away from their unions and strike independently like the Matamoros strike and the Yellow Vests

Not a communist, but I can offer the fact that I know a significant fraction of us populists/nationalists would be sympathetic towards a syndicalist movement for reasons I would be glad to share.

If you took a more balanced and gradual position on the national question and the rivalry between provincials and urbanites, many of us would be interested in a class movement overlapping both.

Yes the doctor making 200k a year has more in common with the average bourgeois than the average factory worker

I never said the doctor isn't technically proletariat

Class movements without the goal of communism are irrelevant

Your own history proves otherwise. Whenever you were most relevant, you were usually allied with the peasantry or the national bourgeoisie.

Communism should be the end goal of any socialist system, if it isn't then the system is just liberal and succdem.

Major trade unions like CGT and Solidaires are supporting the GJs though.

I wasn't commenting on that, again I am not a communist. I was just suggesting that there is quite a bit of precedent for your movements, in the process of becoming popular, to create coalitions with other classes and such. From what I can tell, this has ranged from the 'petty-bourgeois democrats' of the 19th century, the peasantry, and the national bourgeoisie. Also, I'm not sure there would be any narodism nor as much for 19th century American labor militancy without populism and the dispossession of the American farmer.

any bolshevism without narodism*

And you wind up wasting all your time just to establish capitalism

Not very productive

maybe not. a number of us are aware that the popular and petty-bourgeois institutions we hold dear, like the family and the nation, have no long-term future under liberal-capitalism.

Your birth was a shitpost.

Yes, but that's not the mathematical-logical outcome of having a union. Unions can have rules to limit that. You need a different type of union, spontaneous everything is not an option.

What does that have to do with anything

Can you elaborate

more people becoming aware of that fact would probably lead to disillusionment with capitalism itself, rather than just liberals.

the democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry, national liberation, etc.

ok and?

what are you talking about

they would then be falling the similar path of proletarianization of the old middle class and peasantry

one is an example of relevance thanks to an alliance with the peasantry, the other because of an alliance with the national bourgeoisie