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How Should
Workers Organize?

Yellow Unionism or
Red and Black Syndicalism?

By Punkerslut

Image from WikiMedia Commons
Image: From WikiMedia Commons,
Edited by Punkerslut

Start Date: August 20, 2009
Finish Date: August 30, 2009

"Behind the loom that weaves so many yards of cloth, behind the steel-plate perforator, and behind the safe in which dividends are hoarded, we should see man, the artisan of production, more often than not excluded from the feast he has prepared for others."
          --Peter Kropotkin, 1892
          "The Conquest of Bread," Chapter 14, Part I

     There are two types of unions. There are the "yellow unions," that seek to match the interests of the laborer with those of the landowners. And then there are the Red and Black Unions, or Anarcho-Syndicalist unions. These seek to abolish not only to advance the interests of the workers, but to abolish the Capitalist system.

     Anarchism is important to any mass workers movement; unlike any other form of unionism, Anarcho-Syndicalism recognizes that the worker is also a member of the community. Issues like poverty, homelessness, discrimination, war, police brutality, and environmental destruction are not considered by the yellow unions. But once you're finished with your eight-hour shift, those are exactly the things you have to look at in the world around you. Those are the social ills that bring misery and pain to those in our communities.

     Poverty, war, and ecological disaster are a result of private ownership of industry. These are profitable to the masters of industry; poverty and unemployment, where there are idle lands, is sure to bring down wages, which brings up profit. Wars get weapon and land development contracts to private investors, while annexing land and resources for commercial development. And the destruction of the environment is nothing more than trying to squeeze out a few more pennies from the budget -- at the cost of our grandchildren inheriting a world that is barely habitable.

Image from WikiMedia Commons
Image: From WikiMedia Commons,
Edited by Punkerslut

"Anarcho-syndicalism has as its only means of struggle Direct Action in all its forms: occupations, strikes, boycotts, sabotage, the General Strike, etc."
          --Isaac Puente, 1932
          "Libertarian Communism," Section: Where We Stand: Rebel Worker Group.

     Anarcho-Syndicalism, unlike any other form of unionism, recognizes that this common misery is not natural to society. It is natural where there is a privileged class; poverty happens everywhere when a tiny class dominates the social order economically, politically, and culturally. During Feudalism, it was the vassals and lords, and in the Dark Ages, the priests also became a master class, collecting taxes and profits. In ancient India, it was the Kshatriyas and Brahmins caste, and in ancient Rome, it was the Patrician class.

     Yellow unions have believed their interest to be the same as their bosses. Anarcho-Syndicalism is the exact opposite of this: it seeks to completely destroy the systems of exploitation and profit, no matter what name and title they are given in history. Whether it is Feudalism or slavery, Anarcho-Syndicalism seeks to disempower the throned masters. And today, the system of masters is called Capitalism.

     The American Federation of Labor is a yellow union -- its leaders dined with opponents while sabotaging strike efforts. And today, it still continues to act as the greatest deterrent to organized labor in the United States. Strike funds have been virtually depleted by pouring campaign money into this or that politician's fund. You're a worker and a community member; and the only union capable of expressing your interests is a revolutionary, Anarcho-Syndicalist union.

Image by Punkerslut
Image: By Punkerslut

"Shape the organization so that you need not wait until the command is given from above, but so that you have the reins of command in your own hands."
          --Rosa Luxemburg, 1913
          "The Political Mass Strike"


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