REVOLUTIONARY SYNDICALIST INTERNATIONALISM, 1913-1923: THE ORIGINS OF THE INTERNATIONAL WORKING MEN'S ASSOCIATION by WAYNE WESTERGARD-THORPE B.A. (Philosophy), Univers ity of Washington, 1964 M.A. (Philosophy), Univers ity of Colorado, 1967 B.A. (History), Portland State Univers i ty , 1972 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of History) We accept th i s thesis as conforming to the required standard; THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July 1979 © Wayne Westergard-Thorpe, 1979 In presenting this thesis in par t i a l fu l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the Univers ity of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library shal l make i t f ree ly avai lable for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of th i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It i s understood that copying or publ icat ion of th i s thesis for f inanc ia l gain shal l not be allowed without my written permission. Department nf H i s t o r y The Univers ity of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date 21 September 1979 ABSTRACT Revolutionary syndicalism constituted a variant ideology within the labour movement which advocated d i rect indust r ia l ac t ion , f ede ra l i s t po l icy of local autonomy, ant istat i sm .and a divergent v i s ion of the purpose of labour organizations and the role of labour in modern society. Its repudiation of p o l i t i c a l action and i t s categorical insistence upon the autonomy of trade union organizations set i t apart from both social ism and communism. The present study treats revolutionary syndicalism as an i n t e r -national phenomenon and analyzes the e f fo r t s to trans late synd ica l i s t ideology into an internat ional strategy in the period 1913-1923. It demon-strates that while the impetus of synd ica l i s t internat ional ism had c l ea r l y developed pr io r to the F i r s t World War, divergent s t rateg ica l perceptions deriv ing from varying national circumstances divided European synd ica l i s t organizations and prevented the most prestigious of them, the French Con- federation General e du T r a va i l , from condoning pre-war e f fo r t s to establ i sh a new and revolutionary trade union Internat ional. The French therefore opposed these e f f o r t s , urging instead the t a c t i c of revo lut ion iz ing the ex i s t ing reformist trade union International from wi th in . Though most foreign synd ica l i s t organizations saw the pol icy of the French as a contra-vention of synd ica l i s t doctr ine, deference to and so l i c i tude for the French organization proved decis ive in leading the London assembly to temporize about the establishment of a s ynd ica l i s t Internat ional. i i i The h o s t i l i t y to the war of the great majority of s ynd ica l i s t organizations reinforced the urgency with which they viewed the need for a genuinely revolutionary labour Internat ional. The Bolshevik Revolution and the emergence of communist internat ional i sm, however, opened new pro-spects and avenues of international act ion. Seeing in i t s ear ly forms and slogans t he i r own ideals of decentra l i zat ion, ant istat i sm and workers' con-t r o l , most synd ica l i s t s i n i t i a l l y became f irm partisans of the Revolution, while the Bolsheviks, recognizing the i r revolutionary po ten t i a l , appealed to the synd ica l i s t organizations to r a l l y to Moscow. The symbolic fasc inat ion exerted by the Revolution in Russia upon the synd ica l i s t s prolonged the i r c o l l e c t i ve assessment of communist i n t e r -nationalism over several years. Even a f te r the exc lus ive ly p o l i t i c a l character of the Comintern had been made manifest by i t s second congress in 1920, the attention of the synd ica l i s t s remained r i vet ted upon Moscow, where plans were proceeding for the establishment of a revolutionary trade union Internat ional. The organizational pr inc ip les adopted by the Bolshevik-sponsored Prof intern in 1921, including the col laborat ion of trade unions and communist part ies and the subordination of the Prof intern to the p o l i t i c a l Comintern, provoked the f i n a l breach with the s ynd ica l i s t s . On-going organizational disputes had thus thrown into r e l i e f the ideological and s t rateg ica l divergences between synd ica l i s t s and communists. The syndi-c a l i s t s , moreover, had already witnessed the suppression of native syndi-c a l i s t movement and the i n s t a l l a t i o n of a new bureaucratic mechanism of command and a new ru l ing ol igarchy in Russia. The establishment of thelWMA in December 1922 marked the restora-t ion of s ynd ica l i s t internat ional ism to i t s own path fol lowing i t s def lec -t ion by the Bolshevik Revolution. In the larger view, the breach between iv synd ica l i s t s and communists marked again the schism between p o l i t i c a l and non-po l i t i ca l elements which had e a r l i e r come to the F i r s t and Second Inter-nationals. By f i l l i n g in the h i s t o r i c a l hiatus concerning the or ig ins of the most durable of a l l ant i -author i tar ian Internationals, the present study seeks to enhance our understanding of the continuing appeal of the synd ica l i s t conception of labour movement tac t i c s and goals in the early decades of the twentieth century. V TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract i i L i s t of Abbreviations v i i Introduction 1 Chapter One: The Pre-war Synd ica l i s t World 6 I. The Doctrine of Syndicalism 7 II. The French Confederation Generale du Travai l 13 I I I. Syndicalism Outside France 21 IV. The Syndical i s ts and Labour Internationalism 39 Chapter Two: Synd ica l i s t Strategy: An International Debate 44 I. French Resistance 46 II. The Debate 53 II I. The Debate Renewed 60 Chapter Three: The 1913 London Congress 68 I. The Part ic ipants 70 II. The Declaration of Pr inc ip les and Other Issues 73 II I. The Question of International Organization 81 IV. Appraisals and Parting Shots 89 V. Conclusion 96 Chapter Four: War and Revolution: The Appeal of Moscow 100 I. Renewed Attempts 101 II. Syndicalism in Russia and the Revolution 107 I I I. The Foundation of the Communist International 115 IV. The Syndical i s ts v i s -a -v i s Moscow: Assessing Bolshevik Internationalism 121 Chapter Five: The Issue Joined 137 I. The Syndical i sts at Moscow: The Second Comintern Congress 139 II. The Syndical i sts in.Quest of Unity: The 1920 Ber l in Conference 157 vi Chapter Six; Moscow Ascendant;. The I l l u s i on of Y ictory 176 I. The Russian Syndical i s ts Beleaguered 177 II. Preparing for the RILU Congress 184 I I I. The RILU Congress 191 IV. The Opposition in Disarray 204 Chapter Seven: Synd ica l i s t Defiance: The Breach 213 I. L iberating the L ibertar ians 213 II. Repercussions of the RILU Congress 217 I I I. The June Conference 226 IV. The CGTU and a Bolshevik Concession 238 Chapter Eight: The Creation of the IWMA 247 I. The Founding Congress of the IWMA 249 II. The Statutes of the IWMA 263 I I I. the Membership of the IWMA 266 Conclusion 278 Notes 291 Bib!iography 353 Appendix A: The Charter of Amiens 372 Appendix B: The Pr inc ip les of Revolutionary Syndicalism 373 v i i LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS The fol lowing abbreviations of names of organizations are used: AAUE Allgemeine Arbeiter-Union Einheitsorganisation (Germany) ACAT Asociacion Continental Americana de los Trabajadores (Latin America) AFL American Federation of Labor AIT Association Internationale des Trava i l leurs (IWMA) ARCAS Al l -Russ ian Confederation of Anarcho-Syndicalists CDS Comite de Defense Syndical iste (France) CGL Confederazione Generale del Lavoro ( I ta ly ) CGT Confederation Generale du Travai l (France) CGT-M Confederacion General de Trabajadores (Mexico) CGT-P Confederacao Geral do Trabalho (Portugal) CGTSR Confederation Generale du Travai l Syndical iste Revolutionnaire (France) CGTU Confederation Generale du Travai l Unita i re (France) CI Communist International CNT Confederacion Naciona^ del Trabajo (Spain) CSR Comite Syndical i ste Revolutionnaire (France) FAU-C Freie Arbeiter-Union (Czechoslovakia) FAUD Freie Arbeiter-Union Deutschlands (Germany) FS Fagsoppositionens Sammenslutning (Denmark) FORA Federacion Obrera Regional Argentina FORU Federacion Obrera Regional Uruguaya FVDG Freie Vereinigung deutscher Gerwerkschaften (Germany) IAA Internationalen Arbeiter-Assoziat ion (IWMA) IFTU International Federation of Trade Unions ISEL Industr ial Syndica l i s t Education League (Br i ta in ) _ ISNTUC International Secretar iat of National Trade Union Centres IWMA International Working Men's Association IWW Industrial Workers of the World (United States) IWW-C Industr ial Workers of the World (Chile) KAPD Kommunistische Arbe i ter -Parte i Deutschlands (Germany) KPD Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (Germany) KPD(S) Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (Spartakusbund) (Germany) NAS Nationaal Arbeids-Secretariaat (Holland) NSF Norsk Syndikal i st Federation (Norway) NSV Nederlands Synd ica l i s t i sch Vakverbond (Holland) NVV Nederlands Verbond van Vakverenigingen (Holland) PCF Part i Communiste Fran9ais (France) PCI Part i to Communista I tal iano PSI Part i to Soc ia l i s ta I tal iano RILU Red International of Labour Unions SAC Sveriges Arbetares Centralorganisation (Sweden) SDAP Sociaal Democratische Arbeiders P a r t i j (Holland) SFIO.; Part i Soc ia l i s te Un i f ie - Section Fran^aise de 1 ' Internationale Ouvrier SLNA Syndical i s t League of North America (United States) SPD Sozialdemokratischen Partei Deutschlands (Germany) UFSA Union Federative des Synicats Autonomes de France UIL Unione I ta l iana de Lavoro USI Unione Sindacale I ta l iana USPD Unabhangige Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (Germany) 1 INTRODUCTION The focus of the fol lowing study i s upon the ideological and s t rateg ica l components of revolutionary syndicalism as an internat ional movement in the period 1913 to 1923. It undertakes on the one hand to deal with the interact ion of national organizations within a framework of a developing synd ica l i s t internat ional ism. On the other hand i t deals with the c o l l e c t i v e response of synd ica l i s t s to a lternate forms of pro letar ian internat ional i sm, pa r t i cu l a r l y s o c i a l i s t international ism before the F i r s t World War and communist international ism thereafter. A good deal of attent ion i s therefore given to internat ional s ynd ica l i s t assemblies and to the ro le played by synd ica l i s t representatives in the assemblies sponsored by other revo lut ionar ies , pa r t i cu l a r l y the communists, for in these exchanges ideolog ical commitments and st rateg ic preceptions were frequently given the i r c learest and most forcefu l expression. While an emphasis uponthe ideology of organizations and leaders runs the r i s k of ignoring the sentiments and views of the anonymous mass of workers, th is danger i s at least p a r t i a l l y o f f set in the case of s ynd i ca l i s t unions, which by the i r s t ructure, procedures and commitment to decent ra l i -zation were designed to encourage a wide l a t i tude of member pa r t i c ipa t ion in decision making. The methodological approach required by a study of the interna-t ional dimension of syndicalism also runs the danger of paying i n s u f f i -c ient attent ion to the underlying socio-economic matrix shaping ideolog ical 2 and s t rateg ica l perceptions. The present work attempts not to lose s ight of the global soc ia l and economic changes taking place with in European society during this seminal period of synd ica l i s t internat ional i sm, and i t occasionally focuses attent ion upon such changes in a spec i f i c national context. Yet i t does not purport to be pr imar i ly concerned with analyzing the precise socio-economic conditions of s ynd ica l i s t internat ional i sm, s t i l l less with presenting a series of such analyses for varying national move-ments. Certainly such knowledge, especia l ly to the degree that i t would permit and encourage f r u i t f u l comparative study, would appreciably enhance our understanding of synd ica l i s t internat ional i sm. But with few exceptions the close and careful scrutiny of the implications of the general socio-economic and pa r t i cu la r occupational parameters of national s ynd ica l i s t movements has only been undertaken in recent years, while in some cases i t has yet to begin. Though i t does not ignore the ro le played by s ynd ica l i s t or k i n -dred organizations in North and South America, the thesis focuses above a l l upon Europe, whose synd ica l i s t trade unions were decis ive in developing and sustaining the impetus of s ynd ica l i s t internat ional i sm. Moreover, although the emphasis i s upon the internat ional movement i t s e l f , attent ion is also directed toward the movement in spec i f i c countr ies, not only to indicate the d i ver s i t y of circumstances and var iety of response of syndica-l i s t organizations, but more importantly to i l luminate how certa in spec i -f i c national developments entered into and influenced the larger develop-ment of synd ica l i s t internat ional ism. A major c r i t e r i o n governing the a l l oca t i on of attent ion to national movements i s obviously the ro le they played in the internat ional movement. The synd ica l i s t organizations of Holland, Sweden and Germany were the major supporters of s ynd ica l i s t 3 international ism preceding the F i r s t World War. The Russian movement had the unique and unhappy experience of confronting the Bolsheviks on the domestic l e v e l . The German movement became the centre of post-war opposition to Moscow and a r t i cu la ted most f u l l y the ideological foundation adopted by the synd ica l i s t International founded at Ber l i n i n 1922. Within the context of synd ica l i s t internat ional i sm, these movements therefore demand attent ion too, though they united far smaller proportions of the national labour force than the major synd ica l i s t organizations of southern Europe. Reconstructing the or ig ins of the IWMA has pr imar i ly been a task of moving from the periphery inward, of working from the evidence l e f t by par t i c ipat ing indiv iduals and organizations toward the centre. Any docu-ments pertinent to i t s pre-history possessed by the IWMA i t s e l f disappeared when i t s papers were seized and presumably destroyed by the German National S o c i a l i s t government in 1933. Moreover the records of very few synd ica l i s t organizations act ive i n the period between 1913 and 1923 have survived. A notable exception i s the Sveriges Arbetares Centralorganisation in Sweden. Included in i t s papers i s a co l l e c t i on of correspondence with other synd ica l i s t unions and organizations dating from 1918 which has proved valuable. My s ing le most important source, however, has been the synd ica l i s t press and that of i t s adversaries. This i s pa r t i cu l a r l y true of the pre-war period. No protocol of the f i r s t internat ional s ynd ica l i s t congress held at London in 1913 was ever prepared. Reconstructing i t s course has therefore largely been a matter of methodically tracking down the widely c on f l i c t i n g accounts and assessments by part ic ipants and spec-tators which subsequently appeared in the synd ica l i s t press of many nations. Since i t constituted the pioneering e f f o r t of synd ica l i s t internat ional ism 4 and raised many of the issues which l a te r predominated in post-war de-bates on labour internat ional i sm, the London congress and the contro-versy surrounding i t has been recounted in some d e t a i l . Syndica l i s t per iodicals and brochure l i t e r a t u r e have proved cru-c i a l in the study of the post-war period as w e l l , and again they provide the only detai led sources, though as always to be approached c r i t i c a l l y , on the internat ional s ynd ica l i s t gatherings during th i s period. Communist international ism i s of course r i c h l y documented, but quite aside from i t s polemical l i t e r a t u r e , even the o f f i c i a l protocols of meetings at Moscow must be supplemented by and balanced against the accounts, assessments and perceptions found elsewhere. The published and unpublished memoirs and autobiographies, e t c . , of s ynd ica l i s t and non-syndical ist a c t i v i s t s have been of exceptional value, as have the correspondence and other material which survives in the archives of indiv idual part ic ipants of the l i be r t a r i an workers' movement. Surviving eyewitnesses of the period under invest igat ion are rare, and I am grateful to Augustin Souchy of Munich and Arthur Lehning of Amsterdam for sharing the i r memories with me. I can only acknowledge here a few of the addit ional varied and numerous debts I have incurred in the course of preparing th i s study. Research was conducted in Oxford at Nuf f ie ld College; in London at the B r i t i s h L ibrary, the London School of Economics and P o l i t i c a l Science, and the Trades Union Congress L ibrary; in Paris at the Bibliotheque National, the I n s t i tu t francais d 'H i s to i re soc ia le , and the Centre d 'H i s -to i re du Syndicalisme de 1 'Un ivers i ty de Par i s ; in Nanterre at the B i b l i o -theque de Documentation i n t e r n a t i o n a l contemporaine; in Amsterdam at the Internat ionaal Inst i tuut voor Sociale Geschiedenis; and in Stockholm at the Arbetarrorelsens Arkiv and at the headquarters of the Sveriges Arbetares 5 Central organisation. To the s ta f f s of a l l these organizations I extend my thanks. I happily acknowledge a special debt of gratitude to the Inst i tuut at Amsterdam whose r i ch holdings, published and unpublished, were i nd i s -pensable to my research and whose s ta f f proved un fa i l i ng l y f r i end ly and he lp fu l . I thank Rudolf de Jong of the Inst i tuut not only for putting his fa ther ' s papers at my d isposa l , for providing a wealth of clues about poten-t i a l sources for th i s and the l a te r period of s ynd ica l i s t internat ional i sm, but for his encouragement and the l i v e l y interest he showed in my research. I am also grateful to Arthur Lehning of Amsterdam who demonstrated s im i l a r interest and encouragement and who more than once took valuable time from his own work to discuss mine, and to answer many queries about the founding congress of the IWMA, which he attended, as well as the l a te r h istory of the organization whose Secretary he was from 1933-1935. I would also l i k e to acknowledge the f r iend ly cooperation of Sven Bodin of the Arbetar rore l -sens Arkiv and pa r t i cu l a r l y that of the Executive of the SAC, which enabled me to make the most of my period of research in Stockholm. My greatest debt i s that to Professor Harvey M i t c h e l l , whose generous investment of time, energy, advice and encouragement quickly ex-ceeded the merely professional duties of research supervisor. H i s . c r i t i c a l acumen and h i s t o r i c a l s e n s i t i v i t y greatly strengthened the thes i s . Were the observation not so elementary, I would add that i t s def ic ienc ies remain my sole re spons ib i l i t y . F i na l l y I would l i k e to express my gratitude for the material sup-port extended by the Ins t i tute of Industr ial Relat ions, Univers ity of B r i t -ish Columbia, and byr, the Canada Counci l , which made th i s study poss ible. 6 CHAPTER ONE THE PRE-WAR SYNDCIALIST WORLD While s o c i a l i s t and communist international ism in the years preced-ing and immediately fol lowing the F i r s t World War have received a great deal of attention from h is tor ians,^ the international aspirat ions and en-deavours of a th i rd current within the workers' movement during th i s per iod- -that of revolutionary syndicalism—have been almost wholly ignored, or at best dealt with only per iphera l ly , in discussions of labour i n te rnat iona l -ism. The present study i s intended as a contr ibut ion toward remedying th i s def ic iency. Pr ior to turning to a discussion of the f i r s t formal attempts -•to establ i sh a vehicle of synd ica l i s t international ism in 1913, however, something must be said about the background and framework from which syndi-c a l i s t international ism emerged. The present chapter seeks to establ i sh th i s context by discuss ing, a l be i t b r i e f l y , the doctrine of revolutionary syndicalism, the French Confederation Generale du Travail as the pre-eminent synd ica l i s t labour organization in pre-war Europe, the development of European syndicalism outside France, and the re lat ionsh ip of the syn-d i c a l i s t movement to the ex i s t ing movement of labour international ism pr ior to the war. 7 I. The Doctrine of Syndicalism The doctrine of revolutionary syndicalism, or simply syndical ism--to invoke the abbreviated angl ic ized usage in which the noun subsumes the adjective—developed, pr imar i ly i n France, in the l a s t years of the nine-teenth and in the early years of the twentieth centuries and came to be i den t i f i ed with the pol icy of the largest French trade union organization, 2 the CGT. Syndicalism was more a guide to and creed of action than a theory. The custodians of i t s ideology were not theoretic ians but act ive part ic ipants in the movement, i t s m i l i t an t leaders, who a r t i cu la ted a doctrine but who denied they were theor iz ing. Men such as V ic to r Gr i f fue lhes , Emile Pouget and Georges Yvetot considered themselves to be giving expression to the pract ice of syndicalism as i t evolved rather than bui lding a theoret ica l framework to which i t should conform. This was to some degree an exaggeration, but its. exponents nevertheless at t r ibuted a non-theoretical character to syndicalism as one of i t s d ist inguish ing t r a i t s . Theorizing they considered to be at worst in imical to syndicalism and at best i r re levant . Fernand Pe l l ou t i e r , who both as an organizer and as a wr i ter contributed more to the patrimony of French syndicalism than any other i nd i v i dua l , declared that the labour unions "scoffed at theory, and the i r empiricism ... i s worth at least a l l the systems of the world, which have precise ly the duration and exactitude of predictions in the 3 almanac." Despite this a n t i - i n t e l l e c t u a l and ostensibly non-doctrinal att i tude,a doctrine of syndicalism c lea r l y emerged i n France, though, as one might expect of an ideology t ied so c lose ly to current p r a c t i c e , i t was never a f u l l y developed nor wholly consistent one. The two main and not always compatible expressions of th i s doctrine lay in the writ ings of those m i l i t an t spokesmen of the movement and in the co l l e c t i v e decisions 8 of the CGT i t s e l f as ref lected in i t s congress debates and resolut ions. The complete independence and se l f - s u f f i c i ency of the organized labour movement constituted the p l inth upon which synd ica l i s t doctrine rested. Its premises lay in the perceived primacy of economic factors in socia l l i f e , in a s t r i c t interpretat ion of the class struggle, and in a profound f a i t h in the creative potency.of the working c lass . Its c o r o l -l a r i e s were an insistence upon the revolutionary character of the labour movement, upon neu t ra l i t y , or even h o s t i l i t y , toward p o l i t i c a l act ion, upon the e f f i cacy of d i rect action for ends both reformist and revolu-t ionary, and upon proletar ian internat ional i sm. Among the various ideological sources from which French syndi-c a l i s t s borrowed, the debt was greatest to Proudhon. Like Proudhon, the synd ica l i s t s accepted the hegemony of the economic element, rather than the ' p o l i t i c a l ' , as the ch ief determinant of social arrangements,.though early synd ica l i s t ideologues were l i t t l e given to economic analys is . The preeminence of economic factors in socia l l i f e they accepted as an axiom. From i t flowed implications about the tac t i c s and goals of labour act ion. They also accepted, l i k e Proudhon, the postulate that labour alone was the producer of socia l value, a conviction reinforced elsewhere, but which for the s ynd i ca l i s t s , unlike the s o c i a l i s t s , encouraged conclusions not only about the autonomy but also the exclusivism of the labour movement. F i na l l y they aff i rmed, with Proudhon, the creative potential of the working c lass . For the s ynd i ca l i s t s , th i s generative capacity of the workers, translated into act ion, meant not merely that they could achieve immediate goals by the i r unmediated act ion, but that u l t imately the workers would be able to abolish the ent i re economic and socia l system and replace i t by one organized on the basis of the unions. The synd ica l i s t s in terpre-ted the dictum of the F i r s t International that the emancipation of the 9 workers must be the work of the workers themselves in a very l i t e r a l sense. Unlike Proudhon, however, the synd ica l i s t s joined the Marxian s o c i a l i s t s in accepting the class struggle, though they gave i t a more radical interpretat ion than any p o l i t i c a l s o c i a l i s t . The interests of workers and c ap i t a l i s t s were indeed clashing and i r r e c o n c i l i a b l e ; in view of th i s fundamental antagonism, labour must wage a m i l i t an t class war against c a p i t a l . In contrast to p o l i t i c a l s o c i a l i s t s , synd ica l i s t s denied that the class war could properly be prosecuted by p o l i t i c a l parties for the simple reason that p o l i t i c a l parties were not class organ-i zat ions . Even ostensibly labour partjes united men of a l l : descr ipt ions. and from various classes and were led much more often than not by men who did not belong to the working c lass . Working class interests were best represented not by heterogeneous p o l i t i c a l organizations, but by those organizations which united workers precise ly in the i r capacity as workers: the unions. ' Syndicalism embodied an exclusiv ism, an ouvrie'rism, never found in p o l i t i c a l parties no matter how loudly they proclaimed the i r i den t i f i c a t i on with the workers. Le syndicat s u f f i t a" tout! This synd ica l i s t catchword summed up the s e l f - s u f f i c i ency of union organization. The non-pol i t ic i sm which followed from syndical autonomy and se l f - s u f f i c i ency applied both to means and ends. As applied to means, s ynd ica l i s t non-pol i t ic i sm was not neutra l -i t y at. a l l . i t meant above a l l ant i -e lectora l i sm and anti-parl iamentarism. Despite o f f i c i a l proclamations of the p o l i t i c a l neut ra l i t y of the CGT, synd ica l i s t ideology opposed the p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i t i e s of par t ies . E l e c t o r a l -ism and parliamentarism-.-charaeteri.zed .by compromise--were" in imical to the interests of the workers since compromise tended to undermine the posit ion of opposition and v ig i lance which the workers must always maintain against 10 the agents and instruments of cap i ta l i sm. In th is sense p o l i t i c a l a c t i -v i t y was corruptive and nowhere more so than in parliament where even s o c i a l i s t leaders, seduced by the trappings of power and caught up in a process of embourgoisement, ceased to represent the interests of the workers and began to assume the values of the bourgeois adversary. At the very least the parliamentary spectacle tended to d i s t rac t workers from basic issues and d ivert the i r gaze from the real path toward the i r emancipation, which lay in d i rect act ion. Nor in terms of ends did syn-d i c a l i s t non-pol i t ic i sm equal neut ra l i t y . Syndical i sts and s o c i a l i s t s a l i ke viewed the state and i t s appendages as instruments of oppression wielded by the ru l ing c lass . But p o l i t i c a l s o c i a l i s t s believed the state merely to be in the wrong hands; that wrested from the control of the exp lo i t ing class i t could become the means of introducing revolutionary soc ia l transformation. The synd ica l i s t s envisaged no such p o s s i b i l i t y . The maintenance of concentrated, centra l ized p o l i t i c a l power was incompa-t i b l e with radical workers' democracy. Ant i -stat i sm was an essential a t t r ibute of synd ica l i s t ideology. The workers would never be free while the state ex i s ted; only when the workers possessed and administered the means of production themselves would -their emancipation be achieved. S oc i a l i s t schemes of state ownership meant no more than an exchange of masters. Projected into the future, syndical s e l f - s u f f i c i ency expressed i t s e l f as workers' cont ro l ; th i s ideal necessitated the dual task of over-coming the Scy l la of private c a p i t a l i s t ownership while avoiding the Charybdis of state capi ta l i sm. In the broader sense of ' p o l i t i c a l ' , then, which applies to any real or ideal system of arranging the socia l order, a f u l l y developed syndicalism was c l ea r l y not p o l i t i c a l l y neutra l . On the contrary, i t was p o l i t i c a l l y committed and the r i v a l of any p o l i t i c a l party which sought to capture and u t i l i z e state power for i t s own purposes. 11 Neither the statutes of the CGT nor the famed Charter of Amiens, in which the CGT in 1906 stated i t s basic p r i nc ip le s , however, expressed d i rec t h o s t i l i t y toward p o l i t i c a l par t ies . The statutes pronounced only that the organizations a f f i l i a t e d with the CGT must stand apart from p o l i t i c a l groups. The Charter repeated th i s requirement and added that indiv idual members were free to pursue any actions conforming to the i r philosophical or p o l i t i c a l views outside the organizat ion, but were expec-ted not to bring such opinions into the union. These declarations served a dual funct ion. The unions sought to organize a l l workers, i r respect ive of the i r p o l i t i c a l outlook, and the profession of p o l i t i c a l neut ra l i t y served th i s purpose. Secondly and equally important, the postulate of neut ra l i t y provided a defense for the organization i t s e l f , a means of holding at bay the s o c i a l i s t factions (or s ingle party in France a f te r 1905), despite the obvious interest the s o c i a l i s t s had in capturing i t . But the same document at least alluded to the ultimate p o l i t i c a l commitment of syndicalism by declaring that "the trade union, today an organization of res istance, w i l l i n the future be.the organization of production and d i s -4 t r i b u t i o n , the basis of socia l reorganizat ion." In the realm of deeds, the coro l la ry of s e l f - s u f f i c i ency expressed i t s e l f in the best known characte r i s t i c of syndicalism: d i rec t act ion. Direct action meant, simply, that the workers could and would achieve the i r goals through the i r own act ions, without any intermediaries. These goals could be e i ther immediate ob jec t i ve s—re la t i ng to improved-conditions-- . or the ultimate goal of overthrowing the c a p i t a l i s t order and i n s t i t u t i n g a workers' society, and the CGT recognized both r e spon s i b i l i t i e s . A wide var iety of tac t i c s and practices* f e l l under the rubr ic of d i rect act ion. The best known of these were the use of the union l a b e l , the boycott, sabotage and above a l l the innumerable var iat ions of the s t r i k e , though i t 12 did not exclude street demonstrations and other forms of mass ag i ta t ion . The s t r i ke remained the ideal weapon and that from which synd ica l i s t s expected the most. I t embodied a l l the essential ideals of syndical i s t " ; ideology: the s t r i ke was i n t r i n s i c a l l y and exclus ive ly a proletar ian weapon unit ing and f i r i n g i t s part ic ipants in the i r capacity as workers, thus conforming to the r i g i d class outlook and pronounced ouvriSrism of syndicalism; i t s a t i s f i ed the requirements of the autonomy and s e l f -su f f i c iency of the union; i t was inescapably d i rect and whatever i t s immediate purpose, i t could always assume the character of a revolutionary act. Just as the CGT was viewed as charged with both reformist and revo-lut ionary object ives, the s t r i ke could serve both functions. Even the s t r i ke for l imited and immediate goa l s - - for wage ~i ncr, eases or .improved-; eonditions-.-bbre-revolutionary implications^ , If successful" i t cons t i tu t -ed ah act of pa r t i a l expropriat ion,.or at the very least a diminution of c a p i t a l i s t author ity. And successful or not, any s t r i ke was viewed as enhancing class consciousness, re inforc ing proletar ian s o l i d a r i t y , and as a lesson in revolutionary apprenticeship. Thus any s t r i k e , or other form of d i rec t act ion, contributed to th i s preparatory t r a i n i ng ; to what syn-d i c a l i s t ca l led the ' revolut ionary gymnastics' of the workers. So domi-nant was the ro le of the s t r i ke in s ynd ica l i s t ideology that there were those who i den t i f i ed syndicalism as the philosophy of the s t r i k e . The s t r i ke and other forms of d i rect action were merely an exten-sion to the realm of tac t i c s of s ynd ica l i s t insistence upon the autonomy and se l f - s u f f i c i ency of organized labour. The severe exclusiveness of synd ica l i s t ideology dictated that i dea l l y there be no compromise with the ex i s t ing bourgeois state and society. Syndical i sts accepted Marx's dictum that the workers had no fatherland. For them, patr iot ism rested upon pro-perty ownership. The worker owed his l oya l ty to his c la s s , a loya l ty 13 which transcended national boundaries. Syndica l i s t ant i -pat r io t i sm and an t i -m i l i t a r i sm derived not merely from doctr ine, but was reinforced by the r e a l i t y of economic c o n f l i c t in France. Frequent recourse to the pol ice and army to control labour mi l i tancy confirmed labour radicals in the conviction that the state functioned pr imar i ly as a class i n s t r u -ment for the defense of cap i ta l i sm. Thus the CGT campaigned against both patr iot ism and m i l i t a r i sm. Its propaganda and a c t i v i t i e s , including attempts to subvert working class conscripts in the army,.provoked an alarm and h o s t i l i t y among the bourgeois.which served to reinforce the i so l a t i on of the labouring class already fostered by the socioeconomic structure of French society and by the s ynd i ca l i s t s ' own at t i tudes . I I. The French Confederation Generale du Travai l A m u l t i p l i c i t y of factors account for the emergence and pre-valence of syndicalism within the largest organization of French labour. The French revolutionary t r ad i t i on l e f t a legacy of revolution as the common means of a f fect ing change in soc iety, as well as a v i s ion of i n -complete revolut ion, of changes in forms of government unaccompanied, in the view of an emerging working c las s , by commensurate economic and socia l change. This t r ad i t i on simultaneously imbued mi l i tant s with revolutionary att i tudes and with the conviction that the socia l revolution remained to be made. Labour could draw upon a t rad i t i on which had repeatedly seen workers as the makers but not yet the benef ic iar ies of revolutionary act ion. The high cost to labour of the suppression of the Commune of 1871 had discredited the idea of an insurrectionary seizure of power and i n ten s i f i ed aversion for the repressive s tate, but had not destroyed the idea of force-fu l soc ia l transformation. Amongst synd ica l i s t s the legacy of d i rec t revolutionary action survived, though i t s means had been transformed from 14 insurrect ion and barricades to d i rect economic action through union organization. Workers were confronted by what appeared to be a corrupt, un-responsive and hos t i le state. The bloody suppression of the June Days of 1848 and of the Paris Commune were only the most dramatic of e a r l i e r examples of the repressive state. Only in 1884 did French workers win the legal r ight to associate, and then only under the s t r i c t e s t super-v i s i on . • Thereafter unions were not infrequently l ega l l y dissolved for the s l i ghtes t i n f rac t ion of deb i l i t a t i n g regulatory controls . The govern-ment's frequent recourse to force to control labour and break s t r ikes and i t s neglect of socia l l e g i s l a t i on only i n tens i f i ed worker opposition to the state. A parade of government scandals—the..Wilson Affa.ir, .fche Panama Scandal, the Dreyfus A f f a i r — l e d some to .the conclusion that not s imply : certa in indiv idual po l i t i c i an s or governments, but p o l i t i c s in general were corrupt. The spectacle of professed s o c i a l i s t s apparently subordinating the i r o r ig ina l values to personal ambition by carving out careers in bourgeois governments merely confirmed suspicions that even workers' representatives were not immune to the corruptive influence of p o l i t i c s . Long-lived d iv i s ions in French social ism further d i scredited p o l i t i c a l action on behalf of labour. Personal and doctr inal squabbles amongst s o c i a l i s t factions predominated into the twentieth century. At least f i ve d i f fe rent factions engaged in internecine combat in the 1890's, each vying for labour 's support. These r i v a l r i e s brought p o l i t i c a l social ism into disrepute among many and reinforced the tendency of radica ls to repudiate p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i t y in favour of d i rect act ion. Only in 1905 did a s ingle French s o c i a l i s t party emerge, but by then the CGT's resolve to remain aloof from a l l p o l i t i c a l part ies had become f i rmly entrenched. 15 Certain more spec i f i c ideological influences also helped to shape the character of French syndicalism. Proudhon's influence has been men-tioned. Syndical i s ts drew upon his insistance on the primacy of economic action and the autonomy of labour, his mutualism and federalism. From Auguste BIanqui--thougH they rejected his appeal - for the conquest of p o l i t i c a l power and revolutionary d i c ta to r sh ip—synd ica l i s t s inher i ted-a legacy of act ion, of revolutionary deeds as far more e f fec t i ve in pre-paring for the f i n a l upheaval than the merely verbal revolutionism they associated with most . soc ia l i s t s . Like Blanqui, synd ica l i s t s emphasized the importance of subjective components of revolutionary success. Extreme vo luntar i s t s , they had l i t t l e patience with arguments that i r r eve r s i b l e h i s t o r i ca l developments were preparing the f i na l collapse of cap i ta l i sm. Not the ind i f fe rent progression of h i s t o r i c a l forces but the revolutionary w i l l and the informed conscious s t r i v i ng of labour held the key to revo-l u t i o n . The autonomy of labour meant not that the working class had become the vehicle of inev i table change, but that workers, once s u f f i c i e n t l y organized and self-conscious as a c la s s , would have the commitment, capacity and c r ea t i v i t y to institutes-revolutionary change and fashion a wholly new society. A f i n a l ideological impact was not l imi ted to the realm of ideas, but manifested i t s e l f in the pract ica l organization and propaganda of the CGT. Around 1895 the anarchists made a concerted e f f o r t to carry t he i r message to the workers in the most d i rect way poss ible. Many anarchists, noting the f u t i l i t y of t e r r o r i s t t ac t i c s employed in the early 1890's and cognizant of the i so l a t i on which the resu l t ing reaction had imposed upon the anarchist movement, began counsell ing the permeation of workers' organ-izat ions as a more\effeetive-means of Spreading the i r creed. An i n f l u x ' into the unions fol lowed, and by the i r devotion and industry anarchist 16 mi l i tant s were soon able to exert an influence disproportionate to t he i r 5 numbers. Influenced by Proudhon and more frequently by the Bakuninist wing of the F i r s t Internat ional , the anarchists were instrumental in re inforc ing the d i s t rus t of the state and the opposition to p o l i t i c a l action already present in the French workers' movement. Theoret ica l ly the CGT remained as independent of anarchism as of p o l i t i c a l part ies . The 1906 Charter of Amiens declared that the unions "should not concern themselves with the part ies and sects which, outside and alongside the unions, may in complete l i b e r t y pursue the socia l transformation."^ The sects.referred to were anarchist groups (pr imari ly ' i n d i v i d u a l i s t ' anarchists). But the Charter embodied o f f i c i a l CGT po l i cy . In •practice, i t s leading mi l i tant s evidenced a h o s t i l i t y toward p o l i t i c a l action and the state which exceeded the dictum of simple neut ra l i t y . Economic factors and levels of trade union organization also encouraged the acceptance of syndicalism in France. Economic modernization proceeded only slowly and large-scale i ndu s t r i a l i z a t i on lagged behind that of England or Germany. Though the average s ize of productive enterprise gradually increased, smal l - and medium-sized workshops continued to play a conspicuous role in production and continued to ex i s t alongside rarer , geographically concentrated, more highly i ndus t r i a l i zed enterprises. Industr ia l ized workers frequently remained unorganized, or i f organized, were often of reformist i n c l i n a t i o n . The dispersal of the working popula-t ion within a decentral ized, c raf t -or iented economy made the creation of large unions d i f f i c u l t . Consequently, an extensive series of small local unions dominated the picture of French union organization in the early twentieth century^ Decades of experience in the smaller workshop and the prevalence of small local unions meshed well with the synd ica l i s t v i s ion of a future soc ia l i zed economy based upon decentra l izat ion and producer's 17 cont ro l . Moreover, the r e l a t i ve absence of large powerful unions also favoured the endorsement of methods of d i rect act ion. The lack of organized strength to negotiate e f f e c t i ve l y with employers disposed workers to resort to forms of i ndus t r i a l action and coercion, pa r t i cu l a r l y as they were confronted in the early years of the century with employers who were notably i n t rac tab le , and yet frequently i n s u f f i c i e n t l y organized themselves to present a strong and sustained defense against workers' act ion. Thus the d i rect action exto l led and embraced in synd ica l i s t doc-t r ine ref lected constraints of economic development and union organization. The prime importance attached to d i rect action and the a l legedly superior glan of the workers was.in part the compensatory reaction of a weak trade union movement. The increasing cent ra l i za t ion of French cap i ta l undermined the effectiveness of such tac t i c s arid increased the need for stronger union organization, a fact not lo s t on some members of the CGT pr ior to the war. The CGT emerged as a real force in the French labour movement in 1902, when the Confederation, composed of l o c a l , regional and national union bodies, merged with the Federation des Bourses, the national organ-i zat ion l i nk ing Bmirses__djjJ^ The Bourses - the f i r s t was founded in Paris in 1887 - were Chambers of Labour unit ing members of various trades in a given l o c a l i t y , serving o r i g i n a l l y as labour exchanges and soon as soc ia l centres where working class problems were discussed. Idea l ly , espec ia l ly in the view of Fernand Pe l l ou t i e r , the animating organizational s p i r i t of the Bourse movement and Secretary of the Federation from 1895 to his untimely death in 1901, the Bourses were to f u l f i l l a radical educa-t ional and 'cultural function for labour. In P e l l o u t i e r ' s v i s i on , the Bourses were to be the f i r s t autonomous labour i n s t i t u t i on s . They would counter the manipulating culture of bourgeois society and provide the moral, technical and administrative education necessary to enable the p ro le ta r i a t 18 eventually to construct a society of free men.^ By P e l l o u t i e r ' s death s i x t y - f i v e Bourses with a membership of 782 dues-paying loca l unions were ' ' Q a f f i l i a t e d with the Federation. The 1902 merger with the dynamic Bourse movement'invigorated the more feeble Confederation. The Confederation had been formed in 1895 to replace an e a r l i e r Federation National des Syndicats, rent by an internal struggle over issues of p o l i t i c a l and trade union act ion. Jules Guesde's Part i Ouvrier Fran^ais^ representing a rather narrow and doctr ina i re Marxism, had sought throughout the 1880's to win the support of the unions. Cate-go r i ca l l y opposed to the general s t r i k e , the Guesdists sought a s im i la r condemnation from the unions. In th i s they f a i l e d . From 1892 to 1894 the general s t r i ke dominated a l l issues in trade union congresses. By 1894 advocates of the s t r i k e , amongst whom Pe l l ou t i e r and A r i s t i de Briand were conspicuous, had prevai led. A break-away Guesdist minor ity, reta in ing the t i t l e Federation des Syndicats, soon dis integrated. The major ity, support-ed by the Federation des Bourses, went on to create the CGT. Thus by 1902, when the CGT and the Federation des Bourses merged, both were wedded to the idea of the general s t r i ke and host i le to p o l i t i c a l act ion. By 1905, when the various s o c i a l i s t factions achieved an uneasy a l l i ance by unit ing in the Part i Soc ia l i s te Unif ie-Sect ion Francaise de 1 ' Internationale Ouvrier j (SFI0), the CGT's non-pol i t ic i sm was f i rmly entrenched. The Confederation responded to the rea l i za t i on of s o c i a l i s t unity by enacting i t s Charte d'Amiens a year l a t e r . The structure of the CGT both ref lected and sustained pr inc ip les of decentral izat ion and federalism. F i r s t , the Bourses retained the i r own national Secretary and held the i r own congresses, though in 1912 the dec i -sion was taken to replace the Bourses by departmental unions in th i s sec-t ion of the CGT. The second section was made up of national union federa-19 t i on s , except in rare cases where a union, such as the railwaymen, was i t s e l f nat iona l . Local union a f f i l i a t e s were expected to j o i n both a Bourse and a national federation i f such ex isted. The CGT was thus pr imar i ly a federation of federations. Though confederation and federa-t ion o f f i c i a l s were natural ly able to exert cons iderable ' inf luence, the theoret ical locus of power remained that of the local union, which retained i t s autonomy within the CGT and within i t s federat ion. The loca l union i t s e l f determined i t s dues schedule, the extent and character of benef i t s , whether a s t r i ke should be c a l l e d , and so on. Moreover, in the biennial congresses of the CGT, votes were taken on a one-union, one-vote bas is, regardless of membership. The fede ra l i s t views of the CGT dictated that each union have equal representation. The average loca l union a f f i -l i a t e had 200 members in 1914.^ The small s ize of the autonomous loca l union, along with the persistence of small workshops in France, doubt-l e s s l y contributed to the v is ion prized by synd ica l i s t s of a future Utopia characterized by a highly decentral ized system of production and cont ro l . Although the largest and most important of French labour organi-zat ions, the CGT united less than one-half of the nat ion ' s organized workers. Of the s l i g h t l y over one m i l l i on unionized workers in 1912, the CGT claimed over 600,000, but acknowledged that only two-thirds of these were dues-paying members.^ Organized workers outside the CGT were united in co l l abora t ion i s t employer's unions, in Cathol ic unions, or more f r e -quently in independent unions and federations. Nor did the CGT unite only revolutionary s ynd ica l i s t s . Refor-mists and revolut ionaries mrhg'Ted^^ A n t i - p o l i t i c a l revolut ionaries dominated i t s national o f f i ces and were thus able to exert influence in moulding doctrine and determining the tone of the CGT's news-papers and propaganda. But reformists were present in the organization in '. ' 20 large numbers. Some of the largest unions and f ede ra t i on s—tex t i l e workers, railwaymen, pr inters—tended to reformism. The reformists, however, did not share a uni f ied outlook. The miners a f f i l i a t e d with the CGT tended to support the s o c i a l i s t s , and from the t e x t i l e workers, espec ia l l y a f ter the creation of the SFIO, came ef fo r t s to win approval, of an o f f i c i a l po l icy of col laborat ion between the CGT and the party. The highly organized and conspicuously reformist p r i n te r s ' federat ion, on the other hand, staunchly defended the CGT's apo l i t i c i sm. Nor i s i t the case that the larger federations were reformist and the smaller revolutionary. C r i t i c s of the fede ra l i s t structure of the Confederation argued that i t permitted a large number of small but radical federations cont inual ly to dominate the fewer but much larger reformist federations. But while i t i s true that many small federations, such as the barbers, were markedly r ad i c a l , 'reformism did not uniformly prevai l among the largest federations. The large metal-workers' and maritime workers' federations were predominantly radica l as was the building-workers ' federat ion, usually the largest of CGT a f f i l i a t e s . Moreover, although each federation tended cha rac te r i s t i c a l l y to be e i ther reformist or revo-lut ionary, in each trade and even in most loca l unions some measure of countervai l ing tendency ex isted. In short, nearly every viewpoint found 12 expression within the CGT. Despite the presence of considerable numbers of reformists, the o f f i c i a l pol icy of the CGT remained revolutionary syndicalism. The syn-d i c a l i s t s continued to hold posit ions of leadership within the Confederation and continued to provide the lead in propaganda. The s ta te ' s p r o c l i v i t y toward the use of force against workers and demonstrators had not diminished. Mounting internat ional tension continued to make ant ipatr iot i sm and a n t i -m i l i t a r i sm issues of l i v e l y concern. Moreover, as we saw, reformist e l e -21 ments were themselves not in accord on various issues. Many of them could agree with the revo lut ionar ies ' ins istence upon the p o l i t i c a l neut ra l i t y of the CGT. Indeed, the Charter of Amiens embodying th i s doctrine could and in fact did command a consensus. Passed by an overwhelming major ity, the Charter s a t i s f i ed the revolutionary trade unionist who ins i s ted that the organized labour movement remain aloof from corrupting p o l i t i c a l ac t ion ; i t s a t i s f i ed the reformist who did not want the unions d istracted from the i r da i l y tasks by d i v i s i ve p o l i t i c a l issues and for whom i t provid-ed' a theoret ica l safeguard against the ascendancy of a m i l i t an t anarchism; i t consoled the convinced s o c i a l i s t bygrant ing that the party had i t s own role to play and by ensuring the i nd i v i dua l ' s r ight to pursue whatever p o l i t i c a l action he wished outside his union. Thus the leading labour organization in France continued up to the F i r s t World War to espouse the doctrines of revolutionary syndicalism. Even the conservative International Secretar iat of National Trade Union Centres recognized that only the CGT could properly represent French labour within the international labour movement. To synd ica l i s t s outside France, frequently unaware of the strength of reformist elements within i t , the CGT represented a source of i n sp i r a t i on , the pioneer and s p i r i t u a l leader of the movement and i t s most prestigious representative. I I I. Syndicalism Outside. France Although i t s doctrine found r e l a t i v e l y complete a r t i cu l a t i on f i r s t in France, syndicalism was not a; pecu l i a r l y ;Freneh but ah internat ional experience and phenomenon. C r i t i c s of European syndicalism outside France sometimes accused i t s advocates of seeking to import the ideology of the CGT into a l ien s o i l . This c r i t i c i s m , however, ignored the fact that, i f circum-stances in other regions had not fostered among elements of the workers' 22 movement an indigenous drive toward a s im i la r form of labour expression, 13 the French example would have lacked even insp i rat iona l value. While the prestige of the CGT made a l imited degree of imitat ion i nev i tab le , contemplation by foreign mi l i tant s of the professed practice and objec-t ives of the French was generally no more than a means of c l a r i f y i n g the i r own tac t i c s and goals. Whatever the value of the CGT as a n t exemplar, the e f f i cacy of the appeal of syndicalism lay in the domestic conditions of labour in areas where i t took root. And wherever i t took root i t was never the mirror-image of French syndicalism, but u l t imately the d i s t i n c -t i ve and unique expression of a spec i f i c set of national or regional econo-mic, s o c i a l , p o l i t i c a l and h i s t o r i ca l factors . The influence of syndicalism beyond French borders had been f e l t for years pr io r to 1906, but the real growth of organized synd ica l i s t labour organizations or of synd ica l i s t propaganda groups in Europe came in the period from 1906 to 1912. The role of the mass s t r i ke in the Russian Revolution of 1905 reinvigorated the debate over the general s t r i ke and methods of d i rec t action which had been raging in the European labour movement for well over a decade. In 1906, in the middle of i t s ' he ro ic ' period, the CGT had adopted the Charte d'Amiens. Anarchists meanwhile had increasingly entered the labour movement outside France. Syndicalism received a good deal of attention at the 1907 International Anarchist Congress held at Amsterdam, where i t s merits were discussed in a l i v e l y debate between the young French m i l i t an t P ierre Monatte and the veteran anarchist i n sur rect ion i s t Err ico Malatesta. The congress gave r i s e both to a short - l i ved anarchist bu l l e t i n and to the more durable Bu l l e t i n Inter- national du Mouvement Syndical i ste edited by'the Dutch m i l i t a n t , Christ iaan Cornelissen. These events reinforced the gathering momentum toward the establishment of synd ica l i s t organizations in many places in Europe. The 23 CGT was soon joined by an increasing number of organized synd ica l i s t s elsewhere as ex i s t ing union associations adopted e x p l i c i t l y s ynd ica l i s t programs or new synd ica l i s t labour bodies were formed, usually by d i s s i -dents who broke with ex i s t ing soc ia l democratic unions. Elsewhere impor-tant synd ica l i s t propaganda groups emerged. Within s ix years the impact of syndicalism made i t s e l f f e l t in a new and d i s t i n c t i v e way in at least a dozen European countries, many of which by then harboured synd ica l i s t unions or s i gn i f i can t propaganda groups. A survey of the European syn-d i c a l i s t movement outside France cannot be undertaken here. But before cur so r i l y l i s t i n g some addit ional cases, a b r i e f look at the examples of four countries—Spa in. , I t a l y , .Holland and Germany--will provide some.., idea of the diverse backgrounds from which e x p l i c i t l y s ynd ica l i s t labour organizations could emerge. A. Spain. The organization destined to become the largest of a l l s ynd ica l i s t bodies emerged in Spain in 1910. As in I t a l y , which produced the second largest synd ica l i s t associat ion, Spanish syndicalism had a r i ch t rad i t i on of indigenous,anarchism to draw upon. Bakuninism had been a conspicuous feature of the Spanish labour movement ever since the b r i e f but remarkably successful v i s i t in 1868 of the I ta l i an engineer Guiseppi F a n e l l i , dispatched by Bakunin to carry the message of the International to Spain. The Spanish Federation, the resu l t of the f i r s t attempt to form a national labour organization in 1870, became a f i rm supporter of the Bakuninist wing of the F i r s t Internat ional. Though the government e f fec -t i v e l y -•"ecu shed the Spanish: "Federation- over a period of. years;,", anarchism had become f i rmly entrenched within the Spanish labour movement and was strongly buttressed by a widespread peasant anarchism. As elsewhere, Spanish anarchism passed through a period of i nd i v i dua l i s t terror i sm, of 'propaganda by the deed 1 , which made Barcelona in par t i cu la r a hothouse of 24 t e r r o r i s t a c t i v i t y in the 1890's. But anarchism also remained i n f l u en t i a l within the labour movement, and in fact the indiscr iminate reaction of the government against suspected t e r r o r i s t s and ordinary trade union leaders a l i ke only reinforced the i den t i f i c a t i on of the cause of anarchism and that of trade unionism for many workers. Anarchism was s u f f i c i e n t l y strong in Barcelona that in 1899 the Union General del Trabajo, the national labour organization created under the auspices of the Spanish s o c i a l i s t party, offered t a c i t recognition of i t s f a i l u r e in Catalonia, the home of the largest labour movement in the country, by moving i t s headquarters from Barcelona to Madrid. Although the anarchists ' promotion of confrontation tac t i c s thus gained a sympathetic hearing within the labour movement, the main cause of the s t r i ke wave which struck Spain and espec ia l ly Barcelona in the ear ly years of the new century came from the intransigence and provocation of the employers. Between 1901 and 1904 Catalonia witnessed an extensive series of s t r i k e s , including a week-long general s t r i ke in Barcelona in February 1902. The s t r i ke s , frequently accompanied by lock-outs, came as defensive reactions by the workers. The s t r i ke wave began in the t e x t i l e industry in 1901 when employers sought to introduce mechanization and wage-cuts simultaneously. The confrontation in t e x t i l e s marked only the begin-ning-of an employers' offensive. The recently formed municipal labour federation undertook the general s t r i ke of 1902 with the immediate aim of aiding s t r i k i ng metal workers with whom the employers refused to negotiate, but with the more general recognition that the interests of the ent i re Catalonian workers' movement were under attack. Employers' e f fo r t s to d i s c i p l i n e the workers' movement also included orchestrated union-breaking, as on the trams in 1904. In a period of high unemployment and widespread use of str ike-breakers, the s t r ikes were, un l ike ly to succeed. The govern-25 merit's f i rm and forceful support.of the employers ensured the i r f a i l u r e . By the end of 1904 the s t r i ke wave had receded, union membership had considerably decl ined, and the municipal labour organization had i t s e l f been dissolved (in 1902 fol lowing the general s t r i k e ) . As the task of rebui ld ing the labour movement proceeded over the next three years, the influence of French syndicalism, already f e l t in Spain, gradually expanded. The structure of the CGT, with i t s dual emphasis upon local cross-occupational Bourses du Travai l and upon wider union federations, was akin to the basis of organization already favoured in Spain. The CGT's professions of p o l i t i c a l neut ra l i t y also attracted those who sought to cast the net of union organization as widely as poss ible, encompassing a l l workers regardless of the i r personal p o l i t i c a l convict ions. In 1907 s o c i a l i s t s and anarchists joined in founding Sol idaridad Obrera, a new municipal labour federation in Barcelona. Though anarchists were act ive within i t , they did not dominate i t , and the soc ia -l i s t supporters who cooperated in i t s foundation at least professed to respect the independence from p o l i t i c a l parties which Sol idaridad Obrera proclaimed, pr imar i ly as a means of countering the appeal amongst workers of the demagogic Catalan radical ism of Alejandro Lerroux. It also endorsed the class struggle, d i rect action and the abo l i t ion of cap i ta l i sm. The main emphasis, of Sol idaridad Obrera, the product of a temporarily chastened working c la s s , however, remained upon the immediate material goals of the workers. The conversion of Sol idaridad 0brera_ from a municipal to a regional federation came in 1908. Despite i t s e s sent ia l l y moderate stance, Sol idaridad Obrera soon found i t s e l f involved in a confrontation even more dramatic than the s t r ikes of 1901-04. Declining economic conditions prompted t e x t i l e emplo-yers to resort to a lock-but in the spring of 1909 preparatory to introducing 26 new wage-cuts and more onerous working condit ions. Sol idaridad Obrera o f f i c i a l s saw th i s as the opening phase of a new employers' offensive and resolved to implement a general s t r i ke i f necessary. The government's c a l l up of reserv ists in July to be sent to f i ght in the accelerat ing colonia l war in Morocco proved even more i n f l uen t i a l in rendering the s i tuat ion explosive. A general s t r i ke of protest began at Barcelona on 24 June, supported not only by Sol idaridad Obrera but by many loca l m i l i tant s of the s o c i a l i s t and radical part ies . It rap id ly and spontane-ously escalated -into a f u l l - s c a l e insurrection^which, though i t lacked support from other regions.of Spain, required the government a week to 14 suppress amidst b i t t e r f i gh t i ng . The government's response to the 'Tragic Week '---systematic ' j u d i c i a l repression directed largely at a r b i t r a r i l y chosen v ic t ims, including the condemnation and execution of the l i be r t a r i an pedagogue Francisco Ferrer, whose connections with the insurrect ion were extremely tenuous—fai led to break the ..labour movement. Its consequences were-quite, the reverse. In simple numerical terms, the organized labour movement in Catalonia had been in retreat for some years. The government's harsh ret r ibut ion convinced:those who remained, act ive of the need for an uncompromisingly m i l i t an t national organization to defend workers' interests against both capita l and the state. The withdrawal of more moderate f igures from Sol idaridad Obrera fol lowing the 'Tragic Week', moreover, brought the anarcho-syndicalist element to the fore. They were instrumen-ta l in providing the lead in the establishment of a national s ynd ica l i s t organization. Thus Sol idaridad Obrera hosted the meeting at Barcelona in October 1910 in which the representatives of various regional federations resolved to establ i sh the Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo. 27 At i t s f i r s t congress in September 1911 the new organization, constituted upon m i l i t a n t l y s ynd ica l i s t p r i nc ip le s , could claim to repre-sent 30,000 workers. Despite an i l l - s t a r r e d early history—premature endorsement of a s t r i ke wave in 1911 led to a legal ban upon i t and the f l i g h t of some of i t s leaders, such as Jose Negre, i t s ear ly Secretary, who took refuge in Par i s—the CNT survived.clandest inely, emerged into; the open in 1914, and went on to become the largest labour organization in Spain and author of some of the most heroic episodes in labour h i s tory. B. I ta l y . A separate synd ica l i s t workers' organization emerged in I ta l y only in 1912 with the establishment of the Unione Sindacale I ta l iana (USI), though i t s creation followed years of s t r i f e between revolut ionaries and reformists, both within the Part i to Soc ia l i s t ? I ta l iano (PSI) and within the unions. The c o n f l i c t had been accentuated fol lowing the generalized protest s t r i ke of 1904 and the abortive r a i l -way s t r i ke of 1905. Both groups sought a new national organization of labour and both sought to imprint the Confederazione Generale del Lavoro (CGL), created in 1906, with the i r own stamp. The reformists prevai led. For the next s ix years the synd ica l i s t s v a c i l l a t e d , uncertain whether to 15 seek to conquer the CGL from within or to withdraw. The I ta l i an synd ica l i s t s drew considerable in sp i rat ion from the i r French brethren. A t r ad i t i on of local Chambers of Labour (the f i r s t Camera del Lavoro, established in 1891 at Milan,had been modeled on the Bourses du Trava i l ) fostered the same insistence upon the local autonomy prized by ceget istes. Unlike in France, however, I ta l i an synd ica l i s t s were confronted with a uni f ied s o c i a l i s t party of long standing to which most labour a c t i v i s t s adhered,,. Syndica l i s t c r i t i c i s m within the PSI accelerated a f te r 1906, however, when the PSI refused to endorse the general s t r i ke and when the CGT responded to the creation of a uni f ied s o c i a l i s t party in 28 France with the Charte d'Amiens. Amidst a r i s i n g anti-parl iamentarism, the more radical synd ica l i s t s began moving out of the PSI in search of a more su itable vehicle of d i rect act ion. Syndical i sts s im i l a r l y attacked the CGL, both for i t s approval of p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i t y and i t s centra l ized structure. In 1907 diss idents decided to establ i sh a Comitato Nazionale del l a Resistenza independent of the CGL. The creation of the Committee, which sought to defend union autonomy and propagate d i rect ac t i on i s t p r i nc i p l e s , marked a reject ion of the pol icy of attempting to conquer the CGL from wi th in , though not a l l synd ica l i s t s were prepared to accept th i s course. The synd ica l i s t s suffered a severe setback the fol lowing year. Agr icu l tura l workers constituted the largest s ingle group supporting the Resistance Committee. In 1908 the strong landowners' organization off Parma adopted aggressive economic tact i c s in an attempt to destroy the Parma Chamber of Labour, a synd ica l i s t stronghold, and to counter i t s growing appeal amongst the landworkers. In response the synd ica l i s t s declared a general s t r i ke in the Parma region involving nearly 20,000 workers. Led by Alceste De Ambris, a leading synd ica l i s t spokesman and a chief a r ch i -tect of the Resistance Committee, the b i t t e r contest, characterized on the workers' side by a torrent of s ynd ica l i s t rhetor ic and a constant e x t o l l -ing of the virtues of s t r i ke act ion, lasted two months. But while the proprietors won widespread support from other employers in northern I ta l y by depict ing the s t r i ke as a test case for revolutionary syndicalism, the synd ica l i s t s remained i so la ted, dependent upon their,,own meager resources and the m i l i t an t w i l l of the workers. The CGL offered verbal'but.'ho material aid to the s t r i k e r s . By reta in ing the al legiance of the share-croppers and u t i l i z i n g the volunteer labour of sympathizers the owners, were able to continue essential ag r i cu l tura l work. The labourers began 29 d r i f t i n g back to work. The s t r i ke leaders f l ed to avoid a r re s t , De Ambris taking refuge in Sw i t ze r l and .^ Though i t came to be viewed as an heroic episode in the h i s tory of I ta l ian syndicalism, the Parma s t r i ke had temporarily broken synd ica l i s t momentum and strengthened the hand of those who preferred the pol icy of transforming the CGL from with in . I t also completed the process of a l i ena -t ion from the PSI, which formally condemned syndicalism at i t s 1908 congress and endorsed a mutual action pact e a r l i e r made between the PSI and the CGL. The synd ica l i s t rapprochement with the CGL proved of short duration. By 1910 many of them were convinced anew that continued association with what they saw as the deadening bureaucratism and parliamentarism of the CGL was se l f -defeat ing. In December they established the Comitato del 1 - 'Azione d i r e t t a , which sought to propagate synd ica l i s t pr inc ip les within the CGL un t i l s u f f i c i en t strength had been mustered to challenge i t openly. As the minority gained support, i t also began to demonstrate i t s independ-ence. When in 1912 i t began planning a conference of i t s part isans, the CGL Executive f e l t compelled to declare the Committee no longer to be merely a minority organizat ion, but an antagonistic r i v a l , and to pronounce support for i t incompatible with membership in the CGL. The Committee responded by vowing to create an autonomous revolutionary labour body. From Swiss ex i l e De Ambris had simultaneously been conducting a press cam-paign against the CGL through L ' Internazionale, published at Parma. The November congress of the diss idents established a new national synd ica l i s t organizat ion, the USI, headquartered at Parma. Those anarchists who sup-ported mass action hai led the break with the CGL and supported the USI, just as they had e a r l i e r supported.the Resistance Committee. Founded at the end/of 1912 with a membership of about 80,000, in.the 30 course of 1913 the USI grew to 100,000. Its strength lay in the north, pa r t i cu l a r l y in the Po va l ley where Parma represented i t s s ingle strongest branch with around 20,000 members. In occupational composition the USI was above a l l an agr i cu l tu ra l and c ra f t organization. Agr icu l tura l labour-ers constituted over a th i rd of i t s pre-war membership. Construction workers composed the second largest group.- Its appeal amongst s t r i c t l y indust r ia l workers was more l i m i t e d , not least becuase the established CGL had directed i t s attention to these workers, though the USI enjoyed some success with the metal workers, pa r t i cu l a r l y in Milan. In 1913 the USI 1s weekly newspaper, L' Internazionale, claimed a c i r cu l a t i on of 50,000.^ C. Holland. While in I ta ly revolut ionaries had broken with reform-i s t s to create a synd ica l i s t union organizat ion, in Holland the s i tuat ion was reversed. The oldest Dutch national labour organizat ion, the Nationaal Arbeids-Secretariaat (NAS) was created in 1893 in response to the appeal of the 1891 congress of the Second International c a l l i n g for the creation of national trade union centres by s o c i a l i s t part ies . That i t o r i g i n a l l y grouped not only trade unions, but s o c i a l i s t par t ie s , demonstrated the pro-venance of the NAS. Or i g ina l l y both the ant i -author i ta r ian Socialistenbond and i t s r i v a l , the parliamentarian Sociaal Democratische Arbeiders P a r t i j (SDAP) adhered. But reformist tendencies never prevailed in the NAS, which approximated much, more c lose ly the po l i c i e s a r t i cu la ted by Christ iaan Cornelissen, who had played an important ro le in i t s creation and whose views were already c lose ly akin to the frankly synd ica l i s t pos it ion he would 18 soon adopt. The ongoing internecine struggle between the Socialistenbond and the SDAP accentuated the growing a p o l i t i c a l p r o c l i v i t y of the union component of the NAS, which soon declared i t s complete autonomy as a labour organization. The Socialistenbond, bowing to th i s dec i s ion, l e f t the NAS 31 vo l un ta r i l y , but the SDAP res i sted and was .expelled in 1896. The NAS saw i t s e l f as a vehic le of c lass-struggle and above a l l as a s t r i ke machine. Markedly a n t i - c e n t r a l i s t , i t advocated a federative union structure with emphasis upon the power and unity of local workers' associat ions. It was pervaded by a profound suspicion of bureaucracy and the conviction that the NAS should be governed by the workers themselves. This view was encouraged and exemplified by the early administrator of the NAS, Gerr i t van E rke l , who considered himself no more than a conduit through 19 which the members expressed the i r wishes. The NAS frequently u t i l i z e d the referendum as a means of determining po l icy. But an emergent c r i t i c i s m of the NAS, i t s organizational structure and i t s approval of frequent and spontaneous s t r i ke act ion , became increas-ing ly outspoken during the l a s t years of the 19th century. The chief c r i t i c , Henri Polak of the Diamond-Workers Union, challenged nearly every plank of the NAS platform. Polak, inspired f i r s t by the large B r i t i s h , and thenthe German trade unions, advocated strong centra l i zed union's with large treasuries and highly d i s c ip l i ned memberships. He deplored the pract ice of the NAS of providing s t r i ke assistance to unorganized as well as organ-ized labour and was appalled that i t l e f t the determination of po l icy so much in the hands of the workers. Polak urged instead the creation of a highly centra l ized national labour federat ion. Only in th i s way, in the m i l i t a r y vocabulary of Polak, could the workers of Holland be regimented into a powerful batt le corps in the internat ional army of labour. This was the ideal Polak believed i t necessary "to hammer into the hard dul l 20 heads of the Dutch workers. As the Diamond-Workers Union's ideological struggle against the NAS gathered the support of other large unions, a union movement of social 32 democratic i nc l i na t i on emerged alongside the NAS, whose membership ebbed. After 1903 i t plummeted. In that year the NAS and i t s union r i v a l s j o i n t l y supported a railway s t r i k e . Resumed in the face of newly-enacted a n t i -21 s t r i ke l e g i s l a t i o n , the s t r i ke was broken by the pol ice and the army. In the mutual recriminations which followed concerning re spons ib i l i t y for the s t r i ke f a i l u r e , the NAS suffered a loss both of esteem and of membership, the l a t t e r being nearly halved. The s t r i ke also promoted interest in the idea of a new national labour organization along; the l ines e a r l i e r proposed by Polak. The NAS responded to th i s prospect with defiance and openly inv i ted workers to leave the i r unions.and j o i n the:NAS. When the reformist unions founded the Nederlands Verbond van Vak- verenigingen (NW) in 1905, however, i t was the NAS which sustained further inroads upon i t s membership. Confronted with the NW, the NAS would never be more than a minority within the Dutch labour movement. The i n i t i a l success of the NW, in f a c t , nearly broke the NAS en t i r e l y . By the end of 1906 i t could claim a bare 3,000 members, a mere one-quarter of i t s member-ship of s ix years e a r l i e r . But th i s was i t s lowest ebb. Inspired, per-haps, by the congress of Amiens, the NAS adopted a new synd ica l i s t dec lara-t ion of p r inc ip le s . Its a c t i v i s t s threw themselves into t he i r work with renewed vigour, simultaneously combatting the reformism of the NW, fending o f f the attacks of the SDAP, and rebui lding the i r organization. By 1913 the NAS had regained a membership of over 9,000. It i n -cluded federations of metal workers, tobacco workers, municipal workers, t a i l o r s and seamen, but the most important constituents were the federa-tions of t e x t i l e workers and construction workers. The various a f f i l i a t e d organizations published weekly and monthly papers which had a monthly c i r cu l a t i on of 76,500, while De Arbeid, the o f f i c i a l bi-weekly organ of the 33 NAS, had a monthly c i r cu l a t i on of 32 ,000. " D. Germany. Though the synd ica l i s t movement of pre-war Germany united an even smaller proportion of the national trade union population than did that of Holland, i t deserves some attent ion both for the unique-ness of i t s evolution and for the ro le which i t would l a te r play in the international synd ica l i s t movement. The German movement had i t s organiza-t ional antecedents in local trade union associations which expanded rap id ly during the period of Bismarck's a n t i - s o c i a l i s t laws (1878-1890). A loose federative structure had been bu i l t up amongst them during th i s period which the loca l unions wished to preserve. In contrast, a strong cen t r a l -i z ing tendency emerged in the labour movement with the suspension of the laws. At the i n s t i ga t ion of the large central union associat ions, the Generalkommission of the Freien Gewerkschaften had been founded in 1890 under the d i rec t ion of Carl Legien as a means of creating a national trade union organization. Its promotion of cen t r a l i s t pr inc ip les of organization brought i t into c o n f l i c t with the Loka l i s ten, the sobriquet the supporters of the local unions earned by t he i r a n t i - c e n t r a l i s t a t t i tudes . The dispute, however, was not merely one of organization. The movement from which the German synd ica l i s t s would emerge, i r o n i c a l l y , was decidedly p o l i t i c a l . A question of p o l i t i c a l commitment divided i t from the Freien Gewerkschaften. A great many l o c a l i s t s were dedicated support-ers of the Sozialdemokratischen Partei Deutschlands (SPD) and the local unions had done much to sustain social democracy during the period of formal repression. Loca l i s t s saw the unions as spheres within which the recruitment of workers into the j o i n t struggle for p o l i t i c a l and economic emancipation must constantly be pursued. They therefore rejected a purported pol icy of p o l i t i c a l neut ra l i t y endorsed by the Freien Gewerkschaften. The 34 emancipation of labour could not be achieved by an excessive preoccupation with the day-to-day concerns of trade unions, by an in teres t in the Magen- frage alone. But cen t r a l i s t organizat ion, the l o c a l i s t s maintained, -fostered precise ly a concentration of interest upon reformist goals. Thus they invoked the higher tasks of the labour movement in reject ing both the cent ra l i za t ion and the profession of p o l i t i c a l neut ra l i t y of the Freien Gewerkschaften. During the 1890's s t r i f e reigned in the re lat ionsh ip of Lokal isten and the Freien Gewerkschaften. The l a t t e r sought assiduously to reduce the independence of the loca l organizations and declined to practice much s o l i d a r i t y with them in indust r ia l act ion. Convinced that they had to depend so le ly upon the i r own means, the Lokal i sten undertook formally to unite themselves. In 1897 the organization which l a te r (1901) took the name of the Freie Vereinigung deutscher Gewerkschaften (FVDG) was founded upon federative p r i nc ip le s . The founding congress made i t s a t t i -tude toward both the SPD and the.Freien Gewerkschaften evident by dismis-sing forms of union organization which hindered the p o l i t i c a l struggle as 23 defective and reprehensible." But the approximately 18,000 members grouped in the FVDG in 1900 were a t i ny minority compared to the massive membership of the Freien Gewerkschaften. In the continuing f r i c t i o n between the two organizations the SPD leadership indicated l i t t l e i n c l i na t i on to provoke the l a t t e r by demonstrating sympathy for the Lokal i s ten. By 1900 the party press had already evinced considerable antagonism toward the f i e r ce independence of the FVDG. The l o c a l i s t s att r ibuted the growing h o s t i l i t y of the SPD t o -wards them to the progressively expanding influence of the cen t r a l i s t unions within, the party. D isaffect ion with the party bureaucracy had been mounting within the FVDG. Many of i t s members believed the party ' s exces-35 sive concern with pariiamentary gains to be d ivert ing i t from i t s o r i g ina l revolutionary goals. When the debate over the general s t r i ke and p a r l i a -mentarism broke out in the German labour movement, many within the FVDG were prepared to opt for." the str ike, and against el ectoral isrn. Contacts were established between the FVDG and Dr. Raphael Friedeberg, the erstwhile social democrat then conducting an energetic campaign for the general s t r i ke in Germany. When in August 1904 the Ber l in Lokal i s ten, f o i l owing a speech by Friedeberg, passed a resolut ion favouring d i rect action and the general s t r i ke and condemning parliamentarism as an abandonment of the class strug-gle and a corruption of s o c i a l i s t goals, the wedge between the FVDG on the one side and the SPD and the c en t r a l i s t unions on the other was driven more 24 deeply... But the most dramatic episode of the c o n f l i c t was yet to come. The 1904 congress of the Second International adopted a resolut ion c a l l i n g for propaganda to be made for the p o l i t i c a l mass s t r i k e . A s imi la r reso lu-t ion committing the SPD to propagate the p o l i t i c a l mass s t r i ke won approval at i t s congress in September 1905. By contrast, a Freien Gewerkschaften . congress four weeks earl i.ef had declared the question of the general s t r i ke to be anarch is t ic and indiscussable. In an attempt to iron out th i s inconsistancy representatives of the SPD and the cen t r a l i s t unions met in private session in February 1906. The agreement reached demonstrated the predominant influence of the unions upon the party, which f e l t compelled to declare that i t had no intention to agitate for the p o l i t i c a l mass s t r i k e . The party bureaucracy had, in e f f ec t , repudiated the decision of i t s membership. The party and the cen-t r a l i s t unions took pains to assure that the accord would not be pub l i c i zed, but when a copy of the agreement was passed by two concerned social demo-36 crats to F r i t z Kater, the leading f igure of the Lokal i s ten, the FVDG resolved to unmask th i s co l l u s i on . In June 1906 Die E in i gke i t , the FVDG's organ, published the document and the names of i t s s ignator ies. The disclosure occasioned great excitement and debate. The SPD reacted sw i f t l y . Its chief organ, Vorwarts, carr ied an attack upon the FVDG by August Bebel himself, the head of the party, who denounced the publ icat ion of the accord as an infamy. The dozens of socia l democratic newspapers immediately took up the cry of treason, though :to many Lokal-isten i t obviously appeared that the t r a i t o r s themselves were screaming of 25 betrayal. The 1906 SPD congress denounced the FVDG, expressly for pub-l i c a t i o n of the document, but also for i t s ' anarcho- soc ia l i s t ' leanings, for the Lokal isten had, at the i r own 1906 congress, adopted a new program embracing local autonomy and the general s t r i k e , though the FVDG did not declare i t s independence from p o l i t i c a l part ies . The SPD and the cen t r a l i s t unions were now intent upon destroying the FVDG. The 1907 SPD congress f l a t l y instructed party members a f f i l i a t e d with the FVDG to abandon i t and enter the Freien Gewerkschaften. This manoeuvre carr ied the FVDG to the c r i s i s point. Large numbers of l o c a l i s t s were beset by a dilemma of divided l o y a l i t e s , fo r despite t he i r c r i t i c i sms of the SPD, they were often party members, of long standing who considered themselves the avant-garde of socia l democracy in the unions. Their p r i -mary opponent had been, not the SPD, but the Freien Gewerkschaften. For some, who had become uneasy with the increasing r ad i ca l i z a t i on of the FVDG, the choice was less d i f f i c u l t . For the r ad i ca l s , the dictates of the party completed the i r d is i l lus ionment with i t . A spec ia l l y summoned FVDG congress in ear ly 1908 decided the issue. Kater spoke for those who refused to enter the cen t r a l i s t unions. Invoking 37 the name of the CGT, Kater urged that the FVDG adopt a program which would be synd ica l i s t in a l l but name, including the reject ion of p o l i t i c a l part ies. The majority r a l l i e d to Kater 's pos i t ion. A.proposal c a l l i n g fo r the d i s so lut ion of the FVDG was turned back, though the v ic tory was narrow. Nearly half of the approximately 17,000 Lokal isten bowed to the f i a t of the SPD and entered the cen t r a l i s t unions. The FVDG retained only around 9,000 members. Judged by the organizational standards of the cen t r a l i s t unions, the synd ica l i s t s scarcely constituted a group at a l l , though they continued to be a small but e f fect i ve thorn.in the side of the. Freien Gewerkschaften. In 1913 the Generalkommission denounced the FVDG as "a discussion club for anarchists and other counsellors of confusion, injipart also for people who Of. for t h i s and that reason had to withdraw from the German labour movement." In that year the FVDG probably grouped somewhat less than the 9,000 members of f i ve years e a r l i e r . Amongst the trades enrol led in i t s ranks were con-struct ion workers, dyers, brush makers, musical.instrument makers and glassblowers. The FVDG's o f f i c i a l organ, Die E in i gke i t , had a weekly c i r -27 culat ion of 30,000. Although the membership of the FVDG had been cons i -derably diminished by the long-delayed breach with the SPD and the cen t r a l -i s t unions in 1908, Germany .now. had an avowedly synd ica l i s t organization and one which proved to be a keen supporter of s ynd ica l i s t internat ional ism. During the years that synd ica l i s t bodies had emerged in Spain, I t a l y , Holland and Germany, the movement also advanced elsewhere in Europe. In Belgium in 1910 the Union des Syndicats de l a Province de Liege was formed, which in June 1913 began publishing L 'Action Quvri'ere. Nineteen-ten also saw the creation of the Industr ial Syndica l i s t Education League across the Channel in B r i t a i n , which played a s i gn i f i can t ro le in the 38 'Great Unrest' of B r i t i s h labour from 1910 to 1914. Unlike the major synd ica l i s t organizations on the Continent, however, the ISEL repudiated 'dual unionism', or the t a c t i c of establ i sh ing r i v a l revolutionary unions to compete with ex i s t ing reformist bodies. Instead, i t advocated permeat-ing, revo lut ion iz ing and amalgamating the large number of trade unions 28 already in existence. The rad ica l s in the Norwegian labour movement pursued a s imi la r t a c t i c of 'boring from w i t h i n ' . A resolut ion adopted in 1911 by the unions of Trondheim--repudiating written agreements with employers and endorsing the s t r i k e , the s o l i d a r i t y s t r i k e , boycotts, obstruction and sabotage as proper means of struggle--became the r a l l y i n g point for a powerful and growing minority which threatened to conquer the national labour organiza-29 t ion whose cent ra l i za t ion and c ra f t -o r i en ta t i on i t opposed. The l e f t -wing of the minority began publishing Pirekte Aktion in. 1912 as.an organ' of revolutionary unionists and Young Soc i a l i s t s . In Denmark a smaller trade union opposition group, the Fagsoppositionens. Sammenslutning, pub-l i shed a s im i la r synd ica l i s t jou rna l , S o l i da r i t e t . Scandinavia also produced the most enduring of a l l s ynd ica l i s t labour organizations, s t i l l act ive today, in the Swedish Sveriges Arbetares Centralorganisation. The impetus for i t s creation came both from revolu-tionary unionists within the social democrat ical ly- l inked national trade union centre and from the Young Soc ia l i s t s - -a s in Norway of anarcho-syndi-c a l i s t ..inspiration—grouped around the newspaper Brand. The f a i l u r e of the 1909 Swedish general s t r i ke provided the occasion. Dissidents within the national labour centre, convinced that i t s leaders bore re spons i b i l i t y f o r the s t r i ke f a i l u r e and encouraged by the Young S o c i a l i s t s , broke away to form the SAC in 1910 on e x p l i c i t l y synd ica l i s t l i ne s . Or i g ina l l y 39 founded with only 500 members, the SAC expanded s tead i l y , espec ia l ly among 3C workers in construct ion, lumbering and mining, for the next f i f t een years. While in 1906 the CGT had been the only avowedly synd ica l i s t labour organization in Europe, by 1912 i t had been joined by trade union organizations and propaganda groups in nearly every part of the continent, not to mention North and South America where various organizations also espoused the doctrine of syndicalism or the kindred doctrine of indust r ia l 31 unionism. The spread of syndicalism together with the i n te rna t i ona l i s t tenet of i t s creed made i t inev i table that synd ica l i s t s would turn t he i r gaze beyond the i r own borders and ponder the establishment of internat ional bonds between these newly-emerging and like-minded organizations. IV. The Syndica l i s ts and Labour Internationalism Because they ins i s ted upon the autonomy of labour, the internat ional ideal of the synd ica l i s t s remained that of the F i r s t Internat ional , which they viewed as a genuinely revolutionary International imbued with a l i be r t a r i an s p i r i t . In short, they i den t i f i ed the F i r s t International with i t s f ede ra l i s t wing, represented f i r s t by the Proudhonists and then by the Bakuninists, and not with the c e n t r a l i s t , author itar ian General Counci l , dominated by Marx, which had ins i s ted upon p o l i t i c a l ac t ion , broken the threat of the Proudhonists, and expelled Bakunin and his sup-porters. After i t s 1872 congress, Marx, hoping to prevent the capture of the International.by his l i b e r t a r i an adversaries, transferred i t to the United States, where i t died a painless death in 1876. The more act ive Bakuninist wing, which rejected p o l i t i c a l and encouraged spontaneous economic act ion , including the general s t r i k e , and which had considerable impact in the Latin countr ies, survived as an international organization 40 un t i l 1877. J t The synd ica l i s t s obviously placed no f a i t h in the Second Inter-nat iona l , founded in 1889, which grouped only p o l i t i c a l par t ie s , ear ly imposed a pledge of p o l i t i c a l act ion upon i t s a f f i l i a t e s , and in 1896 ex-pel led the anarchists. The International Secretar iat :of National Trade Union Centres, on the other hand, was a s t r i c t l y labour organization. Its exc lu s i v i s t and reformist character, however, led many synd ica l i s t s to view the ISNTUC's contr ibution to proletar ian progress as more pernicious than bene f i c i a l . The Secretar iat assumed a pract ica l and moderate character from the beginning. In deference to the Second Internat ional , the Germans of the social-democratic Freien Gewerkschaften consented only to a meeting of the leading o f f i c e r s of the national trade union organizations in the conferences preceding the creation of the ISNTUC, the f i r s t of which was held at Copenhagen, where Scandinavian, B r i t i s h , French, Belgian and Ger-man o f f i c i a l s assembled in 1901. This system, of representation was car-r ied over into the biennial conferences of the Secretar iat when i t was formally created in 1903. Between 19.02 and 1903 the Freien Gewerkschaften had acted at t he i r own expense as an informal internat ional union centre. German in i t i a t i ve :was rewarded in 1903, when Ber l in was selected as the seat of the new organization and Carl Legien appointed International Secretary, a pos it ion he held throughout the pre-war period. The ideal of union organization which the ISNTUC soon came to r e f l e c t — t h a t of a highly organized, dues-conscious national centre working c lose ly with the s o c i a l -i s t party—was that which the German organization embodied par excellence. Most a f f i l i a t e s shared th i s i dea l . The ISNTUC grew steadi ly from a mem-bership of two m i l l i on in 1905 to over seven m i l l i o n in 1913, when nine-41 teen countries adhered. The pract ica l and reformist commitment of the new organization was underscored as ear ly as 1904. Legien opposed the request of the CGT that ant imi l i ta r i sm and the general s t r i ke be placed on the agenda of the Amster-dam conference scheduled for 1905, replying that such questions lay beyond the province of the conference. The majority of the trade union centrals supported him. The response to th i s disagreement was two-fold: on the one hand, the CGT boycotted the 1905 conference; on the other, the ISNTUC adopted a German resolut ion at Amsterdam whereby i t excluded from i t s con-s iderat ion " a l l theoret ical questions and those which concern the tendencies 33 and tac t i c s of the trade union movement in the indiv idual countr ies. " I t declared i t s concerns to be more pract ica l ones of foster ing re lat ions between national union centres, c o l l e c t i n g uniform labour s t a t i s t i c s , and f a c i l i t a t i n g mutual support. When the French boycotted the 1907 Chr i s t ian ia conference because the i r agenda submissions had again been refused, the ISNTUC demonstrated i t s or ientat ion even.more c l ea r l y by unanimously accept-ing a resolut ion ind icat ing i t s own support for the Second International and, in e f f e c t , formally censuring the a n t i - p o l i t i c a l at t i tude of the French. Following the Chr i s t ian ia conference the CGT altered i t s t a c t i c s . Its delegates attended the 1909-conference, where they advocated transform-ing the ISNTUC conferences of a few select delegates into trade union con-gresses in which unionists could discuss not only.the pract ica l questions of organized labour, but the larger issues barred from the ISNTUC meetings as w e l l . This const ituted a return to the po l icy unsuccessfully advocated by the Dutch of the NAS, with French support, at the 1902 Stuttgart confer-ence. Leon Jouhaux, i t s newly-elected Secretary, explained the pos i t ion of the CGT: 42 We want decisions to be made not by funct ionar ies , but by the organizations themselves . . . . Despite the excessive cen t r a l -i zat ion of certa in countr ies, and despite the claim of certa in leaders to command the i r organizations, everywhere that the resolutions of the conference have been discussed, they have been ca l led into question. They would not be challenged i f there were congresses. (34) But Legien argued that only conferences ensured the unity of the internat ional trade union movement, while others in s i s ted that implementa-t ion of the French proposal would encroach upon the sphere of the Second International and jeopardize the d i v i s i on of labour between i t and the ISNTUC, described as the two arms of the. workers'• movement.-.. In response, Jouhaux declared: We do not want to bel ive that the workers' International i s the facade of the s o c i a l i s t s ' organizat ion, nor that i t s ch iefs are commanded by the s o c i a l i s t general s t a f f . Perhaps for you the p o l i t i c a l organizat ion. i s a great ship and the economic organization a l i t t l e boat i n i t s tow. For us, the great ship i s the union organizat ion; i t i s necessary to subordinate p o l i t i c a l action to trade union act ion. (35) Despite the e f fo r t s of Jouhaux and his fe l low delegate, Georges Yvetot, the proposal of the CGT was turned back at Paris in 1909, as i t was at Budapest in 1911. By then the Secretar ia t ' s exclusive devotion to reformist concerns and i t s support fo r the Second International had brought i t into disrepute with many of the syndica l i s t s of Europe. Its character could be altered only i f i t s structure were a l te red , but th i s the ISNTUC steadfast ly refused to do. By admitting a s ingle trade union central from each country, the national synd ica l i s t organizations as minority movements were barred from membership and the i r nation represented exc lus ive ly by t he i r reformist r i v a l s . By 1907 the only revolutionary member was the CGT, the NAS having withdrawn in protest. The l i be r t a r i an organizations were not merely barred, 43 for the Secretar iat employed i t s conferences and i t s annual report to hurl accusations at them, a pract ice condemned by Jouhaux at the 1909 confer-37 ence. In terms of the spread of s ynd ica l i s t organizations, by 1912 the synd ica l i s t s could view the preceding years as a period of internat ional progress. But those organizations were confronted by hos t i le reformist unions within the i r f ront ie r s and were without t i e s abroad. Already in 1909 the NAS had ca l led attent ion to the i so l a t i on of the revolutionary unions, and had asked how long i t could be permitted to continue. "We are waiting for France, we know that, but that may well go on so long that in 38 the meantime major interests are neglected." By 1913 the synd ica l i s t s were ready to act. 44 CHAPTER TWO SYNDICALIST STRATEGY: AN INTERNATIONAL DEBATE The appeal for an international s ynd ica l i s t congress came s imul-taneously but independently from B r i t a i n and Ho l land. 1 The November 1912 issue of the Syndica l i s t and Amalgamation News, the organ of the B r i t i s h ISEL, discussed the agenda of the League's forthcoming national confer-ences to be held at London and Manchester. "Not the least important step," i t declared, " w i l l be the proposal fo r the establishment of an Internation-al Syndica l i s t body, s im i la r to that which the p o l i t i c a l s o c i a l i s t s already possess in the shape of the International S o c i a l i s t Bureau." At the London conference, held November 9-10, Tom Mann, the President of the ISEL, moved a resolut ion c a l l i n g upon the League to organize an internat ional congress at the ea r l i e s t opportunity. In supporting the reso lut ion, Mann argued that the voice of labour could be expressed only by means of such a congress; nothing was-.more necessary than'an assembly "convened on straight-out syn-d i c a l i s t l i n e s . " The London and Manchester conference, claiming to repre-sent 150,000 workers, overwhelmingly endorsed the reso lut ion. The Dutch NAS had created a committee charged with the same task, which in February 1913 issued a c i r c u l a r over the signature of Ger r i t van Erkel c a l l i n g for a synd ica l i s t congress. The Secretary of the ISEL, Guy Bowman, published the B r i t i s h i nv i ta t i on the same month. The thrust of the two appeals was nearly i d e n t i c a l . Both lamented the lack of e f fec t i ve supra-national s o l i d a r i t y occasioned by the absence of an internat ional 45 synd ica l i s t organization. Both damned ex i s t ing internat ional working class bodies as an t i the t i ca l to the interests and goals of s ynd ica l i s t s . Of the Second International the B r i t i s h i n v i t a t i on declared: We cannot be rendered impotent by having our internat ional re lat ions conducted through a body that exacts a pledge of parliamentarism and i s composed of glib-tongued po l i t i c i a n s who promise to do things for us, but cannot even i f they wanted to. We must meet as Syndical i s ts and Direct Act ion i s t s to prepare and develop our own movement for economic emancipation free from the tutelage of a l l po l i t c i an s . Both rejected the ISNTUC:, from which, van Erkel asserted, " a l l revo lut ion-ary propaganda . . . i s systematical ly excluded." Bowman observed that i t wouldimake l i t t l e difference i f the ISNTUC permitted the presentation of resolutions on such questions as indus t r ia l sabotage and an t im i l i t a r i sm, " fo r the whole of the permanent o f f i c i a l s are po l i t i c an s ; most of the delegates are conservative i f not absolute react ionar ies ; and the whole business i s contro l led by Social Democrats." Revolutionary trade union ists , on the other hand, wanted "a Congress of the rank and f i l e , not of o f f i c i a l s . We want to confer on means of ac t ion , not merely on pious resolut ions. We want common action against war, no parliamentary palaver. We want Inter-3 national So l i da r i t y expressed in Direct Act ion. " While the B r i t i s h ca l led for a congress to be held at London in May, the Dutch c i r c u l a r i n i t i a t e d a canvass of opinion on whether an assembly should be convened in the autumn and, i f so, where. The responses were not long in coming. The Germans of the FVDG expressed ardent support; the summonses were warmly received elsewhere. as w e l l , including Aus t r i a , Denmark, Sweden, I ta ly and Spain.^ A number of organizations, however, shared the opinion of Christ iaan Cornelissen, the editor of the Bu l l e t i n International du. Mouvement Synd ica l i s te , that the May date proposed by the B r i t i s h was impract ica l . Cornelissen argued that 46 the synd ica l i s t p r inc ip le of decentral ized decision-making dictated that par t i c ipat ing organizations be permitted ample time to determine and d i s -cuss an agenda and inst ruct t he i r delegates. While he viewed the congress as urgently required, Cornelissen cautioned that an assembly too has t i l y convened would not benefit the s ynd i ca l i s t s , but would squander the i r e f fo r t s and possibly give r i s e to the charge "that the organizing s p i r i t of our revolutionary movement lacks too much for the material preparation of a congress. I. French Resistance From one country, however, assent to the congress proposal was not forthcoming, for in France the Dutch and B r i t i s h inv i ta t ions received a c h i l l y reception. In La Vie OuvrieYe Pierre Monatte.raised.a c r i t i c a l voice which proved to be the opening salvo in a sustained controversy between the advocates of the congress and the policy-makers of the CGT. The debate, conducted pr imar i ly in the pages of La Vie OuvrieVe and Cornel issen 's B u l l e t i n , revolved around questions of internat ional synd ica l i s t po l icy and labour unity. The ramif icat ions of th i s question.as they entered into the controversy were numerous and involved the purpose of the intended congress, the character of the ISNTUC, the issue of synd ica l i s t i s o l a t i on outside France and, u l t imate l y , : the revolutionary commitment of the CGT i t s e l f . Throughout the debate the French maintained the i r resistance to the congress proposal to be motivated so le ly by interests of labour unity. Their pa r t i c ipat ion in a synd ica l i s t congress could only mean the abandon-ment of the CGT's goal of revo lut ion iz ing the.JSNTUC from with in . The majority of organized workers were •aff'i.l iated to the IFTU and the attention • of the synd ica l i s t s ought to be directed to them. To embark upon a separ-47 ate "international course was a d i v i s i ve enterpr ise; i t . cou ld only jeopardize the workers' movement as a whole. The controversy demonstrated that the respective arguments on international pol icy were conditioned above a l l by national perspectives. For most non-French s ynd i ca l i s t s , locked-in b i t t e r struggle with the i r domestic r i v a l s in the large reformist unions, the leaders of which were the same functionaries who contro l led the ISNTUC, the CGT's expectation of ' r e vo lu t i on i z i ng ' the Ber l in Secretar iat from within was, at best, unreal-i s t i c . For them i t was evident that the reformists valued unity, nat ion-a l l y and i n te rna t i ona l l y , only on the i r own terms. The Secretar iat secured a degree of internat ional unity only by excluding diss idents (the CGT was the only exception)j by refusing to entertain any questions of revolutionary import, and by supporting the S o c i a l i s t Internat ional. The ISNTUC, moreover, had pub l i c l y censured the po l icy of the CGT, and i t was dominated, as were the internat ional .trade federat ions, by the Germans, who had made a slogan of the phrase 'The General S t r ike i s General Non-sense'. Did not the ideals and objectives embodied in the Ber l in Secretar-i a t . cons t i tu te a greater threat, despite French claims, to the CGT than the l a t t e r did to the ISNTUC? To most non-French synd ica l i s t s the ISNTUC was a certa in barr ier to working class progress; the barr ier could not be scaled, as the French bel ieved, but had to be circumvented. By meeting in the i r own congresses they would simultaneously begin the task of circum-venting the ISNTUC and of escaping the domestic i so l a t i on which the i r on-going struggles with the reformists imposed upon them. A need for s e l f -assertion and leg i t im iza t ion underlay the drive to break th i s i s o l a t i on . As revo lut ionar ies , the synd ica l i s t s obviously sought no accommodation with the i r reformist r i v a l s , who dominated the national and internat ional labour 48 scene and by whom-they were constantly v i l i f i e d . . But to i dent i f y the i r respective movements with an organized internat ional revolutionary move-ment would confer dignity," status and recognition upon them, and be an a id in the struggle to expand them. .The same need for se l f -as ser t ion and leg i t im iza t ion underlay the desire to i dent i f y syndicalism as an i n t e r -national movement in contrad i s t inct ion to a pecu l ia r l y French form of organization and pract ice transplanted into a l ien so i l beyond France. A l l foreign synd ica l i s t s rejected French claims that the only international po l icy open to the CGT was to work within the ISNTUC. Some pointed out that there was no contradict ion in working both within and wi th-out the Secretar iat for the establishment of a genuine workers' Inter-nat ional . Others saw the continued presence of the CGT in the ISNTUC as a contravention of s ynd ica l i s t doctr ine, which viewed the spread of i t s pr inc ip les and.practice as a movement from below and not from above, and cer ta in l y not through the se lect conferences of the Ber l in Secretar iat . By c l ing ing to the ISNTUC and refusing to j o i n the e f f o r t to establ i sh the basis for internat ional s ynd ica l i s t accord, French conduct appeared in the eyes of some of the i r foreign counterparts as lamentably a r r i v i s t e . Did the CGT i t s e l f seek l eg i t im iza t i on and. recognit ion, but by/accommodating i t s e l f to the dominant internat ional union movement of the reformists? Before the pre-congress debate drew to a c lose, the question would ar i se whether the international po l icy of the CGT did not demonstrate that French syndicalism had l o s t much of i t s revolutionary impetus. This charge was not without substance. Though the French declared the i r arguments to rest upon the interests of trade unionism throughout the world, the i r opposition to the congress was also rooted in a national perspective. The CGT had no large reformist union organization with which 49 to compete in France, and there was some j u s t i f i c a t i o n to the charge that the French cons istent ly underestimated the enormous d i f f i c u l t i e s of pur-suing a synd ica l i s t campaign within established reformist unions. But reformist elements const ituted a substantial minority within the CGT i t s e l f , and the moderates had the i r own. strongly held views on internat ional po l i cy . At the 1908 CGT congress at Marse i l le the reformists rejected the CGT's international strategy. They argued for a resumption of internat ional re lat ions and urged the CGT's return to the ISNTUC conferences, even i f they were.only meetings of o f f i c i a l s . The reformists ind icated, moreover, that i t was not impossible that the international issue could bring the 6 CGT to schism. The policy-makers of the CGT could never thereafter ignore the fact that the internat ional pol icy of the CGT bore serious domestic impl icat ions. The conc i l i a to ry resolut ion adopted by the congress nearly para l le led that supported by the reformists. The demand that ant im i l i ta r i sm and the general s t r i ke be entered on the ISNTUC agenda was dropped. The CGT would return to the internat ional meetings i f the ISNTUC placed the question of holding trade union congresses, instead of conferences of o f f i c i a l s , on i t s agenda. The Secretar iat accepted the CGT's agenda sub-mission and the French, in turn, agreed that the 1909 ISNTUC.conference be held at Par is . At the conference the CGT proposed that the meetings be converted to trade union congresses, but the French withdrew the proposal when the foreign delegates uniformly opposed i t . However un l i ke ly that the ISNTUC would support such an i n i t i a t i v e — i t had categor ica l l y rejected i t long before—the CGT's revised, strategy had the advantageof meeting the demands of the reformist elements within i t who ins i s ted upon French par-t i c i p a t i o n in the Ber l in Secretar iat . Though in 1909 some cegetistes protested th i s concession to the 50 reformists, and revolutionary unionists both within the ranks of the CGT and outside France contemplated a new and/;distinctly radica l departure in international strategy, the t ac t i c s of the CGT remained unchanged.^ For during 1908-09 an international po l icy had, in e f f e c t , begun to coalesce which would sa t i s f y the diverse ideological currents within the CGT. The CGT saw i t s international future within the ISNTUC, which i t would event-ua l ly revo lut ion ize; by means of th i s formula most reformists were placated by the presence of the CGT in the ISNTUC, most, revolut ionar ies by i t s pro-fessed purpose there. Few foreign synd ica l i s t s recognized the domestic imperatives which kept the CGT t i ed to the Secretar iat ; thus many of.them were baff led when the CGT persisted in i t s f r u i t l e s s e f fo r t s to transform the ISNTUC conferences into genuine trade union congresses, but attacked the ef for t s of the i r fe l low synd ica l i s t s to i n i t i a t e such congresses outside the Secretar iat. By 1913, when the lack of ideo log ica l cohesion within the CGT had become more pronounced, i t s internat ional po l icy had r i g i d i f i e d . By then the CGT was in a state of c r i s i s . . Its membership had peaked in 1911 and had been decl in ing s ince, although the number of organized workers in France increased. The erosion of popular support strengthened the hand . of the reformists, who, noting that the t r a d i t i o n a l l y more radica l federa-t ions had suffered the greatest membership losses, c r i t i c i z e d the organiza-t ional weakness of the CGT and i t s r e l a t i ve lack of concern with the day-to-day, issues of trade unionism. The reformists were aided by a widening s p l i t in the revolutionary wing of the CGT. The orthodox revolut ionar ies continued.to defend the en-t i r e gamut of the t r ad i t i ona l concerns of French syndicalism, and attached more importance to the revolutionary zeal, of the workers than to membership f i gures , though the i r spokesmen in posit ions of leadership were gradually 51 being replaced by representatives of what might.be ca l led the ' r e v i s i o n i s t ' s ynd ica l i s t s . The l a t t e r had l i t t l e use for ta lk of violence and the general s t r i k e , which they viewed as evidence of organizational weakness. Ant imi l i ta r i sm and ant ipatr iot i sm had the i r place in the labour movement, but the CGT had devoted too much attention and energy to them. Organization was the prime concern, of the rev i s ion i s t s . ' They saw organizational reform as the only means of countering the increasing concentration of French c a p i t a l . Economic real i ty., they maintained., dictated a restructur ing of the labour movement. They valued large union organizations with a d i s c i -pl ined membership and urged that the CGT adopt a more cen t r a l i s t po l icy . In t h i s they stood in d i rec t opposition to the economic decentra l izat ion and spontaneous action urged by t r ad i t i ona l cegetistes. The pos it ion of the r e v i s i o n i s t s , in short, had many points of contact with that of the reformists. But unl ike the l a t t e r , they repudiated p o l i t i c a l action and.: they remained revolutionary in their .goals ; . they had no desire to see the-, labour movement integrated into French society. The rev i s i on i s t s were caught up in a dimly perceived paradox: while t he i r f a i t h in revo lut ion-ary pr inc ip les remained unshaken, the new labour strategy they believed necessitated by the r e a l i t i e s of indus t r ia l change in France implied a recognition of reformist pract ices. Despite the i r own convict ions, they were contr ibuting to the growth of a. reformist att i tude which the CGT's l a te r col laborat ion with the state in the union sacree during the war would accentuate.^ Confronted with a domestic c r i s i s which had thwarted i t s growth and had accentuated the ideological cleavages within the CGT.,..the Dutch and B r i t i s h i n i t i a t i v e s appeared at a c r i t i c a l time for the French. The CGT had l i t t l e choice but to c l i ng a l l the more t i g h t l y to an internat ional 52 pol icy which had shown that i t commanded a consensus among reformists and revolut ionar ies. The task of defending the CGT's po l icy was taken up ch i e f l y by the internationally-minded noyau grouped around Monatte's La Vie Ouvriere. Markedly r e v i s i on i s t in outlook, the Vie Ouvriere group were loath to admit that the CGT's international po l i c y owed anything to the reformists. For the rev i s i on i s t s had made the pol icy hammered out in 1908-09 the i r own. By 1913 they viewed i t , in e f f e c t , as an extension of t he i r domestic po l i cy . While the domestic movement had to be. restructured along more highly cent ra l i zed , un i f ied and d i s c ip l i ned l i n e s , and yet reta in a revolutionary commitment, the degree of organization achieved in the i n t e r -national movement had to be preserved and extended, but given a revo lut ion-ary s p i r i t which i t conspicuously lacked. In short, the ISNTUC had to be transformed into a revolutionary" forum: th i s was the task of the CGT. Though convinced that th i s t a c t i c was both correct and revolut ionary, the very scorn with which the Vie Ourviere group dismissed the suggestion that the CGT's po l icy owed anything to reformist pressures indicated that th i s c r i t i c i s m had touched a sens i t ive nerve. And while La Vie Ouvriere natur-a l l y chose to cast i t s arguments in terms of internat ional labour un i ty , whenr.it discussed the dangers of national schisms i t always spoke in the abstract; i t manifested a palpable d i s i n c l i n a t i on to discuss the threat the congress proposal bore for the f r a g i l e unity of the French movement i t s e l f . 9 Others in the CGT exercised less reserve. Some foreign c r i t i c s saw in the arguments of La Vie Ouvriere a divorce.between pract ice and pr inc ip les and attr ibuted i t to a form of hypocrisy, while the Vie Ouvriere group, in the i r tu rn, tended to view the at t i tude of the congress supporters as a species of revolutionary immaturity. 53 II. The Debate The chief concern of the French was not simply that a synd ica l i s t congress be held, but that i t give r i s e to a revolutionary labour Interna-t i o n a l . To judge by the i r appeals, th i s larger aim was the express intent of the Dutch and the i m p l i c i t goal of the B r i t i s h . On th i s assumption, Monatte attacked the i nv i ta t i on s . I t was impossible " f o r the French move-ment to share the point of view of our Dutch comrades." Monatte devoted rather more attent ion to the B r i t i s h proposal. "What we regret above a l l i s the i n i t i a t i v e of our English comrades. They are rushing into a f u t i l e undertaking." The domestic t a c t i c of the B r i t i s h synd ica l i s t s of pursuing the i r propaganda within ex i s t ing labour bodies, rather than seeking to create new synd ica l i s t organizations, Monatte claimed, was correct. He believed the older organizations had been singularly-rejuvenated in the" past few years by th i s t a c t i c . The B r i t i s h synd ica l i s t s ought to pursue an international po l icy consistent with the i r domestic\.policy by seeking to convert and rejuvenate the ISNTUC rather than contemplating the creation of a r i v a l international organization. The B r i t i s h General Federation of Trade Unions could in a few years be won over to the idea of a true workers' international congress and, with the a id of the CGT, would make i t prevai l in the ISNTUC. If the ISEL "takes another path, i t w i l l commit a grave t a c t i c a l error which w i l l long Tie heavily upon the development of trade unionism in Europe and throughout the world. Not a l l proponents of the congress, however, assumed i t s purpose to be the creation of a new Internat ional. In addit ion to the Dutch and the B r i t i s h , the Germans of the FVDG early s ignal led the importance they attached to th i s question by proposing i t as a chief item on the congress agenda. "The creation of an autonomous Synd ica l i s t Internat ional , " Die 54 E in igke i t declared, " i s a necessity for the se l f -preservat ion and onward development of synd ica l i sm. " ' ^ Cornelissen, on the other hand, asked French c r i t i c s how they could know that the French unions which might par-t i c i p a t e would wish to establ i sh a new Internat ional ; that they would not consider internat ional congresses as s u f f i c i en t l i nk s between synd ica l i s t organizations? Other synd ica l i s t s welcomed the proposed congress as a means of breaking the i so l a t i on in which the i r organizations found them-selves. Alceste De Ambris of the Unione Sindacale Ital iana. denied the goal of the congress to be the establishment of a new Secretar iat in competi-t ion with that of Ber l in for a simple reason: Secretariats were useless. But the internat ional meetings, the congresses themselves, were important. Only by means of them could the USI escape from the i so l a t i on imposed upon i t . On the same grounds, a more impassioned response to French resistance came from Belgium. L. Wolter of Liege argued that Monatte f a i l e d to appreciate the.s i tuat ion in countries l i k e Belgium and Germany where the synd ica l i s t s were forced to withdraw from social-democratic unions in which " t he i r educational needs were thwarted and freedom of thought systematical ly s t i f l e d , " and to struggle against "the bad .faith and s e l f i s h calumnies" of social-democratic labour leaders. Beleaguered within the labour move-ment in the i r own countr ies, the synd ica l i s t s were also i so lated in the international movement by the very statutes of the ISNTUC. This i s o l a t i on could be broken i f the French, the "elder brothers" from whom the other synd ica l i s t s "have drawn a l l the best of the i r being," would j o i n and i n -vigorate the proposed congress. By refusing to pa r t i c i pa te , the French were f a i l i n g in a duty: Is i t thus that older bothers should act? While you ought to a id us in our work of the pu r i f i c a t i on of the workers' movement, you scornfu l ly reject us: better than that-, you ignore us. 55 Your at t i tude on th i s occasion t r u l y makes me think of those successful bourgeois who no longer acknowledge the fr iends of the i r youth who are less clever or less well served by circumstances. (12) The day would come, Wolter warned, when the forces of reaction embodied in the social-democratic unions of neighbouring countries would become a per-manent threat to the ideal of socia l emancipation which inspired the French movement. But the French posit ion remained unchanged. In Monatte's mind, to convene a synd ica l i s t congress c l ea r l y implied the abandonment of the ef for t s of the CGT to establ i sh a true workers' International through the ISNTUC. The majority of workers would not be represented; the assembly would be "a congress in name only. " Were the CGT to abandon the ISNTUC, Monatte argued, the l a t t e r would continue to hold i t s conferences but, with the radical elements removed, the internat ional interests of the workers 13 would no longer be furthered there. The publ icat ion of French disapproval did nothing to reduce the persistence of the B r i t i s h . In rep ly , Bowman declared that the revo lut ion-ary minor it ies could f ind internat ional expression only in a synd ica l i s t congress. Fears that such a congress would lead to the destruction of workers' unity were unfounded., for that valued unity scarcely existed yet ; the synd ica l i s t organizations, moreover, would know how to maintain unity without abandoning the i r r i ght to discuss working class problems in the i r own assemblies. As for French res istance, Bowman professed optimism: "We know how our French comrades w i l l act when the time draws nearer." In the face of French opposit ion, Tom Mann, President of the ISEL, took another tack. Declaring frankly that not merely a congress, but an international synd ica l i s t S e c r e t a r i a t e ^ 5 J needed, Mann not only urged G a l l i c p a r t i c i -pation, but proposed that the French unions themselves sponsor the 56 congress, to which B r i t i s h synd ica l i s t s would happily adhere. "A glorious opportunity to render a l o f t y service to the cause of the universal pro le-14 ' tariat,"-Mann asserted, ".now offers i t s e l f to our French comrades." Since Mann and Bowman had early personal confirmation of imminent French 15 resistance to the proposed congress, i t may well be that the i r arguments were designed less to persuade the leaders of the CGT and the national federations than to secure support from the loca l union organizations of France. Cornelissen adopted th i s approach e x p l i c i t l y and invoked the syn-d i c a l i s t p r inc ip le of autonomy in support of i t . Even before the French had pub l i c l y uttered a word on the i n v i t a t i on s , Cornelissen, himself i n -volved ac t i ve l y in the French movement, had ca l l ed attent ion to i t s uniqueness and noted the d i f f i c u l t i e s , given the CGT's pos it ion in the ISNTUC, for the former to convene a synd ica l i s t congress. VBut the national federations and the Bourses du Travail were not confronted with the same problem. Though a f f i l i a t e d with the CGT, they were autonomous, and some of them, Cornelissen added hopeful ly, were "revolutionary enough in the i r actions to believe i t useful.-to aid other nations and not abstain from the i f\ congress." Once French opposition had become pub l i c , Cornelissen re -sponded by placing even greater emphasis upon the p r inc ip le of union autonomy. "Is the French movement," he asked pointedly, "organized on the basis of the autonomy of loca l and regional unions or i s i t not?" The unions should be permitted to make the i r own decisions and detractors from the proposal ought not "immediately act ivate bugbears which could provoke an un jus t i f i ed prejudice against the congress." Cornelissen also applied the argument of autonomy on an internat ional level in re la t i on to the CGT's ro le in the ISNTUC. He rejected French claims that there was a c o n f l i c t 57 for the CGT in working both within and without the Ber l in Secretar iat for the creation of a workers' internat ional congress. On i t s own p r i n c i p l e s , the CGT should work for the rea l i za t i on of a synd ica l i s t congress. It could do so even while continuing i t s propaganda within the reformist ISNTUC. Monatte considered these two courses of action incompatible, but "what then becomes of the autonomy of the national organizations within the Ber l in Secretar iat i f they do not have the r i ght of working outside for t he i r own concept ions? "^ These arguments and approaches, intended in part to convince the leaders of French syndicalism and in part to appeal to the local organiza-t i on s , made l i t t l e impact upon the former. It was simply a f a c t , Monatte observed, that in other countries the national synd ica l i s t organizations could not adhere to the ISNTUC, but the CGT could and did adhere, which made i t s s i tuat ion c r u c i a l l y d i f f e ren t . It sought to r ea l i ze a true workers' International where genuine labour congresses could be held, even i f the synd ica l i s t s would be in a minority there. "Do you not be l ieve, " Monatte asked, "that we have reasons for asking ourselves i f our p a r t i c i -pation in a synd ica l i s t congress and a synd ica l i s t Secretar iat would not 18 make us turn 'our backs on the great objective we have set for ourselves?" Despite French disapproval the congress movement gained momentum. There remained the questions of determining i t s date and venue. The Ger-mans appealed to the B r i t i s h to endorse.an autumn congress to be held in Holland. Though w i l l i n g to a l t e r the date of the congress, the B r i t i s h res i sted abandoning London as i t s s i t e . Concurring with objections to a spring date,.the Synd ica l i s t , claiming popular foreign support for London, f l a t l y declared that the congress would open there in late September. The 19 ISEL was obviously manoeuvering to co-opt the congress for London. 58 The ploy was successful. Although they had ca l led for opinions on the best s i t e for the congress, the Dutch pr ivate ly preferred Amster-dam. They were now confronted with the revised B r i t i s h dec larat ion, to 20 which Cornelissen lent his support. The Dutch might have contested the move of the ISEL to preempt the congress on the basis of the i r survey, summarized in the Bu l l e t i n . According to i t s r e su l t s , sympathy for the congress had been general in every country except France, where the pro-posal had been received/"with much sympathy on the one hand, but with no less opposition on the other. " Some organizations, while c r i t i c a l of the ISNTUC, preferred the po l icy of propagandizing within i t . Other French synd ica l i s t s had assured the Dutch committee that G a l l i c opposition was due to the fact that the French unions, while of a revolutionary tendency, were " s t i l l excessively dominated by p o l i t i c i a n s . " Of-the responses r e -ceived—from Holland, the United States, Germany, Sweden, Belgium and France—f i f teen had expressed a preference on the s i t e of the congress. B r i t a i n received a s ingle vote, that of Sweden, while Holland led the pol l with s ix votes. But the Dutch chose not to pers i st in the face of the B r i t i s h pronouncement: "Before these f a i t s .accomplis, the Dutch committee thought i t must y i e l d and i t has therefore, del ivered the further work-of the organization of the internat ional congress into the hands of the 01 ISEL." Doubtlessly disappointed by abandoning t he i r hopes for an Amster-dam congress, the Dutch nevertheless s incerely wished" for a successful 22 meeting and even advanced the ISEL£20 towards organizational expenses. The ISEL's desire to hold the congress within i t s country had thus prevai led. But scarcely had the question of venue been set t led when things began to.go wrong. The main source of d i f f i c u l t i e s lay within the camp of the B r i t i s h synd ica l i s t s themselves. For i t was gradually becoming a camp 59 divided and the close working re lat ionsh ip of i t s two leading proponents, Mann and Bowman, was d i s so lv ing. Both wished to see a successful congress held, but disagreements about domestic strategy, accentuated by differences in personal i ty, were leading to a s p l i t within B r i t i s h ranks. The move-ment, moreover, was experiencing f inanc ia l troubles and economic cons i -derations l i k e l y played a ro le in prompting Mann to undertake a long speaking tour in the United States, where he soon found himself embroiled in a controversy concerning the IWW's revolutionary t a c t i c s . So straitened, were the circumstances of the ISEL during th i s period that i t was unable to publish the Syndica l i s t for s ix months. Bowman, a man of rather auto-c r a t i c i n c l i na t i on s , unsuccessfully sought in Mann's absence to assert his own predominance in the B r i t i s h movement, al ienated many of his colleagues, and was becoming an increasingly i so lated spokesman of the native syndi-23 c a l i s t movement. Burdened by f inanc ia l d i f f i c u l t i e s and entangled in an internecine feud, the ISEL found i t d i f f i c u l t to f u l f i l l i t s newly acquired task. Time passed and congress preparations did not proceed. Foreign supporters began to grow anxious. Cornelissen soon reminded the B r i t i s h of the re spons ib i l i t y they had assumed for the success of the congress and the need for an early d i s t r i bu t i on of i t s agenda. After another s ix weeks had passed with no word from London, Albert Jensen voiced the alarm of the Swedish Sveriges Arbetares Centralorganisation. "The F i r s t International Syndica l i s t Congress must not run aground," Jensen, warned the B r i t i s h . "A f a i l u r e would be a real retreat for the ent i re movement." In la te July Bowman f i n a l l y broke the long s i lence by issuing a c i r c u l a r de f i n i t e l y announcing the congress date and place--27 September to 2 October, Holborn H a l l , London—and i n v i t i n g pa r t i c i pa t i on . Though he promised that a 60 de f i n i t i v e agenda would soon appear, London immediately lapsed into s i lence . 24 again. I I I. The Debate Renewed As the congress date drew near and i t s preparations followed the i r la rge ly haphazard course, the debate between i t s advocates and the leaders of the CGT suddenly revived. Writing in the o f f i c i a l CGT organ, La Ba ta i l l e Synd ica l i s te , Jouhaux declared: We hope tha t from th i s congress, in conformity with the s p i r i t which has animated the League [ISEL] up t i l l now, w i l l come re -solutions re in forc ing the bonds of s o l i d a r i t y between like-minded workers throughout the world. The League has already done much; i t can do s t i l l more, for England and for other countr ies, i f i t does not play the part of an adversary of the organizations already const i tuted; i f i t s congress applies i t s e l f to promoting national workers' unity in countries where i t does not yet ex i s t . Although for overr iding reasons the CGT w i l l not be able to be represented at the sessions of the League, i t [the congress] has secured the sympathy of i t s m i l i tant s in advance. From within the international Secretar iat [ISNTUC] we w i l l work in forms appropriate to the desired object ive, to the development of the pr inc ip les of a trade unionism of d i rect act ion. (25) Despite his conc i l i a to ry tone - - i t now appeared that the congress would be held regardless of French resistance—Jouhaux's statement in ef -fect gave o f f i c i a l sanction to the opposition to the congress e a r l i e r voiced by La Vie Ouvriere. The CGT would continue to pursue i t s own po l i c ie s within the ISNTUC and would abstain from the congress. Only i f i t pursued goals incompatible with the very need for a synd ica l i s t assembly as per-ceived by most of i t s advocates would the congress win French approval. F i n a l l y , Jouhaux 1s passing a l l u s ion to the winning of the sympathy of French mi l i t an t s by the impending congress was scarcely intended to en-dorse the par t i c ipat ion of CGT a f f i l i a t e s . Cornelissen, however, was quick to represent Jouhaux 1s remarks rather d i f f e r en t l y . Even i f the CGT i t s e l f 61 feared that par t i c ipat ion would provoke and strengthen "the reformist minority" within i t , or i f i t abstained " f o r some other motive," the loca l union associations had no need to be guided by such considerations. They were autonomous, and i t would be no "defect" for the better-known French m i l i t a n t s , even Jouhaux himself, to attend the congress with the mandates of such un ion s .^ A more d i rec t and sustained c r i t i que of the att i tude adopted by the CGT appeared from De Ambris. Though congress preparations had been somewhat de f i c i en t , the need for a meeting was urgently f e l t wherever syn-d i c a l i s t s were in a minority. The USI, De Ambris reported, therefore f e l t compelled to support i t . De Ambris defended the informational function of a congress which would correct the s i tuat ion in which the various national groups a l l knew something of the CGT, but very l i t t l e about the circum-stances of synd ica l i s t s elsewhere. Secondly, the congress could undertake the task of establ ishing the pract ica l means by which these national forces could remain in permanent contact and lend assistance to one another. Ef fect ive international s o l i d a r i t y was important to counter the adverse action of reformist groups in the ISNTUC and to sustain a n t i - c a p i t a l i s t struggles Jiwhich the reformists e i ther t r i e d to ignore or sought to hinder when synd ica l i s t s were so engaged. This could be achieved without re -quir ing the departure of the CGT from the ISNTUC, or the withdrawal of the B r i t i s h synd ica l i s t s from the i r trade unions, or the a f f i l i a t i o n . o f syn-d i c a l i s t s in other countries with the reformist central labour bodies. Syndicalism existed in d i f fe rent forms in d i f fe rent countr ies, De Ambris added, and the relat ionship, between the synd ica l i s t s and the national workers' organizations in any country was determined by complex causes 27 "which could not be discussed, s t i l l less c r i t i c i z e d , in a congress." 62 De Ambris bel ieved, f i n a l l y and most importantly, that the con-gress should s t r i ve "to establ i sh the internat ional physiognomy of revolu-tionary syndical ism." In nearly every country.syndicalism remained a merely loca l phenonmenon scarcely influenced by the French example. But De Ambris did not recommend a b l ind imitat ion of the G a l l i c model. Syn-dical ism was es sent ia l l y action and as such was-inevitably diverse; it could not be reduced to a s ingle model, nor dogmatically f i xed in a series of "sacrosanct" p r inc ip le s . The congress should not attempt to formulate a synd ica l i s t orthodoxy. Certain of i t s forms, however—direct act ion , proletar ian v iolence, an t im i l i t a r i sm, the general str ikc-^const itut 'ed the common factors of syndicalism. By reaff irming these forms of action on the basis of an in ternat iona l l y shared experience, the congress could provide a valuable service. Syndicalism could then no longer be characterized by i t s detractors outside France as "an exclus ive ly French 'mode'," which according to them "one seeks to import and implant in other countries by an a rb i t ra ry s p i r i t of im i t a t i on . " Whether the congress would be able to f u l f i l l these and other tasks remained to be seen. But De Ambris saw two possible reasons why the congress might not succeed as well as two l o c i of re spons ib i l i t y for potential f a i l u r e : Perhaps i t w i l l be able to be said that i t [the congress] w i l l not assume su f f i c i en t authority or that i t s inev i tab ly heterogeneous composition w i l l render solutions most d i f f i c u l t . But whereas in the l a s t case the f au l t w i l l accrue to the organizers of the Con-gress, in the f i r s t case i t i s the opinion of everyone that respon-s i b i l i t y w i l l rebound to the French comrades who—in abstaining from par t i c ipat ing in the Congress—will have appreciably attenuated i t s importance and value. (28) De Ambris expressed what.many, foreign synd ica l i s t s f e l t when he , added that the h o s i t i l i t y with which the French had greeted the congress proposal had created the painful impression of having been un ju s t i f i ab l y 63 l e f t in the lu rch. Nothing in French arguments appeared to j u s t i f y the i r 29 host i le a t t i tude. Monatte had e a r l i e r asked i f the new Secretar iat which the congress would create would be a Secretar iat of workers' organizations, as at Be r l i n , or of groups of opinions, as at Brussels, where the Bureau of the Second International sat. Having declared Secretar iats useless, De Ambris could not agree that the congress would necessari ly found one. But i f a new Secretariat:were to be created, i t would obviously be one l i nk ing together unions of synd ica l i s t tendency. And in r e a l i t y the ISNTUC f u l f i l l e d precise ly that ro le for reformist unions. Non-reformist unions were merely to lerated within i t , " l i k e dogs in a church," and then only because they Tacked s u f f i c i en t force to have any influence on i t s d i rec t i on . De Ambris found the contention that the presence of the French in London would,mean abandoning the i r declared goal of creating a true International through the ISNTUC devoid of force. No one had asked the CGT to quit the Ber l in Secretar ia t , nor that i t adhere en bloc to the congress, but only that the revolutionary French unions, in accord with the i r r ights of auton-omy, part ic ipate in an indiv idual capacity. Without jeopardizing i t s work in the ISNTUC, the CGT could thereby i nd i r e c t l y come to know i t s natural a l l i e s and j o i n in the work of coordinating t he i r forces. What was asked was that the CGT not "put a spoke in the wheels of international synd ica l i s t understanding;" that i t at least demonstrate some moral support for those who drew the i r insp i rat ion from i t . The work of establ i sh ing a true Inter-national could proceed equally well within and without the ISNTUC. French par t i c ipat ion in the congress enta i led a turning away frorrvlthe s e l f -appointed task of the CGT, and Monatte's argument had merit , De Ambris con-cluded in a rhetor ica l f l o u r i s h , only i f the French considered: 64 the reformist Secretar iat of Ber l in as the sole and universal Church, the s ingle depository of absolute union t ru th , i nd i s -putable, supreme and e te rna l , outside of which there i s no s a l -vat ion; in that case there would be no grounds for further discuss ion, but only for some legit imate astonishment on the part of us impenitent heret ics . (30) De Ambris 1 provocative c r i t i que received a great deal of attent ion at Par is . Although the French response was simply signed 'La Vie Ouvr iere 1 , i t was in fact the resu l t of considerable group discussion and many of the leading French s ynd i ca l i s t s , including Monatte, Rosmer, Merrheim, Dumoulin, 31 P i ca r t ; Vo i r i n , Dumas, and others, contributed to i t s formulation. The French lamented that recent long discussions with De Ambris had not con-verted him to the i r view. They gave short s h r i f t to the benefits he thought might come from a synd ica l i s t congress. Its possible informational value was marginal, since the synd ica l i s t press, and espec ia l l y La Vie Ouvriere, already f u l f i l l e d th i s funct ion. The hope that the congress could provide the means of mutual aid between national s ynd ica l i s t minor i -t i e s the French dismissed as " ch imer i ca l . " The establishment of the ' in ternat iona l physiognomy' of syndicalism, they conceded, would be an important resu l t and prove as valuable to French synd ica l i s t s as to those of other countries. "But can the London congress, as i t has been under-stood and prepared, produce th i s result? We doubt i t . " In short, while the possible advantages of the congress were minimal, the dangers i t pre-sented, pa r t i cu l a r l y i f i t led to the establishment of a new Internat ional , were great. Noting the synd ica l i s t - re formis t s p l i t in other countr ies, the French declared the i r primary objection to be that the consequences of the creation of a new International would be the accentuation of ex i s t ing schisms, the hardening of temporary d i v i s i on s , and possibly the creation of s p l i t s where there were none yet. That was "as evident as an axiom; i t 65 requires no demonstration." La Vie Ouvriere granted the reformist nature of the ISNTUC, but countered by asserting that the French elected to defend the i r p r inc ip les there while suffer ing i t s rebuffs because they could not conceive of a workers' International which l e f t the great union organizations of Europe and America outside i t . Instead of asking the French to support a new Secretar iat , the i r foreign colleagues should be supporting the CGT by co-ordinating synd ica l i s t action not only in the ISNTUC but in the twenty-eight international trade federations as we l l . If the French were not l e f t alone to carry the struggle in the internat ional federat ions, i f there were concerted international ac t ion , the d i rect ion of the federations would be a l tered. The d i f f i c u l t po l icy pursued by the French required the greater e f f o r t s , but i t s resu lts would be more s i gn i f i can t and l a s t i ng . The French reacted sharply to the suggestion that they had l e f t t he i r fo
UBC Theses and Dissertations
Revolutionary syndicalist internationalism, 1913-1923 : the origins of the International Working Men’s… Westergard-Thorpe, Wayne 1979
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