What is Syndicalism? | Ideology explained

What is Syndicalism? | Ideology explained


Hello everybody. This will be the first video in a short series
of short videos in which I talk about a particular form of socialism for a short time. As you can read in the title this one is on
Syndicalism. You may have heard it in Monty Python or in
the popular Hearts of Iron Mod “Kaiserreich”. But that’s pretty much it nowadays. But back in the day, and by that, I mean before
world war one Syndicalism was one of the main revolutionary ideologies of the people. At the time there wasn’t a real model for
how the working people would go about that revolution which Marx had called inevitable. The only real practical example was the Paris
commune and that one happened more on accident than on purpose. Link to my video on the Paris commune in the
top right corner. So how do you go about giving the workers
the control over the means or production? At the time the choice was between Marxists,
who at this time where largely reformist and Syndicalists who where more revolutionary. At the time Leninism was not yet invented
so that was al there was. What’s a Syndicate you may ask. It’s sort of like a regional government. Imagine roughly the size of a county government
in the USA. That syndicate would be ruled via direct democracy. Who would get to vote is a little foggy sometimes
and many original syndicalists dismissed the suffragette movement as bourgeoise movement. So, how did syndicalists want to go about
taking the means of production from the owners? They wanted to form unions which would slowly
demand more and more power using strikes and ultimately assume the ownership of the means
of production for themselves. This would require all the unions to do it
at the same time so that the police couldn’t crush the movement. The fact that unions usually don’t have
single leaders also makes this a very attractive method of revolution for anarchists who as
you know oppose unjust hierarchy. Historically Syndicalism never got into a
position to take power and after the rise of fascism which destroyed it and Leninism
which largely replaced it there weren’t many Syndicalists left. Nowadays Syndicalism is in a tough place. The USA is still barely unionized and even
in countries like Germany and France where union membership is high Unions are far from
the revolutionary hotbeds they used to be. Today it would be hard to rally unions to
strike to get the ownership over the means of production since most workers aren’t
familiar with socialism anymore. Most socialist parties have abandoned Syndicalism
in favour of Leninism or Maoism as well. Another problem with Syndicalism is that it
would de facto lead to a dictatorship of the syndicates in which the unions would form
syndicates that would be controlled by the union members. Of course the goal of syndicalism is to create
a direct democracy for everyone but the method of revolution would put the unions in a position
to just take power for themselves and ignore those workers who aren’t unionized and simply
not give them the right to vote. After all the unions might want to punish
those workers who refused solidarity when the time for revolution came. Why should the syndicates give power to those
who doubted them? Why should a worker who didn’t take part
in the general strike be allowed to get the benefits? Of course, there are solutions to that but
we have to acknowledge the problems to be able to solve them. For the end I am going to go over the features
of Syndicalism Erik Olssen wrote down: 1. A preference for federalism over centralism. Syndicalism is very much influenced by anarchism
as I mentioned before. Under syndicalism there wouldn’t be a central
government that dictates policy and every syndicate would have to approve a law for
it to be in place there. 2. Opposition to political parties. Syndicalists opposed political parties because
they worked with the government which serves the bourgeoisie. The syndicalist government would be filled
with experts and representatives who where elected by the syndicates. 3. Seeing the general strike as the supreme revolutionary
weapon. As mentioned before Syndicalists believed
in National or even Global strikes as tools of the revolution. They preferred this over reformism or armed
uprisings 4. Favoring the replacement of the state by “a
federal, economic organization of society”. Again because they were mostly anarchists
they preferred a federation over a state and they wanted that federation to be as small
as possible 5. Seeing unions as the basic building blocks
of a post-capitalist society. To them Unions where the optimal way to achieve
a new socialist society since the unions would represent the will of the workers. Or at least the will of the unionized workers
And that’s pretty much it. Thanks for watching. Let me know if you liked this style of short
overview over an ideology. C Ya

9 Comments on "What is Syndicalism? | Ideology explained"


  1. I hope you enjoyed this video because making this significantly hurt my channel.
    Let me explain:

    My average viewer watches for 6 minutes which is really high for YT and it means that youtube likes to show my videos to many people since the goal of the bot is to keep people on the site as long as possible. Since this video is below 6 minutes it will decrease my average audience retention no matter what I do which will mean that fewer people will get to see my channel. Isn't that fun?

    Regardless I enjoyed making this video so I'll probably make more like this one

    Reply

  2. Amazing video as always. Just a question,and I hope I am not being rude, english isn't my first language so I'm having trouble understanding your accent, can you talk a tad bit slower ?

    Reply

  3. Hey, whats up.
    It's kinda hard to listen to this in a relaxed way. The combination of an accent, pretty good but not amazing mic and trying to talk really fast didnt work that well for me. I had to rewind a couple of times. I would prefer a bit slower talking.
    Enjoyed it nontheless. Thx

    Reply

  4. Really good video as always
    Would you consider doing a video on anarchism/your thoughts on anarchism some time in the future?

    Reply

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