Paul Buhle
Is syndicalism outdated? Book Review

a review of

Ours to Master and to Own: Workers’ Control from the Commune to the Present Edited by Immanuel Ness and Dario Azzellini. Chicago, Haymarket Books, 2011, 417pp, $19

Syndicalism, the love child of socialism (or Marxism) and anarchism, seems to be badly outdated, or is it?

The idea that the working class could overthrow capitalism and the state through a general strike, and administer a new society through workers councils reached a peak popularity shortly before the outbreak of the First World War, but sunk rapidly thereafter. It was sometimes criticized as the propensity of highly skilled workers, but actually it was the faith of the lower levels (especially in the Industrial Workers of the World, if rarely called syndicalism by them).

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