Syndicalism, shortened to Synd, is an economically left-wing, moderate libertarian and culturally varied, usually left-leaning ideology who is the son of Socialism, and believes that unionization of the workforce, the establishment of local, decentralized revolutionary worker organizations called syndicates and advancements of worker's demands through the use of strikes and direct action is the best method by which a socialist society should be achieved.
The roots of Syndicalism are belived to have come from the industrial revolution, which reorganized workers from urban areas right into the city factories. In places like the US, the country relied on farming (and slavery) until this very point.
Sorelianism refers to the ideas of French Philosopher Georges Sorel who advocated for a revolutionary form of Marxist Syndicalism and rejected more mainstream parliamentary socialism. His most famous work is "Reflections on Violence", in which he talked about the importance of spontaneous revolutionary violence as a useful tool for the proletariat to overthrow the bourgeoisie, and where he criticized parliamentarism and reformism. In it, he introduces his most famous idea of myth, which is an analysis of how revolutionary movements believe themselves to have an inevitable victory, through the form of images and ideas. The myth that Sorel primarily talked about was the myth of the proletarian general strike, and it was the duty of the proletariat to work towards this myth. He explains it best when he says:
"To proceed scientifically means, first of all, to know what forces exist in the world, and then to take measures whereby we may utilise them, by reasoning from experience. That is why I say that, by accepting the idea of the general strike, although we know that it is a myth, we are proceeding exactly as a modern physicist does who has complete confidence in his science, although he knows that the future will look upon it as antiquated. It is we who really possess the scientific spirit, while our critics have lost touch both with modern science and modern philosophy; and having proved this, we are quite easy in our minds."
Sorel also adopted a more heterodox view of Marxist analysis, with his beliefs being a synthesis of Marxist dialectical materialism, Nietzschean philosophy, the beliefs of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, and an uncompromising opposition to reformism, statism, and positivism.
Ideological Analysis and Comparison
Syndicalism versus Council Communism
These two ideologies may appear very similar of the bat, and they mostly are, but have a few key differences. First of all, council communism is scientific while syndicalism tends, not guaranteed, to be utopic(in a Marxist sense). The second key difference is that syndicalism wants unions to own businesses while council communism wants worker elected councils/boards. This might seem small but in reality, it can be quite a huge difference, as in Council Communism all workers get to vote for the council while in Syndicalism only unionized employees can vote. A third key difference is that Syndicalism may, and often does, support political parties (but in a unionized format and within a syndicalist economy) while Council Communism despises the very idea of political parties and partisanship.
Syndicalism versus Guild Socialism
Syndicalism and Guild Socialism also bear a lot of similarities but differ in that syndicates and unions are worker representative bodies for specific companies while guilds are worker owned organizations that represent entire industries in specific municipalities. Guild Socialism has no specific civic or governmental stance. While syndicates operate within a market economy (usually) but with worker ownership of workplaces, guild socialism on the other hand, allocates resources and needs to their workers directly.
Criticisms From The Left
Many leftists (most notably Council Communism) criticize Syndicalism as, they claim, that union bosses can often become corrupt and use similar "abusive" employment practices as private business owners and thus defeats the whole point. Council Communists also claim that under Syndicalism unemployed workers and non-unionized workers can be hung out to dry as unions close ranks and treat themselves as an upper class.
Daniel De Leon, a prominent Marxist and labor unionist who is usually associated with “Marxist Syndicalism”, criticized syndicalism in a text just called “Syndicalism”. In it, he criticized the syndicalist movement for its lack of stress on the economic structure of capitalism, and for lacking formal organization and a strategy for achieving socialism.
Criticisms From The Right
Many libertarians and conservatives criticize Syndicalism too because it forcibly collectivises industry and puts it in the hand of corrupt, greedy unions. Right-wing ideologies also attack Syndicalism for destroying competition and innovation as no one, they claim, will be able to profit from their work and so no one would work hard or be innovative under a Syndicalist society.
Syndicalism is often portrayed as a blue collar worker obsessive about unionization, significantly more than his father, and he can often be seen attempting to persuade other leftists to organize and/or join worker's strikes, being highly concerned with the rights and demands of the workers and extremely critical of business owners and their practices. Synd also loves the HOI4 mod Kaiserreich due to his presence as a major ideology both in-universe and in the game.
He is often religious, but often still, socially progressive or "socially laissez-faire". However, this is not hard and fast, and many are culturally conservative too. This is exacerbated when he works in a culturally conservative area but of course, the opposite is true when he works in a cultually progressive area.
Unlike many of his leftist comrades, Synd cares very little for theory, and some question if he can even read. Despite this, he is generally amicable with other leftists, though he does wish they trusted more in the power of the workers.
How to Draw
Different syndicalist symbols can be used to represent Syndicalism.
- A crossed torch and hammer is used to represent Syndicalists in the fictional universe of Kaiserreich. While this symbol is easily recognizable online, it was not used in real life.
- A three-pointed red star was used by Republican factions in the Spanish Civil War.
- A black cat emblem is used by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a modern-day syndicalist organization.
- An emblem with Hercules was used by the CNT (Anarcho-Syndicalists) in the Spanish Civil War.
- A yoke and arrows emblem was used by National Syndicalists in Spain.
- Draw a ball with eyes.
- Fill it in with red.
- In black, draw one of the aforementioned symbols.
- (Optional) Add a construction worker's hat.
|Red||#FF0000||255, 0, 0|
|Black||#141414||20, 20, 20|
|Yellow (hat)||#FFF301||255, 243, 1|
|Orange (hat)||#FDCA0C||253, 202, 12|
- Socialism - Thanks for teaching me how to strike.
- Council Communism - Fellow lover of worker's councils who I often strike together with. Though unions are better, sorry not sorry.
- Alter-Globalism - Based solidarity with second and third world brothers while protecting our jobs and them from neo-slavery!
- Utopian Socialism - Most of my advocates were you!
- Democratic Socialism - Worker-controlled means of production sounds great to me.
- Anarcho-Syndicalism - My dear son who carried on my legacy.
- Progressive Conservatism - Based protecting the rights of LGBT workers while standing up for our traditonal values!
- Conservative Socialism - My fellow ally who defends both the workers and traditional values. Try to be less homophobic and stand in solidarity with LGBT workers
- Federalism - The best way to run the Syndicates.
- Green Syndicalism - Based fellow union workers.
- Marxism - I like your ideas a lot.
Although I didn't read your book.
- Market Socialism - One way to tell a neoliberal that we don't need them for free markets.
- Social Corporatism - Looks like Social Democracy finally fully embraced sectoral bargaining.
- Nordic Model - Could go further, but you're a pretty damn good compromise if I'm being honest.
- Yellow Socialism - Though a bit too friendly with the bosses, we both agree that syndicates should have a bigger role over who gets the profit.
- Geosyndicalism - A Georgist I can follow!
- Guild Socialism - You're a good friend but you're also very bossy, like my manager.
- National Syndicalism - Nation, tradition and authority are contentious topics between us, but many conservative workers like you (but more moderate) and I suppose you are okay
- Monarcho-Syndicalism - Eh, as long as workers have power in their workplaces and you aren't absolutist, I will tolerate your monarch's existence.
- Marxist Feminism - A union man has a happy life when he's got a union wife!
- De Leonism - Why do you hate me?
- Technocracy - I don't know about you, on one hand, you are the experts that plan my economy, on the other you can often be out of touch college student know-it-alls.
- Industrialism - What would us workers be without the factories we work in, and vice versa? But also, you need to be responsible and ensure our children have clean air to breathe.
- Anarcho-Communism - You're based but I wish people would stop confusing my son for you. It’s getting old.
- Keynesian School - Sure, I want better wages and access to benefits but you're a tad too moderate.
- Marxism–Leninism - Too centralized and statist but still alright.
- Cliffism - I admire your passion for striking and organizing, SOLIDARITY!
- Social Democracy - You support trade unions, welfare states & labor rights, but reforming capitalism isn't enough. (Take the sectoral bargaining pill completely and I'll love you.)
- Corporatism - Alright, but way too statist for my liking.
- Left Communism - In what way does a free organization of working men distract from true socialism, you armchair lover?
- Capitalism - The gentle labourer shall no longer suffer from the noxious greed of Mr. Krabs!
- Neoliberalism - Union busting welfare lover.
- Mediacracy - Stop making us look bad, dammit!
- Plutocracy - Put your money where your mouth is.
- Social Liberalism and Pink Capitalism - I don't want your bribes, I need a job. And having more diversity isn't going to solve anything. We don't need rich Ivy League idiots telling us what to do.
- State Liberalism - You are literally the two above except worse!
- Fascism - STOP BANNING TRADE UNIONS! State-owned labour campaigns aren't gonna cut it. I hate being related to you so much. I will bash your skull in.
- Nazism - Same as above but even worse.
- Corporatocracy - I couldn't think of a more natural enemy.
- Reactionary Socialism - We're not all like you, contrary to what others think.
- Post-Industrialism - FUCK YOU for outsourcing all our jobs and factories to China!! Typing keys in a computer isn't going to cut it out, kid.
- Third Way - So you call yourself the Labour Party yet you don't like labour unions. Curious.
- Liberal Conservatism - No, you're not going to bust my trade unions!
- Zelenskyism - Why did you cancel the labour laws?
- Illegalism - Stop infiltrating our unions.
You are the impostor among us.
- Pinkertonism - Stop strike-breaking and espionage, you corporate puppet.
- Post-Humanism - You want to destroy humanity, which includes us workers! Also, many of my friends in the artist unions DESPISE you, so I don't like you.
- Reflections on Violence - Georges Sorel
- The Socialist Future of the Syndicates - Georges Sorel
- Ford, Earl C.; Foster, William Z. (1913). Syndicalism.
- ↑ https://www.jstor.org/stable/442410?origin=crossref
- ↑ While groups like Cercle Proudhon that were influenced by Sorel's writings were national syndicalists and he is most commonly associated with the label, Sorel never used the term and his writings don't showcase him ever being one.