Libertarian Socialism (Article from SAC Newsletter)

Jamal Hannah x342446 (jah@iww.org)
Wed, 17 Apr 1996 11:38:46 -0700 (PDT)


(This article from page 7 of "SAC Newsletter 1995")

Libertarian Socialism

The conventionally accepted division between the different socialist
tendencies is if they are revolutionary or reformist. Without doubt
the syndicalists place themselves on the revolutionary side, (naturally
reforms are not rejected as such).

But we see another division which is just as important; that between
authoritarian (revolutionary or reformistic) and libertarian socialists.
The former believing that it is the states responsibility for society's
administration either through a proletarian dictatorship or by elected
representatives.

Often the concept of libertarian socialism is used as being synonymous
with syndicalism for example George Woodcocks description of "the very
nature of the libertarian attitude - its rejection of dogma, its deliberate
avoidance of rigidly systematic theory and, above all, its stress on extreme
freedom of choice and on the primacy of the individual judgement".

But a libertarian socialism can be regarded in many different ways - as
anarchism, or as libertarian communism according to Kropotkin's thoughts.
What is specific for syndicalism is the view on workers unions as a means
both for revolution and the administration of production. Syndicalism is
therefore a libertarian socialism but also something more. Notwithstanding
that nowadays syndicalism is not dominant within the workers movement in any
country it is in our opinion indispensable: it is through the syndicalist
organisations that the visions of true emancipation is kept alive.
The defeat of capitalism demands class consciousness and the capability to
fight, but to build up a free society the individuals personal sense of
responsibility is more important. Only syndicalism unites both these elements.

Source: "Syndikalismen (En grundbok)", Federativs Forlag.
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Central Organization of Swedish Workers
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