1.A Definition of Anarcho-Syndicalism
The application of the anarchist argument to the syndicalist option has provided valuable theoretical elements for the fights of the workers’ movement. The rational formulation of anarchist forms of acting and organizing (direct action, autonomy, federalism, assemblearism, etc.) is the contribution that anarchism has been able to make within the revolutionary workers’ movement and it is on this basis that a definition of anarcho-syndicalism has been formulated.
- That definition-formulation of anarcho-syndicalism, which gains a concrete form as a structural organizational phenomenon, has proved on various occasions that it can be applied in conformity and coherence with the anarchist content. This is a definite fact.
- It is equally certain, nevertheless, that the anarcho-syndicalist organizational phenomenon has not always been able to apply this definition without violating the anarchist content on which it is based.
It can very well be said that structured anarcho-syndicalism gives rise to a phenomenon of "re-definition" and brings into evidence the tendency to limit its projection and circulation to the organizational framework. This "vice” of the anarcho-syndicalist organizational phenomenon is typical of any pretext at definition; it is logically inherent in any organizational structure. In order to maintain its leading role it is essential that the concepts be redefined, limiting the prospective. Even those tendencies within the syndicalist organization that defend its autonomy from the system do not escape this phenomenon. And, even less, do the tendencies towards integration into the System manage to escape the phenomenon.
- A broad vision, capable of overcoming these contradictions, requires that the practice of anarcho-syndicalist organization be extended beyond its own structures, rather than being exclusively based in the functions of those structures.
Any definition serves to limit the prospective; any structure tends to redefine it, formulating a completed definition which is definitive and final. Any final point is devoid of prospectives. Having reached this point, I wonder if the greatest contribution that anarchism can make to the syndicalist alternative is not the formulation of a non-definition of anarcho-syndicalism.