This piece has a number of intriguing ideas that were circulating in the FORA. One element is the rejection of the traditional understanding of the union, including the label of anarchosyndicalism. The FORA never took on the industrialist structure of a union, favoring instead a different path with it’s resistance societies. Likewise we see the rejection of the post-revolutionary role of unions. Lopez Arango counterposes a static view of unions and anarchism to one inherently grounded in trajectories of struggle, and puts the dynamics of change in struggle at the core of revolutionary work. Though this is only fragmentary, it provides a rare insight into another side of anarchism and unions, and one that gives a refreshing departure from more schematic and purely moralistic or ideological orientations.
From the weekly supplement of La Protesta, July 13, 1925
Emilio López Arango (translated SN Nappalos)
In a translation of “Pensiero e Volonte” from Rome, an article by Malatesta was published about the relation in theory and fact between anarchism and syndicalism. The aforementioned comrade raised a point of contradiction between those two terms, describes the role of the labor movement and activity of anarchists inside and outside of the unions, and in a final note subtlety gathered words written in La Protesta. The article of Malatesta generalizes a problem not yet sufficiently discussed and clarified.
He expresses his point of view that deserves the greatest respect, and despite offering some suggestions to share we don’t rush to pick it up with the only intention of outlining our thesis on the subject. But the note added at the end there of comrade Malatesta, forces us to clarify the value of some words that may have different meaning in Italy and Argentina, as terms now in vogue lend themselves to frequent and unfortunate confusion.
When we refer to the cultural work of political anarchism, we don’t want to say that specific anarchist organizations (like the Italian or French, for example) are limited to making propaganda via the book, pamphlet and newspaper, or capturing adherents with conferences in social centers, ateneos, etc. We also don’t want to be guilty of attributing the intention of these militants to wait for all workers to develop before social revolution is possible. Yes, we note the existence of a cultural movement diluted in the environment, imprecise in its form of activity with tendencies of covering all of humanity with ideals of redemption. And we do not believe in the efficacy of that medium, which for it’s own inaccuracy goes unnoticed by the workers themselves. We oppose systematic propaganda in the union and the anarchist objective in the economic organizations that Malatesta and other comrades consider neutral ground in the struggle of tendencies that divide the proletariat. Malatesta concludes that from this interpretation of the labor movement, particularly held by us in this country, our opposition to political anarchism-of party or cultural center- follows and is inspired by the anarcho-syndicalist perspective. That is precisely his error, that anarcho-syndicalism is a combination of the anarchist and syndicalist tendencies, a hybrid product of this confusing period. In that grammatical compound is disguised the old reformist tendency applied to the labor movement in some way the product of preaching ideological neutrality in the unions. Without wishing to insult the old master, we declare that Malatesta as Fabbri-the theorist of the unity of the classes and of the doctrinal disregard in the workers movement- is closer than we are to anarcho-syndicalism. Continue reading