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anarcho-syndicalisma revolutionary movement derived, in part, from the teachings of Proudhon and MARX, and most usually associated with the doctrines of Guillaume and SOREL. The movement emerged in France in the 1890s and thereafter spread to Italy, Spain and Latin America. Anarcho-syndicalists were committed to the overthrow of capitalism by means of a workers’ revolution. Their doctrines were based on a radical rejection of all political roads to socialism, and indeed of all POLITICAL PARTIES, power and planning both before and after the revolution. Such ‘politics’ was associated with compromise which weakened the revolutionary will of the workers. It was also associated with hierarchical party and state organization, and thus with inequalities of power and domination, which would – unless politics was repudiated – persist after the revolution and convert the DICTATORSHIP OF THE PROLETARIAT into a dictatorship over the proletariat by party hierarchs and state functionaries. Accordingly, the anarcho-syndicalist ideal lay in a producer-centred revolution: a revolution carried out at the point of production by a loose federation of decentralized, free, autonomous workers’ organizations which is based on a rejection of hierarchy and domination and achieved through the medium of the general strike. This would sweep away capitalist society and the state and replace them with free, autonomous, self-governing workers’ associations which would administer production and society without recourse to hierarchical organization and domination. Although anarcho-syndicalism made some impact in France, Italy and Spain, its influence was short-lived and never widespread, especially since mainstream MARXISM regarded it as a PETTY BOURGEOIS deviation which distracted the working class from its principal task of building a revolutionary party
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000