SYNDICALISM IS A politico-economic philosophy that flourished among French laborers prior to World War I. Syndicalism is taken from the French word for labor union, syndicat. Syndicalism was influential in France from the 1890s to the 1920s as the philosophy of a militant trade union movement.

There are several theoretical roots to the philosophy of syndicalism. In 1840, Pierre Joseph Proudhon, who was an impoverished printer's helper, wrote a short pamphlet, Qu'est-ce que la Propriete? (What Is Property?). Proudhon declared that “property is theft.” He wrote numerous works as a theorist of poverty and a champion of the poorer classes. Proudhon was the first political theorist to call himself an anarchist. In addition, he believed that control of the means of production should be in the ...

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