Anarchism Thread

Valuing personal responsibility in the context of caring community.  Dorothy Day is said to have believed this.  Seems to have some paralell to our Unitarian Universalist theology – i.e. valuing personal spirituality/religious belief in the context of a spiritual/religious community.  Maybe, maybe not.

I find myself still seeking to understand Anarcho-Syndicalism.

Day, who I’m reading a bit of for a class entitled Moral Action and Religious Belief, disliked state structures.  She questioned even "the vote" and commented during the women’s suffrage movement that it may simply provide for women an opportunity to participate in a way of life that had a skewed sense of values: materialism, violence, and social patterns that promoted injustice and indifference toward the unemployed, the poor, and the homeless.  (From Union Square to Rome, 1924)



3 responses to “Anarchism Thread

  1. Joseph:
    I think there are some distinctions to be made between Dorothy Day’s personalism and anarchism, let alone anarchosyndicalism.

    Jacques Ellul (who is also inspired by personalism) is one Christian theologian who goes into some of this in Anarchy and Christianity (

    Anarchosyndicalism and libertarian socialism are much more on the collectivist snd mutual aid orientied tendencies of anarchism. In this light, Unitarian Universalism might look a little more like the so-called individualist anarchists.

  2. While a lot of UUs have pretty strong individualist tendencies the fact that we have enduring insitutions gives us a bit in common with the structure advocated by some sorts of anarchism. Congregational polity shares a lot in common with both anarcho-federalist and anarcho-syndicalist ways of organization. There’s a high degree of local autonomy, the ultimate authority lies in the hands of the general assembly (congregational meeting) of the group and delegates are sent to regional and national meetings to represent the group.

    Anarcho-syndicalism, in a nutshell, is the idea that since so much of our lives take place at work once of the best ways to take control of our lives is by taking control of our workplaces. Anarcho-syndicalists what to run their unions and the workplaces absolutely democratically. Historically its the most dominate anarchist tendency and it’s still pretty powerful in some parts of the world. In Spain the CGT, the more moderate of the country’s two anarcho-syndicalist unions, represents close to 2 million workers.

    For a brief introduction to Anarcho-Syndicalist theory check out Rudolph Rocker’s “Anarcho-Syndicalism.” The Anarcho-Syndicalist Review ( is also good. Probably the best known anarcho-syndicalist currently alive is Noam Chomsky. There’s a number of other interesting folk floating around too. Staughton Lynd been deeply influenced by Anarcho-Syndicalism as have Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin and Alexis Buss.

  3. Interesting — Ellul gets lumped in with the modern universalist Christians.

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