National syndicalism

National syndicalism is an adaptation of syndicalism to suit the social agenda of integral nationalism. National syndicalism developed in France, and then spread to Italy, Spain, Portugal ,Romania and Japan.


French National syndicalism was an adaptation of Georges Sorel's version of revolutionary syndicalism to the monarchist ideology of integral nationalism, as practised by Action Française. Action Française was a French nationalist-monarchist movement led by Charles Maurras.

Background (1900–1908)

In 1900, Charles Maurras declared in Action Française's newspaper that anti-democratic socialism is the "pure"[1] and correct form of socialism. From then on, he and other members of Action Française (like Jacques Bainville, Jean Rivain, and Georges Valois) interested in Sorel's thought discussed the similarity between the movements in Action Française's conferences and in essays published in the movement's newspaper, hoping to form a collaboration with revolutionary syndicalists. Such collaboration was formed in 1908 with a group of labor unions' leaders led by Émile Janvion . As a result of this collaboration, Janvion founded the journal Terre libre.

Beginning (1909)

The collaboration between the integral nationalism of Action Française and the revolutionary syndicalism of Georges Sorel began in 1909. The connection was formed after Sorel read the second edition of Maurras' book, Enquête sur la monarchie. Maurras favorably mentioned Sorel and revolutionary syndicalism in the book, and even sent a copy of the new edition to Sorel. Sorel read the book, and in April 1909 wrote a praising letter to Maurras. Three months later, on 10 July, Sorel published in Il Divenire sociale (the leading journal of Italian revolutionary syndicalism), an essay admiring Maurras and Action Française. Sorel based his support on his anti-democratic thought. For example, he claimed that Action Française was the only force capable to fight against democracy.[2] Action Française reprinted the essay in its newspaper on 22 August, titled "Anti-parliamentary Socialists".

La cité française and L'Indépendance (1910–1913)

In 1910 Sorel and Valois decided to create a national-socialist journal called La cité française. A prospectus for the new journal was published in July 1910, signed by both revolutionary syndicalists (Georges Sorel and Édouard Berth) and Action Française members (Jean Variot, Pierre Gilbert and Georges Valois). La cité française never got off the ground because of Georges Valois's animosity toward Jean Variot.

After the failure of La cité française, Sorel decided to found his own journal. Sorel's biweekly review, called L'Indépendance, was published from March 1911 to July 1913. Its themes were the same as the journal of Action Française, such as nationalism, antisemitism, and a desire to defend the French culture and heritage of ancient Greece and Rome.

Cercle Proudhon

During the preparations for launching La Cité française, Sorel encouraged Berth and Valois to work together. In March 1911, Henri Lagrange (a member of Action Française) suggested to Valois that they found an economic and social study group for nationalists. Valois persuaded Lagrange to open the group to non-nationalists who were anti-democratic and syndicalists (Valois wrote later that the aim of the group was to provide "a common platform for nationalists and leftist anti-democrats"[3]).

The new political group, called Cercle Proudhon, was founded on 16 December 1911. It included Berth, Valois, Lagrange, the syndicalist Albert Vincent and the royalists Gilbert Maire, René de Marans, André Pascalon, and Marius Riquier.[4] As the name Cercle Proudhon suggests, the group was inspired by Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. It was also inspired by Georges Sorel and Charles Maurras. In January 1912 the journal of Cercle Proudhon was first published, entitled Cahiers du cercle Proudhon.


In the early 20th century, nationalists and syndicalists were increasingly influencing each other in Italy.[5] From 1902 to 1910, a number of Italian revolutionary syndicalists including Arturo Labriola, Agostino Lanzillo, Angelo Oliviero Olivetti, Alceste De Ambris, Filippo Corridoni and Sergio Panunzio sought to unify the Italian nationalist cause with the syndicalist cause and had entered into contact with Italian nationalist figures such as Enrico Corradini.[6] These Italian national syndicalists held a common set of principles: the rejection of bourgeois values, democracy, liberalism, Marxism, internationalism, and pacifism while promoting heroism, vitalism, and violence.[7] Not all Italian revolutionary syndicalists joined the Fascist cause, but most syndicalist leaders eventually embraced nationalism and "were among the founders of the Fascist movement," where "many even held key posts" in Mussolini's regime.[8] Benito Mussolini declared in 1909 that he had converted over to revolutionary syndicalism by 1904 during a general strike.[9]

Enrico Corradini promoted a form of national syndicalism that utilized Maurassian nationalism alongside the syndicalism of Georges Sorel.[10] Corradini spoke of the need for a national syndicalist movement that would be able to solve Italy's problems, led by elitist aristocrats and anti-democrats who shared a revolutionary syndicalist commitment to direct action through a willingness to fight.[10] Corradini spoke of Italy as being a "proletarian nation" that needed to pursue imperialism in order to challenge the "plutocratic" nations of France and the United Kingdom.[11] Corradini's views were part of a wider set of perceptions within the right-wing Italian Nationalist Association (ANI) that claimed that Italy's economic backwardness was caused by corruption within its political class, liberalism, and division caused by "ignoble socialism".[11] The ANI held ties and influence amongst conservatives, Catholics, and the business community.[11]

A number of Italian fascist leaders began to relabel national syndicalism as Fascist syndicalism. Mussolini was one of the first to disseminate this term, explaining that "Fascist syndicalism is national and productivistic… in a national society in which labor becomes a joy, an object of pride and a title to nobility."[12] By the time Edmondo Rossoni became secretary-general of the General Confederation of Fascist Syndical Corporations in December 1922, other Italian national syndicalists were adopting the "Fascist syndicalism" phrase in their aim at "building and reorganizing political structures… through a synthesis of State and labor."[13] An early leader in Italian trade unionism, Rossoni and other fascist syndicalists not only took the position of radical nationalism, but favored "class struggle."[14] Seen at the time as "radical or leftist elements," Rossoni and his syndicalist cadre had "served to some extent to protect the immediate economic interests of the workers and to preserve their class consciousness."[15] Rossoni was dismissed from his post in 1928, which could have been due his powerful leadership position in the Fascist unions,[16] and his hostilities to the business community, occasionally referring to industrialists as "vampires" and "profiteers."[17]

With the outbreak of World War I, Sergio Panunzio noted the national solidarity within France and Germany that suddenly arose in response to the war and claimed that should Italy enter the war, the Italian nation would become united and would emerge from the war as a new nation in a "Fascio nazionale" (national union) that would be led by an aristocracy of warrior-producers that would unite Italians of all classes, factions, and regions into a disciplined socialism.[18]

In November 1918, Mussolini defined national syndicalism as a doctrine that would unite economic classes into a program of national development and growth.[19]

Iberian Peninsula

National syndicalism in the Iberian Peninsula is a political theory very different from the fascist idea of corporatism, inspired by Integralism and the Action Française (for a French parallel, see Cercle Proudhon). It was formulated in Spain by Ramiro Ledesma Ramos in a manifesto published in his periodical La Conquista del Estado on 14 March 1931.

National syndicalism was intended to win over the anarcho-syndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) to a corporatist nationalism. Ledesma's manifesto was discussed in the CNT congress of 1931. However, the National Syndicalist movement effectively emerged as a separate political tendency. Later the same year, Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista was formed, and subsequently voluntarily fused with Falange Española. In 1936 Franco forced a further less voluntary merger with traditionalist Carlism, to create a single party on the Nationalist side of the Spanish Civil War. During the war, Falangists fought against the Second Spanish Republic, which had the armed support of CNT. It was one of the ideological bases of Francoist Spain, especially in the early years.

The ideology was present in Portugal with the Movimento Nacional-Sindicalista (active in the early 1930s), its leader Francisco Rolão Preto being a collaborator of Falange ideologue José Antonio Primo de Rivera.

The Spanish version theory has influenced the Kataeb Party in Lebanon, the National Radical Camp Falanga in Poland and various Falangist groups in Latin America.

The Unidad Falangista Montañesa maintained a trade union wing, called the Association of National-Syndicalist Workers.

See also


  1. ^ "a socialism liberated from the democratic and cosmopolitan element fits nationalism as a well-made glove fits a beautiful hand" (italics in original). Published in L'Action française, page 863, 15 November 1900. Quoted in Sternhell, Zeev; Sznajder, Mario; Ashéri, Maia (1995). The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution (Third printing, and first paperback printing ed.). Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 82. ISBN 0-691-03289-0. For a detailed study of this quote, see:
    Sternhell, Zeev (1984). La droite révolutionnaire, 1885-1914: les origines françaises du fascisme. Paris: Éditions du Seuil. ISBN 978-2-02-006694-5.
    Mazgaj, Paul (1979). The Action française and Revolutionary Syndicalism. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-1316-4.
  2. ^ "A vigorous protest had to be made against this spirit of decadence: no other group except Action française was able to fulfill a role requiring both literacy and faith. The friends of Maurras form an audacious avant-garde engaged in a fight to the finish against the boors who have corrupted everything they have touched in our country. The merit of these young people will appear great in history, for we may hope that due to them the reign of stupidity will come to an end some day near at hand". Originally published in Sorel, Georges (22 August 1909). "Socialistes antiparlementaires". L'Action française. Quoted in Sternhell, Zeev; Sznajder, Mario; Ashéri, Maia (1995). The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution (Third printing, and first paperback printing ed.). Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 79. ISBN 0-691-03289-0.
  3. ^ Quoted in Sternhell, Zeev (1986). Neither right nor left: fascist ideology in France. Princeton, New Jersey, USA: Princeton University Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-691-00629-1.
  4. ^ Douglas, Allen (1992). From fascism to libertarian communism: Georges Valois against the Third Republic. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-520-07678-5.
  5. ^ Zeev Sternhell, Mario Sznajder, Maia Ashéri, The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution, Princeton University Press, 1994, p. 161
  6. ^ Zeev Sternhell, Mario Sznajder, Maia Ashéri. The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution, Princeton University Press, 1994. pp. 31-32
  7. ^ Zeev Sternhell, Mario Sznajder, Maia Ashéri. The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution, Princeton University Press, 1994, p. 32
  8. ^ Zeev Sternhell, Mario Sznajder, Maia Ashéri. The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution, Princeton University Press, 1994, p. 33
  9. ^ Zeev Sternhell, Mario Sznajder, Maia Ashéri, The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution, Princeton University Press, 1994, p. 33
  10. ^ a b Zeev Sternhell, Mario Sznajder, Maia Ashéri. The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution, Princeton University Press, 1994, p. 163
  11. ^ a b c Martin Blinkhorn. Mussolini and fascist Italy. Second edition. New York, New York, USA: Routledge, 2003 Pp. 9.
  12. ^ A. James Gregor, The Faces of Janus: Marxism and Fascism in the Twentieth Century, Yale University Press, 1999, p 216, note 42, Mussolini "Commento" in Opera omnia, vol. 18, pp. 228-229
  13. ^ Emilio Gentile, The Origins of Fascist Ideology 1918-1925, New York, NY, Enigma Books, 2005, p. 322
  14. ^ Martin Blinkhorn, edit., Fascists and Conservatives: The Radical Right and the Establishment in Twentieth-Century Europe, chap. 2: Roland Sarti, "Italian fascism: radical politics and conservative goals," London/New York, Routledge, 2001, pp. 22-23
  15. ^ David D. Roberts, The Syndicalist Tradition and Italian Fascism, University of North Carolina Press, 1979, p. 290
  16. ^ Franklin Hugh Adler, Italian Industrialists from Liberalism to Fascism: The Political Development of the Industrial Bourgeoisie, 1906-1934, Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 391
  17. ^ Lavoro d'Italia, January 6, 1926
  18. ^ Anthony James Gregor. Mussolini's intellectuals: fascist social and political thought. Princeton, New Jersey, USA: Princeton University Press, 2005. Pp. 78.
  19. ^ Anthony James Gregor. Mussolini's intellectuals: fascist social and political thought. Princeton, New Jersey, USA: Princeton University Press, 2005. Pp. 81.

Further reading

External links

Action Française

Action française (French pronunciation: ​[aksjɔ̃ fʁɑ̃sɛːz], AF; English: French Action) is a French right-wing political movement. The name was also given to a journal associated with the movement.

The movement and the journal were founded by Maurice Pujo and Henri Vaugeois in 1899, as a nationalist reaction against the intervention of left-wing intellectuals on the behalf of Alfred Dreyfus. Charles Maurras quickly joined Action française and became its principal ideologist. Under the influence of Maurras, Action française became royalist, counter-revolutionary (objecting to the legacy of the French Revolution), anti-parliamentary and pro-decentralization, and supported Integralism and Catholicism.

Shortly after it was created, Action Française tried to influence public opinion by turning its journal to a daily newspaper and by setting up various organizations. By 1914, it had become the best structured and the most vital nationalist movement in France. In the inter-war period, the movement enjoyed prestige and influence, but its popularity gradually declined as a result of the rise of fascism and of a rupture in the relations with the Catholic Church. During the Second World War, Action française supported the Vichy Regime and Marshal Philippe Pétain. After the fall of Vichy, its newspaper was banned and Maurras was sentenced to life imprisonment. The movement nevertheless continued to exist due to new publications and political movements. Although Action française is not a major force in the right as it used to be, its ideas have remained influential.

Blueshirts (Falange)

The Blueshirts (Spanish: Camisas Azules) was the Falangist paramilitary militia in Spain. The name refers to the blue uniform worn by members of the militia. The colour blue was chosen for the uniforms in 1934 by the FE de las JONS because it was, according to José Antonio Primo de Rivera, "clear, whole, and proletarian," and is the colour typically worn by mechanics, as the Falange sought to gain support among the Spanish working class. In Francoist Spain the Blueshirts were officially reorganized and officially renamed the Falange Militia of the FET y de las JONS in 1940.

FET y de las JONS

The Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista (FET y de las JONS, Traditionalist Spanish Phalanx and of the Councils of the National Syndicalist Offensive) was the sole legal party of the Francoist regime in Spain. It emerged in 1937 from the merger of the Carlist Party with the Falange Española de las JONS and was dissolved in 1977 by Adolfo Suárez's transitional government.

Falange Auténtica

Falange Auténtica (English: Authentic Phalanx, FA) is a Falangist political party in Spain. FA emerged in 2002 as a split from Falange Española/La Falange. FA claims to represent the heritage of the dissolved Falange Española de las JONS (Auténtica) (FE-JONS).

The term 'Authentic' refers to the positioning of FA as 'authentic' as opposed to the official Falange under the rule of Francisco Franco. The second National Chief of the Spanish Falange, Manuel Hedilla (1902–1970), had opposed the forced merger of FE-JONS with the traditionalists. Hedilla who had refused to join the council of the new party and had tried to mobilize his supporters was arrested on 25 April 1937, accused of conspiring against Franco, and condemned to death. However, his sentence was commuted to life in prison on the advice of Ramón Serrano Suñer, Franco's brother-in-law.FA contested the 2003 municipal election in various parts of the country. It won two seats in El Hoyo de Pinares, Ávila, and one in Ardales, Málaga.

Falange Española Independiente

Falange Española Independiente (English: Independent Spanish Phalanx, FEI) was a Spanish political party registered in 1977, originating from the Frente de Estudiantes Sindicalistas (FES), a student group of anti-Francoist falangists.

Falange Española de las JONS

The Falange Española de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista (FE de las JONS) (English: Spanish Phalanx of the Councils of the National Syndicalist Offensive) was a fascist political party founded in 1934 as a merger of the Falange Española and the Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista. The Falange Española de las JONS ceased to exist as such when, during the Civil War, General Francisco Franco merged it with the Traditionalist Communion in April 1937 to form the similarly named Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las JONS, which became the sole legal party in Spain until its dissolution in 1977.

Falange Española de las JONS (1976)

Falange Española de las JONS (Spanish for "Spanish Phalanx of the Committees for the National-Syndicalist Offensive", FE-JONS) is a Spanish political party registered in 1976, originating from a faction the previous Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista. The word Falange is Spanish for phalanx. Members of the party are called Falangists (Spanish: Falangistas). The main ideological bases of the party are national syndicalism, third positionism and ultranationalism.

Falangist Movement of Spain

Movimiento Falangista de España (Spanish for "Falangist Movement of Spain", MFE) is a Spanish political party registered in 1979. The party considers itself heir of classic (previous to 1936/1937) Falangism, openly rejecting Francoism, originating from a split of the Círculos Doctrinarios José Antonio, led by Antonio Jareño. Currently the party only has activity in Cantabria.

Fasci Autonomi d'Azione Rivoluzionaria

The Fasci Autonomi d'Azione Rivoluzionaria (English: Autonomous Fasci of Revolutionary Action) was founded in November 1914 by Benito Mussolini. On 11 December 1914, the Fasci Autonomi d'Azione Rivoluzionaria and the Fasci d'Azione Internazionalista merged into the Fasci d'Azione Rivoluzionaria led by Mussolini.Due to Mussolini's support of Italian intervention in the then-ongoing World War I, this enabled him to raise funds from Ansaldo (an armaments firm) and other companies to create the newspaper Il Popolo d'Italia, first published in November 1914, to convince socialists and revolutionaries to support the war.

Fasci Italiani di Combattimento

The Italian Fasci of Combat (Italian: Fasci Italiani di Combattimento, FIC), until 1919 called Fasci of Revolutionary Action (Italian: Fasci d'Azione Rivoluzionaria, FAR), was an Italian fascio organization, created by Benito Mussolini in 1914.

Integralismo Lusitano

Integralismo Lusitano (English: "Lusitanian Integralism") was a Portuguese integralist political movement, founded in Coimbra in 1914, that advocated traditionalism but not conservatism. It was against parliamentarism; instead, it favored decentralization, national syndicalism, the Roman Catholic Church, and the monarchy. It was especially active during the Portuguese First Republic. Lusitanian Integralism is a variant of Integralism that evolved in Portugal; the term Lusitania is derived from the Latin term for Portugal.

Initially supportive of the last king, Manuel II, they nonetheless refused to back him after 1920, following the attempts to restore the monarchy initiated in Monsanto Forest Park (Lisbon) and during the Monarchy of the North. Instead, they supported Manuel's cousin, Miguel of Braganza.

Integralismo Lusitano's notable members included António Sardinha, Alberto de Monsaraz, José Pequito Rebelo, José Hipólito Vaz Raposo, João Ameal, Leão Ramos Ascensão, Luís de Almeida Braga, and Francisco Rolão Preto. Preto later asserted himself as leader of the National Syndicalists (Movimento Nacional-Sindicalista), and he became an opponent of António de Oliveira Salazar (and the Estado Novo regime).

The leadership remained active during the 1917-1918 rule when it supported the leadership of Sidónio Pais. But, it also backed the Ditadura Nacional (National Dictatorship), established following the 28 May 1926 coup d'état.

When Manuel II died without heirs in 1932. The Integralismo Lusitano movement rallied all monarchist movements behind the descendents of Miguel (who was exiled after the Liberal Wars).

Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista

Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista (JONS; Spanish for "Councils of the National-Syndicalist Offensive") was a nationalist and fascist movement in 1930s Spain, merged with the Falange Española into the Falange Española de las JONS in 1934.

La Conquista del Estado

La Conquista del Estado (meaning Conquest of the State in English) was a magazine based in Madrid, Spain.

La Falange (1999)

La Falange (Spanish for "The Phalanx", also known as FE/La Falange) is a Spanish political party registered in 1999. The party originated as a split of the Falange Española de las JONS, led by Gustavo Morales and Jesús López. Ideologically the party claims to be a successor of the original Falange Española of the 1930s, and follower of the ideas of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, Ramiro Ledesma Ramos, Onésimo Redondo and Julio Ruiz de Alda.

Labour Party (Argentina)

The Labour Party (Spanish: Partido Laborista) was a populist political party in Argentina.

Movimiento Nacional

The Movimiento Nacional (English: National Movement) was the name given to the nationalist inspired mechanism during Francoist rule in Spain, which purported to be the only channel of participation in Spanish public life. It responded to a doctrine of corporatism in which only so-called "natural entities" could express themselves: families, municipalities and unions.

National Catholicism

National Catholicism (Spanish: Nacionalcatolicismo) was part of the ideological identity of Francoism, the political system with which dictator Francisco Franco governed Spain between 1939 and 1975. Its most visible manifestation was the hegemony that the Catholic Church had in all aspects of public and private life. As a symbol of the ideological divisions within Francoism, it can be contrasted to National syndicalism (nacionalsindicalismo), an essential component of the ideology and political practice of the Falangists.

National Syndicalists (Portugal)

The National Syndicalist Movement (Portuguese: Movimento Nacional-Sindicalista) was a political movement that briefly flourished in Portugal in the 1930s. Stanley G. Payne defines them as a fascist movement in his typography.

Sergio Panunzio

Sergio Panunzio (July 20, 1886 – October 8, 1944) was an Italian theoretician of national syndicalism. In the 1920s, he became a major theoretician of Italian Fascism.

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