Raevsky cover


Anarcho-Syndicalism and the IWW

by Maxim Raevsky

The Industrial Workers of the World was founded in 1905 to organize workers according to industry, rather than craft, for revolutionary goals. Although the founders of the IWW included state socialists, by 1908 the organization had rejected alliances with socialist political parties and adopted several of the main tenets of anarcho-syndicalist ideology, while denying that the revolutionary labour movement had anything in common with the philosophical doctrines of anarchism.

In this essay from 1917, Russian anarchosyndicalist Maxim Raevsky argues that the theorists of anarchism (Bakunin, Kropotkin, and others) built all of their theories on the experience of the labour movement and considered their theories valuable only insofar as the masses recognized in these theories the systemization of their own aspirations.


MAXIM RAEVSKY (1882?–1931) was born Lev Josifovich Fishelev in Nezhin, a city of the Russian Empire which is now in northern Ukraine. In the late 1890s he went abroad to Germany to study and soon be­came an anarchist. In 1906–1910 he was on the editorial board of Burevestnik [Stormy Petrel), a Russian anarchist journal published in Geneva and Paris, where he developed his anarcho-syndicalist posi­tions, taking a strong stand against the “motiveless” terror popular among some of the Russian anarchists. In 1910–1914 he worked on a number of anarchist journals in Western Europe before moving to New York to become editor of Golos Truda [The Voice of Labour], a monthly newspaper for Russian-American anarchists which immediately became a weekly under his direction. Golos Truda was the organ of the Unions of Russian Workers of the United States and Canada, a confederation of Russian anarchist emigrant groups. The Unions were not workplace organizations, but rather associations or clubs providing welfare and educational services to their main­ly working class members, who were encouraged to join the Industrial Workers of the World (which had Russian sections). During Raevsky’s time as editor (1914–1917), Golos Truda acquired a strongly anarcho-syndicalist orientation. In 1917 he returned to Russia, but soon withdrew from political and trade union activity.

Raevsky’s essay on “Anarcho-Syndicalism and the IWW” was serialized in Golos Truda: #119 – #124 (January 5, 1917 – February 9, 1917).

ISBN 978-1-926878-19-5
20.2 cm x 13.5 cm; 48 g
16 pp, saddle-stitched