Societal Education, Direct Action, and Working-Class Gains: An Anarchist Perspective

Using an anarchist theoretical framework, it is argued that the working class would obtain greater gains through militant direct action modeled on the labor movement of the past. The history of the 8-hour workday is reviewed as a case study showing that it was won because of radical leaders who challenged existing legal institutional frameworks through societal education, militant ideology, direct action, and violent resistance against state attacks. Positive changes did not occur politically, peacefully, or voluntarily. Instead, oftentimes the threat of or use of violent resistance and even rebellion had preceded major concessions for the working class.

by John Asimakopoulos, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences, City University of New York, Bronx, NY 10453.

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