The basic principles of anarcho-syndicalism are:
- workers' solidarity,
- direct action
Anarcho-syndicalists believe that only direct action -- that is, action concentrated on directly attaining a goal, as opposed to indirect action, like electing a representative to a government -- will allow workers to liberate themselves.
Furthermore, anarcho-syndicalists believe that workers' organizations -- the organizations which struggle against the wage system and which, in anarcho-syndicalist theory, will eventually form the basis of a new society--should be self-managing. They should not have bosses or "business agents"; rather, the workers should be able to make decisions which effect them amongst themselves.
The Industrial Workers of the World, a once-powerful labor movement, is considered a leading organ of the anarcho-syndicalist philosophy in the United States.
The anarcho-syndicalist orientation of many early American labor unions played a large part in the formation of the American political spectrum. The United States is the only industrialized former English colony to not have a labor-based political party. See, It Didn't Happen Here: Why Socialism Failed in the United States, Seymour Martin Lipset and Gary Marks. ISBN 0-39-332254-8.
Michael Bakunin, one of the fathers of anarchism, wrote
- "The [libertarian labour unions] ... bear in themselves the living seeds of the new society which is to replace the old world. They are creating not only the ideas, but also the facts of the future itself."
- REF: Dolgoff, S. (ed), Bakunin on Anarchism, Montreal; Black Rose Books, 1990, pp. 255.