Anarcho-syndicalism on BoingBoing?

 Was anyone else shocked to see a positive mention of anarcho-syndicalism on the liberalish tech-geek site BoingBoing this morning?

Artisnal Retro-Futurism and Team-Scale Anarcho-Syndicalism 

And here is the presentation that inspired the post:

FutureRuby Talk: "Artisanal Retro-Futurism and Team-Scale Anarcho-Syndicalism" 

It does have some glaring historical inaccuracies ("anarcho-syndicalism was crushed by the U.S. government in 1924"– what about the Spanish Civil War, and the crushing of the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist movement by fascism, Western indifference, and (arguably), by Stalin?). Additionally the presentation doesn’t make any mention of building up networks of worker and consumer cooperatives so that an entire society can democratically control its economic life, something that from my limited understanding of anarcho-syndicalism is rather important to the theory.  It seems like what the presentation means by "anarcho-syndicalism" is more along the lines of "workplace democracy", for some at least. It is unclear whether janitors and secretaries and other non-programmers would be allowed to participate, if they don’t follow Agile software development methodology. The presentation makes no statement of support about existing unions, although no statement of non-support is made either. 

All that being said, this is rather interesting and potentially important to anarcho-syndicalists. This is the first time that I’ve seen a major tech-geek blog post favorably about a presentation that does the following (caveat: there may have been other posts like this, this is just the first one I’ve seen.)

a) mentions worker solidarity favorably, rather than as something for IT workers to sniff at unfavorably: 


  • Worker solidarity:
    • This is the one principle that wasn’t followed in the cubicle incident
    • The scrum master could’ve been fired
    • Under worker solidarity, the entire team would’ve said ‘You’ll have to fire us all!’
    • (That’s okay, though: ‘Scrum masters are not hard to come by’ – you’ve seen the courses: ‘Two days, $2000, you can be a scrum master!’")


b) bashes Ayn Rand, in a sense:

("Sometimes it’s ‘our cursed individualism’ that gets in the way, the need to be the Ayn Rand hero — we’d be a lot more effective if we could get past that."),

and c) recognizes worker alienation in the context of large organizations and (maybe?) in capitaism as a whole:

("The problem is that the economies of scale that drive corporations to be larger and make more money are also diseconomies for the people working within them")

What do people think here? Is this something that anarcho-syndicalists and Pareconists find exciting? Or is it just more mainstream co-optation of left movements? 


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