Czech anarcho-syndicalism

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Joined: 15-04-06
Sep 22 2017 02:46
Czech anarcho-syndicalism

Looking for information on pre-WWII Czech anarcho-syndicalists.Apparently there was a "FAU-C Freie Arbiter-Union ( Czechoslovakia)". I thought there was also another grouping, perhaps earlier in the 20th century, of revolutionary and/or anarcho-yndicalists.

Rocker mentions "Czechoslovakia" but no organization.

I've come across these two pieces of info this far:

"Anarchism started here in the 1880s as a youth section of a patriotic and liberal movement against the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. When the Social Democratic Party was established, its left wing was represented by Libertarian Socialists, but after several years they were forced to break away. Until WW1 the most powerful current of Libertarianism was Anarcho-Syndicalist. A stronghold of Czech Anarcho-Syndicalism was in the Northern Bohemian mining regions. Anarcho-Syndicalists were soon organising their own union federation, the Czech General Union Federation (the CGUF). Repression by the state strangled the CGUF in 1908, but could not destroy the Syndicalist spirit
among workers and new Syndicalist unions like the Regional Miners Unity were formed." (


"Anarchism and Anarchosyndicalism

The social bases of anarchism were created by the
north-bohemian miners and the labourers in the textile industry.
Understandably, those were not satisfied by individualistic
proclamations and secret unions. The inability of organization was
clearly exposed in 1896, when there was a 12-day-long mining strike.
Eight thousand miners got involved and several attacks on the mine
officials, strike-breakers and the mine equipment occurred. But this
was used as a pretext for the army, that strongly suppressed the strike,
and as a consequence many of the involved were punished by firing
or expulsion from the country. A litle more succesful was a mining
strike in January 1900, held in Austria and organized by the
social democrats (anarchists actively participated).

A meaningful inspiration for the anarchists was the
anarchocommunism of Kropotkin. This helped them to overcome the
original individualism and at the same time it connected the
partiality to mutalism and cooperating societies in the conception of,
e.g., V. Korber. A small anarchist loan office is founded and several
cooperative project are created, but altogether they were not very

Another inspiration is revolutionary syndicalism. In 1903, after
several years of discussion, the North-bohemian mining federation
(SeveroËesk· hornick· federace, SHF) arose with about eight
hundred members, and a year later two other important
organizations. Czech anarchist federation (»esk· anarchistick·
federace, »AF) with several hundreds of members was intended to
be clearly defined and diffusing anarchist ideas. The Czech Federation of
All Unions (»esk· federace v?ech odbor?, »FVO) (about 1200
members) was intended to be a radical sectional organization.
According to S. K. Neumann, poet and anarchist activist, and to the
notions of the »AF members, it was to be the "brains" of the
movement, while »FVO its "fist", in which vanguardist aspirations
are visible. That was with what the syndicalistic founders of »FVO
could never agree. They weren't just apolitical syndicalists, on the
contrary, they were propagandists of anarchism for a long time. New
specific anarchist group was formed, which headed »FVO, mainly
by K. Vohryzek (1876-1933), a talented self-taught person,
translator, editor and activist. Thanks to his linguistic skills he
was in contact with the world's movement. He was able often to
publish magazines of high quality - Nova Omladina in his edition
was published three times a week. His personal tendency towards
intrigues caused many problems in the anarchistic movement. In
addition to that he financed the movement by thefts and
contrabands of zuckerin and this way also earned his living. Besides
this anarchist it is possible to identify in »FVO a part of people
tending to refuse any connection with anarchism and to stick to
mere radical syndicalism. Later on, under the influence of the
international meeting of anarchists and anarchosyndicalists in
Amsterdam, K. Vohryzek himself inclined to these ideas. This
conception and Vohryzek's authoritativeness caused disputes
between him and younger activists.

The years 1905-1906 were very important, because under the
influence of the Russian Revolution anarchists became more active,
whereas sometimes they acted as a radical component in social
democratic actions, sometimes they came up with their own action.
The mining strike from the 30.8. to 17.9. 1906 was important, but
again ended unsuccesfully, because, besides other reasons, the social
democrats didn't show enough solidarity.

In 1908 the »FVO was officialy dissolved (Austro-Hungarian
authorities terrified by its dissemination among railway's staff) and
repressed. Vohryzek's illegal economic activities became a
welcomed pretext for a trial against him and to discredit the whole
movement. But the movement itself didn't show any sympathies
with him, disapproved him, or even suspected him of being police
informer and also refused his proposal to again getting involved into
the work of the movement.

After the extinction of »FVO, the »AF became more significant,
which after stopping publishing the magazine Pr·ce (The Labour),
succeded in publishing a weekly magazine Z·druha (The
Cooperative). On the other hand, the syndicalist movement, never
revived its former force and significance, even with new
organisations being formed: Land's Union of Miners, Aegis
(Zemst· jednota hornÌk?, Ocarina)." (

All info is appreciated.

Joined: 15-04-06
Sep 22 2017 08:52

Vadim provided me with some additional info. From my FB page:
A-Infos (en) Brief history of the Czech anarchism
格基瓦Before the open anarchist groups, the Most-ian social-revolutionary tendency was very strong in the Czech socialist \ social democratic movement after 1880, and the anarchism emerged from it. As to revolutionary syndicalism... In 1903, the North Czech Miners Federation emerged (823 members in 1904), In 1904 the Czech Federation of all Unions (1000 members). In 1905, the NCMF became member of CFAU. In 1906, the majority of minerrs left this organization and build the new Miners Federation (neutral revolutionary syndicalist in orientation). Since 1908, in North-Western Czechia, the Free Vereinigung of Miners and Metallists of Austria existed -- since 1909 the name was the Country`s Unity of Miners (700 members). In 1910 the CFAU was reorganized in "Defense". 1910 the "Workers Trxtil Unity" emerged. 1910, 1911 and 1912 the Syndicalist congress was organized, with delegates of "Defense", WTU and CUM. (600 members in 1911). In 1912, the dissent emerged: the "Defense"and WTU were more for co-operation with anarchists, the CUM for ideal neutrality
格基瓦 After the WW1. 1919 -- Association of Czech Miners; their strike in 1919 was reprimed. During the general strike 1920, some workers with ACM tried to proclame Soviet Republic in Kladno. Beginning of 1920s -- Czech FAU. 1923 Free Association of Anarchists. 1931 -- IWA had contacts with some new groups in Czechia. January of 1939 IWA had contacts with new General Confederation of Labourers, influenced by Spanishrevolution