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[Jack Ranger]

Workers Dictionary

(14 April 1947)

From Labor Action, Vol. 11 No. 15, 14 April 1947, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Anarchism, a theory which, like socialism, condemns capitalism, and aims at the abolition of the state and proposes to set up a system without private ownership in the means of production. Anarchism differs from socialism in its methods and goals. "Whereas socialists believe the workers, once they have overthrown capitalism, will need a transitional state of their own to suppress the former exploiters, the anarchists believe it is possible to go directly from capitalism to a stateless society. Socialists believe in large, centralized socialist production, while anarchists favor decentralized, small-scale production. There is very little of an organized anarchist movement in the United States; its main strength has been in Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland and Russia. During the civil war in Spain (1936–38) the Spanish anarchists, despite their anti-political theories, participated in the Popular Front government controlled by the Stalinists. More recently some Spanish anarchist leaders are reported to he seeking an alliance with the monarchists against Franco.

Anti-Semitism, prejudice and hostility to the Jews. Politically, it has been used in many countries by reactionary politicians to divert the workers’ wrath from the employers and direct it against the Jews, who are falsely accused of responsibility for all evils.

Anti-trust laws, laws supposedly passed to curb the trusts and monopolies. The Sherman Anti-Trust Law, passed by Congress in 1890, was directed against the big corporations. However, these were left largely untouched, and the law was turned instead against unions, the latter being accused of restraint of trade. Since this was a clear distortion of the law, the union movement forced through the Clayton Act in 1914 which specifically exempts worker and farmer organizations from such anti-trust laws. It is this law which the Department of Justice breaks when it uses the anti-trust laws against unions.

Arbitration, a method of settling disputes by referring the matter to an arbitrator or arbitration committee which makes a decision which is binding upon both parties. The arbitrator is supposed to be a neutral or disinterested party agreeable to both sides. Arbitration between employers and employees rests upon the fiction that it is possible for any person to be neutral in the struggle between labor and capital.

Army, an armed and disciplined body of persons. In every class society, whether based on slavery, serfdom, or as at present on wage labor, the ruling class is armed, that is, it maintains an army. The right to control the army is a fundamental right of state power. The army roughly parallels the society which maintains it; the lower ranks of the army are comparable to workers, the officers are comparable, to employers. As a rule, the employing, class maintains much closer relations with the army officers than does the working class with the ranks of the army. In periods of great social struggles within a nation, the army usually splits apart, the bulk of it going over to the side of the workers, some of the officers siding with the employers.

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