oam Chomsky:Well, anarchism is, in my view, basically a
kind of tendency in human thought which shows up in different forms in
different circumstances, and has some leading characteristics.
Primarily it is a tendency that is suspicious and skeptical of
domination, authority, and hierarchy. It seeks structures of hierarchy
and domination in human life over the whole range, extending from, say,
patriarchal families to, say, imperial systems, and it asks whether
those systems are justified. It assumes that the burden of proof for
anyone in a position of power and authority lies on them. Their
authority is not self-justifying. They have to give a reason for it, a
justification. And if they can’t justify that authority and power and
control, which is the usual case, then the authority ought to be
dismantled and replaced by something more free and just. And, as I
understand it, anarchy is just that tendency. It takes different forms
at different times.
Anarcho-syndicalism is a particular variety of
anarchism which was concerned primarily, though not solely, but
primarily with control over work, over the work place, over production.
It took for granted that working people ought to control their own
work, its conditions, [that] they ought to control the enterprises in
which they work, along with communities, so they should be associated
with one another in free associations, and … democracy of that kind
should be the foundational elements of a more general free society. And
then, you know, ideas are worked out about how exactly that should
manifest itself, but I think that is the core of anarcho-syndicalist
thinking. I mean it’s not at all the general image that you described —
people running around the streets, you know, breaking store windows —
but [anarcho-syndicalism] is a conception of a very organized society,
but organized from below by direct participation at every level, with as
little control and domination as is feasible, maybe none.