‘Syndicalism in Denmark’ by John Anderson from One Big Union Monthly. Vol. 2 No. 9. September, 1920.
Even in the little agricultural country, Denmark, a revolutionary Syndicalist movement has begun to make itself felt; not among the agricultural workers, though, but among the industrial workers, particularly in Copenhagen and surroundings, where nearly all industry is concentrated. Already fifteen to twenty years ago the revolutionary ideas began to be known in Denmark. There were a few small but energetic groups carrying on a powerful agitation. Some papers were also started, one after the other, but they did not come out with very many numbers before they had to stop, due to small circulation. Besides, this propaganda movement was of a rather loose kind with members who enthusiastically devoted themselves to the discussion of theories and philosophy but didn’t give a snap for action expressed in carefully planned organization work and self-assertion on the economic battle field. These propaganda groups consequently worked principally outside the eco- nomic movement.
But even here there was finally a more practical revolutionary movement formed, which saw the light of day with the starting of “Fagoppositionens Sammenslutning” (The Unified Craft Opposition). As one can judge from the name, its purpose was to carry on opposition for the Syndicalist ideas inside the old ‘organization “De Samvirkende Fagforbund”’ (the united trades unions). The craft opposition formed a great number of clubs inside the various crafts or industries. These clubs later were unified and had for their purpose to work for Syndicalism, each one inside their own organization.
This movement soon started an agitation paper called ‘“‘Solidaritet”. It was first issued as a weekly paper but has now for nearly two years been issued as a daily paper which comes out even on Sundays. To keep this paper going the members have made great personal economic sacrifices and as a result this paper is about to be recognized as the fighting organ of the Danish working class.
This movement has in the course of the years experienced tremendous resistance. The old reformist movement has done everything to break it down but they have constantly failed. The authorities have worked hand in hand with them. Many of the driving forces of the movement have been thrown into prison, sentenced to long and hard punishments for their energetic fight against the exploiting Capitalist class. This conscious Syndicalist agitation has recently commenced to show results. Quite a number of workers have left the old organization and formed a new one by the name of “Dansk Federalistisk Sammenslutning” (Danish Federalist Union), a new independent fighter in the economic class struggle.
The purpose of this organization is “to gather all the economic organizations outside the “De Samvirkende Fagforbund” for cooperation. And on the basis of absolute sovereignty for each organization to create a Central Secretariat for educational and advisory purposes in the economic class struggle of the working class.” The organization. stands outside all political parties.
Besides, the purpose of the Central Secretariat is “to gather and elaborate all material that can be of service to the working class in its struggle for the conquest of power over the land and the means of production and distribution.” The power of decision rests entirely with the members and with no leaders.
The membership of this organization is now between thirteen and fourteen thousand. The main group is Marine Transport Workers, who are affiliated to the number of 7500. There are no other sailor organizations in Denmark besides the Syndicalist organization to which nearly all sea- fearing men belong. It is desirable and practical that the Marine Transport Workers Industrial Union No. 8, I.W.W., as soon as possible, enter into co-operation with this organization in Denmark. It is sure to leave good results. In Sweden and Norway, also, we are willing to establish such cooperation, having for its object the strengthening of International Solidarity thru action.
Truly, the revolutionary economic organization ideas are breaking thru in every country.
One Big Union Monthly was a magazine published in Chicago by the General Executive Board of the Industrial Workers of the World from 1919 until 1938, with a break from February, 1921 until September, 1926 when Industrial Pioneer was produced. OBU was a large format, magazine publication with heavy use of images, cartoons and photos. OBU carried news, analysis, poetry, and art as well as I.W.W. local and national reports. OBU was also Mary E. Marcy’s writing platform after the suppression of International Socialist Review., she had joined the I.W.W. in 1918.
PDF of full issue: https://archive.org/download/sim_one-big-union-monthly_1920-09_2_9/sim_one-big-union-monthly_1920-09_2_9.pdf