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Lokalisten and Sozialdemokraten: 'Localist' Trade Unionism in the German building industry, 1868-1893

Goddard, JAM; (2015) Lokalisten and Sozialdemokraten: 'Localist' Trade Unionism in the German building industry, 1868-1893. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This study looks at the first part of what for want of a better term could be described as the ‘pre-history’ of German syndicalism, that is, at its earliest roots among building worker supporters of the ‘localist’ conception of trade union organization before 1893. Its aim is not to ‘uncover’ the localist movement’s history for the benefit of English-speaking readers unfamiliar with it but, rather, to seek to find in the earlier history of this movement an explanation as to why a branch of trade unionism which initially defined itself as a tactical response to restrictive state legislation (above all, the Prussian Law of Association of 11th March 1850) continued to exist after the ban which most local laws of association placed on political association was over-written by national legislation which guaranteed the right to such (for men) in December 1899. How did a ‘tactical response’ come to assume a longevity none of its earlier advocates had foreseen? This begs a second question: how significant, then, was the legal framework? It is my belief that the answers to these questions can already be found in the localist building worker movement’s earlier history. Two dates framework this thesis. In September 1868, the Berlin Workers Congress was followed by the growth of trade union movements, social democratic and liberal, which contrasted with the isolated establishment of individual trade unions beforehand. In 1893, pottery workers (who included among their number stove fitters) became the last of the four largest groupings of building workers – after the carpenters, building labourers, and bricklayers – to establish a national trade union on a centralist model. After this date, localist building workers dominated a second, formally separate, social democratic trade union movement.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Lokalisten and Sozialdemokraten: 'Localist' Trade Unionism in the German building industry, 1868-1893
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1471579
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