I have to admit that I feel Comrade B is taking the piss in his letter. He claims that "it is about war, not fascism" and so his comments concerning the "syndicalists" are correct. Given that the pro-war syndicalists were the ones to become National Syndicalists and fascists, his point is lost on me. You would think that if the majority of syndicalists (i.e. members of the USI) in Italy had went over to fascism (and its "National Syndicalism") then they would have supported the Nation in World War One. Given that the majority of USI members rejected the arguments of those syndicalists who were later to become fascists in 1914, I would humbly suggest that Comrade B's argument does not hold water. If, as he says, "syndicalism and nationalism (and then fascism) had been converging before the war" then the majority of USI members (i.e. syndicalists) were not aware of this when they voted for a anti-war position (and so anti-nationalist) at the start of the First World War. Nor were the fascists when they attacked the USI after the war.
Strangely enough, the article does indicate that a majority of the USI rejected the pro-war syndicalists. As it said, "the majority did not even follow" the syndicalist "leaders" in supporting the war. Comrade B wonders "what does this fiasco says about syndicalism"? I have to wonder on what planet Comrade B is on. After all, the organisation voted in its national congress an anti-war position and the pro-war minority left it. Rather than being a "self-refuting failure" this example proves that it is Comrade B's arguments which are self-refuting -- and that he cannot even get basic facts right.
Moving on, Comrade B takes issue with the suggestion that he implied that syndicalists he mentions were anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists. Here he is taking the piss. After all, his comments are in a book about anarchism and the failings of "Leftist" anarchy. Now, call me naive, but in such a book you would think he would be discussing the failings of anarchists rather than "Leftists" (i.e. Marxists). Perhaps I am wrong, perhaps in order to refute anarcho-syndicalists you must discuss the failures of Marxist-syndicalists? What next, a refutation of communist anarchism by discussing the failures of Leninism?
Comrade B states that a "modest but militant minority did put up a fight against fascism." In fact, the USI (which had grown from the 70 000 left after the pro-war faction left to nearly 1 million members) was the majority syndicalist organisation in the country (the pro-war, National Syndicalist Union UIL was a fraction of its size). It was USI members who took part in the Arditi Del Popolo. It was the USI which took part in the general strike against fascism. It was the USI which was crushed by fascist gangs. And Comrade B still tries to claim that the "Italian syndicalists mostly went over to fascism"? Amazing.
He quotes another academic that by 1919 "Italian nationalism and revolutionary syndicalism shared substantial similarities". Yes, but only if you look at the pro-war syndicalists who had left the USI years before! What did the USI stand for by 1919? It had taken an anti-war position, supported the class struggle (and so shattered "national" unity) and been a leading part in the strikes and occupations in the post-war period. For this the USI was attacked and crushed by the fascists. So much for "similarities" between the USI (i.e. revolutionary syndicalism) and Italian Nationalism (and so fascism).
Comrade B ends with a diatribe against "syndicalism" (including anarcho-syndicalism) and what they apparently believe in. I do not (and none of the anarcho-syndicalists I have met) subscribe to his list. Perhaps Comrade B confuses a desire to see the end of wage-labour by self-management with a glorification of work? If so, then that is his business. Personally, I agree with Kropotkin on the necessity of attractive "work" (i.e. productive activity) and reducing the hours we have to do this to a minimum. Every anarcho-syndicalist I have met shares this vision of work transformed into attractive, productive activity and minimised -- and the first step towards this is occupying the workplace and placing it under self-management (where appropriate, of course, some workplaces should be turned into something more useful). I get the impression that Comrade B thinks that nobody reads his works, otherwise he would not suggest other anarchists glorify work and not be aware of the importance of his arguments in "The Abolition of Work." It is a shame he understates his influence in our movement so.
To conclude, Comrade B's claims that he is "not referring to the official positions taken by one small organisation in 1915 or 1919, but rather to the ultimate trajectory of those . . . who had once considered themselves syndicalists." As our article made clear, those who considered themselves "syndicalists" (and those David D. Roberts considered as such) were not anarcho-syndicalists -- they considered themselves Marxists -- and rather than being the majority of syndicalists (i.e. members, or even activists, of the USI) they were a small minority who had left the USI. If Comrade B wants to ignore these facts, then that is his business. Perhaps factual evidence is something else "post-leftist" anarchists reject?