1. Cooperative and common ownership

    Certain changes to the cooperative form could permit the creation of enterprises that would not belong to anyone specifically but would be at the disposal of its users, workers and clients alike.

    Company buy-outs and transformation into cooperative enterprises are often presented as a step in the construction of commons, as the various stakeholders – workers and users – are involved in the process of preserving and developing a resource. However, even though the cooperative form departs from the traditional rules of capital, it still remains essentially private in nature, which leads to frequent capitalist drifts when the cooperative is successful. read more »

  2. Self-management, Social Reappropriation and the Commons

    It is necessary to encourage all members of society who have an interest in the business’s activity (clients, users, environmental protection associations) to participate in its governing process.

    I would like to start by examining the latter of these three notions, first exploring its meaning in the singular sense. The ‘common’ should be understood as a political principle whereby there is no shared accountability without co-participation in the same activity: simply being a member of a specific group (be it a family, a nation, a certain ethnicity, etc.) is not enough. It is this very principle that inspired the backlash against representative democracy seen amongst movements in recent history that have occupied squares (the Indignés movement as well as the Gezi Park and Taksim Square protests, to name but a few). read more »

  3. Revolutionary Shop Stewards and Workers Councils in the German Revolution

    Book review of "Working-Class Politics in the German Revolution: Richard Müller, the Revolutionary Shop Stewards and the Origins of the Council Movement".

    If Ralf Hoffrogge were writing within an American context rather than a German one, he would be situated between two important developments in the United States. A new cohort of social movement historians is addressing the gaps in anarchist, anti-authoritarian, and left-communist historiography. Neighboring this is a resurgence of interest in workers' councils historically and in the contemporary period. read more »

  4. Towards a Conversation with Students: Re-thinking the Figure of the Worker

    The (de)occupation of their factories by workers of Maruti Suzuki in Manesar, India, in 2011 and 2012 not only produced fresh energy and excitement, it also brought forth new questions.

    Over the last 30-35 years, we have witnessed and been connected with innumerable self-activities of workers. Even within these, there has been much that has stayed beyond our grasp, much has remained illegible to us. The electric self-activity of workers of Maruti Suzuki (Manesar) between 4 June 2011 and 18 July 2012 not only produced fresh energy and excitement, it also brought forth new questions. We want to share some of these with you today. read more »

  5. The Frontier of Control: a study in British workshop politics - Carter L. Goodrich

    Download an ebook version of the classic 1921 work exploring the shifting frontier between executive control and workers' control.

    In his classic work, The Frontier of Control, Carter L. Goodrich examined the workplace organisation amongst miners and others workers, as well as the growing syndicalism in the unions and the guild socialist movement, in the UK in the turbulent period of 1919-1920.  In this he identified the site of struggle around the frontier between management prerogative - or 'complete executive control' - and full workers' control. read more »

  6. The workers’ self-management alternative

    There is confusion about self-management, with antagonism even from socialists and Marxists. These attitudes are rooted in misconceptions of both what capitalism is and of the communist alternative.

    Discussions about workers’ control and self-management which were once at the heart of the labour movement are now once again on the agenda, both among British activists and internationally. The network of communists who produce The Commune are the most determined advocates of self-management among the English and Welsh radical left, and have generally found a positive response.  read more »

  7. Solemnly in Tuzla: Dita started producing powder detergent Arix Tenzo.

    Following repairs to the roof and steamline, Dita factory in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, has gone back into production as a workers' cooperative.

    In June 2015 workers at Dita detergent factory in Tusla, following bankrupcy, look over the factory to stop it becoming derelict.  Following repairs, particularly to the roof and steamline, they have gone back into production as a workers' cooperative.  The following is a short piece from the Sarajavo Times.  Hope to have a fuller story soon.

    "After months of hard work and effort in the Tuzla detergent factory Dita, the production of powder detergent Arix Tenzo started yesterday. read more »

  8. Self-managed socialism: possible, urgent, necessary

    Brazilian teacher Henrique T. Novaes looks at advantages and limitations of the Latin American practice of workers trying to overcome capitalist work relations through the control of their workplaces.

    The destruction of the welfare state in Europe and the continuation of the state of social ills in the rest of the world are the consequences of an irrational society. In Spain, Portugal and Greece 40% of young people are unemployed and the state has unpayable debts. After riots in England’s capital city the Government insisted on calling the youth “vandals without a cause”, dismissing out of hand the obvious social causes of the revolt. read more »

  9. Anton Pannekoek: a brief biography

    The vision of a social production and distribution determined by the producers themselves has its origins in council communism and the ideas of its main proponent, Anton Pannekoek.

    Anton Pannekoek's life span coincided with what was almost the whole history of the modern labour movement; he experienced its rise as a movement of social protest, its trans formation into a movement of social reform, and its eclipse as an independent class movement in the contemporary world. But Pannekoek also experienced its revolutionary potentialities in the spontaneous upheavals which, from time to time, interrupted the even flow of social evolution. read more »

  10. A Paul Mattick Interview

    "The difference between councils and trade unions is that, while the latter lose their functions in a decaying capitalism, the former become a prefiguration of the organisation of socialist society."

    Question : What relevance does Pannekoek's book have in Europe today ? Do you think that the analytic memory and theory of the past experience of council communism, as Pannekoek expresses them, can be "heard" and understood by workers here today ?

    Answer : A book, such as Pannekoek's, is not in need of immediate relevance. It concerns itself with a historical period; with past occurrences as well as possible future experiences, in which the phenomenon of workers' councils appearing and disappearing points to a trend of development in workers' class struggle and its changing objectives. read more »

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