1. What if the workers were in control?

    Hilary Wainwright reflects on an attempt by British workers to produce a democratically determined alternative plan for their industry.

    Back in the 1970s, with unemployment rising and British industry contracting, workers at the arms company Lucas Aerospace came up with a pioneering plan to retain jobs by proposing alternative, socially-useful applications of the company’s technology and their own skills. The ‘Lucas Plan’ remains one of the most radical and forward thinking attempts ever made by workers to take the steering wheel and directly drive the direction of change.  read more »

  2. Lucas Aerospace Combine Shop Steward Committee Corporate Plan: A contingency strategy as a positive alternative to recession and redundancies

    An original 1976 document summarising the alternative plan of Lucas Aerospace workers, proposed to combat redundancies and shift toward a more socially useful production.

    In January 1976, the workers of Lucas Aerospace published an alternative plan regarding the future of their company. It was for the most part a response to the management's intention to cut thousands of jobs in the context of industrial restructuring, in order to confront international competition. In the text, the workers argue in favor of a shift towards socially useful production. read more »

  3. A Reply to Daguerre, Ozarow and Upchurch

    This is a reply to the workerscontrol.net article "Spectrum, Trajectory and the Role of the State in Workers’ Self-Management", especially on its treatment of the parecon model.

  4. The Forgotten Workers’ Control Movement of Prague Spring

    In his book, Pete Dolack retells the story of the workers' council movement in former Czechoslovakia that sprang up after the Soviet invasion in 1968.

    At the time of the [August 1968] Soviet invasion [of Czechoslovakia], two months after the first workers’ councils were formed, there were perhaps fewer than two dozen of them, although these were concentrated in the largest enterprises and therefore represented a large number of employees. But the movement took off, and by January 1969 there were councils in about 120 enterprises, representing more than 800,000 employees, or about one-sixth of the country’s workers. This occurred despite a new mood of discouragement from the government from October 1968. read more »

  5. Police attacks Viome's "Caravan of Struggle and Solidarity" after a fruitless meeting with vice-minister

    Workers of two recuperated factories announced they will camp outside the Ministry of Labour in Athens, in protest of the authorities' stance. Minutes later, they were attacked by the police.

    Workers of the occupied self-managed factories of Viome, in Thessaloniki, and Roben, in Veria, along with supporters from all over Greece, have started their "Caravan of Struggle and Solidarity" to Athens on the afternoon of Thursday 31 June, to protest the inactivity of the government and its unwillingness to legalise the operation of the two recuperated companies. read more »

  6. 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 »

  7. 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 »

  8. 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 »

  9. 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 »

  10. 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 »

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