1. 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 »

  2. 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 »

  3. 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 »

  4. 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 »

  5. 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 »

  6. Who Needs a Boss?

    Historically, worker co-ops have held the most appeal when things are harder for laborers. Yet, despite their ability to empower workers, co-ops remain largely relegated to boutique status in the U.S.

    If you happen to be looking for your morning coffee near Golden Gate Park and the bright red storefront of the Arizmendi Bakery attracts your attention, congratulations. You have found what the readers of The San Francisco Bay Guardian, a local alt-weekly, deem the city’s best bakery. But it has another, less obvious, distinction. read more »

  7. Two Books On Labor

    A review by Paul Buhle of 'An Alternative Labour History' and 'New Forms of Worker Organization'. "Readers will learn a lot and will be inspired more than a little by these volumes."

    An old question: is there a vital “workerism,” self-guided and instinctively radical, apart from socialist, communist or other left-wing political groups and can it make great reforms, even hold power in a workplace or city or national state? The question goes properly back, in socialist history, to the years before the First World War, when vast movements of unskilled, underpaid workers in North America and various parts of Europe defied socialist calls for moderation and control, that is, by left-wing party leadership. Through the immensely complicated history of the Left in the same places and across the world, most of the same questions recur. read more »

    Media: 
  8. Council Communism & The Critique of Bolshevism

    The dictatorship of a party doesn't fit with social relations based on the abolition of wage-labour and the end of exploitation of the workers.

    "Suppose the central leadership is able to distribute all of what has been produced in a righteous way. Even then the fact remains, that the producers don't have at their disposal the machinery of production. This machinery is not theirs, it is one used to dispose of them. The inevitable consequence is that those groups that oppose the existent leadership will be oppressed with force. The central economic power is in the hands of those who, at the same time, exercise the political power. read more »

  9. The Lucas Plan: What can it tell us about democratising technology today?

    Thirty-eight years ago, a movement for ‘socially useful production’ pioneered practical approaches for more democratic technology development.

    It was in January 1976 that workers at Lucas Aerospace published an Alternative Plan for the future of their corporation. It was a novel response to management announcements that thousands of manufacturing jobs were to be cut in the face of industrial restructuring, international competition, and technological change. Instead of redundancy, workers argued their right to socially useful production. read more »

  10. Who is opposed to self-management and why?

    This controversy illustrates the difference between the defeated world of ideology and the vibrant and outward-looking world of action that strives to disengage from the dominant relations.

    The venture of the self-managed VIOME in Greece has come face to face not only with the enemies of self-management “by nature and by stance”, i.e. the ruling class and the state, but also with the communist and anti-capitalist forces of the left, including the anarchist movement. Despite their differences, these forces seem to agree to the fact that within capitalism, self-management can be nothing more than a kind of workers’ “self-exploitation”, a form of a “collective capitalism”. From this perspective, not only has self-management nothing to offer in the direction of social emancipation,  but –even worse– it “absolves” capitalism of its obligation to create jobs and guarantee the welfare of all workers. read more »

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