1. Occupation, worker co-operatives and the struggle for power: Britain in the 1970s

    Britain in the 1970s was a period of crisis and polarisation. Workplace closure led to resistance by workers, which defined the relations between capital and labour for subsequent decades.

    The essence of occupation as a form of industrial action is that it inherently challenges the basis of private property under capitalism, that workers appropriate the means of production.  However these expressions involve the abandonment of the means of production by labour. The temporary occupation of the workplace immediately raises the issue of the commodification of labour in the form of ‘job rights’ of the worker investment of their labour as “a momentary of the disposal by the capitalist”. Even when they occur individually or in small number,  occupation often requires a renegotiation of relations with the dominant economy as worker cooperative or nationalised enterprise - be it with the demand of being ‘under worker control’ - as their conclusion.   
  2. GLOVES OFF: WHEN THE WORKERS TAKE CONTROL

    A review of the book "New Forms of Worker Organization" by Immanuel Ness

    In 1972-73 women machinists at the Whyalla Glove Factory were faced with redundancy as the company – James North – decided to close the factory down. The women challenged the management’s prerogative to close the factory as it saw fit, and occupied it.

    The story is told by Verity Burgmann, Ray Jureidini (who seems to have done the research for the Whyalla part of the story) and Meredith Burgmann in ‘Doing without the Boss: Workers’ Control Experiments in Australia in the 1970s’. read more »

  3. Heart of the Factory / Corazón de Fábrica

    Argentina 2008 - 120' - English subtitles

    In a poor country looted by its own governments and businessmen, the workers of Zanon Ceramic take the factory in their own hands when the owner closes it. They start to produce ceramics again, but without bosses. Now, they feel free. They’ve found in their work a way to grow humanly. But at the same time, they have to assume a series of responsibilities and challenges. Usually, this provokes serious arguments among them or with themselves. During that process, the workers had to study and to overcome themselves in order to solve all the problems linked to the areas of production. Through the democratic assembly, they found a way to support their organisation and learn how to take their own decisions in the management. 

    read more »

  4. Seven Theses on Workers’ Control

    These theses written in the context of the 1970s 'autonomia operaia' in Italy intend to initiate a debate on workers’ control of the factories as a 'democratic and peaceful' road to socialism.

    The demand for workers’ control of the factories is at the center of the “democratic and peaceful road” to socialism. read more »

  5. Council Organisation

    Excerpt from the book “Workers' Councils”

    The Workers' Councils are the form of self-government which in the times to come will replace the forms of government of the old world. Of course not for all future; none such form is for eternity. When life and work in community are natural habit, when mankind entirely controls its own life, necessity gives way to freedom and the strict rules of justice established before dissolve into spontaneous behavior. Workers' councils are the form of organization during the transition period in which the working class is fighting for dominance, is destroying capitalism and is organizing social production. read more »

  6. Unions and councils

    The proletarian organization which assembles, as the total expression of the worker and peasant mass, in the central offices of the Confederazione del Lavoro, is passing through a constitutional crisis similar in nature to the crisis in which the democratic parliamentary state vainly debates. The solution of one will be the solution of the other, since, resolving the problem of the will of power in the case of their class organization, the workers will arrive at the creation of the organic scaffolding of their state and they will counterpose it victoriously to the parliamentary state. read more »

  7. The Causes of Alienation

    Human alienation will disappear through the withering away of commodity production and social division of labour, through the disappearance of private ownership of the means of production.

     

    Alienation results from a certain form of organisation of society. More concretely, only in a society which is based on commodity production and only under the specific economic and social circumstances of a market economy, can the objects which we project out of us when we produce acquire a socially oppressive existence oftheir own and be integrated in an economic and social mechanism which becomes oppressive and exploitative of human beings.

  8. 'Social ownership for the 21st century'

    A review by Chris Kane of the book 'Building the new common sense: Social ownership for the 21st century'

    The publication of Social ownership for the 21st century by the Labour Representation Committee on behalf of the Left Economics Advisory Panel is a significant development.  For the first time in nearly three decades an important section of the labour movement is at last developing a discussion on the questions of forms of social ownership, workers’ control and workers’ self-management.  The Tragedy of read more »

  9. The ambiguities of workers’ control

    ‘What do you mean by workers’ control? is a question to press on anyone now raising the slogan. Those who seek to answer this question will discover to their amazement that none of these pundits proposes a clear and unambiguous definition. Some of the usual answers are listed below. We have grouped the ans­wers under three-main headings. read more »

  10. Socialism and the transformation of work

    Workers' management is not just a new administrative technique: it means that for the mass of people, new relations will have to develop with their work, the very content of work will have to alter.

    Socialism will only be brought about by the autonomous action of the majority of the population. Socialist society is nothing other than the self-organization of this autonomy. Socialism both presupposes this autonomy, and helps to develop it. read more »

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