Anton Pannekoek

Anton Pannekoek (2 January 1873 – 28 April 1960) was a Dutch astronomer and revolutionary. As a recognized Marxist theorist, Pannekoek was a main figure in the radical left in the Netherlands and Germany. 

Pannekoek was best known for his writing on workers' councils. He regarded these as a new form of organisation capable of overcoming the limitations of the old institutions of the labour movement, the trade unions and social democratic parties. Pannekoek argued that the workers' revolution and the transition from capitalism to communism had to be achieved by the workers themselves, democratically organised in workers' councils. read more »

Anton Pannekoek: a brief biography

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 »

A Paul Mattick Interview

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 »

The Castoriadis-Pannekoek Exchange (1953 - 1954): Second letter

Your letter has provided a great satisfaction to all the comrades of the group; satisfaction of seeing our work appreciated by a comrade honored as you are and who has devoted an entire life to the proletariat and to socialism; satisfaction of seeing confirmed our idea of a profound agreement between you and us on the fundamental points; satisfaction finally of being able to discuss with you and of enriching our review with this discussion. read more »

The Castoriadis-Pannekoek Exchange (1953 - 1954): First letter

I offer you many thanks for the series of eleven issues of Socialisme ou Barbarie that you gave to comrade B… to give to me. I read them (though I haven’t yet finished) with great interest, because of the great agreement between us that they reveal. 

read more »

Marx’s Critique of Socialist Labor-Money Schemes and the Myth of Council Communism’s Proudhonism

Some left theorists have claimed that the council communist tradition actually advocated a self-managed capitalist economy, rather than a truly communist one. This essay aims to expose and dismantle that myth by examining some writings of council communists, particularly those of the Dutch Group of International Communists and Anton Pannekoek, and comparing them with Karl Marx’s own writings on post-capitalist labor-time accounting. Through this process, I hope to show that the myth about council communism is fundamentally based on a misrepresentation of Marx’s stance on these issues. read more »

Anton Pannekoek: Workers Councils

"This book has been written in the war years 1941-42 under the occupation of Holland by the Germans. The author, who during many years attentively observed and sometimes actively took part in the workers' movement, gives here a summary of what from these experiences and study may be derived as to methods and aims of the workers' fight for freedom. What a century of workers' struggles presents to us is neither a series of ever again failing attempts at liberalism, nor a steadfast forward march of the workers following a fixed plan of old well-tried tactics.