Immanuel Ness

Worker Direct Action Grows in Global North in Wake of Financial Meltdown

The wave of factory occupations continuing through 2009 may represent only the beginning of a broader sit-down movement throughout the world, and, following examples in Latin America, demands for work

The traditional path of labor-management collective bargaining has taken a dramatic turn in an era in which unions are too weak or timid to take action even as joblessness grows and companies losing financing are forced into bankruptcy by their creditors. As plants close and layoffs grow—and as workers recognize they can no longer interrupt the workflow with a strike when there is no flow to be interrupted—they are engaging in militant action to save their jobs and livelihoods. read more »

2011 Eastern Conference in Baltimore

Immanuel Ness reports, via the "Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung", on the 2011 Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy. read more »

Worker Cooperatives in the United States: A Historical Perspective and Contemporary Assessment

While labor unions gave some workers a voice, other workers organized in their rural and urban communities to democratically control and take ownership of their workplaces.

    The philosophical foundation of the worker cooperative movement emerged in the 19th century in response to capitalist efforts to destabilize workers during the Industrial Revolution in England.  Two main factors propelled popular demands for cooperatives: invention of the "spinning mule" and the steam engine—new technologies that shaped a vast expansion in textile production, reducing worker wages and lengthening the work day.  Initiation of new mass production also reduced business demand for skilled labor and spurred migration to urban areas.  The deskilling of labor contributed to arduous working conditions and long hours that expanded poverty in the burgeoning industrial cities. The concentration of laborers working in the factories spurred the formation of trade unions to shorten hours, improve working conditions, and increase wages.  While labor unions gave some workers a voice in private businesses, other workers rejected traditional bureaucratic trade unions and sought a democratic voice in the fundamental decisions of their workplaces and communities.  To achieve this goal, these workers organized in their rural and urban communities to democratically control and take ownership of their workplaces, and build greater certainty in their livelihood. read more »

Workers' control in the United States of America

The United States cooperative and council movement is rooted in sustained working-class struggles against the most rapacious forms of capitalism in rural agrarian regions and, since late-19th century, expanded into urban production industries. For about 150 years, working class efforts to form cooperatives and self-organized workplaces have endured in response to predatory corporate expropriation and as a means of resisting capitalist oppression through establishing socialist self-management and workers democracy. read more »

Intersections between worker cooperatives and labour unions

Speech hold the 4th November 2011 at the International Conference: «Den Betrieb übernehmen. Einstieg in Transformation?» / «Occupy, Resist, Produce». Worker Cooperatives – Potential for Transformation?

Panel: Gewerkschaften und Betriebsübernahmen/Genossenschaften

03. - 05.11.2011, Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, Berlin

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