1960-2000: Workers' Control against Capitalist Restructuring

Worker self-management in historical perspective

Introduction

Worker self-management (WSM) has re-emerged as a major movement in Argentina, particularly this year with over 200 factories organized and controlled by their workers and a national co-coordinator of self-managed enterprises in the process of being organized. read more »

Self-Management: Dangers and Possibilities

The political formation of revolutionaries of my generation and the one immediately preceding it was deeply affected by our experience of the Russian revolution. For the first time in history the working class of a vast country had taken power, abolished the domination of capital, and begun to construct a new society – a society which, before the eyes of the world proletariat, could become a new society, a socialist society. read more »

Art and Immaterial Labour: Metamorphoses

To begin with, let us try, from a materialist standpoint, to situate historically the concept of plastic and figurative art in other words, the definition of its historically determinate link, if there is one, to the development and structure of modes of production. Can this be done? Obviously, once we're obliged to speak of art and immaterial labour, this is a useful thing to do; read more »

Toni Negri: an intellectual among the workers

I deliver here an account of my lived experience of Marghera, roughly between 1960 and 1969. Is this the story of a Bildung [education]? This notion is perhaps too charged with cultural resonances; it would be better to use the English training, which allies practical education with intellectual discipline. In reality, I do not know the appropriate manner by which to name this extraordinary apprenticeship – a decade long – in class struggle.  read more »

The malaise on the left

Forget for a moment the scare campaigns of the recent elections: Scanlon and Jones presented by the yellow press as proselytisers of red revolution, Mr. read more »

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

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.   

GLOVES OFF: WHEN THE WORKERS TAKE CONTROL

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 »

The Causes of Alienation

 

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.

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 »

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