Early 20th Century: Workers' Councils and Workers' Control in Revolution

Revolutionary Shop Stewards and Workers Councils in the German Revolution

If Ralf Hoffrogge were writing within an American context rather than a German one, he would be situated between two important developments in the United States. A new cohort of social movement historians is addressing the gaps in anarchist, anti-authoritarian, and left-communist historiography. Neighboring this is a resurgence of interest in workers' councils historically and in the contemporary period. read more »

The Frontier of Control: a study in British workshop politics - Carter L. Goodrich

In his classic work, The Frontier of Control, Carter L. Goodrich examined the workplace organisation amongst miners and others workers, as well as the growing syndicalism in the unions and the guild socialist movement, in the UK in the turbulent period of 1919-1920.  In this he identified the site of struggle around the frontier between management prerogative - or 'complete executive control' - and full workers' control. 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 »

Council Communism & The Critique of Bolshevism

"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 »

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. 

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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 »

Council Organisation

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 »

Workers’ Control

Before we examine the configuration of the draft bill presented by Hon. Giolitti to the Chamber of Deputies, or the possibilities which it opens up, it is essential to establish the viewpoint from which the communists approach discussion of the problem. read more »

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