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

"Our to Master and to Own" - Julie Sherry - socialistreview

As the current economic crisis deepens, governments around the globe are attempting to force savage austerity measures on the working class. The argument about a different kind of society, one that is run and controlled by workers and in their interests, is now an urgent one.

Marx said that capitalism creates its own gravedigger - the working class. Our history is rich with lessons from past struggles when workers have challenged for power, sometimes confronting the bosses, sometimes confronting the capitalist state as a whole.
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It's possible, it's necessary - Antonio David Cattani - Redpepper

In Jean-Luis Cornolli’s film Cecília (a history of Giovanni Rossi, the Italian anarchist who built, with his companions, a libertarian community in the south of Brazil at the end of the 19th century) the main character speaks sublimely of comunità anarchica sperimentale. These communist principles ensured that common property and individual autonomy were guided by economic solidarity and mutually-constructed norms of living.
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New Media we recommend - Jeff Smith - griid

Ours to Master and to Own: Workers’ Control from the Commune to the Present, by Immanuel Ness and Dario Azzellini – This book was one of those history books that leaves you feeling mad that you were not taught this information in school. There is such a rich history of worker councils, workers communes and worker owned enterprises that gives one hope that more of this could happen if we were just aware of it. 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.

Gabriel Kuhn (ed.): All Power to the Councils! A Documentary History of the German Revolution

Every schoolchild on the globe knows something about the Russian Revolution from 1917. It was the origin of a state called Soviet Union and a political confrontation later known as the cold war which shaped the 20th century longer than any other political conflict.

Unlike the crucial events of 1917, the German Revolution of 1918 is not part of the global memory. It did not erect a socialist state as hoped by many of its protagonists and instead ended with a fragile republic that lasted only twelve years and was destroyed by the Nazi Party in 1933. read more »

Between Ignorance and Staging

Henning Fischer, Uwe Fuhrmann, Jana König, Elisabeth Steffen, Till Sträter (eds.):

Zwischen Ignoranz und Inszenierung: Die Bedeutung von Mythos und Geschichte für die Gegenwart der Nation (Between Ignorance and Staging: The Present Significance of Myth and History for the Nation) read more »

"Ours to Master and to Own" - Chris White - Chriswhiteonline

"Ours to Master and to Own
Workers’ Control from the Commune to the Present”
edited by Immanuel Ness and Dario Azzellini (Haymarket Books, 2011)

This excellent series of essays is essential reading for anti-capitalist activists and all those who know that we do not need our bosses.
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Introduction: Solidarity Economics – emancipatory social change or self-help?

Crisis-prone economic development, which we can understand with Mandel (1980) as following long waves of alternating periods of high and low growth, seems to correlate with a similar cycle of declining and growing interest in alternative economics. As reflected by a growing number of publications (Singer 2002; Wallerstein 2002; Albert 2003; Altvater/Sekler 2006; Gibson-Graham 2006; Santos 2006; Vilmar 2008) and activist conferences (Eid 2003; Embshoff/Giegold 2008), we can observe that economic crises encourage debates about alternative forms of organizing economies and societies. read more »

Rosa Luxemburg and the Revolutionary Antiwar Mass Strikes in Germany during World War I

Since 1906 Rosa Luxemburg was the outstanding protagonist of the revolutionary mass strike idea in Germany. After having participated for some months in the First Russian Revolution of 1905/06 she published her important essay “Mass Strikes, Political Party and Trade Unions”.  Luxemburg recommended the mass strike as a mean of pressure for getting more democratic rights. read more »

Rosa Luxemburg’s Criticism of Lenin’s Ultra Centralistic Party Concept and of the Bolshevik Revolution

In 1922 a heated controversy on Rosa Luxemburg’s manuscript “The Russian Revolution” arose in the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) and in the Communist International (KI). Paul Levi, a close friend of Rosa and since March 1919 leader of the KPD, criticised publicly the participation of the Central Committee in the March 1921 uprising in Middle Germany[1] and called it a putsch especially since some Russian advisors from the KI had urged the action. read more »

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