Europe

Proletarian Power: The Turin Factory Councils 1919-1920

The Turin Factory Council movement which emerged at the height of the Bienno Rosso, the two red years which threatened to overthrow Italian capitalism, represents one of the high points of working class struggle in the history of the world labor movement. read more »

A Deeper Look at the Mondragon Principles 3: The Instrumental and Subordinate Nature of Capital

“We do not aspire to economic development as an end, but as a means.”

–Don José María Arizmendiarrieta, spiritual founder of Mondragon read more »

A Deeper Look at the Mondragon Principles 2: Participatory Management

The next principle from Mondragon is that of Participatory Management. This seems like a no-brainer for worker co-operatives. What is the point of going through all the work of setting up a worker co-op if the workers don’t actually have a say in how the place is run? They would be better off in a unionized Employee Stock Ownership Program. read more »

Sewer Syndicalism: Worker Self-Management in Public Services

In the current US political climate, the prospects of implementing a robust form of public service syndicalism will surely appear remote. Yet, the example of Britain suggests that at least measured steps in that direction might be politically feasible here. Particularly at the state and municipal levels, there may be opportunities to engage in “novel social and economic experiments” with worker-run public services. Through such experimentation, public services under worker control can serve as demonstration projects to promote workplace democracy and worker empowerment more broadly. read more »

Kazova workers claim historic victory in Turkey

"No, I didn’t receive any compensation, but I did get a factory,” was Aynur Aydemir’s response to one of her former colleagues from the Kazova textile factory, when she was asked if she had ever received any of the money their former bosses still owed them. “Whether it’s going to be successful or not, whether it’s old or new, I have a factory. We might lack the necessary capital to run this business, and we might fail in the future, but at least we got something.” read more »

Yugoslavia’s self-management

Sixty years ago, the Federal Assembly of Yugoslavia inaugurated workers' self-management. The Yugoslav experiment is a gold mine of experiences; it was the most comprehensive long-term attempt to establish popular self-government in history. As such, its analysis is a very useful starting point for the future: as it is useful to learn about the positive aspects of this experience, it is also good to learn from Yugoslav mistakes and limitations. read more »

Memories

My name is Jan Appel, and I was born in a village in Mecklenburg in 1890. I attended elementary school and learned the shipbuilding trade. Even before my birth my father had been a Socialist. I myself became a member of the Sozial-demokratische Partei Deutschlands [SPD] on reaching 18 years of age. I saw military service from 1911 to 1913, and thereafter as a soldier in the War. In October 1917 I was demobilised and sent to work in Hamburg as a shipyard worker. In 1918 we called a strike of armaments workers. The strike held out for a whole week at the Vulkan-Werft. 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.