State Enterprises

The Institute for Workers’ Control

In the year 2003, Ken Coates collected together and had published a number of articles which he had written in the 1960s and 70s on industrial democracy and entitled the book, Workers Control Another World is Possible. He obtained contributions from the newly elected leaders of two of the largest unions, Derek Simpson of the Engineers Union and Tony Woodley of the Transport & General Workers, together with supporting introductory messages from five other unions, the journalists, the firemen, the communications workers, the bakers, and public and commercial services unions.

The Way Forward to Workers' Control

The whole question of workers' control is once again becoming an important issue in the British Labour Movement. In some ways, the situation today is analogous to that before the First World War. Expansion of Industry, coupled with inflation, in the years up to 1914, provided the basis for aggressive union action and the growth of ideas concerning workers' control, culminating in a historic pamphlet, the 'Miners Next Step'. It provided the impetus for the growth of the Shop Steward Movement, which arose during the war years itself. read more »

Self-Management and Requirements for Social Property: Lessons from Yugoslavia

Problems with transitions in Eastern Europe have focused attention on alternatives to both central-planning and unregulated markets. Naive enthusiasm for the market has already begun to wane in the face of growing economic chaos and inequality, precipitating a search for more humane and stable forms of organization. Theoretically and in practice, worker self-management is being advocated as a system able to produce efficiently and at the same time distribute goods and power equitably.
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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 »

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 »

'Social ownership for the 21st century'

The publication of Social ownership for the 21st century by the Labour Representation Committee on behalf of the Left Economics Advisory Panel is a significant development.  For the first time in nearly three decades an important section of the labour movement is at last developing a discussion on the questions of forms of social ownership, workers’ control and workers’ self-management.  The Tragedy of read more »

Venezuela: Class Struggle Heats Up Over Battle for Workers’ Control

On July 22, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez again declared his complete support for the proposal by industrial workers for a new model of production based on workers’ control. This push from Chavez, part of the socialist revolution, aims at transforming Venezuela’s basic industry. However, it faces resistance from within the state bureaucracy and the revolutionary movement. read more »

Jugoslavias's crossroads

Socialists all over the world have shown increasing interest in the workings of the Jugoslav economy in recent years. The discrediting of Stalinism and a growing appreciation of the economic and political problems of the bureaucratic State have focused attention on the techniques of decentralization that the Jugoslavs have been practising since the break with the Soviet Union in 1948. Today the Jugoslav "model" arouses envy in many parts of Eastern Europe as well as alarm in China. read more »

A Multiple Socialist Administration Model and Enterprises of Social Property (ESP) in Venezuela - Success, Difficulties, Prospects

For a transition from capitalism to socialism the multiple  socialist administration model is proposed in order to avoid what the author calls the Soviet mode of production, in which, despite the elimination of the private property of the means of production, there still persisted social alienation, a hierarchical social division of labor and thus the exploitation of man by man.  Through Direct Social Property Enterprises (the property of popular communities) and Indirect Social Property Enterprises (state property) articulated in hegemonic integral socio-productive chains and networks and with the participation of forms of private property, including cooperatives, it is possible to advance toward integral sustainable human development. read more »

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