Worker Self-management

Vth International Gathering “The Workers’ Economy”

Call for Participation

I. Background

Since 2007, the International Gathering of “The Workers’ Economy” (Encuentro Internacional de “La Economía de los Trabajadores-Trabajadoras”) has taken place every two years. The gatherings have opened up a space for debate and dialogue between workers, social and political activists, academics, and intellectuals concerning the problems and potential of what we have termed “the workers’ economy”—based on self-management and the defence of the rights and interests of the population that lives by their work, within the rubric of today’s conjuncture of global neoliberal capitalism. read more »

The Take

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The Take is a Canadian documentary film released in 2004 by Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis. It tells the story of workers in Buenos Aires, Argentina who reclaim control of a closed Forja auto plant where they once worked and turn it into a worker cooperative.

Summary

The plant closed as a result of the economic policies of the Carlos Menem government under the watchful eye of the International Monetary Fund. read more »

Occupy, Resist, Produce - RiMaflow

In February 2013 former Maflow workers occupied the plant, together with precarious workers and workers from a nearby factory, which had been shut down after fraudulent bankruptcy. The 20 workers participating full time in the project completely reinvented themselves and the factory. They started recycling computers and electronic household devices, opened a bar and cafeteria, organize a flea market and cultural activities with the community, and have built alliances with local organic agricultural producers and together they have created a group for solidarity shopping. They plan to transform the factory into a plant for industrial recycling. read more »

Marx’s Critique of Socialist Labor-Money Schemes and the Myth of Council Communism’s Proudhonism

Some left theorists have claimed that the council communist tradition actually advocated a self-managed capitalist economy, rather than a truly communist one. This essay aims to expose and dismantle that myth by examining some writings of council communists, particularly those of the Dutch Group of International Communists and Anton Pannekoek, and comparing them with Karl Marx’s own writings on post-capitalist labor-time accounting. Through this process, I hope to show that the myth about council communism is fundamentally based on a misrepresentation of Marx’s stance on these issues. read more »

Worker Management of the Barcelona Public Transit System, 1936-1939

In the years leading up to the revolution in Spain in 1936 there had been bitter struggles of the workers...such as the long but defeated streetcar strike in 1935. A number of leading activists in that strike were sent to prison. With the victory of the liberals and social-democrats in Spain's national elections in February 1936, imprisoned unionists were freed, and the workers on the Barcelona transit system began rebuilding their union, which was to play an important role in the city during the revolutionary events of 1936. read more »

Industrial collectivisation during the Spanish revolution

Although it was in the countryside where the most far-reaching anarchist socialisation took place, the revolution took place in the cities and the towns too. At that time in Spain almost 2 million out of a total population of 24 million worked in industry, 70% of which was concentrated in one area - Catalonia. There, within hours of the fascist assault, workers had seized control of 3000 enterprises. This included all public transportation services, shipping, electric and power companies, gas and water works, engineering and automobile assembly plants, mines, cement works, textile mills and paper factories, electrical and chemical concerns, glass bottle factories and perfumeries, food processing plants and breweries.  read more »

We want to build a workshop with our communion and solidarity!

On the 31 January 2013 our boss, the Somuncu family, put us on the doorstep. We felt helpless. We were 94 labourers, our 4 months’ salary, seniority and termination was confiscated with fraud by Somuncu family. Some of us just went home, some found new jobs. Our boss had fled with the machines, yarns and the sweaters we had made. They left us with nothing except scrap. We were without a trade-union. Earlier attempts to be union members were suppressed by the pressure of the boss.
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Victory for the Fralib Workers. A New Chapter Begins.

After a three and a half year battle, an agreement has been signed between Unilever and the Fralib employees. This agreement provides for a 20 million euro financial contribution from Unilever for damages caused by the decision to close the tea and herbal infusion factory. The tea and herbal infusions cooperative can be set up and quality production on the site can restart.
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Vio.Me: workers' control in the Greek crisis

Just one among thousands of Greek companies that succumbed to the deep recession brought about by the austerity measures imposed by a series of governments, the construction materials manufacturer Vio.Me was abandoned by its owners in May 2011. Forty of its workers, organized horizontally in a militant primary workers’ union, occupied the factory, located in the outskirts of Thessaloniki, to prevent the employers from taking away the machinery before paying the workers the nearly €1.5 million owed in salaries and compensations. read more »

Argentina’s recuperated workplaces

During the 1990s and in the immediate aftermath of Argentina’s economic meltdown in 2001-2002, the country witnessed an unprecedented formation of heterogeneous social movements such as newly founded trade unions, the unemployed workers’ movement, neighbourhood assemblies, garbage collectors, swap shops and recuperated workplaces. While most initiatives quickly disappeared during Argentina’s economic recovery in the years following the crisis, occupied and recuperated enterprises successfully emerged as the strongest and most organised form of popular protest. The workers’ longstanding struggle for the recuperation of the means of production, in part, radically altered existing forms of representation and participation within the workplace. read more »

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