Workers' Councils

The Forgotten Workers’ Control Movement of Prague Spring

At the time of the [August 1968] Soviet invasion [of Czechoslovakia], two months after the first workers’ councils were formed, there were perhaps fewer than two dozen of them, although these were concentrated in the largest enterprises and therefore represented a large number of employees. But the movement took off, and by January 1969 there were councils in about 120 enterprises, representing more than 800,000 employees, or about one-sixth of the country’s workers. This occurred despite a new mood of discouragement from the government from October 1968. read more »

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 »

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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Self-Management in Agriculture, Industry and Public Services during the 1936 Spanish Revolution

Spanish anarcho-syndicalism from its inception had adopted an initial programme not only of wage demands, the right to work, improvements in conditions, but also the realisation of Libertarian Communism. Before 19 July 1936 the anarchists had proclaimed the anarchist Social Revolution in many places in Spain such as Casas Viejas, Alto Liobregat and Gijon, all of which were areas which had a large anarcho-syndicalist following. In all these villages or towns property registers were burned, money abolished and Libertarian Communism made reality. read more »

Self-Management: Dangers and Possibilities

The political formation of revolutionaries of my generation and the one immediately preceding it was deeply affected by our experience of the Russian revolution. For the first time in history the working class of a vast country had taken power, abolished the domination of capital, and begun to construct a new society – a society which, before the eyes of the world proletariat, could become a new society, a socialist society. read more »

Toni Negri: an intellectual among the workers

I deliver here an account of my lived experience of Marghera, roughly between 1960 and 1969. Is this the story of a Bildung [education]? This notion is perhaps too charged with cultural resonances; it would be better to use the English training, which allies practical education with intellectual discipline. In reality, I do not know the appropriate manner by which to name this extraordinary apprenticeship – a decade long – in class struggle.  read more »

The malaise on the left

Forget for a moment the scare campaigns of the recent elections: Scanlon and Jones presented by the yellow press as proselytisers of red revolution, Mr. read more »

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