social ownership and workers’ self-management

A motion to the Labour Representation Committee conference proposed by The Commune

The Labour Representation Committee notes this year marks the twentieth anniversary of the fall the Berlin Wall, and the beginning of the change of regimes in the USSR and Eastern Europe in the years 1989-1991. Conference salutes the great freedom struggles by the working people, of the communist and socialist oppositionists to the dictatorships which ruled in the name of “actually existing socialism”, such as the rebellions of 1953 in Berlin, 1956 in Hungary and Poland, 1968 in Czechoslovakia, 1980-1989 in Poland, and the myriad struggles in the USSR.

Conference recognises that the legacy of the Stalinist regimes continues to hinder the struggle for a new society today. As part of developing the vision of a viable alternative to capitalism in the 21st century, our movement needs to learn the lessons of their historical failure, including of the previous state socialist conceptions. The Labour Representation Committee conference recognises that:

1. State ownership, no matter what pseudonym it goes under is not social ownership – they are two counter-opposed things – one cannot
equate the state with society.
2. The state is not a neutral force concerned only with the welfare of society. The state is not a vehicle to achieve ‘socialism’, nor can it be relied upon to act a protective shield against capital.

The capitalist system, whether in its private or state forms of appearance, does not and cannot work in the interest of the majority.

It is an unjust system, an economic tyranny where the rulers at all levels make the crucial social and economic decisions that affect our lives, solely on the basis of what will increase its profits and promote its interests. The Labour Representation Committee considers that the people who should have the deciding voice on the economy and its problems, are the people most directly connected with it, the
workers who produce the goods and services.

As such the Labour Representation Committee sets as its goal a system of genuine social ownership, organised on the basis of workers’ self-management, a system of participatory democracy based on the sovereignty of those who produce the good and services in society.

Conference recognises if we are to realise the slogan ‘another world is possible’, that workers’ self-management is a necessity in the creation of a new cooperative, society – genuine socialism/communism – based on common, social ownership.

Conference agrees:

1. To hold a series of forums and conferences on the question of social ownership and workers self-management, with LEAP and fraternal organisations.
2. To publish a series of pamphlets on making the case for social ownership and workers’ self-management, drawing on historical, international and contemporary experiences of the working class.
3. To develop with affiliated trades unions the case for workers’ self-management in specific industries.
4. From these discussions and debates to take forward a campaign for workers’ self-management and social ownership.