reading material for 29th september (updated)

Comrades may be interested in a look at some of the following articles, which relate to the subject of our 29th September ‘uncaptive minds’ forum on ‘the debates over workers’ control’ in the 1970s workers’ movement.

Self-management in the struggle for socialism (by Raptis, aka Pablo)

The ambiguities of “workers’ control” (Solidarity)

The struggle for self-management: an open letter to IS comrades (Solidarity)

What is Workers’ Control? (Solidarity exchange with Institute for Workers’ Control)

Workers’ Control and Revolutionary Theory: an appraisal of the publications of the Institute for Workers’ Control (Richard Hyman)

This piece is from a slightly earlier period but is still of interest:

Nationalisation: a socialist analysis (ILP)

‘uncaptive minds’ forum on workers’ control, 29th september

Our series of ‘uncaptive minds’ forums on class struggle in the 1970s continues with a meeting at 6:30pm on Monday 29th September.

The subject of the meeting will be the debates on workers’ control. Guest speaker Ian MacDonald and David Broder from the commune will be leading off a discussion on the idea of “workers’ control” of privately-owned and nationalised workplaces raised in the workers’ movement internationally in the 1970s. The issue of workers’ control and how to implement it was widely debated among trade unionists at the time, not least by partisans of workers’ self-management, a project which found particular resonance in Portugal during that country’s revolution.

The venue is in central London – contact or 07595 245494 for details.

For Chris Ford’s report on the last meeting on the 1970 Leeds clothing workers’ strike click here, or here for a report on the first meeting, which was on the subject of the 1968-74 upsurge in class struggle.

the ambiguities of “workers’ control”

The Commune has opened a discussion on the meaning of workers’ self-management and workers’ control, two concepts which are often confused with each other and given a wide range of meanings, from trade union participation on management boards to collective ownership and management of a workplace by its workers themselves. We will be having a forum on the question on 29th September, but are also looking to stimulate a broader debate in the movement. 

We will soon be publishing a review of the new Left Economics Advisory Panel pamphlet on “social ownership for the 21st century”, and have also put online two pieces from previous debates on the meaning of “workers’ control”: an exchange between the libertarian socialist ‘Solidarity’ group and the Institute for Workers’ Control as well as the piece below, also from ‘Solidarity’. Continue reading “the ambiguities of “workers’ control””

kapd documents in ‘ideas’

Introduction by Chris Ford

The following two texts are from the Communist Workers’ Party of Germany (KAPD).  The KAPD is mostly known through the critique written by Lenin, ‘Left-Wing’ Communism – An Infantile Disorder, aimed at the KAPD amongst others.   As result the KAPD are often simply dismissed amongst the traditional left as “anarchists” and “ultra-left”.  In fact the KAPD were none of these things:  they were a mass communist party and played a key role in the German Revolution. Continue reading “kapd documents in ‘ideas’”

new articles in ‘ideas’

we have added two more articles to the ‘ideas‘ section of the commune.

both are by the croatian marxist gajo petrović, one on marx’s theory of alienation and another on philosophy and socialism, which not only combat the philistine attitudes of so-called marxists towards large areas of marx’s thinking but also outline his attempts to understand human thought in its totality.

petrović was an ardent advocate of workers’ self-management, and was expelled from the league of communists of yugoslavia on account of his support for the 1968 workers’ and students’ protests against the regime. he then became a leading figure in the praxis school.

new content in ‘ideas’

we have added more content to the ‘ideas‘ section of the commune.

first off is a piece on self-management in the struggle for socialism by michel raptis – also known as michel pablo and at one time a leading member of the trotskyist international secretariat of the fourth international – who in the late 1960s and early 1970s turned his focus towards workers’ self-management.

tamás krausz describes the struggle for workers’ self-management in action with his article on the workers’ councils in hungary in 1956, where workers mounted a revolution against the stalinist bureaucracy and tried to take power, only to be crushed by russian tanks.

then we reproduce kevin anderson’s essay on lenin’s engagement with hegelian philosophy during world war one, and his little-read hegel notebooks.

and in state capitalism or bureaucratic collectivism? chris ford introduces the debate in the united states workers’ party over the class character of the soviet union, and we republish speeches by raya dunayevskaya and max shachtman.