Workers' control

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, many governments are nationalising key industries and services. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, however, has relied solely on the market. Profit is standing in the way of an effective response to this crisis.

The Russian Revolution is the greatest event in human history, because for the first time the working class not only led a revolution, but took power directly into their own hands and proceeded to transform society. The act is slandered as undemocratic, when in reality it involved the most far-reaching and revolutionary democracy the world has ever seen. In this article, Daniel Morley explains how this worked in practice.

Late on the night of Sunday, 25 November, rumours began to trickle out about the impending closure of the Oshawa General Motors plant. The following morning the terrible news was confirmed to be true. In response, workers of Unifor Local 222 staged a spontaneous wildcat walkout. The closure is a massive blow to the working class of the city and the province which cannot be allowed to stand. The capitalists have shown themselves to be incapable of providing decent employment. It is up to the workers to take action to defend their jobs and union.

Along with the renewed discussion in Britain around renationalisation (a policy promised by the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn), the idea of workers’ control and workers’ management has re-emerged. Indeed, John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has said that renationalised companies should not be run like they were in the past, but should instead be run under workers’ control.

In this recording from the Revolution 2016 weekend school, Daniel Morley of the Socialist Appeal editorial board discusses the idea of workers' democracy, contrasting this with the formal democracy that we have under capitalism, and explaining the ways in which the working class can take control of the wider economy.

On 15 May 2010, Elio Sayago, a revolutionary activist with a long history of struggle, was named worker-president of CVG Alcasa by [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chavez, with the explicit order to implement Worker Control and the Socialist Guyana Plan. As the comrade relates in this interview, his management has been the victim of a series of bureaucratic traps; from the violent seizure of the company’s front gates, to manoeuvres aimed at unduly removing him from his post.

At the end of June I had the opportunity of visiting Venezuela where I attended the national conference of “Class Struggle” (Lucha de Clases), the Venezuelan section of the International Marxist Tendency. What I witnessed is an increased polarisation between left and right, but above all an open clash between the revolutionary wing of the Bolivarian movement and the reformists and bureaucrats. In a series of articles I will attempt to illustrate this.

The long delayed VI Congress of the Cuban Communist Party took place on April 16-19 in Havana and discussed the Guidelines on Economic and Social Policy for the Party and the Revolution. The Congress was timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the attempted Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, when Fidel Castro proclaimed the “socialist character of the revolution”.

The Flasko factory which has been occupied and run under workers’ control for the past eight years needs your help. We are publishing a manifesto produced by the workers of the factory that we ask you to sign your name to. Please take part in the solidarity campaign and spread the word.

Hundreds of workers occupy three Visteon car manufacturing factories in Britain after the management closed them down, laying off the entire workforce with no notice, violating their contracts. This is reminiscent of the factory occupations of the 1970s.

We publish here an interview with Yeant Sabino, general secretary of Sutra-Vivex. He explains how the workers occupied Vivex, a plant which produces windscreens for the car industry, and how they are organising themselves through committees. The workers are demanding of President Chavez that he should nationalise their factory.

As part of the campaign against the Bolivarian Revolution and President Chavez, the owner of Sanitarios Maracay has announced the closure of the factory. The workers, in defence of their jobs and the revolution, have occupied the factory and demanding that the Bolivarian government nationalise it under workers'control.

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