- Workers' council
A workers' council is a
deliberative assembly, composed of working classmembers, intended to institute workers' self-managementor workers' control. Unlike a trade union, in a workers' council the workers are assumed to be in actual control of the workplace, rather than merely negotiating with employers through collective bargaining. They are a form of " workplace democracy."
Workers' councils have arisen repeatedly through modern
historywith a variety of names. Notable instances include Russia in 1905 and 1917, where the councils were called "soviets," Germanyduring 1918 ("Räte"), Turin, Italyduring 1919-1920, China during 1926-1927, Spain during 1936, Hungary during 1956, France during 1968, Chilein 1973 (" cordones"), Iranduring 1978-1979 ("shoras" [cite book | last = Poya | first = Maryam | authorlink = Elaheh Rostami | title = Revolutionary Rehearsals | editor = Colin Barker | chapter = IRAN 1979: Long live the Revolution! ... Long Live Islam? | year = 2002 | origyear = 1987 | publisher = Haymarket Books| location = Chicago| isbn = 1-931859-02-7 | pages = 143-9] ), and from at the latest 2002 to the present in Venezuela [ [http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/2520 Venezuela’s Co-Managed Inveval: Surviving in a Sea of Capitalism] ] .
The key features of a workers' council include the phenomenon that a single place of work, such as a
factory, school, or farm, is controlled collectively by the workers of that workplace. Basically an elected group of workers from that workplace function as the manager. Therefore, management reflects employee values and goals.
Councils operate on the principle of recallable
delegates. This means that elected delegates may be recalled at any time through a vote in a form of impeachment.
Workers' councils combine to elect higher bodies for coordinating between one another. This means that the upper councils are not superior to the lower councils, but are instead built from and operated by them. The national council would therefore have delegates from every city in the country. Their nature means that workers' councils do away with traditional centralized governments and instead give the power directly to the people. This type of democratic order is called
Some Marxists and
anarchistsbelieve that workers' councils (communes) embody the fundamental principles of socialism, such as workers' control over production and distribution. Indeed, some have described this as "socialism from below," which they counterpose against what they see as "socialism from above" endorsed by social democratic ideology and Stalinismor (in the anarchist view) Leninism. According to this view, socialism from above is carried out by a centralized state run by an elite bureaucratic apparatus, whereas socialism from below represents the self-administration and self-rule of the working class.
Some Left-Marxists (particularly council communists) and anarchists support a council-based society; believing that only the workers themselves can spark the revolution and so workers' councils will be the foundation of the revolution. There are also Leninists (for example the
International Socialist Tendencyand its offshoots) who advocate a council-based society [cite book | first = John | last = Molyneux | authorlink = John Molyneux (politician) | title = The Future Socialist Society | place = Chicago | publisher = Haymarket Books| year = 2003 | origyear = 1987 | pages = 5-6 "... the core institutions of the new state will be ... the network of workers' councils." ] , but maintain that workers' councils cannot carry out a revolution without the leadership of a vanguard party[cite book | first = John | last = Molyneux | authorlink = John Molyneux (politician) | title = Marxism and the Party | place = Chicago | publisher = Haymarket Books| year = 2003 |origyear = 1978 | pages = 79 "Only with the growth of the Bolsheviks into a mass party and with the emergence of a Bolshevik majority in the soviets were these embryos of workers' state power able to fulfil their potentiality."] .
Industrial Workers of the World
Socialist Party USA
* [http://en.internationalism.org/node/621 Workers' Councils: The historically discovered form of the dictatorship of the proletariat]
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