Workers' council


Workers' council

A workers' council is a deliberative assembly, composed of working class members, intended to institute workers' self-management or 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 history with a variety of names. Notable instances include Russia in 1905 and 1917, where the councils were called "soviets," Germany during 1918 ("Räte"), Turin, Italy during 1919-1920, China during 1926-1927, Spain during 1936, Hungary during 1956, France during 1968, Chile in 1973 ("cordones"), Iran during 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 council democracy.

Some Marxists and anarchists believe 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 Stalinism or (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 Tendency and 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."] .

ee also

*Co-determination
*De Leonism
*Factory committee
*Industrial democracy
*Industrial Workers of the World
*Libertarian socialism
*Socialist Party USA
*Luxemburgism
*Paris Commune
*Solidarity (UK)
*Council democracy
*Syndicalism
*Works council
*Council communism

References

External links

* [http://en.internationalism.org/node/621 Workers' Councils: The historically discovered form of the dictatorship of the proletariat]


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