We want to work and to manage our work!

MASA's leaflet from 19th March's demo.

Submitted by Iskra on March 21, 2011

People often say for us libertarians that we are "romantics", "idealists", "utopians" or that we should just "get a job". That is simply not true. Among other things, the Network of Anarcho-Syndicalists (MASA) is an organization of workers working eight hours a day, who are forced to take their work home with them, who sometimes work in exhausting conditions, who are ripped-off for their wages and who are, just like everyone else, insecure about their future, which, especially if you take into account today’s high rate of unemployment, mainly depends on whether we’ll have a job or not. In short, we are in the same situation like most Croatian citizens and we want to work as much as the majority. But to work and to live from our work is not our only goal – we also want to be able to manage our work ourselves. What exactly does that mean?

It means that we don't believe that having bosses above us is necessary to work and organise our workplaces efficiently. We think that if we are the ones who work, then we are the ones who have the right to run our workplaces, and that the fruits of our labour can be equally distributed in society, rather than sent to the private pockets of capitalists and politicians. This is one of our long-term goals. Is it achievable? Without any hesitation – yes.

How do we plan to achieve it? Of course, the solution is not simple, nor instant, but we believe that creating direct-democratic organizations at the workplace (basic unions), college, school or district (neighbourhood) would be a good first step in achieving our goals. There has been a lot of talk about Direct Democracy these days, but what exactly does that mean? Direct democracy does not only imply a method of political organising - it is possible to implement it in any surroundings - in family relationships, love relationships, in the workplace; the supermarket, the factory, in a club or association, in schools, wherever. Direct democracy is a method of decision-making by which all those who are affected by the decision also participate in the procedure of decision-making, and decisions are adopted by direct participation through a discussion followed by consensus or voting; no matter whether it is about environmental issues, workers rights, preventing the devastation of the city, fighting the commercialisation of education. The fundamental difference between a direct-democratic organizations and a representative one is that the direct-democratic organization has no leader in the traditional sense, but all those who discuss and decide take on the responsibility. A group that discuss a particular problem selects a delegate who is under an imperative mandate. This means that he has no power of independent decision making, does not accept negotiations, settlements and agreements on his own responsibility, but only on behalf of those who sent him, he cannot be bought , flattered or frightened (as union leaders). Any suggestion that is offered at the talks, he transfers to the base to be discussed. A delegate may be recalled at any time and is elected for a short term, and he also does not have to be a grand and educated politician, nor a charismatic personality. That is how democracy "from the base" works, and examples of this type of organization exist today throughout the world. The establishment of such networked directly-democratic organization is also one of the goals of MASA. Is this achievable? We clearly say - yes.

To create organizations on the principles of direct democracy; organized not on the basis of religion, ethnicity, nationality or affiliation to political party, but on being conscious that we experience humiliation and exploitation by politicians, bosses, employers and managers - this is our goal. Is this achievable? Absolutely. Unified, solidary and resolute, these organizations can give a painful blow, one after another, to this unjust capitalist system, defending in the short term the social rights obtained in past struggles that are threatened daily, and in long-term to bring the system to its knees and amidst the ruins of the old - to build a new one. To take the running of our workplaces into our own hands, to manage our own work, innovatively and constructively upgrading every day, and to help create a more humane and just society - that is our goal. If it is yours too - join us!