12. Self-management and communisation

Submitted by Spassmaschine on December 17, 2009

Isn't there a danger of self-management in these struggles, as at LIP in the past or today Zanon and Brukman in Argentina ? How can the workers move from the terrain of class society, from the fight for higher wages and better working conditions, i.e. from fighting as workers for their existence as workers, to a higher level, i.e. one that reaches the human community? Could you tell us something about the concept of communisation?

In the full sense of the word, long term self-management is impossible in this society, but nothing prevents workers from trying to implement it, especially when the firm goes bankrupt or the boss runs away for financial or political motives. This has happened quite a few times, even on a large scale as in Portugal 1974-75 or Argentina after 2001. Self-management is the utmost possible worker autonomy within a company that is not questioned as a company. So the "risk" of self-management will always exist.

As regards the transition to a higher level opposed to self-management, there's no secret recipe, and it does not depend on anybody's (or our) intervention. Your question seems in contradiction with the perfectly right statement on historical non-automaticity in your question 9. Any big event (and even more so a social crisis) contains elements that are irreducible to analysis. Nobody had foreseen 1968.

About communisation, please see our answer 10. In any case, it has nothing to do with social-democratic style "socialisations". When after 1918 the Austro-Marxists in office in Vienna socialised parts of the economy, they naturally put union and party experts in charge, and also kept these firms as firms, as poles of value accumulation competing with other poles (whether or not they were really competitive is another matter). Wage labour and commodity, and therefore capitalism, continued. If bourgeois power on the shop floor was somehow limited... by bureaucratic power, nothing diminished the political power of the bourgeoisie, which maintained its direct or indirect hold on the police, the army and the judiciary, as was proved a few years later when worker protest was suppressed in successive bloodbaths. Every socialisation, in France and Italy after 1945 for example, followed that pattern. Communising is not collectivising the industry and the countryside while leaving intact the central State machine. Social transformation does not replace the destruction of political power: it strengthens that destruction. Each aspect must go along with the other, or both will fail.