Organisation of Work

Submitted by Juan Conatz on December 22, 2010

PERHAPS, inspired by irony, the parliament of the second Spanish Republic proclaimed in the preamble of the Constitution "The Spanish Republic of Workers." Many have held this an absurdity and added that a more just title would be "Spain, a republic of police, or workers -- in jail." A Republic of Workers is not created in parliament not even by decree of State. It has to be made by the Workers, in their working places and not outside of them.

We will sketch here the economic organism of the Revolution and give the general lines of the new economic structure. We don't pretend to erect new tablets of law but it goes without saying, a Republic of Workers should have as its fundamental basis work, eliminating private owners and middlemen. A Republic of Workers must take possession of all social wealth and undertake all administration by the producers themselves. In the past number of years a good deal of constructive socialist literature has been contributed by the anarchists. More important still has been the popular faith in the possibility of a change in the economic and political conditions in order to assure all human beings a minimum of existence through the work of every individual.

We realise that the road to reconstruction of the world is not free from obstacles, errors and cross-roads. No human being is infallible, much less an institution, no matter how revolutionary or proletarian he may be. What is important as a first step is to create the organism which will have to solve the daily and immediate problems of the Revolution. This organism we believe can be no other than organised labor, without intervention of State and without intermediaries and parasites.

We cannot return to an economic primitivism; we must aspire to a regime of production and distribution by the producers and the consumers themselves, realising the maximum coordination of all the productive factors. Contrary to the essence of capitalistic economy which has been unable to avoid the terrible waste and suicidal localist economy, we would proceed more on a national coordinated scale of maximum and widest possibilities. We agree with Cornelissen that the nucleus of production is each establishment and not the trade.

In a single modern establishment the workers of various trades and crafts can work together and prepare the local, national or international organization of all the establishments in the respective branches of industry.

Naturally it is necessary to preserve the liberty of the individual within the group, that of the group within the syndicate, of the syndicate in the branch council, of the latter in the local council, etc. At the same time, multiple exceptions would have to be allowed for. Consequently there must be created a general inclusive organism of economy which we will try to outline.

It is not our dream of the future which we will try to define, but what is actually feasible with the given human material in the present world conditions. We can go beyond the regime of private capitalism without going over to state capitalism. We will give to those who work, the means of becoming the real owners of production and distribution. If our project does not fulfil the aspiration of the more exigent, and we are among them, it is nevertheless something alive which doesn't shut the door on hope and the possibility of future perfection.

Work will be a right, and at the same time, an obligation.

Economic life cannot be interrupted; on the contrary, the Revolution must stimulate it powerfully and we must know now on what basis to educate ourselves in order to continue producing, distributing and consuming during and after the Revolution not only by the partisans of the Revolution but also by those contrary to it. It is feared that in a free society those indisposed to productive labor will easily elude their obligations. However in a system of organised labor it is very difficult to live on the margin of production. Excesses of coercion and rigour are more to be feared than the loosening of 0 the ties of productive cohesion. That is why we say that the next Revolution in which the anarchists will give all their enthusiasm, all their fighting spirit, all their sacrifice will be a Revolution behind which resistance to force has no place. We foresee a long and fecund libertarian labor after the crushing of capitalism, because centuries of education under privilege and for privilege cannot be wiped out by a single stroke.

In place of the capitalist, private owner and entrepreneur, after the Revolution we will have factory, shop or industrial Councils, constituted of workers, executives, and technicians in representation of the personnel of the enterprise, who will have the right to moderate and revoke their delegates. No one knows better than the workers themselves the capacity of each one in a determined establishment. There, where everybody knows everybody, the practice of democracy is possible. The factory Council in representation of the personnel in the same place of work will coordinate and cohere the work in their establishment and combine same with similar activities of other establishments or productive groups. In the disposition and regulation of their work, no outside factor intervenes. There is complete autonomy without any intent of caprice in production, because the same has to respond to the necessities and possibilities in line with the exact knowledge of the conditions of each establishment and the needs and demands of the population.

The factory Councils will be combined by functional relation and form the syndicates of producers of similar goods, syndicates of trade or of industry These new institutions have no proper authority in the internal structure of local establishments. They will provide for the modernising of implements; attend to the fusion and coordination of factories, suppression of unproductive establishments, etc. The Syndicates are the representative organisms of local production and not only do they care for its preservation, but condition the future; creating schools of apprenticeship, research institutes, and experimental laboratories in accordance with their means and initiative. The Syndicates are co-leagued in accordance with the basic functions of economy, which we divide into eighteen sectors or general branches of activity necessary for the progressive march of a modern society. They are the following:

1. Council of Foodstuffs Branch
2. Council of Construction Industries
3. Council of the Clothing Industries
4. Council of Agriculture
5. Council of Livestock Production
6. Council of Forestry
7. Council of Mining and Fishing Industries
8. Council of Public Utilities Industries
9. Council of Transport Industry
10. Council of Communications
11. Council of Chemical Industries
12. Council of Sanitation
13. Council of Metallurgical Industries
14. Local Council of Economy
15. Regional Councils of Economy
16. Federal Council of Economy
17. Council of Credit and Exchange
18. Council of Publishing and Cultural Activities