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Ours to Master and to Own: Workers' Control from the Commune to the Present
     

Ours to Master and to Own: Workers' Control from the Commune to the Present

4.6 3
by Dario Azzellini (Editor), Immanuel Ness (Editor)
 

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From the dawning of the industrial epoch, wage earners have organized themselves into unions, fought bitter strikes, and gone so far as to challenge the very premises of the system by creating institutions of democratic self-management aimed at controlling production without bosses. With specific examples drawn from every corner of the globe and every period of

Overview

From the dawning of the industrial epoch, wage earners have organized themselves into unions, fought bitter strikes, and gone so far as to challenge the very premises of the system by creating institutions of democratic self-management aimed at controlling production without bosses. With specific examples drawn from every corner of the globe and every period of modern history, this pathbreaking volume comprehensively traces this often underappreciated historical tradition. Ripe with lessons drawn from historical and contemporary struggles for workers’ control, Ours to Master and to Own is essential reading for those struggling to create a new world from the ashes of the old.

Immanuel Ness is professor of political science at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and edits WorkingUSA.

Dario Azzellini is a writer, documentary director, and political scientist at Johannes Kepler University in Linz.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Ours to Master and to Own is the most substantive and comprehensive work on workers’ control and self-management today. I strongly recommend this work, which provides examples drawn from throughout the world of workers struggling for justice and power.”
—Gary Younge, columnist for the Guardian and the Nation

“The seemingly logical and just idea that workers themselves should make the decisions regarding and reap the benefits of their labor has always been a fraught concept with the potential to topple or reform whole societies… This ambitious, copiously researched, and clearly written text provides a sweeping diversity of examples, analyzed with cool detachment from the specific politics but with underlying passion for the larger concept.”
—Kari Lydersen, author of Revolt on Goose Island

"Ours to Master and to Own is a remarkable work that reminds us that history is not dead ... it is not even past. It is an ongoing process whereby women and men choose not to accept the workplace or the world as it is. Those who teach labor studies would profit from adding this book that covers the often-forgotten history of workers' agency to their reading lists. This book is highly recommended."
—William A Pelz, Labour Studies

“With the global capitalist order entering a period of crisis, but also with the dramatic increase in worker’s struggles especially in the global South, this collection is extremely opportune. Workers will seek greater control over market forces and workers’ councils are bound to reemerge. A must-read for labor analysts and activists alike.”
—Ronaldo Munck, Dublin City University and University of Liverpool

“Ness and Azzellini have made a major contribution in producing this insightful and exciting collection of essays on the question of workers’ control… it is timely and offers great strategic insight.”
—Bill Fletcher, Jr., coauthor of Solidarity Divided

“Excellent! A very complete, serious, and inspiring account of the movements for workers’ control and their difficulties. There is no doubt that it should become a standard point of reference for future discussions and actions.”
—John Holloway, author of Crack Capitalism

"Ours to Master and to Own is an incredible resource. With 22 essays that cover over a century of struggle, it explores experiences ranging from soviet power in Russia, self-management in Yugoslavia and Algeria, workers' control in Portugal in 1974 and co-management in Venezuela today ... With the sheer scope of the examples, this book is a serious contribution to debates around workers' control, what is possible and how to achieve it. The chapter on 1970s British factory occupations should be mandatory reading for the period that is to come."
—Julie Sherry, Socialist Review

"The social and environmental disaster that international capitalism has caused in the past 20 years reinforces the importance of this book. The alternative popular initiatives it describes are socially and economically far more advanced than the productivist and predatory canon of industrial capitalism. They are an antidote to the suicidal tendencies of high finance."
—Antonio David Cattani, Red Pepper

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781608461196
Publisher:
Haymarket Books
Publication date:
07/05/2011
Pages:
443
Sales rank:
900,537
Product dimensions:
8.76(w) x 6.08(h) x 1.12(d)

Meet the Author

Immanuel Ness is professor of political science at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and a founding member of the Lower East Side Community Labor Organization, an autonomous activist organization in New York City. His research and writing focuses on social and revolutionary movements, labor militancy, and migrant worker resistance to oppression. Ness has just completed Guest Workers, Corporate Despotism and Resistance,(forthcoming University of Illinois Press) a book that examines the rise of guest workers from the global South in the US and labor opposition to employer abuses. He is author of numerous books including an anthology of contemporary labor: Real World Labor, with Amy Offner and Chris Sturr (Dollars & Sense). He edits the peer-review quarterly journal, Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society, and has also edited several reference works, including the International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest: 1500 to the Present, and, with Aaron Brenner and Bejamin Day, the Encyclopedia of Strikes in American History.

Dario Azzellini is a writer, documentary director and political scientist and lecturer at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria. He splits his time between Berlin and Caracas. His research and writing focuses on social and revolutionary militancy, migration and racism, people’s power and selfadministration, and workers control, with extensive case studies in Latin America. He served as Associate Editor for the the International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest: 1500 to the Present, and was primary editor for Latin America, the Spanish Caribbean, and the new left in Italy. He serves as Associate Editor for WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society and for Cuadernos de Marte, an academic publication about war sociology released by the University of Buenos Aires. He has published several books, among them The Business of War (Assoziation A 2002), about the privatization of military services. His latest documentary Comuna under construction (2010) examines worker councils in Venezuela.

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Ours to Master and to Own: Workers' Control from the Commune to the Present 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Leftpower68 More than 1 year ago
Excellent case studies of worker control -- but the shortcoming of the book is that it fails to address the question of the working class achieving power. I was troubled by the chapter on the German revolution, which fails to address key theoretical and analytic issues anems to leave the reader clueless even if the results of the German Revolution are clear. Otherwise an important book and highly recommended
Anticapitalism More than 1 year ago
Great case studies of worker control under a range of circumstances that provide experiences we can use to duplicate. Not all the examples are of worker control but of worker sit-down strikes, which in my estimation can be viewed as a step toward worker-self management. Intrigued by the case studies showing that workers' consider the capitalist economy and the business managers as impediments and unnecessary in the process of production and social reproduction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This work has helped me understand the foundation of socialism that is rooted in working class self-activity. I found it an accessable and powerful. We need to take these histories and apply it to our present day experience. More than any book, Ours to Master and To Own provides convincing evidence that capitalism is a moribund system that is failing the working class. This book provides evidence that workers have always struggled against rapacious capitalist hegemony.