Ours to Master and to Own: Workers' Control from the Commune to the Present | Left Wing Books

FREE SHIPPING IN NORTH AMERICA ON ORDERS OF $50 OR MORE! scroll down to see the books :)

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

editors: Immanuel Ness and Dario Azzellini
$25.65 (CAD)

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.

What People Are Saying

“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, The Guardian and The Nation. Author, Who We Are and Should It Matter in the 21st Century (Penguin/Viking) “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: The Chicago Factory Takeover and What it Says About the Economic Crisis (Melville House Books, 2009) “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 re-emerge. A must read for labour analysts and activists alike.” —Ronaldo Munck is theme leader for internationalization and social development at Dublin City University and visiting Professor of Sociology at the 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 … I didn’t even have to open the book to know it is timely and offers great strategic insight.” —Bill Fletcher, Jr., Visiting Scholar, Center for Place, Culture & Politics, CUNY; editorial board, BlackCommentator.com; co-founder, Center for Labor Renewal; immediate past president, TransAfrica Forum; co-author, 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 is author of Crack Capitalism, (Pluto, 2010) and Change the World Without Taking Power, (Pluto, 2010) "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

Table of Contents


Immanuel Ness and Dario Azzellini

Part I: Workers’ Councils: Historical Overview and Theoretical Debate

1. Workers’ Control and Revolution Victor Wallis 2. Workers’ Councils in Europe: A Century of Experience Donny Gluckstein 3. The Red Mole: Workers’ Councils as a Means of Revolutionary Transformation Sheila Cohen 4. The Political Form at Last Discovered: Workers’ Councils against the Capitalist State Alberto R. Bonnet

Part II: Workers’ Councils and Self-Administration in Revolution: Early Twentieth Century

5. From Unionism to Workers’ Councils: The Revolutionary Shop Stewards in Germany, 1914–1918 Ralf Hoffrogge 6. The Factory Committee Movement in the Russian Revolution Mark-David Mandel 7. Factory Councils in Turin, 1919–1920: “The Sole and Authentic Social Representatives of the Proletarian Class” Pietro Di Paola 8. Workers’ Democracy in the Spanish Revolution, 1936–1937 Andy Durgan

Part III: Workers’ Control under State Socialism

9. Yugoslavia: Workers’ Self-Management as State Paradigm Goran Musić 10. Give Us Back Our Factories! Between Resisting Exploitation and the Struggle for Workers’ Power in Poland, 1944–1981 Zbigniew Marcin Kowalewski

Part IV: Anticolonial Struggle, Democratic Revolution, and Workers’ Control

11. Workers’ Control in Java, Indonesia, 1945–1946 Jafar Suryomenggolo 12. From Workers’ Self-Management to State Bureaucratic Control: Autogestion in Algeria Sam Southgate 13. The Limits and Possibilities of Workers’ Control within the State: Mendoza, Argentina, 1973 Gabriela Scodeller 14. Workers’ Councils in Portugal, 1974–1975 Peter Robinson

Part V: Workers’ Control against Capitalist Restructuring in the Twentieth Century

15. Workers’ Control and the Politics of Factory Occupation in 1970s Britain Alan Tuckman 16. Workers’ Direct Action and Factory Control in the United States Immanuel Ness 17. “Hot Autumn”: Italy’s Factory Councils and Autonomous Workers’ Assemblies in the 1970s Patrick Cuninghame 18. Recipe for Anarchy: British Columbia’s Telephone Workers’ Occupation of 1981 Elaine Bernard

Part VI: Workers’ Control, 1990s–2010

19. Workers’ Control in India’s Communist-Ruled State: Labor Struggles and Trade Unions in West Bengal Arup Kumar Sen 20. Argentinean Worker-Taken Factories: Trajectories of Workers’ Control under the Economic Crisis Marina Kabat 21. Workers’ Control under Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution Dario Azzellini 22. Brazilian Recovered Factories: The Constraints of Workers’ Control Maurício Sardá De Faria and Henrique T. Novaes