Workers ‘self-management’ and socialism

This morning, two CWI comrades were interviewed on the Venezuelan national TV breakfast show, ‘Como se come eso’.

This show is made and presented by Venezuelan youth and is a new feature of the national channel ‘Vive TV’.

The programme opened with a review of ‘Socialismo Revolucionario’, the CWI paper in Venezuela. Afterwards, two CWI comrades, Johan Rivas and Karl Debbaut, were interviewed about working class struggles across the continent and more specifically about the phenomenon of "auto-gestion" or self management. This is the definition given locally when workers occupy their redundant workplaces and start producing for themselves. In the whole of Latin America, more than 5,000 workplaces are operating under this system.

As the comrades explained during the TV show, this does not happen because workers see the alternative of auto-gestion as a way of developing workers’ struggle or as an alternative to capitalist society. Workers take over their workplaces out of necessity, because the employer left and decided to close the workplace or because the company has gone bankrupt.

"Auto-gestion" can be an important experience for workers, if it is linked to building the workers’ movement, as a whole, and is incorporated in the struggle for socialism. Where this is not the case, then, regrettably, many factories under auto-gestion convert to, more or less, normal capitalist relations and face a tough fight to survive.

The CWI comrades argued for workers’ control over production, so workers in all enterprises can exercise a measure of control over hiring and firing, the running of the factory and to discover the true extent of their exploitation. Socialism means bringing into public ownership the main sectors of the economy, under a system of democratic workers’ management and planning. Workers’ control is a school for workers’ management.

The Como se come eso TV programme had another guest, who represented the peasant movement in Venezuela. This comrade agreed with the analysis of the CWI and stressed the need to take control of the means of production in the workplaces, as well as in the countryside. The necessary alliance between revolutionary workers’ organisations and the peasant struggle needs to be built to advance towards real socialism.

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