June 01, 2006

Workers' Liberation and Institutions of Self-management

by Tom Wetzel

[This is a reply to the article "We Are More than We Eat" by Odessa Steps in The Northeastern Anarchist #10. These articles are part of a debate on participatory economics at http://nefac.net/en/taxonomy/term/28.]

We live under a system with a series of oppressions woven together: domination and exploitation of workers by elite classes of owners, managers and professionals; a system of gender inequality that disadvantages women; a racial hierarchy that places people of color at the bottom; oppression of gay people by a rigid heterosexist culture. And over it all, protecting elite interests, is a top-down state apparatus, not really controllable by the people even in so-called "democratic countries."

It doesn't have to be this way. Humans have the capacity to control their own lives. We can think ahead and develop plans of action, to self-manage our own activity. This is the human potential for self-management. In the plans that we might develop, inspired by our own aspirations, many of the activities would inevitably require the help of others or involve common work for common benefit. Through communication and the back-and-forth process of giving each other reasons for proposed courses of action, we have the ability to coordinate and cooperate with each other, to self-manage together. In fact humans have not only the potential but the need to self-manage their own activities, to fulfill their goals through activities they plan out and control themselves.



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