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

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

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By (author) Immanuel Ness, By (author) Dario Azzellini

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  • Publisher: Haymarket Books
  • Format: Paperback | 446 pages
  • Dimensions: 154mm x 228mm x 30mm | 699g
  • Publication date: 5 July 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Chicago
  • ISBN 10: 160846119X
  • ISBN 13: 9781608461196
  • Illustrations note: Illustrations
  • Sales rank: 241,153

Product description

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.

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Author information

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.

Review quote

""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"