workers' control

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Antonio Gramsci (1891—1937) Italian political theorist and activist, co-founder and leader of the Italian Communist Party

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This term covers a variety of schemes which have sought to give workers full democratic control over the organizations in which they are employed. It suggests something more than rights of consultation and participation, and points to a more fundamental achievement by workers (in their particular industry or occupational sphere) of the real power to take key decisions. It has permeated much of the socialist tradition of thought, including some strands of revolutionary Marxism, and syndicalism. Workers' control within a capitalist society—in the sense of significant measures of trade union and ‘shop‐floor’ influence over managerial decision‐making, known in German as Mitbestimmung—must be distinguished from complete self‐management of industry by workers under conditions of socialized rather than private ownership of capital (as exemplified by the Yugoslav system of workers' councils in the 1950s and 1960s).


Subjects: Politics.

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