11. SELF-MANAGEMENT: WORKERS SELF-EXPLOITATION

Printer-friendly versionSend by email If the nation state itself has become too narrow a framework for the productive forces, this is all the more true for the individual enterprise which has never had any real autonomy from the general laws of capitalism; under decadent capitalism, enterprises depend even more heavily on those laws and on the state. This is why ‘self-management’ (the management of enterprises by the workers in a society which remains capitalist), a petty bourgeois utopia last century when it was advocated by Proudhonist tendencies, is today nothing but a capitalist mystification. (see note)

It is an economic weapon of capital in that it tries to get the workers to take up responsibility for enterprises hit by the crisis by making them organise their own exploitation.

It is a political weapon of the counter-revolution in that it:
  • divides the working class by imprisoning it and isolating it factory by factory, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, sector by sector;
  • burdens the workers with the concerns of the capitalist economy when their only task is to destroy it;
  • diverts the proletariat from the fundamental task which determines the possibility of its emancipation: the destruction of the political apparatus of capital and the establishment of its class dictatorship on a world scale.
It is only on a world-wide scale that the proletariat can really undertake the management of production, but it will do this not within the framework of capitalist laws but by destroying them.

Any political position which (even in the name of ‘working class experience’ or of ‘establishing new relations among workers’) defends self management is, in fact, objectively participating in the preservation of capitalist relations of production.

Note

This mystification, which reached its culminating point with the experience of 'self-management' and the defeat of the workers at LIP in France in 1974-5, is today exhausted. However, it cannot be excluded that it will go through a certain revival in the future with the renewal of anarchism. In the struggles in Spain in 1936, it was the anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist currents who were the flag-bearers for the myth of self-management, presented as a 'revolutionary' economic measure.