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Revolutionary Democracy in the Economy? Venezuela’s Worker Control Movement and the Plan Socialist Guayana

category international | anti-capitalism | other press author Wednesday August 08, 2012 19:51author by pat c Report this post to the editors

In this in-depth investigative analysis, Ewan Robertson evaluates the advances and setbacks of the worker control movement in Venezuela, and what Venezuela's experience in worker control means for the Bolivarian revolution and movements for radical social change worldwide. Full text at link.

The struggle for worker control in Grafitos began in early 2009, when the former boss refused to negotiate a new collective contract with the workers’ union and tried to close the factory, taking the machinery with him. In response, the workers began a factory occupation which lasted eight months. For economic reasons many workers had to abandon the struggle, with only 18 remaining in occupation when the Venezuelan government intervened in favour of the workers. The Venezuelan labour ministry released a “decree of temporary occupation for the reactivation of the company”, which in effect awarded the factory to the workers to manage as they saw fit. ...

A Grafitos worker, April 2011. His overall reads, “Grafitos del Orinoco: Under Worker Control”. (Ewan Robertson)
A Grafitos worker, April 2011. His overall reads, “Grafitos del Orinoco: Under Worker Control”. (Ewan Robertson)

Through this process of trial and error, the Grafitos workers arrived at their current model of collective management. While the factory assembly of all workers remains the sovereign decision making body, committees are chosen from among the workers to focus on specific areas of the factory, such as finance and production. A commission can also be set up to look into a specific issue or problem. Escalon himself has a committee of eight workers watching over his actions to ensure accountability. Every three months the factory assembly meets, where the commissions and the company president report back to the general assembly, and the factory trade union can also introduce proposals, for example on pay and conditions.

This article contains the following sections:

Introduction: Christmas at Grafitos

Part I: The Birth and Development of Plan Socialist Guayana

i) Venezuela’s Worker Control Movement

ii) The Nationalisation of Sidor and the Birth of Plan Socialist Guayana

iii) So what is the PGS?

iv) The Progress of Plan Socialist Guayana 2009 – 2012

Part II: The Promise, Politics and Problems of the PGS

i) Venezuela’s Worker Control Debate

ii) The Political Forces Opposed to Worker Control in Guayana

iii) 2012: Increasingly Public Conflict over Plan Socialist Guayana

Conclusion

Related Link: http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/7151

The National Meeting of Workers for Worker Control, May 2011, Sidor (Prensa Sidor)
The National Meeting of Workers for Worker Control, May 2011, Sidor (Prensa Sidor)

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