I’ve been thinking about what this looks like in practice. My first instinct is Yugoslavian self management, which at least ticks the boxes of surplus not accruing to capitalists and control being exercised democratically (AIUI). My question is, what examples (or plans) do people know of that have (or could) make work less exploitative?

I also wonder about worker cooperatives for this, although I’m aware of the argument that such organisations just make workers complicit in their own exploitation, I’m not sure I buy it. Thoughts on that are welcome too.

So the primary contradiction of capitalism is that the working class cooperates together across all businesses, industries, and countries, but the fruit of their labor is owned not by the working class as a whole, but by whomever owns the means of production. Expanding ownership of the MoP to all the workers of a business is an improvement, but it doesn’t change the relationship of that business between other businesses. That is, workers are still competing against each other to maximize profits for themselves and are still forced to participate in all the self-destructive tendencies of capitalist markets.

A state controlled by the working class is necessary to end worker exploitation and there’s no 2 ways about it. We need the power to change laws, reallocate surplus value, and organize economic growth in ways that benefit workers. What China has been doing with their common prosperity campaign is what needs to happen everywhere - reappropriating profits from corporate giants and putting them towards social development.

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What I’d like to know is about ideas that can work on a small scale, outside of AES, and preferably as an exercise in party building. Worker cooperatives don’t seem sufficiently combative (as far as I can see) to cause change. Unions are too battered. But what else could work?

Unions are battered right now but it doesn’t have to be like that forever. There’s been a huge resurgence in unionization since the pandemic started especially with big businesses like Starbucks and Amazon. I think we’ll really start to see some serious change the more we organize ourselves. Quantitative change leads to qualitative change, as they say.

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Right, I guess. I suppose I’m just having trouble connecting the dots - seeing how the quantitative becomes qualitative. Time will tell and all that.

Going back to your earlier comment about (effectively) redistribution, it’d be neat to see a federation of coops who distribute some of their surplus/profits to a foundation or something along those lines. Something to act as a petit-vanguard, developing communist projects that can raise class consciousness and so on. Hard to do though.

Well once there are enough unions, we’ll be able to join them together to coordinate workers across various businesses. And once that happens, unions will transform from local bargaining associations to a means of organizing the working class en masse. Of course this will take time, but Rome wasn’t built in a day either.

And pooling together funds from the workplaces that are already worker owned sounds great. Politics is expensive af

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That seems pretty hopeful. What’s to stop unions doing what they did in lots of western countries and reaching an accommodation with capital? Or simply falling short of actually revolting

Nothing. Unions consist of the people in it and if those people are content with scraps then that’s all they’re getting.

But there’s no sense in being a doomer about this because that doesn’t accomplish anything. The future isn’t guaranteed either way so we should do our part to steer it in the communist direction.

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