Re: [OPE] Mike L on Co-Management and Workers' Control in Venezuela (update)

From: Gerald Levy <>
Date: Thu Sep 25 2008 - 14:12:52 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: michael a. lebowitz
To: Gerald Levy
Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2008 12:45 PM
Subject: Re: [OPE] Co-Management and Workers' Control in Venezuela

Hi Jerry,
    A really quick reply. The best I can say is that the struggle continues. There are important experiments on worker management occurring in various sectors-- fostered, eg, by the ministry for the communal economy [new 'socialist enterprises']; there is a conference presumably late next month supported by the ministries of planning, light industry and heavy industry on worker control that I've been asked to speak at; also one on transition to socialism that the ministry of labour is organising for trade unionists for november, which will be preceded by publication of a journal on the topic- presumably with 20,000 copies going out to workers and including my article, 'worker management, human development and socialism', which appeared in the April-June issue of the Cuban journal TEMAS [available on line].
    I say 'presumably' because many things planned don't happen here-- in part because there is so much happening and so little coordination [eg, a minor example-- nobody bothered to mention to the people at our institute planning a conference on the world economic crisis [8-10 Oct], supported by the ministry of planning, that immediately after was a long-organised week-long conference of Samir Amin's Forum on Social Alternatives [supported by the ministry of culture] and there was an obvious overlap in terms of participants [ultimately folks like Samir, Al Campbell, Pat Devine are being shared-- although others like Pat Bond had made other plans for the early period]. But you don't want me to get started on uncoordination and unplanning in the bolivarian revolution!!
    Back to an update. The most important development in relation to worker control questions has been the new impulse among organised workers as the result of the successful struggle at Sidor and its subsequent nationalisation. The internal [sectarian] struggles within the labour movement have been a real fetter but things are progressing now. We've been bringing trade union leaders together on a sectoral basis [eg., auto industry, education, steel and heavy industry] regularly for several months and that's gone well, and the new labour minister has been convoking constituent assemblies of workers which transcend currents. Last weekend there was a meeting of organised workers of PSUV which brought together many currents and developed a programme including, eg, calls for the 6 hour-day, establishment of workers councils in industry and nationalisation in a number of sectors [banks, food distribution, etc], elimation of latifundia, etc. [I'm just looking at a photocopy for the first time that Fred Fuentes gave me last night, and I'm sure he'll write that up soon-- watch green left weekly and Links.]. So, there's a bit-- now back to work!
    in solidarity,
PS. my team at CIM, our institute, is just finishing up [hopefully] a video drawing upon the worker management conference we organised last October-- looking at the theory and experiences and supplementing clips and testimony from workers by graphics, music, etc; it's looking quite good [3rd and hopefully final version-- which I get to view early next week]; it'll will run around 40 minutes and the plan is to take it out around the country for meetings in factories. So, the struggle continues.

On 25/09/2008 9:38 AM, Gerald Levy wrote:
  Hi Paula:

  Unfortunately, Mike L is no longer a member of the list so we can't ask
  for an update on this. I understand that there have been some important
  recent developments (especially in the steel industry), which were partially
  reported in the Fuentes article. This is an ongoing and continual process
  and struggle.

  In solidarity, Jerry

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Director, Programme in 'Transformative Practice and Human Development'
Centro Internacional Miranda, P.H.
Residencias Anauco Suites, Parque Central, final Av. Bolivar
Caracas, Venezuela
fax: 0212 5768274/0212 5777231

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Received on Thu Sep 25 14:18:03 2008

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