Item description for Workers' Councils by Anton Pannekoek...
Contemporaries across the spectrum of Left thought, from Antonio Negri to Noam Chomsky, are falling over each other to claim the mantle of Left Communism. Left Communism is the theory and practice of worker control and self-organization whose adherents provided the main opposition to the Bolsheviks. Rarely printed, often cited, Pannekoek’s Workers’ Councils is the Das Kapital of Left Communism. This updated edition includes a substantial introduction from Noam Chomsky, illuminating the continuing relevance of this classic text.
"An urgent message to the future— are we listening?—from the most brilliant theoretician of libertarian com-munism."—Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz
Anton Pannekoek was a Dutch worker, Socialist, and astronomer. He wrote Workers’ Councils amidst Nazi occupation of Holland.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 6.25" Height: 9" Weight: 0.75 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2002
Publisher AK Press
ISBN 1902593561 ISBN13 9781902593562
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More About Anton Pannekoek
Pannekoek was the main theoretician of Left Communism. He lived and worked in workers' councils from China to Germany over the first half of the century and militantly fought in working class struggles all his life. He wrote Workers' Councils while living under Nazi occupation in Holland during World War II.
Anton Pannekoek was born in 1873 and died in 1960.
Reviews - What do customers think about Workers' Councils?
The Best of the Genre May 4, 2008
I first heard of Pannekoek and his work while reading Katha Pollitt's memoir Learning to Drive: And Other Life Stories last year. It seems that Pollitt's cheating live-in lover also fancied himself a proponent of the Left Communist tendency of Marxism and so held an informal "study group" and used Pannekoek's book as reference text for it. (He also used this study group to meet with his current and former lovers that he cheated on Pollitt with, but that's another story.)
Pannekoek was a recognized Marxist theorist and one of the founders of the council communist tendency and a main figure in the radical left in the Netherlands and Germany before and after World War II. Pannekoek wrote Worker's Councils during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.
Pannekoek is best known for his writing on workers' councils. Pannekoek regarded these as a new form of organization capable of overcoming the limitations of the old organs of the labor movement, the trade unions and social democratic parties. Basing his theory on what he regarded as the practical lessons of the Russian revolution, Pannekoek argued that the workers' revolution and the transition from capitalism to communism had to be achieved by the workers themselves, democratically organized in workers' councils.
Pannekoek was a sharp critic of anarchism, social-democracy and Lenin and Leninism. His analysis of the failure of the Russian revolution was that after Lenin and the Bolsheviks came to power, they crippled the soviets (aka "worker's councils"). Instead of workers' councils, the Bolsheviks instituted the permanent rule of their party, which in Pannekoek's view led to the institution of the Communist Party as the new ruling class. (Pannekoek put his views forward in his 1938 book, Lenin as Philosopher.)
I have to say that for a major Communist/communist theoretician of the early and middle 20th century Pannekoek's work is very much jargon free and doesn't assume a vast knowledge of Marx, Engels, Hegel, and dialectics as is usually the case with these sorts of writers and which was for me a present surprise.
An Interesting Take on Capitalism Jun 1, 2007
I received this book as part of the Friends of AK Press plan (something anyone interested in AK Press books should look into). It is a classic 1948 book on, of course, workers' councils. What makes it interesting is the author's views on the history of capitalism, Nazi Germany, communism and socialism (anarchism is even touched upon).
You may not agree with everything in this book (especially you capitalists), but it is worth checking out just for the alternative viewpoint. The ideas the author puts forth in this book are not things that are touched upon in the mainstream media or business press. In fact, those outlets fear these ideas for the very reason that it puts power back into the hands of the people.
There are better books written on the downfalls of capitalism, but there are few books on workers' councils that are this good. It doesn't dictate, and it does its best to loosely guide, which is exactly the kind of plan you need when it comes to workers' councils, as every situation could be different.
Another fine book from AK Press.
Important Read Feb 8, 2007
But nothing spectacular. Interesting insight into a more anarchist strain of communism (council communism).