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What is self-management?

Meaning of self-management

Self-management is understood as a principle of social organization based on cooperation between the various people who are part of a given activity as a whole.

Whether they are economic, productive, administrative, political, cultural activities, etc. This principle implies that all decisions related to the management of an activity are made directly and equally by all those who participate in it.

 

Therefore, self-management systems aim to overcome the distinction between those who make decisions and those who execute them, while affirming the decision-making autonomy of each unit of activity.

In short, self- management as a principle is opposed to the interference of any desire outside of concrete collectivities in the definition of the decision-making process. In other words, it is about re-appropriating decision-making power against any authority.

This does not mean that there is no division of labor. On the contrary, the members of self-managed organizations are divided into commissions, working groups with the aim of carrying out their activities efficiently.

Such different functions are delegated previously and democratically, therefore, legitimized by the collective decision and by the daily work of the associates.

Self-management as a Principle of Economic Organization

When we talk about self-management, we generally mean self-managed economic organizations , such as factories and companies, in which there is no division between management and production tasks.

Therefore, in the strictly economic sense, self-management refers to the direct participation of workers in basic decision-making in a company.

In a self-managed organization there is no figure of the boss: all employees participate in administrative decisions on equal terms.

We can observe real experiences of self-management that arise as a reaction to situations of economic and social crisis.

There are several cases in which, given the bankruptcy of the company where they worked, the employees recovered the company from managerial autonomy, that is, with the workers themselves assuming the management of the company.

Several examples of self-management of factories and companies in Argentina, derived from the 2001 crisis, are known.

In a more general economic sense, self-management can be seen as a radically democratic way of organizing the entire economy, which consists of various levels of councils and assemblies.

Here, there is a proposal for the socialization of the means of production , returning to the workers the global control of their own activity, based on cooperation and the horizontal division of labor.

Self-management, Anarchism and Socialism

Self-management aims to socialize the power of management , giving workers, through their delegates, deliberative power in all decisions that concern them.

In this sense, we can conclude that self-management ultimately implies a radical transformation of the global economic order and the overcoming of capitalist commercial property.

Understood as a political principle , self-management transports an egalitarian decision-making mechanism to the realm of the concrete structures of the various activities, not only economic, but also social, political and cultural.

On a large scale, this would do away with the traditional form of state, its bureaucracy and ruling elite.

The principle of self-management underlies the organization of societies in the federation of autonomous communities as a substitute for the state, proposed by anarchist theorists and activists, such as Pierre Joseph Proudhon and Mikhail Bakunin.

It also served alternative socialist proposals to the bureaucratic statist model, in which experiences of the reality of communist regimes, such as the USSR, were developed.

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