Looking for a new occupation?
For few hundred quid, I can go to Greece and hear stories from hundreds of workers who have taken over their workplaces and decided together to run them cooperatively. And then I can help share those stories with anyone who is interested in new ways of organising, alternatives to austerity and what a 21st century workers movement might look like.
The 2nd Euromediterranean Workers Economy meeting, 28-30 October, will be a unique glimpse into a breadth of worker-occupations happening across Europe. It is a chance to better understand why these occupations are happening, what is getting in their way and what might enable them to spread more widely.
What I write will be published on morelikepeople.org and will be available under Creative Commons for anyone to republish.
We don't have to take bosses for granted...
In many places, the very idea of a worker-run factory seems like a naive pipe-dream, but for workers in dozens of European factories it is already a reality, overturning both traditional ideas of top-down management, and trade union organising models.
Thus far the movement is focused in Southern Europe, as the economic impacts of the 2008 collapse were felt strongest there, but the potential for the model to spread is strong in an ongoing age of austerity.
I have been working, exploring and writing about new forms of democratic, non-hierarchical and participatory organisation since 2010, under the banner of 'helping organisations to be more like people.' I wrote a book called Anarchists in the Boardroom in 2013 to bring some of these ideas together (which I successfully crowd-funded on SSG!).
Worker occupations have been a long-time interest of mine, and so the chance to hear from workers in dozens of different workplaces around Europe seems like a remarkable opportunity to get a wider understanding of how the movement is growing on this side of the ocean. It also offers an opportunity to better understand the factors that enable this new form of ownership and economy to flourish, and what challenges are being faced as the movement grows in Austerity Europe.
What will I focus on?
I particularly want to focus on the following questions:
- What are the common patterns between occupied workplaces?
- What does 'horizontalism' mean, from one workplace to another?
- How might this kind of approach spread more widely around the continent?
Can you help make this happen?
I spend most of my days doing unpaid activism. I have this ongoing interest in better-understanding how we organise ourselves to create social change, but don't usually have a lot of money to pursue it when it comes with a price tag. If you can help me get to Greece, I will do my best to share some of the stories of radically alternative ways of working and organising that are emerging across the continent right now.