Who Should Control?
Since the rise of capitalism, the working class has grown in many ways. It has grown in numbers until it includes almost everybody. It has grown in knowledge and ability. The worker of today has to understand and be able to do things that would have baffled the engineer and scientist of a century ago.
In place of a class of illiterate serfs, we are a working class able to read and write. We have an extensive literature of our own. We discuss the news of the world daily. We have also grown in organized power through unions and coalitions. Every step the working class has taken in building unity and solidarity has been a trespass on what was previously the complete the exclusive control of owners of industry. Whenever it fought to reduce the hours it would work, to increase the pay it would take, or improve the safety and sanitary conditions on the job, it had to unite and fight to win.
As a result, organized working class movements have been fought by the capitalist class as its mortal enemy, And by the logic of events, that is precisely what organized labor should be. Every step forward that we take strengthens our position as the logical successor of the capitalist class to exercise control of industry. And because there is no class beneath us, our triumph means the first classless society since civilization began, and the end of all the horror, cruelty, stupidity, and injustice that necessarily go with class society.
One big question for today and tomorrow is this: How is industry to be controlled? It is not so much a question of who is to own industry. Managerial control is what counts, and it has largely become independent of the actual investors. Who is to say whether industry is to run or stand idle? Who is to decide what is to be produced and where that product is to go? Who is to decide what services are provided and to whom? These are the important questions.
- Should modern industry be controlled by a handful of business managers?
- Should it be administered by politicians?
- Or should it be run by those who do the work?
It must be one of the three. The corporate managers through their banks, their control over directorships, and their enormous influence over public debate through the media they own seek to insure their complete control over the economic life of the world.
But their control, by its very nature, strangles that economic life, for it does not pay to let the working class produce all that it is capable of producing. So either those in control of industry ally themselves with those in control of government to save themselves from democracy, or those in control of government extend their regulation over industry and its workers, as in the state controlled economies.
Next page: Industrial Democracy Wanted