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collective self-education in the arts and culture…

[Workers'] Self-management :: Ivana Marjanović, Vida Knežević

Self-management is a set of methods, pestilence skills, info and techniques by which individuals or groups can effectively direct their own activities toward the achievement of objectives and goals.

Workers’ self-management[1] (radničko samoupravljanje) is an organizational model of economics where workers have a decision-making power contrarily to the traditional authoritative concept of organization where there is division between those who make decisions (management board, hemorrhoids director, boss) and those who execute them (employees).

Workers’ self-management is a concept of the state structure that was in one form implemented in ex Yugoslavia (Federal People’s Republic of Yugoslavia and Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) after the Resolution of Informbiro[2], expelling CPY (Communist Party of Yugoslavia) from Cominform in June 1948 and breaking up with USSR. This model, as an answer and critique of the Soviet system was being in use in Yugoslavia between sixties and eighties.

Workers’ self-management in Yugoslavia was conceived as a mixture of Soviet Union’s centralized planned socialism and Western market economy. Although workers’ self-management was a demonstration of “direct” democracy and workers were in the position to decide about certain questions, a strict control of the ruling Communist party in the form of cadre administration was omnipresent. Therefore, this type of “direct” democracy was applied only on the lower level of organizing in the form of decision-making workers’ councils that had autonomy in the decisions related to the distribution of income, employment questions, etc. However, the Party committee was deciding on the higher level issues like the cadre question. All this made the concept of workers’ self- management hermetic, autocratic and thus not consistently applied and implemented.

Nevertheless, it could be interesting to rethink it and reflect about the potential of the workers’ self- management concept as an alternative organizational model that could be re-appropriated by new autonomous self-organizing cultural and artistic practices that are acting in the atmosphere of neo liberal capitalism or transition towards it.


[1] See: Todor Kuljić, Yugoslavia’s Workers’ Self-Management, Transcription of a video by Oliver Ressler, http://www.republicart.net/disc/aeas/kuljic01_en.htm

[2] The word Informbiro is a Yugoslavian abbreviation for Information Bureau, from Communist Information Bureau or Cominform.

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Category: Dictionary of Self-education

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One Response

  1. Sue Massey says:

    Great post. I will read your posts frequently. Added you to the RSS reader.

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Deschooling Classroom

Deschooling Classroom is a project that addresses the contemporary independent cultural scenes in the region, researching and offering an alternative to the hierarchical models of education in the art and culture. Methodologically, the project moves away from the concepts of individual authorship and expertise, and advocates open collective educational structures where self-organised communities facilitate horizontal production, exchange and distribution of knowledge.