Ours to Master and to Own

Workers' Control from the Commune to the Present

by Dario Azzellini, Immanuel Ness

Ours to Master and to Own: Workers' Control from the Commune to the Present
US$18.99

From the dawning of the industrial epoch, wage earners have organized themselves into unions,
fought bitter strikes, and gone so far as to challenge the very premises of the system by creating
institutions of democratic self-management aimed at controlling production without bosses. With
specific examples drawn from every corner of the globe and every period of modern history, this
pathbreaking volume comprehensively traces this often underappreciated historical tradition.
Ripe with lessons drawn from historical and contemporary struggles for workers’ control, Ours to
Master and to Own is essential reading for those struggling to create a new world from the ashes
of the old.

Immanuel Ness is professor of political science at Brooklyn College, City University of New York, and edits WorkingUSA.

Dario Azzellini is a writer, documentary director, and political scientist at Johannes Kepler University in Linz.



  • Haymarket Books; June 2011
  • ISBN: 9781608461707
  • Read online
  • Title: Ours to Master and to Own
  • Author: Dario Azzellini (ed.); Immanuel Ness (ed.)
  • Imprint: Haymarket Books

In The Press



Ours to Master and to Own is the most substantive and comprehensive work on workers’ control and self-management today. I strongly recommend this work, which provides examples drawn from throughout the world of workers struggling for justice and power.”
Gary Younge, columnist for the Guardian and the Nation

The seemingly logical and just idea that workers themselves should make the decisions regarding and reap the benefits of their labor has always been a fraught concept with the potential to topple or reform whole societies This ambitious, copiously researched, and clearly written text provides a sweeping diversity of examples, analyzed with cool detachment from the specific politics but with underlying passion for the larger concept.”
Kari Lydersen, author of Revolt on Goose Island

With the global capitalist order entering a period of crisis, but also with the dramatic increase in worker’s struggles especially in the global South, this collection is extremely opportune. Workers will seek greater control over market forces and workers’ councils are bound to reemerge. A must-read for labor analysts and activists alike.”
Ronaldo Munck, Dublin City University and University of Liverpool

Ness and Azzellini have made a major contribution in producing this insightful and exciting collection of essays on the question of workers’ control it is timely and offers great strategic insight.”
Bill Fletcher, Jr., coauthor of Solidarity Divided

Excellent! A very complete, serious, and inspiring account of the movements for workers’ control and their difficulties. There is no doubt that it should become a standard point of reference for future discussions and actions.”
John Holloway, author of Crack Capitalism

About The Author

Dario Azzellini: Dario Azzellini is a political scientist and lecturer at Johannes Kepler University in Linz, Austria, writer and documentary director based in Berlin and Caracas. He holds a PhD in political sciences at the Goethe University in Frankfurt (Germany) and is finishing a PhD in sociology at the BUAP in Puebla (Mexico). His research and writing focuses on social and revolutionary militancy, migration and racism, people’s power and selfadministration, workers control and extensive case studies in Latin America. He served as Associate Editor for the The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest: 1500 to the Present, published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2009 and was primary editor for Latin America, the Spanish Caribbean, and the new left in Italy. He serves as Associate Editor for WorkingUSA: The Journal of Labor and Society and for Cuadernos de Marte, an academic publication about war sociology by the University of Buenos Aires. He published several books, essays and documentaries about social movements, privatization of military services, migration and racism, Italy, Mexico, Nicaragua, Colombia and Venezuela. Among them The Business of War (Assoziation A 2002), a book about privatization of military services, translated an published in Germany, Argentina, Bolivia, France, Indonesia, Italy, Spain and Venezuela.  Azzellini is a documentary filmmaker.  His latest documentary "Comuna under construction" (2010) examines worker councils in Venezuela. Azzellini has been invited to conferences in Europe, North America, South America and Asia. More information on his publications and work is available at: www.azzellini.net.

Immanuel Ness: Immanuel Ness is professor of political science at Brooklyn College, City University of New York.  He holds a PhD in Political Science from the CUNY Graduate Center. His research and writing focuses on social and revolutionary movements, labor militancy, and migrant worker resistance to oppression. Ness just completed Guest Workers, Corporate Despotism and Resistance,(forthcoming University of Illinois Press) a book that examines the rise of guest workers from the global South in the US and labor opposition to employer abuses.  He is also working on a number of projects on labor struggles, global migration, and the rise of syndicalism He is author of an anthology of contemporary labor: Real World Labor, with Amy Offner and Chris Sturr (Dollars & Sense).  His book, titled Immigrants, Unions, and the U.S. Labor Market, published in the spring of 2005 by Temple University Press is now in its 3rd printing. Ness has been invited to speak throughout the world (Asia, Europe, North America, South America) and at numerous academic conferences, including the American Political Science Association, and frequently invited to speak on low-wage labor, immigrants, and workers centers at conferences and universities the U.S. and abroad.  He is editor of the peer-review quarterly journal, Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society, a peer review quarterly journal that examines labor and work from a socialist perspective.  Ness is General Editor of the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration (forthcoming, Blackwell 2012).  Ness is founder of the Lower East Side Community Labor Organization, an autonomous activist organization in New York City.  In 2005, his 4-volume work: Encyclopedia of American Social Movements received Outstanding Reference Source, Reference and User Services Association, American Library Association.  The work is selected as best reference for 2005 from Library Journal.  He is editor of International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest: 1500 to the Present (Wiley-Blackwell 2009) and co-editor with Aaron Brenner and Benjamin Day of Encyclopedia of Strikes in American History (Sharpe 2009).  He received awards and acclaim for his other reference works, including Encyclopedia of Third Parties in America.