Democracy at Work is a project that aims to build a social movement. The movement’s goal is transition to a new society whose productive enterprises (offices, factories, and stores) will mostly be WSDE’s (Workers’ Self-Directed Enterprises), a true economic democracy.
The WSDEs would partner equally with similarly organized residential communities they interact with at the local, regional, and national levels (and hopefully international as well). That partnership would form the basis of genuine participatory democracy.
We begin with a definition of workers’ self-directed enterprises. In some ways, they are similar to co-ops, worker owned enterprises, and other organizations of production that reject the old, top-down, hierarchical capitalist model. Yet in crucial ways, workers’ self-directed enterprises are also unique.
Workers’ Self-Directed Enterprises: WSDE’s are enterprises in which all the workers who collaborate to produce its outputs also serve together, collectively as its board of directors. Each worker in any WSDE thus has two job descriptions: (1) a particular task in the enterprise’s division of labor, and (2) full participation in the directorial decisions governing what, how and where to produce and how to use the enterprise’s surplus or profits.
Simply put, in place of a hierarchical, undemocratic, capitalist production organization giving those decisions exclusively to a small minority — major shareholders and the board of directors — WSDE’s institutionalize democracy at work as the economy’s central principle and society’s new foundation.
We believe that now is the time for a comprehensive new strategy and new movement for social change. We invite you to join with Democracy at Work to work toward those goals.