Labour as a Commons: The Example of Worker-Recuperated Companies

This article argues that labour can be understood as a commons, located in the discussion of how commons can advance the transformation of social relations and society. To manage labour as a commons entails a shift away from the perception of labour power as the object of capital’s value practices, towards a notion of labour power as a collectively and sustainably managed resource for the benefit of society. Given that social change is largely a result of social struggle, it is crucial to examine germinal forms of labour as a commons present in society. I focus my analysis on worker-recuperated companies in Latin America and Europe. Worker-recuperated companies are enterprises self-managed by their workers after the owners close them down. Despite operating within the hegemonic capitalist market, they do not adopt capitalist rationality and are proven viable. Worker-recuperated companies offer a new perspective on labour as a commons.


Dario Azzellini, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Wiener Str. 14b, 10999 Berlin, Germany. Email: dnapress{at} or dario{at}

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