Categories: Agenda

3500 researchers from 650 universities signed! Here is the way out of the corona crisis

Work: Democratization, Denial and Environmental Sustainability, the manifesto covers the following statements:

What did this crisis teach us? Basically, working people are much more than just an ordinary “resource”. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, medical staff, cargo workers, cashiers, all the people, the laborers, the living proof of this that allowed us to continue our lives during the COVID-19 epidemic and quarantine. This epidemic showed us that the act of work itself cannot be reduced to a “commodity”. In particular, it warned us that the provision of health services and meeting the basic needs of the most vulnerable sections of the society cannot be left to market conditions and market conditions altogether. Leaving it will further increase social inequalities. And the most devastating consequences of this will be the most disadvantaged sections of the society that is already in a difficult situation.


What should be done to avoid such a scenario? First of all, employees should be engaged in workplace decisions that affect their own lives and futures, that is, workplaces should be democratized. Business should not be a commodity and beneficial employment should be provided for everyone. In this critical period when we are faced with both the risks of the epidemic and the environmental disaster, making these two strategic transformations helps us not only to create dignified working conditions for people, but also to act collectively in order to protect life and the future on the planet.



The best way for companies and society as a whole to appreciate the laborers’ efforts during this crisis is through democratizing workplaces and paving the way for employees to participate in management. It is absolutely crucial and urgent to find a way to repair the increasing income inequality and increase the minimum income. However, this alone is not enough. Just as after the world wars, the undeniable contributions of women to society paved the way for women to get the right to choose and be elected; Now is the time to pave the way for laborers to participate in decision-making through the delivery of the rights of laborers, strengthening in every sense and democratization of workplaces.

THE majority of the workers’ council

The representation of employees in Europe in the decision-making mechanisms related to the workplace was achieved through the “workers councils” that started to be established after the Second World War. However, the voices of these representative bodies were, at best, weakly heard. Because these councils were often subject to the control of management teams appointed by shareholders. Thus, these councils could not be effective in slowing down capitalist policies that did not hesitate to cause serious damage to the planet and increase income inequality. Now workers’ councils should be equipped with similar powers as other boards of directors. In order for this to happen, just as the company (top) management takes decisions, the majority of shareholders need the game; Decisions should also be subject to the majority of workers’ councils.

In Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries, attempts to join / decide jointly (Mitbestimmung), which were gradually implemented after the Second World War, represented an important step in this direction. However, these practices were not sufficient for employees to be a real “citizen” in their companies. Even in the United States, where workers’ organizations and trade union rights are severely suppressed, there are calls for employees to demand qualified representation on their board of directors. The issues such as the election of the general manager (CEO), determination of the company strategies, and the distribution of profit are too important to be left to the control of the shareholders. Employees who invest their minds, powers, health, and briefly their lives should also have the right to collectively control, verify and reject such decisions that affect their own lives and futures.

REMOVING THE BUSINESS FROM META: This epidemic and the crisis we are going through at the same time showed: We should not just conceptualize the business as an imaginary commodity and leave important decisions such as those mentioned above to the “market” dynamics. Procurement of employment and emergency equipment and services in the health sector has been managed with the logic of profitability for years. The thousands of people who are victimized by the epidemic every day remind us again and again why some needs should never be fully commercialized and met with the logic of profitability. When it comes to the health of people and the planet, the logic of profitability cannot be the basic principle that decides everything.

Removing work from commodity means protecting certain sectors from “free market” laws and at the same time ensuring that all people have access to work and the human dignity that the business brings. One way to achieve this goal is to create an employment guarantee. Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that everyone has the right to work. The employment guarantee not only ensures everyone has access to this universal right, but also enhances our collective capabilities in our fight against social, economic and environmental issues.


A guarantee of employment, which will be provided in cooperation with central governments, local communities and administrations, will give them a job and provide a good future and help prevent environmental disaster. In this context, while unemployment rates increase rapidly all over the world, employment guarantee programs can play an important role in ensuring social, economic and environmental stability and strengthening democracies. The European Union should include such an initiative under the Green Deal. The European Central Bank’s revision of its mission to finance such a program necessary for survival will also increase the legitimacy of the Bank before citizens living in the European Union. The European Union will have demonstrated its commitment to the social, economic and environmental well-being of our democratic societies, by offering such a solution to impending shocks in terms of unemployment.

ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: Let’s not repeat the 2008 crisis and our mistakes. The 2008 financial crisis ended with the unconditional recovery of the financial sector and deepened the public debt. If our states are to intervene in the economy today, companies that will benefit from this intervention should act in accordance with democratic principles. On behalf of the democratic society it serves and constitutes, states must condition the changes and changes in their strategic orientation and environmental responsibilities of the companies they help with their interventions to ensure that we survive and deal with urgent environmental problems.


In addition to ensuring that companies that will benefit from interventions comply with environmental regulations with a clearly defined framework; impose companies to take steps towards democratization related to internal governance. The companies that are ready to promote the transition from environmental destruction to environmental repair will undoubtedly be companies with democratic governments. Such an understanding of management is possible only with the administrations where both capitalists and laborers can make their voices heard and decide the strategies to be implemented together.

When we try to find a balance between labor, planet and capital in the current capitalist system, we have enough experience to make sure that the loser is always labor and the planet. Applicable changes in production processes can reduce global energy consumption by up to 73%, as research by Cambridge University Cullen, Allwood and Borgstein (Envir. Sc. & Tech. 2011 45, 1711-1718) shows. However, these changes require companies to make more labor and costly decisions in the short term. Despite the difficulties brought by such changes, many social enterprises and cooperatives are carrying out promising studies that it is possible to set hybrid targets (economic, social and environmental) and to be managed through democratic governance mechanisms. But do you believe that companies that put profitability at the center of all decisions and continue to be managed with the understanding that profit maximization is the only focus – will really make such changes, given that their energy costs are also falling fast?

Let’s not deceive ourselves more. Unless their decisions have tangible consequences, most of the capital owners and companies will neither care about the dignity of the people who have created their company, nor will they struggle with the impending environmental disaster. Rather than desperately waiting for these to happen, there is another way to ensure the sustainability of life in the world: to democratize companies, to cease to be commodities, and to stop seeing people and labor as just a “resource”.


Element - Mulierlife News Editor, Magazine, popular people, Researcher author.

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