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.
The book is a collection of different texts and case studies from the countries of the Western Balkans that have been facing dramatic social, political and economic changes along with the so called transition since the beginning of 1990s. The present texts contextualise the concept of the commons through the practices of various actors, initiatives and organisations in Serbia, Kosovo and Montenegro, while taking a political and critical view on the concept of the commons and discussing its capacities as an alternative to neoliberalism. It is meant to showcase practices that encourage narratives and practices of resistance, transformation and promising a possible change.