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 UNIVERSAL ISSUES 
UNIVERSAL ISSUES / Global Working Class: Uprising or Class Struggle? [2]
Date of publication at Tlaxcala: 15/01/2016
Original: Weltarbeiterklasse: Aufstand oder Klassenkampf? [2]
Translations available: Italiano 

Global Working Class: Uprising or Class Struggle? [2]

Wildcat

 

Part Two
Part One here

Different Sectors - different conditions for struggle

Mining: Formerly, mining workers and their families lived close to the pits, their villages were also communities of struggle. Here a major process of restructuring is taking place, particularly when it comes to open-cast mining: now, miners are often employed as temporary contract workers and they live in container settlements (or other forms of arranged accommodation) far away from their families.

Textiles/Garments/Shoes: These are the most important sectors in developing nations. Mainly young women are employed - similar to the situation in 19th century Europe. The 'new international division of labour' during the 1970s had its origins in these sectors. Factories can be relocated more easily, machinery is not particularly expensive. The sector is characterised by small and medium size companies, the profit margins are low. Companies largely depend on supply-contracts with big fashion brands or retail chains. Design and (sometimes) cutting is done separately from the more labour-intensive (outsourced) production department. In 2005 and 2008 global import barriers that were meant to protect local industries were abolished. Today, China (or rather 'companies in China') is the biggest manufacturer worldwide, employing 2.7 million people. Companies with headquarters in Taiwan run factories in Mexico and Nicaragua, companies from China open new plants in Africa.

Automobile: Are still the most complex consumption good. A few transnational automobile corporations dominate the sector with long-term planning for local production units and high demands concerning infrastructure. The sector depends massively on state subsidies. Modern factories make use of expensive machinery and increasingly only employ workers with technical qualifications. The workforce is segmented into permanents, people with temporary contracts, agency workers, contract workers, all divided by significant wage differences. This is a global phenomenon.

Consumer electronics: Partly skilled labour, but also a big share of workers trained on the job. The quality levels demanded of these products are high, because the products tend to be expensive. According to the machine equipment we mainly see longer-term investments, therefore also very minute planning of where to establish production. The sub-contracted production for various brands in mega-factories, most of all in China, has become common (Foxconn etc.): their production capacity is extensive enough to produce mobile phones for the whole globe.

Construction: During the last decades the sector has played an increasingly important role, due to the fact that real estate and gigantic construction projects were a means to inflate speculative bubbles. Mainly migrants from the countryside or from abroad are employed on construction sites. Largely male workers. Major construction projects are often developed outside urban areas, meaning that workers are placed in camps.

Logistics: Alongside the global relocation of production the amount of transport work has increased drastically, while there was a significant drop in transport costs. Besides a few highly paid professional groups, the sector consists mainly of simple manual labour, often done by migrants in semi-legal conditions. In distribution centres everywhere around the globe new concentrations of mass work are emerging.

Service work: Everything that is not agriculture, mining or direct manufacturing work. While formerly service work was done wherever the actual service was needed, today much of the office work, such as back-office, accountancy, call centre work etc. can be performed anywhere in the world, as long as it has internet connection.

The segmentation of workers through different employment relations is a big challenge for common struggles, the old habitual formulas have become ineffective. (After the strikes at the beginning of the 1970s the 'guest workers' (Gastarbeiter) have struggled their way into the trade unions and became the reliable foundation for all future mobilisations. In contrast, the new migrants are mostly contract or temp workers.)

But only in Stalinist or social-democratic storytelling did the working class used to be a homogeneous block. In reality it was very heterogeneous in the 19th century or in 1920, too - and not only in terms of the divisions between male and female workers or locals and migrants. We cannot equate working class with industrial workers! Even in England in the 19th century half of the workforce was employed outside the factory system. And we could also find wage differences of 300 per cent between factory workers with German passports. Historically the working class learnt time and again to struggle (together) under such circumstances.



Foxconn factory in China

The end of the peasant question

In autumn 2008 an article was published in Wildcat no.82, which engaged with the romantisation of the peasantry by the anti-globalisation movement. The main thesis was that today there is no separate 'peasant question' anymore and that it is rather about the recomposition of the global working class from below.

"In earlier phases of history humans used to produce their means of subsistence in small communities and they were dependent on the natural fluctuations of production. In contrast to that capitalism created the world market right from the start, and its main productive force (machinery) is itself a product of human labour. The general context of a global society becomes the basic condition of our existence and reproduction ("Second Nature") and in this sense it is the real human community. Only since humans' livelihood started to depend on social rather than on individual labour have we been able to raise the question of collective appropriation of the means of production at all – and nowadays actually on a global level!" 14

Contrary to this Samir Amin 15, amongst others, continues to present a classic anti-imperialist position. He still divides the globe up into the triad (EU, Japan, US) and the periphery, in which 80 per cent of the world population live, half of them in the countryside. Without finding a solution for these people, no 'other world' would be possible. Amin reckons that the process which other people call globalisation is actually an ongoing implosion of the imperialist system. He discards the notion of the anti-glob movement to change the world without taking power as naive - as naive as the idea of an ecological compromise with capital. He alleges that the 'imperialist rent', from which the social middle-strata in the global north benefit, is a barrier to the path for common struggle. In order to establish socialism or communism, workers and peoples have to find offensive strategies on three levels, already pointed out by Mao: the people, the state, the nation. A return to the Keynesian post-war model is impossible - history doesn't have a reverse gear. But according to Amin the peasant question is still central: access to land for all peasants and development of a more productive agriculture, opposed to peasant folklore. Building of industry and development of the forces of production.

These political proposals are as antiquated as the analysis stuck in the past: by now in China the third generation of migrant workers are working in the global factories. In the process of exodus of millions of uprooted peasants from the rural areas, an industrial working class has been formed in classical ways. The division between urban and rural dwellers has not been overcome, but the former villagers have largely dissolved their ties to the land and, above all, they don't want to return to it!

More interesting though is Amin's argument against the idea that the developing countries in the 'emerging markets', e.g. the new Tiger states, Brazil, Turkey etc., could become the new centres of capitalism: according to him the necessary 'security valves' for that to happen are missing in these regions. Proletarianisation in Europe in the 18th century had migration to America as a security valve. Today it would need several Americas for similar processes of industrialisation to happen in the 'emerging market' countries. Therefore they don't have a chance to catch up. This argument has to be further sharpened towards the following question: What happens in the actual and current processes of industrialisation once struggles cannot be channeled into social democracy on one hand or mass migration on the other?

Proletarianisation translates into class struggle

Often, we only realise in hindsight if and when a qualitative shift took place. In 2004 the first 'global traffic jam' was reported. The strikes in the Chinese Pearl River delta in 2004 at the peak of the boom marked the first big cycle of struggles in the 'new factories'. Through offensive struggles they gained significant wage increases and had an effect on the situation in factories in the whole of East Asia. In Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, workers' strikes erupted and with the bus drivers' dispute in Iran in 2006, the first important strike since 1979 took place! A worldwide groundswell of workers' struggles can be retraced from 2006, meaning before the global economic crash. This groundswell transformed into a wave reaching its peak in 2010, when strikes took place in nearly every country in the world, and which opened the way for the political revolutions and protest movements on the streets to come. The latter attracted more media attention, but without the strikes in the phosphate industry in Tunisia and the mass strikes in the textile industry in Mahalla in Egypt between 2006 and 2008, the uprisings in these countries would not have taken place.


Protesters against workers' suicides at Foxconn in mainland China. Anthony Dickson/AFP/Getty Images

The waves of protests 2006 – 2013

The years 2006 to 2013 were characterised by a wave of mass protests on the streets, strikes and uprisings on an unprecedented scale. According to the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung New York 16 the wave is only comparable to the revolutionary upheavals of 1848, 1917 or 1968 - the think-tank analysed 843 protest movements in total between 2006 and 2013, in 87 countries, which cover 90 per cent of the world population. Protests of all kinds, against social injustice, against war, for real democracy, against corruption, riots against food price hikes, strikes against employers, general strikes against austerity. (Less positive were e.g. the clerical mobilisations against abortions in Poland).

Noteworthy is the large number of protests taking place in 'high income' countries and the fact that 48 per cent of violent protests take place in low-income countries; in most cases they target high food and energy prices. 49 protests demanded agrarian reform, 488 were targeted against austerity policy and demanded social justice, while 376 protests had 'real democracy' as their proclaimed aims. Many protests were expressions of the complete loss of trust in 'Politics'. Nevertheless, in most cases the protestors aimed their demands at the state: the responsible politicians were supposed to act. Often the forms of struggles went beyond traditional demonstrating or striking and were act of 'civil disobedience', such as blockades and occupations. In particular the occupations of public squares and the common organisation of daily life as a form of struggle impacted on the entire Mediterranean region and the US.

The comparison with '1968' disguises more than it is able to clarify: 1968 stands for a global revolutionary movement, but 1968 was not the peak year of strikes - on the contrary, these began in the early 1960s and only reached their peak in the mid-/end-1970s.

The wave of struggle since 2005 has very different facets:

Food Riots

Since the beginning of the global economic crisis speculative, capital has fled towards 'secure' assets, such as raw materials, staple food and agricultural land and thereby, within a short span of time, has triggered a massive hike of basic food prices; these reached historical highs first in December 2007 and then again in 2010. Between autumn 2007 and summer 2008 proletarians in large parts of Africa and China reacted with strikes and uprisings and forced their governments or employers to continue subsidising basic foodstuffs.

The movement of the squares

On the 'squares', revolutionary groupings and tendencies were active, but as a minority. Most of the participants were 'active on the streets' for the first time and demonstrated considerable ability to self-organise daily life and reproduction - but they were not 'political'. The media picture of these movements were largely influenced by the social middle-strata, may be because journalists are best at communicating with people from their own social background. And a mass protest in the capital is more visible than a strike in the provinces. Due to this, the participation of proletarians was largely underestimated although many of them took part and fought the cops on the front lines. But these movements were, in most cases, aimed against the government, against corruption and for 'real democracy' and not for the 'cause of the workers'. 17 The movement seemed to have a global character but remained trapped within the framework of their respective nation states. Many of these movements had 'two souls': on one side, poorer proletarians and migrants who had become unemployed, on the other side, precarious academics who regarded a well-paid job as a human right. The middle-strata were particularly affected by interest policies, state debts and austerity measures - some became more radical and acted. At times they managed the leap into politics and into participation in power through elections - like the Podemos in Spain.

Global strike wave

In Wildcat no.90 Steven Colatrella in his text, 'In Our Hands is Placed a Power', highlighted that the struggles formed themselves into a global strike wave during the last third of 2010. In 2010 strikes reached a geographical and quantitative scope unprecedented in history. He attributes this to the end of neoliberalism and the re-constitution of the working class. According to Colatrella the expansion of 'traditional strikes' can provide struggles with power and direction and help to overcome the weaknesses of the 'IMF riots'.

"But the shifting of production globally did not produce new working classes, [...] but rather this global shifting created new structural power for large sectors of workers that had rarely had such power except perhaps at the strictly national level." 18

Workers in the textile, shoe, automobile or other factories were now able to attack the world economy both on a national and global level. Closer integration into the world economy and the simultaneous attacks on their living standards through the capitalist crisis has increased both their structural and organisational power. The strike wave is part of class formation, it links up struggles and politicises the struggle against capitalist globalisation. Workers who defend their economic interests are directly confronted with political power. Their struggles are therefore political.

Colatrella conceptualises the global strike wave since 2007 as 'strikes against global governance', meaning, as a worldwide and simultaneous action of workers in many countries against the same enemy. But simultaneity does not create commonality as such and a common enemy does not necessarily create links amongst those in struggle.

The Catcher Technology  factory in Suqian, iin Eastern China, where 20,000 Workers produce components for  Sony, Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Apple

BRICS, MINTS - the hotspots of the strike wave

Facing stagnating growth rates in the old core countries, capital's hope focused on the so-called BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa - where 40 per cent of the world population resides; the abbreviation is an invention of the US investment bank Goldman-Sachs in 2001), which (apart from Russia) contain a young, ascending, industrial workforce who want to claim a better life. Brazil's state president promised everyone a promotion into the 'middle class'. Initially it seemed that the BRICS-states were not affected by the global crisis and state-controlled economies like China seemed 'immune' against it. Idle capital flew towards these regions, the growth rates at first continued to increase, though slower than in the preceding years. But particularly in these 'championed' countries of capitalism, workers managed to enforce considerable wage increases through hard struggles.

Their strikes have many things in common: they mostly happen in the central sectors of the respective economy, the affected companies operate on a multinational level, in their struggles workers get into confrontation with existing unions, they look for alternative unions or make use of their own forms of organisation. In many cases the state attacks the strikers violently, at the same time workers use violence against managers or strike-breakers. 19

In 2014 these strikes continued, although in the case of India, against the background of a massive devaluation of the local currency and a decrease in sales in the automobile sector. Since 2013 a lot of capital has been withdrawn from the BRICS states and transferred to the so-called MINTS-states Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey and South Korea - these states, as well, have a large and very young population and at least some of them have been sites of huge protest movements during recent years. In June 2013 an uprising took place in Turkey ('Gezi Park protests') and in May 2015 the entire automobile sector was shaken by a strike wave, in the course of which workers chased away their old trade unions.

In Iran, 2014 was the year with the highest amount of industrial disputes and workers' protests. The peak moment was the strike of 5,000 workers in the iron ore mines of Bafgh where workers managed to stop privatisation. They walked out for nearly 40 days until the last arrested worker had been released - it was the longest dispute since the revolution in 1979.



Striking
Honda Workers in China

In the newly industrialised countries, workers' movements emerged that are noticeably similar, despite their culturally and politically very different respective surroundings - and these movements have enforced considerable wage gains within the span of a few years. 20 Workers made use of their position in the international production chains e.g. during the Honda strike in China. 21

In many struggles egalitarian demands were put forward to act against the segmentation within the workforce, which employers nowadays try to enforce in all companies around the world with a higher share of skilled workers (Examples: car workers in India, mining workers in South Africa). 22



Striking Toyota Workers, Bangalore, India, March 2014

Workers and State

How do workers' struggles become revolutionary? Revolution evades derivation from objective conditions. If in a society characterised by patriarchal relations female workers fight collectively for the improvement of their living and working conditions, if they take risks in struggle, cross boundaries, discover new potentials and want to find out more about the world, then this process is probably 'revolutionary'. What kind of notion of 'communism' do workers have in a country where the capitalists are organised within the CP? They will have to develop something new in struggle. This will surely not only start from the factories alone, it needs external impulses e.g. from youth movements that put any- and everything into question.

'Global working class' is a counter-thesis to the idea of a 'national working class'. It assumes that the conditions for an integration of the working class into the state through a (social democratic) labour movement no longer exist. In 1848 workers did not yet have a 'fatherland', a proletarian artisan did not care whether he worked in Cologne, Paris or Brussels. Only state welfare policy and the orientation of the workers' parties towards 'fighting itself into the state' have tied the workers to the nation. Since 1968 a broad and long-term re-orientation of proletarian movements away from the state - and from concepts of the state - has taken place. Since the 1980s the dismantling of welfare has caused a certain 'alienation' of large parts of society from the state, but for the 'central working class' the state still functions: just consider the massive state interventions since 2008 to rescue the automobile industry in Germany, the US and in France. For the traditional left the state is the political field within which the capitalist system can be changed, or rather, its worst consequences can be 'reigned in'.

Historically capital was a global relation, mediated through the world market, right from its beginning. But without the state and the law (enforcement) and the national labour markets, capital would not have been able to survive and to develop. The welfare state guarantees certain social securities only for its own population and thereby turns proletarians into 'citizens'. But capital was only able to develop by accessing an industrial reserve army in the form of agricultural labourers, peasants, under-employed proletarians in other countries. Today, in nearly all industrial nations there are multinational working classes without deeper ties to the state in which they live - while the 'local' and 'naturalised' workers and descending middle-strata cling to the state and want special protection.

During the last 20 years the class enemy has dismantled state structures wherever they were not able to cope with class struggle: private armies, mafia and civil war rule. This destruction of social security systems caused large-scale flight movements. In such threatening situations 'strong states' or 'controlled democracies' (Russia, China) become more attractive as islands of stability. Where does the working class use the absence of the state to build their own structures? What's the score with a globalisation from below?

Global learning processes

Today it is possible for workers to establish direct contacts between themselves across, even far distances, without having to rely on mediators. Thanks to digital networks it has become much easier, even in remote areas, to know what is going on in the world compared to three, four decades ago. Struggles become contagious if workers in one company see that other workers take a risk and are successful - as for example the strike in the shoe factories of Yue Yuen in 2014 in which 40,000 workers took part. In 2015 around 90,000 workers of the same company walked out in Vietnam, while simultaneously 6,000 workers again went on strike in China. Since the 2014 dispute hardly a month has passed in China without at least one shoe factory being affected by workers' industrial actions. Workers notice their respective struggles, also across national borders - even without visible organisational contacts. Workers of different factories report on conditions and discuss them e.g. on internet forums.

Migrants

The most obvious links between the proletarians of all countries are migrants. There were historical moments when masses of militant workers left their respective countries to avoid repression - like Spain and Greece in the 1970s or Turkey in the 1980s - and brought with them their experiences of struggle and of how to organise. In the struggles in the factories in Germany they often became the vanguard. Another example is the migrants from Mexico, who left to find work in agriculture in the US and who organised strikes there. (Not all labour migrants are or remain proletarians - self-employment is often the only way out of misery and the network of fellow country(wo)men the organisation of choice. Migrants often belong to those groups of people who want to progress and get on in life come what may and are able to mobilise a reservoir of badly paid labour from within their communities for this aim. Therefore such networks are hardly of use as an organisational foundation in class struggle.)

"The proletariat thus seems to disappear at the very moment when the proletarian condition becomes generalized." (Samir Amin)

For four decades the speed of class movements was not able to match the speed with which capital roamed the globe in search for valorisable labour power. Now this situation has turned around. Workers in Egypt, China, Bangladesh, Mexico, South Africa etc. make use of the new technical possibilities for their own interests; their struggles quickly attract a global audience. For the first time a global working class emerges, which has the ability to organise global production and reproduction - and can therefore transform this world. In the global north this 'new condition' is more difficult to detect because since the 1980s capital has used the threat of relocation to blackmail people. (While at the same time a small part of the working class - 'medium strata' - was able to make money from financialisation and speculation at least temporarily, sometimes more than through work.)

The role of the left

What role can left activists or left-wing academics play? Since the big strike wave in 2010, left-leaning social science around the globe has rediscovered the working class and researches their movements. But even if sociologists interview individual workers they tend to become frustrated, because these people only think about themselves and their families. Are they "a different type of human species" once they are at work or when they struggle together? E.P. Thompson wrote in 1963 that if you stop social history at any given moment you will find only individuals. 'Class', in contrast, defines people who live their own history - therefore a sufficiently long period of history has to be analysed. 'The Making of...' is a development within political and cultural history at the same time as within economic history. "The working class made itself as much as it was made." 23

And why should workers tell social scientists anything at all?

In 'Junge Welt', 24 the Hungarian philosopher Gaspar Miklos Tamas recently said that for the first time in history we face the grotesque situation of a Marxist intelligentsia without a Marxist movement. This brings with it two dangers: on one side, the danger of vanguardism that speaks in the name of a passive proletariat - a proletariat, however, that does not know it is being spoken for and which does not share the vanguard's values that tell the proletariat what it is supposed to feel, think and do. Mainly small radical left groups face this danger. The other danger is that the radical left fuses with the general, democratic, anti-fascist and egalitarian movement - which would cause the Marxist critique to disappear.

Both these tendencies exist in relation to the new class struggles. Some want to found a 'new International' as early as now - while there are so many of them already! Others refuse to criticise the working class and only want to support workers in their struggles. They want to make use of decentralised networks organised by NGOs or they make a beeline for the unions. International conferences deal with the question of how workers can get in touch on a global level. In addition there is still the traditional 'workers' internationalism' that is organised in centralistic and hierarchical ways with little open debate. At international conferences delegates pretend that everywhere, manual or office workers with life-long employment in one company still exist, whose trade union or workers' party still obtain a share of the growing wealth for them. 25

But there are also efforts by left activists who are critical of the trade unions to organise contacts between different locations of multinational corporations - though it is very difficult to go beyond mutual visits and to actually struggle together or organise solidarity strikes.

Over the last five years a different part of the radical left that wants to abolish the state placed their hope in uprisings. The 'movement of squares' in 2011 overtook the debate about the 'coming insurrection'. But Greece in 2008, Indignados, Gezi Park, Stuttgart21, Hong Kong etc. were all movements with hundreds of thousands of participants - but which, in the end, were not able to enforce anything! These movements made visible the potentials that simultaneous uprisings on a global scale have - but also brutally demonstrated their limitations: from the commune of Tahrir to the military dictatorship. The many movements since Seattle, the mass uprisings in Argentina in 2001 and lastly Occupy Wall St. etc., have shown with the utmost clarity that an overturning of the existing social order is only possible once workers take part in the uprising as workers. It is not enough that they take part in demonstrations, but don't go on strike. In capitalism, strike is the ultimate weapon, where real power develops and collective subjects form themselves.

Even the Invisible Committee, which up to now didn't care much for workers, started to approach them (at least verbally) 26 - this is an interesting development: because whoever wants to abolish the state, whoever wants revolution won't be able to do it without the workers! Proletarians are the vast majority of the population and their struggles push things forward. Nevertheless most leftists still don't critically analyse the struggles that are actually taking place, but in an immediate reflex raise the question of 'class consciousness' instead. They imagine a proletariat organised in a party and union, which has not existed in such a way since the 1950s. "What else do we expect?" an article in Wildcat-Zirkular no.65 asked polemically. "The emergence of proletarian world organisations? Solidarity strikes? Copycats? A worldwide political movement? The new and interesting phenomena regarding world revolution is the very fact that no one has got parameters, criteria or even answers to tackle that question. Criteria could be whether commonalities develop during different struggles - and up to now this does not seem to be the case. Workers struggle, but they don't struggle together... Rather the opposite is true: they just fight for themselves and only rely on their own strength. They don't even wait for their colleagues in the neighbouring company." 27

Workers ignore old organisations and parties; new ones are not yet visible. There isn't any idea of a new society yet, which takes hold of the masses. In the struggles themselves we can see some new developments though. In Asia and beyond workers have proven extraordinary capabilities to organise their struggles and coordinate them beyond the boundaries of their respective regions. They have understood that they can only win collectively. They raise egalitarian demands against the divisions that capital introduced. They don't let unions hold them back, who want to control them. They don't shy away from hard confrontations. They address and create problems for which the system has no solutions.

In their struggles they get into conflict with a social system, which hasn't got anything to offer the large majority apart from austerity politics - a system, which is no longer able to transform the struggles into 'development'. A social system that steers towards its next crash, under the leadership of its 'last superpower', which fights against its economic and political demise by all means necessary. The strongest military power in the world is no longer able to win wars, not to mention to create new stable states, but can only destroy. By doing this it will further undermine the legitimacy of this world order and mobilise more and more people against itself.

Who will shape the coming social confrontations? The global middle classes who follow nationalist mobilisations out of fear of losing their social acquis? Or the global proletariat, on whose labour their wealth and power depends? The collective intelligence of the rebellious proletariat is superior to the narrow-minded experts of the institutions; their ability to organise production and to self-organise can guarantee the supply of necessary goods and services for the people - the various movements of the squares and against big infrastructure projects have proven this. They are the only force that can oppose the destructive potency of capital.

In Wildcat we have often voiced the hope of an 'encounter of the workers' movement and social movement' - in order to define the role of the social-revolutionary left. As if it was just about an addition of forces, which does not have to hurt anyone. A 'side-by-side' on the 'squares', under conditions of mutual indifference. This won't cut it in future - if we want to get things moving.

A new revolutionary subject won't just be an outcome of 'homogenisation' (even less of an 'alliance!'), but rather of processes of polarisation - and divisions within the working class. The political discussion and practice of the left will have to come to terms with this.

Footnotes

[14] 'Beyond the peasant international', Wildcat no.82, Autumn 2008
http://www.wildcat-www.de/en/wildcat/82/w82_bauern_en.html

[15] Samir Amin, 'The implosion of contemporary capitalism', New York 2013

[16] Isabel Ortiz, Sara Burke, Mohamed Berrada, Hernan Cortes, 'World Protests 2006 - 2013', FES New York Office 2013

[17] Compare the article on Hong Kong by Mouvement Communiste:
http://mouvement-communiste.com/documents/MC/Letters/LTMC1439%20ENvG.pdf

[18] Wildcat no.90, summer 2011
http://www.wildcat-www.de/en/wildcat/90/w90_in_our_hands_en.htm

[19] Joerg Nowak, 'Fruehling der globalen Arbeiterklasse. Neue Streikwelle in den BRICS-Staaten, 2014
'Massenstreiks und Strassenproteste in Indien und Brasilien', Peripherie 137, 2015
'Massenstreiks in der globalen Krise', Standpunkte 10/2015, online auf rosalux.de
Torsten Bewernitz, 'Globale Krise - globale Streikwelle? Zwischen den oekonomischen und demokratischen politischen Protesten herrscht keine zufaellige Gleichzeitigkeit'. Prokla 177, 12/2014
Dorothea Schmidt, 'Mythen und Erfahrungen:die Einheit der deutschen Arbeiterklasse um 1900. Prokla 175, 6/2014

[20] Beverly Silver sees her thesis verified by the struggle waves in 2010: the relocation of capital towards China has created a new and growing combative working class. She still thinks in categories of pendulum movements: Making - unmaking - remaking of the working class, and currently the pendulum is swinging back. According to Silver this time in history it is neither possible, nor desirable, to respond to these struggles in form of Keynesian social partnership.
Beverly Silver, 'Theorising the working class in twenty-first-century global capitalism', in: Workers and labour in a globalised capitalism (Palgrave Macmillan); edited by Maurizio Atzeni (2014)
http://krieger.jhu.edu/arrighi/research/socialprotest

[21] See article on China in this issue of Wildcat [no English translation available]

[22] In Germany only workers at Daimler in Bremen have tried to respond to management plans of outsourcing work to 'service providers' by going on wildcat strike, but they were not able to put a halt to the scheme

[23] E.P. Thompson, The making of the English working-class, 1963

[24] 'Die zwei grossen Gefahren' [The two big dangers'], conversation with Gaspar Miklos Tamas, 4th of June 2015

[25] Global Labour Journal
www.escarpmentpress.org/globallabour
Global Labour Institute
www.globallabour.info
Global Dialogue
www.isa-global-dialogue.net/volume-4-issue1/

[26] Invisible Committee, 'To our friends'
"To say that plainly: so long as we can’t do without nuclear power plants and dismantling them remains a business for people who want them to last forever, aspiring to abolish the state will continue to draw smiles; so long as the prospect of a popular uprising will signify a guaranteed fall into scarcity, of health care, food, or energy, there will be no strong mass movement…
What defines the worker is not his exploitation by a boss, which he shares with all other employees. What distinguishes him in a positive sense is his embodied technical mastery of a particular world of production. There is a competence in this that is scientific and popular at the same time, a passionate knowledge that constituted the particular wealth of the working world before capital, realizing the danger contained there and having first extracted all that knowledge, decided to turn workers into operators, monitors, and custodians of machines. But even there, the workers’ power remains: someone who knows how to make a system operate also knows how to sabotage it in an effective way. But no one can individually master the set of techniques that enable the current system to reproduce itself. Only a collective force can do that.
...In other words: we need to resume a meticulous effort of investigation. We need to go look in every sector, in all the territories we inhabit, for those who possess strategic technical knowledge. Only on this basis will movements truly dare to “block everything.”"

[27] 'Das Ende der Entwicklungsdiktaturen' ['The end of the developmental dictatorships', Wildcat-Zirkular no.65, February 2003]

 





Courtesy of Wildcat Nr. 98
Source: http://www.wildcat-www.de
Publication date of original article: 15/07/2015
URL of this page : http://www.tlaxcala-int.org/article.asp?reference=17050

 

Tags: Global Working ClassClass StruggleWorkers' StrugglesLogical Revolts
 

 
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