"Workers and Capital"

Mario Tronti

The Progressive Era

The working class after Marx can be approached historically in two ways. One is chronological. It reconstructs the great cycles of the labor struggle from the 1870s, followed by a series of facts that constitute its history. It would include the history of labor in industry, of industry in capital, of capital in politics and in political events, along with the great theorization -- what was once called the history of ideas -- the first sociology, the last systematic form attained by economics, and the birth of a new scientific discipline: that theory of technological reality which is the science of labor and the enemy of the worker. Traditional historiography encapsulates it between 1870 and 1914. To be generous and to avoid constantly upsetting the mental habits of the average intellectual, it may even be possible to enclose this epoch's first great block of facts in "their" history and move towards us and the new labor struggles constituting the real political drama of our side of the story -- even if it is only at its beginning

The other approach is to move through great historical events by pausing on macroscopic groups of facts yet untouched by the critical consciousness of labor thought (Pensiero operaio) and therefore excluded from a class understanding that translates them into a political use of their consequences. When relevant, these events isolate a fundamental aspect of capitalist society. They cut a cross-section that goes from a series of struggles to a set of political-institutional, scientific, or organizational answers.

An anonymous coward writes:

"The Flight to India:

The Jobs Britain Stole from the Asian Subcontinent 200 Years Ago Are Now Being Returned"
George Monbiot, October 21, 2003, The Guardian

If you live in a rich nation in the English-speaking world, and most of your work involves a computer or a telephone, don't expect to have a job in five years' time. Almost every large company which relies upon remote transactions is starting to dump its workers and hire a cheaper labour force overseas. All those concerned about economic justice and the distribution of wealth at home should despair. All those concerned about global justice and the distribution of wealth around the world should rejoice. As we are, by and large, the same people, we have a problem.


"Rouge Steel Sold to Russians"

Mike Hudson / The Detroit News

DEARBORN -- Rouge Industries Inc., the steelmaking giant of Ford Motor Co.'s
historic Rouge industrial complex, was acquired Thursday by a Russian
steelmaker after years of staggering financial losses.
Rouge Industries, founded 80 years ago by Henry Ford, filed for Chapter 11
bankruptcy protection Thursday as part of the sale agreement.


An anonymous coward writes:

""You May Justifiably Want to Take Friday Off"
Mark Engler, Newsday, October 22, 2003

Mark Engler, a writer based in Brooklyn, is a former analyst with the Arias Foundation for Peace and Human Progress in San Jose, Costa Rica.

On Friday, a small but growing number of Americans will celebrate "Take Back Your Time Day," calling out of work to honor the vacation they don't have.

This peculiar holiday was organized by a committee of economists and nonprofit advocates in response to the fact that, as a society, we are working more than ever before. Come Friday, if our country's work load were on a par with the rest of the industrialized world, you would have the rest of 2003 off.


SEIU Local 880 homecare worker writes:

Illinois Governor Blagojevich signed the first union contract with over 20,000 SEIU Local 880 Personal Assistants working through the Illinois Department of Human Services/Office of Rehabilitation Services (DHS/ORS) Tuesday afternoon. The historic event wrapped up what has been a summer of tremendous strides for the State’s Homecare workers.

renegado writes:

"Report on Condition of the Working Class in Iraq"
Ewa in Baghdad

The Most Powerful Men in the World, the Peroxide Spook and The 25c Armed Picket Line

Dodgy unions, ex-Baathist fascist bosses, spies monitoring the new ministries in Iraq and machine gun armed picket lines.

In the early morning rising smog, Baghdad's Daura Oil Refinery is a warping shadow. In a car, crossing the Tigris, the concrete suspension pillars of Daurra bridge axe my vision into rapid black and white box-frames; the smogged city; the Daura flame; the filfth river; the refinery warped. Nothing would be what it seemed today. I'm on my way to meet freshly 'liberated' and unionized workers, with an Occupation Watch delegation of US Labour Against the War and French Trade Union activists. Cameras click as our cars swerve through the rickety front gate and straight down a two-lane time-warp into a 1950s oil community nightmare.

widing writes:

A new life in a new city

People – let’s face it. If we all acknowledged the possibilities of dying tomorrow, few of us would be satisfied by how we have lived and are living our life today. Is the “concealment of death” just one of those many things necessary for the continuation of western lifestyle? I believe so. In the end it’s all about priorities set in a system proclaiming “there will always be a tomorrow”.

Ned Rossiter writes: Here's a report on creative labour that I've written for the
fibreculture [fc] list.

"Creative Labour and the Role of Intellectual Property"

Ned Rossiter, September 2003

Here's my report based on the survey I conducted for the fibrepower
panel initiated by Kate Crawford and Esther Milne -- Intellectual
Property—Intellectual Possibilities (Brisbane, July 03). I wanted to
explore in some empirical fashion the relationship between
intellectual property and creative labour. Why?

"The Global Economy in Transition"

Henry C.K. Liu

An economy is not an abstraction. An economy is the material
manifestation of a political system, which in turn is the interplay of
group interests representing, among others, gender, age, religion,
property, class, sector, region or nation. Individual interests are not
issues of politics. Therefore, the politics of individualism is an
oxymoron, and by extension, the Hayekian notion of a market of
individual decisions is an ideological fantasy. Markets are phenomena
of large numbers and herd instinct where unique individualism is of
little consequence. The defining basis of politics is power, which
takes many forms: moral, intellectual, financial, electoral and
military. In an overcapacity environment, company executives lament
about the loss of pricing power. The global economy is the material
manifestation of the global geopolitical system, and global
macroeconomics is the rationalization of that geopolitical system.

pscap writes:

New Resources for Popular Educators

"Hey, I work with this group called the planting seeds community awareness project, and we just put up a new website with a syllabus database for popular educators, zine resources, an article database and a lot more!!! Here's the announcement about it, that includes a call for contributors for the site."

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