Proletarian China: A Century of Chinese Labour

Made in China Journal | December 01, 2021

In 2021, the Chinese Communist Party celebrated a century of existence. Since its humble beginnings in the Marxist groups of the Republican era to its current global ambitions, one thing has not changed for the Party: its claim to represent the vanguard of the Chinese working class. History, however, tells a more complex story. Spanning from the night classes for workers organised by student activists in Beijing in the 1910s to the labour struggles during the 1920s and 1930s; from the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution to the social convulsions of the reform era to China’s global reach today, Proletarian China reconstructs the contentious history of labour in China from the late imperial era. Each chapter revolves around a specific historical event, making the volume a mosaic of different voices, perspectives, and interpretations of what being a worker meant, and how it was experienced, in China over the past century.

The book, co-edited by Ivan Franceschini and Christian Sorace, is available for purchase from Verso Books or for free download from our website.

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2022 Labor Notes: ‘A Special Moment for the Labor Movement’

Angela Bunay

Labor Notes | July 21, 2022

“The stage of the Labor Notes conference tonight is arguably the epicenter of the U.S. labor movement,” tweeted New York Times labor reporter Noam Scheiber during the Friday night plenary, which included Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates, Nolan Tabb of the UAW at John Deere, Michelle Eisen from Starbucks Workers United, Teamsters President Sean O’Brien, and Amazon Labor Union President Christian Smalls. Photo: Jim West, jimwestphoto.com

Despite nationwide flight cancellations due to weather conditions and labor shortages, the 2022 Labor Notes Conference drew a huge and diverse crowd of more than 4,000 workers from across the globe.

They heard daring tales of organizing, learned strategies for getting a first contract, and joined a joyous Juneteenth celebration. Many workshops were packed, standing room only.

“We are in many ways living through a very hard time, and yet the outlook for working people is hopeful,” said Alexandra Bradbury, editor of Labor Notes, at the Friday night main session. “The terrain has shifted, and there’s a new spirit of resistance. We all feel it. There’s hope in the air.”

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Art, Value, Labor

Red May TV | May 23, 2022

Recently, the commodity status of art and artistic labor has come into question in distinct yet related ways. Leigh Claire La Berge has argued that de-commodified labor, understood as non-waged or non-remunerated formal labor, is the missing term in contemporary discussions of art and value. Jasper Bernes has explored deindustrialized labor (labor expelled from industrial production and re-subsumed as service labor), focusing on how it has affected, and was affected by, poetic modernism and conceptual art. Dave Beech has challenged the commodity status of art, as well as recent calls to wage artistic labor, by stressing art’s hostile opposition to, and self-elevation over, craft labor during the historical emergence of its practices and institutions. This panel will explore the implications of each speaker’s approach in an effort to articulate some theoretical and tactical approaches to left artistic production and historicization. How might we analyze art’s relationship to commodification, labor, and value?

Dave Beech, Leigh Claire La Berge, Jasper Bernes, Matt Browning

SOURCE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-zBq4Kd2qkQ

[THIS ARTICLE IS POSTED HERE FOR NON-PROFIT, NON-COMMERCIAL, EDUCATIONAL PURPOSE. THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE THAT OF ITS AUTHOR(S) AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEW OF THE JOP]

Book Review

Work Without the Worker: Labour in the Age of Platform Capitalism

Phil Jones

Verso, London, 2021. 144 pp., £10.99 hb
ISBN 9781839760433

Reviewed by Katjo Buissink

Imagine a factory, employing hundreds or even thousands of workers, suddenly disappearing overnight. Its employees would find themselves without their next expected pay cheque and with zero right of appeal to a manager or HR representative. Even the most malfeasant industrialist would struggle to accomplish this. Yet for those working within the platform economy, completing many small digital tasks for often anonymised companies in exchange for subsistence level piece wages, the disappearance of an ‘employer’ along with promised wages is not as fantastic. It simply requires the corporation to delete their account on the platform within which a worker was hired.

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Marxism and Political Economy

Disposable time, surplus population, and the limitation of the hours of labour
Tom Walker, Simon Fraser University, Canada

Theorising Residential Capitalism: Land Rent, Capital Accumulation, and Housing Provision
Javier Zacares, University of Durham, UK

The New Scramble for Africa: Land Ownership, Agrarian Change and the Real Subsumption of Africa to Capital
Sébastien Rioux, Université de Montréal, Canada

Central Banks as Hegemonic Apparatuses
Galip Yalman, METU, Turkey

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A Discussion with John Bellamy Foster – Presenting the 2021 transform! yearbook

Transform Europe | October 19, 2021

A discussion with John Bellamy Foster, one of the world’s leading figures in Marxian ecological theory.

John Bellamy Foster is the editor of Monthly Review, one of the world’s leading figures in Marxian ecological theory and author of numerous books including “The Return of Nature: Socialism and Ecology”, “The Vulnerable Planet”, “Marx’s Ecology, Ecology Against Capitalism”, “The Ecological Revolution: Making Peace With the Planet”, and “The Theory of Monopoly Capitalism”, along with several co-authored volumes.

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IMPLICATIONS OF BREXIT

The Brexit Deal

Michael Roberts’ Blog | December 29, 2020

The UK finally leaves the European Union on 31 December, after 48 years of membership.  The initial decision to leave, made in the special referendum back in June 2016, has taken over four tortuous years to implement.  So what does the deal mean for British capital and labour?

For British manufacturers, the tariff-free regime of the EU’s internal market has been maintained.  But the British government will have to renegotiate new bilateral treaties with governments across the world, whereas previously they were included within EU deals.  People will no longer be able to work freely in both economies by right, all goods will require significant additional paperwork to cross borders and some will be checked extensively to verify they comply with local regulatory standards.  Frictionless trade is over; indeed, that’s even between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain with a new customs border across the Irish Sea.Read More »

UK POLITICS OF LABOUR

No Holding Back: A Report Key to Understanding and Reversing Labour’s Decline

Morning Star Editorial | November 11, 2020

THE No Holding Back report on reasons for Labour’s loss of support among working-class communities merits serious attention.

While Brexit looms large, it looks at the longer-term alienation from Labour in many regions and forces socialists to confront the disconcerting reality that the Tories lead Labour among the poorest socio-economic categories.Read More »

WORKERS’ RIGHTS 

Turn the Tables: Demand Concessions from Your Employer

Richard de Vries

Labor Notes | September 01, 2020

woman outdoors holds sign: "You try 10% wage cut Carmel!"
Employers have a wish list. The union should, too. Carmel Angelo was the county CEO when Mendocino County workers went on strike in 2013 against a 10 percent wage cut. Photo: SEIU Local 1021

Employers look at COVID-19 and see an opportunity to demand concessions.

Can concessions save jobs? Almost always they cannot, and certainly not in the big picture. Concessions can’t fix a collapsed market nor the 1%’s relentless assault on workers.

The best rationalization for concessions is a retreat to fight another day. Concessions may save jobs at a particular company in the short term if the union gets specific, concrete guarantees—but not without big risks. The competition will cut wages, too, and make that the new normal.

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Britain’s communists warn Labour against joining US’s ‘new cold war hysteria’ against China and Russia

Morning Star | July 24, 2020

BRITAIN’S communists have warned Labour not to join the “new cold war hysteria” led by the US against China and Russia.

“Labour should develop a genuinely independent foreign policy for Britain,” Communist Party international secretary John Foster told a two-day meeting of its political committee on Thursday night.Read More »