Skip to content
1981
The Struggle Before Us
  • ISSN: 2042-793X
  • E-ISSN: 2042-7948

Abstract

This article looks at the crisis of the classical workers movement from the mid-1970s, and workers’ contribution to the emergence of new radical political and cultural theory from the 1980s in the ongoing struggle of workers against value relations. I deal with four intersecting areas: the neo-liberal attack on the cost of labour power in the Global North; the social, cultural and technical re-composition of the working class globally; the expansion of the participation of a diverse working class in higher education; and the changing function of real subsumption as workers and non-workers are incorporated into value relations through an ideology of economic self-reliance and the new entrepreneurial ethos. From this re-composition emerges the fundamental moving contradiction of our times: the increase in expectation of autonomy with the development of new technical skills across the working class and access to higher education, and the social and cognitive realities of the new economy and new digital culture: a precarious world of automative ‘non-work’, underemployment, passive consumption and deskilling. This conflict between the expectation of autonomy and realities of value production, has, I argue, been one of the driving forces of workers’ contribution to the new radical culture and theory since the 1980s.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1386/aps_00077_1
2024-02-19
2024-06-23
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

References

  1. Arthur, C. (2002), The New Dialectic and Marx’s Capital, Leiden: Brill.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Backhaus, H. -G. (1980), ‘On the dialectics of the value-form’, Thesis Eleven, 1:1, pp. 9498.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Bensaïd, D. (2009), Marx for Our Times: Adventures and Misadventures of a Critique, London: Verso.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Bhattacharya, T. (2017), ‘How not to skip class: Social reproduction of labor and the global working class’, in T. Bhattacharya (ed.), Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression, London: Pluto Press, pp. 6893.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Bishop, C. (2012), Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, London: Verso.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Braverman, H. ([1974] 1998), Labor and Monopoly Capital: The Degradation of Work in the Twentieth Century, New York: Monthly Review Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Camatte, J. (1995), This World We Must Leave, and Other Essays (ed. A. Trotter), Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Dardot, P. and Laval, C. (2013), The New Way of the World: On Neoliberal Society (trans. G.Elliott), London: Verso.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. da Silva, D. F. (2007), Toward a Global Idea of Race, Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. de Mattis, L. (2011), ‘What is communisation?’, SIC: International Journal for Communisation, 1, https://www.sicjournal.org/what-is-communisation/index.html. Accessed 15 October 2023.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Endnotes (2010a), ‘The history of subsumption’, 2, April, https://endnotes.org.uk/articles/the-history-of-subsumption. Accessed 15 October 2023.
  12. Endnotes (2010b), ‘The moving contradiction: The systematic dialectic of capital as a dialectic of class struggle’, 2, April, https://endnotes.org.uk/articles/the-moving-contradiction#. Accessed 15 October 2023.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Eucken, W. (1948), ‘Das Ordnungpolitische problem’, in F. Böhm and W. Eucken (eds), Ordo-Jahrbuch für die Ordnung der Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, vol. 1, Freiburg: J. B. C. Mohr, pp. 5690.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Feenberg, A. (2017), Technosystem: The Social Life of Reason, Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Ferlie, E., Ashburner, L., Fitzgerald, L. and Pettigrew, A. (1996), The New Public Management in Action, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Finkelpearl, T. (2013), What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation, Durham: Duke University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Fraser, N. (2017), ‘From progressive neoliberalism to Trump and beyond’, American Affairs, 1:4, Winter, pp. 4664.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Georgakas, D. and Surkin, M. ([1975] 2012), Detroit: I Do Mind Dying: A Study in Urban Revolution, Chicago, IL: Haymarket Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Griffiths, K. D. (2021), ‘Queer workerism against work: Strategising transgender labourers, social reproduction & class formations’, in J. J. Gleeson and E. O’Rourke (eds), Transgender Marxism, London: Pluto Press, pp. 13255.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Hartman, S. (1997), Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Hayek, F. ([1944] 2008), The Road to Serfdom: Texts and Documents, London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Heinrich, M. (2012), An Introduction to the Three Volumes of Karl Marx’s Capital (trans. A.Locascio), New York: Monthly Review Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Helguera, P. (2011), Education for Socially Engaged Art: A Materials and Techniques Handbook, New York: Jorge Pinto Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Henning, C. (2014), Philosophy after Marx: 100 Years of Misreadings and the Normative Turn in Political Philosophy (trans. M.Henninger), Leiden: Brill.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Hirst, P. (1985), Marxism and Historical Writing, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Horkheimer, M. and Adorno, T. ([1944] 1997), Dialectic of Enlightenment (trans. J.Cumming), New York: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Hudis, P. (2023), ‘Beyond the binary of race and class: A Marxist humanist perspective’, Historical Materialism, 31:2&3, pp. 4977, https://www.historicalmaterialism.org/articles/beyond-binary-race-and-class. Accessed 15 October 2023.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Hutcheon, L. (1989), The Politics of Postmodernism, London: Routledge.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. Kester, G. (2004), Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Koshy, S., Cacho L. M., Byrd, J. A. and Jefferson, B. J. (eds) (2022), Colonial Racial Capitalism, Durham: Duke University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Laclau, E. and C. Mouffe (1985), Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics, London: Verso.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Léger, M. J. (2019), Vanguardia: Socially Engaged Art and Theory, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Lewis, H. (2016), The Politics of Everybody: Feminism, Queer Theory, and Marxism at the Intersection, London: Zed Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Marchart, O. (2019), Conflictual Aesthetics: Artistic Activism and the Public Sphere, Berlin: Sternberg Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Marx, K. ([1861] 1973), Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy (trans. M.Nicolaus), London: Penguin Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Mau, S. (2022), Mute Compulsion: A Marxist Theory of the Economic Power of Capital, London: Verso.
    [Google Scholar]
  37. McKee, Y. (2016), Strike Art: Contemporary Art and the Post-Occupy Condition, London: Verso.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Miri, J. (2021), ‘The fall of Vennevar Bush: The forgotten war for control of science policy in postwar America’, Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 51:4, pp. 50741.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Mollona, M. (2021), Art/Commons: Anthropology beyond Capitalism, London: Zed Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Pizzolato, N. (2011), ‘Transnational radicals: Labour dissent and political activism in Detroit and Turin (1950–1970)’, International Review of Social History, 56:1, pp. 130.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Postone, M. (1993), Time, Labor and Social Domination: A Reinterpretation of Marx’s Critical Theory, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Richmond, M. and Charnley, A. (2022), Fractured: Race, Class, Gender and the Hatred of Identity, London: Pluto Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Roberts, J. (2020), Red Days: Popular Music and the English Counterculture, 1965-75, Colchester: Minor Compositions.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Roberts, J. (2022), Capitalism and the Limits of Desire, London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Röpke, W. ([1944] 1996), The Moral Foundations of Civil Society (trans. C. S.Fox), New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Saito, K. (2017), Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism: Capital, Nature and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy, New York: Monthly Review Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Shanin, T. (ed.) ([1983] 2018), Late Marx and the Russian Road: Marx and the Peripheries of Capitalism, London: Verso.
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Sharpe, C. (2016), In the Wake: On Blackness and Being, Durham: Duke University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Stiegler, B. (2019), The Age of Disruption: Technology and Madness in Computational Capitalism, Cambridge: Polity Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  50. Streeck, W. (2016), How Will Capitalism End? Essays on a Failing System, London: Verso.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Therborn, G. (2022), ‘The world and the left’, New Left Review, 137, September–October, pp. 2373.
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Thompson, E. P. (1978), The Poverty of Theory and Other Essays, London: The Merlin Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Washburn, J. (2005), Universities Inc.: The Corruption of American Higher Education, New York: Basic Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Weheliye, A. G. (2014), Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human, Durham: Duke University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  55. Wood, E. M. (1986), The Retreat from Class: A New ‘True’ Socialism, London: Verso.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Wood, E. M. (2002), The Origin of Capitalism: A Longer View, London: Verso.
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Wright, S. (2017), Storming Heaven: Class Composition and Struggle in Italian Autonomist Marxism, London: Pluto Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  58. Wynter, S. (2015), Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis (ed. M. Katherine), Durham: Duke University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
/content/journals/10.1386/aps_00077_1
Loading
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a success
Invalid data
An error occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error