New Forms of Worker Organization
“…a real contribution to labor’s rebirth.” – Frances Fox Piven
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The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class-Struggle Union
Edited by Immanuel Ness
Foreword by Staughton Lynd
Bureaucratic labor unions are under assault. Most unions have surrendered the achievements of the mid-twentieth century, when the working class was a militant force for change throughout the world. Now trade unions seem incapable of defending, let alone advancing, workers’ interests.
As unions implode and weaken, workers are independently forming their own unions, drawing on the tradition of syndicalism and autonomism—a resurgence of self-directed action that augurs a new period of class struggle throughout the world. In Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe, workers are rejecting leaders and forming authentic class-struggle unions rooted in sabotage, direct action, and striking to achieve concrete gains.
This is the first book to compile workers’ struggles on a global basis, examining the formation and expansion of radical unions in the Global South and Global North. The tangible evidence marshaled in this book serves as a handbook for understanding the formidable obstacles and concrete opportunities for workers challenging neoliberal capitalism, even as the unions of the old decline and disappear.
“Working people everywhere are feeling the pressure in a world where corporations increasingly dominate our economic, political, and social lives. In country after country, traditional unionism, advocacy, and policy reform have been proven unfit for the task of restoring the dignity and financial security of working families. The critical stories of cutting-edge organizing found in New Forms of Worker Organization demonstrate that workers themselves hold the key to creating a world where work is honored and freedom of association is absolute.“—Daniel Gross, coauthor of Solidarity Unionism at Starbucks and cofounder, IWW Starbucks Workers Union
“Conventional unionism’s decline over recent decades and now capitalism’s worst global crisis since the 1930s are enabling and provoking unconventional forms of workers’ struggles. Some are new and others are new versions of old forms with urgently renewed relevance today. Received concepts and theories of class, class struggle, economic democracy, workers’ power, socialism and communism are being reexamined and changed to meet the practical needs and conditions of anti-capitalist struggle now. Immanuel Ness’s new volume documents some dramatic new projects of self-conscious class struggle around the world.”—Richard D. Wolff, host of Economic Update with Richard D. Wolff
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