Notes From Below

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Feb 19 2018 18:56
Notes From Below

In case people haven't seen it, this might be of interest to anyone who's into workers' inquiry/Italian autonomism-type stuff: http://notesfrombelow.org/
A bit academic, and a bit London/Brighton-centric, but the bulletins seem like a good initiative, especially given the current dire landscape for outward-looking class struggle print publications out there.

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Mar 3 2018 11:22

As an update on this, just seen they've started doing a rank-n-file strike bulletin for the UCU strike, The University Worker: http://notesfrombelow.org/article/university-worker-week-2 might be worth printing off some copies for a picket line near you if you have access to a printer/photocopier.

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Mar 4 2018 16:25

Agreed, the collection of material on this 'notes from below' site and their 'workers composition' analytical approach is useful although the editors/contributors seem more academic in composition and style than for instance the London based comrades of the 'Angry Workers of the World' .
I was curious to note their adoption of the old UK Solidarity group statement 'As We See It' and explanatory pamphlet, though without the subsequent more communist revisions that Brinton/Palace had a significant hand in agreeing (see here: https://libcom.org/library/as-we-see-it-dont-see-it-solidarity-group).

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Apr 1 2018 14:40

Issue 2, "Technology and the Worker", out now.

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May 2 2018 18:50

From here:

"Upcoming issue — The Worker and The Union

The next issue of Notes from Below is going to focus on ‘The Worker and the Union’. This follows on from theme of our first issue which addressed the method of ‘workers’ inquiry’ and class composition, and our second issue that explored technology and the worker.

We have chosen to focus on the worker and the union to try and understand how workers’ organisation is changing today. We consider the trade union as one important form of this.

We are interested in trying to understand two trends that we have identified. These can be seen in two recent examples from the UK. First, this year the UCU (the lecturers union) called for 14 days of strike action, which were taken up and transformed by the rank-and-file workers. Within unions that are part of the TUC (Trade Union Congress), this means looking at organising within these existing structures.

Second, the growth of small unions like the IWGB, UVW, and IWW that are organising with workers outside of official trade union structures. These worker-led trade unions (whether recognised or not) are finding new ways to organise, yet remain relatively small at this stage.

The intended audience of the issue is workers within both official and worker-led unions, as well as workers who are not a member of any trade union. Continuing the style of Notes from Below, we want to commission articles that are accessible and critical, reflecting on the experiences of work and struggle.

To that end, we are particularly keen to commission pieces from people organising in these different contexts. Broadly speaking, submissions are organised into four sections on the website: inquiry, pieces that draw on and discuss real-world experiences of work and struggle; theory, discussions on ideas more broadly; bulletins, leaflet type documents that can be used in organising; and history, which involves reflecting on past events. Submissions can take many forms, whether written, video, audio and so on.

As with previous issues, we are interested in collaborating on potential pieces, either by meeting up to discuss them, co-writing, interviewing, recording audio etc. We are also particularly interested in supporting bulletins that can be printed and circulated beyond the website. We can help with compiling and formatting.

While the focus of this issue is on unions, we are not limiting it only to the workplace. We are also interested in commissioning articles on other forms of collective working class organising, such as renters’ unions and migrants’ organisations.

We want this issue to be an opportunity to reflect on organising in different forms, with an emphasis on how this can inform future struggles.

Please get in touch if you are interested in contributing as we are happy to work with people in developing an idea."

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May 21 2018 18:42

Not had a chance to listen yet, but here's a report from the TGI Friday picket line last week in London: http://notesfrombelow.org/article/tgifriday-strike-podcast

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Aug 18 2018 15:03

Issue 3, The Worker and the Union, out now, as ever not had a chance to read much of it yet but it looks promising.

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Oct 14 2018 10:38

Not had a chance to read much of the new one yet, but it sounds good:

Issue 4.1: A Month of Revolt in the Service Sector

This mini-issue reflects on the month of revolt in the hospitality and platform work sectors. Workers at Uber/UberEats, Deliveroo, Wetherspoons, McDonalds and TGI Fridays have previously been organising, but in October they coordinated to strike on the same day. This is the first time that workers in the so-called “gig economy” have fought together with workers in the more-traditional service and hospitality sectors. For some of these groups of workers there are direct links, for example UberEats delivers food from McDonalds. Others are brought together through the experiences of low paid and precarious work, providing services that workers across the economy use - and increasingly rely upon.

At Notes from Below, we have covered the struggles of platform workers extensively in previous issues, as well as the earlier strikes at TGIFriday and an inquiry into the hospitality sector. For this mini-issue, we have drawn together a series of pieces that reflect upon the recent strikes as part of our move towards more frequent and focused inquiries. Across the five pieces, we present different takes on the day:

Fast Food Shutdown! An October 4th Preview was published before the coordinated strike action of couriers and restaurant workers, and gives an overview of the day including actions in various cities.

In Couriers’ struggle and the IWW: Reflections on October 4th Achille Marotta analyses the two recent London food platform strikes and how worker self-organisation in the sector can be developed over the coming months.

The Fast Food Shutdown involved a lot of different workforces, organised in a lot of different ways. In McNetworks: two current modes of struggle Callum Cant compares the strategies of different workforces involved in service sector revolt.

Platform strikes are hard to keep track of, particularly spread across the city without a central focus. In The View from the Picket Line Lydia Hughes and Jamie Woodcock have collected local reports from across the UK, with the intention of giving a picket line perspective on a widespread and decentralised day of strike action.

C MacDonald’s In Service of Sweet FA is the first in a series of comics about the experience of working in pubs.

In ‘Uber, Uber you can’t hide! We can see your dirty side!’ Ben Tippet and Lydia Hughes report from the first ever Uber taxi strike.

In Paris hotel workers strike against outsourcing, written by Amandine Cailhol and Gurvan Kristanadjaja and translated by Joe Hayns and Roberto Mozzachiodi, tells the story of an ongoing struggle in Parisian luxury hotels.

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Nov 13 2018 22:06

A few new bits have gone up in the last few weeks:
Goldsmiths Precarious Workers' Bulletin - Issue 1
Striking the Palaces: Interviews with Parisian hotel workers
Deindustrialisation and decline
"The resistance makes us beautiful"
The Transnational Couriers' Federation
"In October food platform workers from 12 states and 34 organisations met in Brussels for the founding meeting of the Transnational Federation of Couriers. This federation will represent platform workers across borders and lead a coordinated fight for better conditions in the sector. During the meeting, we interviewed a number of workers from across Europe to get a better understanding of the dynamics of the struggle. This mini-issue presents those interviews, alongside other material from food platform workers."

It does my head it how they don't have a listing anywhere that just shows the most recent articles they've done, and the front page has the same article on it twice, but hey ho, not my project.

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Nov 24 2018 19:30

Btw, the "deindustralisation and decline" piece was a bit of an embarrassment - talks about "workers' inquiry", but there's not mention at any point of having talked to any actual workers, just watching some BBC documentaries.

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Feb 17 2019 15:58

New special issue on call centers: https://notesfrombelow.org/issue/call-centres

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May 29 2019 17:56

New issue on the refusal of work: https://notesfrombelow.org/issue/refusal-work