One of the forms in which the working class exists today is at the various nodal points along global commodity chains. Even the global production of food is increasingly based on a just-in-time system of production, distribution and consumption -- in addition to being financialized and subject to speculative bubbles. But these commodity chains are vulnerable and this suggests struggles could spread down these chains.
- 1. Where is your food produced?
- 2. What percentage of your income goes to food?
E. P. Thompson's ground-breaking article on the English food riots of the 1700 and 1800s.
See his book, Customs in common, for an interesting follow-up article.
On more than thirty occasions between 1776 and 1779, American men and women gathered in crowds to confront hoarding merchants, intimidate "unreasonable" storekeepers, and seize scarce commodities ranging from sugar to tea to bread. A good-sized minority of the crowds we know about consisted largely of women; a few others may have included men and women alike. Each crowd voiced specific local grievances, but it is clear that their participants sometimes knew of actions elsewhere and viewed each episode as part of a wider drama.
The women's march to Versailles capped months of women's political involvement during the French Revolution - in Paris neighbourhoods, electoral assemblies, the conquest of the Bastille and in several dozen processions with the newly formed national guard. Thousands of marching women empowered themselves as citizens as they confronted and helped to abolish the monarchy - and then continued to confront the new authorities.
A POLITICAL REVOLUTION FOR WOMEN? THE CASE OF PARIS by Darline Gay Levy and Harriet B. Applewhite
The protests against the high cost of living, unemployment and corruption have been growing since the end of the year throughout North Africa, spreading through both Tunisia and Algeria in more and more cities and involving more social sectors, to the extent that the situation in both countries has become extremely unstable - much to the concern of the United States and the European Union, the top two international guarantors of the oligarchic political systems that are perpetuated in the Maghreb, posing as "buffer states" against the advance of Islamic fundamentalism in the region.
Bouteflika in Algeria and Tunisia's Ben Ali (not to mention Mohammed VI in Morocco) are presented to the outside world as "strong men" who need a strong hand to subdue and keep out the enemy within, at the cost of plunging their populations into poverty and keeping them disciplined with an iron fist, crushing or hindering as much as possible any attempt by the people to organise themselves or seek