In 2012, workers at a small moving company in New York City rose up against bad pay and dangerous work conditions. In the course of the struggle, much was revealed about how exploitation operates; how the enticements of 'self-expression' and a 'laid back' atmosphere serve to weaken consciousness and collective action. At the same time, this history reveals the opportunities and limits that workers face within self-organized struggles in a small business format. This is an updated version with a new 2013 afterward by the original author.
A critique of the “new protests” of the Occupy type, depicting this phenomenon as the expression of a reformist “false civil opposition” led by the “impostors” of the civil society movement in the name of a “citizenry” that is a “fantasy” concocted to serve as a “surrogate subject” (replacing “the people”) which is to be “exercised” and “educated” “in these protests … which spread like a new fashion among the middle class youths who form its ranks”.
An interview with Charles Reeve, who discusses the workers’ struggles in contemporary China, the continuing relevance of Paul Mattick’s and Pierre Souyri’s analyses of the limits of state intervention with reference to the crises of neoliberalism and Keynesianism, and the significance of the movements of the Indignados and Occupy in relation to the decline of workers struggles in the developed world.
Some American and European comrades have asked me, Why didn’t you have an Occupy movement in Italy? Why is the NO TAV movement the only expression of social struggle? The NO TAV, despite their strong success, despite their original expression of post-modernity class war, lack the characteristics of the Occupy movements: an extension of social change, the power to remove old hierarchies, and, above all, a shared and “common” political dynamic open to radical political upheavals.