A good while back, I wrote a blog post about contract issues at the English language school I work at and the attempts of us teachers to organise ourselves. Now that everything has died down and I've had time to think about it, I thought I’d try and write up what happened.
A response to a debate on unions in the United States today started between a number of groups and individuals including Unity & Struggle and Advance the Struggle. This piece attempts to argue against militant reformism growing in the union movements towards a politic of ruptures and revolutionary workplace organizing drawing from the concept of equilibrium.
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.