Zerowork 3

This was intended to be the third issue of Zerowork on the subject of immigration, however it was never published.

Submitted by Steven. on February 18, 2013

Here is the table of contents. As you can see we have most of the articles in the archive, however a couple of pieces are missing. We do not know if this is because they were never written, or if they have just not been scanned. So if you know or if you have them please let us know in the comments.

General Introduction
Editors' Introduction to Flores
Estevan T. Flores, A Call to Action: An Analysis of Our Struggles and Alternatives to Carter's Immigration Program, Pamphlet, 1977.
Beyond the Select Commission
Box Insert: "Next Stop 1984: Computers, Identification Cards and Immigration Control", prepared for ZW#3.
Editors' Introduction to Ramirez
Bruno Ramirez, "Immigration, Class Composition, and the Crisis of the Labor Market in Canada", article prepared for Zerowork #3
Editors' Introduction to Moulier & Ewenzyck.
Yann Moulier and Pierre Ewenzyck, "Immigration: The Blockage of Mobility in the Mediterranean Basin," 1978
Mogniss, "The Meditations of Young Immigrant Workers", Patchwork, Paris: CINEL, 1980.
Editors' Introduction to Dalla Costa
Mariarosa Dalla Costa, "Reproduction and Immigration", 1974



10 years 10 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by hcleaver on August 26, 2013

To the Z#3 materials at has just been added: Ferruccio Gambino's "Class Composition and U.S. Direct Investment" - originally published in Luciano Ferrari Bravo (ed) Imperialismo e classe operaia multinazionale, Milano: Feltrinelli, 1975, but translated into English for inclusion in the unpublished third issue of Zerowork. The article is in English (html + MSWord) and soon in pdf of the original Italian.

A call to action: an analysis of our struggles and alternatives to Carter's immigration program - Estevan T. Flores

1977 pamphlet by Estevan T Flores about President Carter's immigration plan.

Submitted by Steven. on March 17, 2013



11 years 4 months ago

In reply to by

Submitted by Steven. on March 17, 2013

By the way, if anyone has any spare time if they could edit this article to put in the formatted text version from the word document that would be really great!

Beyond the select commission: immigrant wars update

Article prepared for Zerowork issue 3 on immigration.

Submitted by Steven. on February 23, 2014


As a result of the widespread opposition from Chicano groups (such as those gathered at the San Antonio conference), from various church and civil rights organizations, and with a lack of support from the bureaucracies of organized labor (who opposed the amnesty provisions of the plan) the Carter Plan was never acted upon in Congress and died of neglect in 1978 and 1979.

Although propaganda against the undocumented continued in 1978, new government initiatives were noticeably absent throughout the year. The one exception was the announcement by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in October of its intention to build a 6 and ½ mile super-fence along the border at El Paso, Texas and another in San Diego. This project, promptly dubbed a “Tortilla Curtain” and compared with the Berlin Wall, was widely attacked by groups on both sides of the border in late 1978 and early 1979. This quick and organized reaction resulted in the cancelation of the project in April of 1979.

One result of the new State initiatives around the Carter Plan was to make clear to those supporting immigrant worker struggles that there was a real need for cooperation and exchanges of information between militants on both sides of the border. Those militants included several kinds of individuals: the workers themselves, church and community activists, lawyers and academics. These last, among other roles, have traditionally been charged with gathering, analyzing and synthesizing the experience of struggle to provide an overview of the broad outlines of capitalist strategy and workers’ struggles. To speed up the circulation of information and thinking back and forth across the border a number of Chicano intellectuals and activists organized the First International Symposium on Problems of Migratory workers in Mexico and the United States in Guadalajara Mexico in 1978. Through personal contact and the exchange of information, that symposium made possible a strengthening of cross-border linkages. There was also a desire, expressed by many of the participants, to see similar contacts and exchanges among other activist sectors, including worker organizations. That desire would eventually lead to a meeting of worker groups from both sides of the border in 1980.


Although a number of government and private reports on immigration appeared
during this period calling for tighter control of undocumented workers, and
several official discussions took place between Mexican and American government
leaders, the issue faded from the headlines to be replaced on the immigration
front by attacks on Iranian students who opposed the Shah and then supported the
Iranian Revolution against him. Student opposition to the Shah had been sporadic
but long-standing. Most often the object of their protests was SAVAK — the
Shah’s brutal secret police that had been set up with help from the
SAVAK was feared and hated for its repression of dissidents at home (torture and executions) and its monitoring of students abroad. For example, at the University of Texas in Austin, where many Iranian students had come to study petroleum engineering, when they marched in the streets to protest they wore paper bags over their heads to avoid being photographed and identified by SAVAK agents.

The US government’s objections to Iranian student activism was dramatically stepped up when the Iranian Revolution drove the Shah into exile in January 1979 and when, in November 1979, Iranian revolutionists seized the American Embassy and took its entire staff hostage. Although not directly connected to the struggles of Mexican and Central American immigrants, the conflicts between Iranian students in the US and the American government would lead to some changes in American policy with worrisome potential for harming immigrant struggles.

The attempt to locate and deport Iranians involved in anti-Shah or anti-American government demonstrations brought forcefully to the attention of the Carter Administration a serious flaw in its ability to control international flows of labor power: inadequate and virtually unusable records. Attorney General Griffin Bell was outraged to discover that the INS could not even tell him how many Iranians were in the U.S., or where they could be found! This kind of confusion and chaos in the government’s ability to keep track of immigrants — even legal ones — made it very difficult to either formulate or implement policy changes.

To resolve these problems the INS proposed and obtained appropriations for
the introduction of computers for record-keeping – with the explicit goal of
tracking and keeping records on each and every immigrant in the country. The
implementation of such ability would certainly make possible a much more
developed level of control than had ever before been possible. Rather than
simply using broad methods of terror and repression to coerce immigrant
workers-in-general into desired molds, it would become possible to be much
more highly selective and implement individual control on a regular basis. The
Iranian case shows exactly the kinds of actions that would be implemented: the
tracking and expulsion of militants while retaining and continuing to utilize
more passive immigrants, those willing to work hard and not cause trouble.
[See Box Insert on Computers and Immigration Control.] Such control is
obviously desired in the case of immigrant waged workers just as much as it
is in the case of the Iranians and other unwaged foreign

This problem of government ignorance and its desire to remedy this situation also emerged in late 1979 as conflicts developed around the then forthcoming 1980 Census. It had become increasingly apparent during the previous four years, as critics attacked INS estimates of the number of undocumented workers, that the State really had no clear idea of their actual number or location. The government, therefore, saw the Census as a great opportunity to collect the needed information. This led to the decision by the INS to stop raids on Chicano and other ethnic neighborhoods and to promise that information given to Census takers would not be used against the undocumented individually. These moves provoked counter-charges that giving any information at all to the government would only sharpen its ability to formulate strategies against workers. It was certainly obvious that even if individuals were not tracked down on the basis of their testimony to Census takers, the aggregate information would provide a clearer picture of the size and distribution of the undocumented population and thus provide the first detailed guide to the deployment of INS agents and attentions. On the other hand, there were worries among those concerned with the cooptation of government monies that any undercount of low income workers would reduce available funding for community programs and the like.

The result of these conflicts has been sharply contested Census counts. Some community groups and local governments, such as New York City, have in fact attacked the counts as understating actual population (and thus detrimental to community or city demands for Federal subsidies and programs). While it is difficult to know exactly what the accuracy of the Census is, it is clear enough that the State continues to be very uncertain about the size, distribution and composition of the immigrant sector of the working class — and therefore remains hampered in its ability to develop more effective regulatory approaches.


While government discussion of immigration control continued throughout 1980 in a fairly disorganized manner, immigration militants pressed forward during this period gaining some important ground. Along with strides in international organization the most important advances were in the use of courts to block repression and to force concessions from the State.

In the area of international coordination a coalition of pro-immigrant worker groups organized the First International Conference for the Full Rights of Undocumented Workers. The Conference, held in Mexico City in April, brought together representatives from major independent Mexican and American unions and various groups involved in the struggles of the undocumented for the sharing of information and of experience of struggle. This led to the formulation of a “Bill of Rights for Undocumented Workers” and to the creation of a permanent international coordinating committee.

During 1980 the issue of refugee workers made headlines with the influx of
several thousand Cubans into Florida. At the same time there was a surge of
refugees from Haiti. The sharp difference in treatment of these two groups by
the US government, coupled with immigrant militancy, led to an important
judicial decision. The generally favorable treatment accorded the Cubans,
despite the illegality of their arrival, was, of course, a function of the US
government’s desire to maximize the propaganda value of the arrival of
“persecuted freedom fighters” fleeing communist barbarism. (Only later
were some of these “freedom fighters” identified as criminals and misfits.) The
harsh, summary attempts to quickly deport the Haitian refugees into the hands of
the repressive “Baby Doc” Duvalier regime was, conversely, the result of the US
government’s support of Duvalier(3)
and its aversion to the admission of refugees from capitalist barbarism.
Fortunately for the Haitian refugees, groups in the US who have been helping such refugees gave them support and legal aid. One of these, the Haitian Refugee Center, filed suit in Federal court to stop INS mistreatment. On July 2, 1980 District Judge James King issued an important hard-hitting, 180-page decision in favor of the Center’s suit. His decision detailed the systematic abuses of due process and other rights by the INS during that agency’s “Haitian Program” of speeded-up deportation proceedings begun in mid-1978. By accepting expert testimony on political repression in Haiti and analyzing it carefully, Judge King’s actions amounted to a court decision that the INS “should not be allowed to freely ignore human rights violations simply because the United States may have favorable diplomatic relations with the country in which they occur.” It was a judicial opinion that echoed the widespread criticism of Carter’s “human rights” policy as being hypocritical and geared more to bolstering the seriously weakened, post-Watergate “prestige of the presidency” than to thwarting oppression abroad. Not surprisingly, the INS appealed this decision. While the case is being fought out in the courts, thousands of Haitians continue to be held in “detention camps” in five states and Puerto Rico.

This battle was a key one in the widening conflict over the distinction between “political” versus “economic” refugees. The utilization of this distinction has played an essential role in limiting immigration to the United States. Without such a distinction, under past and present US refugee policy, the government would be forced to admit vast numbers of workers leaving the poverty-ridden regions of the capitalist global factory and moving to more favorable terrains of struggle in regions with higher standards of living. Under these conditions the planning and management of the international allocation of labor would be impossible.

Of course, from a worker’s, especially an immigrant worker, point of view, the distinction is absurd and pernicious. Hierarchical divisions between and among the waged and unwaged have always been one of the most fundamental means of capitalist command over the working class — on every level within the global social factory. Command via economic organization is central to class politics. Worker struggles against economic hierarchies (e.g., immigration) are therefore political acts as well as economic ones.

This long-standing distinction, however, has become central to the Reagan Administration’s efforts to justify its continued mistreatment not only of Haitian but, more recently, Salvadoran and other Central American refugees fleeing US-backed death squads in their countries. Sometimes, as in the case of Haiti, long-standing police state repression is so well-known that this point does not have to be made – Haitian refugees are political ones by any standard. In more recent cases, e.g., the Reagan Administration’s covert support for military, police and paramilitary terrorism in Central America, this is less well known and has required considerable efforts at public education – efforts that have been facilitated by such flagrant public acts as the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in March 1980 as well as revelations of the December 1980 rape and murder of American Nuns by the Salvadoran military. Not surprisingly, information about such attacks on religious figures not only spread knowledge and understanding of the situation facing refugees from those countries but began to provoke direct aid in a growing number of US communities. (See below on the emergence of a “sanctuary movement” in 1982.)

During the same period as the conflict over INS treatment of Haitian refugees,
undocumented multinational workers were pressing a more aggressive court battle to meet their own needs in a very different area: the education of their children. On July 21, 1980 Judge Woodrow Seal of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Texas issued another long, detailed decision favorable to immigrant workers. In this case, the 87-page opinion supported an injunction against the State of Texas in favor of the rights of these children to free access to public education. The injunction blocked the exclusion of these children by a state law restricting access to public education to those “lawfully admitted” into the United States. When the State of Texas successfully appealed to the Fifth Court of Appeals for a stay on the decision, the children’s case was appealed to the Supreme Court. Justice Powell vacated the stay, allowing the District Court’s decision to stand, and the estimated 20,000 children to be admitted to school. On February 23, 1981, the Fifth Circuit Court upheld the District Court decision. Texas is now appealing to the Supreme Court.

During the summer and fall, Ronald Reagan made immigration an issue in the presidential campaign in an attempt to appeal to important business interests in the Southwestern part of the United States. His major, substantive position was a promise to launch a massive new temporary guest worker program for the admission of hundreds of thousands of low paid laborers under strict government and employer control. This was the opening shot in a new round of official attempts to find ways to control immigrant workers.


Reagan’s inauguration ushered in renewed State efforts to capture the initiative in dealing with immigrant workers and of continued efforts by immigration militants to weave stronger networks of mutual support.

The State offensive began with the decision on January 15, 1981 by the US
Attorney General to lift restrictions on factory raids to uncover and seize
undocumented workers. This was quickly followed on February 2nd by Secretary of
Education Terrel Bell’s revocation of federal requirements for bilingual
education in public schools. On February 27th, in anticipation of the report of
the Congressional Select Commission on Immigration and Refugee Policy, Reagan
appointed his own Task Force to evaluate the Commission findings and make further
recommendations. During this same period the White House was also hard at work
on its supply-side budget proposals that would attack consumption and living
standards not only of immigrant and Chicano workers, but of low income American
workers in general. Those budget proposals, which emerged as the major domestic
American political issue in 1981, formed the menacing backdrop and context for
the less widely discussed immigration issue.

When the Select Commission issued its final report on March 1st, it confirmed earlier announcements that its recommendations would follow in the path of the Carter Plan by calling for increased attempts to exclude undocumented workers. On the one hand, it recognized the need for an increased supply of labor. Along with an increase of annual legal immigration from 270,000 to 350,000, it called for amnesty for undocumented workers “who illegally entered the United States or were in illegal status prior to January 1, 1980.” (This included a higher percentage of workers than the Carter Plan that set the date at 1970.) Although the Commission did not recommend (as some expected) a large-scale extension of the temporary worker program (H-2), it did call for its “streamlining” and did not oppose its extension.

On the other hand, it favored a heavy crackdown on everyone else. The Commission called for rounding up and deporting all the undocumented not eligible for amnesty. This was to be accomplished in two ways: first, through increased funding of the INS to expand personnel and equipment (sensors, helicopters, etc.) in order to step up border patrols and interior round-ups; second, the requirement of a “more secure” identification system coupled with legal fines and sanctions against employers who fail to demand and verify such identification as a condition for employment.

Congressional response to the Commission report was quickly forthcoming. Senator Alan Simpson, who served on the Select Commission and is now Chairman of the Senate Immigration Subcommittee, and Representative Romano Mazzoli, Chairman of the House Immigration Subcommittee, scheduled joint hearings to keep up the momentum toward immigration law reform. Simpson’s outspoken comments on the Select Commission’s report have made clear that he is afraid continuing immigration from Latin America, and the failure to undermine bilingualism, will lead to the erosion of the “the unity and political stability of the nation.” These sentiments echo those expressed earlier by Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall (see the text of Flores’ pamphlet included in this issue). Simpson is also afraid of what we call the “circulation of struggle”. Commenting on the difficulty of integrating Hispanic immigrants, he worries, “they may create in America some of the same social, political and economic problems which existed in the country which they have chosen to depart.”

Before the end of March, Senator Walter Huddleson and eight other Senators, unwilling to wait for White House sponsored legislation, or for hearings, introduced their own bill that called for restricted immigration and doubling the size of the Border Patrol for increased enforcement. Representative Robbin Beard introduced an identical bill in the House.

As early as April the Reagan Task Force began to talk about its own ideas, adding to the growing debate. Although its final report did not appear until July, it made an early announcement of its recommendations. Among the first of these was the suggestion, already implemented in the case of Haitian refugees, of interdicting refugees on the high seas — a step without legal precedent in the United States and contradictory to the US position on the Vietnamese Boat People. The policy was clearly designed to outflank Judge King’s decision in mid-1980 that had gone against the government. This strategy of bypassing and subverting due process — in response to its successful use for the protection of immigrant workers – emerged as a principle thrust of Reagan immigration policy. When White House legislative proposals were revealed in October, a central element was a plan to restrict the right of appeal to Federal courts in immigration and refugee cases. David Carliner, chairman of an American Bar Association Committee on Immigration Law, caught the formal essence of Reagan’s proposal when he commented, “What they want is uninhibited executive power.” The class content of the move can be characterized as an attempt by the State to shift the terrain on which battles over immigration are fought from one where workers have a chance of winning (the courts) to one where workers would be almost powerless (armed Coast Guard cutters at sea) and without the support of lawyers or community. It is one more example of the willingness of the capitalist class to disregard its vaunted legal processes when it suits its class interests and of the limits to the working class’ ability to achieve its goals through judicial processes.

Several other recommendations of the Reagan Task Force announced during the Summer of 1981 followed the direction set by the Select Commission: limited amnesty, employer sanctions, improved ID cards and expanded enforcement via increased funding of the INS and the Border Patrol. Where it differed from the Select Commission was in its advocacy of a mere “pilot program” of temporary guest workers (100,000 over two years). This recommendation was a scaled-down version of the Reagan’s campaign promise to Southwestern businessmen. Finally, the Task Force made a token gesture to Mexico and Canada by calling for a doubling of ceilings on legal immigration (20,000 to 40,000).

Responding quickly to the Task Force report, the Reagan Administration put forth its proposals — incorporating some of the report’s recommendations while rejecting or modifying others. The Reagan Plan, which was later formalized in the White House proposed “Omnibus Immigration Control Act” (S 1765), contained the following central provisions:

    1) Expanded enforcement — to be obtained by a $75 million increase in INS funding, employer sanctions (fines), employee sanctions (fines and jail terms for using fake ID), reduced judicial appeal and increased executive power to not only interdict refugees on the high seas but to close ports and harbors to US citizens during “immigration emergencies.” About the only repressive measure rejected by the Reagan Plan was the institution of a new identification system.

    2) Limited amnesty — the Reagan Plan adopted this now commonplace recommendation (included in the Carter Plan, the Select Commission report and the Task Force report) but slapped on severe and arbitrary conditions. These included a ten-year wait by applicants for permanent residency, regular registration, an English language requirement, no rights to family reunification and no welfare, food stamp or unemployment benefits.

    3) A pilot guest worker program — essentially the same as that recommended by the Task Force: 100,000 workers over two years to be employed in designated areas and industries.

    4) Doubling of legal immigration ceilings for Mexico and Canada.

This new flurry of official activity and proposals did not go uncontested. The Select Commission report, the Task Force recommendations and the Reagan Plan were all subjected to detailed critique and widely attacked by groups concerned with immigrant civil rights.

The revocation of requirements for bilingual education was immediately blasted by Hispanic groups pointing out Department of Education studies that estimated there are some 3.5 million children who speak little or no English and would “face a severe learning handicap” without bilingual teaching. Hispanic members of the Texas state legislature immediately drew up new legislation to counter the Reagan Administration’s actions

Proposals for increasing national or global immigration ceilings have been termed ridiculously inadequate in an historical period when the percentage of foreign-born United States residents has never been lower and there is such a tremendous backlog of unprocessed applications for family reunification. The Reagan Plan in particular has been attacked for abandoning the traditional preference for family reunification in favor of conditions tailored to immediate labor market requirements.

The selective provision of amnesty has been attacked as ineffective and too restrictive — ineffective because most undocumented, including those who are eligible, will fail to come forward for fear of deportation, too restrictive because the large numbers of seasonal and short term migrants will be discriminated against because they do not maintain “continuous residency”. Again, the Reagan Plan has been attacked most severely in this regard because of its unusually stiff requirements and long ten year period of waiting which would produce, it is claimed, an even weaker and more exploitable sub-class of workers than already exists.

Although there was relief that the Select Commission refused to call for an
extension of the H-2 temporary workers program, Reagan campaign promises
threatened exactly the opposite. While the Task Force report and the Reagan Plan
proposals backed off from the huge program Reagan had originally proposed, they
nevertheless called for a first step in that direction: a pilot program. This
move has been unanimously rejected by all but those capitalists who stand to
benefit directly. Among immigration militants, programs such as the American
bracero and Western European gastarbeiter programs are rejected
because they have produced large groups of systematically exploited, often
virtually “indentured” workers. Among capitalist policy-makers, those who have
studied the programs, especially the European experience, have discovered not
only exploitation (which they either ignore or abhor depending on their
personal attitudes) but, more importantly from their point of view,
unworkability. They have discovered one of the basic points which we
address in this issue of Zerowork: immigrant subjectivity that has often
ruptured capitalist control. A favorite quote among these critics of guest
worker programs is from Swiss author Max Frisch who said, “We asked for workers,
but human beings came.”(4)
In Marxian jargon we might restate this as “We asked for labor power
(working class in-itself), but found ourselves saddled with a bunch of
people (working class for-itself) whose demands we could not meet and
whose struggles we could not contain.”

Most vociferously attacked are the repressive plans to increase enforcement. Constant in all these proposals has been the call for expanding INS personnel and equipment to facilitate raids and round-ups in work-places and communities with large numbers of minorities. These tactics of terrorizing the whole immigrant community to ferret out undocumented workers are uniformly denounced as constituting police state repression.

A second element of increased enforcement, the imposition of employer sanctions (with or without a new identification system) has also been vehemently rejected by groups such as the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Midwest Coalition in Defense of Immigrant Rights, the International Coordinating Committee and the National Center for Immigrant Rights. Opposition to employer sanctions comes not from any misplaced concern with possible costs to employers (the source of business objections) but rather from the certitude that employers will tend to check minorities more than Anglos – partly from racism and partly because the check is only required at times of employment changes and low-income minorities change jobs much more frequently than others. Among both those opposed to such sanctions, and those who favor them, it is also generally agreed that the actual proposals will be ineffective in dissuading employers from hiring undocumented workers because the penalties are too weak (small fines and no criminal charges). The demand for individual identification through computer systems and counterfeit-resistant cards is seen as also leading inevitably to discrimination against minorities, great difficulties for some low-income legal residents to obtain such necessary documents as birth certificates and, in general, to the infringement of civil rights (especially the right to privacy from unwarranted government surveillance).

To the objections raised against such proposals since the time of the Carter Plan must be added those against Reagan’s new attempts to outflank the courts by interdiction at sea, the limitation of judicial appeal and the barring of US citizens from ports, harbors or airports used for deporting undocumented workers. These actions, as we have pointed out above, were originally aimed mainly at Haitian refugees but are being applied to others, e.g., Central Americans. These proposed methods are, it is claimed, not only police state in character but in violation of the due process guarantees of the US constitution, of American treaty obligations and of international law. Details of these charges can be found in a memorandum by Amit A. Pandya for the National Center for Immigrant Rights. For example, Pandya points out that the United Nations’ protocol relating to the status of refugees – to which the US government is a party – provides that “no contracting state shall expel or return a refugee in any manner to the frontiers or territories where his life or freedom would be threatened.” (Article 33) This is obviously the case with Haitian refugees and has been officially attested to by Judge King’s 1980 decision. Not only is Reagan’s policy a violation of the protocol, but as Pandya points out, it amounts to the enforcement of Haitian emigration laws which require an exist visa. In this area we can see that the national distinction between the US and Haitian States has been dissolved in favor of an international accord for the control of worker movement.

Resistance to these proposals was organized in a variety of contexts during 1981. For example, the Fourth Annual Legal Conference on Immigration held in Washington, March 26-27, reviewed and critiqued the Select Commission report. In response to the Task Force report and the Reagan Plan a larger and more militant meeting was called in August by the National Center for Immigrant Rights. It brought together representatives from some 93 organizations to analyze these proposals and to discuss possible responses. Along with the kind of critiques we have surveyed above, the meeting produced an important organizational response: the creation of a National Immigration and Refugee Network to link the participating groups and of a permanent steering committee to monitor State actions, circulate information and coordinate efforts among groups from different parts of the country. When the Steering Committee subsequently met in Arizona in December it not only continued discussion of the Reagan Plan and reactions to it, but called for the organization of demonstrations against the Plan to be held in May 1982.

To conclude, as 1981 drew to a close, there was continuing fierce debate around immigration policy. Within capitalist policy circles there was disagreement over the wisdom and likely efficacy of the Reagan Plan. Among militant immigration groups there was increasingly coordinated opposition to the kinds of proposals being made. This constellation of forces would produce new twists on this particular front of the class war in 1982.


In the spring of 1982, there have been two important developments in State initiatives around immigration. The first was the sudden step-up in immigration raids and deportations under the rubric “Operation Jobs”. In this five-day blitz the INS pinpointed and raided particular employers of undocumented workers in a number of cities across the US arresting several thousand workers. In what was clearly a major propaganda effort the INS announced that it was raiding only those employers who were paying “high wages” and that it was doing so with the aim of opening up those jobs to American workers. The raids were thus carried out with great fanfare, public announcements of the companies raided and subsequent attempts to give the impression that many jobs had been created. Two comments: first, this was just a variation on the long-standing policy of trying to pit domestic workers against foreign workers by blaming the latter for unemployment; second, although many American workers showed up in the days following the raids, it appears that in general the so-called “high wages” were much lower than expected and upon closer examination American workers frequently rejected the jobs. Information on these results is anecdotal and gleaned from newspaper accounts but lends credence to the argument that undocumented workers are generally occupying jobs which American workers will not take.

The second important development in State planning in 1982 was the introduction in March by Senator Simpson and Congressman Mazzoli of identical immigration bills (S.2222/HR.5872) in the Senate and House. Their Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1982 is a modification of the Reagan Plan that appears to take into account several of the objections made by other policy planners. The most important of these changes are the following:

    1) The bill further tightens the Reagan Plan’s enforcement provisions by calling for the creation of an improved identification system and for increasing the severity of penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers.

    2) The bill abandons the proposal for a 100,000, two year program of guest workers, but does call for the “streamlining” of current H-2 procedures.

    3) While easing up somewhat on amnesty provisions, the bill also creates a new category of preferred immigrants: those able and willing to invest $250,000 or more in the US.

Stringent controls for workers, an open door for capitalists. The class logic here is absolutely transparent.

The bill retains the overall outlook of the Reagan Plan in its emphasis on repressive enforcement. Not only does it retain the Reagan Plan proposals to beef up the INS and to outflank the judiciary, but it calls for the creation of a new system of administrative adjudication comprised of an appointed immigration board and some seventy administrative law judges — a specialized judiciary outside the normal circuits of the American legal system. It also calls for speeded up changes in procedures that would dramatically reduce the ability of an immigrant worker to find a lawyer or prepare their briefs in deportation or asylum cases. The details of these changes are complex. The best summary and analysis of the provisions of the bill can be found in another memorandum prepared by the National Center for Immigrant Rights. For our purposes, the above examples are enough to show that the Simpson-Mazzoli bill contains most of the more pernicious provisions of all previous proposals. The only major exception is the awarding of emergency presidential powers provided for in the Reagan Plan that would allow interdiction on the seas and the closing of ports. In short, it is a piece of very repressive legislation whose passage would provide the legal basis for a new period of State repression.

Faced with this piece of legislation, which seems to embody a wider consensus of capitalist policy makers than any other recent proposal, immigration militants must now try to mobilize the kind of united action that helped defeat the Carter Plan in 1977. The prospects for blocking Congressional approval are unclear. As usual support and opposition is uneven among public groups and Congressional coalitions. Some of the opposition comes from those who desire greater restrictions, some from those fearful of more repressive alternatives. Regardless of whether this particular bill is passed or defeated, it is clear that the struggles around immigration will continue and intensify. Those individuals and groups linked to immigrant workers in their struggles will have to continue to build strong networks both to fight against government policies and to fight for alternative approaches to the problems of immigrant workers. One such alternative is discussed below.

An Aggressive Alternative Consensus?

During the period 1974-1977, the first four years of attack on undocumented workers that culminated in the Carter Plan, after a period of aggressive and militant struggles, the State had clearly taken the initiative. The initial defensive character of worker and community responses began to change as militant groups forced several unions to actively recruit undocumented workers and as undocumented workers launched and won their first strike in the lemon groves of Maricopa County, Arizona in 1977. The defensive mobilizations against the Carter Plan were massive, national and successful. Since the defeat of that Plan, organization, discussion, academic studies and political debate continued both in support of new demands by the undocumented and in reaction to renewed government offensives.

A close examination of initial reactions by concerned groups to the various recent proposals reveals a much more developed level of analysis than the reactions to the Carter Plan. Whereas in 1977 most statements and conference-passed resolutions expressed indignation and anger, demanded a recognition of the civil rights of the undocumented, or, on the Left, enunciated general condemnations of American imperialism, current statements go beyond these essentially defensive reactions and point to some basic principles of an aggressive working class position on immigration.

What are these basic principles? They are to be found in the repeated demand that instead of trying to control the movement of workers in the labor market, the State should control the conditions of work at the point of production and in the community (a sphere of reproduction). The problem is not that immigrant workers drive down wages. The problem is that the State does not prevent them from being lowered below acceptable levels. For example, the Midwest Coalition in Defense of Immigrants states in its reaction to the Select Commission report, “The millions expended in this project should be directed at enforcement of the [existing] labor laws which seek to protect all workers.” Similarly, an International Coordinating Committee message to the Select Commission included, “They should take the money that would be spent on establishing a national ID card system and employer sanctions law and instead spend the money to train workers in marginal jobs and to enforce existing labor laws which go ignored.” The Center for the Study of Human Rights at Notre Dame University prepared a study on “Alternatives to Employer Sanctions” which reviews the existing legislation and programs of worker rights and protection (such as the Fair Labor Standards Act, the National Labor Relations Act, etc.) and argues that their extension and strict enforcement would “reduce both the exploitative working conditions of undocumented aliens and the economic incentive for hiring them.”

In its response to the Reagan Plan, the National Center for Immigrant Rights wrote, “We believe that insofar as the relative exploitability of undocumented workers has an adverse effect upon society, the remedy can lie only in full protection of labor rights, wages and working standards of all workers regardless of status.” They also state, “. . . the answer to the sweatshop program is a serious and all-out effort to organize workers, regardless of status, so that they may themselves struggle for decent wages and working conditions, and . . . vigorously enforce all labor-protective laws relating to wages and working conditions.” Although the Reagan Plan proposed to increase labor-protective enforcement by some $6 million, the Center document points out that this is an increase of a proposed budget in which the Wages and Hours enforcement program had already been totally eliminated. It was thus a meaningless pittance. (This, of course was not surprising for an administration ideologically dedicated to reducing any and all regulations costly to business or refusing to enforce them.)

Perhaps the most general formulation of this approach is set out in Michael
Piore’s Birds of Passage: Migrant Labor and Industrial Societies (1979) which states that control over immigration should be sought through control over the demand for labor. If wage and working condition standards are enforced, he argues, the market for cheap labor can be eliminated. Those immigrant workers who do get jobs will no longer be subject to exploitation with low wages and bad conditions.

These various demands, taken together, constitute a new approach to focusing struggles around undocumented workers. This approach is aggressive, one that advances workers’ basic demands, not for work or jobs per se, but for income under the least obnoxious conditions possible. This is an approach that is in harmony with wage demands of all levels of the wage hierarchy. Just as the existing level of enforcement of the minimum wage and OSHA rules, together with the level of social services and income provided to the unwaged (e.g., Aid to Dependent Children, health care, and legal aid) set a floor under the wage hierarchy, strengthening every level (and are therefore under attack by the Reagan Administration), so too would expanded and reinforced enforcement greatly strengthen the class as a whole.

Thanks to a fairly recent, but little known experiment by the Department of Labor, we now know that it is technically feasible to implement a policy aimed at the enforcement of labor laws in the industries that employ undocumented workers. In the period 1978-1980, at the behest of then Secretary of Labor Ray Marshall, the Department of Labor designed and implemented an “Employers of Undocumented Workers Project” targeting businesses in several cities around the country. According to Marshall, the experiment was a technical success that not only saw improved enforcement of wages, hours and working condition laws but also the collection of some $13 million in back pay for undocumented workers. There were, however, two problems that, according to Marshall, prevented the generalization of the program to the country as a whole. First, it would be so expensive to expand the ranks of the 1,000 OSHA and 4,000 Wages and Hours inspectors sufficiently to cover an effective proportion of the 8 million odd firms in the United States that Congress would never fund it. Second, because targeting, even in an expanded program, depends to a large degree on the complaints of workers, illegal undocumented workers are the last to complain. Therefore the proper functioning of this approach would require their legalization and their acquisition of the same rights as other workers. Because of the likely business and Congressional opposition to such changes, Marshall concluded the approach was infeasible. He went so far as to say that if actually implemented it would be “the biggest attack on business since they were forced into collective bargaining with industrial unions in the 1930s.”

Opposition is only to be expected. Marshall was right; the implementation of
such a program would obviously constitute the most massive limitation on the
ability of business to exploit labor since at least the New Deal and perhaps
even since the 10-hour Act of 1847. But business and Congressional opposition
neither make such a program less desirable nor should it make it less worthy of
attempts by workers to achieve it. Marshall’s experiment shows such a program
can be implemented effectively, it only requires that we organize sufficiently to force its adoption – as did the workers of the 19th Century who demanded and fought for reduced working hours and those of the 20th Century who fought for and achieved collective bargaining and occupational safety and health legislation. Because such a program is reasonable and in the interests of labor as a whole, opposition to it will appear as unreasonable and easier to fight.

Other objections to such an approach include the argument that successful implementation of labor standards would reduce the demand for higher priced labor. Either increased labor costs would induce mechanization (as in the case of farm workers presently), thus eliminating jobs, or they would force some firms to close down or move out of the United States to lower labor cost Third World countries, e.g., across the border into Mexico. The threats of mechanization, or of closed down or runaway shops are very real and very familiar tactics that have been used by business to fight the demands of all kinds of workers, from the fields of the Texas valley to the auto plants of Detroit. The basic principle of any worker response must be that capitalist restructuration should not be allowed to take place at workers’ expense. In other words, displacement of workers should be accompanied by compensation that maintains their real income level — whether through other jobs, early retirement with pensions or monetary payments, depending on worker preferences. At the same time, what is true locally is true globally: the ability of better organized workers to achieve their goals will always be limited by the ability of business to have recourse to those less well organized. Therefore, an essential part of any strategy must be the strengthening of the weakest segments of the working class – those sought out for exploitation by those runaway shops.

Politically the issue is not one of principles, it is one of the strategy and organizational forms best suited to obtaining the desired ends. The imposition of the above policy principle would certainly involve a profound realignment of power relations between labor and business. The struggle for its recognition requires a strategy that moves across a broader front than is immediately apparent.

The ability of waged workers to struggle is conditioned by the power of the unwaged — whose income and security sets a floor under the wage hierarchy. Therefore, in order to achieve demands such as those for better wages, better working conditions and shorter hours, it is necessary to simultaneously achieve demands for unwaged income such as welfare, food stamps, health care, educational scholarships, housing and so on. A number of widely recognized studies have made clear that the undocumented pay far more in taxes than they receive in benefits. This observation provides support for aggressive demands to expand their access to services — demands such as those in the Texas school case.

Under present circumstances, when the fundamental thrust of the Reagan Administration economic policy is to undermine unwaged income [See Cleaver 1981 and Bell and Cleaver in this issue] in all its forms, it is imperative that the struggles of immigrant workers for access to such income join with others who are attempting to thwart Reagan’s plans.

Let us suppose for a moment that immigration legislation such as the Simpson-Mazzoli bill can be defeated, and that these elements of a new strategic approach to immigrant struggles lead to successful changes in labor law and its enforcement. What then?

It seems likely that success in forcing up wages, improving working conditions, enforcing various labor codes and raising unwaged income would reduce, perhaps even eliminate many jobs. Fewer jobs at the bottom of the wage hierarchy might mean fewer jobs for immigrant workers and greater demands for education and welfare. An open border under these circumstances would certainly experience more rather than less migration as access to income in the US expanded even further beyond that available in Mexico and other Third World countries. This likelihood compels us to confront the question of global disparities in income and standards of living.

Most observers of immigration, regardless of whether they place their emphasis on “push” or “pull” factors, recognize that workers move over a differential, and that one reason that immigration to the US is large is because income and standards of living are so low elsewhere. This had led many recent commentators to recognize that raising incomes in source countries is necessary to reduce the differential that leads to migration. Leftist commentators go beyond this to denounce the role of the United States in creating and maintaining underdevelopment through its imperial policies. But we must go beyond both observations and denunciations of domination to the organization of struggle.

Immigration will cease to be a problem only when the international circulation of social struggle has eliminated disparities in standards of living and created a situation in which people move freely without any economic compulsion. Immigration, more than any other aspect of the current crisis, points up the international character of today’s working class and the fact that it is only the international circulation of the struggles of the class that can put an end to the present situation. Denunciation accomplishes little. Foreign development aid usually makes matters worse by reinforcing the structures of power. What we have to do is analyze all the present and emerging forms of struggle (migration itself, legal battles, militant demonstrations, international coordination of American and Mexican workers and community groups, etc.) to determine how they need to be modified and expanded to take account of the changing class composition and to speed up the circulation of working class experience and power across national borders. Whether these measures, or some other measures, yet to be developed, prove most efficacious, such international action is an inescapable requirement for the success of national efforts.

There are many organizations actively involved in the struggles of undocumented workers. There are unions, community groups, ethnic groups, legal organizations and so on. There are many kinds of programs underway. There are educational efforts aimed at the workers themselves. There are attempts to educate the broader public. There are legal suits being fought in the courts. There is a kind of widespread division of labor within the movement around immigrant workers in which some groups and individuals deal with some problems, other groups and individuals focus on different issues. In 1977 most of these separate efforts came together in a successful campaign to block the Carter Plan. Today, in the first years of the 1980s more is required than another regrouping to block the Reagan Plan, or Simpson-Mazzoli. Time has passed. Thinking and experience have developed. There are now at least some signs that a deeper, more creative consensus may be possible. In the late 1950s the black community coalesced around the demand for civil rights. In the late 1960s students came together against the War in Vietnam, Mexicano struggles for labor and civil rights expanded beyond the agricultural sector to embrace the Chicano community as a whole. Today business and governmental leaders are afraid that the Hispanic community (Chicanos, Puerto Ricans, Colombians, etc.) will coalesce into a “new civil rights struggle of the 1980s”. They are afraid that the dissatisfaction of immigrant Hispanics will spearhead that struggle. They are right to fear. Perhaps the new elements of understanding about the need to control jobs and working conditions instead of people, to control business instead of workers, can provide an orientation to struggle. The most powerful moment of both Black and Brown movements of the 1960s came as the demands for civil rights converged with demands for economic rights. Perhaps the greatest power of the whole Hispanic community will come when the struggles of immigrant workers for civil and economic rights are fused with those of other workers for the full extension and enforcement of income guarantees and improved working conditions – on the waged job and off. At that point the linkage of the various Hispanic movements complement and strengthen each other as irreducible moments of a larger class struggle to go beyond the present system.

Let us be clear. For the movements around immigration to reject the present capitalist system does not require that they espouse “socialist” or other Leftwing rhetoric and ideology. From the moment their demands imply an end to hierarchy, an end to the linking of income to work, an end to the subordination of life to endless work, their visions of possibilities have gone beyond both free enterprise capitalism and its state-controlled “socialist” counterpart. Moments of that vision already exist in present demands. The problem is to weld them together with the strongest organizational weapons possible.


1 NB: It was the CIA who overthrew the
democratically elected government of Iran in 1953 — in response to the
Iranian government’s nationalization of the oil industry and displacement of the
Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (later renamed the British Petroleum Company) —
and put Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Shah of Iran, back in power. The overthrow has
recently been celebrated in a book by the chief CIA operative in that coup:
Kermit Roosevelt Jr., Countercoup: The Struggle for the Control of Iran,
New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979.

2 However, some foreign students are waged,
rather than unwaged, in the sense that their tuition, fees and living expenses
are paid by their government as they train for jobs in their home country.
Although not explicitly being paid wages for their work as students, such
financial support serves essentially the same purpose.

3 “Baby Doc” took power in 1971, upon the death
of his notorious father “Papa Doc” Francois Duvalier whose murderous paramilitary
militia, the Tonton Macoutes, still operating under “Baby Doc” are thought to be
responsible for thousands of rapes, murders and disappearances. The US government
has systematically supported the Duvaliers’ reign of terror and ignored their
endless human rights violations.

4 See, for example, Sylvia Ann Hewlett,
writing in the elite foreign policy journal Foreign Affairs, Vol. 60,
No. 2 (Winter, 1981), p. 370.


Class composition and US direct investments abroad - Ferruccio Gambino

Article originally written for Zerowork 3 in December 1974 about class composition and American investments abroad.

Submitted by Steven. on February 23, 2014

To the memory of Stephen Hymer

I. Introduction on Proletarian Initiative and Capitalist Initiative in
the Mobility of Capital.


The study of United States capitalist initiative abroad and its capacity for
putting a growing share of labor-power at the world level to work has been
increasingly extended and deepened over recent years after a long period of
neglect.(1) Less attention has been paid to
the other side of the coin — the series of effects that working class movements
have had, and continue to have on the international mobility of capital, and
United States capital in particular. This essay is intended to provide some
stimulus for meditation, not so much on United States capitalist initiative
abroad and its capacity for moving a growing share of labor-power at the world
level, as on the working class's capacity for developing its political strength
by conditioning capitalist penetration, accelerating, slowing, diverting and
interrupting it.

The analysis cannot stop at an examination of labor-power in so far as it
is moved
by United States capital at home and abroad. The cases of a working
class whose political strength, has reached such a level that it manages to move
and impose itself on capital have been noted only rarely and sporadically. The
aim here is not to complain of the absence of Friday's story to set against the
saga of Robinson Crusoe; but practice and theory require an understanding of mass
movements at the international level, require understanding proletarian
, not just capitalist initiative. This perspective is in opposition to the victimist viewpoint that sees imperialism as generically “the bad guy” and the only active subject in the field — while the proletariat is seen as starting out a loser, either because pushed to the sidelines or because a simple appendage of capital.

After the Second World War, direct investment abroad was confirmed as the
dominant trend with respect to the other two fundamental forms of imperialist
penetration: trade without investment and the combination of trade and investment

Here, these three forms will not be considered as stages of development, but
as the manifestations of a process whose focus is the relationship between working
class and capital, both in the metropolis and in the colonies. Once capital had
asserted its tendency to step beyond the nation-state in the search of labor-power
to put to work, the passage from one form of imperialist penetration to another is
not a tyrannical monologue of capital, but a relationship between two antagonistic
classes. In effect, in order to explain the timing and methods with which
capitalist expansion moves from trade without investment through the combination
of trade and investment to direct investment, a law for the development of such
a phantom monologue would still have to be found. From labor-power's viewpoint,
this passage appears as a twofold transition from one mode of production to
another, but always within the capitalist system
: from pre-capitalist modes of production under the command of merchant
capital through mining and the post-slavery plantation (both entrenched at the
capitalist level of Marxian manufacture and still partly under the command of
merchant capital) to large-scale industry under the direct command of metropolitan
capital. But the rates and modes of these passages are only the visible part of
the iceberg; the political movements of the working class have remained under

II. The Contours of United States Capital's Offensive after World War II.

Static description of the sectorial composition of United States labor-power and
its variations over the last thirty years is of no help in understanding the
dynamic of its changes. In the period under examination, class antagonism openly
involved increasingly broad strata of labor-power. From the working class side of
the picture, its essential manifestation is mass-power in the struggle against
speed-up in the processes of production, circulation and the reproduction
of labor-power, against the intensification of work and the heightened
tension of labor-power
. The cycle of working class struggles in the years
1932-1937 had shown the whole capitalist world that the working class in the
United States was the Cape of Storms or the 'general rule" of the working class
autonomy that had driven a wedge between the "great democracies" and the Nazi
regime, preventing any possibility of inter-capitalist reconciliation in the West.
But this cycle of struggles had also shown that, with that class
composition and that level of organization, the pace of work could not
be imposed unilaterally, but had to be submitted to collective bargaining together
with the wage-packet. With rearmament, the leaders of the CIO resigned themselves
to the policy of war and rearmament, committing themselves first to imposing
wartime discipline in the factory on their unionized members and, subsequently, to
the no-strike pledge and the Little Steel Formula of 1942 by which for the
duration of the war wage increases were to be maintained within the levels of the
most backward sectors of the steel industry. But it was precisely during the war
period that working class autonomy managed to resist the imposition of more
speed-up, to break the no-strike pledge, to extend unionization to sectors left
out during the cycle of struggles in the 30's (5)
, and to sow the seeds for the working class's political anticipation of
capital as regards the wage packet, thus launching the longest period of inflation
in the history of capitalism. But the ambiguities were not lacking. In wartime
production, resistance to faster paces of work was tolerated by industrial capital
because it could pass the costs on to the state, which, in its turn, had no
difficulty in paying. In the extension of unionization, the leaders of the CIO
found a new instrument of power and, generally speaking, managed to obtain the
state's approval in sectors linked to war production by giving a commitment that
they would contain the wage-thrust of the new union members.

The general trial of strength in 1946, the year with the highest volume of
strikes in United States history, sealed a cycle of struggles and made the
resultant conquests irreversible. These were the conquests of a labor-power that
was exceptionally homogenous by comparison with that put to work by the capital
of the European colonial empires. Up until that time, the foreign interests of
the United States were more modest than those of the British Empire, then the
major colonial power. United States merchant capital was certainly not important,
nor was its mining and plantation capital, the classical form for the transition
from merchant to industrial capital in the underdeveloped countries. Yankeedom
was no longer, as Benjamin Franklin had written, just a republic of tool-making
animals, but also, and above all, a country of assemblers of interchangeable parts
working under the "American system of manufactures", with its higher pace-of-work
than the European, and primarily British, non-standardized form of
manufacture.(6) With this superiority in the
command over living labor, and with the continual appropriation of new policies
for the condensation of labor, United States capital was already
determining the trend for the high points of capitalist accumulation in Europe
between the late 1800s and the start of the Second World War.
Even in the Progressive Era, the hegemony of United
States interests abroad was firmly in the hands of large-scale industry in its
incipient stage of the mass-production of the internal-combustion engine and the
electrical engine in all their articulations.(8)
At the end of the Second World War, the working class commanded by United States
capital found its mass-power in the assembly-line workers. Still a minority and
on the defensive when the First World War ended, later forged in the crucible of
the struggles during the 30s, they imposed a definitive shift in the relationship
between capital and labor-power: collective bargaining and unionization became
the "general rule" effective in all the countries of the West.

At the end of the war, unionized workers in the United States totaled 35 percent
of the workforce: more than 14 million out of 40 million, excluding agriculture,
and representing the most substantial working class force in the whole of the
West. In percentage terms, this figure remained the ceiling for unionization in
the history of the United States.(9) In the process of capital's circulation, the
so-called white collar workers, starting from those in the communications sector,
showed a growing interest in unionization. In 1944, for the first time in the
history of capitalism, the average wage packet of the blue-collar workers was
higher than that of their white collared counterparts and years would be needed
before the relationship was reversed. Strong resistance was also appearing
against the tacit ban on unionization in the cycle of labor-power's direct
reproduction. This trend was evident among hospital workers, teachers, male
ex-workers expelled from their jobs by postwar reconversion and forced into
skidding and downward social mobility, female ex-workers dispatched back to the
kitchen(10), all the Marxian “feeders
in their new guise (11) and also including
the two sectors most conspicuously excluded from unionization: the chemical and
the agricultural workers. The labor-power put to work directly by United States
capital abroad was also entrenched in more advanced positions in terms of
collective bargaining. This position was the case in the British and, later,
the West German auto sectors, just as it was in the Latin American food and
mining industries. But the driving force for this international communication
and amalgamation of the struggles
was provided by the factory workers in the
United States, and more particularly by those producing transportation equipment.

The mass-power of the working class in its bargaining over necessary labor emerged weakened from postwar reconversion. Total wage disbursement fell, thus undermining the credibility of the CIO with the non-unionized workers with or without jobs. At the same time, the labor federations were more directly involved in the management and control of labor-power in the factories; this new relationship was codified in the Taft-Hartley law. If the manufacturing's total wage disbursement in constant dollars is put at 100 for 1957-1959, it rises from 79.1 in 1942 to 103.7 in 1944, falling to 86.5 in 1945 and to 72.2 in 1949. Only the Korean War managed to bring it back to 100.2 in 1953.(12) All the measures aimed at increasing the necessary labor of the employed workers in the postwar period were pushed through by means of this reduction.

The institutional forces — from government to the industrialists and the unions — put their money on reconversion as the big chance to replace the labor-power in the factories and, therefore, for the creation of a rank-and-file renewed, in part, by the influx of war veterans and, in part, by the expulsion of women, blacks, older workers, and teenagers from the sectors that were to suffer the most drastic restructuration. By promoting the insertion or reinsertion of young veterans and the expulsion or deskilling of labor-power discriminated in terms of the physical characteristics of sex and color, the unions were merely accepting the capitalist trend: everyone should be put in his/her place, thus eliminating the working class family's second or third wage, which had been the source for the capacity for self-finance demonstrated during the long strikes of 1945-46.

The war-time simplification of work methods and the adaptation of the machine to the worker, which gave labor-power having little or no "experience" of industrial work access to the factory, devalued the labor-power of the adult worker reinserted into the postwar factory and made him continuously interchangeable with each of the social figures that had replaced him during the war.

In this way, equilibrium was reestablished between the higher level of
accumulation and the relative overpopulation within the United States
. It
was reestablished, not in the abstract, but against the working class of
the wartime period in order to stimulate the employed worker's produvtivity.

Despite the heightening of wage differentials and, in more general terms, the enlargement of the fractures internal to the working class along lines of caste and class, working class autonomy in the United States maintained its capacity to struggle against that division of labor which was imposed by heightening the class significance of differences in sex, race, and age group. It proved impossible to structure the social pyramid according to the canons of social geometry. The disquiet of the early 50s concealed behind the apparent withdrawal from the streets to the homes has already been noted.(13) There were phenomena connected specifically with the factory. The 1949 strike of the largest factory of them all — Ford Rouge in Detroit — represented the watershed between working class interest and trade union interest. In the strike, there was only one demand: the end of speed-up. This indicated the most preoccupying crack in the edifice of Keynesian political economy to date. The unions were unable to adopt the demand as their own. For its part, Ford management had already started cutting back the plant and transferring part of the operations to less cohesive working class areas.

The intensification of the work rate and the rationalization of the flow of
materials in the factory was accompanied by a strong workshifting — the
crucial legacy of the war and reconversion — and, in general, by a strong
turnover of labor-power for the given plant. If this was the highroad in the
political stabilization of the first years after the war, the other road was a
further increase in the number of people who could be put to work abroad
through the appropriation and annexation of new spaces of penetration in the wake of the
weakening of European and Japanese capital and the collapse of the colonial

For the first time during any five years in the history of the United States, the period 1945-50 showed a lower level of direct investments in the industrialized countries than in the so-called underdeveloped countries. Oil took the lion's share and, in the 50s, continued to dominate the field of United States direct investments. It was only towards the end of the 50s that investments in the manufacturing sector once more took the lead. The possibility of imposing the United States policy of "the open door" either by joint or by solely United States investments in the traditional areas of penetration controlled by British capital first, and French and Dutch capital afterwards, was mediated by oil. It was essentially on the basis of the appropriation and accumulation achieved with oil that United States capital tended to introduce its control where the old colonial regimes had left space for an open struggle between colonizers and colonized.

Up until the unification of the AFL and the CIO in 1955 and the wave of wildcat strikes in 1953 and 1955, it seemed that United States industry and the United States government were trusting in the severe reconversion following the Korean War in order to control labor-power at home. But, in the meantime, the crisis of Europe's role in the world had reached the climax indicated by the Suez War. The United States was ready to take over the few tasks of world command still left to the old colonialists.

III. The increase in the mass of labor-power and relative overpopulation
dependent on United States direct investment abroad.

Around the mid-thirties, the political development of the proletariat in the
colonial territories tended to combine with the political movement of the
metropolitan working class, which was characterized by a greater resistance
to selling itself as a labor-power, by struggles for unionization, and by its
capacity to force the U.S. state to accept the New Deal and the new Rooseveltian
contract. As a result, the leading function of United States capitalism found
itself with an enormously enlarged space for maneuver in direct investment abroad.
This trend was clear in the first years of the postwar period, and above all
from the Korean War on, but it was already implicit in the shift imposed on the
relationship between working class and capital by the cycle of struggles during
the decade 1932-41. United States business historians try to date the penetration
of United States capital abroad back to the 1800s (14)
, while the present-day economists study the current trends in the
expansion of the multinationals.(15) But these
approaches cast a shadow over the twenty years stretching from the sit-ins at
General Motors and the working class victory in early 1937 to the final
confirmation of the crisis of 'trade and flag' colonialism with the irreversible
Anglo-French defeat at Suez. And an equally impenetrable shadow is laid over the
function of the U.S. state which, in the twenty years in question, was laying the
foundations for the extension and deepening of U.S. penetration abroad. It was no
longer enough to shift factories from "hot" areas, notably in the Northeast, to
non-unionized areas within the country, notably in the South and the West.
On the strength of the victories of 1934-37, the
challenge of the nascent CIO promised union organization even before the factories

In the history of the United States working class one may perhaps be able to
indicate a threshold beyond which the intimidation of unemployment following a
struggle no longer played a decisive role in the development of the strike. The
experience of the unemployed in the 30s and the certainty of the social wealth
that the united proletariat could re-appropriate, the sense of the power of
labor's productive forces that the working class confronted daily, and the
certainty that the unemployed worker survives on the basis of a collective
organizational effort rather than a laborious individual abstinence, are all
factors already present in the struggles, both inside and outside the factory.

When the problem was to decide what form the struggle should take against
General Motors at Flint in late 1936, and the union organizations were recalling
the reprisals, dismissals and reconversion of plants that could follow, the workers
came out for the toughest form of struggle: the sit-in.(17)
Working class initiative placed the New Deal back under discussion,
relaunched the struggle in the more isolated sectors, and reminded U.S. capital
that its reference point for overcoming the impasse must have two aspects: on the
one hand, internal repression — and the massacre of the Chicago steel workers
came two months after the workers' victory over General Motors; on the other,
the revival of production after the recession in late 1937, that came with the
project for strengthening the defense of United States interests abroad and,
consequently, with rearmament.(18)

Moving through the map of its interests, the United States ensured itself world hegemony. But these motivating interests could certainly not just be situated outside the United States. The objective thrust of U.S. capital after the struggles of the 30s was once more towards expansion, and it was essentially a thrust emerging from within the country.

The War was the great chance to overcome the boundaries of a regional policy of domination over the two Americas. Certainly, the lines of intervention followed by the state and business were not convergent; and the gap widened when, at the end of the War, the geopolitical boundaries of direct penetration were defined, a process in which United States influence lost some of its traditional zones, to the chagrin of the so-called China Lobby. But war production was an effective instrument for mediation between the state and business, capable of recomposing their differences and indicating new openings. In this process, the U.S. state-machine had the function of leadership and the armed forces formed its cutting edge. If old-style colonialism contemplated the joint movement of trade and the flag, in this case the flag managed to precede the more wide-scale resumption of direct investment.

Not that the country's industrial policy was blind to the new opportunities
that were about to open up abroad. Rather, the general view was favorable to an
intensification of direct investments at the expense of portfolio investments. A
memorandum from the National Association of Manufacturers in September 1944 clearly
reflects the trend towards greater United States control over capital sent abroad
in order to reduce the danger of confiscations and defaults: [American capitals
sent abroad should be] "accompanied by American technicians"; they [should not be]
"detached from the 'know how' and should be in the form of direct investment to
prevent defaults". (19)

At the same time, the postwar offensive against the working class was beginning.
According to the National Association of Manufacturers, it was necessary to
eliminate "the special privileges" given to labor:

". . . in recent years we have given special privileges to labor to offset the
earlier privileges granted to business. . . . This policy will not work . . .
NAM's complete program recommends therefore . . . legislation to correct existing
labor laws to provide specific responsibilities and obligations for labor as well
as management; to protect individuals in their right to work; to regulate union
practices which restrict efficiency and maximum production or limit job
opportunities; to permit management the same free choice in selecting its
representatives (foremen and higher level of management) as is accorded labor; to
require that labor unions, as well as management, abide by their collective
bargaining contracts".(20)

And, as the President of the National Association of Manufacturers recalled,
"today's issue is a struggle between organized labor on the one hand and the
public interest on the other".(21)

So, in the medium term, the tendency to strike at the working class within the United States was combined with the new openings which were created abroad with the end of the Second World War as capital tried to emancipate itself from the power of an organized working class. The state prepared the ground both at home and abroad by organizing measures of economic and extra-economic coercion, by distributing its armed forces, not only according to estimates of the external enemy's military potential, but also according to calculations of the equilibrium within the territories under its influence,

From this viewpoint, the most conspicuous bottleneck in the immediate postwar period was the difficulty in recruiting for the United States armed forces. The servicemen's demonstrations in Asia and Europe for repatriation and demobilization at the end of the War were characteristic of a generation that had lived through strikes, the factory sit-ins and collective bargaining from a position of strength. And t These young workers returned to the factories and offices after expressing their rejection of the role of soldier in the most varied kinds of struggle.(22)

As in the British experience, strikes by drafted service men put an end to any
project of continental-scale war for the re-conquest of lost positions.
) The Pentagon's first reaction was to introduce
the voluntary army in 1947. After 17 months of frustration, the Pentagon was
forced back to the compulsory drafts hoping that unemployment in the ghettoes
would do the rest. Perhaps the difficulties involved in mobilizing a social
consensus, even more than the consent of potential recruits
should be seen as one of the major reasons for
the massive development, not so much of the nuclear umbrella, as of the
operational methods of the U.S. war-machine, which has been generally one step
ahead with respect to industry. One of the legacies of the War was the army
training in cooperation and abstract command which touched three and a half
million young people (25) representing fresh
labor-power for industry immediately after the War. Added to them as potential
labor-power for the war-machine was a mass of experts who had also passed through
cooperation in war production, as well as highly skilled researchers drained
from all the Western countries — Germany, in particular — and organized around
single projects with rigidly planned deadlines and tasks.

Abroad, it was the working class on the offensive in the countries under Allied
occupation that moved U.S. capital, whose efforts were directed at the resumption
of an orderly management of labor-power. In this connection, one should note the
development of labor's productive forces in the United States as a result of the
War, in contrast to the mutilation of the productive apparatus in all the major
industrial countries, with the partial exception of Great Britain. But one
should also note the general political availability for work that the destruction
caused by war had created, an availability that the military apparatus of the
United States found politically difficult to to direct towards the economic
restoration of the old powers, now ready for renewal thanks to the combination
of the wartime capitalist accumulation and United States aid. It was the general
availability for work of a modern labor-power that the experience of factory and
war had irreversibly marked with adaptation to abstract work. With respect to
this labor-power the U.S. state set itself up as labor's reorganizer.
(26) Perhaps the fears of those in charge of
United States foreign policy about excess unemployment in the occupied countries
and the urgency of eliminating it derived from their memories of the working
class struggles in the U.S. during the 30s. These had been winning struggles
thanks to the unity between employed and unemployed, a unity which had taken the
state apparatus and the world of industry by surprise.(27)
Objectively, the crucial U.S. aid to Europe and Japan made the U.S.
a state into the real general employer in these countries during the first
post-war phase.

Early in 1944, the Division of International Labor, Social and Health Affairs was set up in the Office of Economic Affairs at the Labor Department. Quietly the state bureaucracy's constant collection and diffusion of information on labor-power abroad strengthened the tendency of large-scale U.S. capital to escape the limitations laid down by working class organization in the factories and learn the habit of looking outside the country. Once the areas of influence had been defined, the U.S. state managed to make the reasons for excluding the old industrial power-elite from governing coincide with scarcity, if not hunger, and the reasons for compromise between the old and the new elites with the reasons of growth. The measuring-stick for judging these elites was whether they showed proven capacity for promoting labor-power's general availability for work in rigid respect for the areas of influence. When this respect was not guaranteed, as in the case of the French Communist Party, the Italian Communist Party and the leftwing labor federations in France and Italy, the commitment of these forces to promoting a resumption of work was not enough to keep them embedded in state power.(28))

The relationship between the U.S. trade unions and the revival of the working
class movement in the occupied countries was established on the basis of a
collective bargaining that was to privilege those sectors of the working class
emerging from reconversion with least strength. Radical historians have laid
great stress on the ferociousness of the splits in trade union unity in Europe,
Latin America, and Japan.(29)) Certainly, in
the rising pressures brought to bear on the working class movements that wanted
to keep their distance from the two U.S. labor federations, every form of coercion
can be found: from corruption or small-time physical elimination to the
organization of blacklegs, the repression of strikes, and military
intervention.(30) Within industrialized countries, attacks were concentrated on the most advanced points of the working class, and it was on the assumption of their defeat that the sale of labor-power was negotiated at the various national levels. Collective bargaining was to be carried out on a sector-wide basis, or — where possible — even on a company-wide basis, with notable wage differences according to an evaluation of skills that was sometimes borrowed from collective bargaining in the United States, and sometimes imposed together with United States technology itself. The crucial leap taken by U.S. industry with the extended mechanization of materials handling within the metal-working factories and automatic control in the chemical factories during the decade following the strikes and sit-ins of the 30s was now exported, thus resulting in the dilution and flattening of skills.(31)

In the countries where repression against the advanced points of the working class movement was harshest, the introduction of new machinery incorporating a higher level of mechanization tended to throw old and new strata of the working class into crisis, meeting with a notable, but generally isolated resistance. In countries like Great Britain where there was a wide gap between the technological level of the leading firms, which were often American, and that of the local ones, the turnover of labor-power was higher in the former, while, in the latter, the labor relationship, which was still prevalently based on old forms of piece-work, was more stable.(32) In general, through the rearmament connected with the Korean War, U.S. capital attacked the politically more coherent working class nuclei both at home and abroad.(33)

At the start of the '50s, the reserve of labor-power available to U.S. capital
seemed to be greatly in excess of investment possibilities. But, while the
initiative was seemingly in the hands of a U.S. capital capable of putting to
work increasingly ample sectors of labor-power in the United States, Europe, Latin
America, and Japan, this capital was committed to a struggle over the
conditions for entry
into the factory for the labor-power that, in those years, was delivering decisive blows against the old colonial empires. Of the two processes, the first was the driving force pulling the second, behind it. The interest in preventing the armed entry of an anticolonial proletariat into mass industrial production essentially derived from the objective movement of capitalist expansion, radiating from its vital, metropolitan nerve centers.

The crisis of colonialism as a particular stage of imperialism, as a
conjunction of trade and the flag, reached a breaking-point when the colonized
proletarians started to behave politically as if they were proletarians in
large-scale industry — in the presence, and also in the absence of local large-scale industry. It was then that the proletariat's nationalism began to be differentiated from that of the nascent local bourgeoisies and the conflict between colonized and colonizers turned into an armed struggle.

The process of decolonization after the Second War required armed struggle in those situations where three essential factors were combined: the prevalence of private metropolitan interests over those of the colonial bureaucracy, the imperialist state's capacity for organizing a certain consensus for overseas wars and the mobilization of the necessary mass of soldiers, and an autonomous class of white settlers with interests and an ideology that were sufficiently developed to continuously stimulate a metropolitan reaction to the threat of an anticolonial struggle, yet still sufficiently linked to the metropolis to consider it as the supreme depository of its own interests. The more these factors were developed, the more one could find some corresponding characteristics of the colonized and metropolitan society: the prevalence — in terms of accumulation — of wage-labor over pre-capitalistic modes of production, the political development of the metropolitan working class to the point that the recruitment and dispatch of soldiers to combat zones became increasingly difficult (and even semi-clandestine), and the maintenance of the local bourgeoisie in sectors marginal with respect to the general level of accumulation, in such conditions of weakness that it was unable to control the local proletariat. The two major French colonies, Vietnam and Algeria, answered these characteristics and formed the two most violent cases of war in the twenty years after World War II. When the conflict risked becoming a civil war in the metropolis, the reconversion of the private sector and second thoughts in the army got the upper hand over the arguments offered by the settlers to support their case.

The cases offered by the British Empire are partially different from the French model, but confirm the general pattern. Immediately after the war, the withdrawal from the Indian subcontinent was the combined result of the Indian bourgeoisie's progressive affirmation as the sole guarantee of control over the proletariat, the hegemony of the state bureaucracy over private British interests, and the state's inability to draft the British working class for war operations on a sub-continental scale. The British army was to fight other colonial wars in the 50s and '60s, but on a limited scale, within the dimensions of small professional armies and essentially in an attempt at both freeing the national bourgeoisies from the limits laid down by the proletariat during the expulsion of the colonial apparatus and at weakening them through intestine rivalries. Formal independence in Africa started with the British withdrawal from Ghana, and not by chance. More clearly than in any other colonial territory, Ghana's conditions differed from those ruling in Algeria under French domination. The predominant mode of production was a proto-capitalistic one of goods linked to Britain's large-scale chemical and food industries. Production was in the hands of an emerging African bourgeoisie and the colonial apparatus was small, though it dominated the few British mineral interests. Finally, Dien Bien Phu and Suez had induced even French large-scale capital, not to mention its British counterpart, to adopt the line of least resistance to the anticolonial forces on the institutional level. The peaceful passage of power modeled on the Ghanaian case was then to be reproduced in some other British African colonies and in the British West Indies. In fact, where the settlers were a substantial minority, the African proletarians' guerilla warfare speeded up the deadlines for formal independence, although at the cost of atrocities and concentration camps for African fighters and civilians, most cruelly in Kenya. Where settlers' interests and ideology no longer had anything to do with “back home” and were ossified into caste regimes as in South Africa and Rhodesia, the alliance with British and United States industrial interests was tightened and strengthened on the basis of the settlers' state power and their capacity for extra-economic coercion with respect to the Africans.(34)

It was precisely in the countries where the local bourgeoisies were less developed and where veins had already been slashed open that the United States was called in. Vietnam represented the extreme case — i.e., where a mass Communist proletarian force blocked the process of accumulation and where the U.S. replied with the maximum of violence. In general, when penetrating the former colonies, the United States paid particular attention to the economic weakness of the local bourgeoisie, not as an apparatus of state control, but as an autonomous agent of accumulation.(35)

In effect, United States initiative with its direct investments abroad was inserted into a situation of weak national bourgeoisies with a reduced capacity for control over the proletariat. What were the relevant phases after the Second World War? And what modification were the result?

After the Bretton Woods agreements, U.S. investments allowed the major United States oil companies, together with British Petroleum and Shell to rip off notable amounts of the wage in the West. The acceleration of the flow of United States direct investments can be dated from the years following the Anglo-French defeat at Suez. Its aim was to take control over a large mass of labor power already trained by decades of industrial discipline in Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia.

United States initiative drove a wedge between, on the one hand, the crisis of the war-weakened European bourgeoisies and working class insubordination around the end of the war and, on the other, Europe's colonial defeats and the separation between the interests of the local bourgeoisie and proletariat during the anticolonial struggle. The army, far from following sheep-like in the wake of industry's decisions, merely accepting the task of providing the necessary protection, anticipated the moves and paved the way for them, thus forming a guard-level trying to resist all possible tensions on the international level.

In this transformation, the old prewar elites managing U.S. industrial
interests abroad were renewed, placed under closer control by the industrial and
financial leadership and opened to closer communication between each other. But,
at the same time, this renewal also involved the state level. In the
division of control, the national bourgeoisie was allotted the
bureaucratic-administrative tasks; it still did not have the privilege of
extracting social surplus value and was given tasks of coercion on behalf of
metropolitan capital, as had already been made necessary by the progressive
crisis of colonial rule. The division of labor promoted by direct investment
merely deepened this split. The expansion of the leading sectors of the "national"
economy was separated from social control. While the first task was taken up by
metropolitan capital, the national bourgeoisie was handed the Intermundia
of the backward productive sectors and the corresponding circulation of capital — but, above all, of the apparatus of internal control directed against its own proletariat.

This was not an ossified situation, however. It is precisely through the tasks of social control that part of the national bourgeoisie can be filtered and introduced into the forms of surplus-value extraction proper to direct investment. This selection is only apparently a slow training-process. In reality, in the national bourgeoisies where the osmosis of bureaucratic-administrative and military tasks of control is traditionally strong, the interaction between United States and local managerial elites has been notable.

Within this framework, the metropolitan personnel which direct investment requires to perform the tasks of social regulation, has the function of providing economic and military planning, technical consultancy and the training of labor-power, and moral support for the process of penetration. In part, this personnel is trained on the spot through immediate experiences of control in the place of production and then transferred to social control; in part, it is trained in other situations, and then transferred. The capacity for adaptation and flexibility in the tasks of command have been ambitions felt rather strongly by U.S. capital abroad. On the one hand, U.S. capital tries to appropriate and annex those traits of the individual and collective worker which are specific to ethnicity, together with the characteristics of the individual and collective capitalist which Anglosaxon-style command has so far not managed to assimilate. On the other hand, greater efforts are made to adapt the various industrial operations to the peculiarities of the various ethnic groups and their pre-capitalist legacy, so as to transform their mode of association into special modes of existence of capital.

IV. Productive Diversification: Breakdown and Recomposition of Labor-power.

What is the relationship of the working class struggle's initiative to the revolutionizing of the productive forces and the modification of the proportion between necessary labor and surplus value? And, more modesty, what is the class conflict's relationship to the product's life-cycle, that life-cycle for which the answer produced by economics in the 60s seemed unsatisfactory even to the economists themselves.(36)

As a hypothesis, one might perhaps say that the increase in the working class's
political strength around the period of the product's "exponential expansion"
regularly decrees the latter's decline. But, here, our theme is more modest. The
problem is to study two cases of productive diversification characteristic of the
passage from the U.S. state's geopolitical commitment to the U.S. multinationals'
direct investment abroad, and to examine their most neglected aspect as cases of
contraposition between labor-power producing "raw materials" and labor-power
producing “artificial materials”. Here, they will be considered as specific
modes for the decomposition of labor-power
put into effect by industrial
capital and by merchant capital. Such decomposition has been necessary to remove
the old colonial coalitions. In this sense, United States capital, the inheritor
of German capital's attempt to achieve independence from colonial sources of
supply, has gone beyond the mere appropriation and annexation of alternative processes of production. It also plays off the "natural product" against the "artificial" one, and vice-versa. The objective result is essentially the decomposition of both the mass-power of the working class in the United States and the old power-balances in the colonies.

When the four United States corporations grouped in Aramco started extraction operations in Saudi Arabia on the eve of World War II, the focus of United States’ oil operations shifted from Central America to the Middle East. United States interests and European interests accelerated the formation of an oil proletariat revolving around U.S. hegemony. Zionist capital in Palestine catalyzed the process, subsequently followed by the other regimes in the Middle East. In particular, on the Arabian peninsula, together with the North American and European technicians and executives, there was an influx of Palestinian refugees and, in general, a large number of those uprooted from the land in neighboring countries to the oil wells and urban centers. The apparent result was a mosaic of ethnic groups but, in fact, there emerged a social pyramid of notable proportions based on caste and class. In Saudi Arabia, for example, the non-Arabs (Ethiopians, Iranians, Pakistani, Indians) remained at the bottom of the pyramid, followed by the Arabs, particularly those from Yemen and Oman, with less training for industrial work. After them came the inhabitants of the oil-rich countries' urban areas together with the immigrants, mostly Palestinians, having a higher education and a longer training for industrial labor, in particular from South Yemen. Finally, there was the "superior" labor-power from the West and the local managerial executives, all of them under the hood of the relations tying the local power-elite to the U.S. state and the decision centers of the energy multinationals.(37)

Employment in the oil sector dropped progressively during the 60s and early
70s because of technological innovations in the process of extraction. Those
working directly in the oil fields have remained a crucial minority in the
industry as their productivity has been on the rise, while a growing proletariat
in the oil-rich countries has not only handled the distribution of oil downstream
but sustained life, reproducing labor power throughout the region. Productive
expansion and the extension of industrial discipline and technical instruction
among local labor-power and immigrant labor-power from the neighboring countries
have led to that labor-power's insertion into the skilled jobs from which it had
been generally excluded in the 40s and 50s. The restriction of the range of jobs
carried out by Westerners should not hide two important and parallel phenomena.
The first is the reduction of the Aramco psychology — i.e. the
prospect of getting rich quick and subsequently returning to the West and the
second, the growing conflict between the local power-elite and multinational
capital, on the one hand, and the proletariat of the oil fields and induced
activities, on the other. After the mass dismissal of the Europeans striking
against Aramco in 1946 and the combination of repression and concessions in
the strikes of the 50s (38), the major class-pole in the area, Aden, managed to impose its own rate of emancipation from indirect British rule, which also acted militarily on behalf of the other Western powers. But the opening of new spaces to U.S. oil initiative made it possible to influence the wage in the countries of Western Europe, which were dependent on Middle Eastern oil supplies, and to harvest the anti-working class fruits of energy diversification in the United States itself.

The extraction of crude in the United States had suffered a first setback in 1948 because of the influx of an imposing mass of oil from the Middle East and the Caribbean. In 1953, in order to revitalize the United States' domestic oil operations, the Oil Import Mandatory Program limited imports to 12.2 percent of consumption in the area to the East of the Rocky Mountains. By separating the cost of domestic crude, which was more expensive to extract, from that of crude extracted abroad, the U.S. oil corporations were given a subsidy worth billions of dollars through a triangular system of support: the exploitation of labor-power in the producer countries and the countries making machinery for the extraction of oil, the heavy impact of oil on the real wage in Europe, and the lesser, but still notable impact, which was not without relationship to the average international cost of extraction, on the working class real wage in the United States. The diversification of energy represented by the new influx of Middle Eastern oil into Europe and, still more, the United States, imposed political stagnation on the coal-miners, who had been the driving force behind the breaking of the social peace during the Second World War.

Twenty years of rank and file struggles were needed to bring the demands of the United Mine Workers (UMW) union back to the national level after the energy diversification of the 50s and 60s and the resulting political ossification of the union, which was corrupt in its leadership, capable only of administrating itself badly, and long incapable of even setting up the most elementary platform of demands, even in connection with the industry's health hazards.

This was the first test of what would have happened with the continual switching between the production of "raw materials" and the production of "artificial materials" in the years of colonialism's agony. But it was a decisive test because the U.S. state entrusted, and increasingly entrusts, the energy multinationals' accumulation with the role historically played by traditional finance capital in its tasks of mediating long-period investment internationally. With a power of accumulation unprecedented in the history of capitalism, and freed of a day-to-day relationship with large masses of labor-power, the energy multinationals exact growing shares of the wage on behalf of social capital. They have developed a control which is indifferent to the traditional mediations of industry, the coal sector included. More than in the exploitation of labor-power, which it must also plan for the long period through the direction of investments, and more than in the consensus of industrial capital, which it must still seek out, this control seems to continually find its supreme legitimation in the military force of the United States.

In the process of diversification, the case of rubber is more than an
example.(39) It introduces the theme of the frontiers of the power of U.S. imperialist penetration, of the limitations on the growth of its relative overpopulation abroad.

Here, as in the oil or natural fibers sectors, the U.S. state tried to dictate
the terms for entry into the contemporary multinational factory of the
that had been subject to merchant capital up until the Second
World War. It tried to introduce this proletariat partially into the new
operations of international business and partially into those populations United
States business was able to annex overseas
. But it also tried to shut off a form of bargaining that the labor-power in the factories was carrying on from positions of strength. With productive diversification, the traditional circuits, the mutually necessary relations between colony and metropolis were undermined and Large masses of proletarians were "freed" from colonialist labor, in part to be channeled selectively towards new sectors and, in part, to be pushed into unemployment. The U.S. state superintended this shift and accelerated it from the heights of the multinational accumulation that had been built up through internal expansion after the struggles of the 30s, with the war, and through penetration into Europe and the Middle East. From the viewpoint of value-making rubber formed the center of gravity for Southeast Asia, an area which was the heart of intra-imperial rivalry in the Eastern hemisphere during World War II.

The Anglo-French-Dutch natural rubber cartel had adopted increasingly restrictive practices in Southeast Asia. In opposition to the cartel, the industrial production of synthetic rubber had emerged from an understanding between Standard Oil of New Jersey, Dupont, and I-G Farben in the late 30s. In 1945, the United States had a capacity for the production of synthetic rubber superior to its national needs and was therefore in a position to reject the natural rubber supplied by the Anglo-French-Dutch cartel, after being excluded by the Japanese navy during the war. Indeed, the decentralization of the factories for the production of synthetic rubber, all of them owned by the state but managed privately by the giant rubber corporations, had been pushed ahead to such an extent during the Second World War that national needs could be completely satisfied from non-unionized factories outside the area of Akron, Ohio. While Akron produced 52.9 percent of United States rubber in 1935, by the time unionization was complete with the victory of the United Rubber Workers (URW) in 1937, it produced only 35.2 percent.(40) At the end of the war, the synthetic rubber plants were largely underutilized, but they could be brought back into production at any moment. With a single blow, United States capital was thus in a position to play its cards on two tables at once: on the one hand, with the workers at Akron and, on the other, with the relations of production in the natural rubber sector of Southeast Asia. These relations were dominated by the industrial capital of the European metropolitan centers and managed, in part, by that capital as regards the large-scale plantations and, in part, by the compradora bourgeoisie of Chinese origin as regards small and medium properties. According to one United States expert, assuming the prewar trend at the British Empire's rubber exports to the United States, since the postwar level of exports might have been greater than about one third of the annual installments to be paid en Britain's war debt to Washington "the loss of her [Britain's] most potent source of dollar exchange [natural rubber] at such a moment would vastly augment her difficulties."(41) British, French and Dutch difficulties continued to increase right up until the boom connected with the Korean War. Noting that the assimilation of the rubber-growing smallholders into Malaysian colonial society was much greater than that of the wage-workers on the plantations, the British colonial bureaucracy continued to support small and medium property and to enlarge the traditional colonial divisions between the Malaysian population and the immigrants of Chinese origin, who were prevalently and more directly linked to merchant capital. British colonialism's deepening of caste divisions was facilitated by the decision of the Malaysian Communist Party, which consisted primarily of cadres of Chinese origin, to resume guerilla warfare against the British colonialists in 1948, three years after having completely dismantled the organization set up to fight the Japanese. Leaning heavily on the ethnic conflict between Malaysians and Chinese, British colonialism organized its "orderly withdrawal" with an anti-guerilla operation that was to last thirteen years, utilizing up to 350,000 local and Commonwealth troops, transferring 740,000 villagers to guarded camps and in Singapore, carrying out the first experiments in the techniques of repression against urban guerilla warfare that were to become current practice in Northern Ireland in the early ‘70s.(42) Guarded camps also became the template for the so-called strategic hamlets created by the U.S. military in South Vietnam.

In general, after the Vietminh’s defeat of the French the ties that linked the wage-workers to the plantations, the small and medium proprietors to merchant capital and all of these to the colonial bureaucracy within the Southeast Asian cycle of rubber production were corroded, if not compromised. Only the use of extra-economic coercion had any chance of re-imposing them.

The uneven trend of demand for rubber also created a crisis for the trade union strength of the Akron workers dating back to 1937. In the immediate postwar period, the Akron rubber workers, together with those of U.S. Rubber in Detroit and Firestone in Los Angeles managed to defend the biggest sectorial conquest so far achieved on the terrain of the length of the working-week, the 36-hour week. But this conquest was to last only a few more years. The 50,000 workers in Akron could no longer impose their timetable as a general rule on 200,000 rubber workers with a 40-hour week.

Preoccupations with political stability in Indonesia and Vietnam induced Washington to come to an agreement with the Anglo-French-Dutch interests for an increase in the price of natural rubber, just when French defeat seemed inevitable.(43) And British industry, whose interests in the same areas were under equally heavy pressure appropriately discovered the advantages of synthetic rubber without nourishing any further illusions about the exportation of natural rubber as a prop for the sterling area. In 1954, Washington auctioned off the 26 synthetic rubber factories owned by the Federal government and, in the meantime, discovered that the synthetic rubber of the prewar period did not provide natural rubber's guarantees of quality.(44) In 1956, the rubber giants counterattacked on the terrain of the length of the working-week and the union gave in, bringing back the 40-hour week in all factories, including those in the Akron area. This move killed two birds with one stone in that it also ended the agitation for the 36-hour week in the auto industry, which the opposition to Walter Reuther's union policies was carrying ahead in Detroit.

Was it a defeat? An analysis of the real working day of the Akron rubber workers explains why they found the prolongation of the working-week in some sense acceptable.(45) With the 36-hour week, taking a second job was an extended practice among the rubber workers, and the workers over 40 years in age tended to take on jobs working from their own homes. But the younger workers with a smaller wage packet could not survive on their 36-hour regular job alone. At the same time, it was more difficult for them to enter into self-employment because they lacked their older colleagues’ closer and more stable social relations. Thus, with an average of 31 hours a week in a second job — mostly as bricklayers, janitors and drivers — the core of young workers with a greater need for a second wage found it only logical to extend their regular job to a 40 hour week, cutting back the time spent on the second job. And although they formed not more than 15 percent of all rubber workers, they also exemplified a situation in which general industriousness was continually relaunched through decentralization, "excess productive capacity" in the United States, and the alternative of natural rubber in Southeast Asia. The condition of the working class in Akron worsened during the 50s and 60s with the loss of about one thousand jobs a year in the rubber sector.(46)

It seems that the U.S. state gave no weight to the crisis of the natural rubber cycle between the end of World War II and the Korean War. In 1947, Washington's emissary in Saigon believed that the "sabotage of the plantations has no importance because synthetic rubber is much less expensive (than the natural product)".(47) It was enough to hold down the Anglo-French-Dutch cartel's world production of natural rubber and defend United States production of synthetic rubber for the real "speed contest", as Dean Acheson said, would take place, not between natural and synthetic rubber, but "between coal and anarchy", and in Europe to boot. Until the conclusion of the Korean War, Washington considered the French war against the Vietminh as simply an auxiliary operation with respect to its military commitment in the Korean Peninsula. With a land owning and land management structure that was more differentiated and more stratified than in the North because of the stronger impact of colonialism, the crisis of South Vietnam's rubber plantations and the attempt to uproot the poorer peasants through the rice famine after Dien Bien Phu failed to cause a Rostowian take-off. The so-called "coolies" which French colonialism had brought into the plantations forcibly during the 20s and 30s provided a fundamental component of the guerilla forces that rose up against French colonialism in the 40s and rose up again against United States imperialism at the end of the 50s.

Stagnation also created problems of political stabilization in the former Dutch
empire. In Indonesia, far more than Vietnam, land squatting immediately after the
war created gaps of labor-power in the plantations. The twenty years between the
return of the Dutch colonialists and the bloodbath against the Communists in 1965
saw a political instability without precedent in the country, an instability due
essentially to the flight from the plantations, from the plantation wage. Up
until the boom of the Korean War, this flight could be confused with a problem
of overpopulation in Java, but, during the boom squatting by former wage-workers
increased rapidly and the stagnation after 1953 dissuaded the squatters from
returning to plantation wages. In the Eastern part of Sumatra, 300,000 acres of
land belonging to the rubber and tobacco plantations were occupied in early 1957.
Neither the old colonialism nor the young republic could prevent squatting on
private or public lands by proletarians who had decided not to sell themselves
for plantation wages.(48) Since the squatters'
organizations "are leading the fight against the foreign plantation owners and
all indications seem to prove that the Indonesian-owned plantations are not
within the margin of safety"(49), the foundations of a reactionary coalition of internal and external interests were already laid at the end of the 50's. It was enough that the Indonesian proletarians had raised their sights by occupying factories as well, and foreign factories in particular, to unleash the most murderous anti-Communist machine ever set up since the Nazis' massacre of the German communists.

In South Vietnam, during those same years, the proletariat managed to detach its own political development as a class from capitalist development, amalgamating the trade union coalitions originating from the Third International into a general front of anti-imperialist interests against the United States attempt to hitch the fate of Southeast Asian labor-power to the cycles of products over which the United States held control.

What was at stake was the United States’ capacity for further increasing the
size of the population that could be put to work. After annexing the labor-power
of South Korea, Formosa, and Thailand in a partnership that gave it a large
majority share over Japan, and after reasserting its dominion over the Philippines,
it was to be the turn of South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The resumption of
guerilla warfare in Vietnam in the early 60s laid down the definitive frontiers
of U.S. capitalist initiative in Asia. U.S. imperialism could no longer dictate
the terms of the proletariat's entry into the modern factory; neither the
prospects of development nor an army of half-a-million men were enough. Never
before had a "native" proletariat managed to move so much capital instead of
being moved by it, to cause so many internal splits — starting with the army —
or to create a political situation so favorable to the resumption of mass
struggles within the metropolis itself. U.S. capital had to invent itself a new
bourgeoisie for the countries of Southeast Asia — no longer a compradora
bourgeoisie, but a military one tout court, with enormous costs which
would then have repercussions on the United States' internal equilibria.
) During this process, it was a stratum of the
militarized bourgeoisie in the United States that came to resemble its own
creation, copying its creature's methods and perfecting and spreading them
in anti-guerilla operations. However if U.S. capital had to invent itself a
bourgeoisie, it certainly had no need to invent itself an enemy in the Vietnamese
proletariat. In the initial phases of the guerilla war against Diem, the
Vietcong's instructions already left no doubt as to how the power of the
proletariat should be constructed:

“Show them how hard they are forced to work, from three o’clock in the morning
until four o'clock in the afternoon, and for low wages . . . In rubber plantations
point out the great burden of the workers in tapping up to 500 trees from early
morning to noon and then having to carry ten kilos of latex for five to seven
kilometres (3-4 miles), having to negotiate slippery slopes in the rain, and
for which they are paid only 44 piastres (50 cents) a day".

V. Speed-up and fragmentation of labor-power

When the tension of labor-power increases, when in a given labor-time labor is
intensified or condensed through the command of labor incorporated in the
machinery, then not only does the quantity of necessary labor extracted from a
working class of given numerical consistency grow
but also the turnover of the working class population in a given
interval of time
. The trend towards the rotation of the entire working class
population across a given stock of machinery thus becomes a tendency which blunts
the objective separation between active working class and reserve army, both in
the process of production and in the processes of circulation and reproduction of
labor-power at the social level. It may take various forms: an increase in
absenteeism, quits and availability for part-time work or, looked at from the
opposite viewpoint, sackings, and also the mobility of capital with its
investments at home and abroad. From the viewpoint of the rotation of the working
class population, at a given level of technology, the result is always the
rotation of a growing number of workers in the process of capital's
value-making at the social level, a more divisive fragmentation of labor

among the members of the working class population in a given time, and a
greater alternation between labor and non-labor in the worker's working-life.

The mobility of labor-power and the mobility of capital are complementary aspects of the fractionation of labor associated with the continual revolutionizing of the international division of labor. At U.S. capital's level of development after the Second World War, the mobility of labor-power cannot be seen as counterposed to the mobility of capital, to direct investment abroad. Both are nothing but two aspects of the same antagonism. On the one hand, there is the attempt of the proletariat uprooted from the countryside to reach the wage-levels of the large working class concentrations. On the other, there is the capitalist attempt to free itself of the politically more cohesive nuclei of the working class, both in the metropolis and the former colonies, and to annex a cheaper labor-power often subject to extra-economic coercion and regimes which domesticate or prohibit any form of collective bargaining. As far as capital is concerned, the mobility of capital has shown itself, historically speaking, to be more profitable than the mobility of labor. But the latter has not been abandoned, even if it is increasingly used as an emergency measure to satisfy a short-term appetite for labor-power.

In the early 60s, when U.S. direct investments in the manufacturing sector once more exceeded those in the petroleum sector, U.S. capital directly put to work about 3 million persons abroad, of which 1,700,000 were in manufacturing. The largest block consisted of the more than 750,000 employees in Europe's manufacturing sector. It is less easy to calculate how much and what form of labor-power was directly commanded by U.S. capital abroad at the start of the 70s. But a prudent estimate gives a total of more than 5 million employed, of which 3.5 million were in the manufacturing sector.(53)

Only with the polemic against the exportation of jobs articulated by the U.S. unions in the last few years have some of the terms of the internal effects on the composition of labor-power been clarified. The most alert economists have replaced the unions' question: "Don't investments by U.S. companies abroad deprive the country of jobs?" with another question: "Don't investments by U.S. companies abroad increase those companies' capacity for accumulation with the not negligible effect of a general retraining of labor-power in the United States?"(54)

To answer these questions, or even to reformulate them, it is probably necessary to refer to a series of data which are often forgotten. The statistical evidence up to the early 70s shows that the growth rate of U.S. firms operating abroad is generally greater than that of firms operating at home and, even if the proportion of production abroad was low with respect to domestic production, the difference in growth rate could not fail to have substantial effects on the structure of U.S. capital.(55)

It is more difficult to estimate the induced effects of U.S. expansion abroad on class composition within the United States, where the multinationals hold “roughly . . . only half of total manufacturing employment that should be attributed to foreign direct investors. In the aggregate, the MNCs (multinational corporations) provided an estimated 70 percent or so (12-13 million) of all the jobs in manufacturing in 1970 (18 million)”. As for the loss of jobs, between 1966 and 1970, ". . . in most U.S. industries, the MNCs took a rising share of rising employment over the period; in a few, the MNCs increased their share of falling total employment, thus tending to offset increasing unemployment generated among non-MNC employers; and in no case did the MNCs lead in a situation of declining total employment".(56) According to Robert B. Stobaugh, ". . . a number of studies, including one recently completed under my direction, have concluded that expansion of production facilities abroad has a positive effect on U.S. employment. We estimate that some 600,000 jobs in the United States are directly dependent on U.S. foreign direct investment in manufacturing".(57)

There still remains the question: which jobs are "exported" by the multinationals, what modifications do they undergo in the process, and above all what modifications in class composition have been determined by the expansion of U.S. investment abroad since the manufacturing sector resumed the leadership in investments abroad?

We have seen how, in the decade following the cycle of struggles in the 30s,
advanced mechanization was based on the rationalization of transport within the
factory and that this technological leap involved an intensification of the pace
of work, a higher tension of labor-power in a given labor-time. Advanced
mechanization was thus a capitalist counterattack on the front of the labor
necessary to the reproduction of labor power
, a counterattack against those
tractive forces of the working class which had developed to the point of demanding
power in the factories during the 30s. The labor necessary to the reproduction of
the working class had to diminish. The highroad to this goal was the acceleration
of production times. It was difficult for capital to mount an attack based on the
intensification of the pace of work against the rank-and-file organization
created in the factories during the 30s, but advanced mechanization and world
hegemony opened a new path for capitalist exploitation. This path involved the
separation of qualitatively differentiated and quantitatively subdivided
shares of necessary labor
in three continents. The insistence on the absolute and relative fall in trade union membership in the United States since the Korean War has become a common place. But this fall says nothing about the fact that the diminution or growth of the working class's mass-power should be measured on the effective level of the multinational organization of the working class put to work directly or indirectly by U.S. capital — just as, to take the most striking case, the growing unionization in the United Kingdom during the 60s does not indicate the lack of union initiative towards a capital which has been placing increasing stakes on expansion abroad.

In one sense, the jobs exported from the United States were those where the
mass-power of the working class remained threatening, even after the advanced
mechanization of the 40s. After the war, this was a trend that could no longer
find satisfaction in the South and West of the United States, so the lost jobs
were above all those of the assemblers; in other words the labor-power most
subject to the advanced mechanization of exploitation, yet still capable of
resisting and counterattacking, starting with the wild-cat strikes of 1953 and
1955. In another sense, the centralization of command over production times
in the United States, the backbone of United States hegemony, made it easy to
pursue a more rational exploitation of foreign labor power in all its divisions
in terms of space and skill
. Advanced mechanization could not stop at the process of production. Proportionality between productive power in the process of production, on the one hand, and productive power in the processes of circulation and the reproduction of labor power at the social level , on the other, required a technological leap in the latter as well.

In the process of production, the 19th century acceleration of the vectors of the transportation system through the railway was perfected with the introduction of the internal combustion engine as a means of transport. With the Second World War, operational research allowed the British and U.S. armed forces to reorganize transport flows according to the methods of maximization that would subsequently be spread and perfected in industry. The reorganization was not so much a question of roads and connected infrastructures, but rather loading and unloading operations where containerization and palletization caused an extensive crisis in the trade union organizations, the Mafia's hierarchy in the U.S. ports being one among the causes of the crisis. In the field of sea transport, during the 20s and 30s U.S. capital in the merchant navy had already tried the path of evading fiscal obligations. But, after the organization of the National Maritime Union (NMU) in 1936-37, an attempt was made to reduce the contractual power of the union by adopting flags of convenience — first using the Panamanian flag and, subsequently, a range of other countries, in particular Liberia, Greece, Britain, Italy, Cyprus and Hong Kong. In 1960, about 80 percent of all ships flying a flag of convenience were U.S. ships with crews that increasingly tended to be of other nationalities. The resulting stratification along ethnic lines, the so-called "melting-pot of nationalities", was in effect an updated version of the Fordian policy of increasing ethnic tensions by recruiting crews of non-unionized nationalities and, sometimes, nationalities that were not even legally unionizable.(58) The shortening of loading and unloading times, the rationalization of port transportation systems, and the mechanization of navigation operations drastically reduced the size of crews by reducing manpower, both on board and in ports of call.

In the circulation sector, as regards the banking and insurance operations
involved in the realization of industrial capital and its capacity for command,
after solving the problem of the non-mechanical transfer of information through
telephony and the television circuit, the capacity of labor-power to articulate
itself through these means grew. The problem of transmitting articulated messages
in real time had already been solved in the early 30s. From this stage, capitalist
research then posed the question of the linguistic re-elaboration of information
so as to overcome the inadequacies of natural language and absorb universal
, the labor accumulated historically in order to condense communication.
But the research also raised the problem of mechanizing the flows of capital's
circulation and of planning the elaboration of data within the overall aim of
planning capitalist command. Speeding up the computer's production times answered
the need for diminishing the operators' periods of non-labor. From the ambivalent
viewpoint of savings in social labor and control the implications
of these transformations were important, above all, for the state machine and also
for local power-structures, starting with the schools and hospitals. They were
also important at the factory level, where the limit had certainly not been
reached with the mechanical transfer of command: hence the acceleration of
reaction times
through the circuits of internal communication, both nationally
and internationally. Like the U.S. state, to the extent that they tend to
centralize command, the multinationals equally tend to decentralize
, to distribute it more or less uniformly at the intercontinental level, essentially on the basis of labor-power's availability for work. In the process of circulation, by making various forms of concession over wage and working-conditions, the U.S. enterprises have tried to contain the organization which has spread via the unions or other autonomous paths during the last thirty years. In the United States, the emergence of militancy within trade union organizations during the 50s and 60s in the process of circulation — for example the postal and telephone sectors — and the reproduction of labor-power — for example, hospitals and education — also explains why the multinationals operating abroad were prepared to accept the advancement of certain layers of labor-power in the process of circulation. The international distribution of execution does not just involve labor-power in the factory, but also the labor-power employed in financial mediation, distribution or the training of other labor-power to be amalgamated under U.S. command.

The extension of cooperation within the labor-power moved by U.S. multinational capital is mediated by the influx and discharge of U.S. and foreign labor-power in and out of the meshes of United States industry. Although the relevant statistics are not broken down to any great extent, there seems to be no risk in estimating that the flux of "non-immigrant" foreign temporary labor-power into the United States is seven times greater than the number of permanent immigrants — in other words, about 3 million persons a year.(59) This inflow means an increase in the adaptability of the labor-power commanded by U.S. capital in all the countries to which it returns after the experience of work or training in the United States; and, in its turn, U.S. command is made more sensitive to the peculiarities of the socio-economic situations abroad. This US-trained mass is added to the rest of the labor-power put to work by capital in various countries at all levels of the hierarchy of social production. Often, it is subsequently revalued in a process contrary to the devaluation it suffered when thrown into the so-called labor market in the United States. It finds its level partially alongside and partially below U.S. labor-power and managers stationed abroad, but generally above the local labor-power with an equivalent level of training at home.

It is difficult to make a reading of the circuits communicating the struggles, demands and organization of which multinational mobility is partially the sign and partially the catalyst. The circuits communicating the struggles have remained open to and from the contiguous countries, Canada and Mexico, but also to and from the countries of the Caribbean and Latin America, and coordination is now finding a first embryonic response at the individual firm, without passing through the leadership of the trade unions. Generally speaking, in the United States, class links at the international level have been and continue to be strengthened by ethnic links. In recent years, for example, working class hostility to the racist bloc dominating Southern Africa has started to become effective. The debate which has developed on the question of U.S. participation in the exploitation of-the South African proletariat, and the boycott on Rhodesian and South African goods in the East Coast ports, has high-lighted the differences between those who support the development of capital and, subordinately, the development of the working class, and those who are already operating the political development of that class which denies itself as a dependent function of capital.(60)

Emigration from the United States has two aspects. In one sense, it is merely a dependent function of U.S. command abroad. In another sense, it is an attempt to escape the most advanced aspects of capitalism, particularly the draft for the wars in Southeast Asia.

U.S. capital's command abroad passes through the mediation of military and
civil service staff abroad, whose number has been increasing since the early
50s. At the level of the firm, U.S. managers have been concentrated in the major
enclaves of U.S. expansion. In effect, of the 57,000 managers and technicians
abroad, 6.4 percent are in West Germany and 5.3 percent in Japan. These are
followed by Great Britain (4.8 percent), Vietnam (3.6 percent), Canada (3.5
percent) and Brazil (3.4 percent). Switzerland, Mexico, Australia, the Philippines
and the other countries of Southeast Asia each have between 2 and 2.9 percent,
while the percentages for France, South Africa, Belgium, India, Venezuela, Peru
and Italy lie between 1.5 and 1.9 percent. Taken together, the 18 countries
account for 51 percent of the U.S. managerial staff employed abroad in non-federal
posts.(61) Employed under the managers, who
make up 75 percent of the U.S. citizens employed abroad, there are small
numbers of white collar and unskilled blue collar workers.(62)
) It would seem to be an upside-down social pyramid, the prefiguration
of the utopia that would like to make U.S. citizenship coincide with a sort of
super-skilling, if it were not for the very large number of unemployed forming
an ample reserve of labor-power generically qualified for temporary labor both
in the armed forces and the multinationals.(63)
With the changing climate towards U.S. capitalist initiative, the motivation for
young managers to go abroad has also diminished.(64)

But, as commentators are beginning to note with growing preoccupation, the lower
level of motivation is also connected with problems intrinsic to the structure of
command within the United States. The crisis has already had, and will more
extensively have, repercussions on the managerial structure of the firm within
the United States, above all in the assimilation of styles of command less
linked to the traditions of the East Coast
establishment.(65) Outside the United
States, the progressive annexation of local managers to directive tasks tends to
reduce the number of United States executives seconded to industrial, financial
and commercial operations abroad. But the local managers generally pass through
United States training.(66) On the other hand,
there is also an increase in the number of foreign, and not exclusively European,
managers on the boards of the U.S. multinationals.(67)
These operations are still not an index of a policy of complete
amalgamation between national industrial managerial layers, but they can
certainly no longer be confused with metropolitan merchant capital's attempt
to coopt the social hierarchies of the colonized peoples through indirect rule.

The influx of permanent immigrants into the United States since the Second World War was a specific aspect of the fractionation of labor and the present international division of labor. On the one hand, it paves the way for the export of capital and, on the other, it is one of that export's consequences. The immigration of simple labor-power or labor-power employed in simple functions occurs in that phase of the firm when the objective is the accumulation needed for the export of capital, while the immigration of labor-power adapted to complex situations is found when the firm and social capital have already made the leap towards the diffusion of industrial operations abroad. But the permanent immigration after the Second World War is also an important aspect of the multinational character of the working class in the United States. On the one hand, it was due to the growing and irreversible occupational and geographical mobility of the black proletarians — farm laborers, sharecroppers, and tenant-farmers — who were leaving behind them a past of semi-peonage in the countryside of the South or in the case of the miners of subordination to mining corporations in the company towns. On the other hand, there was the centripetal force of United States growth which, in its turn, forced the two foci of its imperialist ellipse — the Federal German Republic and Japan — to rediscover their capacity for accumulation and, subordinately, for the attraction of labor after their military defeat (68).

The privilege of pursuing direct investment abroad as the dominant trend is the preserve of U.S. capitalism, just as it was for British capitalism in the past. The subordinate nature of West German and Japanese capitalism is shown among other things, by the limited space so far granted them for direct investment abroad. This, in its turn, forces them to concentrate their production at home at the cost of making themselves vulnerable through an excessive dependence on exports and the aggregation of foreign labor-power to a degree that is preoccupying for internal social equilibria.

In reality capital is now faced by a more restricted range of options when choosing between adding immigrants to a metropolitan working class or making direct investments which put to work labor-power within states where the working class is a minority. Even though socially isolated and discriminated against, the immigrants have shown they are capable of breaking down the social hierarchy within which capital has located them, in increasingly short periods of time. With direct investment where the working class is in a minority, U.S. capital has had to encourage, or increasingly harshly impose, anti-proletarian regimes in order to defeat an insurgency in the factory and society that was laying demands for state power. Here, the sine qua non for the commitment of the United States and the other Western countries to economic growth was the elimination of proletarian political power. And, here, the two Leninist parallels — the development of capital and the development of the political power of the working class open into a scissors, at least in the medium period. Above all, the whole range of problems facing the imposition of U.S. capital's control abroad primarily in various forms and with various levels of development, loom, within the United States itself. For it is there that working class and capital have confronted each other in an age old struggle for the recomposition or division of labor-power along caste and class lines.

Intercontinental immigration into the United States was closed down subsequent to the Soviet Revolution of 1917, and still more strictly after the insurgency of the European and Mexican workers of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) around the First World War. The ten million immigrants for which the IWW was a reference-point, if not an instrument of struggle, in the years around the First World War were to serve, in the view of U.S. capital, as "the river of human flesh which separated, and had to keep separated, the Southern blacks from the Northern factories".(69)

After the war, international mobility was blocked: better to draw the blacks
from the Deep South, following Henry Ford's example, than undergo the mass
initiative of those who had direct experience of revolution in Europe and could
arrive in the United States during a period of recession. Between 1922 and 1924,
half a million blacks emigrated to the North. But, when the urbanized blacks also
found an autonomous political expression with the Garvey movement, the gates of
immigration were once more placed ajar. Under the laws approved in the 20s
(Johnson Act, 1921; Johnson-Reed Bill, 1924; Permanent Quota Law, 1929),
maximum quotas by nationality, which were both discriminatory and modest, were
set (70). In the meantime, clandestine
immigration, above all from Mexico, was combined with the immigration which the
Federal Government had agreed to with the agricultural enterprises of the
Southwest because they were short of labor. It was an immigration that had very
little to do with the free mobility of broad strata of proletarians in the
New World during the nineteenth century. On the one hand, these immigrants came
from selected strata of labor-power in restricted areas with a heavy
pre-capitalistic conditioning. On the other, their jobs were pigeonholed and
at the moment of legal or illegal entry into the United States, so as to hinder upward mobility for some years and keep the immigrants under the constant threat of repatriation. This is the case of the Mexicans, the Puerto Ricans, and the West Indians from the British colonies. But this case was not much different from the mobility of the South, which the blacks won back for themselves with the economic revival based on rearmament and the war, during 1938-44. The crisis of the old plantation system with its ties of a semi-colonial type made for the agricultural proletariat's prompt abandonment of the countryside after the general freeze on mobility from the countryside to the cities during the Great Depression. The process should not be seen as the simple expulsion of hands — the “victims" of agribusiness.

While, up until the early 20s, labor-power's mobility was prevalently intercontinental, with the economic revival due to rearmament the immigration flows came prevalently from the south of the Rio Grande, and no longer from Europe. At the same time, the intercontinental mobility of capital was increasing. In other words, the circuits of labor-power's mobility were being restricted. A more precise planning of the relationship between shorter and more compressed or intense tasks and a hierarchization based on the ethnic group was the origin of the turning-point in U.S. immigration policy.

With the approach of the Second World War, immigration became polarized. One pole was primarily represented by technicians, managers, skilled workers and intellectuals, generally fleeing from Nazism. At the other pole, there was the start to massive immigration of the Puerto Ricans, most of them proletarians who were then pinned down in the worst jobs, in the ghettos, and in the higher percentage-brackets of unemployment in the Northeast. With most of the refugees from Stalinism were forcibly sent back to Eastern Europe (71), just under 400,000 Europeans were allowed to filter through in the five-year period, 1948-52.

Upon the approval of the McCarran-Walter Act in 1952, the legislation of the 20s was dusted off again. After the door to West Indian immigration (72) — excluding a very restricted number of seasonal workers in the farms of Florida — had been closed and an inferior treatment for Asian immigrants had been laid down, more than two and a half million persons entered the country between 1945 and 1959. The meshes of immigration control were widened further with the Vietnam War boom and entries reached 400,000 in 1973. In total, more than seven and a half million immigrants entered the United States legally between 1945 and 1973.(73)

To this number must be added the Puerto Rican immigrants. With about 400,000
of them resident in 1940, slightly more than a million emigrated to the area of
the three Middle Atlantic states New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania after
the war.(74) Seventy percent of the Puerto
Rican immigrants into the United States between 1950 and 1960 were aged between
15 and 39. The younger labor-power was absorbed by the metropolis.
While the proletarians were dispatched to the
sweatshops, the most backward factories in the New York area, Puerto Rico
received a few large petrochemical and chemical investments. They have imposed
their political hegemony on the U.S. light industry already installed there in
the midst of a sea of Puerto Rican unemployment.(76)

To the seven and a half million legal immigrants and the million immigrants from the "Commonwealth of Puerto Rico", one must add a mass of Canadian and Mexican frontier-commuters. The total is difficult to estimate, but it is certainly of the order of hundreds of thousands of proletarians. For U.S. capital, however the absorption of labor from foreign frontier-zones is generally a temporary solution. Once the necessary level of accumulation has been ensured, the firm itself crosses the frontier, above all the Texan one.(77)

As compared with prewar immigration, the employment structure of the immigrants over the last thirty years had tended to polarize to the extremes of complex labor and simple labor. This is not so much because of the over-skilled or under-skilled nature of the immigrant labor-power, but rather because of the centrifugal force which the hierarchization of labor in the United States exercises on the whirlpool of immigrant labor-power with a more or less high level of skills and polyvalence.

The displacement angle between the skills achieved at home and those actually recognized at the work-place in the United States may be more or less wide, but it is never non-existent, if not in the case of highly skilled researchers. What counts is the speed at which one adapts one’s natural and acquired powers on American soil, starting with the language. In a series of interviews carried out by the Manpower Administration in 1973, it was noted, in connection with the immigrant's social position, that "more common was the high-low-medium pattern; the arriving immigrants who had professional skills in homeland, would not find work in his profession. Hence he accepted low-skilled job and then started working up the ladder".(78)

In both the generation of immigrants before 1945 and the generation between 1945 and 1970, the two dominant groups in the employed population were the unskilled blue-collar workers (respectively 38.9 and 43.2 percent) and the managers and members of the professions (respectively 24.1 and 23.6 percent). Between the two periods, there was a decline, even if a small one, in the percentage of skilled workers (respectively 14.6 and 13.7 percent) and white-collar workers (respectively 22.2 and 19.3 percent).(79)

In terms of political availability for work, despite the permanence of divisions by ethnic group, the immigrants of the postwar period have amalgamated with the rest of labor-power more quickly than in the past. And, where they have formed a homogeneous front — as in Californian agriculture — they have been the cutting-edge for year-long struggles to free themselves from the heavy terms of entry with which U.S. capital accepted them. At the so-called professional level of immigrant labor-power, whether it is aggregated to the factory as "superior labor-power", or employed in the process of circulation, or else annexed to the reproduction of labor-power in the hospitals, schools or homes, its condition as proletariat is demonstrated by the devaluation it undergoes during the very first years of immigration and by its ambivalence towards the myth of upward social mobility which is used for the conquest of a decent average wage, but a decent average wage now seen as part of a collective proletarian future.

VI. Capitalist Necessity and Working Class Necessity.

In the process of production, just as in the processes of circulation and reproduction of labor-power at the social level, the labor necessary for the daily reproduction of labor-power rises up in revolt against the condensation to which it is subjected. Just as the workers tend to avoid and resist speed-up in the factory, so they also try to prolong the effectiveness of the necessary labor they supply by introducing intervals of time between one period of wage-labor and another, either within their working day (part-time working), or within their working year (weeks or months of semi-paid unemployment), or within their working life (the demand for a pension after twenty years of work).(80) But the effectiveness of necessary labor in resisting the daily rhythm of exploitation is increased by the conscious reduction of fertility and the birthrate and the tendency to concentrate growing shares of necessary labor on education, which according to traditional but now outdated rules, should rescue the younger generation from the speed-up in the factory.

After the Second World War, it seemed that capital and labor-power in the United States, each of them pursuing its own interests, could reach agreement on the basis of this trend. On the one hand, capital favored the turnover of labor-power, thus achieving its aim of redistributing tensions, conflicts, and even the pathology of abstract labor over an extremely broad mass of workers at the same time realizing a democracy of exploitation in its own image. On the other hand, the proletariat extended its capacity for resistance to continual exploitation, both through the use of part of the wage, which was relatively higher than in other countries, during periods without a wage, and through unemployment compensation or welfare checks, which constituted the true defense barrier built up by the working class through its struggles during the years of the Great Depression.

But already at the end of the 50s, the ambivalence of this joint interest had reached a crisis point. U.S. capital had enlarged the working class mass at its disposal by imposing an omnipresent political hegemony at the international level and by starting a process of foreign investment more extended than any made by any previous industrial capital. At the same time, it tried to maintain internal equilibria against the resumption of insubordination in U.S. society, particularly the insubordination of Blacks against caste-and-class divisions — an insubordination which was the precursor of the struggles in the 60s against divisions along the lines of race, sex and generation. The attempt at internal pacification found its most mature formulation in J.F.K's economic policy formulated with the Vietnam War boom. This boom prepared about 7 million new jobs, which were to stabilize the uncertain confrontation between the state and the ghettos. But the policy entered into crisis partly because it failed to stabilize the work force at the given level of speed-up and class conflict, partly because it did not attract the hard-core unemployed into the whirlpool of U.S. employment, and partly because the Blacks of the ghettos demanded a wage linked to employment, while the anti-war movement was attacking the boom's cornerstone: war production and the compulsory draft.(81) The use of unemployment to intimidate both employed and unemployed labor-power was diminishing. The alternation between employment and unemployment was no longer a drama for the majority of young people born during the postwar baby boom. Thus, mobile labor-power seeks a job so as to reject it, take it back, and reject it again — but always from a position of strength, seizing the time in the first person. As a reaction capital attempts to impose a general industriousness — through cuts in anti-poverty funds, the aggravation of unemployment and, more generally, a more extended turnover of a growing number of workers with a given stock of machines both inside and outside: the U.S.A.

The largest mass of U.S. manufacturing investments has been going to Europe, but U.S. capital has shown a growing interest for the countries of Pax Americana, where the extra-economic coercion to which labor-power has been submitted has been heavier. However "consensus" was lacking here too. The mass of unemployed has increased rather than diminished, and that has been due to the development of labor's productive forces and the increase in population, a problem which began to have an incidence on political stability — once nationalist rhetoric no longer had a hold on the young both in the U.S. and abroad.

The mobility of U.S. capital has been limited by insurgency against U.S. command. In this sense, the struggles in the United States during the 50s and 60s and the Vietnamese proletariat's armed resistance to being sucked into the mass of labor-power available to U.S. capital have forced, and will force the latter to stiffen its command over labor-power which, subject to a greater or smaller degree of extra-economic and economic coercion at home and abroad, shows some form of political availability to exploitation at the given level of capitalist initiative.

The working class's unequal political development, its unequal level of political power may, however, permit the imposition or re-imposition, of dictatorial regimes and extra-economic coercions in some countries rather than others. But, as long as some areas assure the U.S. multinationals higher rates of profit than others, and above all as long as the aggregate of foreign investments ensures higher rates of profit than domestic investments, U.S. capital is excluded from choosing the path of withdrawal and political restructuration at home. The capitalist trend cannot be anything but the decomposition of those sectorial and national components of the working class against which capital is not able to hold an open confrontation. It cannot be anything but the aggravation of economic and extra-economic coercion against those sectorial and national components of the working class still susceptible to command. This trend, which is also accepted — with resignation or accommodation by the power elites in those countries where the anticolonial struggle has been strong, is not a choice; rather it, is a capitalist necessity. It is nothing but the response to the working class' growing political power, its maturity and the certainty that, when faced by this trend, it cannot escape into the utopian impossibility of balanced national development. What counts is what is necessary: the construction of a multinational cohesion of the working class by all means necessary, starting from the forces already in the field.


* In writing this essay, some passages of
Geoffrey Kay’s important book, Development and Under-development: A Marxist
, MacMillan, London 1975 were indispensable, as were my discussions
with Sergio Bologna and Stephen Hymer. I spare the reader imagining who is
responsible for any errors.

Originally written for an anthology on imperialism and multinationals: Luciano
Ferrari Bravo (ed), Imperialismo e classe operaia multinazionale, Milano:
Feltrinelli, 1975, pp. 368, it was translated into English for Zerowork.
This is a revised translation. My thanks to Harry Cleaver for his suggestions and help in the process of revision.

1 See, in particular, Robert Cherry, Class
Struggle and the Nature of the Working Class
, URPE Papers, Ann Arbor,
Michigan, 1973 and Martin Glaberman, Imperialism and the Metropolitan Working
, Paper for the Society for the Study of Social Problems, New York,
August 1973.

2 I owe this distinction between the phases
of imperialism to Geoffrey Kay, op. cit., Chaps. V and VI, pp. 96-156.

3 The distinction is to be found in Ernesto
Laclau, “Feudalism and Capitalism in Latin America”, New Left Review, 67,
May-June 1971, pp. 19-38; in particular, p. 33: "An economic system can include,
as constitutive elements, different modes of production — provided always
that we define it as a whole, that is, by proceeding from the element or law of
motion that establishes the unity of its different manifestations".

4 As Giacomo Luciani notes in his
“Introduzione” to the collection of essays by Stephen Hymer in Le imprese
, Turin: Einaudi, 1974, p. XVI: "In Hymer's analysis, the
biggest shortcoming, which is common, to tell the truth, to most theories of
economic imperialism, is the absence of a class analysis: that is, what is the
class structure in both the developed and the underdeveloped countries and,
above all, what changes do the arrival and intervention of the multinational
enterprises cause in this structure? And the fundamental question which remains
unanswered is: What effects do the multinational enterprises have on the working
class, both in the country of origin and in the other countries?" To these points
must be added a further question: What effects does the working class have on the
multinational enterprises, the hegemonizing state, and the other states?

5 The aircraft sector was not trade unionized
in 1938, the year of rearmament and economic revival, but trade unionization was
complete in 1945. The shipbuilding and petroleum-refining industries, which were
only half trade unionized in 1938, were respectively totally and largely unionized
in 1945. The unionization of the workers in the meat and sugar industries, which
was modest in 1938, was almost complete in 1945. The unions also made substantial
progress among workers employed in industries dealing with the derivatives of
coal, tobacco and wool.

6 See Nathan Rosenberg (ed.), The American
System of Manufacture
, Edinburg: University of Edinburgh Press, 1969, and
by the same author Technology and American Economic Growth, New York: Harper & Row, 1972, especially pp. 59-110 for a penetrating and historically documented analysis of this point.

7 See, in particular, Mira Wilkins, The
Emergence of Multinational Enterprise: American Business Abroad from the Colonial
Era to 1914
, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970, pp. 199-217.

8 Mira Wilkins, op. cit., p. 214: "In summary, it is significant that leading corporations in key industries in the United States were by 1914 involved in some kind of foreign business. For the United States, which was still rich in raw materials, the most remarkable phenomenon was not the search for supplies, but rather the dispersal through investment of American technology abroad".

9 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
Statistics, Directory of National and International Labor Unions in the
United States
, Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1965.

10 On the relationship between housework and
factory work among the women of the United States in the postwar period, see
Selma James, “A Woman's Place”, in Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James, The
Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community
, Bristol: The Falling Wall Press, 1972, pp. 53-77.

11 According to Marx's definition of the
"feeders" of the 19th century, they "simply supply the machines with the material
to be worked", in Karl Marx, Capital, Volume 1, New York: International Publishers, 1967, p. 420.

12 Data from US Department of Labor, Bureau
of Labor Statistics, Employment and Earnings: United States 1909-72,
Bulletin 1312-9, Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1973,
p. 15, and Congress of the United States, Joint Economic Committee,
Productivity, Prices and Incomes, Washington D.C.: United States
Government Printing Office, 1967, Table III. 21.

13 Ely Chinoy, Automobile Workers and the
American Dream
, New York: Random House, 1955, and Alvin W. Gouldner
Wildcat Strike, Kent: Kent State University Press, 1954 give a clear picture of this aspect of the 50s.

14 See Mira Wilkins, op. cit., and the ample bibliography quoted there, pp. 221-52.

15 For the current debate, and particularly
the positions of Raymond Vernon and Stephen Hymer, the two major theorists of the
problem of the multinational enterprises in the light of experiences since World
War II, see Giacomo Luciani, “Introduzione”, op. cit., pp. VII-XVI. By Raymond
Vernon, see, in particular, “International Investment and International Trade in
the Product Life Cycle” in Quarterly Journal of Economics, VIII, 2, May
1966, pp. 190-207, and also Sovereignty at Bay: The Multinational Spread of
U.S. Enterprises
, London: Longman, 1971. By Stephen Hymer, op. cit.,
particularly pp. 1-92.

16 On the problem of the geographical
distribution of factories in the United States, see Victor Fuchs, Changes in
the Location of Manufacturing in the United States Since 1929
, New Haven:
Yale University Press, London 1962.

17 On the occupation of the General Motors
Fisher Body, at Flint, see Irving Bernstein, Turbulent Years: 1933:1941,
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971, pp. 519-51 and, in particular, pp. 525-6.

18 Economics found it difficult to keep up
with the real processes. See, for example, the desperate forecasts of Alvin M.
Hansen, the dean of U.S. Keynesians, in his December 1937 speech to the American
Economic Association at the end of the tensest five-year period of working class
struggles in the history of the United States: Alvin M. Hansen, “Economic Progress
and Declining Population Growth” in American Economic Association, Readings in
Business Cycle Theory
, Philadelphia: Blakiston, 1944, pp. 366-384. Hansen
forecast stagnation because, in his view, the three fundamental factors of U.S.
economic growth were lacking: the rate of population growth, the opening of
successive continental frontiers and the exploitation of the natural resources of
the West; also finally, the expansion of technological research and its
application. After forecasting a slower growth rate for population and for
technological innovation, pioneering outlets toward new investments were also
seen as "rapidly being closed" because a whole array of "institutional
developments" — and first of all "the growing power of trade unions and
trade associations" — restricted initiative. Moreover "no one is likely to
challenge the statement that foreign investment will in the next fifty years play
an incomparably smaller role than was the case in the nineteenth century". The
position of Hansen and the other U.S. Keynesians reflected the general pessimism
of the late 30s when the stagnation of trade and international investments was
one of the most striking features. Hansen was far from foreseeing the elan
with which U.S. capital was to try to free itself of a large proportion of
precisely that working class which had repeatedly paralyzed profit-making
between 1934 and 1937.

19 National Association of Manufacturers,
Principles Governing Foreign Investments (duplicated), 19 September 1944
in James B. Carey, Collection, Box 27, Archives of Labor History and
Urban Affairs, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.

20 National Association of Manufacturers,
“Walter D. Fuller for the National Association of Manufacturers at the National
Postwar Conference, Nov 1-2, 1945” (mimegraphed), p. 5 in James B. Carey,
Collection, Box 27, op. cit.

21 National Association of Manufacturers,
“President's Report of June 25, 1946” (mimeographed), p. 2 in James B. Carey,
Collection, Box 27, op. cit.

22 Art Preis, Labor's Giant Step: Twenty
Years of the CIO
, New York: Pioneer Publishers, 1964, pp. 272-8-423, notes the relationship between struggle in the factory and struggle in the army during the 1945-47 cycle of strikes.

23 Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, The Limits of
Power: The World and United States Foreign Policy 1945-1954
, New York:
Harper & Row, New York 1972, p. 93, observe that, according to the State
Department, the soldiers' struggles were "an embarrassment to the conduct of
foreign relations".

24 Gore Vidal, “West Point and the Third
Loyalty”, in The New York Review of Books, XX, 16, October 18, 1973, pp. 21-8, recalls the endemic rejection of the War by the "West Point officer class". Around the crisis of the infantry in the Korean War, which was noted by General Ridgeway, there developed the new theories of "limited war" and "flexible response" — future methods of the professional counterinsurgency army, all positions which presuppose the impossibility of winning social consent for war operations.

25 Benjamin W. Corrado, “Military Training
Techniques Suggest New Ideas for Industry”, in American Machinist LXXXIX, 3, February 1, 1945, pp. 89-91.

26 The general work on the methods and pace
of U.S. penetration in the first decade after the war is Joyce and Gabriel Kolko,
op. cit.

27 See, for example, Roy W. Howard's report
to the White House (“Howard to Howe”, July, 3, 1934, Roosevelt Papers), quoted by
Irving Bernstein, op. cit., p. 221 on the unity between employed and unemployed during the strike in Toledo, 0hio, the first of the great strikes of the New Deal.

28 On the relationship between working class
struggles and U.S. intervention and containment, see, for Germany, France and
Italy, particularly Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, op. cit., pp. 125 et seq.,
360 et seq., 435 et seq. On anti-working class repression in Germany, Karl Heinz
Roth, Die "andere" Arbeiterbewegung, Munich: Trikont Verlag, 1973,
pp. 175-94. [Roth's book - The Other Worker's Movement - has yet to
be translated into English but has been translated into French as l'autre
mouvement ouvrier en allemagne, 1945-1978
Paris: Christian Bourgois Editeur,
1979.] On Italy, Vittorio Foa, “La ricostruzione capitalistica in Italia e la
politica delle sinistre”, in Guido Quazza (ed), Le origini della Repubblica
in Italia: 1945-1948
, Turin: Giappichelli Editore, 1974, pp. 99-135. On the
restoration in Japan, besides Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, op. cit., see also Howard B.
Schonberger, “Zaibatsu Dissolution and the American Restoration of Japan”, in
Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, V, 2, September 1973, pp. 16-31,
and, on the relationship between working class struggles and the unions, David
Baker, “The Trade Union Movement in Japan”, in International Socialism,
23, Winter 1965-66, pp. 19-26. On the decisive importance of U.S. interventions
in recreating the hegemony of Japanese capital in Southeast Asia, see John
Halliday and Gavan McCormack, Japanese Imperialism Today: "Co-prosperity in
Greater East Asia"
, Harmondsworth (Middlesex),: Penguin Books, 1973, in
particular pp. 1-134. For South Korea, J. Scher, “U.S. Policy in "Korea
1945-1948: A Neo-Colonial Model Takes Shape”, in Bulletin of Concerned Asian
, V, December 4, 1973, pp. 17-27, and Herbert P. Bix, “Regional
Integration: Japan and South Korea in America's Asian Policy”, in Bulletin of
Concerned Asian Scholars
, V, 3 November 1973, pp. 14-33. Bix notes the
development of the various forms of extra-economic coercion which turned the
South Korean working class into cheap labor-power, costing, on average, a
sixth of Japanese labor-power in 1970. On U.S. interests in an area fatal for
U.S. expansion in the 60s, see Henri Lanoue, , “L'emprise économique des
Etats Unis sur l'Indochine avant 1950”, in Jean Chesneaux, Georges Boudarel and
Daniel Héméry(eds), Tradition et Révolution au Vietnam, Paris:
Editions Anthropos, 1972, pp. 192-328. The Cold-War- inspired map of the "ferment"
in the plantations and medium and small holdings Southeast Asia in the 40s and
50s is to be found in Erich H. Jacoby, Agrarian Unrest in Southeast Asia,
London: Asia Publishing House, 1961, especially on Indonesia, pp. 52-81, on the
Malaysian Federation, pp. 109-47, and on the Philippines, pp. 191-233.

29 The most comprehensive treatment is Ronald
Radosh, American Labor and United States Foreign Policy, New York: Random
House, 1969. See also Henry V. Berger, Union Diplomacy: American Labor's
Foreign Policy in Latin America, 1932-1955
, Unpublished Doctoral
Dissertation, Madison: University of Wisconsin, 1966.

30 The two great arenas for these operations
were Germany-France-Italy-Greece-Turkey and Malaysia-Japan-Korea-Philippines with
different combination of persuasion and violence. The most extensive
reconstruction is that of Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, op. cit.. See also Ronald
Radosh, op. cit.

There is no general history of the forces originating from the Third
International in South-East Asia in the years after the Second World War
and, in particular, in the period from the demobilization of the partisan
formations after the defeat of the Japanese and the return of the Allies up
until the resumption of guerilla warfare, this time against the "great
democracies". While, in Malaysia, British colonialism tried to coopt the
Malaysian Communist Party into the management of Pax Britannica until 1948,
in the Philippines the much stronger American armed forces turned down the
Philippines Communist Party's offers of an alliance, as Jonathan Fast
documents in “Imperialism and Bourgeois Dictatorship in the Philippines”,
New Left Review, 78, March-April 1973, pp. 69-96 and, in
particular, pp. 80-86. See also, the critical observations of William J.
Pomeroy, “On the Philippine Huk Struggle”, in New Left Review, 81,
September-October 1973, pp. 93-100, and the reply of Jonathan Fast, “Reply
to William Pomero” in the same issue of the review, pp. 101-8. The article
of John Halliday, “What Happened in Korea, Rethinking Korean History
1945-1953”, Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, V, November 3,
1973, pp.36-44, shows that the North Korean military intervention at the
end of June 1950 was not merely a just and justified territorial defense
against an attack from South Korea, but a late and losing gesture of
support for mass insubordination against the South Korean regime. On the
unique exception of Vietnam and the way in which the Vietnamese movement
managed to maintain its unity beyond the divisions perpetrated by
colonialism, see Jean Chesneaux, “Les Fondements Historiques du Communisme
Vietnamien”, in Jean Chesneaux, George Boudarel and Daniel
Héméry (eds), op. cit., pp. 215-37.

31 See James R. Bright, Automation and
, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1958 and “New Potential of
Materials Handling,” in Harvard Business Review, XXXII, 4, July-August
1954, pp. 79-91.

32 On the condition of the working class at
British Ford, the largest U.S. enterprise in Britain, and its work rates, which
are similar to those of the other U.S. auto corporations in England —
Vauxhall (General Motors) and Rootes (Chrysler) — but rather more intense
than those owned by British capital, see Ferruccio Gambino, “Ford Britannica: la
formazione di una classe operaia”, in Sergio Bologna, George Rawick, Mauro
Gobbini, Antonio Negri, Luciano Ferrari Bravo, Ferruccio Gambino, Operai e
stato: lotte operaie e riforme dello stato capitalistico tra rivoluzione d'ottobre
e New Deal
, Feltrinelli, Milano,1972, pp. 147-90.

33 The epicentre was the auto sector. It was
around the Korean War that the decentralization of production at Detroit began.
But see also, for example; Herbert P. Bix, Regional Integration,
op. cit., p. 21 on the repressive measures adopted by the Allies in
Japan on the eve of the Korean War when "more than 12,000 union workers and
government officials were fired from their jobs for political reasons" and all
public demonstrations were temporarily banned. Also, Gian Giancomo Migone, “Stati
Uniti, Fiat e repressione antioperaia negli anni cinquanta”, in Rivista di
Storia Contemporanea
, 2, April 1974, pp. 232-57, and the reports from Fiat
and the U.S. embassy in Rome reprinted there, pp. 258-81.

34 On Ghana, see the fundamental book of
Geoffrey B. Kay, The Political Economy of Colonialism in Ghana, London:
Cambridge University Press, 1972. On Vietnam, Jean Chesneaux, Georges Boudarel and
Daniel Héméry (eds), op. cit. On Algeria, Franca Cipriani,
“Proletariato del Maghreb e capitale europeo” in Alessandro Serafini (ed),
L'operaio multinazionale in Europa, Milano: Feltrinelli, 1974, pp. 77-107.

On South Africa, Harold Wolfe, “The Theory of Internal Colonialism: The South
African Case”, in Bulletin of the Conference of Socialist Economists,
9, Autumn 1974, PP. 29-41, and Michael Williams, "An Analysis of South
African Capitalism — Neo-Ricardianism or Marxism?", Bulletin of the
Conference of Socialist Economists
, IV, 1, February 1975, p. 1-38. The
links between South African capital on the one hand, and British and U.S.
capital on the other, have been dealt with in numerous studies of uneven
quality. The most up-to-date is Ruth First, Jonathan Steele and Christabel
Gurney, The South African Connection: Western Investment in Apartheid,
London: Temple Smith, 1972. For Rhodesia, perhaps more than for South
Africa, there is the distinction between the old white settlers prepared
to make a last-ditch stand and the new arrivals after the Second World War,
who would be inclined to return to Europe once the clash becomes acute.

35 It is sometimes the companies with a longer history of exploitation in the colonies that are expelled or put in a minority in the new states, while the new arrivals adopt a role as the promoters of "renewal". This is the case, for example, of Jamaica and Guyana where the U.S. companies "landed on" the bauxite deposit shortly before independence, which they then supported in their own way. In other cases, for example Zambia, control of the old Anglo-American joint ventures in copper effectively succeeded in taking over management of the mines, without this leading to any substantial reduction in the differences between African and European wages and salaries, even when paid for the same skills. The United States' uncertainties immediately after the war as to the most convenient forms of government in Latin America were dissipated by the mid-50s. Joyce and Gabriel Kolko, op. cit., p. 629, rightly indicate the coup d'état in Guatemala (1954) as the turning-point in U.S. policy. On the crisis of U.S. interests in Central America after the agricultural workers' strikes and revolts against United Fruit in Honduras, a crisis that led Washington to second thoughts about Guatemala, see Marcel Niedergang, The Twenty Latin Americas, I, Hardmondsworth (Middlesex): Penguin, 1971, pp. 325-8.

36 Raymond Vernon, Sovereignty at Bay,
op. cit., p. 108, sums up the terms of the debate as follows: "By 1970, the product cycle model was beginning in some respects to be inadequate as a way of looking at the U.S.-controlled multinational enterprise. The assumption of the product cycle model — that innovations were generally transmitted from the U.S. market through production and marketing in overseas areas — was beginning to be challenged by illustrations that did not fit the pattern. The new pattern that these illustrations suggested was one in which stimulation to the system could come from the exposure of any element in the system to its local environment, and response could come from any part of the system that was appropriate for the purpose". There is no need to add that the dysfunctions of the old model had something to do with a Vietnamese "periphery" which was handing out a few lessons to the "center".

37 On the uprooting of the peasant population
in Palestine, see Helen Lowe, “The Middle East Crisis”, in Race Today, VI,
February 2, 1974, pp. 51-4. Social stratification in the Arabian peninsula is
dealt with by Fred Halliday, Arabia without Sultans, Harmondsworth (Middlesex): Penguin Books, 1974, pp. 418-23. Immigration is a characteristic of most of the oil-producing states in the area. In Kuwait, as compared with 346,000 largely unproductive citizens, there are 387,000 immigrants. In Dubai, the immigrants represent 75 percent of the population and, in Bahrain, 20 percent.

38 On these movements, see once more Fred
Halliday, op. cit., pp. 418-23, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of
Labor Statistics, Labor Law and Practice in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,
Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1972.

39 On the first synthetic rubber production
in Germany and the United States, J. Josef Lador-Lederer, Capitalismo mondiale
e cartelli tedeschi tra le due guerre
, Turin: Einaudi, 1959, pp. 313-6,
Guenther Reimann, Patents for Hitler, London: Gollancz, 1945, and F.A.
Howard, Buna Rubber: The Birth of an Industry, New York: Van Norstrand,

40 Business Week, February 24, 1945, pp. 19-21.

41 Klaus E. Knorr, “World Rubber Problems”, in
Harvard Business Review, XXIV, 3, Summer, 1946, pp. 396-7.

42 This policy was clearly expressed by Peter
T. Bauer, Report on a Visit to the Rubber Growing Smallholdings of Malaya,
July-September 1946, Colonial Research Publications, 1, Colonial Office, London
1948, p. 38, quoted in George Lee, “Commodity Production and Reproduction amongst
the Malayan Peasantry”, in Journal of Contemporary Asia, III, 4, 1953,
p. 172.

43 Business Week, May 23, 1953, p. 28 and November 14, 1953.

44 Business Week, November 21, 1955, p. 188.

45 Business Week, December 5, 1964, p. 68.

46 Guardian (New York), XXIV 25 (March 22, 1972).

47 According to a dispatch from French High
Commissioner Emile Bollaert of October 2, 1947, quoted in Henry Lanoue,”L'emprise
économique des Etats Unis sur l'Indochine avant 1950” in Jean Chesneaux,
Georges Boudarel and Daniel Héméry (eds.), op. cit., p.
304. On Washington's plans, U.S. and World Report, January 28, 1949.

48 On Indonesia, see Erich H. Jacoby, op. cit., pp. 52-81.

49 Ibid., p. 70.

50 See, in particular, Peter Dale Scott,
“Opium and Empire: McCoy on Heroin in Southeast Asia”, in Bulletin of Concerned
Asian Scholars
, V, 2, September 1973, pp. 49-56.

51 In Douglas Pike, Viet Cong: The
Organization and Techniques of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam
Cambridge: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1966, p. 192,

52 On the acceleration of capital turnover,
the intensification of labor and the relationship between increase in productivity
and increase in the pace of work, see Geoffrey Kay, Development and
, op. cit., pp. 158-171.

53 U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of
Business Administration, U.S. Business Investments in Foreign Countries: A
Supplement to the Survey of Current Business
, Washington D.C.: United States
Government Printing Office, 1960, pp. 44-5.

54 On quits, which often may indicate a
tendency to retraining, John E. Early and Paul A. Armknecht, The
Manufacturing Quit Rate: Trend Cycles and Interindustry Variations
of Labor Statistics Staff Papers, 7), Washington, D.C.: United States Government
Printing Office, 1973, p. 27: "But apparently, even in a very loose labor
market, a greater propensity of the production worker to quit has remained, which
indicates the presence of a change in the underlying economic structure". See
also, William F. Barnes and Ethel B. Jones, "Manufacturing Quit Rates Revisited:
A Cyclical View of Women's Quits", Monthly Labor Review, IVC, 12,
December 1973, pp. 53-56, and the reply by Paul A. Armknecht and John F. Early,
"Manufacturing Quit Rates Revisited: Secular Changes and Women's Quits",
Monthly Labor Review, Ibid., pp. 56-58. On moonlighting in the 1960s,
United States Department of Labor, Special Labor Force Report Nos. 9
(1960), 18 (1961), 29 (1963), 51 (1965), 63 (1966), 129 (1970), 139 (1971),
Washington D.C.: United States Government Printing Office.

55 See, in particular, Robert Rowthorn, in
collaboration with Stephen Hymer, International Big Business 1957-67: A Study
of Comparative Growth
, London: Cambridge University Press, 1971, and Robert
B. Leftwich, “U.S. Multinational Companies: Profitability, Financial Leverage,
and Effective Income Taxes”, in Survey of Current Business, LIV, pt.1,
May 1974, pp. 27-36.

56 U.S. Senate Committee on Finance,
Implications of Multinational Firms for World Trade and Investment and for
U.S. Trade and Labor
, Washington D.C.: United States Government Printing
Office, 1973, pp. 612-4.

57 Robert B. Stobaugh, "The Hidden Plusses of
Multinationals", The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 1973, p. 20. The study
carried out under the direction of this author had not been published at the
time of writing. Against the populistic polemic of the U.S. unions, according to
which the foreign investments of the U.S. multinationals exports jobs from
"the country", Stobaugh claims that "U.S. foreign policy is nearing a fork in
the road. The wrong road to follow is the kind of proposal being made in
Congress that would tend to isolate us economically from the rest of the
world. The right road is a movement to facilitate the growth of U.S.
multinational enterprises, combined with a program to aid in moving U.S.
workers out of mature industries that are not competitive internationally into
the newer high-technology industries, generating larger exports of goods and

58 B. A. Boczek, Flying Flags of
, London: Cambridge University Press, 1962.

59 U.S. Department of Labor, Immigrants
and the American Labor Market
(Manpower Research Monograph 31), Washington
D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1973, p. 11 notes that in 1972,
the Immigration and Naturalization Service registered 5,100,000 non-immigrants
and 385,000 immigrants as arriving in the United States. Subtracting a couple
of million of "pure tourists" from the first figure, there remain about three
million persons of which, as the monograph says, "some work legally, many cannot
work legally (but work anyway). In 1972, there were about 150,000 foreign
students who worked legally during the summer in the United States.

60 A synthesis and the political significance
of the debate in Ken Jordan, “Trade Unionism & Revolution in South Africa”, in
Race Today, VI, March 1974, pp. 76-80.

61 The data comes from U.S. Bureau of the
Census, Census of Population-1970: Americans Living Abroad, Washington
D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1973, Tables 15, 19, 25. For
Vietnam, the relatively high percentage seems to reflect, not so much a trend,
as the politico- military situation of the year (1970) when the census was
carried out. As for Brazil, it seems to be one of the few countries where local
firms tend to employ a certain number of U.S. directors (see, in this connection,
The Wall Street Journal, January 21, 1974, p. 6). The data of the 1970
census do not specify the nationality of the employer of the managers and other
employees, but there seems to be little doubt that the overwhelming majority of
them are employed by U.S. firms.

62 Ibid., Tables 15, 19, 25: the white collar number 5,300 (7.4 percent of those employed abroad), the skilled blue collar workers 4,600 (6.5. percent), and the unskilled blue collar workers 5,600 (7.6 percent).

63 Ibid., Table 21: In the work force the dependents of private citizens living abroad number 133,000 of which 52.7 percent are unemployed. Among the 110,000 dependents of Federal (Armed Forces and civilian) employees unemployment is 90 percent.

64 See the article by Alfred L. Malabre Jr.,
“Firms Cut Pay Extras of Overseas Managers, Use More Foreigners”, in The Wall
Street Journal
, January 8, 1973, p. 1. However, according to a survey taken
by the Conference Board/and quoted in The Wall Street Journal (Jan. 13,
1975, p. 6), of 100 U.S. corporations with foreign operations, the use of foreign
service pay incentives has actually spread slightly since 1972, when a similar
Conference Board poll was taken. The pay extras have been widely attacked on
the grounds that foreign duty is not really "all that bad". The corporations
intend to reduce pay extras in the future. They have more difficulties in
recruiting than in the past. They try to give less consideration to traditional
factors, such as climate, in determining the size of premiums, and more
consideration to "other factors such as the psychological impact of cultural
shock" in order to create motivation for managers to go abroad.

65 The article by Fernando Bartolome,
“Executives as Human Beings”, in Harvard Business Review, L, 6,
November-December 1972, pp. 62-9, presents some of the central behavioral
problems of industrial managers in a cultural environment that rejects rigid
separations between the private and public spheres. Bartolome also examines the
crisis of the old motivations. According to an investigation by Standard & Poor,
out of 53,000 U.S. industrial managers examined, almost one in 10 came from
Harvard or Yale. 0f the major colleges that produced them, a full eight were
located on the East Coast.

66 According to a study by Sherwood C. Frey,
quoted in The Wall Street Journal, April 23, 1973, p. 6, out of 780 students graduating from Harvard Business School in 1973, 15 percent came from 55 countries, excluding North America, while two years before the total was 9 percent. The trend to osmosis between U.S. and foreign managers can only continue. Frey's study shows that 27 percent of recent graduates from the Harvard Business School are still working in the United States. United States firms working outside the United States tend to employ a growing number of local executives, preferably trained in the United States, both to save the burden of transferring U.S. executives and because it is easier for the local manager to fit into the power structure of the country involved.

67 A study by the Conference Board of New
York in 1973 found that, out of 855 U.S. firms examined, 12 percent had at least
one board-member who was not American (The Wall Street Journal, April 30,
1973, p. 6).

68 Bruno Groppo, “Sviluppo economico e ciclo
dell'emigrazionene”, in Alessandro Serafini (ed), op. cit., pp.149-180,
and Karl Heinz Roth, op. cit., pp. 175-234. On the Nazi precedents for the
importation of labor-power, Elisabeth Behrens, “Arbeiterkampf and Kapitalistischer
Gegenangriff unter dem Nazionalsozialismus”, in Karl Heinz Roth, op. cit.,
pp. 131-174. On Japan, Koji Taira, Economic Development and the Labor Market
in Japan
, New York: Columbia University Press, 1970 and Richard H. Mitchell,
The Korean Minority in Japan, Berkeley: University of California Press,
1967. On the importation of labor-power from Korea during the 1937-1945 war, see
John Halliday and Gavan McCormack, op. cit., pp. 147-8. Herbert P. Bix,
Regional Integration, op. cit., p. 19, observes that, in the
three months following Japan's surrender, of the 2.4. million Koreans in Japan,
of which a million were forced immigrants, a part managed to return home without
restrictions. In November 1945, the Allies ordered that repatriation should be
subject to the abandonment of all personal goods apart from one thousand
yen — the equivalent of 20 packets of cigarettes and personal effects.
At the end of December 1946, all repatriations were blocked. From 600,000-700,000
Koreans remained in Japan under conditions of heavy discrimination.

69 Sergio Bologna, “Composizione di classe e
teoria del partito alle origini del movimento consiliare”, in Sergio Bologna,
George Rawick, Mauro Gobbini, Antonio Negri, Luciano Ferrari Bravo, Ferruccio
Gambino, op. cit., p. 42. [This essay is also available in English as:
Sergio Bologna, "Class Composition and the Theory of the Party at the Origin of
the Workers' Council Movement," Telos, #13, Fall 1972, pp. 4-27, translated by
Bruno Ramirez.]

70 According to Robert H. Amundson,
Immigration: U.S. Policies vs. U.S. Ideals, (reprint from Social Order,
October 1959, for The American Committee on Italian Migration, New York, undated),
it is estimated that, in 1923-24 alone, 700,000 Mexicans entered the United States
illegally. This was a non-unionized availability to work which was to have a
short life, since the Mexican agricultural workers had already started forming
union associations at the end of the 20s though vigilante squads and the Great
Depression subsequently extinguished the capacity for autonomous organization.
The attempts at unionization in the 40s gave modest results. On the situation of
the Mexican-Americans after the War, see Leo Grebler, Joan W. Moore, Ralph Guzman,
The Mexican-American People: The Nation's Largest Minority, New York:
The Free Press, 1970.

71 Their story, in so far as it can be
documented today, has been written by Julius Epstein, Operation Keelhaul: The
Story of Forced Repatriation
, New York: Devin-Aldair, 1974.

72 The effects of this closure for the
opening of West Indian emigration into the United Kingdom has been studied by
\Giuseppe Pacella, L'immigrazione intercontinentale nel Regno Unito,
Degree Thesis, Istituto di Scienze Politiche e Sociali, Università di Padova,

73 Department of Justice, Immigration and
Naturalization Service, Annual Report 1973, Washington D.C.: United
States Government Printing Office, 1974, Table 1, p. 5.

74 According to José Vazquez Calzada, “Le
emigracian puertor-riqueña: solucion o problema?” in Revista de Ciencias
Sociales de la Universidad de Puerto Rico
, VII, 4, December 1963, quoted in
Manuel Maldonado-Denis, Puerto Rico: A Socio-Historic Interpretation,
New York: Vintage Books, 1972, pp. 315-6: "If we add to the total number of
migrants the number of children that they would have given birth to if they
stayed on the island, we reach the conclusion that between 1940 and 1960 the
island lost nearly one million people as a result of this mass migration".

75 Even if, at the time of writing, the special report of the 1970 population census on the Puerto Ricans in the United States, was not available, data for the Northeast suggests that the number of Puerto Rican immigrants who entered the United States after 1946 was well over a million.

76 Emigration towards the United States is
only one side of the coin. The other is the growing U.S. control over the working
class population in Puerto Rico itself. The forms of control focus on the
birth-rate, but they also stretch to union organization. According to the
Committee for Puerto Rican Decolonization, Profile of the Puerto Rican
, New York 1974, about a third of the Puerto Rican women of child-bearing age on the island have been sterilized. In the last 15 years, the number of U.S. trade unions present in Puerto Rico has increased by 58 percent, while the number of Puerto Rican unions has dropped by 33 percent. The U.S. labor federations control 45 percent of the unionized workers in Puerto Rico.

77 With the start of the Second World War,
massive immigration from Mexico resumed, though it was more stratified socially
and more wide-spread territorially than in the 20s. On the one hand, there was a
relatively modest number of permanent immigrants headed for the great urban
centers and, on the other, a wide-spread temporary agricultural immigration
involving hundreds of thousands of braceros in the Southwest and the
West under a program agreed by the two Federal Governments (Bracero Program).
Illegal immigration of braceros, which was fully acceptable to the local
authorities, was greater than temporary legal immigration. It was the reaction of
agribusiness to the organizational ferments among the agricultural workers of the
Southwest and the West. Only with the start of the mass struggles of the
agricultural workers of Mexican origin in California during the early 60s was the
Bracero Program reduced. In the meantime, agribusiness had managed to mechanize
the critical operations of intensive agriculture. On the permanent and temporary
mobility of the Mexican-Americans in the United States, see Leo Grebler,
op.cit., pp. 295-347. [The Spanish term braceros/arms parallels the
English term "hands"; in both cases the words designate those body parts employers
consider themselves to be hiring.]

78 U.S. Department of Labor, Immigrants
and the American Labor Market
, op. cit., p. 39.

79 U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of
Population: 1970, Subject Reports, Final Report PC (2) — 1A: National Origin
and Language
, op.cit., Table 18.

80 The increase of those employed part-time
between 1963 and 1973 is one of the more important aspects of the changes in U.S.
employment structure — in so far as the phenomenon is observable, because
1963 was the first year when comparable statistics were kept. In the decade under
consideration, part-time rose from 7.8 million to 12.6 million, equivalent to
14.4 percent of the working population and representing one third of the total
increase in the country's work force. See in this connection, Roger Ricklefs,
"Employees, Employers Both Discover the Joys of Part-Time Positions" in
The Wall Street Journal, March 7, 1973, p. 1. On the precedents of
temporary office work in the United States, Mack A. Moore "The Role of Temporary
Help Services in the Clerical Labor Market", University of Wisconsin, 1963, and
by the same author, "The Temporary Help Service Industry: Historical Development,
Operation, and Scope", Industrial and Labor Relations Review, XVIII, 4,
July 1965, pp. 554-569; "King of the Overloads", Coronet, May 1949;
"Renting Workers to Industry", Fortune, September 1960; "Temporary
Hiring Climbs up the Ladder", Business Week, July 15, 1961; "People for
Rent: More Companies Use Temporary Office Help Provided by Agencies", Wall
Street Journal
, December 12, 1963. On recent developments, Martin J. Cannon,
and Uri Brainin, "Employee Tenure in the Temporary Help Industry", Industrial
, X, 2 (May 1971), p. 168-175; Martin J. Cannon, "A profile of the
Temporary Help Industry and its Workers", Monthly Labor Review, IIIC, 5,
May 1964, pp. 44-49; Nadine Brozan, "Parti-time Weekers — Making Inroads
into a Full-Time World", New York Times, October 16, 1973, p. 38. Jobs
carried out at home are also on the increase, though the available figures are
only approximate estimates. In his article, Ricklefs quotes an estimate of 3
million persons. The independent truck drivers' strike in the United States in
the winter of 1973-74 indicates a militant proletarianization of this category
which represents an important aspect of the diffusion and fractionation of work.

81 On these topics, see Paolo Carpignano,
"U.S. Class Composition in the '60s, Zerowork, #1, December 1975.


Immigration, class composition, and the crisis of the labor market in Canada - Bruno Ramirez

1977 text by Bruno Ramirez about class composition and migration to Canada, which was due to be published in Zerowork 3.

Submitted by Steven. on March 17, 2013

Editors' introduction

In the same period (1974-1976) that a new round of repression was being launched against the immigrant community in the United States, north of the border the Canadian government was also revising its immigration laws in the direction of greater restrictiveness. In the following article by Bruno Ramirez we discover that the sources of that revision were similar to those that led to repression in the United States: a growing inability of the Canadian government to integrate its immigrant population according to the requirements of capital.

Ramirez traces the changes in Canadian immigration law in the post-World War II period, relating them to the interaction between business demands for particular kinds of labor and the behavior of immigrants as would-be labor supply. He shows the immigrants have been able, again and again, to convert mechanisms of domination into mechanisms of their own struggles.

One example is the immigrant family whose regrouping was favored by the state through the “sponsorship system” of immigration. According to the plans of the state, the family was to take on many of the costs of reproducing the labor power of the immigrants. It was to do this in an isolated fashion, scattered across Canada according to the needs of the labor market. Instead, by refusing to disperse, by clustering around certain poles of industrial development, by creating ethnic militant groups, the families linked up to provide their own job networks, information and mutual assistance associations, etc. – in short a powerful base on which to articulate their own needs and demands.

This in turn led to attempts by capital to reinforce the hierarchy within the immigrant communities and to instrumentalize them. One aspect was support for the development of an ethnic bourgeoisie thorough which the communities could be controlled. Another aspect of the reinforcement of hierarchy was the 1966 policy shift away from unskilled towards semi-skilled immigration. But this, as Ramirez shows, led to the importation of workers who already had experience with urban and industrial struggle in their countries of origin. One dramatic example is given by the arrival of young Italian immigrants trained not only in Italian factories but in the intense student and workers politics of the 1960s in Rome, Milan, Bologna and elsewhere. Ramirez traces this international circulation of struggle between Europe and North America as well as others, such as those between Greece, Chile or the West Indies and Canada. This international circulation of struggle acted as a catalyst for wider struggles within the immigrant communities and within Quebec and Canada as a whole. The series of relationships traced here are clearly parallel to those suggested by Flores on the interconnections between struggles in Mexico and in the Chicano community in the United States – linked through the movement of multinational immigrant workers.

The 1976 Canadian Immigration Act, which went into effect in April 1978, sought to respond to these aspects of immigrant autonomy in a number of ways. At the point of entry it gave immigration officials greater personal discretion in selecting among applicants – making it easier to exclude politically questionable applicants. One criterion of admission was directly addressed to the threats posed by immigrant geographic concentration. Applicants could increase their chances of admission if they promised to work and live in a government designated community for at least 6 months – upon pain of deportation for violation. This kind of requirement, together with a de-emphasis on previous skill differentiation, led Ramirez to conclude that “the major new criterion regulating the inflow of immigrants is not so much their skill characteristics but rather their availability to work and live under conditions and in locations set forth by the authorities.” To what degree those new regulations will succeed in decomposing immigrant working class forms of organization remains to be seen.

Ramirez’s article grew out of a conference organized by Italian immigrants in Montreal to discuss the new thrust of State immigration policy. That conference was one of several which have taken place in many immigrant communities in Canada. The article draws on this process of discussion that has often been the only vehicle providing access to the experiences of particular immigrant groups. As the public debate on the immigration question has proceeded there has been a sharp gap between the highly technocratic discourse carried on in the established media and the ad hoc, practical or down to earth way in which many immigrants speak about it in their communities. At the same time in many immigrant circles the responses have been far from unified as established ethnic leaders tend more often to reflect the views of the government and of party caucuses than those of their constituents. People have been slow to see the proposed changes as a political attack against the immigrant working class. (And against the Canadian working class which at the time of the new law was engaged in one of the most important waves of wage struggles of the postwar era). It has been this atmosphere of manipulation, confrontation and class self-activity that produced this political analysis of the class strategy used against immigrant workers and that has sharpened the analytical tools utilized in the elaboration of this piece.


“Has the world really gone downhill that swiftly in the nine years between the White Paper on immigration policy of 1966 and the green paper on immigration published Monday?” (The Globe and Mail, Toronto, February 6, 1975)

1966: The Canadian government took a new look at its immigration policy which had regulated the flow of immigrants into Canada throughout the post-World War II period. This “New Look” was expressed in a White Paper arguing the need to rationalize the flow of immigration as a function of the needs of a growing economy and of a diversifying labor market. This new look led to the passing of a series of regulations designed to change the composition of incoming immigrant labor power, so as to lead to a qualitative expansion of the Canadian labor market. For the first time, restrictions on the basis of racial origin were dropped. The Canadian economic boom, it was felt, would rest on a “multicultural” working class that would enrich the Canadian dream of affluence and prosperity.

February 1975: The Department of Manpower and Immigration renders public a green paper on immigration designed to generate a national public debate on a topic which is considered to be of critical importance for the future of the country. Two and a half years later, the green paper proposals, enriched and impoverished by the public debate, leads to the passing of sweeping legislative measures designed to impose very stringent conditions on prospective immigrants to Canada.

From the glowing optimism of 1966 to the gloomy scenario of 1975 – if the world had not entirely “gone downhill” – something very important had happened which reveals the role of the immigrant working class in the capitalist crisis, and which points to a crucial dimension of international class conflict which is operative today.

If the immigration issue has become in recent years such a heated question, this is because immigration and ethnicity have played a central role in the economic, social and political development of Canada (and this is quite apart from the existence of the two official founding groups, i.e., the French speaking and the English speaking ones). This has been particularly true for the post-World War II period, when Canada began to resort massively to immigration in order to deal with a very acute shortage of labor power – a shortage made even more serious by the prospects for development which lay ahead. From 1946 to 1966, no less than two and a half million immigrants were admitted to Canada – an influx which played a vital role for the development of the Canadian economy, especially when one considers that for the decade of the 1950s almost one half of the total labor force increase in Canada came from immigration. So drastic was Canada’s need to build up its labor market that practically all sectors of the occupational spectrum were represented in this immigration wave, from professional and highly specialized to unskilled labor.

Attracting professional and technical labor did not pose so much of a problem on account of the ample availability from the two major English-speaking countries, i.e., the USA and Great Britain – and thanks also to preferential immigration policies facilitating its recruitment. More problematic was the mass recruitment of unskilled labor. With the existence of a race-based quota system limiting the inflow of Black and Asian immigrants, the only recruiting area was Europe – and particularly those countries which in the post-war years were contributing to the world capitalist growth by tapping their vast resources of mostly unskilled labor power.

Much has been written in recent years about the crucial role played by this flow of unskilled immigrant labor in the re-building of post-war economies, particularly in Western Europe. And in Canada too, few people would question the contribution of post-war immigrant labor to the population and economic boom the country experienced in the 1950s and 1960s.

What is important to point out here, however, is the particular approach the Canadian government took to facilitate the recruiting of unskilled immigrant labor. This approach was embodied in a policy known as the “sponsorship system.” Prospective immigrants could be allowed into Canada as long as they had at least a relative – no matter how distant the kinship relation – who would act as a sponsor and assume responsibility for their settlement into Canada. Consequently, between 1946 and 1966 over one third of all immigrants admitted into Canada were “sponsored immigrants”, and they came almost entirely from Greece, Italy and Portugal. Italians constituted the largest ethnic group, representing 40 percent of the sponsorship movement.

As if the urgent labor-market needs were not sufficient justification for this approach, Canadian policy-makers went a long way explaining to the public that humanitarian considerations dictated the sponsorship policy; namely, the recognition of strong family ties characterizing rural Southern European immigrants, and hence the concern to enable members of a household to be reunited in their new country of work, rather than be divided by immigration.

Of course, it is irrelevant for our purposes to question the sincerity of these humanitarian considerations; what is more relevant is to point out, instead, the extremely important repercussions that the sponsorship that the sponsorship movement had on the socioeconomic and political configuration of Canada, especially when one considers the relatively short period of time during which this policy was operative, the large amount of labor-power it moved, and the pre-existent population and labor-market structure of Canada.

It is no exaggeration to say that the “sponsorship movement” was the main vehicle through which the unskilled labor-power needs of the 1950s and part of the 1960s were filled. It also permitted the integration of the newly arrived immigrant workers into the labor market at a minimum social cost, in that much of the burden in gaining access to the labor market and of servicing such a process was placed squarely with the immigrant family or household. It was the immigrants’ responsibility to learn the language(s) if they wanted to take better advantage of the job availability is or if they did not want to be ripped off by their bosses; it was their responsibility to learn some other trade if they wanted to up-grade their labor-power; it was their problem to look after themselves in case of work accidents or unemployment.

Clearly the humanitarian considerations mentioned above were paying off for the immigrant family/household was functioning as a unit of service and reproduction, and as a shock-absorber for the immigrant workers and for the labor market.

Just as, at the dawn of manufacturing capitalism, employers were discovering the magic of “simple cooperation” for factory production, so the architects of the sponsor movement couldn’t turn their face away from the advantage of kinship reunion and cooperation, i.e., economic and cultural survival, and from the magic blessing that societyal norms, traditions and mores could bestow upon the “social factory”, if only they were acknowledged and properlsy valorized.

A related outcome of this process was the emergence of new “ethnic ghettos”, particularly Italian, Greek and Portuguese ones, which on a larger scale than the single family/household played the immediate role of social organization of alternative services, producing their own job networks, information and mutual assistance networks, its own entrepreneurial class, etc. – even if in the long run, owing to its almost self-imposed cultural isolation, the ethnic ghetto would become the object of political and economic instrumentalization, and would become an important mediating vehicle for the control of the immigrant working class.

Clearly the provisions of the sponsorship policy facilitated the “pull-factor” acting more swiftly, thus also promoting the geographical concentration of immigrant labor power around the major poles of industrial development. Canadian policy-makers who in the 1970s would decry the congested urbanization of areas such as Southern Ontario and Montreal (often blaming the immigrants for this) conveniently forget that these were the two major poles of industrial development; they also forget that the three major industrial sectors on which much of the economic boom of the post-war periods rested, i.e., construction, manufacturing and services, were the ones which most needed to attract the large majority of unskilled and semi-skilled immigrant labor.

By the end of the 1950s, however, this climate of uncontrolled labor-market buildup was beginning to be perturbed by new economic and political developments. The country was hit by a recession which lasted for three years and which coincided with the so-called Conservative Party interregnum. Perhaps the most conspicuous aspect of this recession was the dramatic rise in unemployment, which in 1962 reached almost 7 percent. For a country which had begun to taste the good flavor of prosperity and which had committed itself to the principle of full employment, the sudden arrival of the specter of massive unemployment came as a disturbing surprise.

It is against this background that one must view the changes in labor-market thinking and policy that would soon follow. The return to power in 1964 of a Liberal government took place just as the economy had entered a new cycle of expansion which would prove to be the “longest peacetime expansion in Canadian business cycle history” (ECC,FH 140). The new Liberal government showed itself to be much more willing to take bold steps toward rehauling and rationalizing economic and social policies in keeping with the structural changes taking place in the Canadian industrial apparatus. Manpower thinking and policies figured very high in the list of priorities.

For one thing, the coexistence of unemployment and prosperity was seen as essentially the product of poor utilization of the available resources of human capital, both domestically and internationally. Moreover, new important pressures were acting on the Canadian labor-market, such as the massive entrance into the market of the “baby-boom youth”, and the increasing growth and importance of the service sectors – as “lubricant” of industrial growth and accumulation. Hence, the importance of resorting to measures insuring greater control of both the inflows of labor power and the reproduction of the labor market.

In the Keynesian outlook of a balanced growth promoted by the new Liberal technocrats of the 1960s, the Canadian labor market was being viewed less and less as a byproduct of economic forces and increasingly as a central terrain for direct governmental intervention.

The most immediate conclusion reached in this climate of reorientation was the declining need of immigrant skilled labor. In other words, it was felt that the conditions insuring adequate supplies of unskilled labor from domestic sources had been realized. Hence, the need for restrictive measures on the inflow of immigrant unskilled labor – inflow which as we have seen had been secured to a great extent through the “sponsorship system.”

This new orientation which had been in gestation since the access to power of the Liberal government gained momentum as the need to better gear the labor market to the demands of a booming economy made itself felt. It became concretized and translated into new policies in 1967 through the so-called “White Paper on Immigration”. The function of coordinating the country’s manpower requirements with the recruitment of immigrant labor was assigned to a newly created federal department – the Department of Manpower and Immigration. At the same time, the government launched a national plan for the creation of adult retraining centers and technological colleges. Moreover, the government made operative the principle of universality in immigration (admission without regard to the nationality, race, color or creed of immigrants) which had been sanctioned in 1962 but had remained a symbolic gesture more than anything else.

From any standard, this was a liberalization of immigration policies. What this meant, in effect, was that Canada had made a major step in order to gain a more advantageous position in the international labor market, partly to offset the decline of inflows from traditional sources. It did so by enlarging the sources of supply of immigrant labor, and at the same time upgrading the quality of the new labor inflows.

Hence, the most immediate effect of the n ew policies was the drastic curtailment of the “sponsor movement”. The fear that the sponsor movement contained a “potential for explosive growth,” “the dilemma that unskilled workers may be an increasing part of the immigration movement,” and the realization that “the proportion of jobs requiring little education or skill is declining,” were all dealt with by giving the axe to the sponsor movement. Henceforth, only members of the immediate family could enter the country as sponsored immigrants on humanitarian grounds, to maintain the principle of family reunion. At the same time, to meet current and future needs of a more qualified and “requalifiable” source of immigrant labor, a new category of immigrants was created: the nominated relative.

The criteria for the admission and selection of nominated relatives were based primarily on long-term labor-market considerations, and partially on the kind of short-term settlement arrangements provided by their relatives in Canada. Hence, out of a score system of 100 units of assessment, 70 concerned factors such as “Education & Training”, Occupational Demand, Occupational Skill, Personal Quality and Age.” The other 30 were based on the settlement arrangements just mentioned.

Table 1 (below) shows the incidence of this new category of immigrants within the post-1967 immigration inflow, and Table 2 (below) shows their quantitative contribution to the Canadian labor force as compared to that of the sponsor immigrants and of the “independent” immigrants. Clearly the marked reduction in the inflow of sponsored immigrants was being more than compensated by the entrance of the new category. As to the “independent” immigrants – a category which had always existed – its inflow continued to maintain its relatively autonomous course, as their selection and admission was entirely based on labor-market considerations.

It is also important to look at the new skill composition of immigration after 1965, according to figures and breakdowns provided by the Canadian Department of Manpower and Immigration. They show that while the proportion of unskilled immigrants admitted from 1966 on stabilized around 10 percent, the proportion of semi-skilled more than doubled in 10 years, passing from 15.3 percent (in 1966) to 36.6 percent (in 1973); and, at the same time, the proportion of skilled declined markedly from 74.3 percent to 50.9 percent during the same period of time. Although statistically we cannot match these percentages with the sponsor/nominated/independent breakdown, one can safely infer that the overwhelming majority of nominated were semi-skilled, and also that an increasing portion of independent were semi-skilled.

The new “nominated” category was often presented by policy-makers as a sort of compromise between those who wanted to maintain intact the sponsor system and those who wanted to abolish it all together. In effect, the “nominated immigrant” represented a very important social figure in the evolution of capital’s labor-market strategy. It concretized the shift in orientation (as far as immigrant sources of labor power were concerned) away from unskilled labor and toward semi-skilled labor. In the new context of a booming and rapidly diversifying economy, it seemed that this kind of labor-power would have played a central role in labor-market dynamics: its availability for work and its high degree of adaptability would have afforded the necessary labor-market fluidity, thanks also to its economic dependency on the receiving relatives. In that climate of technocratic optimism who would have guessed that nine years later the nominated immigrant would become the central target of the government’s new sweeping measures?

Capital can go shopping; it can plan the quantity, the quality and the utilization of immigrant labor power; but it cannot plan, nor insure, that that labor power’s behavior will remain passive, complacent and functional to capital’s needs. Capital cannot predict with precision if and when this class begins to articulate new needs and shows itself ready to fight for these needs. This is in fact what happened between the passing of the “White Paper” measures and the recent sweeping new immigration policy.

To most observers, including the Canadian Left, this process has passed unobserved. In the best of cases, it has appeared as a series of fragmented events, eruptions, which have provided the occasion to decry Canada’s incepient nativism and the government’s harsh and discriminatory treatment of both legal and illegal immigrants. Only rarely, if at all, has this process been viewed as an important component of class dynamics. True, very crucial national issues have dominated the political and economic life of Canada over the past 9 years – central among them the dramatic escalation of the conflict between Quebec nationalism and the pro-federalist forces, and the widespread social tensions brought about by the worsening of the Canadian economy, especially since 1973. Yet, behind the seemingly isolated and fragmented events that have characterized the “immigrant problem” of these years there is a constant thread which has been central to the political recomposition of the working class in Canada. Although this process of class dynamics requires more detailed reconstruction than can be provided here and now, some of its central features have become visible enough to warrant some preliminary conclusions.


One important consequence of the 1966 changes in immigration policy was that of making Canada more vulnerable to the international circulation of class struggle. Firstly, in order to better compete in the international labor market – particularly for semi-skilled and skilled labor – Canada had to drop its racially based quotas, and thus open its borders to Third World countries.

Secondly, with regard to countries which had been traditional suppliers of unskilled labor, the switch from sponsored to nominated immigrants meant that increasingly workers who qualified as nominated immigrants meant that those who qualified as nominated were those who already had some occupational experience, in most cases acquired in the industrial centers of Western Europe, or those who had some technical diploma which increasingly had been acquired in a highly politicized schooling environment.

Italian immigration to Canada provides an interesting illustration of this phenomenon of the circulation of class struggle. The eruption of the Italian student movement from 1967 on, and of the well-known cycle of workers’ struggles from 1968 on, affected Italian immigrant communities in Canada by injecting into them a new élan of militancy.

In some cases newly arrived students and industrial workers, as well as older immigrants influenced by the new Italian political developments, produced an interesting new amalgam which played a central role in the organizing experiences taking place among Italian immigrants in Canada. In the two major areas of Italian immigrant concentration, i.e., Montreal and Toronto, this new social and political amalgam acted as a catalyst for struggles which involved wider sectors of the immigrant community.

But perhaps it was with the West Indian immigration that this aspect of circulating struggle has been most clearly operative. Opening the door to West Indian immigrants meant for Canada gaining access to a labor force which met quite well the new labor market criteria of selection: above average education, mastery of the English language – elements allowing a rapid absorption in the labor market. But it also meant a labor force coming from a highly politicized environment, whether they came directly from the West Indian countries, or from Great Britain – where they had experienced of struggle and practical organization.

To this one must also add the atmosphere of militancy in Black America of the 1960s which inevitably influenced West Indian students in Canadian universities. The Sir George William University (Montreal) affair of 1969 – when black students occupied the computer center and ultimately smashed it – might have passed as one of the innumerable examples in North American in North American universities, where black students were fighting against racial discrimination in education, except that the event took on immediately an international dimension, operating squarely within the new terrain provided by immigration. A few days after the students involved were charged with “crimes” calling for imprisonment and deportation, massive demonstrations took place in Trinidad against Canadian financial institutions. Soon this wave of protest, and the issue it was confronting, acted as a catalyst setting off a wider process of political confrontations against the Trinidadian State and its specific role in the imperialist control of the working class, culminating in the near-overthrow of the Eric Williams regime (March 1970). The political crises which subsequently spread into several other Caribbean islands cannot be divorced from the material links produced by the immigration process; the successive flows of Caribbean immigrants to Canada were bringing along a more keen political sense of the international framework within which, as immigrant labor, they were moving and selling their labor power.

It is in this context that must be viewed the so-called outbreak of racism during 1973/74 particularly in the Toronto area; but what is important to point out is not so much the campaigns of harassment against blacks conducted by a small local Nazi organization, but rather the way in which the Canadian media seized upon these events and built a case for national racism. However, behind the climate of cultural folklore which surrounded the affair, there was the new reality of a black Caribbean working class coming to Canada fresh from political and organizational experiences, showing itself unwilling to be subjected to a second-class treatment, and which did not lose any time in organizing itself to claim the same rights and treatment enjoyed by Canadian workers and to gain access to practically all occupational levels.

This sector of the immigrant working class which was expected to occupy the lowest rank in the socio-economic hierarchy in Canada had succeeded in contesting one of the fundamental assumptions concerning the pattern of immigrants’ settlement and integration. In so doing it was playing a role of vanguard, especially as this process was occurring at a time when the mobilization of other sectors of the immigrant working class had become increasingly visible.

In other cases, this international dimension was taking other forms – perhaps more indirect – of politicization: Greek immigrants after the 1967 military coup in Greece set up organizations to rally support against the Greek junta; so too did Haitians and later Chileans in response to crackdowns in those countries. In all these cases the mobilizations were taking the form of ongoing denunciation of the Canadian government for its support of the military regimes, but in the process they were giving rise to community organizations concerned with the plight of their immigrant members in Canada.

Obviously, there are important differences in the particular histories and compositions of all these immigrant communities which cannot be analyzed here; but their activities have been a visible expression of the new emerging international climate fed by the new immigration network; and the wave of immigrant militancy and organizational experiences of the late 1960s and 1970s in Canada a central dimension of the international circulation of class struggle.

One direct effect of this new climate – if not one of its main components – has been the increasingly visible mobilization of immigrants around work related demands and issues, and for a greater access to the gamut of social services provided by the state.

In assessing the political significance of this process, one has to be careful not to assume uncritically criteria and codifications which are traditionally employed to analyse “workers” struggles and to measure the level of “class consciousness”. Not only because beyond the traditionally codified event, e.g., the strike or the mass demonstration, there may be a network of socialized behavior (often organized) which is every bit as defiant; but also because the work situation characterizing most immigrant workers is an extremely repressive one – with all the typical corollary of low wages, piece-work, small and highly competitive enterprises and sub-contracting – that explains the low level of unionization and the traditional unions’ unwillingness to venture into this risky, potentially explosive and costly area of organizing.

Because of this strikes in predominantly immigrant workplaces have been fewer in number compared to other strikes. But their political significance and impact outweighs the frequency of their occurrence. Often taking place in the heart of the Canadian metropolis, they have attracted widespread attention, making the struggle of immigrant workers highly visible politically and socially. The strike at the Artistic Woodwork Company during the Winter of 1973/74 in Toronto, is one of the best illustrations.

Immigrant workers in this medium sized furniture company were prevented from unionizing by a whole gamut of very familiar company tactics, but their struggle attracted widespread support from other immigrant and concerned groups. For a period of about three months, daily confrontations on the picket lines to prevent scab labor from being brought into the factory led to over 200 arrests and dominated the news in Toronto. The strike showed the tight alliance among the company, the police and the courts, and the use of illegal (or newly arrived) immigrant workers against resident immigrant workers.

There was also the strike at McGill University in downtown Montreal in 1975 where mostly Portuguese and Italian maintenance workers forced the university administration to grant better wages and working conditions. The strike effectively paralyzed the university for several days owing to the nearly total support received from other university employees and teaching staff, but above all, owing to the organizing aid provided by McGill immigrant students (some of whom were sons and daughters of the striking workers). It was the first strike in the history of McGill University – an institution that has always stood as the main symbol of Anglo-Canadian domination of Quebec, and this explains the sense of class unity exhibited by many Quebecois workers in their support of striking immigrant workers.

This changing awareness among wide sectors of the immigrant working class can only be partially deduced from their behavior in job-related situations. Rather it is necessary to look at their changing attitudes vis-a-vis social services and at their awareness of the role of the state as planner of their daily reproduction. For, in the post-war immigration boom the social hierarchy mentioned above was not only concretized in the job market, but also in the entire process of social reproduction. Education is one of the areas where this process was most blatantly evident.

At a time when the Canadian state launched the most dramatic expansion of education in its history, accompanying this with ideological campaigns stressing “equality of opportunity” and the promises that education would hold for Canadian society, children of immigrants were being railroaded into schools and programs which would limit their access to the labor market or would restrict it to low-paying jobs. The so-called “vocational schools” were one of the institutional inventions used to accomplish this.

These schools processed kids – mostly immigrants and Canadian kids from poor working class neighborhoods – who had been channeled there after having been administered test “showing” their insufficient intelligence or their lack of attitude to pursue regular studies. These schools – one of the many symbols of the prosperity and modernizations of the 1960s – were in fact becoming a new form of ghetto, reproducing at the educational level the divisions and the social hierarchy existing at the broader social level. The struggle that large sectors of the immigrant communities undertook in the late 1960s against the system (especially in Toronto where the issue became more explosive) revealed not only the frustration that had been building up among “new Canadian” kids while they had been processed “democratically” and “scientifically” toward a lower-status future (life), but also the refusal of immigrant parents to allow their children to be subjected to a treatment similar to that which the parents had been forced to undergo out of desperation years before.

Events at St. Leonard, Montreal, in 1968/69 also brought out into the open the frustrations especially of Italian immigrant parents, but in a more dramatic way than in Toronto, and in a much more complex socio-political setting. Their refusal to allow their children to be forced into French-speaking schools (an issue which has continued to be a pain in the ass for both Liberal and Partie Quebecois governments) has been viewed by many Leftist observers as “reactionary” because running counter to the aspirations of the nationalist movement in Quebec. Their refusal, however, has a more direct and immediate class significance, denoting first and foremost their unwillingness to be the object of policies (based on their ethnicity) restricting their access to the labor market, or pre-determining their labor market destination.

Workmen compensation is another area where immigrants have shown their unwillingness to be subjected to discrimination on the basis of their assumed passivity or ignorance of bureaucratic procedures. The leading expression of this has been the creation in 1973 of the Union of Injured Workers grouping mostly immigrant construction workers of the Toronto region. This step was the result of painstaking research and investigation conducted by ethnic community organizers, showing the shameful way in which case after case were either disqualified, ignored or granted lower compensation by the Workman Compensation Board. When in the Spring of 1974 several hundred injured workers – some of them with casts or on crutches– marched downtown in Toronto and then held a rally in front of the Ontario Parliament Building, government security personnel did not pay much attention to it. After all, the day before senior citizens had held their own rally demanding a raise on their pensions. The injured workers would just enrich the demonstration carrousel adding color to the folklore of Ontario politics. But it must have come as a surprise when the demonstrators forced their way through the weakly guarded entrance, invaded the building, interrupted the session of parliament, and thus forced the politicians to listen in person to their demands. For most of them this was the closest they had come to seeing ordinary immigrants face to face – and they did take a good look at them under the light of TV reflectors. For the mobilization continued in the following weeks and months, becoming one of the central issues of Ontario politics, and leading to major revisions in workmen compensation procedures.

It would be a major mistake of political evaluation to view developments such as this as just an example of the wider phenomenon of pressure-group politics. For, when coupled with other similar demands coming from immigrant communities in recent times, the whole reflects a qualitative change in the immigrants’ perception of their role and value as labor power in the broader social context, and of the State as planner and organizer of their daily life. And it is this perception that can explain their increasing demand for a social wage – whether in the form of adequate workmen compensation, unemployment insurance benefits, welfare, payments for youth projects or mothers allowances. Petitions circulated by the Wages for Housework organization against government freezing of family benefits showed that the great majority of immigrant women approached to sign the petition saw mother allowances as a form of the social wage – however small – for their work as housewives. The much published campaign by the Canadian government against alleged abusers of unemployment insurance was most often directed against “new Canadians” – both because it was easier to disqualify them through tricky questions, and because it was felt they would respond more easily to government intimidations. But it also showed that immigrant workers had learned to make use en masse of this form of social wage in ways that matched their Canadian counterparts. And the same thing can be said of the ability increasingly shown by “new Canadian” youth to obtain government funds for various types of community projects as a way to gain access to the wage by bypassing the “narrow gateway” of the labor market.

This increasing awareness among immigrants of their right to some form of social wage, and their willingness to fight for it, is therefore something that goes beyond the seeming pressure-politics aspect that their actions have often taken, and represents one of the main elements in the process of class recomposition that has taken place in Canada during the last decade or so. It is also one of the main factors beneath the current crisis of the labor market in Canada.

However, this process cannot be understood as long as “labor market” is viewed as synonymous with “waged-job market”, and as long as the cycle of capitalist production is viewed as separate from the cycle of social reproduction. It must be said – perhaps painfully – that this dichotomy of perspective has been a problem that only the Left had had. Capital has always seen the two cycles as being inseparable one from the other. After all, it is on this crucial consideration that immigration as a capitalist policy has historically been based. By importing labor power ready to be cycled and recycled into the process of accumulation the collective capitalist of the receiving country has avoided the social cost of raising and training this labor power. Moreover, by adopting policies (as Canada has done) excluding or limiting immigrant access to government social services, much of the burden of social reproduction falls squarely on the immigrants and their families, and again the collective capitalist saves enormously on the social costs necessary for the reproduction of that labor power. It must be re-emphasized, therefore, that the social and economic hierarchy that capital has imposed on its national and immigrant working classes is not a hierarchy of ethnic cultures (as the Canadian policy of “multiculturalism” has led many to believe). Rather it is a hierarchy which has been structured both in the “job-market” and in the process of social reproduction, i.e., in the access to social services necessary for such reproduction. Immigrant women, on whose unpaid domestic labor and on whose underpaid waged-labor much of the reproduction of immigrant labor has rested, know this very well.

Therefore, the demand for social wages is an attempt to valorize the labor necessary to social reproduction; its political significance stems from the effect it is having in stalling the mechanisms of hierarchy in the cycle of social reproduction, thus striking at one of the central points of the capitalist use of immigration. Its most immediately visible effect has been the growing refusal by “new Canadians” of the capitalist tyranny of the “job market”; their unwillingness to submit themselves to the constraints (material and ideological) of the “job market” as the only way to gain access to the means of daily life.

But when one considers the degree of government control over these payments as well as their monetary levels, one might argue that the refusal of the “job-market” in favor of some form of social wage goes in the direction of capitalist policy and represents a further step in the process of proletarization typical of the present international crisis. Yet, this process loses any politically negative connotation once it becomes a new terrain for unifying collective behavior based on the immigrants’ awareness of their role in the cycle of capitalist production and reproduction; once they begin to prefigure a new class rationality in contraposition to the dominant rationality and legitimation; once they see themselves as confronting not the juridical state as dispenser of public justice, but the capitalist State as planner of accumulation and proletarization; once they force the collective capitalist to enlarge the sphere of exchange value from the factory and the “job market” to the wider sphere of social reproduction.

It is very important at this point in time to raise the question to what extent the increasing immigrants’ demand to valorize labor necessary to social reproduction is creating a new political terrain characterized by a thrust toward autonomous socialization. This is where the need for analysis is most urgent: tracing the process of transition of the immigrant ghetto as socialization of survival to the immigrant ghetto as socialization based on the autonomous imposition of new needs.

What for now has become quite evident is that behind the problem of urban congestion decried by the government and associated with the settlement patterns of immigrants there is the refusal of geographical mobility; there is the immigrants’ social and political choice of territory – a choice which opposes to the planned dynamism of the labor market a growing class rigidity limiting this dynamism and transforming it into a political problem. Herein lies an important dimension of the “crisis of the labor market”. The attempt through the White Paper to rationalize the labor market by resorting to measures of economic planning have proved insufficient, and call for measures blatantly political in nature in order to impose coercion.


Too little time has passed since the implementation of the new immigration law for us to be able to analyze in detail how the dynamics of the labor market and the composition of the working class have been influenced by these new restrictive measures.

Further, the progressive deterioration of the Canadian economy and the vicissitudes of federal policy during the last two years seem to have temporarily shifted immigration problems to a lower priority. This makes it difficult to sort out the coherence of government strategy.

Yet, judging from several important cases of government action, several interpretive hypotheses seem plausible. We can ask ourselves, for example, if the recent agreement between Ottawa and Quebec – an agreement which gives the Quebec government greater independence in the selection of potential immigrants for this Province – reflects a tendency toward an operational decentralization which could have important repercussions on regional labor markets.

Similarly, we can ask ourselves if the recent rescue operation of thousands of Indochinese refugees is part of an established tactic of large scale recruitment of immigrants considered ideologically “sure” and ready to be sent toward regions and localities by the government.

Moreover, as some observers have underlined, the new measures can have the effect of discouraging applicants by presenting them with legal entry conditions they would find too severe. This would, at the same time, encourage an inflow of illegal immigrants outside the legal requirements for entry.

In other words, only a deeper analysis will reveal to what degree the new regulations will result in an adequate influx of immigrant manpower without producing a need for new “special programs” and without creating a new problem of illegal immigration.

What seems evident – as this article has tried to show – is the anti-worker character of these new immigration measures, and the fact that they are intended to break a cycle of class recomposition during which immigration became an increasingly important terrain of resistance against capitalist planning.

In Canada – as in most countries – the history of immigration (and of emigration) is inseparable from the history of the power relations between classes. The 1970s illustrate very clearly this class dynamic and also show to what degree the attack on the immigration front is only one element of a vaster strategy against the working class of Canada. It is not by historical coincidence that the elaboration of a new immigration policy occurred at the same moment that the State launched its repressive action against wage struggles (through the legal control of wages and the repeated use of special legislation forcing a return to work of striking workers) and undertook systematic reductions in the area of social expenditures – worsening the conditions of social reproduction of large sectors of the working class.

Today, while economic and social policies – as well as generalized unemployment – create an expanded dependence on waged work, the labor market has once more become the privileged instrument for capital to discipline the attitudes and expectations of the working class (Canadian or immigrant) and to impose a higher social productivity.

Rarely has the need for unity among different sectors of the working class been felt so acutely.

(Montréal, 1980)

Bibliographical notes and acknowledgements

An earlier version of this article appeared as “Crisi del capitale e la nuova politica emigratoria” in Immigrazione e Communita Italiana nel Quebec, 1978.

The fundamental work on the evolution of Canadian immigration policy in the period to the end of the 1960s is that of Freda Hawkins, Canada and Immigration, Montreal, London, 1972 [Second edition, 1988]. On the economic aspects of post-war immigration, see the complete and up-to-date work of Alan Green, Immigration and Post-war Canadian Immigration Policy, Toronto, 1976.

The concept of political recomposition of the class is elaborated in Zerowork #1 (1975) and #2 (1977).

There are many governmental publications on this subject, but two documents were particularly helpful for this study: Ministry of Manpower and Immigration, Canadian Immigration Policy, 1966, White Paper on Immigration, Ottaway 1966 and Etude sur l’immigration et les objectifs demographiques du Canada, also known as the Green Paper on Immigration, Ottaway, 1974, 4 volumes.

For this study the author has mainly drawn on press reports and on interviews. We should note the exceptional importance of the Montreal paper Il Lavoratore (which ceased publication in 1975).

The author would like to express his appreciation to the following persons who helped him with information and discussion of various points raised in the article: Franklin Harvey of Canadian Dialogue, R.A. Kozlowski of Problem Central (Toronto), Denis Amadou of the Association of Greek Workers (Montreal), Sergio La Verghetta who shared his very useful thesis with me: “L’immigrazione italiana nel Canada,” (University of Padova, 1975) and the members of the Collectivo Emigrazione di Montreal. I especially appreciate the time given to useful comments on the first draft of this article by Michel Del Balzo.



Immigration: The blockage of mobility in the Mediterranean basin - Yann Moulier and Pierre Ewenzyck

1978 article with an introduction by Harry Cleaver on migration controls in the Mediterranean basin area.

Submitted by Steven. on March 17, 2013

Editor's introduction

In the same period of the mid-1970s that the United States and Canada were overhauling their immigration laws in reaction to growing difficulties in controlling immigrant workers, a very similar process was underway on the opposite side of the Atlantic. During the late 1950s and 1960s the importation of foreign labor into the countries of Northern Europe, primarily from the countries of the Mediterranean Basin, expanded the labor force and made possible a rapid accumulation of capital. Although the programs of labor importation were generally much more centrally organized than in the United States (illegal immigration played a smaller role)1 the object of the importation was the same: the acquisition of a malleable labor supply whose low wages could be pitted against local workers to hold down the average cost of labor. However, after 1969 there were a number of policy shifts toward tighter control that led to the almost simultaneous decision in 1974 by most labor importing countries to block further importation of permanent immigrants from the Mediterranean area -- a dramatic turnaround from the earlier pattern.

As a result of this blockage, over the period of December 1974 to December 1978, there were substantial reductions of the foreign work force in several countries. In West Germany the number of employed foreign workers dropped by 460,000. In France the number fell by 165,700. In Switzerland the reduction was 105,000 and in Austria, 45,600. Looking only at known data (which is far from complete) we can see that more than one million workers were returned to their countries of origin between 1974 and 1978, alone.2

From the point of view of the sending countries the partial data available shows that the size of these return flows have also been substantial. Of the 600,000 workers returning to the major source countries between 1974 and 1975, the first year of turnaround, some 235,000 returned to Italy, nearly 200,000 to Spain, 100,000 to Turkey and 60,000 to Greece. According to Yugoslav authorities that country saw a reverse flow between 1974 and 1977 of some 400,000. Thus, not only have a great many workers been affected by these policy changes, but their return and the inability of others to leave, has constituted a substantial problem for their home countries' governments which have often seen migration as both a safety value for local pressures and a source of foreign exchange from the remittance of wages.

The following article by Yann Moulier and Pierre Ewenczyk explores this important shift in the strategies of European capital in dealing with the labor market and the new class composition it engendered in Northern Europe and in the Mediterranean area. Their analysis represents an important update of studies written before the turnaround, as well as an attack on current European Leftist views of these policy changes and of immigration in general.

The Left views they wish to combat attribute this policy shift solely to the changed needs of capital accumulation in the wake of the oil crisis and global recession of 1974-75. According to this "water faucet" line of reasoning (also frequently used in the U.S.) the expansion of immigration was the simple result of capital accumulation and the contraction of immigration was the response to the collapse of accumulation in the 1974-75 recession -- which could itself be explained by the "internal laws of capitalist development" -- (e.g. M. Castells' "falling rate of profit").3 Against this sort of view they argue that the reversal of immigration policy should be grasped instead as capital's response to its growing inability to control the labor power it had set in motion.

Through a close examination of the actual pattern of policy changes they show that the shifts toward tighter control began well before the economic downturn of the mid-1970s and came in response to a wide variety of difficulties with the immigrant labor force. The high and growing numbers of workers were presenting a problem of scale of management (numbers ranged from hundreds of thousands in countries such as Belgium or Switzerland, to millions in Germany and France) largely because increasing numbers of workers were ignoring governmental plans and reorganizing themselves according to their own autonomous proclivities. This political recomposition took the form of 1) moving regionally (or between industries) in defiance of government planning, 2) refusing to move (especially by supposedly "temporary" workers) and 3) making militant demands on the state for social expenditures, higher wages, better housing, etc. In short, there was a collapse in the control of workers in production and in their reproduction as a segment of the working class.

Moreover, the growing difficulties directly involved the "source countries" as well as the receiving countries. Along side the much-heralded benefits to source country governments of inflows of workers' remittances and of a safety-valve in conditions of high unemployment, were a series of closely related problems. These included the inflationary effects of those remittances and the difficulty of converting them into investible capital via savings, together with the increasingly widespread experience of workers' families receiving money income with no local connection to work. Along with the experience of returned workers, this was bringing new models of consumption and new sets of needs that could not be met locally -- a new variation on the theme of "frustrated rising expectations." The authors suggest that this pressure can be seen as one factor behind the growing Third World demands for a New International Economic Order (e.g. Group of 77). Particularly marked in Algeria, a major supplier of labor to France, this factor contributed to the remarkable ban on immigration by the Algerian government in 1973. (That government claimed the ban was to protect its citizens from racist attacks in France.) Thus the increased mobility of labor accompanying the expansion of immigration is seen as leading to destabilizing effects in all the countries concerned.

Moulier and Ewenczyk also argue that once the cutoffs of 1974 were imposed, the blockage of further outmigration and the returns home have contributed to the increasing political destabilization in the Mediterranean area: upheavals in Turkey, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Tunesia, etc.

Central to this analysis is the perception of the subjectivity of the immigrant workers in these developments. In their critique of the vision of "unlimited supplier of labor" shared by the Left and many mainstream economists, Moulier and Ewenczyk insist on the absence of a qualitative appreciation of the behavior of these workers. Rather homo economicus they declare, than the usual view of passive victims of unequal development. As against such commentators as Castle and Kosack, they emphasize the well developed circuits of information and solidarity within which the workers learn of the alternative conditions of employment.4 The workers, they argue, move about quite consciously in search of "more favorable conditions of class confrontation" -- of better wages, of better social wages, of better conditions of struggle in general. This autonomy and qualitative differentiation of "supply" must be taken into account in any analysis of labor markets. Furthermore, much of capitalist technological development can be understood as both facilitated by and as a response to these pressures. Drawing on such recognition of the working class destabilization of the Post-WWII patterns of immigration, they argue that the situation in Europe leading up to a policy reversal after 1972 was similar to the situation in the U.S. in 1924 when internal class conflicts led to the cutoff of most permanent migration. We can also see from the articles by Flores and Ramirez the similarities with the class relations of North America in the 1970s.

In the last part of their article, they sketch the character and implications of the new structures of capitalist control implemented in Europe after 1974: slow growth, austerity and the stabilization of demand through fiscal crisis, a new balance of responsibility between the nation state and international organizations like the IMF, and especially the new "micro-physics" of labor market utilization of immigrant and local workers.

The new series of constrictions on freedom of mobility of foreign workers appears to be having many effects including a rapid expansion of permanently illegal, undocumented workers -- either workers who enter without papers or those such as wives and children who are allowed in, but legally excluded from the labor market. Thus there is a rapid growth of illegal employment such as domestic black work or the home-work of the diffused factory. Against these changes immigrant workers continue to develop new forms of struggle.

Harry Cleaver
Austin, Texas 1988

  • 1In France a large percentage of migrants were at first illegal but then had their status "regularized" by the government. Rarer in Europe but common in the US was the continuously undocumented worker.
  • 2These statistics as well as those in the following paragraph are taken from: A. Lebon and G. Falchi, "New Developments in Intra-European Migration Since 1974" International Migration Review, 14(4), Winter 1980.
  • 3M. Castells, "Immigrant Workers and Class Struggles in Advanced Capitalism: the Western European Experience," Politics and Society, 5(1) 1975, pp. 44-45.
  • 4S. Castles and G. Kosack, "The Function of Labour Immigration in Western European Capitalism," New Left Review, No. 73, May-June 1972, p. 14.



Next stop 1984: computers, identification cards and immigration control

Article written for Zerowork issue 3 about new technologies available to states to control migration and the working class.

Submitted by Steven. on March 17, 2013

Reproduction and immigration - Mariarosa Dalla Costa

Article by autonomist feminist from the American magazine ZeroWork.

Submitted by Nate on May 27, 2012

Reproduction and Emigration(*)
by Mariarosa Dalla Costa

I. Introduction

1. Since at least the end of the 19th century, under the guise of a “question” of the optimal size of population, political economy has actually been posing the problem of State control over birth and fertility rates with an eye to the expansion or contraction of the labor market. The other side of this question in fact was the optimal size of the state and with it the associated problem of the availability of “cannon fodder” for imperial wars. It is hardly surprising that this question arose precisely at this time as birth rates had begun falling in all European countries during the 19th century, with the exception of France where it had begun to drop earlier, in the last quarter of the 18th century.

The other side of the problem was that population was growing in inverse proportion to its level of well-being, thus a rise in the standard of living was leading to a drop in the fertility rate(1) allaying Malthusian fears of overpopulation but at the same time undermining government hopes that economic development would be made secure through the adequate reproduction of labor power.

State control over birth and fertility rates means above all State control over women’s fate – it means diminished opportunities for them to be “social individuals” instead of mere appendages to State economic planning for growth or stagnation.

The State only becomes concerned about the gap between fertility and birth rates when the latter is considered to be too low, and it responds by abolishing all means of contraception and abortion. Both Nazism and Fascism were typical in this respect although they enforced such policies only within the national boundaries of Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy and not in the colonies. However, as long as the birth rate is considered to be adequate, the State ignores any disparity between fertility and birth rates and remains indifferent to the fact that women abort or to how they abort.

We are not concerned here with listing all the independent variables that may affect the State’s attitude, but it is worth noting that the State’s interest in adjusting the birth rate and to a lesser degree, the fertility rate, may vary both in time and space and, most importantly, in the span of the same regime. For example, the demographic history of the USSR after 1917 (and of Eastern European countries after 1945) shows a continuous oscillation between extreme permissiveness and rigid control.(2) Despite the provision of material incentives the birth rate fell short of the planner’s expectations particularly in key areas of the USSR. As will be seen later, this was also the case in Western Europe – the main focus of this analysis.

How should one interpret women’s resistance to complying with such planning? It seems to us that it can be interpreted very simply, as women’s lack of identification with the so-called common good. Women could see that the “common good” effectively meant a planned rate of economic growth that would keep them tied to long hours of work either in the factories and offices of Eastern Europe or at home and in the fields of some Western European countries.

In his excellent book World Revolution and Family Patterns,(3) the US sociologist William J. Goode argues that:

The important change is not, therefore, that the birth rate has dropped in the last generation, for its decline had already begun in France in the last quarter of the 18th century, in the United States by the early 19th century and in England and possibly Sweden and Belgium before 1875. Rather, the change is in the general acceptance of the opinion that husband and wife may control the number of their children if they wish to do so; as a consequence, both decline and rise may occur more quickly than in the past, as rapid adjustment to alterations in the life situation, such as prosperity or war, or the particular experience of special segments of the population.(4)

We can add that this control over the number of offspring – a greater burden for women than for the family as a whole – has been a growing tendency and not a particularly surprising one. In fact war after the war the State suffered a loss of credibility in the eyes of the average man and woman. If to this loss of credibility one adds the increasing awareness of parents that they could offer little else to their children than the prospect of a future in the factory, it is clear why women’s reactions to State demographic policies were far from diffident. They and the State have unrelated, completely diverging interests, a divergence which is particularly visible in countries where the State wants to maintain high fertility and birth rates. It is not hard to see how the capitalist class in Italy found it had won many advantages from population growth during the years of Fascism. We can confirm as sure that women had only managed to combat and evade Mussolini’s demographic policies by contravening the laws of both the Church and the State. Their success in evading those laws can be measured in terms of the relatively low increase in the number of births(5) and the tens of millions of abortions that were carried out during and after the regime.

In the Fifties, the children born in the Mussolini period came of age. But where was most of that generation channeled? They went from the fields of the North and from the entire South of Italy into the Italian industrial triangle and to Central Europe. There is little doubt that the provision of labor power by the Italian governments of the time, particularly in relation to the Swiss and German governments, gave the Italian ruling class a powerful lever in bargaining with its foreign partners.

But what conclusions should women, particularly women of Southern Italy, draw about a State that bargains on the basis of a flow of labor power abroad?

Was this situation any different from the flow of labor power into Germany in the period between 1939 and 1942? A flow which was organized by the Heads of States(6) and which people were forced to accept given the high level of unemployment in Italy.

As one can see, women’s “NO”, their refusal to accept State coercion has, and had, well-founded reasons – reasons which lie both in the past, and in the future.

2. But to make the argument more general, to go beyond the Italian case, what we are trying to show here is that the formation of a multinational working class has its origins in the history of women as a section of the class. Women began, particularly since the war, to take their own direction in an increasingly homogeneous and diffuse way. Hence, the emergence of a new quality of political power, as expressed by this class, has to be attributed to, and defined in terms of the new processes of autonomy opened up within the class by its various sections and particularly by woman.

Above all by women’s refusal to procreate.

During the second half of the Sixties, all European countries registered a dramatic fall in the birth rate(7) that cannot be wholly attributed to the increased availability of contraceptives.(8) The birth rate fell particularly steeply among those sectors that formerly had proved to be less successful in controlling their fertility.(9)

Women were better able to reject State controls over procreation the more they resisted pressure from within the family, from the elderly, from husbands, from other children.

This rejection and resistance can be found to a greater or lesser degree in all countries irrespective of whether the number of women in waged work is high or low, whether the country is one of immigration or emigration and whether the women are “native” or immigrants themselves.

Thus the family, the centre of unpaid work and personal dependence, has emerged as the primary terrain on which women have managed to resist and to organize themselves at a mass level.

The more women succeed in freeing themselves from the constraints of the family the more they will be able to succeed in emancipating themselves from conditions that limit their ability to improve their lives.

First of all in the agricultural context:

a) The process of emancipation from various family constraints within the passage from the patriarchal peasant family to the urban nuclear family has been marked by a change, a transformation, in the way in which women manage the wage(10) even though they have continued to prioritize children’s needs and not their own.

As the former authority and control of older relatives diminished so women became freer to spend the wage and not save it, which they had been under pressure to do before. They mainly spent it in order to improve their children’s situations. Children began to be raised on baby food, and got used to having cigarettes, tape recorders and record players.

All of this is common in areas of a certain level of industrialization. However, this is not true of areas such as Southern Italy where women, left alone because of emigration, still have to struggle in their own interests, for example, for improvement in material living conditions in their neighborhoods, for water, for work, etc. But their struggles catalyze the struggles of their children, who use any means possible to obtain a better standard of life and it is in this context that the higher rates of “juvenile delinquency” and analogous phenomena found in the South should be understood.

In both instances, industrial and Southern, the course of women’s autonomous struggles for better conditions of life for both themselves and their children has created a new generation, a new working class, a new level of struggle.

The fact that women are less and less inclined to or interested in getting married, that they have fewer children, and are willing to use any means possible to improve theirs and their children’s life, all this is reflected in the struggles in the factory. Young workers, immigrant or not, are less concerned about whether they marry (because women are less concerned about getting married);(11) they are less likely to be the fathers of large families and are already used to struggling at any cost when the family wage fails to provide a certain standard of living.

Clearly women’s refusal to procreate and their attempts to improve their children’s situation have met with more success in some countries than in others. In countries such as France, Germany and Switzerland where there tends to be a shortage of labor power and workers have higher expectations, the working class is able to earn better wages. In other areas, for example Southern Italy, the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal), the Maghreb, Turkey etc., women are less able to restrict the number of births and have less chance of raising their children’s standards of living. But when European capital attempts to ‘buy’ the children of underdevelopment and use them against the children of development, it finds itself increasingly faced with women’s resistance, their struggle and with the value of their work.

b) Thus emigration is the State’s policy response to women’s refusal to comply and procreate. It represents an attempt to recuperate the working class both qualitatively and quantitatively, i.e., to restore adequate discipline and to achieve a size that is functional for capital. It is also the response both to what the refusal represents as a process of struggle and to the new relationships it establishes. The new multinational working class is the direct expression of the process.

Earlier we said that for women in Europe, the postwar years were years of struggle when they began to reject the agricultural life style with its long hours of work in the house and the fields, to reject the patriarchal peasant family with its hierarchical power structure dominated by men and elder relatives, and to reject the isolation of the small village and the power and influence of the Church. The many differences in levels of industrialization, in the proportion of women in waged work, in outmigration from the countryside, in immigration and emigration and so on, that one finds in various countries make no difference, however, to the general tenor of women’s struggles; everywhere they were seeking to free themselves from personal and economic dependence and from interminable work schedules. And it is not difficult to draw a parallel here between the insubordination of mothers, wives and daughters in the unwaged workplace – the family – and the insubordination of both men and women in the waged workplace – the factory.

In Western Europe, emigration was seen as the answer to struggles in both of these areas, family and factory, an arc of struggles which had begun to take on new qualities and which were more subversive than their predecessors.

Emigration is therefore the State’s counteroffensive launched against women’s refusal to procreate in line with State policy, and against the new relationships between men and women and between the waged and unwaged workplaces. Emigration not only seeks to restore the birth rate, or rather to restore the class to the required size and to the required discipline, it also seeks to break up the process of struggle that lies behind the refusal to procreate on demand.

a) Emigration hits not only at the individual who is separated and isolated from his/her community and its network of organization, it also hits at the community itself, especially at women who are its main pillar, who are deprived of their links with both the younger and more independent sections of the class.

b) By means of emigration labor power from the more “backward” areas is pitted against labor power from the “advanced” areas. This does not only involve the use of young immigrant labor power (which is more isolated and politically disorganized) against local more organized labor power, it is also a way of hitting at the women left behind – the women of the more backward areas – women who have had less success in developing their own struggles. Thus these women are effectively used against the women of the more advanced areas, against women who have gained more power.

c) In the metropolitan areas which receive the inflow of migrants, each new wave of migration further distances in time and space the opportunities for immigrant women of different sections and for these women and the native ones to organize among themselves. It marks another tear in the fabric that connects work in the home to work in the factory, i.e. reproduction work to production work.

d) And for all these reasons emigration hits at women in the waged workplace too, where men tend to take precedence over them.

3. The rule that men take precedence over women in the waged workplace began to be broken, especially after 1968 and during the Seventies. Emigrant women began to be hired in such sectors as the machine tool, automobile and chemical industries.

But how should this be interpreted? Did and does it mean that capital preferred to employ immigrant women rather than men in key sectors – such as those mentioned above? Is it a sign of a more general shift to employing women outside the home? One which would meet with the approval of reformists who think “women should do their best to grab this opportunity”? Broadly, no. As will be seen in the course of this this argument, the conclusions one can draw from this new trend are very different.

In all these sectors, the machine tool, automobile and chemical industries, women were always taken on at the lowest, most unskilled grades. Thus, the reason behind their being employed seems to have been an attempt to break up the level of struggle reached by the more recent waves of male immigrants. At the same time, as has already been mentioned, and will be examined in greater detail later, women’s new independence had already created a tension in the relationship between them and capital, between them and the State, because of the requirements of planned economic growth and the levels of reproduction (both procreation and housework) that were needed in order to meet growth goals. This has increasingly become the cornerstone of development, not only in Western Europe but also in Eastern Europe and the rest of the world.(12) We have already mentioned women’s refusal to procreate and to pay the price of reproduction in general and how this refusal has affected intra-class relations, new power structures, particularly in the case of women, and youth who depend on women’s work.

Thus it is in this context that the employment of women in key sectors must be examined. And the main questions are therefore:

a) For how long will capital be able to use women as a means of breaking up the struggles of the more recent immigrants who have often already assimilated and incorporated the struggles of women in the community they come from?

b) How well can this policy realistically work, given that it is based on the traditional political weakness of women in the factory, and seems to ignore the fact that women have already opened up their struggle outside the factory?

c) To what extent can women be employed in the factory at the same time they are also being encouraged to fulfill their reproductive functions – functions that women have learned to reject if they have to pay too high a price, given the conditions of housework, of factory and office work, of the conditions of their lives as a whole?

The hypotheses which we have formulated and will try to develop here, albeit briefly, also set out the more general context in which another problem, that espoused by many politicians who claim to be responding to the international emergence of the Feminist Movement: the problem of female employment.

In this context it seems unrealistic to suppose that the admission of women into the bastions of male employment, the machine tool, automobile and chemical industries, represents an about-turn in capital’s attitude towards female employment. That is, contrary to one line of argument, it cannot be taken as an attempt on the part of capital to abolish the separation of male and female labor markets. It is no coincidence that the people who now welcome the “mixed factory” as a means of abolishing this separation are the same people who once denied that such a separation even existed.

II. During the war and in the postwar period the “equilibrium” of the relationship between production and reproduction as embodied in certain geographical areas and community structures was broken.

Why start with World War II? Because World War II represented a massive attack on the value of labor power and the starting point for the reconstruction of capitalist power at a multinational level. However because labor power has for so long always been taken as male labor power this statement cannot indicate the true complexity of the kind of attack we mean nor the complexity of the new relationships that were created and formed during the process of forming a multinational working class.
In his very original reading of workers’ struggles during the Resistance in Italy, Romolo Gobbi(13) cites the following important data, he says, “during this period the real wage was systematically eroded to the point where in 1945 it was only 22% of the real wage in 1913, thus it was only one fifth of the already low wage of 30 years before.”(14) Moreover he continues, “During World War I, taking advantage of the growth of the workforce employed in war production, the working class had launched a powerful attack on that earlier wage level, and by 1921 had succeeded in raising the wage level to 127 taking 1913 as 100 on the index. During this cycle of struggles the workers also won other victories, such as the 8 hour day and the recognition of worker’s representation in the factory at the shop floor level.”(15) By contrast, in 1945, not only had the real wage fallen to one fifth of its 1913 level, but also, during the war itself, the workers had clearly failed to achieve a level of power in any way comparable with that won during the First World War. This indicates that the Second World War was based on a very different set of imperialist relations, qualitatively different, from those of World War I.

In the USA workers were largely successful in defending their wage. Of course, no army invaded the US and there was a much smaller loss of life in comparison with that in European countries.(16) There was no drastic food rationing: “calorie deficiency caused by inadequate diet is a problem the average American never had to face, even in wartime.”(17) Women’s employment in factories and offices in the US did not take place in the context of a violent attack on the whole community as it did in Europe. The highest levels of violence and deprivation all took place on the other side of the Atlantic and it was the consequent weakening and breakdown of relationships that provided the base on which emigration was established.

The attack on the value of labor power in Europe meant: the use of forced labor – male and female prisoners – in Germany, and the widest possible use and employment of women in factories, offices and services in Great Britain:

“As long as there were jobless men on the labor market they did not resort to using women in war industry. At the beginning their existence was forgotten. In December 1939, the unemployed women officially registered were 270,000 . . . in March 1941, the government decided to put women to work . . . their recruiting resembled in many ways the recruiting of men for military service. The only ones exempted were the farm women who replaced their husbands who were called up for military service, the nurses, the midwives and the teachers. In May 1942, mobilization was extended to eighteen and nineteen year old women. In 1944, 7,650,000 women found themselves organized in industry and the auxiliary services, or in civil defense. Another 900,000 worked part-time under the control of these same services. Yet another million were unpaid volunteers in the Woman’s Voluntary Service. Eventually it became necessary to incorporate the farm women, nurses and teachers etc . . . . and to decentralize production to the greatest possible extent. Deposits and factories were hurriedly organized in residential suburban areas, where it was possible to recruit mothers. . . . part-time work grew rapidly.”(18)

On the whole it was this attack on the relationship between production and reproduction, on male labor power and female labor power that undermined any possibility of working class defense (a defense previously maintained at women’s expense) and that began the radicalization of the process of women’s autonomy. Women, as labor power, were not only hit harder by the war but were also the ones who were made most responsible for supporting and defending themselves and the community. In the face of the State’s arbitrary will, women discovered that this community could no longer protect them from anything, but at the same time, precisely because of the weakness and the dependency of their relationships within the community they had to pay a very high price in order to support it. This is why later on women began to identify less and less with the community and also perhaps, why they were the unexpected force that emerged in the aftermath of World War II.

As for Italy, let us return to Gobbi’s perceptive analysis: “The nosedive taken by working class wages and the drop in calories which fell below the level of subsistence were the outcome of two concomitant factors: inflation and the upsetting of the equilibrium of exchange between the city and the countryside.”(19)

The costs of reproduction, women’s “primary” work, rose rapidly during the war. It was not simply that work multiplied because of the difficulty of obtaining provisions and the cost of basic goods, (the echoes of the women’s demonstration in Turin in 1946 “will last a long time”),(20) it was also the fact that women had to take on “secondary” work, low waged jobs, in order to send money and goods to the soldiers who would not have been able to survive on State pay.

Thus to reproduce themselves, their children, the soldiers and the elderly, women were forced to take on every type of work possible: in the home, the fields and the factory. But while working in a factory, in an office or driving a bus gave women an idea of the power of having a pay check of their own, it also revealed how low, how discriminatory their pay was in relation to that of men.(21)

In Italy it was often easier to survive in the countryside, because of what could be gleaned from the land. In England, the countryside became the centre for the organization of home working. “Villages in the peaceful English countryside began to discover the novelty of being public clearing centers for equipment and for deposits of raw materials that women came to collect. In the Midlands alone, it has been calculated that the work done in the home using this kind of organization replaced more than 1,000 full time women workers. This decentralization of production was a great advantage in a country that was continuously subject to bombardments which were designed to upset its economy”.(22)

In countries such as Italy, France and Germany, often the only way to survive in the city was to take up prostitution. This work was accompanied by illegitimate births – the fruit of both the troops in transit and of centuries of terrorism directed against the use of contraception and abortion – and by venereal disease and high infant mortality.

As for women’s role in the Resistance, there is not enough space here to go into such a complex subject. However, just to mention some of the biggest contradictions in their condition caused by the war, one point should be made, that their role in the Resistance becomes clear if one looks at it from the point of view of their work. Women as well as working in the home, the fields and the factories often performed the most risky political work, just like their Vietnamese(23) and Algerian(24) sisters. At the same time though, they had almost no voice in political organization.(25)

The postwar period meant, for most women, redundancy, sacking or relegation to the lowest paid, most insecure jobs. In Britain, this happened, though on a lesser scale than elsewhere: “In December 1945 the Minister of Labor tried to control the movement of ‘the return home’. Nevertheless the men came back looking for work for themselves and expecting women to return to looking after the reunited family. The numbers of officially unemployed women rose quickly. In order not to lose their jobs women were forced to accept lower wages. No laws were enacted to force the employers to give equal pay for equal work to men and women.”(26)

In Italy both the expulsion of women from waged jobs and the soaring cost of living were more extreme. In Turin, 10,000 women wanted to throw the Prefect out of the window in 1946.(27) The Communist Party accepted the Lateran Agreements; meanwhile in red Puglia Salvemini reports that women were attacking religious processions with stones and in the North there was a general air of rebellion even in the prisons. The Italian State’s response was repression. Repression started out by hitting at the weaker sections of the class: women, youth and others and then moved on to hit at those sectors that the Christian Democrats couldn’t affect.(28) Giving the vote to women was a mere gesture, a “fig leaf”, to cover up the discontent that the reformist parties were trying to repress by every means possible. Simultaneously, there was an attempt to re-launch the policy of demographic expansion that had been a feature of the years after 1929 – this time though it went under the banner of anticommunist restoration.(29) In post war Europe in general, there was a concerted effort being made to put everyone back into their traditional roles, the places they had come from.

Not everywhere though. In some countries women were not the subject of mass sacking and redundancy. In the countries of Eastern Europe for example, female employment in wage work rose in order to replace the millions of men who had been killed in the war. And in Western Europe, in Germany, the level of female employment remained high until after 1960 when it began to fall off.

Throughout Europe demographic policies that centered on the introduction or expansion of existing systems of Family Allowances were experimented with, and were generally coupled with other economic incentives as well. France began to reduce its traditionally high level of female employment and established a salaire unique allowance for the women who were sent back into the home.(30)

This measure was not only intended to give a make-weight to these women but also to encourage a rise in the birth rate. The main aim of all these demographic policies was to rebuild the relationship between women and the family community. Their experiences during the war and in the postwar era had made women realize that the family community, extended or not, was a centre of organization of work that not only did not pay them but also left them completely defenseless both when the men were absent and when they returned, that not only did the community oblige them to procreate but it also exposed them to a dual blackmail: by the employers and by the men who expected them to return meekly to their “household chores”.

Cutting the umbilical cord that bound them both to the “general interest” and to the family became an increasingly important issue for all women in the immediate postwar years.

Above all the rupture came with the refusal to procreate(31) – a function that performed within the family structure creates a high work load and restricted life style. For women, the war had come to mean not only the decimation of “the fruit of their womb” but also a lethal attack on women’s condition both in work and toil made at the risk of their lives.

Consequently, the struggle around procreation that spread throughout Europe was and is a struggle against the organization of the family – an organization that instead of protecting women condemns them to powerlessness.

As a result, the rebellion that began in the family extended beyond the confines of the unit itself out into the community upon which the family depends – a community that both sustains and models the family: the village, the urban network of relatives and friends, that help women to get by in cities and towns where, especially in Southern Italy, access to a wage is limited. In this sense, the growth, spread and development of a course of action led by women throughout Europe was also to determine to some degree the course of action followed by men. Women headed the flight from the rural areas into the towns; from rural small landowners (share croppers or smallholder families), from family owned and managed firms(32) from the villages and smaller towns. And did so, moreover, despite the restrictions on residence imposed by fascist laws that were still in force. It was a widespread, very broad movement which, as will be seen later, revealed women’s lack of identification with their social environment, their refusal to bear the costs of, or accept the quality of life that this environment imposed on them. Marriage itself will be used as an instrument for rejecting that environment.

In countries like Italy during the Fifties and the Sixties the rejection of marriage was often used in this way.(33) The high proportion of women workers at home and therefore unwaged in relation to the numbers of workers working outside the home i.e., in waged work, rendered the Italian situation anomalous in comparison with other European countries. Hence the rebellion against their situation as women could not have been simply a refusal of marriage(34) even if their situation within the family had been revealed to them during the war and in the postwar period.

The increase in the workload of housework during the war, the result of the difficulty of obtaining and of the high price of goods, has already been described. Rationing continued in the postwar period until 1947(35) and at the same time national income that had been halved in the period 1938 to 1945 “never rose above the pre-war level until 1949”.(36) Furthermore, despite the fact that by 1948, production had reached 1938 levels again, and that by 1960 both national and individual income had almost doubled, “the national per capita income in Italy was still one of the lowest in Western Europe”.(37)

What this meant to women in terms of work and dependence, women who were left without any wage of their own and at best seen as appendages to their husband’s wages, is succinctly revealed by the statistics. These show that it was mainly women who died of the so-called diseases of underdevelopment, vitamin deficiency and problems of blood circulation.(38) In other words, in the countryside, but not only there, women would go to bed without eating in order to make sure others, husbands and children, ate(39) and would stand too many hours and spend too much time with their hands in water.(40)

Women and youth in the city had even fewer prospects. As Romita writes: “There was prostitution, a sad sore that always worsens after war. In this case too I gave precise orders . . . but a good, efficient, well-trained police force would have been required to deal with this problem”.(41) “And”, he continues, “what is there to say about juvenile delinquency? This was a huge problem particularly in the big cities. . . . I immediately gave instructions . . . and the police did not fail (in their task) of searching out abandoned minors, who were often involved in illegal trading or in some way in danger of going astray. In the worst cases we attempted to rehabilitate them, as far as we could, that is, within the limits of a shortage of places available in the various Institutions. In other cases we were only able to warn their parents . . .”(42)

This is not new. But all this has not been said in order to simply discuss what happens during and after wars, instead, these statistics, and some facts and the analysis of certain crucial aspects (ignored until now in political discussion) have been set out here in order to trace and find the drastic break in the relationship between production and reproduction. A break that brought about the disintegration of whole social areas, and it was on this break and the consequent social breakdown that emigration was founded. And it was from here that women began definitively to separate themselves from the community that even before, they had already wanted to leave to make their own path. Even before emigration began, the community had nothing to give to women.

Before concluding this discussion however, it is worth looking at what the farm workers’ struggles had meant to women. While most people would agree about the backwardness of the slogan “the land to the tiller”, (with all the ambiguities of the reformist program that went with it), what is of interest here is another “backwardness” or better weakness, that lay in a situation where women still hoped to be able to use the struggles of men at a time when the proletarian family was profoundly changed and not only for the will of capital.

The mass emigration of men would anyway have ended the cycle of insurrections wherein women occupied the land carrying red flags and barrels of water, becoming, together with men and young people, the defenseless targets of the police; taking part in actions in whose organization they were allowed no say. Angelina Mauro’s death marked the end of an era.(43) With emigration, only women, children and old people were left.

But the emigrants who now went North were able to send much less money back than their predecessors, the American migrants, had done. And they were less willing to send it home, to support someone else. Thus young women began to look for work, any work, domestic service in the cities, piecework at home, seasonal jobs etc. even though such work would only ever yield enough money to put together a trousseau.

One positive outcome of the farmhand struggles however was that women were freed from the infamous custom of having to serve the landowner’s wife for free.(44) As their husbands emigrated and became factory workers and not farmhands women’s refusal was definitive. Simultaneously, now that there were fewer men in the agricultural labor market women’s wages on the land jumped from 400 lire a day to 1,200 – 2,000 lire.

Besides at last having some money of their own, remittances from the men began to arrive – though not always that regularly. And women began for the first time to administer money directly, and to administer the property left behind by the men. They were still controlled by the elder members of the family, but all the same it marked a definitive change within the Southern Italian community. Women never followed the men on a large scale, although a few did, and this is why the South is full of women today. If the family had been unable to give anything to women other than dependence and work in the area of origin, what hope had they realistically that it would be any better for them in an immigrant ghetto? Women made another path.

III. Emigration is founded in and on this break, but it functions as a catalyst and in some areas massifies women’s paths for their autonomy that are already underway.

a) The Italian Case: with the advent of Italian emigration to Germany, women’s struggle radicalized in both North and South Italy, and took on many of the features of struggles in other European countries that were also being restructured in a similar way. Emigration is the key factor in the process of the European postwar reconstruction of the working class. It is used as part of a heavy attack on the value of both male and female labor power: an attack that was first unleashed during the war. This use of emigration is founded on the breakdown of the organizational structures of the proletarian community, the dislocation of whole communities and on the attack on their possibility of reproduction.
It is reproduction that had to bear the main brunt of the attack – which is why the proletariat was forced to enter the factory, to become part of the multinational working class.

In 1943, women in Sicily burnt down the houses assigned to their family by the fascist government in order to defend the sense of community that the village offered even if it was only offered in a limited way. They did so despite their recognition of the contradictions inherent in that community. But when the men emigrated, these tensions and contradictions finally exploded; the village no longer offered them anything.

Through emigration and the way it revealed the precarious nature of relationships one can trace the progress of women’s tendency to refuse and to build on this refusal of State policy and control. Their refusal to submit to the State’s planning for economic growth, planning that meant them having to bear innumerable children, remain tied for interminably long hours to the house and the fields, planning that deprived them of any personal freedom and autonomy and left them always in a position of dependence on others, the family, the village etc. where now, in the absence of the men, the older generation held sway. In the South of Italy, administering the remittances in a family where only the elderly remained, and where women had to face the double burden of a large household and work on the land, meant paying a personal price that women would no longer accept.

This situation was common to both South and North. In the latter area it was particularly true in the context of small rural peasant farms. Wherever the State wanted to succeed in tying women to long hours and in isolating them, they fled, they left the land. In her study, Women Against the Family, Leopoldina Fortunati shows how, in the Italian context, women’s struggles against the family developed through struggles against farm labor. She shows how this struggle spread and intensified as more and more women began to manage the wage in new ways.

The movement from the land into the towns and cities took place on a very large scale despite government attempts to control it, “residence is only granted to those who have a job and a job is only given to those who have residence”.

Among other strategies, women used marriage during this period as a way to leave the land. They were less and less willing to marry men who would not or could not take them to the city.(45) Moving to the city not only meant working for one person instead of for many, it also meant more opportunity to restrict and control the number of children they had since it meant freedom from the pressures of the family and the village. “Our hypotheses are confirmed . . . the voluntary control of procreation first spread and spread faster among urban populations than among other sections of the population. Such voluntary control, coupled with a lower propensity to marry had a considerable impact on the number of births.”(46)

Writing about the fall in the birth rate in Italy between 1861 and 1961 Giorgio Mortara says that “where birth control is practiced through celibacy or late marriage one can see a fall in the total number of married couples, particularly young married couples; where the use of contraception or the suppression of the results of conception are commonly practiced one can sometimes see a rise in the numbers of married couples.”(47) He goes on to confirm our hypothesis that “the increased concentration of the population in urban centers and the suburbs has encouraged the spread of practices designed to limit births.”(48)

The city meant and means more power for proletarian women. Not only are they better able to control the number of their children, they also have greater opportunities to improve the quality of both their own lives and those of their children.

b) The French Case: The movement from the land to the city, towards a higher degree of a power and control over reproduction, was a European-wide phenomenon for women. In the aftermath of World War II women throughout Europe began to fight against the demands of procreation even in areas where the social fabric had survived better, or rather disintegrated less, than in the South of Italy. Women everywhere were finding that the price they had to pay within reproduction was too high and the dependency and isolation that it brought were unacceptable.

The situation in France is closest of all to the Italian situation.(49) The State progressively cut female employment to a very low level. Notwithstanding this, and in part going against it directly, women deserted agriculture and small family firms in growing numbers. Moreover, French women won a degree of control over procreation earlier than women in other European countries.(50) This control created problems for capital’s plans for postwar reconstruction. In 1945, De Gaulle appealed to French women to produce “12,000,000 beautiful babies”;(51) simultaneously, the French government encouraged emigration from Algeria in a move that was seen explicitly as a “policy of repopulation”.(52)

This is not to say that De Gaulle’s grotesque appeal found any immediate solution through Algerian emigration. The real problem was not simply one of the quantitative restoration of the working class, it was rather more an attempt, on the part of the State, to neutralize women’s struggles which were threatening reconstruction plans, The connection between the orchestration of France’s demographic policies(53) and female employment(54) after the war and the “structure” of Algerian emigration is clear. Algerian emigration was, as we have said, described as a policy of repopulation: it would be better to call it a policy for the restoration of the working class: Algerian women came with their husbands and children, and continued to produce more children,(55) children who were in the main destined to go into the factory.

It should be emphasized again that this is not a mathematical but a political relationship, and should be seen in political terms. Although very few politicians recognize or even notice it,(56) the connection between an ‘unacceptable’ rate of population growth – uncorrected by the provision of material incentives or by the expulsion or further marginalization of women – and the use of emigration policies has a long history. The path taken by women’s struggles in France is, as we said earlier, very like that taken in Italy. The exodus from agriculture was massive. From 1910 to 1954 one in four agricultural laborers left the land. The same percentage holds true for the period between 1954 and 1962. After 1962, the pace speeded up.(57) In 1962 there were 1,272,000 female farmers and agricultural laborers, in 1906, there had been 3,329,000.(58)

Young women tend to leave the country first even before men. “The young peasants who want to stay on the land look in vain for a wife. The girls have all fled to the city so as not to be treated like their mothers, so as not to be treated more like servants instead of “Queens of the Fireplace”.(59)

The country schools taught boys agronomy and agricultural mechanics and taught girls home economics.

The flight from the country was more than a flight from personal isolation and slavery, from backwardness. It was a flight from dual work from which even the new agricultural nationalization couldn’t save women. The state tried once again to send women back into the house and the countryside and to demand a reproductive function that none of the well known economic incentives could induce them to provide. In this context, it’s worth noting that because the laws passed in 1920 – which prohibited abortion and advertising of contraceptives – had failed to raise the birth rate significantly(60) from 1932 on, the French government had been forced to set up a system of family allowances.

After the war, these allowances – the salaire unique – became a dangerously contradictory provision, dangerous, that is, for a system that had traditionally managed to maintain very high levels of housework – performed by women – precisely because housework had never been exchanged for a wage. Allowances did not provide a lot of money, but they did provide a monthly subsidy given by the state to the wife. The parallel with the program that was institutionalized in 1945 in England as Family Allowances is evident – both seek to encourage a positive attitude toward procreation, something that had deteriorated at an international level.(61)

Although the salaire unique was a small amount of money, a pittance, it was money which women tried desperately to accumulate along with any pay they might obtain from unofficial jobs.

Had women declared these jobs, they would automatically have lost the right to receive this payment. Thus, piece workers, domestic servants and part time workers never declared their occupation for fear of not receiving the allowance.(62)

Once in the city it was difficult for French women to find employment, to find a steady wage.(63) The underlying aim of European integration was, as we have said, to further marginalize female labor power and discriminate against it. Rather the novelty was that women began to be introduced into industrial sectors that had been exclusively reserved for male workers.

On the whole, though, female employment in industry has been falling both absolutely and relatively since the beginning of the century. During the postwar period, however, important changes have occurred in the distribution of this decreasing amount of female labor power. One important example of this can be found in the way in which the textile sector has been restructured, creating new, more skilled and better paid jobs that are largely given to men. The women who have been expelled from this workforce have found employment in electronics and the metal working industries at low skilled levels.

In the period from 1954 to 1962, women entered the machine tool industry on a large scale (the number of women employed rose from 136,646 to 194,222, a rise of 42.1%). After 1962 the situation remained more or less stationary. During the same period (1954-1962) the number of women in the electrical industries rose from 65,500 to 114,000 (up 74%). Again in this period the number of women employed in the chemical sector rose from 92,196 to 104,540 (up 13.4%) and in the food sector the number of women rose 8.8%, but here thousands of seasonal workers(64) have to be added to the figures for permanent workers. A certain increase in female employment also occurred in factories producing drugs, cosmetics and plastics.

Both in traditional female sectors like footwear and porcelain and in “new” sectors such as machine tools, female workers are always relegated to the lowest positions. The only partial exceptions are the women who supervise female workshops in the clothing sector. But these jobs are not skilled, they are merely supervisory.(65) In the electrical sector there are no skilled female workers, because skilled work is reserved for men. The number of women employed as technicians in the industry is totally insignificant.(66) As Madeleine Guibert points out, the introduction of automation seems to have had the consequence “d’accentuer le cantonnement des femmes”.(67)

c) The Algerian case: We cannot close an analysis of France in the postwar period (the 1950’s) given the close relationship between demographic policies, female employment and immigration, without considering what this meant for Algerian women. We need to examine whether the impact of immigration on areas such as the Maghreb or Turkey is in any way similar to that in the Italian South. In Italy’s case we said that immigration tended to set in motion forces that could break up the community, in particular the new experiences women gained in managing remittances and minimal wages of their own(68) which gave them moments of greater autonomy and power. Is this true of areas such as Algeria?

It is first of all necessary to emphasize that the Algerian community was not devoid of tensions or subversive ideas on the part of women. In the Algerian community there was, and still is, a lot of violence towards women. The Algerian state has always been violent towards women both before and after the revolution. Women are involved in a daily struggle against men and the State. Women’s position in Algeria is revealed most clearly by the number of murders and attempted murders of women by men,(69) the number of suicides and attempted suicides by women, and the number of infanticides by mothers, especially unmarried mothers.(70)

Marriage is still a bargain contracted by the parents(71) even among the better off strata, although it has repeatedly been contested by women. The possibility of being repudiated still exists, even though now it is called divorce, and given the condition of Algerian women it always was and still is a tragedy.(72)

In 1972, in order to maintain this situation Boumediene espoused De Gaulle’s 1945 line about the “twelve million beautiful babies’’. While speaking to student volunteers for the civil service on the subject of the “demographic explosion”, Boumediene remarked, “I personally think that the solution does not lie in family planning but lies instead in development. . . .”(73) – development achieved in Algeria as well as in Europe by means of “an unlimited supply of labor power” whose costs of reproduction must be kept as low as possible. Thus in this matter at least the post-revolution Algerian State has kept up tradition: the exploitation and intimidation of women in order to ensure that women procreate.(74)

In this context, one that appears to be different from that of Southern Italy, what changes could and did emigration bring for women?

The Algerians who emigrated during the 1950’s were usually young men who rarely had a wife with them. It is easy to see why they were without wives if one considers that the average price of a wife, the cost of the dowry, was around 500,000 lire, and the average annual income of an Algerian agricultural laborer was about 200,000 – 250,000 lire. The women who remained behind in Algeria found themselves living in an ageing community, dominated by and the property of their husbands, fathers and brothers and left without a ny control over money. The women who went to France after some emigrant Algerian worker had managed to save enough money for the bride price, found that they had to face a new level of housework and moreover a level that tended to escalate all the time because, for a long time, each new immigrant who arrived had to join an already formed family in order to survive. Clans w ere formed, clans of men supported by one woman (and her small daughters) who, in reproducing this growing community of men found that she was also having to substitute for the women who had remained behind in Algeria. When, to support the War of Liberation, the Algerian guerillas began to tax immigrants in France in order to raise funds,(75) this tax on an already meager wage meant an even greater load of housework for women. Thus the emigrant Algerian women also had a difficult role in the war, one not unlike that of women in other wars of Liberation.

Hence, during the Fifties, through its use of emigration, the French government managed to solve its problem of “development” mainly at the expense of Algerian women. In the same way, it also managed to resolve the problem of the relationship between production and reproduction and the processes of struggle that this implies. In short, the French State built this, the second great wave of Algerian immigration upon the weakness and lack of power of Algerian women both in the community and in reproduction.(76)

While in countries that had attained a certain level of industrialization – such as Italy – the war and the postwar period acted as a catalyst for the contradictions present both in the community and in reproduction, the same is not true in the case of Algeria. It could not be true because of the existing social fabric. The war of Liberation could, on the one hand, trigger certain social tensions but could not, because of this social fabric, facilitate any attack by women on the organization of reproduction nor even, in more general terms, any attempt by them to win their emancipation from their conditions of backwardness.

Because of the conditions from which they had come, as well as the conditions which they met with in France, Algerian immigrant women who found themselves managing a wage for the first time, initially found they were unable to use it as a means of gaining a new level of power within the community, or outside the community. Their conditions were far more restrictive than those of European women, even of women in Europe’s “pockets of backwardness”. Their opportunities of gaining more power were continuously being undermined because the wage had to support a community that increased with the arrival of every new immigrant.

The way in which Italian women used the wage as a means of rejecting the patriarchal peasant family, or the extended family in general (also in the South albeit with some differences) and chose instead a smaller family that could live better on a given wage(77) was simply not possible for the Algerian women in France. They could not use the wage in order to improve the quality of their lives or the lives of their children because they had to reproduce an entire community and substitute for the women still in Algeria.

These comments on Algerian emigration provide a basis, a perspective, for interpreting the hierarchies of power that exist within emigration itself: either in the community of origin or in immigrant communities abroad. The Algerian case can be used to examine other flows of immigrants, e.g., Africans, who contributed to France’s development in much the same way as did the Algerians.

Lastly, the almost continuous flow of migration into France from Italy, Spain and Portugal must also be seen in relation to both French women’s early refusal to procreate and carry out reproduction work, and to the State’s desire to keep them in a condition of backwardness (especially on the farms). It is a flow that the French State has always more or less openly encouraged – a flow that was at first channeled towards the same French fields that French women were deserting.

d) The German case: Germany, a country with a high level of industrialization that, in the postwar years maintained an exceptionally high level of female employment.(78) What we have said concerning both the relation between women and the State and the difficulties women have caused for capital’s reconversion at all levels, from which the need for a broader use of immigration derived, applies to Germany as well. The Fifties in Germany were the years in which women, finally freed from Nazi restrictions, developed their refusal of housework, of agricultural labor and of work done as “helpers” in family-run firms.(79) They also refused all the professions based on some kind of domestic economy. So great was women’s refusal of housework that some people were led to envisage a “domestic service” organized like “military service” set up to fill the gap left by women.(80)

However, women’s flight from the countryside was hindered by a considerable flow of immigration. This included a large “political” flow from the East, and after 1957, a growing tide of Italian immigrants as well. Until the end of the 1960’s these migrants (about 12 million) tended to settle in rural areas at first, areas less damaged by the war, and only later on did they move on into urban areas.(81)

As both immigrants and Germans deserted the land and moved towards the cities, rural women changed from being “helpers” to being managers of farms in their own names. In areas such as Bavaria, it is not difficult to find families where the man works in industry and the women has had to take on both housework and work in the fields, work that was formerly shared.

Likewise in the craft industries one begins to find “daughters of craftsmen who manage their father’s firm alone when the son is no longer interested, and thus become the owners of bakeries, bookbinder’s and decorator’s”.(82) However it was still more usual for women to be employed in unskilled jobs within the craft industry.

In general, the bargaining power that women had developed against Kinder Küche Kirche (Children, Kitchen and Church), did not translate into bargaining power in relation to working outside the home. The State saw to that by intervening with a decision to use immigrants from the East and Italy thus preventing women who had rejected procreation from entering the labor market and finding employment on equal terms with German men. The fact that a flow of Italian immigrants had already been guaranteed during the 1930’s(83) and then again during the war(84) by joint agreements made with Italy shows that the reproduction of the national working class was already inadequate even then.

The German State, afraid that there might be demographic gaps in a period of economic growth, continued rigidly to forbid abortion despite the fact that during the second half of the 1950’s most countries in the East introduced a degree of liberalization. However, in Germany, as in other European countries, the dreaded “unfortunate demographic development” did occur and from the mid-1960’s on, got worse.

Although German postwar development relied upon the extensive use of labor power,(85) long work hours, a lot of overtime and the progressive depletion of agricultural labor,(86) women were heavily discriminated against with regard to industrial employment.

As in the case of France, women were eventually introduced into those industrial sectors from which they had been traditionally excluded.(87) Between 1950 and ‘60 all industries increased the numbers of their female workers: in the steel and metal working industries, the number of women employed rose by 162.3%, and the electronics sector was not far behind. Female employment also increased both in traditional sectors, textiles, clothing, food, tobacco, sweets etc. and in precision mechanics, optics, watch making and photography,(88) areas where the consummate female skills of dexterity and precision reveal allegations of their lack of skill to be nothing more than a pretext for low wages.

IV. In the 1960s the lines traced by the previous processes are scored more deeply. The young working class is born out of refusal, rebellion and the struggles of the women behind it.

In the 1960’s the movement that women had started during the postwar period grew and spread. That is, their refusal to function as appendages of development plans that wanted them to be the producers and providers of numerous children, tied to long hours of work at home, in the fields, in the factory and the office, chained and ghettoized in conditions of personal dependence. The drastic fall in the birth rate that began in 1964 gives an almost photographic image of the amount of control women had already achieved over procreation. As we said at the beginning, on a European scale this phenomenon is not simply the consequence of the spread of contraceptives. Furthermore, the fall in the birth rate was most rapid precisely in those strata that had previously been the least successful in controlling their fertility.(89)
As we have seen, this fall in the birth rate expressed the level of power that women had won and is not an “event” that can be explained by this or that factor. A level of power built up through a process of struggle that has tended to offset the general “backwardness” to which every postwar or post-revolutionary government(90) has always tried to confine women; a lever of power that increasingly allows women to bargain for a new quality of life.

The control of women, close to the hearts of European planners since the beginning of European integration,(91) grew in the 1960’s. But the basic instrument of this integration – emigration – has proved to be a double edged sword. Not only have immigrants become the spearhead of rebellion – as is fairly well known – but emigration has definitely radicalized the centrifugal forces set in motion by women and youths. This is also true for the elderly, who have increasingly demanded a certain quality of life, whatever the price, (though in Italy today it would be difficult to shout “grey power”).(92) One dividing line still functioning in favor of European integration (although less so during the 1960’s) is that between areas where women can manage a wage, totally or partially (either remittances or their own) and where they cannot. In the latter areas survival is based on a rural income or expedients and women are totally dependent either on the men of the family or on older women. In this case, the emigration of some men, especially the youngest who are not responsible for supporting the community does not undermine the community itself. The case of Algeria is typical in this respect and is different from that of the Italian South which has areas of industrialization and is part of an industrial country. Not by chance is it possible for young women in the South of Italy to flee from the countryside, a type of behavior which is unthinkable in Algeria.(93) And if some Southern Italian women come to the conclusion that they had better find a dowry on their own because no money is likely to come from Germany any longer, whatever they decide, alternatives are open to them that are not available to Algerian women.

Another phenomenon connected to women’s growing independence which should be analyzed in order to understand the wave of working class struggles in the late 1960’s is the fact that women have been able to impose a different use of the wage within the family – either when the elderly were not present or when they failed to subordinate women. Increasingly, the wives of Italian men who left for Germany and the wives of workers in Naples and Gela expected to administer the remittances and pay checks their husbands sent home, or even their own wage. These women chose to invest the money that the elderly would have traditionally saved or invested in land, in their children. The young proletarians from the South who went to work at FIAT in the 1960’s had assimilated this new form of investment and with it the expectation of a higher standard of living.

We do not wish to underrate the innovative aspects of the rebellion of each new generation of workers and students, but we want to emphasize that this rebellion involves more than a direct confrontation outside of the family context. It also involves a certain level of disintegration of the family itself. We need a new perspective on the family.(94) We must consider the erosion of authority emerging in the 1960’s even in the proletarian family and relate this phenomenon to women’s management of the male wage. This management has taken root among increasingly wider sectors of proletarian women as European integration (based on emigration) has progressed in the postwar period and as the process of urbanization headed by women has spread throughout Europe. In addition to the woman’s own occasional wage (often earned in the underground economy: cottage industry, piecework, part time work etc. but in many cases the only source of support for the entire family) this management of the man’s wage gives women more power in relation to men and leads to a different relationship between the children and their mothers and fathers, giving rise to a certain crisis of authority.

In countries like Italy, during the 40’s and 50’s, certain sectors of proletarian women first experienced the management of a wagez,. Emigration did not affect these women in the same way it affected women in countries such as Algeria. In Italy emigration catalyzed women’s first steps towards independence. While in the latter countries, at least in the short term, it worsened women’s position. In countries with high levels of female employment the breakdown of the family associated with increasing insubordination among youth, inside and outside the factories were the results of the tensions stemming from the fact that women were working at home and outside the home.(95) However in both cases the young working class set in motion an entirely new cycle of struggles: in Italy (Turin, Piazza Statuto, 1962) and in Europe in general. This new cycle of struggle was born from the increasing refusal and rebellion of the proletarian women who had created and sustained the conditions for the struggle to grow in.(96) As we have already said, the attack on women, present since the beginning of European integration, became more intense during the 1960’s, this tendency was accentuated by the wave of workers’ struggles at the end of the decade.

Although the Left has ignored it, in Italy the expulsion of women from the factory that began in 1962 is not over yet: another million women have joined the unemployed.(97) In Germany after 1960 capital intensive development and rationalization of the process of production gave rise to a further worsening of the situation of female work outside the home.(98) Women were increasingly expelled from the factories, and were forced to resort to part time work, piecework and temporary jobs: from 1961 to 1971 part time female workers increased by 83% reaching 2.3 million.(99) Immigrant women were employed either as unskilled (60%) or semi-skilled (1/3) workers.(100)

In France the percentage of women employed in the new industrial sectors from 1962 to 1968 increased: the electrical industry rose 11.1% from 114,000 to 126,660; chemical industry rose 14.2% from 104,500 to 119,440; food industry rose 8.6% from 126,100 to 137,000; the machine tool industry rose 4% from 194,220 to 202,160. However, these changes did not significantly alter the sexual composition of the sectors.(101)

In 1970, speaking at the Fourth National Congress of the CGT on female labor, Christine Gilles said “the second figure, that of 33%, that I mentioned, represents the difference between the real wages of men and women . . . In 1945 the coefficients of a female machine operator in the clothing industry were equal to P1 and P2 in metallurgy. They are far from being equal today. Last May minimum hourly wages were 3.93 francs and 4.10 francs.”(102)

As for immigrant women, and Algerian women in particular, it should be remembered that in ‘62 – ‘63, fiscal policy forbade any Algerian to leave the country with more than 10 francs. This provided one more reason to have someone already established in France to go to a group of men supported by a few women.

Since 1967 further restrictions forbidding Algerian immigrants to send francs back to Algeria worsened the already bad situation of the women there, because, without remittances, they couldn’t buy certain goods which could only be bought with francs.

After Liberation, Algerian emigration changed. Small family nuclei or single women also began to emigrate, single women who rejected rural life or impositions in the city life, like eating in a kitchenette separate from men, as expected by the leaders of “Islamic socialism”. Most of the women who emigrated alone to France were not proletarians. In fact most managed to enter the country by means of a tourist or a student visa. Once in France, however, these single women – unlike single men – could not, and cannot, integrate with the Algerian community, because it does not accept women unless they are under the control of a man. Therefore they end up at best as waitresses, but often as prostitutes. Proletarian emigrant women in general – from Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Portugal – either become waitresses or unskilled workers in the machine tool sector.

V. After 1968, the 1970s. Women began to bargain about reproduction. The community of immigrants has no longer to reproduce itself.

After 1968 the investment that women in Europe had made in their children (improving their children’s lives as well as trying to improve their own), is revealed by the potential for and level of struggle expressed by the working class on a European-wide scale.
Following these struggles there was a further cut back in the flow of Italian migration,(103) and Italians moved up the scale of immigrant employment. Now, the flow of immigration from other areas of the Mediterranean increased; Turks, Greeks, Algerians, Tunisians, Spanish and Portuguese moved in to take over the lower skilled and unskilled jobs.

Although one should not be too optimistic, it is clear that over the last few years emigration has, as the Financial Times openly admitted, brought the “spectre of revolution” rather than social peace.(104)

Because of this there has been an attempt, though fairly limited, to discover a source of labor power, a sector, that no matter where it comes from, is weaker, more easily blackmailed, than male immigrants: women. Here lies the problem of the 1970’s, for in these years, the path trodden by women has reached a decisive turning point. In Europe, as well as in the United States, it has become a mass movement that expresses women’s need for independence and autonomy – a life no longer paid for at the price of the factory or of the home.

If men are less and less willing to submit to factory discipline is it unlikely that emigrant women will prove any more pliable. In this instance too the power difference that exists between men and women particularly among immigrants must not be forgotten. But given the direction in which women are moving – both in more “developed” and in “less developed” areas – it does not seem very likely that the use of women will or can provide a long term solution for the problems of European capital. In the midst of other better known images of “paper tigers” and “white elephants” perhaps the best image of this particular capitalist game is of “a cat chasing its own tail”.

European planners are now faced with a problem that appears to be as difficult as that of “squaring a circle”. In Germany, France and Italy (in FIAT after 1969) there have been further attempts to introduce women, particularly immigrant women, into the work force to replace male immigrant workers who have proved disinclined to accept factory discipline. In Sweden at Saab’s Scania’s of Sodertalje, comparable only with FIAT at Cassino, one finds “star like”(105) ways of organizing labor - especially adapted to be suitable for housewives including older women. At the same time however, European women are themselves less amenable to accept unwaged housework along with factory work, and are becoming more and more determined to make their reproduction work cost. Thus on the one hand, capitalist development is founded upon determinate levels of reproduction that must be continually guaranteed and that so far have cost the State very little, and on the other hand women have begun their attack precisely from this base: reproduction. It is true that the State does still succeed in blackmailing the politically weaker strata of women with work in the factory and work in the home, but in Europe at least, the State is being forced to respond to women’s demands for payment of the costs of reproduction. Among the most important examples of this are: the proposal presented in France by the Union National des Associations Familiales for a wage for housework that would be the equivalent of 50% of the minimum wage, which would be subject to taxation and considered to be a wage in every respect.(106) The proposal already has some support in government circles. Another example is that of Italy, where women receive a monthly 50,000 lire check to pay for the extra housework involved when they look after a handicapped relative at home instead of leaving him or her in an Institution.(107) In the same country laws are also being proposed to raise the amount of the Family Allowance. While Family Allowances do not constitute a “wage” for housework, they are nonetheless a clear indication that reproduction is already an area of bargaining.

Before concluding, we should look briefly at the case of Great Britain, a country that has only recently joined the European Community, and which remains closely tied to US capital which explains some similarities found between the two countries’ policies and strategies around both population and female employment. The traditionally high level of female employment in Britain has already been mentioned. During the 1970’s, the government encouraged and financed broad studies on the condition of women and their levels of employment. The commissions set up for this purpose continually ended up by recommending maximum flexibility in the organization of work so that “women could choose between part-time and full-time jobs”. They recommended a “rapid expansion of daycare centers and nursery schools, with flexible schedules adjustable to the mother’s needs” (mother’s who should then go to work), they also recommended setting up cafeterias which would provide “meals to youngsters and children whose mothers work, even in the school holidays (our emphasis). Furthermore they recommended that the “Minister of Education should keep in regular contact with women’s organizations”, and that an “adequate investigation be made on the proportions and conditions of home-working” (which apparently is not only a Mediterranean problem).(108)

Yet despite all this it has still proved impossible for the British government to persuade British women to take factory jobs and replace West Indians, Africans, Indians or Pakistanis. British women have already shown resistance to accepting the discriminatory jobs they are constantly being offered, thus it seems unlikely that they will quietly accept jobs such as secretary, typist etc. which(109) are the ones offered as a result of the talk about the need for more widespread employment of women at a certain skill level. Also the struggle around the costs of reproduction, for a wage for housework has already begun in Britain and has reached a national level in the campaign around Family Allowances.(110) Not only was the government forced to abandon its plan of abolishing the Family Allowance (the only money which women receive directly), it also had to face the growth of a movement that has irreversibly opened up a struggle and begun bargaining about reproduction.

At the same time, the community of male and female immigrants has reached a level of subversion that is already too high to permit the State to use women against men. Indeed the numbers of immigrant women in waged work is very high, remarkably high in the context of a labor market where the division between the sexes is very rigid. The degree of subversion of the immigrant working class has been raised by the new generation of workers, the sons and daughters of the original immigrants, these young men and women, particularly women, who were either born or have grown up in Britain are freer from the innate constraints of their parents, who came from social areas where any wage was already a conquest, and have no illusions that they will be able to move more easily up the social and labor strata.

But the stability of a waged job has allowed the second generation to achieve a new level of power high enough to break that very stability itself. These young workers have the same attitude to wage labor as any of their peers internationally, although their struggle is sharpened by the struggle against racism within the labor market. It is also sharpened by the fact that a supervisor is often seen in terms of the slave driver of old. Specific to women is the struggle against and refusal of the limitations imposed by family life, a family life that the parents’ wages both sets up and requires. Women’s protest in the factory and at school has not yet reached the levels of that of the young men, but the force with which they confront their mothers and fathers, a struggle they often have to carry on alone and isolated within the family is a sign of their preparedness to struggle. Since these young women are rarely to be found in the streets in battle with the police their struggle for independence is often not even seen.

Also the Black Movement has, in Britain too, completely neglected women’s condition in its programs and aims. However, the results of their efforts can be surmised from the way in which the parents of these young people are increasingly more willing to become involved and help youth in clashes with the police and in dealings with the authorities in general. But while the young men remain the visible protagonists, the young women’s struggles although hidden, are often as effective.

Sometimes, a Black West Indian, realizing he was unable to support his family at home would escape to Britain, leaving his wife and children at home. Women had to go very far from home in order to achieve any independence of their own either with or without a man. Often it is the women who send money back so that their children can join them when they settle. It did not take long for such a situation to generate a crisis of authority. The British government, while long promoting limitations on immigration, now in the Seventies has promoted the exclusion of these children by attempting to stop West Indian women from procreating; it attacked the Black birth rate by encouraging doctors to sterilize Black Women. This is in line with US policies of the 1960’s both towards its own blacks and towards the Third World in general. When emigration ceases to work well, it is better to export capital, to take the factories to the workers. But Third World men and women do not seem to accept them peacefully.

* This article first appeared in the book edited by Alessandro Serafini et. al, L’operaio multinazionale in Europa, Milano: Feltrinelli, 1974. This American translation, done by Silvia Federici and Harry Cleaver, and revised by the author, is from the second Italian edition (1977). The French translation appeared in Collectif L’Insoumise (ed) Le foyer de l’insurrection, Textes sur le salaire pour le travail menager, Le Mont-sur-Lausanne: Coopérative d’Impressions Nouvelles and Genève: Collective L’Insoumise, 1977. The Spanish version was published in Mariarosa Dalla Costa, Dinero, perlas y flores en la reproducciòn feminista, Madrid: Ediciones Akal, 2009. The Japanese translation appeared in the book Mariarosa Dalla Costa, Kajirodo ni Chingin-o-feminizumu no aratana tenbo, Tokyo: Impact Shuppankai, October 1986, 2nd edition 1990.

1 See: Michael T. Sadler, The Law of Population, London 1830; Thomas Doubleday, The True Law of Population, London 1842. These two authors observed that population growth proceeds in inverse proportion to its well-being and that a rise in the standard of living causes a fall in the fertility rate removing the danger of overpopulation feared by Malthus.

2 In the USSR until 1936 there were no restrictions concerning abortion; from 1936 to 1955 abortion was strictly controlled. Starting in 1956 the state again allowed a certain degree of liberalization. The popular democracies, after substantial incentives for population growth in the postwar period, introduced a number of very permissive measures between 1956 and 1958, but they abolished them in the Sixties: e.g., Rumania in 1966. Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria tried to stimulate population growth by means of material incentives such as increases in the Family Allowances, services for children and special maternity leave for waged and salaried women.

3 William J. Goode, World Revolution and Family Patterns, New York: The Free Press, 1970.

4 Ibid., p. 53.

5 The Italian Statistical Yearbook, ISTAT, of 1943 gives the following figures for the birth rate: 139.2 for the period 1920-22, 110.2 for the period 1930-32, 104.8 for the period 1935-37, 106.0 for the period 1939-40. As we can see, the period in which the index of fertility rose – but only from 104.8 to 106.0 – coincided with the provision of economic incentives.

6 Edward L. Homze, Foreign Labor in Nazi Germany, Princeton: University of Princeton Press, 1967.

7 Professor Roland Pressat, a well known expert in demography who teaches at the National Institute for Demographic Studies in Paris and is the author of an interesting work, “Analyse demographique” in his work Population, London: Penguin Books, 1973, p. 96, shows in a very clear graph the fall of the birth rate after 1964 in Holland, Italy, Great Britain, West Germany, France, Belgium and Luxembourg. In any case this is a phenomenon that is widely recognized by all demographers.

8 “Further, the degree of diffusion of the latest contraceptives, at least in Europe, has not been such as to account for the recent reduction in the fertility rate.” Ibid, p. 97. We add that in those European countries dominated by the Catholic Church, up to this day it is difficult for the overwhelming majority of women to gain access not only to the latest contraceptives but to any contraceptives at all. In this respect, Irish history has a new hero. Mrs. Mary McGee, aged 28, the wife of a fisherman and already the mother of four children, who had already cerebral thrombosis twice, was arrested last year at the customs by an officer who, searching in the woman’s handbag, discovered an intrauterine device. Exasperated, Mary McGee appealed to the High Court which, in December 1973, issued the first liberalizing sentence on the matter: “It does not pertain to the State,” the court decreed, “to interfere in such intimate and delicate matters. La Stampa, March 22, 1973, p. 3.

9 See again, Roland Pressat, op. cit.

10 This is one of the main theses developed by Leopoldina Fortunati in Le donne contro la famiglia (Woman Against the Family) that analyzes women’s relation to capital over the last thirty years in Italy. Some of her work which proposes an analysis relevant to the war period and early postwar period can be found in Leopoldina Fortunati, “La famiglia verso la ricostruzione” in Mariarosa Dalla Costa e Leopoldina Fortunati, Brutto ciao. Direzioni di marcia delle donne negli ultimi 30 anni, Roma: Edizioni delle donne, 1976, pp. 71-147.

11 Bennett Kremen, “Lordstown - Searching for a Better Way of Work,” New York Times, September 9, 1973. Joseph Goodfreys, General Manager of General Motors’ Assembly Line Division said: “Yes, our workers are less keen than they used to be to commit themselves. . . . There is a lot of restlessness and we feel this on the assembly line – war, youth, rebellion, drugs, race, inflation, moral crisis. Marriage is no longer what it used to be. We feel that. their minds are elsewhere!” (translated from the Italian)

12 On a worldwide scale this refusal leads to rather contradictory policies, as demonstrated by the World Population Conference held in Bucharest in 1974.

13 Romolo Gobbi, Operai e resistenza, Torino: Musolini, 1973.

14 Ibid, p. 3.

15 Ibid, pp. 3-4.

16 David Thomson, Europe Since Napoleon, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1957, Italian translation: Storia d’Europa, Milano: Feltrinelli, 1961, p. 852. Concerning the war losses, Thomson gives the following figures: 500,000 in France, 445,000 in the Commonwealth, 2,250,000 in Germany (just on the battlefield), 7,000,000 officially dead in Russia (but there are other figures) compared with 325,000 from the United States. See also F. Roy Willis, Europe in the Global Era: 1939 to Present, New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., Toronto, 1968, p. 180; Nicholas Valentine Riasanovsky, A History of Russia, New York: Oxford University Press, 1963, Italian translation: Storia della Russia, Dalle origini ai giomi nostri, Milano: Garzanti, 1968, p. 604; Denna Frank Fleming, The Cold War and Its Origins, New York: Doubleday, 1961; Italian translation: Storia della guerra fredda, Milano: Feltrinelli 1964, p. 193.

17 Romolo Gobbi, op. cit., p. 8. For a more detailed analysis see: Shepard Bancroft Clough, The Economic History of Modern Italy, New York: Columbia University Press, 1964, Italian translation: Storia dell’economia italiana dal 1861 ad oggi, Bologna: Cappelli, 1965; Rosario Romeo, Breve storia della grande industria in Italia, Bologna: Universale Cappelli, 1973.

18 Evelyne Sullerot, La donna e il lavoro, Milano: Etas-Kompass, 1973, pp. 166-167.

19 Romolo Gobbi, op.cit., p. 11.

20 Liliana Lanzardo, Classe operaia e partito comunista alla Fiat: la strategia della collaborazione: 1945-1949, Torino: Einaudi, 1971, p. 332.

21 While this phenomenon is usually ignored by current political literature, we find it acknowledged and stressed in the earliest feminist literature. See, among others, in France: Evelyne Sullerot, op.cit., in Italy Luisa Abbà et al., La coscienza di sfruttata, Milano: Mazzotta, 1972.

22 Evelyne Sullerot, op.cit., p. 167

23 “The man would join the army to participate in the Resistance and the woman would replace him working in the fields and in the management of the household. Besides this (our emphasis) she participated in the guerrilla struggle and gathered supplies for the front.” (from Aperçus sur les institutions de la République Démocratique du Vietnam (Nord), Hanoi and from Nuova Rivista Internazionale, n. 6, quoted in “Vietnam, la famiglia nel diritto vietnamita” in Donne e politica, IV, n. 19, October 1973, p. 30).

24 What we described in the footnote above holds good also for Algerian women. It is well known that the bombs that exploded in the bars and the stadiums during the terrorist phase were all placed by women. But all over the world . . . wars of Liberation have always put women in a position that the literature of Liberation or Resistance has only mystified. What can we say about the classic example of the shaven woman, who is exposed to the ridicule of the population, when the war itself forces women into prostitution as the only form of survival? We can say that the war is also a celebration of male sadism and highlights in a less mystified manner, the relationship of men with women. Women are not only forced to guarantee reproduction, at a very high price, but they are also forced to defend themselves once more from men: from the “the enemy” who rapes them; the “partisan” who shaves them and the neighbor who despises them because they prostitute themselves.

25 The case of Vietnamese women may seem the “most advanced.” But the political power they had access to was always very “sectorial.” It is no accident that, up to this day, Vietnamese women who want to abort must ask permission from a special judging commission. It is a sad analogy with “European advanced situations”.

26 Evelyne Sullerot, op.cit., 169-170.

27 Liliana Lanzardo, op. cit., p. 332.

28 The biographies of two women summarize the situation: Danilo Montaldi, Militanti politici di base, Torino: Einaudi, 1971 (the biography of “Margitt” and the last in the book: “Girl”).

29 Not the least of the means adopted for the restoration were the campaigns connected with the Holy Year and the sanctification of Maria Goretti and Domenico Savio.

30 Evelyne Sullerot, op.cit., p. 207.

31 Roland Pressat, op. cit. See also: Giorgio Mortara, “L’Italia nella rivoluzione demografica 1861-1961”, in Annuali di Statistica, anno 94, serie VIII, vol. 17, Roma 1965; Massimo Livi Bacci, “Il declino della fecondità della popolazione italiana nell’ultimo secolo”, in Statistica anno XXV, n. 3.

32 This is the topic of a number of ongoing studies whose results will, hopefully, soon be available.

33 See Massimo Livi Bacci, op. cit.

34 See Leopoldina Fortunati, op. cit.

35 Shepard Bancroft Clough, op. cit., p. 370.

36 Ibid, p. 378.

37 Ibid, p. 388.

38 See Annuari Statistici Italiani, ISTAT. The fact, however, that science takes no account of the harmfulness of housework requires a logical interpretation of every statistic.

39 “Those who are waged or destined to be waged eat better,” no matter who works more. From this point of view we believe that urbanization too did not make much of a difference.

40 In this respect it is striking to discover that in that period electric household appliances were among the most important exports. (See Shepard Bancroft Clough, op. cit., p. 407.)

41 Giuseppe Romita, Dalla monarchia alla Repubblica, Pisa: Editore Nistri-Lischi, 1954, p. 41.

42 Ibid, p. 41.

43 Angelina Mauro, wounded in the insurrection of Melissa, died after eight days at the hospital of Crotone, on the 9th of November 1949.

44 It was not just a matter of “customs and habits”. This practice was also ratified on paper. Examples of contracts between landowners and “those who work the land” including a clause concerning women’s unpaid work, are contained in Vincenzo Mauro, Lotte dei contadini in Calabria, Milano: Sapere, 1973. Moreover, Il Giorno of September 2, 1973 reports – via a letter to the editor – that during the assembly of fishermen being held in Trapani and attended by women as well as men, someone cried out “We aren’t going to put up, anymore, with ship owners only choosing fishermen whose wives will go work in their houses for free!”

45 This is a well known fact. Today the men who in the North remain on the farms increasingly resort to the good services of some women or man in the South, who “deal in marriages.” Thus, through an exchange of pictures they find (in some isolated village of Campania, Lucania and Sicily) the women who did not manage to leave by themselves. But it is not just agricultural laborers who look for these women; it is also those workers who are far from obtaining an “eight hour” working day.

46 Massimo Livi Bacci, op. cit., p. 410. See also Graph no. 3 for the proportion of married women versus single women and graphs 2, 1, 12 for the rate in wedlock fertility, general fertility rates and out of wedlock fertility.

47 Giorgio Mortara, op. cit., p. 6.

48 Ibid, p. 6.

49 Before the 20th century France could compare with the USA and Great Britain for its long tradition of female employment. By the beginning of the century, however, this employment was already reduced. The 1962 census registered 6,585,000 active women compared to 7,694,000 in 1906.

50 See William J. Goode, op. cit.p.53.

51 Marie-Françoise Mouriaux, L’emploi en France depuis 1945, Paris: Librairie Armand Colin, Collection U2, 1972, p. 35.

52 “Cet accroissement de la population en France entre 1958 et 1965 est dû pour 52.4% à un excédent de naissance sur les décés et pour 47.6% à l’immigration. «Les Travailleurs immigrés parlent», in Les Cahiers du Centre d’Etudes Socialistes, n. 94-98, Septembre – Decembre 1969, Paris, p. 19.

53 Besides the salaire unique there is a complete reorganization of the system of Family Allowances. “After World War II, a new organization, the High Consultative Committee on Population and the Family, was established by decree on 12 April 1945.” (Translator’s Note: In English in the text.) (The Population Council, Country Profiles: France, New York, May 1972, p. 8). This commission worked many changes in the family allowances system in view of what was happening in all the European countries. (See p. 9-10.)

54 From the McCloy plan of 1949 to the Schuman plan of 1950, European economic integration postulated the profitability of a “political project . . . based on a non-downward rigid wage, that is on a widening of the downward stratification of labor power, obtained through the maintenance and expansion of highly labor intensive sectors.

This project implied a massive introduction into factory production of quotas of new and politically weak labor power . . . female labor power fitted only partially into this project. . . . Women resisted being deskilled. . . .” Franca Cipriani, Proletariato del Maghreb e capitale europeo (The proletariat of the Maghreb and European Capital), in this volume, i.e., Alessandro Serafini, et al., L’operaio multinazionale in Europa, Milano: Feltrinelli, first edition: May 1974, second edition January 1977, p. 79.

55 At present Algerian women are also urged to perform this function through “courses of home economics” taught by “social workers.”

56 But with respect to the trends in French employment, Marie-Francois Mouriaux writes “Par suite d’une natalité très faible, la nation recourt de manière très large a l’immigration.” (Marie-Francois Moureaux, op. cit., p. 29.)

57 Les travailleurs immigrés parlent, op. cit., p. 20.

58 Evelyne Sullerot, op.cit., p. 206.

59 Ibid.

60 A further step in this attempt was reached with the approval of the Code de Famille in 1942.

61 More specifically, the Family Allowance was given directly to the mother (it was not included in the paycheck of the father as in Italy), whether married or not married, who “would certainly spend it for her children”, thus assuring that qualitative improvement of labor power that the laborists (who were back in power) aspired to and promoted also with a general policy of social assistance.

62 We know, on the other hand, the whole series of reasons, from the loss of pensions to the loss of family allowances, etc. that in each country rendered these works essentially not declared. This is why, also in the case of France, the extent of their market can hardly be measured by statistics but we can easily presume a rather wide range of them, when we consider both the low percentage of waged women and the heavy discrimination the State has managed to impose since the postwar period on the efforts exerted by women to gain an autonomous income.

63 There is, however, a substantial level of employment in the service sector. This too is a European-wide phenomenon. With respect to France, see François Lantier, Le travail et la formation des femmes en Europe. Incidences de la planification de l’éducation et du changement technologique sur l’accès aux emplois et aux carrières, La Documentation Française, Bibliothèque du Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches sur les Qualifications, num. 4, Octobre 1972, pp. 44+. In particular see graph XIII, p. 45.

64 François Lantier, op cit., graph XIII, p. 45. Evelyne Sullerot, op cit., p. 208.

65 François Lantier, op. cit., p. 54.

66 Ibid, p. 54.

67 Ibid, p. 55.

68 Besides the case of agricultural laborers we previously mentioned, see: “Il lavoro a domicilio”, in Quaderni di rassegna sindacale, anno XI, no. 44-45, settembre – dicembre 1973, for the much wider proportion of cottage industry (as well as seasonal, temporary work) in the South as opposed to the North.

69 See, in general, on Arab women (but the women of the Maghreb are not subject at least to clitoridectomy), Yussef El Masry, Il dramma sessuale della donna araba, Milano: Edizioni di Comunità, 1964.

70 The book Les Algériennes by the Algerian Fadela M’ Rabet, Paris: Maspero, 1969 – a book whose importation and sale is forbidden in Algeria – gives evidence of a very high suicide rate among women. Moreover, when we evaluate these percentages, we must keep in mind that women are under-counted, whether at their birth or their death, and that their suicides are not recorded, not even failed attempts at suicide, e.g., jumping out of a window but failing to die. Suicides in general are recorded as “accidental” deaths. Infanticide is also widespread among single women and is, along with abortion (p. 169), the only available means of birth control.

71 The Algerian woman is forced to get married when and with whom her parents decide. This holds good also for the small educated minority that reaches a few university courses. But we must remember that, as a rule, women are withdrawn from schools – those who go there to begin with – after the second elementary course. Today this small minority, that besides university courses has also discovered the birth control pill, has discovered a very specific use of the pill in marriage. Since they do not have the power to resist the imposition of marriage, these women get married, then with the pill they can pretend they are sterile; this in a short time leads them to repudiation-divorce, which in this case is what they want.

72 But for the mass of Algerian women the use of divorce obtained on their own initiative has few chances of success, first because of the material conditions in which they live and furthermore because many of them have not been registered at birth. In fact, Algerian “civilization” while considering women very precious as a good, considers them non-existent as persons.

73 From a speech by Boumedienne to the students volunteering for the civil service, in Moudjahid, July 22, 1972.

74 Concerning the condition of the hospitals and the cases of obstetric lesions, see: Ministère de la Sante, Tableaux de l’economie algerienne, Alger, 1970, pp. 82-83.

75 Yves Courrière, La guerre d’Algérie, Tome II, Le Temps des léopards, Paris: Fayard, 1969.

76 The first wave should be calculated from 1935 to World War II.

77 Leopoldina Fortunati, op. cit., points out with respect to Italy, that the transition from the peasant patriarchal family to the urban nuclear family was the product of the disintegration of a certain kind of family operated not only by capital but by the women themselves.

78 Evelyne Sullerot, op.cit., p. 231.

79 See OECD, Labor Force Statistics, Paris, 1970, pp. 96-97.

80 Evelyne Sullerot, op.cit., p. 230.

81 Bruno Groppo, “Sviluppo economico e ciclo dell’emigrazione in Germania Occidentale” (Economic Development and the Cycle of Emigration in Western Europe), in Alessandro Serafini et al. L’operaio multinazionale in Europa, op. cit.

82 Evelyne Sullerot, op.cit., p. 231.

83 See on this subject Foreign Labor in Nazi Germany, op.cit.

84 During the war they resorted to the forced labor of women sent by the East, besides that, as is well known, of Jewish, gypsy and political women.

85 Bruno Groppo, op. cit.

86 Ibid., graph no. 4.

87 In this respect we always speak of novelties in a relative sense. When we go to the roots we discover always that every industrial sector has been based on a very large use of female and young labor power. For the Italian situation see: Stefano Merli, Proletariato di fabbrica e capitalismo industriale. Il caso italiano: 1880-1900, Firenze: La Nuova Italia, 1973.

88 Evelyne Sullerot, op.cit., p. 231.

89 See above, footnote 9.

90 We refer here specifically to the Algerian situation to which we will return.

91 See above, footnote 53.

92 Leopoldina Fortunati, op.cit.

93 This “evasion” also takes place in Algeria both as an escape from the fields and as an escape from their husbands. They are desperate escapes in the attempt to disappear into the house of some European in Algiers working as maids. But, regularly, according to the rule of Ta’a the police take the woman back home. See the last chapter in Yussef El Masry op.cit.

94 We say “develop a new perspective” because the perspective implicit in this analysis began in the late Sixties in the USA and in the early Seventies in Europe, with the Feminist Movement on an international level. In these years, sociologists and politicians have only further confused the topic. See also, Mariarosa Dalla Costa, “Quartiere, Scuola e Fabbrica dal punto di vista della donna,” in L’Offensiva, Torino: Musolini, 1972, 1974.

95 Mariarosa Dalla Costa, “Quartiere, Scuola e Fabbrica dal punto di vista della donna,” op.cit., p. 27.

96 Mariarosa Dalla Costa, Potere femminile e sovversione sociale (con “Il posto della donna” di Selma James), Padova: Marsilio, 1972, 1974, p. 41. [English translation and publication: Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James, The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community, Bristol: Falling Wall Press, 1972, 1974, pp. 26-27.] “In the factories youth refuse the leadership of older workers, and in the social revolts they are the diamond point. In the metropolis generations of the nuclear family have produced youth and student movements that have initiated the process of shaking the framework of constituted power: in the third world the unemployed youth are often in the streets before the working class organized in trade unions.”

97 From the ISTAT monthly bulletin of March 1972 it appears that at the time of the inquiry the people included in the work-force over 13 years of age were 21,754,000, of which 16,168,000 were w omen and 5,586,000 were men. Among the women 10,701,000, that is 49.1% are housewives. More precisely in 1970, among employed women, 22% work in agriculture and almost all of them are married and not young. Among the others, 45% work in the service sector (married or not, young or not) and 33% in industry. See also for a comparison with the situation in England: M. Pia May, “Il Mercato del lavoro femminile, espulsione o occupazione nascosta femminile”, in Inchiesta, anno III, n.9, genn.-marzo 1973, pp. 27-37.

98 See, in general, OECD, Labor Force Statistics, Paris, 1970.

99 Bruno Groppo, op.cit.

100 Ibid.

101 François Lantier, op.cit., graph XIII, p. 45. More generally see OECD, Labor Force Statistics, Paris, 1970.

102 Marie-Francoise Mouriaux, op. cit., p. 150. [Translator’s note: CGT = Confédération générale du travail or General Confederation of Labor, one of several confederations of French unions.]

103 The first slow-down of emigration took place after 1962.

104 “Europe Keeps Revolution at Bay” in the Financial Times, February 28, 1973: “The spectre of revolution, this ghost moves about from place to place, visiting even the Netherlands, but is fondest of all of Italy. . . . What is important is that it is quite apparent that a great many of our leaders in industry, the trade unions and the government itself are aware, some consciously, others only vaguely, that Western society is in a more fragile state than it has been at any time since th war.” (In English in the text.)

105 We refer to the arrangement of workers on the line. We read in the Financial Times of March 12, 1973, “Car Plants without Mass Disaffection”: “The assemblers, all housewives with no previous factory experience, work in groups of three.” (In English in the text.) This example, however, is an isolated case.

106 «Les femmes au foyer», in Le Nouvel Observateur, April 10, 1973.

107 This check, issued by the provincial administration in some centers of Emilia is officially in the name of the handicapped relative for whom it is supposed to have a therapeudic function: not to make him or her feel “dependent” or “a burden” on their family. Officially it is ignored that the person’s staying at home means an immediate intensification of housework for the woman, which the 50,000 liras are far from “paying for.”

108 See, on this subject, Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, Sixth Report from the Expenditure Committee, session 1972-73, The Employment of Women.

109 It is enough to take a look at the Financial Times and Le Monde of 1973.

110 For a brief history of the Family Allowances System in Great Britain, see Suzie Fleming, The Family Allowance Under Attack, Bristol: Falling Wall Press, 1973; Hands Off our Family Allowances, What We Need is Money, London: Crest Press, 1973.

As for the perspective behind this struggle – the struggle over wages for housework – and its relationship with the struggles of women who clean at night, see Radical America, vol. 7, no. 4 and 5, July-October 1973, pp. 131-192. The whole issue deals comprehensively with the debate over wages for housework that has been going on in Italy, Britain and the United States.


The meditations of young immigrant workers - Mogniss H. Abdallah

The following text was written by Mogniss H. Abdallah, a second generation immigrant and activist living in Paris. It was published in Patchwork,Paris: Cinel, 1980. Mogniss' involvement in developing immigration media, including "Rock Against Police" concerts, led to a (failed) attempt by the French government to deport him in 1979. Three years after this article was published he would found, with his brother, the IM'media Agency that produces a variety of reports and films on immigrant struggles.

Submitted by Steven. on March 17, 2013

Studying the second generation, those immigrant children born and/or schooled in France, has become a new sociological chic. But they are also and primarily, a serious worry for capitalist planning that wants to fill in any gaps in its plans for dealing with anticipated social conflict. There is an urgency here. The French educational system must be used to screen out social misfits during the schooling of some one million immigrant children emerging from the suburban cities (housing complexes) where they are born and raised. This is a new social figure, still young, whose socializing behavior includes resistance to the isolation, to the ghettoisation, and to the absence of legal protection that characterizes immigrant status.

The State is militarizing its methods due to its inability to control a whole series of new forms of recomposition among immigrant youth outside of the strictly limited territory reserved for them: the spontaneous reappropriation of social services (e.g. from school cafeterias to the showers of Sonacotra centers, from university restaurants to public libraries, from subway food machines and public transportation to sport centers) the self-reduction of prices, i.e. free entry of local and of major city-wide concerts, the creation and growth of youth gangs bringing together members from many areas around Paris, and so on.

What is at stake? As opposed to what is generally thought, the real issue is the control over tomorrow's labor-power, that of part-time labor in a restructured factory. It is not the rehabilitation of racism as a factor of domination perennially guaranteeing the "superexploitation" of immigrant workers.

The State is already devoting considerable sums in order to attempt to integrate young immigrants into the social consensus. It is prepared to spend more to facilitate their increasingly massive role in the labor market in the years ahead. On the cultural terrain which has already been obtained (and which thus has a privileged status for State expenditure) as an area of planning for the sociocultural demands of immigrant children, the State has sometimes been forced to give money and free rain to the creative imagination of the children of Nanterre, Gennevilliers, Vitry, etc. As a result the State has not always obtained the results it wished. For example, if the Weekend Conference at Nanterre was sometimes divided on various issues, nobody walked into the trap of cultural institutionalization. Today, some of those in attendance are preparing a play on prisons that asserts the right to illegality! Similarly, there are numerous young immigrants in the Barre Vocational Classes where they succeed in signing up for class after class just in order to obtain some money.

"Work? There is none — which should not hinder the satisfaction of our needs. It would be ridiculous to want to do work that can or could be done through automation. Long Live Automation! Down with work!
from an anti-Barre pamphlet

They take the money, skip the classes and go to the movies — at State expense. In this way they are able to transform the ridiculously low training wages into social income for their own purposes.

In more strategic terms the State is attempting to deflect youth resistance to the transition from school to work by restructuring the school. One way this is being done, which anticipates youth demand for income, is to alternate school and waged on-the-job training in factories. But this project is only for a future generation, todays "adolescents" are still misfits.

These misfits are refused all initiative, except that of registering for unemployment, of illegal or part-time work. They are deported — through the application of the new Barre-Bonnet-Stoleru Laws designed to remold the labor force. Innumerable deported "delinquents" (maybe 90%) return to France illegally. [ed. note: returns allowed by lax governmental enforcement that helps change the legal/illegal segmentation of the labor force.] They are also murdered — both outside and inside the prison: the assassination of Yasid (21 years old) at Strasbourg, of Abdelkader (17 years) at Valenton, of Kadar (15 years) at Vitry in two months; but also those who fall — anonymously — from random shots during demonstrations, and the so-called suicides of those like Taleb Hadjaj, a prison militant.

Such methods are a real measure of the inability of the State to control this new social figure and of its panic. The panic is theirs, but there are some imbeciles who would spread it among us, in the name of defending the national dignity of immigrant against the racist antagonisms of the colonial period. And in the name of defending jobs.

All these immigrant misfortunes are attributed to an unfinished colonial war. Did not a few residents of Sonacotra threaten to bring out their old rusted rifles from NLF days? On the basis of this logic identification with the culture of the "country of origin", young immigrants are expected to return with joyous heart to military service in the Sahara to reinforce the socialist revolution in their country. In other words Stoleru is only doing them a service by deporting them! Locating the legitimacy of struggle in misery is in fundamental contradiction with the self-valorizing behavior of immigrant youth. There is certainly a rupture with misery on their part, a refusal of what they have experienced among their parents. And their parents are angry with them for this — to the point of treating them as harkis — as totally assimilated "little French" — traitors to their culture. We can certainly speak of harkis, and especially of the children of harkis! Let us speak of those that despite being citizens in the service of France for years on end are still considered foreigners. Let us speak of the television programs where these older harkis speak an excellent French but whose presentations are accompanied by French subtitles! The return "home" to Algeria, or elsewhere, is no response to the total sociocultural autonomy being demanded by young metropolitan immigrants, usually illegally: e.g. by refusing national service (military, electoral, taxes, etc.) either in France or in Algeria.

We also find some imbeciles, or well-intentioned sorts (in Cinel for example) who want to move into institutional areas. We suggest they abandon their endless denunciations of racism (which is only an epiphenomenon) and undertake a better project, dictated by our subjective will, to obtain a specific social right to free circulation throughout Europe (the EEC has already discussed the possibility.)

On the side of theoretical discourse, they can undertake a recasting of the classical theses on delinquence being legitimated by a marginalization within an "alternative" cultural framework seeking tolerance, in favor of new theses on the political legitimacy of social delinquence as a diffuse mass phenomenon whose development is impeded by the "delinquent" dimension that their chaste education forbids them to assume.

On the side of militant "autonomists", they might attempt the recomposition of the young French proletariat (just a wee bit racist) with that social figure that carry, spontaneously, uncontrollably, and daily, a theorized practice that is not always fully lived, and thus is often deformed.

On our side, that of young immigrant proletarians, we are undertaking the coordination of activities in separate housing complexes, and worker inquiries into restructuration, the modulation of the productive apparatus with self-valorization of young workers, with metropolitan culture, etc.

Here then are some of our mediations with intellectuals, with autonomists, and with ourselves.


The German model: against mass autonomy - Karl Heinz Roth

Article originally published in Autonomie, winter 1978 and due to be published in Zerowork 3, about the re-consolidation of state power in West Germany in the wake of the repression of the urban guerrilla groups.

Submitted by Steven. on February 23, 2014

The “German Model” has become a reality. Since Stammheim
, we are witnessing to our horror the full growth
of a new fortress of state power which we, in the German movement, have not
wanted to recognize. After ten years of historical rupture, we must now face the
facts. Helmut Schmidt(2) has given the signal
for a planned attack to annihilate us. We must take advantage of this moment of
fear to come to terms with this turning-point in the form of state power in
West Germany. We should not hide or despair. But we must analyze this
state-conducted terror on the one hand, and the experience of mass political
refusal on the other in order to define the basis for new forms of resistance.


Firstly, some remarks about the events since July-August 1977. The past few
months have been marked by a coup d’état from within. This began in the late
summer with a series of provocations against imprisoned members of armed
groups in Stuttgart-Stammheim and Berlin. The abuses, harassments and the
intensification of solitary confinement were highly coordinated. The prisoners
responded with hunger strikes which were brutally suppressed by the Federal
Chancellery and the judicial system. None of the demands for the restoration
of prison conditions as they had been prior to July-August were met. More and
more prisoners risked their lives. The reports of their gradual extinction
were shocking. The rapacious ruling powers knew that this would provoke the
mass movement as a whole. The autonomous mass movement, which represents an
“anti-party” of political refusal, was incapable of responding. Pressed for
time, the movement could not manage to develop levels of political power
adequate to confront this situation without abandoning their most recent
objectives. Therefore the armed groups decided once again to respond on their
own initiative. They carried out a number of actions, including the kidnapping
of Schleyer(3) and the confrontation at
Mogadishu(4). Their defeat was predictable
from the outset given the "terrorism from above" which was coordinated by the
Kleiner Krisenstab(5). For the first
time "armed existentialism" was driven to the point where it turned its own
violence against the masses. The desperate tactic of simply taking hostages
[the Lufthansa passengers] was translated by the Krisenstab into a
means of propagating a climate of mass fear. This laid the basis for a new,
broad, consensus to support the German Model in its latest phase. The
bestiality of the Social Democratic State was able to impose a new morality:
the German butchers have always been filled with the deepest morality.

During October, the internal coup d’état consolidated itself in the
emergency general staff. They started with the provocation of a new wave of
despair in the movement. They accelerated the killing of the hostages already
imprisoned for years.. This was to guarantee a reaction in the form of
"existentialist autonomization of revolutionary counter-violence”. The aim of
all parties in the coalition was to keep this process alive and harness it as a
vehicle for their own supper terrorism. The immediate objectives which were
agreed upon by the all-party coalition was the annihilation of the RAF
prisoners. We have since discovered more about this. We know that the speedy
enactment of the solitary confinement law [passed on February 30,1978] meant
more drastic isolation after years of solitary confinement: in effect a death
sentence. It meant the transformation of the prisoners into shadows of
themselves and their psychological destruction. The sequence of events is
terrifying: two days before Mogadishu the historian Golo Mann
(6) became the self-proclaimed announcer of a
campaign which climaxed in the demand to kill the RAF prisoners, one after
another, as hostages of the state. One day later, the emergency general staff
discussed this proposal. It was apparently rejected on tactical grounds. What
we have since learned about Mogadishu has led us to the conclusion that a
special commando unit of the State Protection Agency entered Stammheim prison
on their own initiative and did its work immediately after the liberation of
the plane hostages. They apparently used a special entrance. The prison officer
on duty that night on the seventh floors has since disappeared. The discovery
of arms, the suicide stories etc. were an operation of pure concealment by the
security police. The emergency general staff was probably informed of the action
during the same night. It decided to cover it up because, on the previous day,
it had judged this public liquidation to be a tactual mistake. Involvement and
complicity in this cynical crime has welded together more strongly the
various agencies of state power. The range of these agencies is extensive. It
is no accident that the renegades of the Social Democratic Party,
ex-Jusos(7) from Ruhr to
Wischenwski(8) have themselves acted as
agents of this policy of terror from above. They assumed that they, and not
the hijackers, were the better terrorists.

One day we may arrive at the truth. Perhaps there will be a German Watergate.
More likely, however, there will be some additional state funerals of the less
ceremonial kind: more "suicides" in the prisons, more traffic accidents, and
more free trips to the bottom of the Rhine and Elbe.

Since Mogadishu we have witnessed the further development of the coup
d'état from within. The "Final Solution" for the RAF prisoners
corresponds to the planned ghettoization of the whole autonomous mass movement
in West Germany. The ruling powers have their directed all of their institutions
and media to coordinate a campaign of fear arising from "armed existentialism".
For the first time, the Lufthansa hijacking made possible the collectivization
of fear. The state was able to channel it and mobilize it against the broader
network of the autonomous movement. It is, in effect, a centrally directed
operation as described by Peter Bruckner(9).

In the West Germany of 1976-77 there was a broad connection between the
desires of the class for self-determined activity beyond the discipline of
work, and the practice of alternative movements. It is not only the autonomous
left which has refused the rules of established politics which attempt to
subjugate the class into abstract labor-power. The dissolution of the nuclear
family, the self-emancipation of women, and the many other partial movements
for the reappropriation of social existence against capital, all express a
social revolution which has taken root way beyond the autonomous initiatives.

Until Mogadishu/Stannheim, the capitalist state could not successfully intervene against these movements which oppose the German Model. The state could not grasp the nature of the autonomous movement. Since Mogadishu it confronts it for the first time on the basis of a new conceptualization. It has declared the movement to be the front line, the wider strategic terrain in which the guerilla activists operate. It has seen it as a swamp that must be dried out. The main object of attack is dissent in general, refusal to adjust, and refusal of productivity. The state sees the permanent damage which has been caused by the massive withdrawal from murderous rhythms of work by replacing the nuclear family with communes, and by refusing all kinds of discipline from examinations to general social regulation. Because the autonomous network is impenetrable and can no longer be split from within, it must be encircled from outside. The media as a whole has been mobilized to attack the subversive terrain of the autonomous movement by the working class to create imaginary fears in the face of the deepening disintegration of the state. Parallel to this runs a tendency to criminalize at all costs the process of isolation. Policing functions can be divided into many different functions and levels. They have two main objectives. The first is to make visible the social linkages of the regrouped movement and to intimidate whole neighborhoods through regular police raids. The objects of attack are youth centers, communes, local community newspapers. Secondly the subjects themselves are put onto computers. They become targets of all kinds of attack, from the individual manhunts to purification campaigns in football stadiums, and special new concentration camps.

We can see just how far the ruling powers will go in their attempt to use the subversive needs of the class against those whom it has begun to put into practice; the extent to which the German Model can be seen in the sub-human terrorists. We can now begin to see that the Nazi concept of the Jew Marxist-Slave was only a prior projection. The latter has not only managed politically to realize its profound need for a life without the rhythm of work or the terror of the nuclear family, but has put these needs into practice in daily life.


I propose the following general thesis: since 1974-75 the autonomous movement
has been able to maintain a network of organization within the crisis-State and
its plan of enforcing the Philips curve.(10)
This network is self-managed and it attacks the German Model at its roots. This development has not been seen by the European left, but it has been noticed by American comrades. The changing connection between refusal and the creation of positive alternatives characterizes a period of flux and retreat in the face of potential violence. It signifies an escape from a system of violence in which the tactics and traditional strategies of the Left have proven fruitless. It is important to understand the reasons for the forced retreat of the extra-parliamentary mass movement and of worker militancy which was born in the early seventies. All of the reports of socialistrevolutionary groups agree of one point as regards the events of 1973-74: they all point to the complete criminalization of direct conflict.

Workers in all major sectors today see their activities being constantly
monitored. Gigantic surveillance systems and bugging devices have been
installed in the plants with personal control systems, so that any attempt to
make contact outside of immediate work group leads to immediate confrontation.
Meanwhile there are also individualised personal identification systems that
register workers' attitudes by machine stoppage time, complaints to the shop
steward, absenteeism, sick leaves and the family situation. The level of
surveillance in the factory is increasingly extended outwards in the form of
an invisible state of siege in the urban districts. In some urban centers
there are television systems that film all major road junctions and squares.
Identification techniques now permit searches for individuals without direct
intervention via a television control center. Such surveillance systems are
currently being installed in all crucial and visible centers of power:
commercial centers, suburban transportation systems, and even in universities.
The fundamental role of the installations of surveillance is clearly to
paralyze any possibility of direct confrontation. We can see how effective
this is if we add the invisible kinds of supervision: the introduction of a
personal identification system which gathers all information about social
behavior in one place including family background, social security, school
records. Surveillance is one central answer of the crisis-State to the
propensity for ever-increasing groups of the class to struggle in work places
without institutional mediation(11) and to
appropriate social wealth.

Secondly the surveillance system has been complemented by a systematic
institutionalization of the capacity to struggle. Before 1973-74 some sections
of the mass movement struggled temporarily within and against this level of
institutionalization despite the growing surveillance. Young workers tried to
get integrated into the trade union organizations. The multinational company
unions tried to take over the lower echelon shop steward movement. Academically
qualified groups of the New Left entered the fray as journalists, writers and
teachers. The student movement tried to penetrate the university organization
with its own self-management committees. All of the rebellious and militant
groups of the mass movement wished to take the "long march through the
institutions".(12) This march was clear
proof of the ability of the ruling power
to launch the historical rupture of the 1960's which followed. Now four years
later, we can conclude: the long march has failed due to the relentlessness of
capitalist state power. All the dreams about using the institutions themselves
to open up and democratise the system have been irrevocably exploded. The social
revolutionary minorities found themselves thrown in among the marginalized
sections of the class: the homeless, unemployed youth, foreign migrant workers,
single-parent families, housewives, the handicapped, old ex-cons, and the
mentally ill. In this process they discovered themselves and the community with
its counter-culture. They rediscovered themselves in the states of the
unemployed, of those fired or refused jobs on political grounds, of casual
workers, or they began a double existence divided between enforced adaptation
to the norms and refusal. This signaled, for the proletariat, a process of
self-discovery that was the birth of its autonomy, the moment when it
discovered itself. At the same time they abandoned both their role as mass
worker and the union structure which was seen as an intrinsic aspect of the
German Model.


So the era of autonomy began. A comrade recently wrote in the Munich community
paper Blatt: "Autonomy means to give yourself a name, based on your own desires and needs, to change the totality, and thus also daily life, to put subjectivity first . . . In its positive expression this involves the development of new contents and forms of life, opposed to one another and not reducible to one single formula, but which reflect the plurality of needs. Its negative expression, this shattered the unity of the oppressed groups, signaled the end of conciliation, and the refusal of politics as such". This description of forms-of-behavior seems adequate to an understanding of the nature of the mass movement which has expanded enormously since l974-75. It has established itself on many different terrains, spreading across the entire Federal Republic as a network of loosely connected regional centers in which the former gap between the former strongholds and the provinces is closing. Everywhere we find the same sections of the movement, often only loosely defined, linked through foci like youth centers or local community papers. I can only sketch very roughly the level of development of these partial movements. What is of decisive importance is that, without exception, they all define themselves according to their actual place in the process of social reproduction and in relation to the nodal points of capitalist discipline. A third of the students and assistants in higher education (students and diploma-work force) belong, in their language and mode of living, to the autonomous movement in the broadest sense. They no longer define themselves according to the internal constraints of the knowledge factory, but rather according to the possibilities of surviving as unemployed while studying and developing an alternative social definition.

Women produce and reproduce the crisis of the nuclear family. Through their own autonomous network, they withdraw more and more from the strategy of the crisis which aims at a new subjugation within the class under patriarchal control with continuously more unpaid housework. Working-class youth has been temporarily disintegrated though drugs, alcoholism and aimless violence and surrendered to the stark alternative of adaptation within a reinforced factory discipline or unemployment. In the meantime the youth centers succeeded in organizing collectively against the "right to work" and in connecting young unemployed with the trade union movement. Finally there is the
broad prisoners’ movement which is increasingly integrated with smaller regional movements. Their struggle is especially important because nowhere else is the social content of the German Model developed so early or as methodically as in the prisons: by reorganizing the majority of prisoners into homogenous groups as labor power and by isolating and psychoanalyzing the maladjusted. This grass roots movement shows that the social revolt against the strongholds of punishment can be led by all prisoners and that it is incorrect to assign it only to the so-called political prisoners.

This brief outline of the various sections of the movement will have to
suffice. It must be stressed that this is a movement which encompasses many
thousands, and in which the New Left plays a principal role. The network began
in 1975 and has been concerned with developing positive alternatives to work and
to the structures of discipline within the system. This network pierces the structures of capitalist control over labor power, simultaneously leaving the old struggles which had been largely centered on the factory. The new initiatives have stimulated and reactivated these old struggles in the factory. The comrade cited above argues that they are "networks to build, ditches to dig, a context of struggled to develop, niches and cracks within the system
to occupy, a state to nibble away at” — that is to aim at “the decomposition
and isolation of the state rather than its destruction" as part of the goal of
the movement. The movement also seeks to make connections. Even if the struggles
against nuclear power remained temporary, its mass action was signifigant —
as most recently the [September 24,1977] demonstration of 60,000 against the
Kalkar reactor station — and equal in importance to the demonstrations
which took place in 1967-68.(13)


Returning to the initial hypotheses that the German Model is a force directed
against mass autonomy. On the other side mass autonomy is itself no less of a
force than the German Model. This is significant because the partial autonomous
movements are once again on the offensive against the overall system of
discipline from which they were excluded in 1974-75. They are beginning to
cover more and more of the central terrains of power. The autonomous movement
is faced with new problems. (1) Its immediate task is to define more precisely
the subversive content of the masses, who have been atomized by the gigantic
work-machine of the society. Until now they have, to a surprising extent,
succeeded in translating their right to live into action. But they were often
forced to do this from a position of indescribable want and hardship. (2) The
right to live should be expanded by all partial movements into a right to an
income independent of capitalist work. (3) New forms of appropriation of the
enormous social wealth must be developed. It appears that the autonomous mass
movement in Germany is developing on lines similar to that of Italy where the
issue has been that of guaranteeism [the movement to establish a guaranteed
social wage for those normally dubbed "unproductive" workers: the unemployed,
housewives, students. (4) Without surrendering the social aggregation points
which we have already defined, the autonomous movement must intensify its
struggle against the German exploitation Model in all of its aspects, attacking
it at its source: surplus labor as its essential precondition for the
controlled reproduction of the social life of the class. This step is
essential to avoid the threat of ghettoization of the class. This step would
also expand the political level of mass struggles, without being forced to
accept the old and false rules of the game of the "autonomy of the
political".(14) A gradual combination of all
partial movements within the process of social reproduction would follow from
this. One thing will and must continue to exist: a mass movement that is without
hierarchy, that is fully egalitarian and which increasingly abolishes the old
class divisions. The movement must abolish all privileges of the centers over
the provinces, of men over women, of the young over the old, of Germans against
immigrants, of technicians against mass workers, of the waged against the
unwaged. The perspective of revolutionary class unity grows from below but
must absorb within itself more privileged sectors of the class.

We cannot ignore the threat of terrorism against the autonomous mass movement.
Even if we hope for an authentic counter-initiative enabling us to escape from
the planned ghettoization, the surviving prisoners remain hostages of the state.
We know that as long as they are condemned to solitary confinement, cynics like
Helmut Schmidt can always strike at the heart of our movement. They will try
again at a more advanced level of decomposition of the power structure to drive
sections of our movement into forms of violent confrontation, the outcome of
which is pre-determined by the emergency general staff, and used against our
social revolutionary perspective as a whole. They will continue to try to
separate the question of revolutionary counter-violence from its social base
to paralyze us by substituting their own alienated forms of appearance.

Ultimately they will try to rob us of our own legitimate violence. We stand
at the threshold of a new period. At present we are not willing to continue the
debate with the comrades of the armed groups who are responsible for the
killing of bank director Ponto.(15) Such a
debate would be a welcome spectacle for the eyes of those in the one-party
coalition of capital and state. We will force them into a dialogue by fighting
for the liberation of the imprisoned comrades and by achieving success. This
will be only the first step to including all prisoners and all those in custody.
Only when the condemned, shadows from the jails of Stammheim and Berlin and
elsewhere are again among us will we be prepared to make ourselves visible in
the discussions of our own and their mistakes.


11 [Editor’s Footnote: i.e., since the death of prisoners of the Red Army Faction in Stammheim maximum security prison on October 18, 1977.]

2 [Editor’s Footnote: Helmut Heinrich Waldemar
Schmidt was a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of Germany and served
as Chancellor of West Germany from 1974 to 1982. He sanctioned the October 18,
1977 attack of the GSG9, the elite anti-terrorist group of the German Federal
Police, on the Lufthansa flight that had been hijacked by four Palestinians
— reportedly members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of
Palestine — who demanded the release of Red Army Faction members then
held in German prisons.]

3 [Editor’s Footnote: In 1977, ex-Nazi and former SS officer, Hanns-Martin Schleyer was President of the Confederation of German Employers’ Association and of the Federation of German Industries. He was captured by the Red Army Faction on September 5,1977 and executed in response to the murder of RAF prisoners.]

4 [Editor’s Footnote: Mogadishu, Somalia where the hijacked Lufthansa airplane was attacked by the GSG9.]

5 [Editor’s Footnote: the inner emergency staff of the Chancelor’s Cabinet.]

6 [Editor’s Note: Angelus Gottfried Thomas Mann was the son of Thomas Mann and a popular, liberal German historian and writer who was already known for opposing the student movement in Germany.]

7 [Editor’s Note: ex-Jusos refers to former
members of the youth organization of the SPD (Jungsozialistinnen und
Jungsozialisten in der SPD

8 [Editor’s Note: Hans-Jurgen Wischnewski was an ex-Minister of State and Deputy of the Social Democratic Party. It was he who negotiated with the Somali government to permit the GSG9 to assault the hijacked Lufthansa jet.]

9 Peter Bruckner professor of psychology at Hanover Technical University was smeared in the press and suspended from his job after having been accused of sheltering Ulrike Meinhof.

10 [Editor’s footnote: The Phillips curve was
originally a representation of the statistically observable relationship between
wages and unemployment, i.e., as unemployment declined, wages rose. The name
“Phillips curve”, however, became associated , by most economists, with a similar
trade-off between inflation and unemployment wherein rising unemployment
was associated with lower levels of inflation. Because in the 1970s a great many
economists viewed inflation as driven by rising wages, increased unemployment was
used as a weapon against wage increases (and hence against inflation).]

11 [Editor’s footnote: “without institutional mediation” refers to the bypassing of institution such as unions or official student groups.]

12 [Editor’s footnote: German student leader
Rudi Dutschke’s reformulation of Gramsci’s notion of building working class
hegemony from the inside: “Der lange Marsch durch die Institutionen”.]

13 [Editor’s footnote: This is a reference to
the German student movement protests, the 68er-Bewegung — an important part of the world-wide wave of struggles at that time.]

14 [Editor’s footnote: This is a reference to
the position of the Italian Communist Party line of the mid-seventies — a
strategy of long-run institutional change that was opposed to the proposals of
the Italian New Left and eventually led to the CPI joining with the Christian
Democrats in a “Historic Compromise”, i.e., a coalition that launched the
April 7, 1979 wave of repression in that paralleled the earlier one in Germany
being critiqued here.]

15 [Editor’s footnote: Jürgen Ponto was chairman of the Dresdner Bank board of directors. On July 30, 1977, he was shot in his 30-room mansion in the course of an apparent kidnapping attempt by members of the Red Army Faction. He later died of his wounds.]