The Meanings of Work: Essay on the Affirmation and Negation of Work (Historical Materialism Books (Haymarket Books))
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Contrary to the affirmation of the end of labour, The Meanings of Work explore the complexity of the working class today; the sexual division of labour and transversalities between the dimensions of class and gender; globalisation of capital and labour.
growing conflict within the proletariat made it unable to consolidate 20. Bernardo 1996, pp. 19–20. 21. Bihr 1991, pp. 69–70. 30 • Chapter Three alternative forms of organisation that could oppose the unions and traditional parties. The practices of self-management became limited to the microcosm of the company or the workplace and were not able to erect mechanisms that would ensure their longevity. Being unable to overcome these limitations, the actions of workers – despite their
sought to eliminate the legacy of the Party’s association with ‘socialism’ that was, at least formally, still referred to in its statutes. The debate put forward by Tony Blair around the removal of Clause 4 from the party-constitution (which defended the communal ownership of the means of production) resulted in its replacement by wording that provides a clear example of the set of changes that were under way in the Labour Party. The clause that referred to collective ownership was replaced with
basis of the system of production of capital, as Marx warned in the Grundrisse.7 His preparatory notes show that, from the mid-nineteenth century, the relation between labour-value and science was extremely important. Yet, even acknowledging the hyper-dimensionality of science in the contemporary world, social knowledge generated by scientific progress is restricted in its goals by the logic of capital-reproduction. Unable to establish a social order that produces useful things in disposable
The logic of the system of production of commodities is transforming competition and the search for productivity into a destructive process that has led to widespread labour-precarisation and a monumental increase in the industrial reserve-army – the number of unemployed. By way of an example: even Japan, with its Toyotist model committed to ‘lifelong employment’ for around 25 per cent of its workforce, has had to relinquish this employment-condition in order to keep up with the competition
qualified and unqualified, ‘included’ and ‘excluded’, representing what I refer to as the new morphology of labour. This brings us to our next thesis. VIII – Tracing a new morphology of labour In contrast to theses that advocate the end of labour, our challenge is to understand the new morphology of labour, of which the most distinguishing feature is multifacetedness, resulting from the significant transformations that have shaken capital in recent years. This new morphology stretches from