neděle 9. srpna 2009

the unions on new grounds: when the workmate becomes a client

9 08 2009

The next of The Commune’s London reading group series is on the subject of “‘Schools for communism?’: workplace organising and theories of trade unionism”. We will be looking at different conceptions of how unions are formed, their role in the structures of capitalism and their limitations, and then studying more concretely various aspects of organising in the 21st century. A full agenda will be published shortly. This piece from Prol Position is on the reading list, and takes an interesting view of the current brand of organising initiatives.

Militant Research, self-interviews, workers’ centres, campaigning and organizing: currently there is a part of the left that gets enthused by ‘undogmatic approaches’ which tackle the question of resistance within waged work. Study trips to the US, visits at workers’ centres and at organizing campaigns all give the impression that these new instruments of union struggle will shake up the rusty white-dominated union landscape in Germany because the target of these initiatives are principally young immigrant workers, women and employees in the service sector. Is a completely new and different union in the making? Or, to put the question differently: does the crisis of the institution “union” open up spaces for new forms of organising? Does the union apparatus provide help for opening new doors or do lefty activists let themselves be instrumentalised in order to provide the institution with a new and up-to-date outfit?

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