This short, recent book from Immanuel Ness is a useful look at three examples of Global South class struggle, in both examining the economic imperialism that forms this class struggle and the most promising vehicles for change (for Ness, a return to party-affiliated, strongly political trade unions that fight on a class basis). Ness ends up repeating many of his central ideas, those being the enduring importance of rural labor in the Global South, the failure of "syndicalist", worker-center, and other forms of worker organization often touted by NGOs or labor scholars, and the importance of organization for building lasting class power. More detailed histories and analyses of the "class-struggle" unions he cites as positive examples in the book (e.g. NUMSA) would be welcome, but at the very least this book offers multiple snapshots of 21st century class struggle outside of the Global North, helpful for situating activists who might be used to reading only about local labor struggles.
Part 1: Theories and Concepts of Labour in the Global South
Chapter 1: The Labour Atlas: The Southern Working Class Holding Up the World
As one could guess from the title, this chapter introduces a view of a divided world that will be familiar to readers of Zak Cope, John Smith, or other contemporary imperialism scholars. There are a few interesting comments beyond this however:
Thus, throughout the global South, trade unions which came of age from the 1940s to 1970s as strong and vigorous guardians of an incipient working class have now been eroded or rendered impotent in defending the broader working-class rights. Prior to the implementation of neoliberal reforms, strong unions sought to defend the rank and file and organize the most deprived workers. Today, unions are unable to even defend their own members, let alone organize the hundreds of millions of workers who have entered the labour force in the first two decades of the twentieth century.
The dominant pattern on a global level is the withdrawal of trade unions from the sphere of work in all but a few sectors. Yet the fading of strong and responsive trade unions has not diminished the aspirations of workers for strong labour and effective representation. Today, in the absence of strong trade unions, the dominant trend among scholars of labour movements is to demonstrate that the working class is engaged in new forms of organization. These scholars posit that workers reject the old form of labour organization, which was deficient in democratic participation and as a rule engaged in labour–management cooperation, which weakened the power of workers. The claim that trade unions had devolved into ossified organizations benefiting only labour leaders, thwarting the foundation of trade unions in the post-war era that was directly related to mass waves of labour protests and demands for representation. Thus, labour scholarship asserts that because established trade unions ineluctably ensconce themselves into serving the interests of capital or compromising with it, workers have formed independent, autonomous trade unions to advance their class interests.
Introducing the need for "stronger organization", but here Ness does not specify an alternate thesis to why the existing trade union movement has degenerated so thoroughly and abandoned this "stronger organization".
The book also argues that with stronger organization, labour struggles would expand dramatically, as workers are prone to engage in disruptive activity under the umbrella of a class-wide organization which has the capacity to defend and advance conditions, prevent the setting of one segment of the workforce into opposition against another, and act as a class- wide force. Thus, the labour scholarship is misplaced, as it fails to integrate the significance of strong unions and parties. Thus, we must distinguish between the quotidian protests which occur openly today and real class power, reflected in organization.
On formally urban areas that are more rural in level of development (but what about other definitions of rural, ex. what are the primary industries, how is land managed, etc?)
A decisive factor in Third World urbanization from 1950 to the present is the enduring connection between the urban proletariat and rural regions. In addition, basic services and urban infrastructure do not accompany the growth of urban zones in these regions. The designation ‘urban’ does not denote access to clean water, sanitation, electricity, transportation, healthcare, education, or even food stocks. Unsurprisingly, planetary population growth is associated with higher density rates, which are often likely to change rural zones into urban settlements, but density does not imply basic services that are typically present in the global North.
Serious scholarship is built upon a resolute refutation of the latest fads that captivate labour intellectuals, which only confuse and distort a vivid conceptualization of the stark divisions that are appearing globally. Most recently, conceptual distortion of workers, the working class, and working-class organization has emerged as scholars conjure up terms such as ‘the precariat’ and ‘autonomous unions’. There are no new discoveries about the nature of labour and working-class organization. Concomitantly, we must reject the dominant view in the West that the working class is dis- appearing as a social force through the introduction of new technology and its application in the material world. Digitization and robotization are the latest iterations, but they will not change the calculus of class antagonism and the necessity for working-class and peasant organization.
Chapter 2: Workers' Movements in the South: Inequality, Poverty, and Enduring Relevance of Rural Proletariat and Informal Sector Workers
An opening critique of the NGO/worker-center model:
A large and growing unionization campaign involved migrant labourers, for example the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), essentially an NGO, directed a fair-food campaign educating consumers about the poor conditions among underpaid migrant labourers working for food processing companies and fast-food chains. The organization, which serves workers in the fields, primarily relies on donations from middle- and upper-class consumers. The organization emphasizes membership involvement, but there is scant evidence of direct worker involvement. CIW is not a union of workers, but an NGO which considers itself a human rights organization conducting various campaigns claiming to be ‘worker-driven’, such as the Fair Food Program launched in 2011.
As we enter the 2020s, wages and conditions of migrant workers have only marginally improved. However, the number of migrant labourers in the urban sector of the economy has declined over the past 30 years. Some of the workers’ centres have transformed their activities from direct representation to advocacy for better conditions. Consequently, migrant workers do not have direct representation, but their causes are supported through various corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaigns. Thus, for the most part, workers themselves do not participate actively in their own labour organizations, but rely on best practices established by these organizations. Devoid of direct representation, the leaders of these organizations, almost exclusively labour rights lawyers and advocates, have advanced the cause of changing the laws to protect migrant labourers, restaurant employees, and domestic workers. Consequently, CSR campaigns in the USA, as elsewhere, have evolved into promoting good practices and pose no risk to employers.
On the IWW in it's heyday:
However, the IWW did not represent a robust political organization representing the working class on a broader level. Thus, while militant workers mobilized and waged strikes, in every case any concessions from capital could not be preserved. In this way, in the absence of a political platform for workers, aside from perfunctory opposition to capitalism writ large, the IWW was an inchoate political force which would not attract workers seeking a strong organization capable of establishing and maintaining concrete gain. Like twenty-first-century autonomists, the IWW had no programme to challenge the capitalist state.
Fordism and its different forms:
This book views Fordism as a model of labour relations as an interregnum which was confined principally to the West from around 1930 to 1975, and was not replicated in other eras or regions of the world. Fordism exemplifies the class compromise, a system whereby industrial workers consent to cooperate and collaborate with management to produce efficiently in exchange for stable and well-paying jobs. Fordism took root in Western Europe and North America in the era of mass production prior to the 1970s crisis of capitalism and the introduction of neoliberalism. In the metropolitan and settler-colonial states, Fordist unions typically were unified with social democratic and labour-based parties, where they had relatively formidable influence over organizational decisions influencing their industries. As strong sectoral-based unions in large industrial factories in steel, automobiles, and electronics, the parties customarily had high levels of membership participation, even if the end of the era was marked by speed-ups, intensification of labour productivity, and shopfloor dissent. Global South Fordism was dominated by a small number of unions formed around state-owned public sector industrial manufacturing (e.g. steel, shipping, mining, electricity) dominated by strong, centralized Marxist and Left parties. In contrast to the global North, Southern Fordism encompassed a small segment of the urban industrial working class, while the vast majority of the population laboured in rural regions or in settlements surrounding urban areas (see the discussion of rural labour in Chapter 1).
Ness has an interesting argument here for recent failures in US industrial organizing (like the losses at car plants in the South):
US labour scholars often point to the sophisticated anti-union campaigns directed by public relations specialists and law firms as a reason for the failure to organize workers, but to most American industrial workers, trade union membership was not seen as appreciably improving relatively high wages compared to most jobs. Most significantly, by the 1960s, service and public service unions in education, healthcare, and beyond had surpassed manufacturing unions in membership and influence over the labour movement. Although a growing number of teachers and educators went on strike in the USA in 2018–19, the public sector is viewed as an essential service, in contrast to private sector work. Even though the teacher strikes were often unauthorized, they gained substantial public support. Consequently, manufacturing, service, and retail sector unions are typically far more cautious in taking job actions and strikes than public sector workers.
On strikes (similar argument applies to street protests/riots, which are a continuous symptom of class struggle but not necessarily an advance in it):
As such, contrary to Silver, the number and intensity of strikes are not measures of capacity for the working class to build organizational economic and social power. In themselves, strikes do not consolidate the power of the working class. In the absence of a strong working-class organization, whether union or party, the inability to absorb the class-conscious working class and adopt the aspirations of workers in political decisions will not lead to short- or long-term success, as fetishizing the spontaneous strike is in reality a bourgeois construct.
Without doubt, a democratic, militant, and mobilized working class is indispensable for building strong labour unions, which can in turn con- solidate and preserve working-class militancy of the past. However, trade unions which lack a transformative and revolutionary ideology, necessarily linked to a political party, are incapable of building lasting class-wide power and solidarity. Instead, labour unions will default into sectoral, geographic, racial, ethnic, and identity formations, dispensing with class solidarity.
Thus, imagining autonomism as a successful revolutionary programme for the broader working class is a utopian construct which proclaims the obvious and palpable militancy of industrial labour as a novel development, whereas the evidence of class struggle over 150 years plainly displays that labourers will always resist exploitation and oppression. However, this book argues that if workers form a strong revolutionary organizational force, that resistance will be sustained and far more successful. While it may be pleasing to proclaim autonomous resistance as tantamount to victory for the oppressed, contra John Holloway, we cannot change the world without taking power. Undeniably, the historical record over the past century reveals that taking political and economic power (over the shopfloor, community, or state) has brought palpable gains for workers. Confirming that workers have the capacity to act is no more than the surrender of tangible power to capital and the state. Autonomism signifies an admission of defeat and a celebration of the capacity of workers to every so often disrupt capitalist exploitation and bourgeois state power with no viable organizational alternative with which to challenge neoliberalism.
Choice Lenin quote:
"The non-propertied, but non-working, class is incapable of overthrowing the exploiters. Only the proletarian class, which maintains the whole of society, can bring about the social revolution. However, as a result of the extensive colonial policy, the European proletarian partly finds himself in a position when it is not his labour, but the labour of the practically enslaved natives in the colonies, that maintains the whole of society. The British bourgeoisie, for example, derives more profit from the many millions of the population of India and other colonies than from the British workers. In certain countries this provides the material and economic basis for infecting the proletariat with colonial chauvinism. Of course, this may be only a temporary phenomenon, but the evil must nonetheless be clearly realized and its causes understood in order to be able to rally the proletariat of all countries for the struggle against such opportunism. This struggle is bound to be victorious, since the ‘privileged’ nations are a diminishing faction of the capitalist nations."
Revolutionary union (fighting and winning everyday battles + long-term vision of revolution):
A revolutionary union must both fulfil the immediate needs of workers and remain committed to ending the alienation of workers from the capitalist labour process through the establishment of a socialist society, which is a formidable task. Failure to resist the further erosion of wages and conditions on a practical level will invalidate the trade union’s anti-capitalist programme. Time and again, the union and workers’ organization must prove themselves to the worker. In this way, the union must be present within the daily struggles of the working class for sanitation, clean water, electricity, housing, and education, in addition to developing opposition against employers and the state. In the absence of a reliable and dependable working-class organization, workers will distrust organizers and refuse to accept the organization in leading a resistance and general mobilization against employers. In each case study in this book, workers respond to the ebb and flow of labour organizers. Sustained mass unrest will only come about where there is strong and determined labour organizational support. This tremendous task can only be achieved with the support of a detachment of the working class which is sympathetic to the needs and aspirations of workers, and which has the capacity and resources to wage a sustained organizing campaign, demanding improved conditions in the specific struggle while maintaining a programme for the empowerment of the working class. If we are to modernize Lenin’s critique of working-class spontaneity and economism for the contemporary working class, unions and labour organizations must have a detailed revolutionary plan for overcoming the hegemony of capital and must build confidence by challenging oppressors every day.
Beyond question, it is necessary that the workers should lead and actively participate in collective action. However, the spontaneous activity of the working class must not be the major force for change. To achieve tangible gains, workers must have discipline, knowledge of political economy, and an analytic grasp of revolutionary anti-capitalist theory. In this way, what has been referred to as an advanced detachment of the working class must lead and guide workers, rather than trail the disruptive spontaneous movements. This leadership must be situated within the working-class organization in advancing demands and inspiring workers to cast doubt on the capitalist system which exploits them. Without this leadership drawn from revolutionary leaders of the workers, the struggles will fail to meet their short- and long-term goals.
Part 2: Case Studies: Rural and Informal Labour Struggles
Chapter 3: Primitive Steel Manufacturing for the Global Consumer Market: Capital, Super-exploitation, and Surplus Value in Wazirpur, India
Unquestionably, neoliberal reform has expanded India’s urbanization, but the ambiguous capitalist development from 1990 to the present has not created large Fordist industry, but has had a propensity towards small and medium-sized enterprises (SMSEs), impeding unequivocal development of an industrial working class with a predisposition towards intense labour militancy comparable to the metropolitan and settler economic models of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, or even late industrializing states. As political economist and activist Abhinav Sinha observes, ‘capital has scattered the 93 percent portion of the working class in terms of the work place’, and approximately 80 per cent of all industrial units in India are SMSEs employing fewer than 50 workers. Job stability is not the norm in the 20 per cent of India’s factories with more than 50 labourers, as the vast majority are employed on a contingent basis as contract workers for labour brokers.
Indisputably, India’s urban working class is expanding as a consequence of urban migration, yet, at the same time, the rural peasantry endures as a salient socio-economic demographic force, as the country’s population continues to grow, though at a slower pace, and a substantial share of the urban working class residing in slums return regularly to rural areas when regular work is unavailable, to till their small plots of land. Contrary to common outlooks promoted by global development organizations and scholars, the rural population is growing in the world, global South, and India. The major region which has experienced rural population decline is the developed states (see Figure 3.1).
Walking through Wazirpur today, the conditions prevailing in Dogra’s description 30 years ago remain pervasive. Without exaggeration, Wazirpur conjures impressions of what it may have been like as an industrial worker in Manchester, London, or Birmingham in mid-nineteenth-century England. In the same way as the Irish or rural English worker Frederick Engels describes in The Condition of the English Working Class of 1844 or a figure in a Charles Dickens novel, in full view one immediately encounters numerous ramshackle small-scale steel mills on dusty roads with young men pulling rickshaws piled with dozens of sheets of flattened steel from a small hot-rolling mill to a cold-rolling mill, or from a cold-rolling mill to a utensil fabricator. Today, as 30 years ago, illegality prevails. While the area is known as a stainless steel utensil producer, many of the mills and operations operate illegally or in open violation of all laws intended to protect labour rights and prevent the abuse of workers.
Who are the workers of Wazirpur, and why are they important? The workers are almost entirely migrant labourers from the nearby states in northern India (Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) who have been forced to relocate to New Delhi due to economic despair and the deteriorating living conditions in their rural villages, to which they send home remittances to family members unable to survive without such support. Marx’s distinction of Britain’s labouring population into three sectors (well paid, badly paid, and the ‘nomadic population’) is especially apt in conceptualizing the status of the industrial workers of Wazirpur:
"We turn now to a class of people whose origin is agricultural, but whose occupation is in great part industrial. They are the light infantry of capital, thrown by it, according to its needs, now to this point, now to that. When they are not on the march, they ‘camp.’ Nomad labour is used for various operations of building and draining, brick-making, lime-burning, rail- way-making, etc. A flying column of pestilence, it carries into the places in whose neighbourhood it pitches its camp, small-pox, typhus, cholera, scarlet fever, etc. In undertakings that involve much capital outlay, such as railways, etc., the contractor himself generally provides his army with wooden huts and the like, thus improvising villages without any sanitary provisions, outside the control of the local boards, very profitable to the contractor, who exploits the labourers in two-fold fashion – as soldiers of industry and as tenants."
The unorganized industrial workers in Delhi waged an unprecedented challenge for higher wages and ending the contract labour system, but were unsuccessful in achieving immediate wage gains upon completion of their strike. CITU leaders and workers maintained their pressure into 1989, when 12,000 workers mobilized on the streets and held a rally demanding a wage increase and regularization, otherwise the struggle would be escalated. In April 1989, the government acceded to an unprecedented 33 per cent increase in the minimum wage from Rs 562 to Rs 750 (US$58 at the time). In addition, the government agreed to give minimum-wage workers an increase of 85 per cent of the biannual increase in the consumer price index. CITU’s efforts to register as an independent union were unsuccessful, and over the years the union federation withdrew its organizational presence in the four districts. One year later, in 1990, India’s liberalization reforms were implemented, and over the following three decades wages have declined to 1987 levels. While weekly wages increased dramatically in 1989, over the next 30 years minimum weekly wages have barely kept up with inflation. In 2017, the minimum wage hovered at US$45 per week, and in many cases, given that employers are often unregistered with the government, many workers do not even earn the minimum wage. Many unregistered employers failed to pay workers even the mandated minimum wage. Despite the failure to maintain and expand wages and workplace rights in the ensuing years, the 1987 strike is a testament to the capacity of workers in the jhuggis and squatter settlements to mobilize across shops in a single action. CITU did not have the power to transform the conditions of these slums, but workers recognized that mass mobilization with the support of allies could lead to improved conditions. Periodic efforts have been waged over the decades since by workers and Left political organizations, most notably in the worker insurgency of 2013–14 led by Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, an independent Marxist Leninist organization that has the dominant presence in Wazirpur and has organized unions among contract labourers throughout Delhi and beyond.
The political and labour organization Bharat Mukti Dal (BMD) mobilizes among workers most unions have disregarded beyond Wazirpur. The union’s major affiliates in the NCT of Delhi are: (1) domestic workers, (2) cleaners and service workers employed as subcontractors for the Delhi Metro, which began operation in December 2002, and (3) informal auto workers who lack job security in the hub of Gurugram, southwest of New Delhi. Significantly, Bigul Mazdoor Dasta engages in direct organizing among each community of workers to build an organic relationship of trust and confidence. Organizers in each community educate members in practical scientific knowledge: for example, theories of evolution, the humanities, music, and art. Most importantly, Bigul Mazdoor Dasta introduces members and their families to political education, focusing on the classical works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Mao Zedong to build class-consciousness grounded in scientific socialism. This method has educated the workers and their families while establishing an organizational base in each community, serving the function of galvanizing the power of workers. Notably, unlike many other organizations, BMD does not accept money from NGOs, and thus does not have the taint of other NGOs and labour-based organizations such as the New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) and SEWA. All three organizations (BMD, NTUI, and SEWA) have recognized the significance of organizing among impoverished workers in the informal economy. Timothy Kerswell and Surendra Pratep, in Worker Cooperatives in India, have characterized SEWA as an extension of ‘imperialist funding agencies’. In contrast, BMD is among the very few Indian labour organizations which maintains autonomy from foreign NGOs and is untarnished within working-class communities. In this way, BMD retains strong ties to communities and workers without outside interference. In Wazirpur, workers have publicly stated their confidence in BMD, which maintains a long-term presence within working-class communities based on a highly focused and clear materialist understanding of the significance of workers within specific communities that are linchpins to the Indian political economy.
Chapter 4: The Enduring System of Global Agricultural Commodity Production and First World Commodity Extraction: The Case of Mindanao, the Philippines
On agribusiness MNCs pushing cost pressure onto small suppliers, use of contractors, etc:
Consequently, the banana GCC [global commodity chain] is a hierarchical network dominated by the MNC agribusinesses which establish and preserve consumer markets and thrive by controlling and regulating production and distribution. MNCs garnered significant advantage through the partial land reform of the 1980s–2000s by shifting accountability from business to labourers. The need for economies of scale in a capitalist commodity chain forces farmers to rely on the costly resources and supplies of MNCs to produce and coordinate the distribution of bananas through the network. Even rural cooperatives rely on MNCs for these means of production and distribution. Thus, in a capitalist supply chain dominated by MNCs, landless peasants must work in the fields and packaging plants, where surplus labour is extracted from workers and the largest share of value transfer occurs, but value added is concentrated by the MNCs at the point of consumption in the global North. The suggestion by economists that formerly landless peasants with small plots of land can thrive in this process is illusory.
Low-cost production is achieved through the subcontracting of the production process to local growers. It is unnecessary to directly control the managerial system of production. By withdrawing from the direct ownership of plantations and packing houses which employ agrarian workers in the fields and packing houses, fruit companies gain advantages by detaching themselves from the production process. Instead, producers must ensure that production costs are reduced by setting wholesale prices, which direct producers must accept and secure if they are to gain access to the markets. Thus, the primary focus of corporate banana, pineapple, and papaya companies is the sourcing, direct and indirect production, shipment, and sale of fruit in affluent overseas markets.
As most trade unions train their organizing and mobilizing efforts toward the urban working classes, the KMU is also distinctive in its recognition of the significance of rural labour. In contrast to practically all other trade unions in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the world, the KMU considers agricultural workers in the countryside as a focal point of its organizing campaign.
In an extensive interview, Dizon points out that the cooperatives are set up as a ploy to pretend that workers have a direct stake in the production and distribution process when, in reality, the cooperatives are labour brokers providing non-union workers to the MNCs:
"Contractors and cooperative administrators are entitled to a minimum of 10 per cent of the total amount of the labour contract as administrative fees. In name they are cooperatives, but they are used by Sumifru to circumvent the labour law. Under Philippine law, if you are a member of a cooperative, you do not have to join a union because you are the owner of the cooperative. But before the workers could get a job with Sumifru, they were obligated to have a capital share of the cooperative. Since most workers do not have the capital, they borrow the funds from the cooperative managers, who operate as labour brokers."
In effect, the worker cooperative model in the Philippines abolishes worker rights. At the same time, workers must join these labour cooperatives, which are the only agencies permitted to secure labour to work in the Sumifru banana packing plants. In addition to the fees rural workers must pay cooperatives for the right to work at Sumifru, they must pay other fees for insurance and other requirements. Any workers who do not join the cooperative are detached from the GCC for bananas. Dizon explained that Sumifru is directly responsible for organizing the labour cooperatives and contracting their principal leaders. These principals enlist workers both in the plantations and packing plants of the Compostela Valley. As labour brokers, multinational banana firms only supply cooperative managers with fertilizer, chemicals, bagging materials, and packing materials necessary for harvesting and shipping bananas. Dizon notes: ‘NAMASUFA views the cooperative managers as contractors for Sumifru in the same way as labour agencies secure labour for large firms. In this case, the labour cooperative managers do not operate any differently from the principal companies.
Chapter 5: Global Capitalism: Corporate Restructuring, Labour Brokering, and Working-class Mobilization in South Africa
Discusses the split of NUMSA away from the main trade union federation, challenging the ANC, etc.
As a result of South Africa’s dependence on foreign MNCs, as we have seen in the case of Sumitomo in the Philippines in Chapter 4, multinationals like ArcelorMittal hold the power to discipline global South states, and their working classes who seek to improve the conditions of workers, by selling off stakes, retrenching, closing facilities, and withdrawing investments. To preserve strategic industries that are integrated into the global supply chain, the government and union had to concede to the demands of the MNC. In this way, the long struggle of workers and union to end labour broking in South Africa was successful in changing the neoliberal policies of the government, but multinational capital extracted gains by compelling states and workers to ensure the expansion of profits and capital accumulation.
While the dominant order is discredited, the new socialist force has been deliberate in forming a counter-hegemonic bloc to challenge the ANC. The formation of the SRWP as a vanguard party has completed the development of a popular front capable of challenging capital in labour struggles, but does not have the power to counter the Tripartite Alliance. It is necessary for the fledgling new socialist force to stay committed to the practical application of a socialist system. If successful, the SRWP and its allied social and workers’ movement will have a social base which mobilizes the broader working class outside established organizations. This was not evident in the 2019 elections, but building the party will require nurturing and time.
Chapter 6: Conclusion: Labour Struggles and Political Organization
A major contention of this book is that the rural and informal sector is the key driver of economies in most states of the global South, encompassing the vast majority of the world’s population. The majority of global demographers and economists at the United Nations, the World Bank, and other multilateral economic organizations view the world as urbanizing, while neglecting the fact that the rural regions have also expanded dramatically over the last 50 years. Moreover, urban areas are often rural zones that are engulfed by growing metropolitan areas, lacking basic services: running water, electricity, sanitation, and roads. Elsewhere in the global South, rural workers engage in circular migration to urban areas, returning home when their work is complete. As Breman shows, footloose labour is a predominant characteristic of workers in South Asia, where workers have no stable employment, but are employed in a range of occupations throughout the year. This form of precarious labour is unique to the global South. Thus, the unstable nature of labour in the global South has implications for working-class organizing because workers are employed in a multiplicity of jobs and zones in the urban–rural frontier. As Karen Rignall and Mona Atia assert, capital mobility has blurred the boundaries between rural and urban zones.
This book has attempted to demonstrate that workers are always engaged in political opposition in response to oppression. Autonomous unions and workers’ assemblies spring up continuously under capitalism. It is palpably clear that the working classes and rural peasant labourers in the global South are in motion today as they face neoliberal globalism and capitalist supply chains. Mass movements of workers are expanding dramatically in the contemporary period of neoliberal capitalism. The evidence of this can be seen in the numerous social protests that occur in the Global South on an increasing basis.
Workers often rise up and mobilize to defend and improve their wages and working conditions, yet this book shows that successful transformation requires organizational and political sustenance to survive and grow beyond protests into powerful movements.