A majority of the world’s workers lack formal jobs. Yet, in the popular imagination, and among many contemporary Marxist scholars, the idea of the working class and the labor movement largely revolves around traditional conceptions of workers as formalized wage workers engaged in commodity production or some other supposed relatively structurally significant job. As a result, informal workers, especially informal workers in Africa, have been largely overlooked as working-class actors and as labor movement participants.
By Joshua Lew McDermott|2023-11-21T20:53:09-05:00Nov 21, 2023|Categories: Blog article|Comments Off on Informal Workers in the Global South and the Global Labor Movement
On September 6, 2023, the United States military reportedly assisted the Somali government in an deadly counter-terrorism operation that killed five civilians. For many Americans, their immediate thought to hearing of this news is probably something along the lines of: I had no idea the US was militarily active in Somalia! What are they even doing there? […]
In response to the police murder of a 17-year-old youth, Nahel Merzouk, in the banlieue [variously translated as working class suburb, or even “inner city”] of Nanterre outside Paris, marginalized youth across the country engaged in nearly a week of clashes on the streets with police. During those nights of unrest, they also attacked and set fire to government buildings, automobiles, and shops. This amounted to the most serious urban uprising France has experienced in decades. It also constituted a danger signal not only to the French dominant classes, but also to all those countries, the U.S. included, that have allowed racially and ethnically marked communities of poverty and exclusion that suffer the double oppression of race and class to continue to exist in their midst.
In a recent series of articles published in the Journal of World-Systems Research (Part I and Part II), I examine why, in this current period of crisis, the contradictions of capitalism and its constituting ideology of liberalism have paved the way for fascism’s return. Though much marxist theory has explored the recurrent cycles and patterns of historical capitalism, not enough attention has been given to the tendency of moments of politico-economic crisis to become an ideological contestation between fascism and communism in the context of a crisis of liberalism. Following the work of marxist theorists who revisit fascism’s world-historical origins, I contend, we can better understand not only the politico-economic conditions in which fascism emerges, but also trace its reverberations through history to the present. In so doing, I identify three waves of historical fascism: 1922-1945 Classical Fascism; 1968-1989 Postcolonial Fascism; 2010s-present Postmodern Fascism. […]
The relationship between capitalism and racism is structural rather than merely historical. It is not just that capitalism emerged in an already-racialized context, and so developed in a racialized way. It is also that racism can be explained by its functional role in stabilizing capitalist class relations. This view has occasionally been described as "class reductionist." In our view, this does not itself amount to a fatal criticism, but it does associate our argument with others that we in fact reject.