Scoop Review of Books

Archive for December, 2010

The globalisation of the working class

Live Working or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global by Paul Mason
Vintage. Review by Mark Derby

The 1831 massacre of silk workers in Lyon by the French National Guard.

‘History never repeats’ makes a catchy lyric for a Split Enz song but a flawed premise in daily life. Labour history in particular – the history of the labour movement and the social and cultural development of working people – seems to repeat generation after generation. New products and markets are constantly developed but wage earners face the same old struggles over wages, conditions, workplace harassment, tedium and layoffs. Unless they’re aware of the history of those earlier struggles, they may be forced to reinvent tactics and strategies to counter them, and fail to learn from past successes and failures.

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