2017/01/12: "If I was setting up a union today," said Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party, "it would be the Union of Web Workers - organising the interests of information workers who use screens and keyboards as the tools of their trade." An interesting thought, though notably not one his or any other political party has pursued.
Others suspect that if the precarious workforce of the sharing economy start organising themselves it's likely to be via a more diffuse medium than anything resembling a 20th-century union. Joining such a traditional organisation would be deeply counter-cultural for many millennials - detached from their experience of work, with little possibility of securing collective bargaining over pay in their fragmented workplace.
If our existing unions are too shackled to the past to reinvent themselves for this task, then other pro-worker, tech-savvy, fleet-of-foot social innovators are likely to step forward. History suggests that sooner or later labour finds ways of responding to changes in how capital organises itself. Maybe that age-old dynamic is all played out - perhaps we've reached the "end of history" in terms of how workers organise.
Possibly, but it's more likely we're witnessing a painfully slow adjustment, one that will - eventually - give rise to new forms of post-industrial organisation that will usurp the old.
The main difference between the Old Left and the Alt-Left is that the latter focuses more on the cultural, behavioral and psychological sides of economic life. In a world where material resources a...
The Conversation is running a series, Class in Australia, to identify, illuminate and debate its many manifestations. Here, Chris Peers argues that the union movement and academics debased the currency
It took 25 years to organize rural labor, now it takes five. This seriously weakens the advantages of fleeing to cheap labor countries. A very interesting editorial by Immanuel Wallerstein: "Ever since there has been a capitalist world-economy, one essential mechanism of its successful functioning has been the runaway factory. After a period of significant... Continue reading ...