Steven Parfitt - 9 November 2018
Current debates on automation, precarity, identity and internationalism would do well to better observe the lessons of labour history.
Labour history should be a field in demand. Jeremy Corbyn appears as a possible British Prime Minister, and a growing number of Americans see their salvation in strikes and socialism. Journalists write endlessly about the “white working class,” a force with the power to elect Trump, vote for Brexit, and support a slew of rightist demagogues across Europe. Shelves of books anticipate full automation and the end of work, or the casualisation of work, or the rise of a post capitalist order from within the existing system. These events and trends all have a past, and they can and must be found in the history of work, workers, and their movements.
Yet labour history is the subject that dare not speak its name. Unions no longer promote their own history with the old enthusiasm... See more
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