WL Aus debate

Antonio Gramsci: working-class revolutionary

Published on: Tue, 25/09/2012 - 18:59

Printed book out of print (second edition coming around mid-2014); e-version available below.

Buy the download.

Antonio Gramsci was a leader of the Italian Communist Party in its revolutionary days, and spent all his last years bar a few weeks in Mussolini's fascist jails. The Prison Notebooks he wrote in jail have been quarried to justify many varieties of reformist or liberal politics.

A new Workers' Liberty booklet, discusses a major recent study on the Notebooks — Peter Thomas’s The Gramscian Moment — and argues that the Notebooks were in fact a powerful contribution to the working-out of

Australia: Going soft on religious reactionaries won't advance women's rights

Published on: Fri, 03/11/2006 - 03:33

The imam of Australia’s biggest mosque, in Lakemba, Sydney, recently caused an outrage after being reported as having “told a service at the mosque that women who do not wear the hijab, or headdress, are like uncovered meat.” In an apparent reference to the (actually 55 year) sentence given in a notorious gang rape case Sheik Hilaly was reported as saying:
“Sheik Hilaly said there were women who "sway suggestively" and wore make-up and immodest dress "and then you get a judge without mercy (rahma) and gives you 65 years." The Australian, 26 October.

Pip Hinman, of the Castroite Democratic

Against Howard's legislation: make the unions fight for full rights!

Published on: Mon, 02/10/2006 - 15:09

A discussion contribution from Martin Thomas. The left, in my view, should pick up and run with the proposals recently published by the ACTU, "A fair go at work: collective bargaining for Australian workers".

They need to be supplemented, but they include provisions which would give Australian workers a workable legal right to organise, gain union recognition, and get union-negotiated agreements.

The Australian Labor Party has promised to repeal the industrial relations legislation of John Howard's conservative government, but remains vague about what it will put in its place. ALP leaders'

Trade unionism, capitalist competition and fragmentation of bargaining

Published on: Tue, 02/09/2003 - 14:03

Discussion notes on the working class in "globalised" capitalism

Lash/Urry discussion notes 8: Capitalist competition and fragmentation of bargaining

The main theme of Lash/Urry's chapter 8 is the trend for trade-union bargaining to become more fragmented. Company bargaining, plant bargaining, or even departmental bargaining replaces overall national collective bargaining.

About the factual trend they are right. Sixteen years after they published their book, there can be no doubt about it.

The question for debate is the nature of the forces driving the trend. For Lash/Urry, the trend reflects

Radicalism, nomadism and working-class communities

Published on: Tue, 02/09/2003 - 14:01

Discussion notes on the working class in "globalised" capitalism

Lash/Urry discussion points 7: Radicalism, nomadism and working-class communities

Part of Lash/Urry's argument is that the diminished "capacities" of the working class arise from breaking-up of previously cohesive working-class communities. An almost exactly contrary view is presented in Negri/Hardt's book "Empire", where they hail "nomadism and miscegenation" as high examples of the "refusal" which is the inner subversive force within "Empire".

Below are some notes on this which a comrade sent to me some months ago, and my

Has politics become fractal?

Published on: Tue, 02/09/2003 - 13:56

Discussion notes on the working class in "globalised" capitalism

Lash/Urry discussion notes 6: Has politics become fractal?

Chapter 7 of "The End of Organised Capitalism", by Scott Lash and John Urry, contains some fairly commonplace comments on recent trends in industry and finance, and then some comments on politics which, for me, provoke more thought.
Lash/Urry's basic argument in this chapter is simple, and not very developed. Voting patterns have become more fragmented and volatile. This, for them, indicates that the capacity of the working class to sustain cohesive, continuously

Disorganised capital, disorganised labour?

Published on: Tue, 02/09/2003 - 13:53

Discussion notes on the working class in "globalised" capitalism

Disorganised capital, disorganised labour?

The labour movement in the richer countries has been weakened over the last 25 years. Why? What are the implications?

A group of us are discussing these issues by way of a critical reading of "The End Of Organised Capitalism", by Scott Lash and John Urry. I'll present my personal conclusions.
Lash and Urry distance themselves from all theories of "farewell to the working class" and disavow any blanket pessimism. Thus a discussion of their analysis is more complex than a straightforward

Sunk in the suburbs?

Published on: Tue, 02/09/2003 - 13:51

Discussion notes on the working class in "globalised" capitalism

Lash/Urry: discussion points 4. Sunk in the suburbs?

The core argument of Lash and Urry in chapters 4 and 5 of their book is that the shift by industry, in the richer countries anyway, to smaller factories and into suburbs or smaller towns, weakens the "capacities" of the working class.

There is obviously a strand of truth in this. The breaking up of old bastions of working-class organisation, the shifting of industry to places like the "sunbelt" in the USA or East Anglia and the "M4 corridor" in Britain, will put the working

The rise and fall of organised capitalism

Published on: Tue, 02/09/2003 - 13:49

Discussion notes on the working class in "globalised" capitalism

"The End of Organised Capitalism": discussion points 3. The rise and fall of organised capitalism.

The importance of chapters 2 and 3 is in prompting us, or giving us material, to think through an account of the rise of nationally "organised capitalism" alternative to the traditional Marxist one.

That traditional Marxist account was straightforward. Capital tended organically towards concentration and centralisation, the creation of oligopolies, an increasing importance of credit and finance capital.

"Pressure of the productive

Chapter-by-chapter summary and brief discussion

Published on: Tue, 02/09/2003 - 13:42

Discussion notes on the working class in "globalised" capitalism

"The End of Organised Capitalism": overall summary


The introduction stated the thesis: that capitalism has moved through a "liberal" phase (19th century), then an "organised" phase (late 19th century/ most of 20th century), into a "disorganised" phase (from late 20th century).
By "disorganised", L/U say that they do not mean plain randomness and entropy; however, their definition of it is mainly negative.
They flag up three main themes:
* Though they distance themselves from theories of "farewell to the

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