A World Still to Win: The Reconstruction of the Post-War Working Class

A World Still to Win: The Reconstruction of the Post-War Working Class

A World Still to Win: The Reconstruction of the Post-War Working Class

A World Still to Win: The Reconstruction of the Post-War Working Class

Excerpt

This book tries to make sense of that complex set of changes that have occurred within the working class since 1945. These changes, though widely observed and much commented upon, have nevertheless retained a certain ambiguous and elusive quality, which has left space for many contradictory interpretations. It is only now, when the successes of capital's restructuring of the sensibility of the working class are there for all to see, that the depth and the real significance of this post-war economic and social mutation can begin to be assessed.

We shall argue that, far from having 'disappeared', or become middle class, the working class has undergone a profound reconstruction in accordance with the modified imperatives of the new global division of labour. This now links more inescapably than ever before the destinies of the car workers of Cowley, the low-paid service workers up and down the country, and the school-leavers on the Youth Training Schemes, with the fate of the garment workers in the sweatshops of Bombay, the coffee workers on the plantations of Brazil, and the electronic assembly workers in the factories of Seoul and Taipeh. This worldembracing extension has entailed an ever-deeper penetration, and more violent reworking of the very psychic structures of working people, as Capitalism has learned that no less spectacular profits are to be made from its exploitation of the heart and the spirit and the imagination, than may be won from the flesh and blood of those who live under its dominion. These developments have immediate and unavoidable implications for all those who would link radical changes with the evolution of working-class consciousness.

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