The Commune’s June 19th summer school ‘Beyond Resistance’ is now just three weeks away, and we are finalising details for the day’s workshops. Below appear the blurbs for three of the planned sessions, as well as a timetable for the whole event.
The event takes place from 11am-6pm on Sat 19th June at 96-100 Clifton St, London EC2. All welcome. Download double-sided A5 leaflet or A3 poster. Click here to buy ticket – pay £5 if waged or £3 for concessions, and click here for map of venue. More details shortly.
Alienation and the critique of everyday life
As capitalism’s crisis deepens, so does its attacks on every aspect of our lives. This session will ask what Marxist critiques of everyday life and of alienation mean in the context of the current crises. How useful are they? How do our personal struggles relate to collective political action? Can our own alienation be turned into a weapon?
discussion introduced by Sean Bonney (The Commune)
How migrant workers fight back
Migrant workers are one of the most brutally exploited sections of the working class. Imperialist exploitation of the developing world and the globalisation of neo-liberalism have impulsed large movements of migrants to the main centres of capitalism in search of employment. Here in the UK these migrants are subject to low-paid and casual working conditions and intimidation by police and the borders régime.
What chance do migrant workers have of fighting back against multinationals? What good are the established trade unions to casual and migrant workers? What do campaigns like the struggle against UBS bank tell us about how to build solidarity?
discussion introduced by Alberto Durango (Latin American Workers’ Association)
The changed composition of the working class
The concept of class composition has its origins in the debates and interventions of Italian Communist dissidents in the late 1960s. They faced the demise and political integration of the Communist Party and the emergence of a ‘new generation of workers’ in a new industrial set-up. The desire to understand the new conditions of social production and political struggle urged groups like Quaderni Rossi to re-read Marx against the party orthodoxy and to engage in detailed ‘workers inquiries’ within the new factory regime.
Class composition corresponds materially and conceptually with the composition of capital: the productive relation between living and dead labour. It puts into question the ‘bourgeois’ notion of ‘class consciousness’ as an external element, which has to be induced into workers’ struggle, and the notion of working class as a monolithic category. Analysing the changes in modern exploitation the ‘Operaists’ emphasised the intrinsic relation-ship between capitalist development – technological changes, extension of global division of labour, new product cycles, new migration regimes – and class struggle. The form of exploitation determines the form of collective struggle.
The working class is constantly ‘re-composed’ and is the main driving force of these changes. Class composition is expression of a political desire: where does a new ‘class subject’ emerge whose struggles can generalise wider class struggle; a ‘class subject’ which due to its central position within social production is able to both express social power and possibility of a fundamental social change?
discussion introduced by a communist refuse worker (Prol Position/Wildcat) and Sheila Cohen (author, Ramparts of Resistance)
11:00-11:30: Welcome plenary
11:30-13:00: Session 1
- The capitalist crisis
- The changed shape of the working class
- Alienation and the critique of everyday life
14:00-15:30: Session 2
- How migrant workers fight back
- Socialist feminist attitudes to organisation
- Tenants’ struggles and community organising
15:45-17:15 Session 3
- Imperialism and the national question
- Struggles over education
- The democratic state and capital
17:15-18:00: Closing plenary
- Where next for communists?
More details shortly.
We are keen to ensure that people with childcare responsibilities are fully able to attend the event. The venue for the day has no officially licensed creche space, and we are looking at alternative possibilities. Please do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible so we can discuss arrangements.