Marxist_perspective_Atzeni_Chapter2.pdf (618.37 kB)
A Marxist perspective on workers collective action
chapterposted on 2011-01-26, 11:25 authored by Maurizio Atzeni
Introduction: What drives workers to periodically contest their surrounding reality and how do they structure their protests? Providing answers to these crucial questions has always been at the centre of Marxist thinking and workplace research. Within this tradition there are key debates around structure and agency, and between subjective and objective conditions in the mobilizations of workers. This chapter aims to add to the theoretical debate and to militant action by proposing a reconstruction of a theory of workers' collective action rooted around four main pillars: the need to avoid subjective and individually based explanations, the centrality of the capitalist labour process' contradictions, the need to constantly demystify capital, the rediscovery of solidarity. With this background in mind and developing on previous work (Atzeni 2009), the chapter starts with a critique to Kelly's (1998) mobilization theory for the role played in it by the concept of injustice, a subjective, individually framed concept considered as the basis of any mobilization. The next section returns to the capitalist labour process that, insofar as it is the site of both capital valorization and workers' co-operation, constantly creates contradictions, with consequences in terms of workers' opportunities and constrains for collective action. The final section make a point for reconsidering solidarity theoretically central, for being the social relation that expresses the collective nature of the labour process, and relevant as a tool for action and in workers' organising.
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CitationATZENI, M., 2010. [Chapter 2]: A Marxist perspective on workers collective action. IN: Atzeni, M. Workplace conflict: mobilization and solidarity in Argentina. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp.14-31.
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NotesMaurizio Atzeni can be contacted by email at: M.Atzeni@lboro.ac.uk This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive version of this piece may be found in Workplace Conflict by Maurizio Atzeni which can be purchased from www.palgrave.com.