August 12, 2020

Labor & Anti-capitalism

Anti-capitalist movements and those organized around labor issues are central to the Social Movements Lab’s transversal exploration of various forms of struggle. Some events have dealt with these themes more explicitly. For example, Todd Wolfson’s discussion about organizing with platform workers (such as food deliverers and Uber drivers). Wolfson’s article that was read for our mapping session underscores the importance of unifying those involved in the “gig economy” to combat the rollback of the social contract. This is likewise the mission of “Into the Black Box,” a multidisciplinary, collective research project out of the University of Bologna that was presented by Niccolò Cuppini, Mattia Frapporti, Maurilio Pirone. The project targets logistics as a means of combating the opacity commodity circulation and management as a whole. Our conversation with Antonio Negri and Judith Revel about the Yellow Vests movement in France (gilets jaunes) explored protests that began in November 2018 in response to the government raising taxes on gasoline. The demands of protestors have expanded to include also the reinstatement of the “solidarity tax” on the very rich and raising the minimum wage, among others. In April 2020, a second conversation with Francesco Brancaccio, Marta Camella Galí, Matteo Polleri, and Federico Puletti addressed the recent convergence of the Yellow Vests with other movements. We cannot overlook the questions of women’s labor that undergird both the March 8 uprisings in Spain-as presented by Lucía Hellín Nistal and Elia Romera Figueroa-and the Polish Women’s Strike. In the second insurance, our conversation with Julia Kubisa and Katarzyna Rakawska centered on strike as a tactic to protest issues like Poland’s ban on abortion. Similarly, anti-capitalist movements in Spain such as Casa Invisible intersect with the demands of migrant groups to claim place and space. This could be said as well of the City Plaza Hotel, a hotel in Athens occupied and run by migrants. The Struggle to Remain with Suyapa Portillo Villeda addressed the root causes of global migrations. In particular the entwined culpability of national governments such as the United States and huge transnational corporations in fomenting a permanent flow of human beings fleeing violence and death. In a talk with Irene Peano, we explored how migrants in Italy are organizing directly around labor conditions in the agricultural sector. Lastly, we’ve also explored how the struggle against capitalist modes of production and exploitation of labor must necessarily orient calls to reform higher education worldwide. Some of the organizers of the Fallism movement in South Africa, Xolani Zekani, Sive Shosha, Khanyisile Mbongwa, Lucy Graham, spoke to the ongoing question of the decolonization of education in South Africa and globally. The movement tackles both the ongoing corporatization of universities and the way university fees perpetuate discrimination on the basis of race and class.