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THE MEANINGS OF WORK

Now Out!

The Meanings of Work: Essay on the Affirmation and Negation of Work
Ricardo Antunes

The Meanings of Work aims to explore some dimensions of the changes taking place in the labour-world, as well as looking at the consequences, theoretical and empirical, entailed by these transformations, such as the relevance and pertinence of the category of labour in the contemporary world. Billions of men and women depend exclusively on their labour to survive and encounter increasingly unstable, precarious or casual workers and the unemployed. As the contingent of workers has grown, there have been a vast reduction in jobs, rights have been corroded and the gains of the past have been eroded. The Meanings of Work starts with a wider conception of work and seeks to understand this new condition of labour today. 

Biographical note
Ricardo Antunes is Professor of Sociology at University of Campinas (UNICAMP/Brazil). He was Visiting Research Fellow at Sussex University and his books and articles has been published in France, Italy, England, Swiss, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, among other countries.

Readership
It will be of interest to sociologists, economists, social workers, psychologists and for all those interested in recent changes in the global configuration of work.

Table of Contents

Foreword by István Mészáros
Preface to the English edition
Preface to the second edition
Preface to the first edition

Introduction

1. Capital’s Social-Metabolic Order and its System of Mediations
The system of first-order mediations
The emergence of the system of second-order mediations

2. Dimensions of the Structural Crisis of Capital
The crisis of Fordism and Taylorism as the phenomenal expression of the structural crisis

3. The Responses of Capital to its Structural Crisis: Productive Restructuring and its Repercussions in the Labour-Process
The limits of Taylorism/Fordism and of the social-democratic compromise
The emergence of mass worker-revolts and the crisis of the welfare-state

4. Toyotism and the New Forms of Capital-Accumulation
The fallacy of ‘total quality’ under the diminishing utility-rate of the use-value of commodities
The ‘lyophilisation’ of organisation and labour in the Toyotist factory: new forms of labour-intensification

5. From Thatcher’s Neoliberalism to Tony Blair’s ‘Third Way’: the Recent British Experience
Neoliberalism, the world of work and the crisis of unionism in England
Elements of productive restructuring in Britain: ideas and practice
British strikes in the 1990s: forms of confrontation with neoliberalism and the casualisation of work
New Labour and Tony Blair’s ‘Third Way’

6. The Class-that-Lives-from-Labour: the Working Class Today
Towards a broader notion of the working class
Dimensions of the diversity, heterogeneity and complexity of the working class
The sexual division of labour: transversalities between the dimensions of class and gender
Wage-earners in the service-sector, the ‘third sector’ and new forms of domestic labour
Transnationalisation of capital and the world of work

7. The World of Labour and Value-Theory: Forms of Material and Immaterial Labour
The growing interaction between labour and scientific knowledge: a critique of the thesis of ‘science as primary productive force’
The interaction between material and immaterial labour
Contemporary forms of estrangement

8. Excursus on the Centrality of Labour: the Debate between Lukács and Habermas
1. The centrality of labour in Lukács’s Ontology of Social Being
Labour and teleology
Labour as the model of social practice
Labour and freedom

2. Habermas’s critique of the ‘paradigm of labour’
The paradigm of communicative action and the sphere of intersubjectivity
The uncoupling of system and lifeworld
The colonisation of the lifeworld and Habermas’s critique of the theory of value

3. A critical sketch of Habermas’s critique
Authentic and inauthentic subjectivity

9. Elements towards an Ontology of Everyday Life

10. Working Time and Free Time: towards a Meaningful Life Inside and Outside of Work

11. Foundations of a New Social-Metabolic Order

Appendices

Appendices to the second edition
1. Ten Theses and a Hypothesis on the Present (and Future) of Work
2. Labour and Value: Critical Notes 

Appendices to the first edition
1. The Crisis of the Labour-Movement and the Centrality of Labour Today
2. The New Proletarians at the Turn of the Century
3. The Metamorphoses and Centrality of Labour Today
4. Social Struggles and Socialist Societal Design in Contemporary Brazil

References

See: http://www.brill.com/meanings-work

 

First published at: http://www.historicalmaterialism.org/news/distributed/now-out-the-meanings-of-work.-essay-on-the-affirmation-and-negation-of-work-ricardo-antunes

 

**END**

 

‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

Online Publications at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski

 

Glenn Rikowski’s paper, Critical Pedagogy and the Constitution of Capitalist Society has been published at Heathwood Press as a Monthly Guest Article for September 2012, online at:

http://www.heathwoodpress.com/monthly-guest-article-august-critical-pedagogy-and-the-constitution-of-capitalist-society-by-glenn-rikowski/

 

Heathwood Press: http://www.heathwoodpress.com 

 

Deadwing

THE ATMOSPHERE BUSINESS

ephemera: theory & politics in organization

volume 12, number 1/2

 

The atmosphere business
Issue editors: Steffen Böhm, Anna-Maria Murtola and Sverre Spoelstra 

The contributions collected in this special issue of ephemera question the underlying ideologies and assumptions of carbon markets, and bring to light many of the contradictions and antagonisms that are currently at the heart of ‘climate capitalism’. They offer a critical assessment of the political economy of carbon trading, and a detailed understanding of how these newly created markets are designed, how they (don’t) work, the various actors that are involved, and how these actors function together to create and contest the ‘atmosphere business’. In 5 notes, 6 articles, 1 interview and 3 book reviews, some of the most prominent critical voices in debates about the atmosphere business are brought together in this special issue. 

Table of Contents:
Editorial

The atmosphere business  
Steffen Böhm, Anna-Maria Murtola and Sverre Spoelstra 

Notes 

Privatising the atmosphere: A solution or dangerous con? 
Mike Childs 
 
Carbon markets after Durban 
Oscar Reyes 
 
A dark art: Field notes on carbon capture and storage policy negotiations at COP17 
Gökçe Günel 
 
Durban’s conference of polluters, market failure and critic failure 
Patrick Bond 
 
The people’s climate summit in Cochabamba: A tragedy in three acts 
Tadzio Mueller 

Interview  

Critiquing carbon markets: A conversation 
Larry Lohmann and Steffen Böhm 
 
Articles  

Capitalizing on chaos: Climate change and disaster capitalism 
Robert Fletcher 
 
The prey of uncertainty: Climate change as opportunity 
Jerome Whitington 
 
Carbon classified? Unpacking heterogeneous relations inscribed  into corporate carbon emissions 
Ingmar Lippert 
 
A colonial mechanism to enclose lands: A critical review of two  REDD+-focused special issues 
Joanna Cabello and Tamra Gilbertson 
 
Mapping REDD in the Asia-Pacific: Governance, marketisation  and contention 
Rebecca Pearse 
 
Planting trees through the Clean Development Mechanism:  A critical assessment 
Esteve Corbera and Charlotte Friedli 
 
Reviews
The ‘third way’ for climate action 
Siddhartha Dabhi 
 
Carbon trading in South Africa: Plus ça change?   
Peter Newell 
 
Can capitalism survive climate change?
David L. Levy

 

Ephemera: http://www.ephemeraweb.org

 

*****END*****

 

‘Human Herbs’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs

‘Stagnant’ – a new remix and new video by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkP_Mi5ideo  

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

MySpace Profile: http://www.myspace.com/glennrikowski

Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.myspace.com/coldhandsmusic

Volumizer: http://glennrikowski.blogspot.com

The Institute for Education Policy Studies

Website Update – May 2009

The Institute for Education Policy Studies is an independent Radical Left/ Socialist/ Marxist institute for developing analysis of education policy. It is at http://www.ieps.org.uk . The Institute seeks to develop Marxist analysis of policy, theory, ideology and policy development. It also seeks to develop Marxist transformative education theory, analysis and policy analyse and develop socialist/Marxist transformative policy for schooling and education from a number of Radical Left perspectives, including Freirean perspectives. The IEPS and its journal address issues of Social Class, ‘Race’, Gender and Capital/ism; Critical Pedagogy; New Public Managerialism and Academic / non-Academic labour, and Empowerment/ Disempowerment.

The IEPS critiques global, national, neo-liberal, neo-conservative, New Labour, Third Way, and postmodernist analyses and policy, together with New Public Managerialism . It was set up in 1989 and hosted the formation of the Hillcole Group of Radical Left Educators (1989-2001). The IEPS organises and publicises national conferences and also publishes on-line papers by Radical Left/ Socialist/ Marxist writers.

IEPS publishes an online journal, the Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies (http://www.jceps.com/) twice a year. The editors of JCEPS are Prof Dave Hill (Chief/ Managing Editor), Prof Pablo Gentile (Latin America) and Prof Peter McLaren (North America). The journal welcomes articles from academics and activists throughout the globe. It is a refereed / peer juried international journal.

The Institute for Education Policy Studies has recently updated its web site. In particular, the biographical details of the Institute’s key writers have been updated, for: Dave Hill, Glenn Rikowski, Paula Allman, Mike Cole, Peter McLaren and Sharhzad Mojab. You can view these updates at: http://www.ieps.org.uk/iepsbios.php

 

The Institute for Education Policy Studies: http://www.ieps.org.uk/

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk

The Ockress: http://www.theockress.com

Why Third Way Politics Refuses To Die

 

 

 

 

Why Third Way Politics Refuses To Die


By Louis Proyect

 


COME ON, GOOD PEOPLE, COME ON! We know, this is the time of the year when you receive letters galore from the ACLU, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and countless other organizations and charities that want to reach into your wallet. They do have a big marketing budget, don’t they? — and they all tell you they want to change the world, or at least alleviate its suffering. We have no marketing budget and we are not promising to change the world — not that we aren’t trying…but one has to be realistic. What we bring you is different voices, some darn serious, others quite humorous or poetic. We bring you book reviews. We bring you analysis. We bring you an extraordinarily diverse pool of authors from many countries. We bring you famous and not so famous authors. We bring you alternatives. We bring you originality and quality twice a month, rain or shine. Again, where else can you find what we bring, and all commercial free? So open your checkbook and write that darn check. It won’t save the auto industry but it will save Swans, and it will make a huge difference both emotionally and practically for our work ahead. Thank you and our very best wishes for the coming year.
Donate Now!

 

(Swans – December 15, 2008): In 1997 Tony Blair became Prime Minister of Great Britain ending eighteen years of Tory rule. For left-leaning Britons, the 1979-1990 rule of Margaret Thatcher and her successor John Major easily rivaled George W. Bush’s as an odious symbol of class injustice. When she was not embarking on foreign imperial adventures in the Malvinas, Thatcher was attacking the working class at home. Her most notable victory was in defeating the coal miner’s strike of 1984, an achievement that was as effective as Reagan’s assault on the airline controllers in preparing the way for a neoliberal economic regime.

 

 


When Blair was elected, the sense of relief evoked this “Wizard of Oz” ditty sung by the Munchkins:

 


Ding Dong! The Witch is dead.
Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch!
Ding Dong! The Wicked Witch is dead.

Wake up – sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the Wicked Witch is dead.
She’s gone where the goblins go,
Below – below – below.

Yo-ho, let’s open up and sing and ring the bells out.
Ding Dong’ the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
Let them know The Wicked Witch is dead!

 

However, British voters did not get exactly what they voted for.
As soon as the euphoria wore off, it became clear that Tony Blair was no friend of working people, as Thomas Friedman observed in an April 22, 2005, New York Times Op-Ed:

 


The other very real thing Mr. Blair has done is to get the Labor Party in Britain to firmly embrace the free market and globalization – sometimes kicking and screaming. He has reconfigured Labor politics around a set of policies designed to get the most out of globalization and privatization for British workers, while cushioning the harshest side effects, rather than trying to hold onto bankrupt Socialist ideas or wallowing in the knee-jerk antiglobalism of the reactionary left.

 


Blair demonstrated that he was no slouch when it came to sending British troops abroad, joining the U.S. in imperial aggressions against the Serbs and the Iraqis. Indeed, one would be hard put to really tell the difference between the Tories and New Labour other than the rhetoric.

 


Although the eight years of George W. Bush was a lot shorter in duration than Tory rule in Great Britain, it did manage to do as much violence to working people at home and abroad. Bush was notoriously lazy but he did have a kind of zeal for punishing those not fortunate enough to be born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

 

With the election of Barack Obama in November, the same pattern seems to be unfolding as it did with Tony Blair’s prime ministry. Both Blair and his American counterpart Bill Clinton sought to govern through the “Third Way,” a philosophy that permeates Obama’s “Audacity of Hope.” For those who have been surprised by Obama’s apparent determination to serve in the capacity of Bill Clinton’s third term, the evidence for such a proclivity was there all along for those with the patience to read through his gaseous prose. Obama wrote:

 

 

“In his platform — if not always in his day-to-day politics — Clinton’s Third Way went beyond splitting the difference. It tapped into the pragmatic, nonideological attitude of the majority of Americans.


“Just as Blair was determined to continue the free-market policies of Margaret Thatcher, so was Obama ready to apply the same kind of lash to the backs of American workers first applied by Ronald Reagan, her American counterpart that Reagan’s message “spoke to the failure of liberal government,” which had become “too cavalier about spending taxpayer money…” He added that, “A lot of liberal rhetoric did seem to value rights and entitlements over duties and responsibilities…. Reagan offered Americans a sense of common purpose that liberals seemed no longer able to muster.

 


Labour and liberal disappointment with Tony Blair and Barack Obama respectively tends to sidestep the all-important question of why these politicians try to mediate between their own party and the organized Right. In contrast, John McCain fought hard for Republican Party core beliefs. Triangulating between conservative and liberal positions originates on the left rather than the right apparently and when the conservatives keep shifting to the right, the end result of triangulation is a center further to the right than in the past.

 


Rather than seeing “Third Way” politics as a kind of conscious policy choice, I would suggest that it is better understood in structural terms as the defense mechanism of Empires in decline perhaps not even understood fully by the politicians who carry them out. In broad historical perspectives, the rise of centrism in two of the most powerful imperialist nations in history is stoked by their decline as economic powers.

 


At a time when the British Empire was relatively powerful, the Labour Party pushed relatively hard for the class interests of the rank-and-file voter. It was no accident that socialized medicine arrived when British steel, shipbuilding, coal-mining, and auto manufacturing were vibrant, profit-generating industries.

 


When British industry lost its competitive edge, not coincidentally around the same time that its former colonial subjects were winning their freedom, the capitalists understood that the old rules did not apply. The worker’s slice of the pie shrank steadily, all in the name of “modernization” and “efficiency.

 


The same ineluctable processes that gave rise to the “Third Way” in Great Britain have matured in the United States, thus giving birth to the candidacies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama alike. In one of the greatest con jobs in history, Obama was elected because voters decided that “change” meant something different from both George W. Bush and the Clinton administration that preceded it.

 


The liberal pundits who helped to get Obama elected still hold out hope that he will push through a new New Deal and thus return the U.S. to some kind of golden era of prosperity. For many of them, the proof of Obama’s FDR type credentials is his announced intention to push through a 700 billion dollar public works project. Once again demonstrating the indifference to history that characterizes the world of Huffington Post, Nation Magazine, et al., there has been no attempt to analyze whether FDR’s public works program did much good in breaking the back of the Great Depression.

 


It turns out that it was World War Two that had such a salutary effect, according to a letter written by the late Harry Magdoff in reply to a Monthly Review contributor who betrayed Keynesian illusions in a submission.
Magdoff wrote:

 


[D]espite a promise of heavy government spending, and Keynes’s theoretical support, the New Dealers were stumped by the 1937-38 recession, which interrupted what looked like a strong recovery. There was then as there is now an underlying faith that capitalism is a self-generating mechanism. If it slowed down or got into trouble, all that was needed was a jolt to get back on track. In those days, when farm life supplied useful metaphors, the needed boost was referred to as priming the pump. The onset of a marked recession after years of pump-priming startled Washington. Questions began to be raised about the possibility of stagnation in a mature capitalism, the retarding effect of monopolistic corporations, and other possible drags on business. These concerns faded as war orders flowed in from Europe, and eventually they disappeared when the United States went to war. The notion of the “Keynesian Welfare State” has tended to disguise the fact that what really turned the tide was not social welfare, Keynesian or otherwise, but war. In that sense, the whole concept of Keynesianism can be mystification.

 


War, of course, is not a feasible option today for the U.S. or any other imperialist power given the likelihood of mutually assured destruction. That being the case, how likely is it that public works programs will accomplish today what it did not in the 1930s? The answer is not very likely at all. The irony of American politics today is that the weapons it created to help win the last world war serve to inhibit it from launching new wars against powerful rivals. Without resort to war — what Randolph Bourne called “the health of the state” — the U.S. is destined to lurch from one economic crisis to another with politicians on the right and the nominal left competing with each other to turn back the clock to a glorious past that never really existed.

 

 

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

The Rikowski web site, The Flow of Ideas is at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk