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Workerism: An Inside View. From the Mass-Worker to Self-Employed Labour

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Chapter Summary

The first generation of Italian 'workerists' studied and elaborated on Marx's writings between the early sixties and the mid-seventies. Before considering the readings and interpretations of Marxian texts produced by exponents of first-generation Italian workerism, before examining the workerist Marx of sixties and seventies, the authors clarify the role that theory and abstract thinking played within workerist groups. The workerist interpretation of Marx derived its strength and validity from constant confrontation with the reality of factory. Workerists have always been sceptical of theories that assume capitalism will eventually 'collapse' as a result of its internal contradictions, errors or excesses. The author's 'Ten Hypotheses on Second-Generation Self-Employed Labour' were written to demonstrate just how radically Post-fordism has changed our working way. They focus on the figure of freelance worker because that figure, while not representing the majority of workers, is the furthest removed from the way work was performed under Fordism.

Keywords: Italian workerism; Marx's writings; Post-fordism; self-employed labour; workerists



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