Economics/Class Relations

Labor Unions and the Labor Aristocracy

In Western countries, unions have long become assimilated respectable institutions, kind of like churches or the Rotary Club. Early in my radical “career,” I held to the standard “workerist” paradigm of the Old Left. Working with real-life trade unions, socialist parties, and anarcho-syndicalist organizations cured me of all that. I tend to agree more with the Maoist and some post-left anarchist views of “workerism” as representing a kind of First World labor aristocracy. Although with the qualification that at least certain sectors of the working classes of the First World are being reproletarianized in a classical 19th-century sense. But for at least 25 years, my orientation has been more toward the Third World and the Western lumpenproletariat.

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