From syndicalism to Seattle: Class and the politics of identity
Source TitleINTERNATIONAL LABOR AND WORKING-CLASS HISTORY
PublisherCAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS
University of Melbourne Author/sBurgmann, Verity
AffiliationSocial and Political Sciences
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsBurgmann, V. (2005). From syndicalism to Seattle: Class and the politics of identity. INTERNATIONAL LABOR AND WORKING-CLASS HISTORY, 67 (67), pp.1-21. https://doi.org/10.1017/s0147547905000013.
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<jats:p>In the first half of the twentieth century the labor movement promoted the notion of separate working-class values and interests—evident for example in American and European syndicalism, British interwar Communism and Australian interwar Laborism—and was thus identifiable as a social movement. Like the new social movements of the 1960s and 1970s, this prewar identity politics successfully mobilized imagined political communities. By contrast, the retreat from emphasis on class difference and the turn to “equality of opportunity” politics, which Raymond Williams identified at midcentury and warned against, demobilized and weakened the labor movement. With class-based inequalities increasing from the 1970s, the decline of working-class identity politics ensured that the discrepancy between the objective importance of class and its subjective significance became especially marked. However, a newly forged identity politics of the world's economically exploited has recently reemerged in the movement against corporate globalization. From syndicalism to Seattle, we have witnessed the rise, retreat and resurgence of class identity politics.</jats:p>
KeywordsHistory and Philosophy of Specific Fields
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