Last Thurs­day night, work­ers for Seri­ous Mate­ri­als in Chicago occu­pied their fac­tory. Seri­ous Mate­ri­als had announced that pro­duc­tion would be shut down, leav­ing work­ers job­less. The occu­piers, mem­bers of United Elec­tri­cal Radio and Machine Work­ers of Amer­ica, demanded the option to run the fac­tory as a worker-owned coop­er­a­tive.

By the early hours of Fri­day morn­ing, the com­pany had agreed to let their employ­ees work for another 90 days. In the interim, the com­pany will work with the union to find a way to con­tinue pro­duc­tion under new own­er­ship.

The night before, Occupy Philly’s Edu­ca­tion and Train­ing Work­ing Group held a meet­ing of its ten-week “Dis­sect­ing Cap­i­tal­ism” work­shop, at the Lan­caster Avenue Autonomous Space. View­point edi­tor Salar Mohan­desi spoke on the topic “Con­tem­po­rary Labor and Work­place Strug­gles,” along with Sean West Wispy, an orga­nizer at Occupy Philly with expe­ri­ence in the labor move­ment. The work­shop addressed many of the same issues that would be addressed in the fac­tory occu­pa­tion.

At table: Salar Mohan­desi (left), Sean West Wispy (right)


Mohan­desi gives a brief account of changes in the regime of work since the 1970s, and presents his research on pro­le­tar­ian activ­ity dur­ing the 1848 rev­o­lu­tion in Paris. We’ve embed­ded the audio below, and you can down­load an mp3 here. Visit LAVA’s site and check out Wispy’s talk as well.

Pre­vi­ous speak­ers have included George Caf­fentzis, and next week View­point con­trib­u­tor Ben Web­ster will be speak­ing along with Occupy Philly orga­nizer Cindy Mil­stein on “Cap­i­tal­ism, Social Rela­tions, and Power.” The fol­low­ing week (Wednes­day, March 7), Selma James, co-author of “Women and the Sub­ver­sion of Com­mu­nity” and the new col­lec­tion Sex, Race, and Class – The Per­spec­tive of Win­ning (PM Press, 2012), will give a pre­sen­ta­tion on “Women, Cap­i­tal­ism, and the State.”

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