I chose the site for my workers’ inquiry the way most people find casual employment: by responding to a generic internet advertisement. The advert for the job that I eventually got directed applicants to ring a voicemail number that instructed them to leave a message with their name, number, and why they would be good at the job. I received a call the following day and was invited to come in after the weekend for an interview.
We are fortunate to now have in a French edition a collection of the five booklets produced by the GIP between February 1971 and January 1973 – Intolérable, numbers 1 through 4, and a collection of prisoners’ demands – combining questionnaires and inquiries on prison conditions, texts and declarations from prison uprisings, reports by prison psychiatrists, a dossier on the killing of George Jackson and the black prison movement in the US, and correspondence and information about the wave of suicides in French prisons.
As the newly poor and unemployed found themselves abandoned by traditional political institutions, they turned to multiple forms of investigation to understand the conditions in which they found themselves, and to develop more effective forms of action and organization.
Translator’s Introduction: Diego Sztulwark’s text, originally published on the blog Lobo Suelto in April 2013, speaks to a number of contemporary debates in Argentina: the “end of neoliberalism” and the “return of the state,” the neo-extractivist economy, and the role of social movements today. Specifically, it comes out of a series of meetings and encounters between different movements and organizations… Read more →
In his remarkable and still untranslated 1976 book Lenin, the Peasants, Taylor, Robert Linhart speaks of the arc of the “elation of the intellectual petite bourgeoisie”: the “about-face” that unfailing transforms an initial “mystical adoration” for the masses into “disgust.”
What, then, is “the proletariat”? And first, how many names does it have? Proletariat, working class, laboring classes, laborers, waged workers, popular classes… are all these “divine names” equivalent? And if they are not, by which differences can they be distinguished?
Inquiry, which in this case is a subjective reflection on socially imposed practices, allows me to clarify the articulation of this work, not only in relation to the productive process and the dynamics of gender, but also with the possibility of socialization (waged or not) of some of its parts.
An important movement has been set in motion in the UJC: Marxist-Leninist militants have formed établissement groups and are going among the popular masses, to live in their midst and to work in production.
In a 1982 paper presented at MIT, Italian urbanist Paolo Ceccarelli characterized Detroit and Turin as “città fragili” – fragile cities. His assessment contrasted starkly with the way the two “motor cities” had been represented for most of the twentieth century, but it resonated with his contemporary audience.
When I tell people that I work at a library, a common response is to ask whether I sit around reading books on the job all day. Although asked jokingly, the stereotype contains a kernel of truth and points to a real site of conflict.