The uprising of the YVs (Yellow Vests or the “mouvement des gilets jaunes”) and its persistent tenacity mark a point of no return. In our opinion, there is a before and an after the YVs. At least in Europe and in terms of class struggle.
What even the repression in Italy could not cancel was how seriously the so-called “workerists” took the whole dimension of human activity. That was an aspect of what made the extraparliamentary left in Italy different. It already contained, at least in embryo, the claims about who has produced what, who commands what, and who destroys what.
Not even a year into the Bolsonaro experience, it is still early to try to map the country’s varied fronts of resistance. But what follows provides at least some initial elements, touching on education, political scandal, the labor movement, feminist and black liberation fronts, state repression, tactical and strategic debates on the Left, the overweening legacy of the PT, and the meaning of fires in the Amazon.
If the figure of the worker can no longer be deduced from the forms of collective consciousness of a group (workers’ consciousness) otherwise objectively constituted – the working class – then it is necessary to build a new dispositif of investigation and analysis of the intellectual field of workers.
The sphere of social reproduction will be central not simply to defining schisms within the movement, but to defining the horizons of the struggle and the multiplication, both possible and preferable, of its sites. The battlefield of social reproduction is one on which we can move beyond the triptych: prices of petrol, buying power, and tax revolt.
Few media accounts have bothered to understand or record the multiple organizational processes and dynamics that underwrite it as a powerful social movement. The diverse, entwined histories behind the caravan-form – assemblies and related tactics and strategies for cultivating solidarity – seem beyond the frame of most discussions.
In this article we focus on what stands between the logic of capital and the way the struggles ended. We analyze, that is, the very process of conflict, in order to understand its composition and its dynamics of subjectivation, to understand the genealogy of the present and the various possibilities which acted in it, and to think about wealth, limits, and unresolved problems.
In the debates of the contemporary left, interventions often start with a variation on a particular theme: “Socialists think that…” Sometimes it is, “Marxists believe that…” Sometimes, “Socialists understand that…” Whatever the wording, the point is the same.
The $8.25 man, Bloomberg News wrote in December, has worked at McDonald’s for twenty years. Still, he can’t get forty hours a week or anything more than minimum wage. He can’t make rent payments, can’t afford a computer, and has to go to the Apple store to update his Facebook. After picking cigarette butts out of a bathroom drain, he has to clean off before his next job—at another McDonald’s.