Resurrection of the Dead, Exaltation of the New Struggles

Marxism, Class Conflict, and Social Movement

In: Historical Materialism
Jeffery R. Webber Department of Politics and International Relations, Goldsmiths, University of London

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This ‘editorial perspective’ offers reflection on Marxist theory in the narrow domain of social movements and social-movement studies. It offers a brief survey of international class struggles over the last few decades to situate the discussion. It then focuses on the problem of capitalism for social-movement studies, and the particular issue of capitalist totality. It argues that an expansive, processual, historical and temporal conception of class struggle needs to be at the centre of any adequate Marxist approach to social movements, and shows why and how this is so by delving into some contemporary debates over dominant forms of collective action – strike and riot. It also highlights the dialectical relations between production, reproduction and social reproduction, and how the latest revivals of Marxist feminism might guide us through the morass. Finally, it suggests that struggles across these interrelated domains can be linked through an ‘infrastructure of dissent’.

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