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Workers of the World

Essays toward a Global Labor History

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Marcel van der Linden

The studies offered in this volume contribute to a Global Labor History freed from Eurocentrism and methodological nationalism. Using literature from diverse regions, epochs and disciplines, the book provides arguments and conceptual tools for a different interpretation of history – a labor history which integrates the history of slavery and indentured labor, and which pays serious attention to diverging yet interconnected developments in different parts of the world. The following questions are central:
▪ What is the nature of the world working class, on which Global Labor History focuses? How can we define and demarcate that class, and which factors determine its composition?
▪ Which forms of collective action did this working class develop in the course of time, and what is the logic in that development?
▪ What can we learn from adjacent disciplines? Which insights from anthropologists, sociologists and other social scientists are useful in the development of Global Labor History?

Beyond Marx

Theorising the Global Labour Relations of the Twenty-First Century

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Edited by Marcel van der Linden and Karl Heinz Roth

Capitalism has proven much more resilient than Marx anticipated, and the working class has, until now, hardly lived up to his hopes.
The Marxian concept of class rests on exclusion. Only the ‘pure’ doubly-free wage-workers are able to create value; from a strategic perspective, all other parts of the world’s working populations are secondary. But global labour history suggests, that slaves and other unfree workers are an essential component of the capitalist economy.
What might a critique of the political economy of labour look like that critically reviews the experiences of the past five hundred years while moving beyond Eurocentrism? In this volume twenty-two authors offer their thoughts on this question, both from a historical and theoretical perspective.

Contributors include: Riccardo Bellofiore, Sergio Bologna, C. George Caffentzis, Silvia Federici, Niklas Frykman, Ferruccio Gambino, Detlef Hartmann, Max Henninger, Thomas Kuczynski, Marcel van der Linden, Peter Linebaugh, Ahlrich Meyer, Maria Mies, Jean-Louis Prat, Marcus Rediker, Karl Heinz Roth, Devi Sacchetto, Subir Sinha, Massimiliano Tomba, Carlo Vercellone, Peter Way, Steve Wright.