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41

The New Terrain of Class Struggle in the United States

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things have changed but not insurmountably

Moody, K. (2017). The New Terrain of Class Struggle in the United States. , 2, pp. 41-74

45

[...] for most of the postwar era, US capital was mainly focused on extracting “relative surplus value” — i.e., generating profits by relying on increased productivity. The key inflection points for us are in the late 1960s through the 1970s, a period of intense industrial conflict in the United States, largely in resistance to capital’s enormous speedup of production. This was the era of rank-and-file rebellion, in which blue-collar workers went on the offensive against their bosses (and often their union leaders as well) in a fight against deteriorating working conditions, while millions of public-sector workers joined unions for the first time. Partly as a result of these high levels of conflict, productivity growth during the late 1970s virtually collapsed, leading to a decline in profit rates. The rebellion came to an end with the recession induced by Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker’s sudden increase in interest rates in 1979, which announced the start of the neoliberal era.

—p.45 by Kim Moody 6 years, 3 months ago

[...] for most of the postwar era, US capital was mainly focused on extracting “relative surplus value” — i.e., generating profits by relying on increased productivity. The key inflection points for us are in the late 1960s through the 1970s, a period of intense industrial conflict in the United States, largely in resistance to capital’s enormous speedup of production. This was the era of rank-and-file rebellion, in which blue-collar workers went on the offensive against their bosses (and often their union leaders as well) in a fight against deteriorating working conditions, while millions of public-sector workers joined unions for the first time. Partly as a result of these high levels of conflict, productivity growth during the late 1970s virtually collapsed, leading to a decline in profit rates. The rebellion came to an end with the recession induced by Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker’s sudden increase in interest rates in 1979, which announced the start of the neoliberal era.

—p.45 by Kim Moody 6 years, 3 months ago
49

Looking at those private-sector “services” most likely to employ workingclass people (excluding FI R E and professional services), service jobs grew by 14.2 million from 1990 to 2010. Some 8 million of those jobs, or 57 percent of growth, were in employment associated with the labor of social reproduction, such as health and social care and food services. This is due in large part to the increased participation of women in wage labor, including women with children, beginning in the 1950s. As the economy expanded following World War II, capital drew on those engaged in social reproduction in the home, vastly increasing the number of hours they worked for wages — from a median of 925 hours per year in 1979 to 1,664 in 2012. For women with children the increase was even greater, more than doubling from 600 hours per year to 1,560 over this period. 16 The resulting relative shortage of unpaid female reproductive labor in the home opened the door to the commodification of such labor outside of family, in the market.

in the US. just sucking more and more people into the market without any real net gain

—p.49 by Kim Moody 6 years, 3 months ago

Looking at those private-sector “services” most likely to employ workingclass people (excluding FI R E and professional services), service jobs grew by 14.2 million from 1990 to 2010. Some 8 million of those jobs, or 57 percent of growth, were in employment associated with the labor of social reproduction, such as health and social care and food services. This is due in large part to the increased participation of women in wage labor, including women with children, beginning in the 1950s. As the economy expanded following World War II, capital drew on those engaged in social reproduction in the home, vastly increasing the number of hours they worked for wages — from a median of 925 hours per year in 1979 to 1,664 in 2012. For women with children the increase was even greater, more than doubling from 600 hours per year to 1,560 over this period. 16 The resulting relative shortage of unpaid female reproductive labor in the home opened the door to the commodification of such labor outside of family, in the market.

in the US. just sucking more and more people into the market without any real net gain

—p.49 by Kim Moody 6 years, 3 months ago
61

There are also clear downsides for workers in consolidation through M& A s. For one, merged companies typically close some plants or facilities, which can lead to workforce reductions. In addition, experience shows that the new owners will try to undermine existing conditions and pay and to squeeze even more work out of the remaining workforce. Industry consolidation is not a free ride for labor. Nevertheless, the outcome is necessarily an industry in which fewer but larger firms compete, the combined workforce of more and more firms is relatively larger, and the new production methods and links are more vulnerable. In the long run, this is a situation that makes the industry more susceptible to unionization, as was the case in the 1930s after the 1916–29 merger wave that produced corporate giants such as General Motors, John Deere, and Union Carbide.

—p.61 by Kim Moody 6 years, 3 months ago

There are also clear downsides for workers in consolidation through M& A s. For one, merged companies typically close some plants or facilities, which can lead to workforce reductions. In addition, experience shows that the new owners will try to undermine existing conditions and pay and to squeeze even more work out of the remaining workforce. Industry consolidation is not a free ride for labor. Nevertheless, the outcome is necessarily an industry in which fewer but larger firms compete, the combined workforce of more and more firms is relatively larger, and the new production methods and links are more vulnerable. In the long run, this is a situation that makes the industry more susceptible to unionization, as was the case in the 1930s after the 1916–29 merger wave that produced corporate giants such as General Motors, John Deere, and Union Carbide.

—p.61 by Kim Moody 6 years, 3 months ago