The Information Proletariat and Globalization – Hookes

The Information Proletariat and Globalization – Hookes

Submitted for the International Conference:

The Working Class: What is it and where is it?

At the Economics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Moscow, 11-12 July 2006

Introduction: The fetishisation of manual labour

It is generally recognised that the character of work has changed considerably during
the 20th Century. The classical Marxist proletariat, manual factory workers, from
being the overwhelming majority, say, 70-80 % of the workforce, are now between
10-20% in advanced capitalist countries. Those members of the workforce who
provide services, especially information processing and delivery services, are now the
majority.1 A sub-group of the ‘information proletariat’ are sometimes called
‘knowledge workers’, that is,  those who jobs require high level of knowledge input
obtained from advanced schooling. They are now about one third of the workforce in
the US, more than twice as numerous as the manual factory proletariat. They are
expected to become at least 40% of the working population, say by, 2010. [1] This
latter group can be considered to be the new core proletariat of a knowledge-based
society. It contains many highly privileged groups such as university teachers and
researchers, and so on, whose level of alienation is, let us say, tolerable, as well as
less privileged technical knowledge workers.  The information proletariat as a whole
includes many highly exploited workers such as those in call-centres and data-input

See the complete article here:


Victory for An Excluded and Invisible Workforce – Fletcher

Victory For An Excluded And Invisible Workforce

Domestic Workers In New York Win Historic Victory!

July 23, 2010

By Bill Fletcher

Bill Fletcher’s ZSpace Page

“Long constituting a vast secret economy in New York,” as described by the New York Times, domestic workers won a striking victory in righting a wrong in labor laws that has hung, like an albatross, around the necks of hundreds of thousands of workers.  Signing into law the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, New York Governor David Paterson has set in motion a complete rethinking of the status and conditions of nearly invisible, yet indispensible, workforce.

The gist of the legislation is more than impressive.  It establishes an eight hour legal work day; over time at time and a half after 40 hours for live-out domestic workers and 44 hours for live-in domestic workers; one day of rest in each calendar week; overtime pay on that day of rest if the worker chooses to work; after one year of employment three paid days off; workplace protection against discrimination, sexual harassment, and other forms of harassment; workers compensation; and the completion of a study by November 2010 of the feasibility of establishing organizing for collective bargaining. Continue reading

Social Crisis in Europe – Karamessini

The Social Crisis in Europe: Politics of Precariousness or Shift to a New Social Model of Regulation

By: Maria Karamessini

One year and a half after the outbreak of the current economic recession, generated by the financial crisis that began in the USA a year earlier, all international organisations are announcing the beginning of recovery in Europe, but recognise that unemployment is going to rise further in the coming years due to a continuing downward adjustment of employment meant to bring labour productivity back to its pre-crisis level.

”Adjustment”, “correction” and “clearing” mechanisms for capital to protect or redress (rates of) profits during economic crises always imply painful social consequences for the working classes, labour market (re)entrants, and vulnerable social groups. However, the extent and acuteness of such consequences differ in time and space, as a result of state intervention and national institutional settings that may reinforce or mitigate them. Finally, crises can also be moments of rupture of the prevailing social and institutional order and of major reshuffling of class coalitions, power relations, and institutional architecture at the national and international levels. Continue reading

“Excluded Workers” Move from the Shadows – Thompson

“Excluded Workers” Move from Shadows to Negotiating Table

Posted on 25 June 2010 by editor

(Right to left) Felix Salvador, Mackenzie Baris, Christian Vasquez and Socorro Garcia came from Washington to highlight excluded workers’ plight. Credit: Bankole Thompson/IPS TerraViva

By Bankole Thompson

DETROIT, Jun 24, 2010 (IPS TerraViva) – The U.S. labour movement needs to be reorganised from the bottom up to include domestic workers, day labourers, restaurant workers, taxi drivers, farm workers, incarcerated workers, guest workers and those in the “right to work” states. Continue reading

Informal Employment – 12 Theses

«WIEGO Organization and Representation Program: Vision Statement for the International Organization of Workers in Informal Employment (Revised June 2001) | Main | Workers in the Informal Economy: Platform of Issues »

Informal employment
WIEGO Organization and Representation Program: Organization and Representation of Workers in Informal and Unprotected Employment – Twelve Theses

Prefacing Statement

Over the past two decades, the informal economy has expanded in most countries of the world, including developing, transition, and developed economies. Over the past decade or more, informal work is estimated to account for more than half of the new jobs in Latin American and over 80 percent of new jobs in Africa. As a result, the informal economy today accounts for a significant share of employment – from 10-30 percent in different developed countries to 55 percent in Latin America to 45-85 percent in different parts of Asia to nearly 80 percent in Africa – and is comprised of a wide range of informal work arrangements, both resilient old forms and emerging new forms. Continue reading

Organizing Informal Women Workers – Gallin and Horn

«May Day – SEWA, Ahmedabad 1998 | Main | Global labour summit – SiD Copenhagen, 1997 »

Women workers
Organizing Informal Women Workers – by Dan Gallin and Pat Horn (2005)

A version of this paper was published in 2005 by the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) within the framework of its Gender Policy Report. Dan Gallin is Chair of the Global Labour Institute and Pat Horn is coordinator of StreetNet, the international network of street and market vendors.

What are informal workers? To put it simply, they are workers whose rights are not recognized and who are therefore unable to exercise those rights. What is an informal economy? Again, to put it simply, it is an economy where no social rules apply, where the strong prevail by the sole virtue of their strength because they do not meet with organized opposition. Continue reading

Precariat Meet and Greet – the new unionism

Precariat Meet and Greet

The New Unionists of the late 19th century built trade unions as we know them by organizing the proletariat – the working class of the day. Similarly, today’s new unionists are beginning to organize the precariat – workers without security. To say this latter group represents the most rapidly growing sector in society entirely misses the point. The labour force has fundamentally changed. And according to many labour analysts, the real jolt is still to come: Continue reading