The Socialism Series is a bi-weekly forum sponsored by the International Socialist Organization (ISO) to take up key questions facing the socialist movement and Left more broadly. In the next two months the series will focus on two themes: neoliberalism and the politics of oppression. We believe Marxism has a great deal to contribute to any understanding of these issues, and is indispensable for developing a strategy of resistance to both. We also believe that with a growing Left and an ever changing world, its important to continue to develop Marxism as a living and breathing theory around developments and questions we confront as activists.
Neoliberalism and the Changing American Working Class
with Kyle Brown
CUNY Graduate Center
365 5th Avenue
Urban Education Thesis Room 4/202
(First enter Urban Education Lounge, the Thesis Room is the first room on the right)
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The working class in the United States has changed in dramatic and sometimes counter-intuitive ways. Once powerful cities with strong labor movements like Detroit, Flint, Rochester, Gary, have been reduced to shells of what they once were. Union density is at its lowest point since the 1920s. And at the same time there has been a growth of manufacturing and heavy industry in the traditionally anti-union Southeast. Amazon and Walmart have replaced GM as the largest employers in America. The working class in the U.S. today has more women and people of color than ever before.
How has this restructuring affected the size and composition of the American working class? What role do service sector workers play compared to manufacturing? How does it affect the role of labor unions? What challenges does this present Leftists interested in building working class resistance to neoliberalism?
Come to a discussion of how this restructuring is changing the possibilities of working class resistance, what the challenges are for re-building that resistance, and what power the working class still maintains under this system.