Autonomist Marxism and Workplace Organizing in Canada in the 1970s

John Huot

Autonomist Marxism, from its headwaters in the early 1960s workers’ struggles and Marxist circles in Italy to multiple, diverse social movement/Marxist/feminist spaces in many countries, has developed into a significant current in the global anti-capitalist, anti-oppression project for social transformation.[1] During the 1970s, a small stream of workplace and community activists in Canada was influenced by the developing Autonomist Marxist (AM) current that flowed from Italy across Europe to the US and Canada.

The goal of this article is provide an account of this experience, focusing on how AM concepts were used to understand working class struggles in Canada and to orient workplace organizing, specifically in the Post Office. This account is based on my own participation as a political activist and as a postal worker. Although based on documents and memory at a distance of 40 years, this account is relevant to contemporary movements in four areas: first, the importance of grounding theoretical development and anti-capitalist organizing in investigations directly connected to the actual struggles of workers and oppressed groups; second, the relevance of the AM concept of class composition to understand the current stage of capital and the class struggle; third, the importance of putting workers’ and oppressed peoples’ struggles, not unions and social movement organizations, at the centre of analysis and organizing strategies; and fourth, how the concept of power relations within the working class and oppressed groups can contribute to understanding the importance of autonomous movements, as well as intersectional movement-building.

The “New Tendency” and Autonomous Marxism

The small AM stream in Canada was part of the “New Tendency,” (NT)  a 1970s network of activists,  mainly from the student movement. We were influenced by powerful examples of workers’ struggles, particularly the May 1968 general strike in France and the wave of workplace and community struggles in Italy from 1969 onwards. Struggles in the US, Quebec, and the rest of Canada also turned our political organizing towards the working class.

The NT criticized the understanding of “working class” held by both “old” left Marxists and the new Trotskyist and Marxist-Leninist groups as abstract and unchanging, on the basis it did not reflect the specific conditions of working class and capital in advancedcapitalism. For the same reason, we rejected the dominant vanguard party-building approach, which held that class consciousness and revolutionary leadership cannot develop within mass struggles, but has to be transmitted to mass struggles by the external vanguard party. Unions and other mass organizations were thus “transmission belts” of revolutionary class consciousness between party and masses.[2]

NT activists were influenced by a new Marxist theory and organizing approach in Italy called “operaismo” or “workers’ autonomy,” which developed during the 1960s. Important writers included Mario Tronti, Toni Negri, and Sergio Bologna. When the massive worker and student movements erupted in the late 1960s, the development of “workers’ autonomy” merged with these movements and was the foundation of several new autonomist political organizations.[3] Workers’ autonomy posed fundamental challenges to social democratic and Leninist parties and their affiliated unions. Struggles at large plants demonstrated that a new layer of young unskilled workers was generating demands for de-linking wages from productivity and for wage equality across job classifications. These actions were framed explicitly as anti-capitalist attacks on the wage labour-capital “bargain” and on the organization of work as a weapon to enforce capitalist power. Furthermore, they were advanced by workplace organizations autonomous from unions and left parties.

The NT was also influenced by early social reproduction feminism[4] and by the C.L.R. James-related group Facing Reality in Detroit.[5] With collectives in Toronto, Windsor, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Winnipeg, and ongoing contact with US, British, and Italian AM organizations, the NT was the largest AM-influenced activist network in North America.[6]

To develop an understanding of class struggle in Canada, the NT’s first priority was the investigation of the conditions and pattern of workers’ struggles among different sectors of the working class.[7] This investigation was practiced through direct participation in working class struggles. Although our theory asserted that working class power developed in both workplace and community struggles, in practice most investigations and organizing were in workplaces.

NT activists were involved as rank and file workers in the auto industry, the post office, rail, medium-sized industrial plants, nursing homes, and public sector offices.[8] Since our main goal initially was to investigate workers’ struggles, we did not advance an organizing agenda. We supported rank and file struggles and their leaders, in sharp contrast to other left activists who immediately sought steward positions, tried to recruit workers around their political organization’s agenda, distributed leaflets calling for more militant action, and got involved in Local union politics, often aimed at getting Local leadership positions.

Key Autonomist Conceptual Tools

Workers’ autonomy provided three key conceptual tools for understanding the class struggle in advanced capitalism. First, workers’ autonomy occurs when the basic thrust of struggles is to satisfy workers’ needs autonomously from workers’ function to maximize surplus value as waged and unwaged labour. this autonomy has two aspects: content and organizational forms. Anti-capitalist content  is expressed in struggles for a greater share of surplus value produced for less work, in short, the struggle for more wages for less work. When this content circulates throughout the working class, it attacks the basic mechanisms of capitalist accumulation, thus creating a crisis for capital.[9] The autonomous form of workplace struggles is reflected in struggles apart from the control of unions, whose function under capitalist law is to contain workers’ share of surplus value within profitable capital accumulation and to reinforce workers’ subservience as wage labour.[10]

The second key concept is the wage relation, and wages, as a power relation between capital and the working class. The wages won by workers in different sections of the class are a reflection of the relative power won by workers against capital in a given sector; divisions in the working class from high wage to low wage and wageless constitute a hierarchy of power based on the wage that these sectors have won in struggles with capital, and not simply the “price” of labour as a reflection of relative labour market power.[11]

“Class composition”  is the third key concept,  analyzing how capital transforms the composition of labour power in the production process with the goal of undermining the basis of workers’ power in a particular organization of production. Different class compositions in various historical stages of the struggle between workers and capital also reflect different leading political  class compositions with historically-specific anti-capitalist contents and forms of struggle. For example, in the 19th and early 20th century when the production process was centered on skilled workers, their power was based on employers’ dependence on their skill and the difficulty of readily replacing them, thus providing a limited weapon to bargain wages and control work.

At this stage, the struggle for workers’ control of production expressed the anti-capitalist ‘political’ content and workers’ councils or shop steward councils expressed the organizational form of the most developed power of the working class struggle against capital.[12]  Capital’s response to the cycle of struggles dominated by skilled workers’ power was to “recompose” the working class by deskilling the production process and by the widespread adoption of mass assembly production. This undermined the material basis of skilled workers’ power by enabling employers to introduce unskilled workers into the production process, drawn widely from both within national borders and globally.

The subsequent “Fordist” cycle of struggles in the factory, extractive industries, and offices until the 1970s was dominated by the “mass worker”: lower-skilled and -paid, readily hireable, trainable, and replaceable, thus increasing capital’s power in the struggle with workers over the share of value produced. But just as capital “re-composes” the working class, so too the working class “re-composes” itself through a lengthy cycle of struggles, yielding new anti-capitalist contents and forms of organization. Examples were the Industrial Workers of the World, One Big Union, and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). The anti-capitalist content of the “mass worker” was expressed in the struggle for more wages for less work, in short, the struggle against wage labour. Organizationally, the struggle developed autonomously, especially after state regulation of industrial unions after the 1930s, at times “below” on the shop floor, and often in opposition to unions.

Postal Workers’ Struggles in the 1970s

The post office provided an extraordinary site to investigate the struggle of workers and capital in advanced capitalism. In an era prior to electronic communication and to the partial privatization of mail services, business depended almost entirely on the post office for print communication. With 90 percent of all mail being business-related, the Post Office was essentially a state-provided service to capital. Postal workers’ struggles were massive; between 1970 and 1975 alone, there were 28 strikes and work stoppages, 26 of which were illegal. Montréal, Toronto, and Vancouver were the epicentres of this contest between postal workers, capital, and the state. The main downtown postal terminal eventually became the main focus of Toronto AM activists. Several worked at the main downtown postal terminal for up to four years, and produced three major articles about their work.[13]

Until the early 1970s, the core of the postal production process was a manual sortation system; workers’ sorting speed and instant recall of hundreds of destinations were central. Workers’ power was based on the employer’s dependence on their skill and the difficulty of replacing them through minor changes in the production process or during strikes. The Post Office job classification system and corresponding wage hierarchy was organized around skilled sorters as a benchmark for unskilled workers.

The union representing inside workers until the mid-1960s was the Canadian Postal Employees Association (CPEA), founded in 1911 as a craft union for killed workers only; unskilled inside workers were included after 1928. CPEA’s priority was to use the real, though limited, power base of skilled workers in production to gain “acceptable” wages and working conditions.

For skilled postal workers and the state/employer, this accommodation started to break down by the early 1960s. With mail volumes rapidly increasing, the employer tried to increase productivity and lower wage costs by hiring more unskilled sorters. Average wage levels fell further behind other sectors. These trends culminated in 1965 in a three-week illegal strike which led to the formation of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW). CUPW was determined to use a new collective bargaining system, including the newly-won right to strike, to gain better wages and working conditions.

By the early 1970s, several CUPW contract strikes had won wage increases that outstripped productivity increases. The employer responded by deskilling some manual sortation and by large scale hiring to handle increasing mail volumes. Young workers brought a new culture of shop floor resistance to waged work, including generalized insubordination, slowdowns, sabotage, absenteeism, high turnover, as well as direct action on the shop floor and wildcat strikes. Their struggles grew parallel to, and often in conflict with, the union’s contract strikes. Local union officials, mostly older skilled workers, policed these struggles to contain them within the confines of the collective agreement, including calling in police to escort workers across a wildcat picket line during a three-day wildcat in 1973.

NT activists identified these forms of resistance as characteristic of the “mass worker’s” autonomous struggle against capital, and essential building blocks for workers’ power. For the vanguard left, they were at best “fodder” for more militancy to advance their group’s agenda; at worst they were disruptive of the union’s collective bargaining relationship with the employer. The employer was fully aware of the cumulative anti-capitalist effect of these struggles, lamenting in the business press that productivity per worker had declined 12.5 percent.

The state/employer recognized that wage gains and shop floor struggles had created a crisis for both the reliability and financial viability of a vital service to capital. The long-term solution was a complete re-composition of the technical composition of labour power through technological change. The goal was to eliminate the power of the skilled worker, increase productivity, and re-establish work discipline through the technological regulation of an unskilled, lower paid, and easily replaceable labour power. CUPW’s strategy was to focus bargaining on tying lower wages in the new, deskilled job classification system to the skilled sorter benchmark; several contract strikes in the 1970s and a 12-day illegal work stoppage in 1974 revolved around this union goal.

The NT activists’ perspective was that in the new unskilled production process, job classifications were no longer based on real skill differences, and served the employer’s interest to divide workers and to create an artificial job mobility ladder. During the 1973 contract strike, we advanced the goals of wage parity for all sorters, manual or machine-assisted, and worked to close the wage gap between skilled and unskilled workers.

The 1974 Occupation, Sit-downs, and National Illegal Strike

In April 1974 the suspension and firing of workers in Montréal’s main postal terminal led to a rank and file-led occupation of the terminal, which was broken up after six days by riot police.

Immediately following the occupation, the national CUPW decided to broaden the fight to re-instate over 300 Montréal occupiers by directing workers across Canada to sit down in lunchrooms after reporting to work. Unresolved contract issues about pay and classification were also made conditions of the settlement. After several days of the sit-down with mixed worker support, the national CUPW ordered that the sit-downs be terminated and postal facilities across the country picketed, in effect shutting down the whole postal system.

Only a small number of Toronto workers picketed, with some crossing picket lines along with most members of the outside workers’ unions. NT activists in the main terminal were very involved in building support for the sit-down and subsequently organizing picket lines. This included an in-plant mass meeting of hundreds, which was disrupted by the CUPW Local President, called in by the employer to break up the mass meeting.

We brought Montréal rank and file postal workers to Toronto to talk at picket line meetings; we called this a concrete way to “circulate” the struggle. The national work stoppage was settled after six days of picketing. The settlement included no discipline against any participants in the Montréal occupation or in the cross-country sit-ins and illegal picketing. Also, the employer agreed for the first time to bargain the new classification system for less skilled mechanized sorting, which had been exempted by law from collective bargaining.

The tepid rank and file support in Toronto during the 1974 sit-down and picketing led to a critical re-assessment of our assumptions about workers’ autonomous struggle and our role as rank and file activists. We concluded that workers were prepared to fight for their own autonomous interest, which most fundamentally was the struggle for more money and less work, but not for objectives and methods of struggle dictated by the union from the top down.

We understood from meetings with Montréal workers that the main differences between the two sites were the explicit awareness in Montréal of the workers’ autonomous interests, and the level of rank and file organization. We were faced with many questions: How to articulate workers’ autonomous struggles in demands workers would take up as their own? How to relate such demands to the collective bargaining strategy of a new, militant national and local union leadership? What forms of autonomous organization? More broadly, how would these issues play out in other workplaces in Canada where the level of autonomous struggle was less developed? How would autonomous power in workplaces stimulate, and be stimulated by, struggles outside the workplace, for example by the wageless, including women, the unemployed and poor, and students?

The Wages for Housework Collective and the Dissolution of the NT

In mid-1974, the women in the Toronto NT collective left the mixed local collectives and the New Tendency to form the Wages for Housework collective (WFH).

Several reasons underlay this decision. First, discussions with Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James during a 1973 visit to Canada sharpened the conviction that women’s autonomy was essential for developing women’s class power.[14] Second, the increased recognition of the importance of social reproduction in advanced capitalism provided the theoretical and organizing focus for a wages for housework campaign. Third, the women’s conclusion that the focus of NT activity on male-dominated workplaces reproduced the sexist hierarchy of power in capitalism, and neglected the political priority for developing women’s power in social reproduction.

The women’s decision had a far-reaching impact on the NT project. By 1975, the remaining AM-influenced men in Toronto, now organized as the Struggle Against Work Collective (SAWC), decided to abandon the NT’s “investigation-participation” workplace approach, and instead proposed that priority be given to “the spreading of the struggle against work perspective through the preparation and distribution of political materials, with the aim of collectivizing experiences of struggle and generalizing their content and direction.”[15] We decided to discontinue direct involvement in the Toronto Post Office, soon followed by a similar decision by the Windsor Autoworkers Group. The broader New Tendency network and The Newsletter were also discontinued, as its more articulated components decided that emerging political differences had outgrown the political basis of the NT.[16]

In part, the men’s decision reflected the inconclusiveness of discussions about how to move forward after the 1974 post office sit-down and strike. It also reflected SAWC’s developing understanding of power relations between different sectors of the working class, influenced by WFH. Initially the autonomy of struggles by women and other less powerful sections of the working class was framed as the precondition for developing the power of women.

At times women’s struggles could be in conflict with male workers’ struggles, particularly if the latter were simply protecting their own power and material gains. But not always, as CUPW demonstrated in 1975 by winning pro-rated benefits for part-time workers, mostly women, a first in collective bargaining in Canada. However, relations of power came to be understood by WFH and SAWC to mean that only the struggles of the less powerful sections could increase the power of the whole class.[17] Over the following year, that view hardened into the position that struggles by more powerful sections for more power against capital could only advance at the expense of the less powerful.

By 1976, SAWC divided over the issue of power. One group defended the “hardened” position, and advocated that the collective’s priority should be support for the WFH campaign. A second group argued that the struggles of both the less powerful and more powerful sections against capital could advance the power of the whole class; activists in more powerful sections, in solidarity with activists in less powerful sections, needed to determine the conditions in which what we called the “circulation of power” between sections of the class could be advanced.[18]

The NT experience demonstrated the importance of grounding theoretical development and anti-capitalist organizing in investigations directly connected to the actual movements of workers and oppressed groups. The focus of investigations has to be uncovering the anti-capitalist content and forms of movements, not fitting movements into the theories, strategies, and organizational forms appropriate to earlier periods of capitalism. Any theoretical perspective, including autonomist Marxism, which is disconnected from real movements runs the risk of becoming an abstract theory, rather than an instrument to empower workers and oppressed groups themselves to transform the world.

Class Composition and Capital

Since the 1970s, the significant changes to capital and working class composition are usually ascribed to the exclusive initiative of capital through measures such as globalized free trade, deregulation, and privatization. A shrinking traditional working class is relegated to defending past gains. The concept of class composition remains important to analyze the struggles which have produced the decomposition of the “mass worker” and the progressive re-composition of a new class composition by the 2000s. This approach points to the historically-specific anti-capitalist content and forms of workplace struggles and other mass movements in the era of the global working class and capital.[19] For example, in recent years university contract faculty and graduate teaching assistants in Ontario have waged some of the sharpest struggles in the public sector.

Political analysis of these struggles tends to focus on bargaining strategy, strike tactics, and conflicts within the union locals or between the locals and the central union. These struggles are usually framed as resistance to the neo-liberal agenda of the universities, including lowering the cost of academic labour.[20] A class composition focus would start from an investigation of changing class composition as a product of struggles between academic labour and the neoliberal state and university. It would investigate the anti-capitalist content and forms of organization generated by this changing class composition, including consideration of autonomous organizations of the academic precariat not only at individual colleges and universities, but also regionally, irrespective of union affiliation, which could advance these struggles both within and beyond unions’ collective bargaining strategies. This approach would also investigate the degree to which the new class composition of the academic precariat is shared with other “knowledge precariat” workers outside the academy, as well as how anti-capitalist contents and forms of organization circulate, as happened between global justice movement activists, York University precarious faculty, and Ontario anti-poverty activists in the early 2000s.[21]

Class composition needs to be analyzed throughout the entire cycle of production and reproduction, including unwaged work, from the local to the global level, using the theoretical advances since the 1970s of both autonomist Marxism and social reproduction feminism.[22] For example, the “precariat” and migrant workers, and their specific forms of struggle, have already been the focus of investigation in this perspective.[23] Finally, a class composition approach would provide an alternative to the party-building approach by grounding the circulation of the struggles and power of workers and oppressed groups in the real movements which develop power in struggles with capital.[24]

Workers’ Autonomy and Unions

By collective bargaining law and historical practice, unions contain workers’ struggles within collective bargaining with individual employers over the narrowest range of wages, benefits, and working conditions around which a “deal” can be reached which will keep the employer profitable. All forms of active solidarity by other workers are legally prohibited, including mass pickets, solidarity strikes, and secondary boycotts. Once a contract is signed, the union is legally bound to confine the workers’ struggle within the grievance-arbitration system.[25]

It is therefore important not to conflate workers’ autonomous struggles with collective bargaining and union political action. The self-activity of workers’ struggles is the basic building block, even when it has little formal organization and only embryonic class consciousness. The priority is to develop workers’ autonomous power. How to do this – through independent worker organizations or within unions – is a tactical question.

Workplace organizing can no longer be theorized or strategized with an exclusive workplace focus. For example, precarity is common to most workers today, with a resulting lack of workers’ connection with a single workplace or with strictly workplace-based organizations or unions. The most innovative organizing of waged workers today is community-based, rather than workplace-based. Examples are the independent community-based worker centres such as the Workers’ Action Centre in Toronto, as well as the movements for the $15 minimum wage in Canada and the US.

Autonomy, Power, and the Working Class

The understanding of divisions within the working class and oppressed groups as relations of power has relevance today as a way to ground these divisions as fundamentally different relative levels of power and wealth resulting from struggles against capital in the workplace and community, locally and globally. This is an alternative to framing divisions as “divide and conquer” capitalist tactics, or as the inequitable distribution of existing power and systemic advantages among identity groups. This would also re-frame conflicts and convergences within and between movements.

For example, it is strategically important to assert the organizational autonomy of struggles of less powerful sectors (low waged and wageless workers; racialized workers; women) to set their own strategies, demands, and methods of struggle in order to develop their power and thereby increase the power of the whole working class.[26] This goes beyond the “representational” approach in the labour movement or other movement organizations, where representatives of less powerful groups such as women and racialized workers are allocated leadership positions.

Real autonomy means supporting spaces in movements where women, racialized groups, and other oppressed groups can set their own priorities and methods of struggle.[27] For the more powerful sections, active solidarity, not control of the struggles of the less powerful, can increase the power of both the less and more powerful. An example would be unions making the struggle for a living wage for all, waged and wageless, a top priority within their own organizations, while accepting the autonomy of the low waged and wageless to determine their own campaigns.

These four areas of relevance of the NT workers’ autonomy experience have remained at the center of activists’ experiences in mass movements and political organizations since the 1970s. It is ultimately up to the current generation of activists to decide what can be learned from past experiences to address these issues in movements today.


Notes

1. Gary Kinsman,  “The Politics of Revolution:  Learning from Autonomous
Marxism,” Upping the Anti #1. I want to thank Gary for his encouragement
to re-visit this 1970’s activist experience with a view to its relevance to contemporary movements.

2. Adriano Sofri (1968), Organizing for Workers’ Power: Beyond Trade Unionism and
Vanguardism
; New Tendency pamphlet, trans. with Canadian introduction by John Huot (1972). http://www.connexions.org/CxLibrary/New-Tendency-18943CX.htm.

3. Lotta Continua played a leading role in workplace and community struggles from 1969 to 1976, incorporating some thousands of activists and publishing a national daily newspaper. Potere Operaio was active in several significant local struggles with a national presence, and published influential articles. On operaismo, see Steve Wright, Storming Heaven: Class Composition and Struggle in
Autonomist Marxism
. Pluto, 2002.

4. Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James (1972), The Power of Women and the
Subversion of the Community
. Falling Wall Press; Selma James (1973), Sex, Race
and Class
. Falling Wall Press.

5. Facing Reality published reports in the 1960’s on industrial workers’ struggles, the Black liberation movement, and women by activists such as Martin Glaberman, Grace Lee Boggs, James Boggs, and Selma James.

6. Many articles from the three main influences on the New Tendency are accessible at http://zerowork.org/.

7. See Huot in Sofri (1972).

8. The Newsletter, 6 issues, 1972-75. These reports are valuable records of struggles
in diverse workplaces in 1970s Ontario. http://www.connexions.org/CxLibrary/New-Tendency-18943CX.htm.

9.Toronto NT Collective (1974), Autonomous Struggles and the Capitalist Crisis, edited with introduction by Ramirez, Bruno, Workers’ Autonomy pamphlet.

10. John Huot (1973), “Notes on Workers’ Autonomy,” The Newsletter #2, 40-48;
Ramirez, Judy and Taylor, Peter (1973), “Elements for a Political Perspective,” The Newsletter #3, 3-9.

11. John Huot (1974), “Workers’ Autonomy and Power Relations Within the Working Class,” Toronto NT Collective Educational on Workers’ Autonomy.

12. Sergio Bologna (1972), “Class Composition and Theory of the Party at the Origins of the Workers’ Council Movement,” Telos, No. 13, 4-27. Also at http://zerowork.org/.

13. John Huot (1973), “Workers’ Struggles in Advanced Capitalism: The Post
Office,” The Newsletter # 3, 40-55; Toronto NT Collective (1974), “The April
Postal Strike: Workers, Union and the State,” The Newsletter #5, 19-48; Peter
Taylor (1975), “‘The Sons of Bitches Just Won’t Work’: Postal Workers Against
the State,” ZeroWork 1, 85-112.

14.As Dalla Costa explained, “Only those directly affected and with a direct interest in destroying their exploited condition can really discover the necessary political analysis and the ways to organize their struggle and exercise a real power…. When women begin to organize and become aware of their force and power, the whole working class discovers new strengths and possibilities.” Quoted in Huot, Notes on Workers’ Autonomy,” The Newsletter #2, Fall 1973, 42).

15. Struggle Against Work Collective (1975), “Statement on the Dissolution of the New Tendency”, archived as The Newsletter #6 http://www.connexions.org/
CxLibrary/New-Tendency-18943CX.htm.

16. Struggle Against Work Collective (1975); Out of the Driver’s Seat: Marxism in North America Today (1974) (by Windsor Facing Reality-related group). http://www.connexions.org/CxLibrary/New-Tendency-18943CX.htm.

17. Struggle Against Work Collective (1975), Statement on the Dissolution of the
New Tendency, The Newsletter #6 http://www.connexions.org/CxLibrary/New-Tendency-18943CX.htm.

18. “Toronto Collective Statement” (1976), written by the men, including myself, who left SAWC over this issue. http://www.connexions.org/CxLibrary/New-Tendency-18943CX.htm

19. Immanuel Ness ed. (2014), New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class Struggle Unionism, PM Press. This otherwise interesting collection makes no use of the class composition concept; in consequence, the articles focus exclusively on forms of workers’ struggles, but not on their class composition, which is the material basis for strategically evaluating new forms of organization.

20. See, “Thinking Through the York University Strike,” Editorial, Canadian Dimension, May/June 2009, with online responses by Tyler Shipley and Tyler McCreary.

21. Clara Kuhling, “How CUPE 3903 Struck and Won,” Just Labour, vol. 1 (2002), 77-85.

22. E.g. Sergio Bologna (2014), “Workerism Beyond Fordism: On the Lineage of Italian Workerism,” Viewpoint Magazine, https:viewpointmag.com/2014/12/15/workerism-beyond-fordism-on-the-lineage-of-italian-workerism/; Silvia Federici (2012), Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle, PM Press; Nick Dyer-Witheford (1999), Cyber-Marx: Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in High-Technology Capitalism, University of Illinois Press.

23. Susan Ferguson, and David McNally (2015) “Precarious Migrants: Gender, Race and the Social Reproduction of a Global Working Class,” in Transforming Classes, ed. Leo Panitch and Greg Albo, Socialist Register 2015, pp. 1-23.

24. Dorothy Kidd (2016) “Extra-Activism,” Peace Review, 28:1, 1-9, uses a class composition approach to analyze the contemporary mining justice movement.

25. Jane McAlevey (2012), Raising Expectations (And Raising Hell): My Decade of Fighting for the Labour Movement, Verso, is a rare example of a union staff organizer pushing many of these limits of unions and collective bargaining.

26. The labour movement has mostly failed to respect the autonomy of anti-poverty organizations, especially the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, which has led many campaigns over the last 25 years. OCAP has consistently supported unionized workers’ struggles.

27.  This was an issue in the Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly (2009-2015). See Herman Rosenfeld (2011), “The Greater Toronto Workers’ Assembly: A Hopeful Experiment,” New Politics, Summer 2011; Elise Thorburn (2011), “Motion to Strike a Feminist Action Committee,” GTWA Discussion Bulletin, January 2011.