New Forms of Worker Organization: A Library Journal Review

New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class Struggle Unionism

By Duncan Stewart
Library Journal
November 2014

Ness (political science, Brooklyn Coll.; Guest Workers and Resistance to U.S. Corporate Despotism) has collected essays about worker militancy from across the globe that address the failure of traditional labor unions to protect workers in the neoliberal world economic order. From American fast-food workers confronting their supervisors to South African miners fighting just to stay alive in the pits, this title is a wake-up call to those who believe the need for unions is a thing of the past and those who are seeking new ways to rally workers. The essays range in quality and tone, but every piece stresses that workers organizing themselves and taking direct action, such as sit-down strikes, mass picketing, and community organizing are key to protecting labor rights in the 21st century. The book mixes a healthy dose of anarcho-syndicalist theory with on-the-scene reporting about both successful and unsuccessful labor battles. VERDICT This work will excite and enrage activists and may make supporters of the status quo nervous. However, its theoretical underpinnings, quasi-Marxist terminology, and fragmented narrative will limit its audience appeal.

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