Surpassing the binary opposition between reform and revolution

Linked with Peter Waterman – England, with The Voice of the Turtle, with Reflections on an Emancipatory Labour Internationalism … .

(Excerpt – the paper is not dated on their website, obviously these guys are eternal): … However radical the proposals concerning labour internationality might seem at first glance, there is nothing particularly revolutionary about them. This is despite the anti-capitalist attitudes and aspirations of this paper. What is being here proposed is a radical reformism informed by a post-capitalist vision.

The reason for such a `reformist’ proposal is that

  • there is no binary opposition between meaningful reform and realistic radicalism, because
  • each is a condition for the existence of the other, the reformists providing space for the radicals, the radicals providing energy to the reformists, and
  • open global dialogue on international labour and labour relations cannot but be subversive of national chauvinism, institutional closure, ideological conservatism (left, right and centre) and – of course – world monetary fundamentalism.

The reason why all this might be particularly true today is because of the growing centrality of cyberspace – as both demonstrated and furthered by COL2 itself! Whoever `invented’ and whoever `dominates’ it, cyberspace differs quite fundamentally from institutional space, or even from traditional media space (radio, film, TV). Cyberspace is infinite. The computer incorporates a dialectical/dialogical logic. The Web, moreover, potentially surpasses the age-old split between the audiovisual and the verbal (feeling and logic) that went with the just as old division of labour between doers and thinkers.

Less grandly, but more to the point here, it means that the hypothetical exclusion of this present – or any other – text from COL2, is of minor consequence, except, possibly, for the image of the Conference itself. There are an increasing number of institutionally independent labour lists and websites. And, even if none of them is currently offering such a forum as the ILO/ICFTU is, the cost of creating an appropriate one is a fraction of that of creating an international organisation, an international conference, an international publication. The same, is, of course, true for the non-electronic SIGTUR event!

In conclusion, this:

A globalised and networked capitalism creates the possibility of reinventing labour as an internationalist movement, addressed to society as a whole, aiming not at `a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work’ (a liberal notion), but at surpassing the continuing capitalist commoditisation of human labour and creativity (the original socialist one). (huge full text).

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