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date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues in favor of returning both capitalism and labor/class-based movements to a prominent position in the social movement literature. We outline seven elements for constructing such a theory including: (1) the fictitious nature of labor as a commodity and the endemic nature of labor unrest in capitalism; (2) the recurrent transformations in the organization of production and consumption and the recurrent making, unmaking, and remaking of working classes on a world scale; (3) the link between these transformations and the changing forms of workers’ struggles; (4) the growing weight of the unemployed and underemployed in the global labor force and labor unrest; (5) the uneven geographical development of capitalism and the tension between profitability and legitimacy; (6) the related intertwining of class-based and status-based movements; and (7) the ways in which profit-making, war-making and labor unrest have been intimately intertwined throughout the history of capitalism.

Keywords: Labor movements, class-based movements, social movements literature, capitalism, historical capitalism, capitalist world system

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