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Farewell to the Working Class (Pluto Classics) 1st Edition

3 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0861043644
ISBN-10: 0861043642
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Editorial Reviews


‘Vintage Gorz – stimulating in its insight and rich in its documentation.' --Guardian
‘As unemployment rises, the struggle, Gorz insists, is not for the 'Right to Work' but for an income regardless of work, for the sharing of the reduced amount of necessary social labour, above all for the primacy of autonomous, self-determined activity. And it is a struggle, he claims, that is already taking place.’ --New Statesman

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation)

Product Details

  • Series: Pluto Classics
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Pluto Press; 1st edition (January 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861043642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861043644
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,718,801 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
"Farewell to the working class" by André Gorz was fist published in 1980. The author was a French left-wing intellectual (he died some years ago), and the title was probably a deliberate provocation. At the time, Marxism was still in vogue among left-wingers. In France, the Communist Party was quite strong, and its labour union federation CGT was the strongest one among blue collar workers. Today, "Farewell to the working class" sounds somewhat anachronistic. Most of its ideas are pretty old hat, certainly among Greens, and the author's constant polemic against Marxism makes the whole book look weird. Apparently, however, there is still a certain demand for the work, since this Pluto Press edition was published quite recently.

Gorz argues that both Marxism and the traditional working class are in crisis. Ultimately, both have failed. The development of the productive forces hasn't laid the material basis for socialism. Rather, they simply reproduce capitalism. Nor is it possible for the working class to take over the productive forces, neither as individuals, nor as a collective. This kind of "workers' power" is an illusion. Large scale production and the international division of labour makes it impossible for the workers in one single plant or industry to organize "self-management". The entire industrial apparatus is one single whole. Its parts simply cannot be self-managed. Meanwhile, automation, computerization and piecework have made workers either completely redundant, or reduced their potential power over the work process to an absolute minimum. This too makes it impossible to take over the economy as it is, and turn it into "socialism".
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