The Power of the Precariat - seminar in Helsinki


Autonominen opisto, October-November, 2013

The power of the precariat? is a seminar which deals with the struggles and modes of organization of precarious workers. What are central struggles today in the view of the societal change and improvement of human life? And what kind of modes of organization are born in these struggles?

The problem of the contemporary precarious worker is often that the strike, traditional form of struggle is not functional anymore. Either it is not possible to go on strike, because project based labour would just remain to be finished later, the ones that need care would be abandoned or the interruption of work would mean the interruption of life and thinking. Or then the strike would not help at all, because it does not produce enough damage to capital for it to accomplish any substantial victories.

The old socialistic labour movement is today focused on defending “already attained benefits” and practically strengthening the hierarchy between different groups of workers – practically dissolving instead of reinforcing the solidarity between workers. Its only content has become to defend what is owned or property, the attempt to be part of class domination instead of trying to abolish all class domination. The pride of the power of the working class as the builder of this world has changed into a bitter pride over “laboring” and glorification of oppressed work done under someone else.

However, it is more evident than ever that the glorification of work and the building of politics of the working class on the basis of socialist work ethics seems to be resulting to the exploitation of the precarious work force. Work does not guarantee steady income or a position in society, instead it produces mental and physical exhaustion. Because of this it would be essential to find again the political imagination of the revolutionary working class movement:  the perspective of radical reorganization of the autonomy of the workers, the struggles, work and production that are indifferent to the interests or competitiveness of capital.


The Structure of the seminar:

The seminar will take place four times in October and November 2013. First three sessions will be held in Finnish, and the forth session in English.

In each session there will be two or three short presentations and afterwards there is time reserved for discussions. We hope for the participants to suggest their own subjects or to offer to make presentations themselves from some subject that fits the theme of the seminar.


Times and themes of the sessions:

1. Saturday 19.10.2013 13-17, Seminar room Seppele, Domus Gaudium, Leppäsuonkatu 11, first floor  (in Finnish)

The introduction to the themes: the struggles of the precariat, the relationship between the precariat and the proletariat – what kind of struggles are essential today for the precarious workers? What kind of new forms of industrial action has been born in last decades? 

Is there anything to be gained from the old labor movement or its modes of organization? The initiators of the seminar will give presentations from the subjects relating to the themes.


2. Saturday 2.11.2013 13-17, Galleria Oksasenkatu 11, Oksasenkatu 11 (in Finnish)

The technical and political class composition of the precariat: what are the central worker figures and what are their invisible everyday struggles like?


3. Sunday 17.11.2013 13-17, Galleria Huuto Jätkäsaari 2, Tyynenmerenkatu 6 (in Finnish)

The ways and modes of organization. 


4. Saturday 30.11.2013 13-17, Galleria Huuto Jätkäsaari 2, Tyynenmerenkatu 6 (in English)

The relationship between symbolic and direct action. Invited speakers will give presentations. The discussion will be in English.


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