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Autonomism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Autonomist theory

Unlike other forms of Marxism, autonomist Marxism emphasises the ability of the working class to force changes to the organisation of the capitalist system independent of the state, trade unions or political parties. Autonomists are less concerned with party political organisation than other Marxists, focusing instead on self-organised action outside of traditional organisational structures. Autonomist Marxism is thus a “bottom up” theory: it draws attention to activities that autonomists see as everyday working class resistance to capitalism, for example absenteeism, slow working, and socialisation in the workplace.

Like other Marxists, autonomists see class struggle as being of central importance. However, autonomists have a broader definition of the working class than other Marxists: as well as wage-earning workers (both white collar and blue collar), autonomists also include the unwaged (students, the unemployed, homemakers etc), who are traditionally deprived of any form of union representation.

Early theorists (such as Mario Tronti, Antonio Negri, Sergio Bologna and Paolo Virno) developed notions of “immaterial” and “social labour” that extended the Marxist concept of labour to all society. They suggested that modern society’s wealth was produced by unaccountable collective work, and that only a little of this was redistributed to the workers in the form of wages. They emphasised the importance of feminism and the value of unpaid female labour to capitalist society.

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October 1st, 2008 at 8:31 am

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