Friday, 14 August 2015

Lucien van der Walt about a living wage and working class power

Lucien van der Walt, 2015, From Living Wage to Working Class Counter-power, South African Labour Bulletin, 39(2), pp 35-39.
Abstract: Based on a talk given in Kenya, this article argues that, while official minimum wages and other improvements are welcome gains, they are inadequate in an exploiting system based on the rule of the few. It is necessary to pose the more ambitious demand for a 'living wage,' set by the working class, and to enforce this by building powerful, autonomous, self-managed, conscientised and universalist class-struggle movements opposing all oppression. Rejecting 'privilege' theories, it argues that all sectors of the working class benefit from demands and campaigns that secure equal rights, equal treatment and equal wages, against divide-and-rule systems, and in which strikers build alliances with communities and users. A 'living wage' movement of this type should be located in a larger project of building a popular counter-power that can resist, and then topple, ruling class power.