Against the Law: Labor Protests in China's Rustbelt and by Ching Kwan Lee

By Ching Kwan Lee

This learn opens a serious point of view at the gradual loss of life of socialism and the rebirth of capitalism within the world's so much dynamic and populous state. in keeping with extraordinary fieldwork and vast interviews in chinese language fabric, clothing, equipment, and family equipment factories, Against the legislations finds a emerging tide of work unrest in most cases hidden from the world's awareness. offering a large political and financial research of this exertions fight including fine-grained ethnographic element, the ebook portrays the chinese language operating classification as workers' tales spread in bankrupt nation factories and international sweatshops, in crowded dormitories and distant villages, at road protests in addition to in quiet disenchantment with the corrupt officialdom and the fledgling felony procedure.

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Additional resources for Against the Law: Labor Protests in China's Rustbelt and Sunbelt

Sample text

In his Spaces of Hope, David Harvey retrieves from Karl Marx’s early work the notion of the worker as a living subject. Writing mainly about workers’ bodily subjectivity and its multiple positionalities with respect to capital circulation and accumulation, Harvey stresses that the worker is not a singular economic category. ”61 Moments of production, exchange, consumption, and social reproduction may generate different politics. That is why workers in this study protest with the same conviction and resolve with which they exploit opportunities in the market and relish the modicum of redistributive resources at their disposal.

In trying to exercise their rights, many workers have found that they do not have any. Citizenship is an empty slogan and status, but because it is the language of the state, workers’ banners and petition letters are laced with legal terminology and logic. Yet, sometimes the court does follow the law and incites popular usage of the legal system. Under these circumstances, workers-as-citizens are a political agency in the making; they falter in some places but make headway in others. Every favorable arbitral award or court verdict spawns new desire and aspiration among workers to affirm their labor rights and interests through the legal system.

In protests, petitions, and private conversations, work- 28 / Part I ers refer to themselves as the working masses (gongren qunzhong). Tellingly, workers today often use this term interchangeably with ruoshi qunti. The “masses,” a concept that originated in the Chinese Communist Revolution and the Maoist mass line, consisted of workers, the peasantry, the intelligentsia, and the national bourgeoisie. 58 Cadres were instructed to guide and encourage the masses to participate in the construction and defense of socialism under the leadership of the Party.

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