The Labour Studies Seminar Series, in partnership with Wits University Press, launched "Urban Revolt: State Power and the Rise of People's Movements in the Global South," edited by Immanuel Ness, Trevor Ngwane, and Luke Sinwell.
Speaker: Dr Trevor Ngwane
Date: Wednesday, 23rd May 2018
Venue: Eden Grove Seminar Room 2
The series is run by the Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit (NALSU) and the Departments of Sociology, History, and Economics & Economic History.
THE EDITORS: Trevor Ngwane is a scholar-activist of long standing in the South African working class and Marxist movement. His political involvement spans the apartheid and post-apartheid eras. He is active in the post-apartheid Anti-Privatisation Forum, a coalition of community, union and political groups, and is currently chair of the United Front in Johannesburg. A prolific writer and speaker, he is national secretary of the South African Sociological Association (SASA), and completed a PhD on "Amakomiti as Democracy on the Margins: Popular Committees in South Africa's Informal Settlements" at the University of Johannesburg.
Immanuel Ness, a labour activist, is Professor of political science at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, and part of the Graduate Centre for Worker Education. He is editor of numerous works, including "New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class Struggle Unionism" and "Ours to Master and to Own: Workers' Control from the Commune to the Present" (with Dario Azzellini), and author of "Guest Workers and Resistance to U.S. Corporate Despotism" and "Southern Insurgency: The Coming of the Global Working Class."
Luke Sinwell, Senior Researcher at the University of Johannesburg, writes about, and participates in, grassroots struggles. He is co-editor of "Contesting Transformation: Popular Resistance in Twenty-First-Century South Africa" (with Marcelle Dawson) and "Southern Resistance in Critical Perspective (with Marcel Paret and Carin Runciman), and co-author of "The Spirit of Marikana: The Rise of Insurgent Trade Unionism in South Africa" (with Siphiwe Mbatha), and "Marikana: A View from the Mountain and a Case to Answer" (with Peter Alexander, Thapelo Lekgowa, Botsang Mmope, and Bongani Xezwi).
THE BOOK: The urban working class and poor are now the majority of the world's population. Its relentless and ongoing growth is underpinned by world-historic processes of proletarianisation and urbanisation. By the 1990s, there were more industrial workers in South Korea alone than the entire world in 1848, when Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote "The Communist Manifesto." Massive displacements of peasants to urban areas help drive the proliferation of mega-cities of 10-20 million across the Global South.
While workplace-based struggles remain important, urban slums and squatter settlements have become principal sites of social upheaval and resistance by ordinary people. With detailed case studies from Africa, Asia and Latin America, "Urban Revolt" unravels the potential and limitations of urban social movements on an international level. It examines how, in the Global South, these movements have challenged and transformed the city, and it considers the possibilities they have created for a revolutionary alternative to capitalist hegemony. Besides the editors, contributors include Adefemi Abdulmojeed Adeyanju, Swapna Banerjee-Guha, Simone da Silva Ribeiro Gomes, Ayokunle Olumuyiwa Omobowale, Patrick O'Hare, Muhammad Ridha and Claudia Delgado Villegas.