Synopses & Reviews
As the struggle against neoliberalism becomes ever more global, Just Work will be the definitive book on the growing social and political power of one its major forces: migrant labor. From trade unions in South Africa to resistance in oppressive Gulf states, migrating forest workers in the Czech Republic, and illegal workers’ organizations in Hong Kong, Just Work brings together a wealth of lived experiences and frontline struggles for the first time. Highlighting developments in the wake of austerity and attacks on traditional forms of labor organizing, the contributors show how workers are finding new and innovative ways of resisting. The result is both a rich analysis of where the movement stands today and a reminder of the potentially explosive power of migrant workers in the years to come.
"Conceived as a means of demonstrating how local activist movements can collaborate with other groups to increase the effectiveness of their shared aims, both locally and globally, Choudry, Hanley, and Shragge's (Fight Back: Workplace Justice for Immigrants) earnest book succeeds mostly as a conversation about the obstacles to consensus building rather than providing clear solutions. An abundance of wonky academic writing, primarily by Canadian professors or doctoral candidates, focuses on how different social justice groups, which may share common goals, often fail to coalesce as a result of different priorities. An attempt to combine legal efforts in support of immigrants highlights the tension between differing definitions of success, while an examination of the definitions of human rights demonstrates the role that cultural misunderstanding plays in achieving global change. The book becomes more accessible when the editors allow nonacademics to have the floor. For example, performer and musician Norman Nawrocki makes a clear and concise case for incorporating performance activism into any movement. Despite its atmosphere of a sweaty consensus-building session, the book will be a valuable primer for activists looking for pitfalls to avoid." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Perhaps most crucially, the authors lay down a key challenge for all activists for social justice: to take seriously the need to build mass movements for social change. Don't just read this exceptionally timely and important work—use it too." —David McNally, author, Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance
Penned by a diverse range of activists, academics, lawyers, artists, and researchers, this book weaves a rich and varied tapestry of strategies for bringing about change in an era of unprecedented economic, social, and ecological crisis. From community-based labor-organizing strategies among immigrant workers to mobilizing psychiatric survivors, from arts and activism for Palestine to organizing in support of indigenous peoples, each essay in this work reflects critically on the tensions, problems, limits, and gains inherent in a range of organizing contexts and practices. The book also places these processes in historical perspective, encouraging us to use history to shed light on contemporary injustices and how they can be overcome.
About the Author
Aziz Choudry is an assistant professor in international education at McGill University. He is the coeditor of Learning from the Ground Up. Jill Hanley is an assistant professor of social work at McGill University. She is the cofounder of Montreals Immigrant Workers Centre. Eric Shragge is a community and public affairs professor at Concordia University. He is the coauthor of Contesting Community. They are the coauthors of Fight Back: Workplace Justice for Immigrants. They all live in Montreal.