Class struggle in times of crisis: conceptualising agency of resistance

Andreas Bieler


Class struggle in times of crisis: conceptualizing agency of resistance. While movements of resistance against neo-liberal globalization have increasingly become subject of analysis, there is little agreement on how to conceptualize such agency. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to a conceptualization of resistance in order to understand better the possibilities of success, but also obstacles to more decisive action against global capitalism.
The paper will first discuss why it is important to draw on historical materialism in this respect in order to comprehend the historical specificity of capitalism. In a second step, it is argued that divisions along ethnicity and gender can be incorporated into analyses of class struggle, before suggesting four concrete ways of how to conceptualize expanded forms of class struggle including (1) Robert Cox’s focus on non-established, informal labor; (2) Harry Cleaver’s emphasis on the ‘social factory’; (3) Kees van der Pijl’s analysis of the extension of exploitation into the sphere of social reproduction; and (4) Chandra Talpade Mohanty’s grounding of analysis in the experience of the most exploited female workers in the Global South.

Keywords: Historical Materialism, Global Capitalism, Agency of Resistance, Class Struggle

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