This will be an illustrated talk about the politics of the lay-off struggles at the Ford Motor Company in Dagenham in the mid 1970s, and its implications for class composition analysis.
The core of this presentation is 150 photographic slides illustrating the lay-off struggles at Ford. The material is drawn from the history of the
Ford Workers’ Group at Dagenham, and from Ed Emery’s extensive archive of documents of struggles in the British motor industry from 1969 to 1989. That archive is currently being digitised for storage at May Day Rooms.
The talk will locate the Dagenham experience within a broader discussion of class composition analysis, with special reference to the “operaismo” (“workerist”) and “autonomia operaia” (“workers’ autonomy”) currents of Italian Marxism. The intention is to re-launch a “workers’ inquiry” project, to study those important struggles of the 1970-80s.
Ed Emery is the founder of the Red Notes publishing venture. He is also a Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies [SOAS].
His occasional blog can be found here: https://notesfrombelow.org/blog