Essential Work, Disposable Workers: Migration, Capitalism, Class


by Mostafa Henaway

Format: Paperback


In recent years, waves of migration from the Middle East, Latin America, and Africa to Europe and North America have been met with a corresponding rise in anti-immigrant, far-right populism in host countries, placing the question of migration at the forefront of politics and social movements. In this sweeping account, Henaway seeks to understand these patterns through contextualizing global migration within a history of global capitalism, class formation, and the financialization of migration. As globalization intensifies, workers everywhere are forced to compete for wages — not through foreign investment and outsourcing, but through an increasingly mobile working class. Henaway rejects the dominant responses of restricting or “managing” migration through temporary worker programs, proposing that stopping a race to the bottom for all working people involves building solidarity with migrant worker struggles for decent work and justice. Through examining the organizing strategies of migrant workers at giants like Amazon and Wal-Mart as well as discount retailers like Dollarama and Sports Direct, the immense power and agency of precarious workers in global companies like UBER or Airbnb, the successful resistance of taxi drivers or fast food workers around the world, and the contemporary mass labour movement organized by new unions and workers’ centres, Henaway shows how migrant demands and strategies can help shape radical working class politics.

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SKU: 015930 Category:
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