David McNally – Primitive Accumulation, Migrant Workers and Social Reproduction in the Age of Austerity

The Age of Austerity ushered in by the global crisis of 2008-9 centrally involves cheapening the reproduction of labour-power by means of reducing both private wages and the social wage administered by the state. These policies have decided class, gender, racial and generational dimensions. To properly elucidate these dimensions, however, requires that we also grasp ongoing primitive accumulation as a crucial ‘moment’ in the austerity agenda. To accomplish this means addressing the role of the reproduction of the global reserve army of labour, and of precarious migrant workers, in the restructuring of labour-power on a world scale.

In order to develop the theory of primitive accumulation in these directions, this paper returns to tensions in Marx’s account of the social reproduction of labour-power. Here I argue that not only does Marx’s conceptualization require a gender analysis, but that it also needs to be developed with respect to the problematic of labour migration. I show where Marx points to ways in which we might do this. The analysis presented underlines the decisive importance of an anti-racist defence of migrant workers for any effective working class politics in the Age of Austerity.

David McNally is Professor of Political Science at York University and a leading member of the New Socialist Group (www.newsocialist.org). He has written extensively on the critique of political economy. His publications include Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance and Monsters of the Market: Zombies, Vampires and Global Capitalism. 

David McNally – Prvotna akumulacija, migrantski delavci in družbena reprodukcija v dobi varčevanja

Doba varčevanja, ki jo je povzročila svetovna kriza iz let 2008–2009, v veliki meri temelji na pocenitvi reprodukcije delovne sile s pomočjo zniževanja tako zasebne mezde kakor družbene mezde, s katero upravlja država. Te politike so odločilno posegle v razredna, spolna, rasna in generacijska razmerja. Da bi jih lahko celovito osvetliti, pa moramo upoštevati tudi trenutno prvotno akumulacijo kot ključni »moment« varčevalne politike. Zato moramo analizirati vlogo, ki jo pri preoblikovanju delovne sile na svetovni ravni igrajo reprodukcija svetovne rezervne armade delovne sile in prekarni migrantski delavci.

Da bi lahko razvili teorijo prvotne akumulacije s tega gledišča, se bomo vrnili k napetosti v Marxovi obravnavi družbene reprodukcije delovne sile. Pokazali bomo, da Marxova konceptualizacija potrebuje ne samo analizo spolov, temveč jo je treba razviti tudi z vidika delavske migracije. Izpostavili bomo mesta, kjer nam to omogoča sam Marx. Predstavljena analiza bo poudarila ključnost antirasistične obrambe migrantskih delavcev za učinkovito politiko delavskega razreda v dobi varčevanja.

David McNally je profesor na kanadski Univerzi York in eden vodilnih članov kolektiva New Socialist (www.newsocialist.org). Ukvarja se s kritiko politične ekonomije. Med drugim je objavil knjigi Global Slump: The Economics and Politics of Crisis and Resistance in Monsters of the Market: Zombies, Vampires and Global Capitalism.

Lectures/Predavanja:
Global Crisis – Global Resistance
“Labour-Power and Social Reproduction: From Capital to the Current Crisis”

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