The communicative core of working class organization

Authored by: Jesse Drew

The Routledge Companion To Media And Activism

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138202030
eBook ISBN: 9781315475059
Adobe ISBN:


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Media analyses and studies that investigate the role of media in organizations of workers, whether based at the point of production or in other sectors of service labour, have typically presented media practices as extraneous or peripheral to the primary efforts of labour. Labour issues are frequently framed as a conflict over land, labour and capital. I would force a fourth consideration into that triumvirate: communications. The struggle of the working class since its first stirrings has been a struggle over the means of communication. If politics is the conflict over the allocation of scarce resources, then labour politics can be understood as the struggle over who controls the printing press, the microphone and the camera. This would hold true over the entire scale of communications – from interpersonal face-to-face, to traditional broadcast and cable television, to social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The construction of a movement of workers is based as much upon fellow workers’ ability to communicate one-on-one with co-workers as it is upon the ability for labour leaders to broadcast to a major television audience.

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