Re: (OPE-L) Re: the _struggle_ over the length of the working day

From: Francisco Paulo Cipolla (cipolla@SOCIAIS.UFPR.BR)
Date: Wed Jun 25 2003 - 16:08:31 EDT

I have just checked through Amazon to see if I could get Basso´s book
but it was not available yet. Has it just been released Rakesh?

Rakesh Bhandari wrote:

> Jerry wrote:
>> The point remains that Marx did _not_ write that struggles over
>> the length of the working day can be conceived as "defensive"
>> struggles.  And -- more to the point -- regardless of what Marx
>> did or did not write,  struggles over the length of the working
>> day are expressions in part of the aspirations of the working class
>> for additional leisure time which collide with the drive by
>> capital to -- wherever possible -- increase absolute surplus value.
>> To conceive one-sidedly of such struggles as primarily "defensive"
>> fails to grasp what workers are fighting *for*.
>  In his brilliant book Modern Times, Ancient Hours: Working Lives in
> the 21st Century (Verso, 2003) Pietro Basso provides a careful
> analysis of the 35 hour work week in France. Basso shows that this
> gain has been won at the cost of increased intensification and
> flexibilization (more shift work, less overtime pay, employer
> determination of working schedules). Perhaps would some argue that
> capitalist progress in the reduction of working time should not  be
> measured in terms of the length of the working day or the hours worked
> in the course of a week or in the number of weeks worked per year;
> rather progress has come in the form of the reduction of work in the
> course of a lifespan. That is, while life spans have almost doubled in
> the last one hundred years, the absolute number of hours worked by a
> proletarian over the course of his lifetime has even decreased a
> bit. Is this proof of the continued progressiveness of capitalist
> development? Basso thinks not for clearly specified reasons. What do
> others think? Basso's book raises questions of fundamental importance.
> Could not be recommended more highly. Yours, Rakesh

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