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Protest and DissentNOMOS LXII$
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Melissa Schwartzberg

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781479810512

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479810512.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM NYU Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.nyu.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of NYU Press Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NYSO for personal use.date: 13 April 2021

On the Strike and Democratic Protest

On the Strike and Democratic Protest

Chapter:
(p.237) 9 On the Strike and Democratic Protest
Source:
Protest and Dissent
Author(s):

John Medearis

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479810512.003.0010

Many people recognize that strikes have important instrumental or indirect democratic benefits, especially ones resulting from their effect on economic and political inequality. Meanwhile, some theorists have made robust arguments recently for the republican value of strikes, showing how strikers’ cessation of labor resists two forms of domination linked to employment. In this chapter, I push beyond both these arguments to show that strikes are in themselves democratically valuable forms of collective action—and that they are illustrative, even exemplary, of important things we should remember about all forms of democratic protest. The democratic case for the strike, I contend, rests on recognizing the strike as more than just cessation or refusal—as a positive statement about the effort, skill, and agency of workers, and as a multifaceted collective action of a particular egalitarian kind. Strikes consist of workers striving to act together, on equal terms, building horizontal relations with each other, to resist economic domination and to achieve some rough sort of collective management of the terms of labor. And reflection on strikes and labor organizing reminds us of the significance of recognizing democratic protest as skillful and difficult political work.

Keywords:   strikes, democratic, protest, republican, labor, work

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