Jules Alford has written a detailed and lengthy article on the shape of the working class in Britain today on the IS Network blog. He concludes:
A major part of the grassroots activity of socialists who accept the centrality of workers self-organization must be to recapitulate – in new ways – the basic ‘from the bottom up’ tactics that marked the efforts of socialists, syndicalists and militants to organize the non-unionized and unskilled between the late 1880s and 1910. The rank and file networks created by the Sparks and the militant, uncompromising course they pursued to defeat BESNA and proposals to slash their wages by 35% point to what is needed more widely across the class. Finally the last forty years demonstrate that there can be no stable islands of trade unionism. Broad swathes of the working class cannot be left safely unorganized thus leaving existing union organization vulnerable to further encroachments by capital. For such a situation to continue ‘indefinitely’ would mean trade union membership continuing to fall and the further erosion of existing workplace organization. And in these circumstances ‘trade union consciousness’ would also wither. Such a baleful vista would constitute a major loss to us all.