Workers’ inquiries and the working class

Jamie Woodcock has an article in the latest issue of the Oxford Left Review. It looks at what the statistics tell us about class in Britain – and what they leave out. Jamie outlines Marx’s idea of a “workers’ inquiry”. This, he suggests, could fill gaps in our knowledge, as well as being a political project in its own right.

There needs to be an investigation of what these shifting forms of labour mean for the possibilities of resistance and organisation. Although the public sector remains a bastion of trade union membership, there are large sections of the working class without significant institutional representation, often employed in conditions that present obstacles to building organisation.

The question of what these changes mean has to be connected with a project of understanding the struggle of workers themselves and of attempting to inquire into what forms of organisation emerge in resistance to new conditions.

Read “The Working Class in Britain today” here.

For more from the Oxford Left Review head to


Note: This piece was published before rs21 was established as an independent organisation in January 2014. rs21 was founded by a group of people who had been in the opposition within the SWP and who left in response to its persistent mishandling of rape and sexual harassment allegations against a leading member.


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