by Maria Halouva
Processes of the multitude and worker formations of the proletariat-underclass
“It’s a small world. But not if you have to clean it” (Kruger, 1990).
My last day as a volunteer at the Independent Workers of Great Britain (IWGB) ended in a takeaway shop with a group of striking migrant workers. I was one of a small group of students and other supporters on the day and by chance we all sat opposite the women on strike. This moment seemed to represent an underlying current throughout my placement. Two groups of people together on the same table, from completely different sides. Most of the women are unable to speak much English and my Spanish can bore even the most patient and polite people. After we’d finished eating, one of the women sitting across me pointed at all of us non-striking supporters sitting opposite and asked, “why are you all here? Why do you care about this?” At first we were all stunned, ashamedly I’d become accustomed to receiving thanks for showing solidarity and support. But why were we there? Wasn’t it a given? An energetic, militant, autonomous workers’ movement led by migrant workers. It began in a wild-cat strike and culminated in the formation of their own, horizontally-organised union. The woman’s finger made it to me sooner than I’d liked. The whole table waited in silence for our translated responses.
Had it not been for that woman’s question I would not have identified the theme running behind moments and instances of the past four months that did not appear related or cohesive. Were the minor changes I’d been witnessing the ‘singular’ power of the ‘many’ being abstracted into the apparatus of the union? Were the workers becoming closer to a symbolic presence in resistance? This is important to point out as the formation of the IWGB sprang from frustration of a self-organised group of workers from main trade union bodies. This paper explores the processes and material circumstance involved in the lead up to the formation of the IWGB. It is not a historical account and will focus on specific instances and events that led to a sustained organised workforce. Did the change from the ‘many’ to the IWGB as a ‘body’ (as it became an organisational formation) sustain and strengthen the movement or did it diffuse it?
The first section will outline the conditions that are unique to this migrant workforce based in London in the context of UK trade unionism and neoliberal policies such as privatisation. The second section will explore the concept of the multitude in workplace organising, darting from the reaction to the formation of the IWGB from the broader trade union movement to where the concept ends in constituent power. Is one able to define this group of workers as the ‘multitude’ or the ‘unorganisable’? Or rather is this concept better deployed in specific instances such as the wild-cat strike that was the first unorganised action and a ‘multitudinous’ process that has remained after the formation of the IWGB? This will be used to build on and focus on two events in which the differences in human rights and humanitarian rights are exposed.
Although the category of the ‘unorganisable’ is a broad concept I will focus specifically on workers who are members of the IWGB while considering similar notions that may relate to or sometimes define this group. Such as the precarious worker, the multitude and the subaltern. The members of the IWGB are a predominantly migrant workforce, employed as cleaners, porters, security guards and caterers at the University of London (UoL). ‘Migrant workforce’ attributes to a low-level of English or English learnt as a second language after migration to London and subjection to racially exclusive forms of employment. Through a postcolonial lens this paper explores the nature of the form of multitudinous processes demonstrated in sustaining an organised labour force.
The IWGB was set up in 2008 after splitting from the International Workers of the World (and TNG before that) and organises cleaners in London in what is known as the Cleaners and Facilities branch. However, the UoL branch where I volunteered for four months has only been in existence since April 2013 after its members left the Senate House branch of union giant UNISON. Although both branches formed in reaction to their exclusion of the wider trade union movement, they operate with complete autonomy from one another, and as such I will only refer to the UoL branch throughout this paper when mentioning the IWGB. Please note, all names of those I have interviewed have been obscured to protect identity.
The IWGB is currently based in a small office in the University of London Union building in Central London and is in very close proximity to its base of approximately 200 members. It currently employs one full-time staff member who was elected President. As a volunteer I took on a small of amount of casework, acted as minute-taker and shadowed in formal meetings, designed agit-prop and union materials and prepared and helped organise demonstrations and strikes. As the only other person in the office for the majority of time I came to know many of the workers involved in running the union and the lead organisers in their workplaces as well as many who would visit for advice or support.
During a conference entitled ‘New Unionism’ earlier this year, a member who’d been working as a cleaner addressed a crowd of union activists and tried to tell as much of the story of of the formation of the IWGB as he could in his allocated 15 minutes. He explained the time he was given keys to the UNISON office at UoL and saw it for the first time. It had been out of use for such a long time there were rats in the old computers and dust and rubbish littered around the small office. He talked about being welcomed by the “stale stench of trade unionism”. But, he said with encouragement, they were professionals in the area of taking care of smells and dirt so cleaned the office imbuing it with the fresh smell of a ‘new’ unionism that was led by the workers. He went on to unapologetically explain UNISON’s lethargy and attempts to try to stop migrant workers from obtaining elected positions. This eventually lead to the abandonment of the union (as well as a Guardian article detailing documents in which UNISON officials were colluding with university management to diffuse their actions).
The IWGB’s membership has a short but effective history of struggle that began with a wild-cat strike in 2011 in a desperate measure to ‘win’ wages that had not been paid to them for almost four months. Up until this point most of the workers were not members of any union. Not long after that they campaigned for the London Living Wage with support from UNISON and won. However, they are known on campus and in the trade union movement for the 3 Cosas (3 things) campaign. Which consisted in strikes, protests, the abandonment of UNISON and the formation of the IWGB. Eventually winning enhanced sick pay, more annual leave and a pension for all permanently employed workers at UoL, and ridding themselves of their indefinite zero-hour contracts. As mentioned, its members, who identify themselves by which building they work in as opposed to their occupations, are divided along gendered and racialised lines of employment. The ‘outsourced’ workers who make up an overwhelming majority of membership are almost all from Latin America, Eastern Europe and Nigeria, while the handful of members who are defined as ‘directly employed’ workers are predominantly white, northern European and university-educated. This will form a partial definition of the workers involved.
The ‘outsourced’ worker as precariat-underclass
The Modern State thus casts itself as heir to canonical thought and to the Greco-Roman tradition: It abides by a Platonic and Aristotelian division of human labor into the lowly tasks of the slave and the elevated tasks of the citizen; and it relies on Roman Law to justify its novel forms of private property and contractual freedom (Laporte, 2000: 43).
I would like to begin by outlining the dynamic of a worker organisation such as this in the current context of UK trade unionism. It is with the rise of neoliberalism and the feminisation of labour with it that established unions have been firmly embedded. Although I will not detail the history of neoliberalism from the Ordo-liberals to the Chicago School, it is the distinct characteristics of neoliberal policies since the Thatcher era that have laid the foundation that is now compounded upon the neoliberal subject in what appears as a depoliticised many. Due to this and other factors I will not address here, the extra-parliamentary left has remained somewhat stagnant if not ineffectual in its attempts to combat neoliberal policies. Social theorists reinforce the idea that all aspects of an individual’s life have been marketised, privatised, commodified and solidified into human capital (Brown, 2003, Feher, 2009, Lazzarato, 2009, Lemke, 2001, McNay, 2009). One’s activity on a social network is enough to create surplus value for Facebook while increasing or decreasing one’s own social capital. One does not need to look far in order to see the increasingly blurred lines of the Aristotelian division of labour, action and intellect.
In the context of increasing privatisation, the centrality of the city and the marketisation of universities (in this case) has seen a rise of the gradual replacement and substitution of the stable working class for the precariat and the subaltern. According to Spivak, the subaltern, although not a fixed subject, does not have the ability to name itself as a subject: their movements are not clearly narratable or interpretable as a form of resistance (1990). The precariat on the other hand is more likely to be university-educated and, as opposed the old proletarian, does not obtain wages in any other form (such as benefits) and generally only receives money wages. The precariat is unique in that it is expected to acquire a diverse array of skills without expecting a stable income or occupational identity (Standing, 2014). Its constant accumulation of human capital and level of education far outreaches its labour power (ibid).
In the case of the membership of the IWGB, neither of these categories are appropriate. The precariat’s characteristic traits lead to differing circumstances and consciousness implicated by its relation to production (ibid), and although there may be some overlap, I will instead use the term proletariat-underclass. The latter refers to a somewhat para-proletariat, unlike the precariat which floats from contract to contract and is often self-employed. The proletariat-underclass, which may be university-educated, is heavily bound by language restrictions, thus limiting its labour power to specific occupations, varied though they may be. Their occupations do not require the need to retrain – in short, they are not considered in terms of human capital; much of their labour requires that they remain invisible to the immaterial work they produce. Rather than the precariat, which is much more pressured to network and so on, the proletariat-underclass is hired from a pool of cheap migrant labour, with clear parameters between work and leisure.
Although the proletariat-underclass in this instance may have worked in the same building for over a decade, it is eternally ‘outsourced’. The transnational corporations that are capable of bidding the lowest for private contracts exchange sites with no outward evidence apart from a new logo embroidered onto the workers’ shirts. Winning 3 Cosas was an argument for having equal rights as the directly-employed staff at the University of London. Most professionals employed by the university rely on national workplace agreements in conjunction with national union bodies, whereas the outsourced workers rely on what Lash and Urry refer to as “company unionism” where unions have very little influence on company policy and wages can be reduced across different sites for profitability (1987: 276–277). This dualist approach to collective bargaining has increased since the 1970s when companies adopted internal departments to deal with industrial relations in order to circumvent union negotiations (ibid).
The sense of inequality is deeply felt by the outsourced workers. This was epitomised for me on two occasions. The first took place at a Q&A session after a 3 Cosas campaigner and cleaner addressed a small crowd at a well-known London college. During the discussion the woman said she was “indignant” at being called “outsourced”, that it meant they were “different” to everyone else. The second instance involved me interviewing a woman employed as a cleaner who had emigrated from Poland. She told me that from her perspective she could not see a difference between directly employed staff and the outsourced workers. “The companies use these words. You know, less rights”.
As exemplified above, the recognised union UNISON prevented the culturally ‘other’ from establishing a form of permanent action and influence in the branch. The ‘otherness’ is not only cultural but acts as an ‘occupational’ other, the cultural otherness leading to the employment otherness. It is not untrue to say that the majority of those who remained with UNISON were the cleaners’ supervisors and managers. However, the IWGB may be the only union in the UK with not only an overwhelming majority of a minority-ethnic membership in unstable employment, many of whom undertake second or third jobs, but which was developed around these specific conditions.
This form of exclusion has not disappeared with the onset of the IWGB. In fact, the exclusion that was felt by the ‘many’ as singular subjects is now felt by the ‘body’ of the union before reaching the individual member. This brings me to the challenges in maintaining a militant base within the union for its own reproduction and sustainability. The points are salient in that the workers are easily dispensable. Companies are able to fire or suspend low-level members of staff without many repercussions as the cost of an employment tribunal is a considerable deterrent in taking action. Written contracts are rarely given to the proletariat-underclass, and although unlawful, one of the companies has used this in order to terminate a cleaner’s contract at a date they saw fit. The IWGB has been working towards obtaining a Certificate of Independence: in order to apply the union must pay £4000, have formalised structures and forms of governance in place and demonstrate democratic and transparent financial practices. The lack of the Certificate is used by employers and the University of London to avoid formally recognising the IWGB. Recognition would allow working members to have paid time devoted to union activities and training as well as allow the IWGB to enter into collective bargaining agreements with the companies. For example, although the IWGB has a majority membership with one of the employers that is proceeding with redundancies, that company is instead negotiating with UNISON in the process. Many core activists involved in the 3 Cosas campaign are now being made redundant due to the closure of one of the student halls. Their newly-obtained contracts with benefits may vanish sooner than a year after winning them. Despite this, and because of the unstable nature of this kind of employment, the union ties its membership at first to the workplace, it is predicated on employment and territory. However, once the member leaves the workplace they keep their membership as long as they continue to pay to dues. This acknowledgment of the mobile character of its membership in part sees the member as an individual who must gain employment to attain a form of representation.
Established unions, many of which have merged to become nationwide bodies in the past 20 years, have had a somewhat safe and ostensively permanent presence in UK industrial relations in post-war Britain. Unions affiliated to the Labour Party offer representation in the interest of its membership. Because of this the union is required to see workers as a kind of ‘one’ that is immobile, thus leading to a necessary exclusion of those who do not have a ‘job for life’, cannot partake in nationalist discourse and are subjected to a magnified sense of degradation from privatisation policies. The interests of the migrant worker become secondary in order to salvage and protect the traditionally white, male, union wage.
The above section firmly places the precariat-underclass in a unique standing point to other concepts based on employment of instability and migration. I have also outlined the changing dynamic of the exclusion of the singular to that of the whole after the formation of the IWGB. This lays the foundation in how the specific conditions and relations to production directly affect and produce instances of multitudinous processes and subsequently the non-discursive resistance to racialised inequalities.
The multitude in the workplace
It is difficult to discern, even after my four months of my being there, whether there is a state which the IWGB aims to ‘arrive at’. It is a union that grew out of a movement of one of the most invisible working sections of London. Unlike the Italian Autonomous movement that had grown symbiotically with and reactive to a body of theory and praxis, the IWGB grew from a reaction to praxis and collective bodily experience. As such the IWGB is much more fluid, its goals being to bestow dignity and recognition in attaining as equal a rights to those of the stable working class.
Allow me to digress for a moment to illustrate the concept of the multitude in order to then apply it in the context of the proletariat-underclass, focusing on the IWGB as a case study. I am not attempting to argue that there is no longer a ‘working class’ or that the concept is inconsequential; rather, I would like to investigate the concept of the multitude to events that transpired and manifested from the workplace in conjunction with the ‘people’. Paolo Virno lucidly delineates the dichotomy of the ‘people’ and the ‘multitude’ between Hobbes and Spinoza in the seventeenth century. It was the eventual rejection of the multitude that shaped the formation and boundaries of what were considered concrete divisions of the private and public domains (2004). Spinoza referred to the multitude as a form of permanent collective action where plurality is a priori in that it avoids homogenisation and gravitation towards a central point of reference such as the State. The State and the people are interdependent; one cannot exist without the other (ibid).
Before the State, there were the many; after the establishment of the State, there is the One – people, endowed with a single will. The multitude, according to Hobbes, shuns political unity, resists authority, does not enter into lasting agreements, never attains the status of juridical person because it never transfers its own natural rights to the sovereign (2004: 23).
Hobbes saw the multitude as a harbinger of the ‘state of nature’ (a stateless and thus lawless society) and a concept to be expelled from civil society (ibid). Although, as Virno demonstrates, the multitude was continuously muted in liberal and social democratic discourses due to carved out realms of the public and private, an Aristotelian presupposition which led contradictory notions such as the “collective individual” (ibid). As such, post-Fordism and neoliberal policies have in a sense sped up the diminishing distinction of these dual realms.
The multitude, we are told, cannot be represented in its fluidity. However, Hardt and Negri refer to the multitude contradictorily as something that does exist and something not yet brought into being without struggle. It sometimes takes on an imaginary and whimsical characteristic in which hope is placed. Not unlike Spinoza in fact, Negri claims we must look for a way to transform the multitude into constituent power, “An organisation of constituent power” (Negri, cited in Guerra et al., 2003: 101–102). While also outlining a form of the multitude closely related to that of the perpetual migrant whose freedom is to reach the luxurious West, to stay or to roam as desired, which is at times construed as a form of leisure (Hardt and Negri, 2000). Constituent power in itself requires the sum of the whole, and the ‘whole’, even if not abstracted into a political party or nation-state, must resist Empire. Of course this is purely hypothetical.
When Spinoza used the term he was referring to the unorganised citizen. To Marx the unorganised citizen was known as the ‘lumpenproletariat’, which in modern society is equated with the homeless, prison population or someone who gains subsistence through welfare benefits. I have no interest in partaking in the question of agency of the lumpenproletariat; however, the term ‘multitude’ applied to this group of workers may be disingenuous. Rather, it is actions involving de-appropriation that imbue the movement with a multitudinous ethos.
Although, can we equate the actions and subsequent formation of a union like the IWGB to an organised multitude? It is useful to deploy this concept in order to discern the presence of a politics of the ‘open-end’ while simultaneously being determined in its praxis. The road from employment representation to political representation expresses a desire to appropriate the State. Although, what is more likely the case given their relationship to the State, these workers have created a form of defence from the State. As mentioned the exclusion previously felt on a singular level is now reached by the IWGB before extending to the individual. A ‘de-appropriation’ rather, of cutting the strings off to that part of the State. In its construction and in reaction against established unions, the IWGB has no officer positions with special powers. The constitution can be changed by a majority vote from a quorum of members. This lays the foundation for a union that is concretised and able to function in the unknown with a degree of ‘randomness’. It is important to stress the impossibility of concretely defining the movement and the branch. From general conversations within the branch, the union was sometimes referred to as a tool or instrument in attaining better working conditions. This view is not particularly uncommon, however, it was the decision to reappropriate the organisational form of the union to suit their requirements that set them apart.
At the same conference mentioned above I attended a lecture about strengthening the UK trade union movement. Repetitively members of national unions expressed their support for the IWGB, whilst also warning against people’s “crude enthusiasm” for small and autonomous unions. In what could have been argument for possession of livestock, they referred to having members “poached” as if it were territory being stolen in the form of workplace empirical conquests. It is a given that this particular voice does not belong to a unified trade unionism, although I am merely attempting to illustrate the structured permanence which is presupposed in the established unions. The appearance of structured permanence in established and national trade unions are closer to transcendent para-state organs within which their members are a sovereign subject. In order to receive political representation one must assume workplace representation through the form of a secure structure. One’s interests (particularly if one is interested in funeral cover) are subsumed into the interests of the whole, the ‘One’, the ‘people’, the ‘working class’. With that logic it is rational to suggest that splitting is the weakening of the ‘whole’. I am inclined to believe this same group of the extra-parliamentary left would support nationalist struggles in the name of ‘self-determination’ siding with the ‘oppressed’. I do not wish to reduce the whole of UK trade unionism to two characters, the ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Rather, it is the processes in which traditional channels of resistance close to expose what would have remained unseen as part of the whole.
As mentioned above, the IWGB will ‘follow’ its individual members if they leave the primary site of its membership. This aligns it more closely with the industrial unionism of the Industrial Workers of the World although its resources are so limited that it would be impossible to provide any form of representation outside of London. Its membership then is predicated on two factors: the physical locality of the individual and their relationship to employment. Although the discussion of the multitude above has centred on the collective, open-ended organising of the IWGB and thus the de-appropriation of the state, here I will explore the contradictions of the the representation of the subject as a proletariat-underclass in its entirety of being. The above section applied aspects of the multitude as a process rather than a subjectivity. These aspects and events such as the wild-cat strike will be explored in depth in the following section to expose the unique circumstances of the proletariat-underclass and its relationship to equal rights.
Equal rights: Dynamics between praxis and representation
I will outline the varying forms of representation and its relationship to the notion of Human Rights by deploying the theorisation of Rancière, most notably in Who is the Subject of the Rights of Man. The concept of Human Rights is important in the context of the proletariat-underclass of the IWGB for two reasons. The first is the lack of rights and exclusion from traditional channels of resistance which led to the possibility of of an unorganised and unrepresentable action in human rights discourses and the second reason is the seemingly contradictory nature of developing a union body to represent the rights previously unavailable.
The importance of this was first illustrated to me in an interview with Jose who has worked at the university for many years and is a central figure in the formation of the IWGB and the 3 Cosas campaign. I was first surprised by the positive implications that emerged from a sense of lawlessness. He explained that when he first worked at the university many of the workers weren’t receiving proper pay in the relation to the amount of hours worked and that bullying and harassment was common practice by the contractor at the time. He said that he was under the presumption that the law did not apply to them. It reached a point where many workers hadn’t received their pay for three to four months and some of them were at risk of being made homeless because of their inability to pay rent. In what he explained to me as a day that began unorganised, “we said enough… For us there was no law so we walked out [of the job] because we thought there was no law for anyone”.
Their situation may seem to echo the words of Hannah Arendt in a different context, “Their plight is not that they are not equal before the law, but that no law exists for them.” (cited in Rancière, 2004: 299). This is stated in relation to the abstracted rights of ‘man’, who is required to be a citizen in order to gain access to those rights. This is based on the presupposition of the Aristotelian division of the private and public spheres (ibid). In this instance it is not the case. The lines between the rights of citizens or economic and legal rights of workers was not an issue here. It was the ‘private agreement’ (I use the term loosely) between the worker and the employer that had found a collective and thus public response in the form of a strike. By presupposing that there was no law and effectively taking part in political action that they did not have the right to, “they acted as subjects that did not have the rights that they had and had the rights that they had not” (ibid: 304). The channel of resistance open to them made visible a place and time where their rights were presupposed and one where there were none, rights they were not licensed to action. As Rancière refers to this process as putting together “a relation of inclusion and a relation of exclusion” (ibid: 304). The opening of such an action appears to be predicated on a certain amount of looseness, from the lack of a transcendent entity to ‘unite’ under rather than pull together in a determined yet uncertain circumstance. This is not to suggest that the subsequent and sustained successes of the 3 Cosas campaign after that could have been possible without the formation of a self-organised union. This is merely the reflection of a particular instance that became the point of entry for a collective consciousness based on the notion of equal rights, or to recall the language of Virno once more, it is multitudinous in a political action or praxis of the ‘many’ without subsumption into ‘the people’ in a non-representative political form.
Consequently these workers’ rights were not only the rights of employment but the right to equality. The subsequent campaigns and actions have been centred on the paradoxical nature of Human Rights discourse and the form by which it came into existence. As emphasised by Rancière, it is not enough to merely state whether or not one ‘has’ the rights in question but to validate and take on the right in the process (ibid: 302-302). By making visible the material inequalities they endured, they took on the power of previously symbolic and abstracted rights. By thinking that the law did not apply to them, neither did the ‘belonging’ of rights to a particular individual, citizen, migrant, documented/undocumented person, they were thus able to take on the form of those rights of equality that concretely altered the work space and living situation.
The concept of the multitude The concept of the multitude, as stated, cannot be represented and is not a class (the proletariat-underclass is clearly subsumed into the body of the working class and can develop a class consciousness). However paradoxical it may seem, the actions of the 3 Cosas workers can be deemed multitudinous as they run parallel to the concept of the ‘people’ and have made visible the part of the sum that has no existence or presence in relation to the state: the established trade unions. As such it uncovers, if only momentarily “the crisis of the form-of-state itself” (Lotringer cited in Virno. 2004: 13). In this context the multitude as a process and temporary subjectivity in an open-ended politics that does not aim to appropriate the means of production but for the notion of equality with the non-migrant worker, however imagined the manifestation of those rights of the non-migrant worker may be.
As highlighted, the link between the multitude and equal rights is in direct correlation to the inception of the first collective action. The distinct conditions of the ‘many’ arising from language restrictions and migratory status that accounted for exclusion and discriminatory practices, created an instance of non-representable praxis in demanding equal rights. Comparably, I shall investigate the differences relative to equality and human rights after the formation of the IWGB. Much of the individual case work and public campaigns such as the 3 Cosas and the Save the Garden Halls Jobs are an argument for equal rights in relation of the figure of the stable working class. This may appear similar in nature although it takes on a rather different form. The nature of a campaign itself requires a support base and looks for external recognition in order to prove justice in its actions. As such it is more likely to rely on visual and discursive methods of representation. In the case of the IWGB and the campaign to Save the Garden Halls Jobs, it is done particularly through online social media channels and printed materials distributed by hand. This is combined with a physical manifestation of the campaign in the form of multiple protests and strikes. Unlike the wild-cat strike which was not a part of a campaign or union body, the action was discernible as a form of resistance however remained unrepresentable as illustrated above. The dovetailing of political action and representation resulted in an odd instance of racialised boundaries of praxis.
This occurred during one of the weekly demonstrations for the Save the Garden Halls Jobs outside Senate House. On this occasion we walked to the administration building beside and to everyone’s surprise walked inside following the leaders. As I walked through the doors two women who worked at the Halls told me they were unable to enter the building “as workers”, one was holding part of a banner. A protestor I’d never met before was holding the other side, she took hold of the banner and said, “well I can” and walked inside while I followed. Outside the workers waited and inside supporters demonstrated representing the injustices and inequalities of those outside. I later found out that the workers were advised to remain outside in order to avoid possible confrontation with other members of the union such as security guards and any repercussions. What is interesting to note is the somewhat symbolic nature of the action paralleled with the printed material where those same workers are portrayed as the campaign itself which that carries a humanitarian logic the wild-cat strike did not embody.
The above section details the instances of resistance through the convergence of the multitude and equal rights as seen in the proletariat-underclass. States of the multitude, ‘the people’ and subjectivity of a proletariat-underclass can fluctuate in its demand for ‘equality’, likely to that of the old proletariat with benefits and greater security, even if this figure is imagined. This is contrasted to represented and discursive forms of praxis that rely on campaign structures that abstract the rights and inequalities from those represented.
As yet, it is premature to state the effect this has on a broader trade union movement in the UK today, although it does provide a glimpse into a slowly rising trend of varying instruments of workers’ organisations. Recent examples of this are the Pop-Up union at Sussex University and the Pret à Manger Staff Union (PAMSU). This paper has attempted to interlock specific processes of the multitude and its relationship to human rights from the physical locale of the workplace. This is something which may appear contradictory although has been made explicit in the distinct processes and actions of the proletariat-underclass involved in the formation of the IWGB. Although this paper is limited in that it is an account and analysis based on reactions to specific conditions and circumstances. In spaces that sit in-between representable and non-representable there have been instances of the workers taking on symbolic forms of resistance, removing the power of the singular from the formation of the IWGB even if only for an instance. In addition, it has open spaces in union organising that the proletariat-underclass was previously excluded from.
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