“The History of all Hitherto Existing Society:” Class Struggle and the Current Wave of Resistance

  • Todd Wolfson Rutgers University, Department of Journalism and Media Studies; New American Foundation
  • Peter Funke University of South Florida
Keywords: Karl Marx, social movements, resistance, class analysis


Across the last decade we have witnessed a growing wave of resistance across the globe. In this article we argue that it is critical to utilise class analysis to understand contemporary social movements. We maintain that class analysis begins with understanding class as a series of relations and/or processes that condition both the objective and subjective dimensions of class. Following this, we illustrate how sectors of the contemporary working class are in struggle, yet struggle differently, based on their structural location as well as differing nature of their resistance. In taking this approach to class and social movements, we argue that scholars can begin to unmask the central role of capitalism and the attending regimes of accumulation in the current wave of resistance even when they appear disconnected.

Author Biographies

Todd Wolfson, Rutgers University, Department of Journalism and Media Studies; New American Foundation

Todd Wolfson is Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University. His research focuses on the intersection of new media and contemporary social movements and he is author of Digital Rebellion: The Birth of the Cyber Left (2014) and co-editor of, Great Refusal: Herbert Marcuse and Contemporary Social Movements (2017). Wolfson believes in the importance of engaged scholarship that leads to tangible action in the world, and to that end, he is a co-founder of the Media Mobilizing Project (MMP) based in Philadelphia, PA. MMP is an award-winning organization that aims is to use new media and communications to build the power of poor and working people.

Peter Funke, University of South Florida

Peter Nikolaus Funke is Associate Professor of Politics in the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies at the University of South Florida, Tampa. His research focuses on social movements & contentions politics, capitalism & class, media & technology. Peter has pub- lished in various peer reviewed journals such as Globalizations, New Media & Society, Re- thinking Marxism, New Political Science, Social Movement Studies, or Transforming Anthro- pology. He is the co-editor of The Great Refusal: Herbert Marcuse and Contemporary Social Movements (2017) and The New Global Politics: Global Social Movements in the 21st Cen- tury (2017). See: http://hennarot.forest.usf.edu/main/depts/IGS/people/faculty/pfunke/

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