The 1968-1974 labour upsurge in Britain and America: a critical history, and a look at what might have been
This paper examines the last notable period of working-class unrest in Britain and America, the 1968-74 'upsurge'. It questions the widespread dismissal of such workplace-based, 'economistic' forms of resistance as disconnected from more explicitly political forms of rebellion. The explosive, dynamic character of the rebellion is argued to have contained both the potential and actuality of a transformed consciousness and thus fundamental questioning of existing political and economic relations. The loss of 'what might have been' is attributed less to absence of a grand political narrative, despite the ruling-class panic of 1974, than to a simple failure to build cross-class networks which could have achieved the coordination and unity of often separate struggles.