2017 Seattle Live Blog

Global labor migration

Global labor migration session, Saturday: If the #lawcha2017 opening session was a barn-burner, so too was what was for me the end of the formal conference (I didn’t go to tonight’s plenary, and I leave early tomorrow morning): a round-table on labor and migration–really about globalization and enclosure–with some of LAWCHA’s stars: Annelise Orleck, Nafeesa Tanjeem, Eileen Boris, and Nelson Lichtenstein, chaired by Eric Arneson.  (Eileen and Nelson had just been given LAWCHA’s Distinguished Service Award, so it was especially nice to see them in action.) It was a lively discussion of how worker power is under attack in the global and mobile world, and what can  be done about it.

As I said while tweeting (see below), I found the session especially intellectually productive in talking about enclosure. (I was, I think, the first person to use that word when I asked a question, but what else do you call in when land is taken from peasants, who are then forced into either proletarianized industrial work or waged–or even worse, unwaged–agricultural labor?) Nafeesa Tanjeem’s comparison of Bangladeshi women at either end of Walmart’s supply chain–women who make clothing in Bangladesh and women who sell clothing in the US–and Annelise Orleck’s presentation on labor refugees were especially generative and exciting.

Tweets from me and Matt Garcia are below.