Going to the workers: Revolutionary work-place entryism in the long 1970s

Matt Myers
  mattmyers360@gmail.com
  

Abstract

This paper will look a the phenomenon of 'workplace entryism' during the 1970s. It will assess the experiences of a selection of revolutionary militants across Western Europe, often young ex-students, who took up jobs in factories to ferment revolutionary politics. This strategy was conducted at various times by a number of far-left forces, in many countries of the industrialised world. This history of 'seeding' or 'salting' has hitherto been undervalued by historical scholarship of the period. Filling this gap will do much to help us understand not only the cycle of contention brought precipitated by May 68' and its afterlives, but will allow an exploration of class formation, class consciousness, and the contradictions of revolutionary strategy in the long 1970s. I will take four individual cases, using oral history testimony, memoirs, and archival research, to draw out the wider themes of the strategy and the period.

Left - working class - history