Live Working Or Die Fighting: How the Working Class Went Global

Front Cover
Harvill Secker, 2007 - Alien labor - 304 pages

A Chinese woman pushes her way to the front of a hiring queue outside a factory in Shenzhen....

A Bolivian miner, without light or ventilation, crawls deep inside a deserted mine...

A group of Somali cleaners files into an investment bank in London's Canary Wharf...

Globalisation has created a whole new working class - and they are reliving stories that were first played out a century ago.

InLive Working or Die Fighting, Paul Mason tells the story of this new working class alongside the epic history of the global labour movement, from its formation in the factories of the 1800s to its near destruction by fascism in the 1930s. Along the way he provides a 'Who Do You Think You Are?' for the anti-globalisation movement, uncovering startling parallels between the issues that confronted the original anti-capitalists and those who have taken to the streets in Seattle, Genoa and beyond.

Blending exhilarating historical narrative with reportage from today's front line, he links the lives of 19th-century factory girls with the lives of teenagers in a giant Chinese mobile phone factory; he tells the story of how mass trade unions were born in London's Docklands - and how they're being reinvented by the migrant cleaners in skyscrapers that stand on the very same spot.

The stories come to life through the voices of remarkable individuals: child labourers in Dickensian England, visionary women on Parisian barricades, gun-toting railway strikers in America's wild west, and beer-swilling German metalworkers who tried to stop World War One. It is a story of urban slums, self-help co-operatives, choirs and brass bands, free love and self-education by candlelight. And, as the author shows, in the developing industrial economies of the world it is still with us.

Live Working or Die Fightingcelebrates a common history of defiance, idealism and self-sacrifice, one as alive and active today as it was two hundred years ago. It is a unique and inspirational book.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - georgematt - LibraryThing

A book like this distanced from both the set in stone doctrines of Trotskyite sects and the insular anarchist ghetto is as rare as hen's teeth. Rarer still are ones written by a BBC Newsnight Business ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

The globalisation of miserabilism
Paul Mason's new book tells some scintillating stories of working-class resistance. Yet it ends up endorsing the anti-development prejudices of today's sourpuss
Review continued here:


Everything connected with beauty
This is the dawn
Every race worth saving

7 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2007)

Paul Mason was born in 1960 in Leigh, Greater Manchester. He is BBC Newsnight's business and industry correspondent. He won the 2003 Wincott Award for business journalism and was named Workworld Broadcast Journalist of the year in 2004 . He lives in London.

Bibliographic information