Category Archives: Research Resources

Labour Rights in High Tech Electronics: Case Studies of Workers’ Struggles in Samsung Electronics and its Asian Suppliers

This book describes the struggles of workers fighting for their basic rights in the electronics industry with a focus on the operations of Samsung Electronics and its Asian suppliers, including those in South Korea, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Taiwan. It also discusses the overall situation of the electrical appliance and electronics industries in Japan where workers have been hit hard by factories relocations.
This book is dedicated to all workers who have lost their lives in struggles for their rights, and to those who have suffered due to occupational diseases and industrial accidents in South Korea and many other places in Asia and beyond, and to victims who have died due to cancer from working in electronic factories. This book also salutes the survivors and their families, who struggle every day for justice.
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ATNC Research Style

1. Basic Style

Ø               Time new roman 12 point
Ø               Single space
Ø               Enter after a paragraph so that there is one line between paragraphs
Ø               Keep the consistency
Ø               Reference in the text – ([last name]_[year of publication],_[p. or pp.]_[page numbers.])
Ø               If quoted from more than one page use ‘pp’. then put the least possible digit eg. If the page number is from 133 to 135 then ‘pp.133-5’, if it is from 135-141 then ‘pp. 135-41’. Quotation or citation from different authors in same sentence, then use ‘;’ in between like (Chang 1999; Arnold 2001; Wong 2003)
Ø               If one author have several works in a same year that you use as references then number the references with alphabet like (Clarke 1991a, 1991b)
Ø               For a lengthy quotation, use a separated paragraph, use this format also for quotation from an interview. Make space (indentation) left and right of the specific paragraph – 1Cm
Ø               No % in the text. It should be like ‘54 per cent’. In figure, % is allowed.
Ø               Single quotation mark for quotation in text and emphasis. Double quotation mark only for quotation in quotation
Ø               Abbreviations should be first explained
Ø               Be careful about numbering. There is difference between Asian languages and English. In English, 100 million is not billion (as it is like Chinese).
Ø               All notes should be end notes
Ø               Bibliography (references) – Basic style: [last name],_[First Name]_[year],_[book name in Italic],_[place of publication]:_[publisher]. *Further information for reference styles, please refer to section 3
2. Style example
1.      The movement of capital [chapter title in bold and numbered. No full stops]
Capital as a social relation (subchapter title as italic, can also be numbered. No full stops)
Capital is in a constant movement. Capital moves by taking different forms. It changes itself into labour force (variable capital), it can take form of constant capital (means of production), and also can even become invisible through the various forms of imaginary money transaction between buyers and sellers. It moves beyond national border, buys out new companies, restructures production organisation, replaces human labour with machinery and so on. Why does capital move then? Capital is, at first glance, a certain amount of money. However, we are not calling just any money capital. To be capital, money should be set in motion, either in the production process (productive capital) or in the speculative market (money capital), so that capital can valorise. In short, capital is money in motion that bears more money at the end of the valorisation process (M-C-M’). The fact that capital is money-in-motion does not mean that money moves around as if it were a living thing. It is important that we understand capital not as a ‘thing’. Capital is not just certain amount of money set in motion. Capital is capital only in relation to capitalist labour. ‘Capital, without labour, ceases to exist’ (Holloway 1996. p. 140). [use single quotation mark for short quotation in a paragraph. Use double quotation mark for quotation in quotation. Use also single quotation mark if you want to emphasis a certain point] Without being a particular social relation, capital is just some amount of money, which cannot valorise, therefore cannot be counted as capital. In this regards, capital is a form of social relation between owners of money and owners of labour power, through which a particular form of social labour is organised and mobilised toward production of surplus value (Marx 1990).
Capital as a form of social relation is in fact a developed form taken by the very basic social relations between commodity owners (in this case, money owner and labour commodity owner) – therefore, value relations. Marx in Capital starts founding his explanation of capitalist social relation by exploring ‘value’. Through his early critique of private property, Marx shows us that the social categories, such as exchange value and private property, are not naturally given but determined as a result of specific interconnections between people. The absence of an understanding of the value-form as the specific way in which individual labours, as well as individuals themselves, are connected with one another specifically was, for Marx, the origin of the misunderstanding of the whole capitalist society.
Adam Smith and Ricardo, treat the form of value as something external to the nature of the commodity itself. The explanation for this is not simply that their attention is entirely absorbed by the analysis of the magnitude of value. It lies deeper. The value-form of the product of labour is the most abstract, but also the most universal form of the bourgeois mode of production; by that fact it stamps the bourgeois mode of production as a particular kind of social production of a historical and transitory character. If then we make the mistake of treating it as the external natural form of social production, we necessarily overlook the specificity of the value-form, and consequently of the commodity-form together with its further developments, the money-form, the capital form, etc (Marx 1990, p. 174). [for a lengthy quotation, use a separated paragraph, use this format also for quotation from an interview. Make space (indentation) left and right of the specific paragraph – 1Cm]
For Marx, value is the mode of existence of labour, the human activity in capitalist social relations. Marx defines labour in general as ‘a condition of human existence which is independent of all society’ (Marx 1990, p. 133). However, ‘what matters here is only the specific manner in which the social character of labour is established’ (Marx 1971, p. 32). To understand ‘value’, we must look at the commodity, the container of value. Commodity has a dual nature: it has usefulness as product of useful labour, while it also has socially recognised ‘value’ as product of abstract labour (Marx 1990). While the characteristics of human labour as concrete labour is subordinated to labour as abstract labour, the characteristics of the commodity as use-value is also subordinated to the characteristic of the commodity as value. Concrete forms of labour ‘can no longer be distinguished, but are all together reduced to the same kind of labour, human labour in abstract’ in the form of value (Marx 1990, p. 128). It is the nature of the commodity being a product of (homogeneous and commensurable) abstract labour that defines a useful thing, a product of human labouring practices, as a commodity that can be exchanged, sold and bought in the market. The labouring activity of woman and man is socially recognised only insofar as it is producing or it helps to produce ‘value’ and, to do so, they are labouring within a particular form of social relation (Negri 1994, p. 9; Cleaver 2002, pp. 138-42).[if quoted from more than one page use ‘pp’. then put the least possible digit eg. If the page number is from 133 to 135 then ‘pp.133-5’, if it is from 135-141 then ‘pp. 135-41’. Quotation or citation from different authors in same sentence, then use ‘;’ in between like Chang 1999; Arnold 2001; Wong 2003]Therefore, in a more fundamental sense, ‘capitalist’ labour is value-producing labour, before surplus value producing labour (Clarke 1991a). [if one author have several works in a same year that you use as references then number the references with alphabet like Clarke 1991a, 1991b so on]  Social relation of abstract labour is the social relation that value represents. Value is to be understood as a basic form of capitalist social relation between commodity owners, through which a particular form of social labour is organised and mobilised toward production of value that is ‘socially’ recognised (Marx 1990).[1] [all notes should be end notes]And the development of the value-form marks the development of capitalist social relations distinguished from other social systems.[2] The most developed value-form can be found in money. All commodities express their value in the same body of a commodity and then express their value ‘in a unified manner’ (Marx 1978, p. 146). As money universally represents socially recognisable value, i.e. abstract labour, money becomes a dominant form of social relations. In developed capitalist production process, money is set in motion, buying materials, labour forces and so on. ‘Value’ takes the form of relation between commodity of labour power and money owner. Capital as money set-in-motion means also capital is value-in-motion (Neary 2002) and capital contains all this social relations behind it. The fact that capital is a form of social relation, more specifically social relations in a tension based on the domination of abstract labour over living labour, (or money-in-motion or more fundamentally value-in-motion) gives us the starting point of understanding the reason why capital is in continual movement.[3]
Capital under constant pressure to move
It is nothing unusual that individual capitals, companies, suffer from the problems of overproduction and growing competitive pressure in the market. In fact, this competitive pressure is based on the basic reproductive mechanism of capital: domination of abstract labour over living labour. In capitalist production, the production of social needs (living labour) is subordinated to the need for capital to make profit (abstract labour): the subordination of production of useful things to production of commodities. No social needs without the perspective of producing profit attracts investment whereas profit making perspectives attract too many businesses. Therefore, it is the destiny of capital to survive competition. Individual enterprises, only those which are able to utilise more effective methods to keep the price competitive without degrading its quality, could win and take the superior position in the competition. Although only a few firms could reach the superior position and enjoy the competitive edge, it is the perspective and desire to reach the highest possible place that drive all enterprises to try more. This vicious cycle between more competition and overproduction is not strange to capitalist development but a basic rule of capitalism. However, this does not mean that this development can go on without consequence. While many new firms get into a new round of competition, many collapse and disappear. Furthermore, the continual investment in the means of production, in the attempts to dominate market, would result in the overaccumulation of capital at industrial, national and international level. If it happens in a large scale, the general profit rate starts going down. If the markets are not expanding fast enough to consume the products or if domination over the existing markets is not secured, accumulated productive forces cannot avoid becoming idle. In the face of constant pressure, individual capitals have to move. They continuously restructure their company to maximise efficiency and minimise operating cost. They are vigorously looking for new market either by going beyond the region and national borders or inventing new social needs.
The basic reproductive mechanism of capital not only causes pressure from overaccumulation, but also produces pressure from workers who, as living labour, sell their abstract labour and whose lives cannot be sustained without being abstract labour (labour commodity). In capitalist ideal, the exchange relation between workers and capitalists appears to be an equivalent and free contract relation between capital and commodity labour as two different sources of revenue or two different individuals who own the functionally differentiated sources of revenue, namely commodity labour power and money-commodity. In reality, the exchange relations are rather reproduced by the attempt of capital to repeatedly present the ideal theory as if it were the given reality. In this framework, there is no need for collective intervention from unions or protection from the state since they undermine the free contract between free labour and capital. However, it does not take much time in the production process for workers to realise that the ‘labourer is no longer free, for the reproduction of capital depends on the capitalist controlling the process of production and compelling the labourer to work beyond the necessary labour time’ (Clarke 1991b, p. 191). Under the production of surplus-value as ‘the absolute law of this mode of production’, the reality is that the exchange relations between workers and capitalists can be made only to the extent that labour-power ‘preserves and maintains the means of production as capital, reproduces its own value as capital, and provides a source of additional capital in the shape of unpaid labour’ (Marx 1990, p. 769). The ideal of free contract relations now appears in the form of the ‘rule of the capitalist over the workers’, the ‘rule of things over man, of dead labour over the living, of the product over the producer’ (Marx 1990, p. 991). The contradiction of capitalist labour eventually precipitates spontaneous and, if more developed, organised forms of struggle of the workers. Workers’ struggles impose pressure not only on the direct labour cost of individual capital, but also what we call the ‘social cost of exploitation’ (Holloway 1996).[4]
In the face of these constant pressures individual capitals are moving into many directions for survival and expansion. One of the common ways of surviving in competition is squeezing the workers by lengthening the working day or intensifying labour (absolute surplus value exploitation). However, there is certain limit in doing so because there is absolute limit to force the workers to work beyond human capacity and, if it goes too far, workers would not let it happen. Therefore, while trying to squeeze workers from time to time, individual capitals continually compete with each other to introduce effective means of production on the basis of new technology. However, specific development of technology for labour process and development of technical division of labour are not naturally given by technological innovation or great invention itself. Rather, the specific social forms that technological development continually takes, are shaped by the development of production relations and the organisation of production (Maglin 1982) [this is citation, does not quote anything directly from this work. But just make a reference point]. The specific form of the development of capitalist technical division of labour and the development of technology is derived primarily by the attempt of the capitalist class to enhance the conditions of surplus value production through innovating her/his control over the work process and individual workers. Introduction of mechanisation and technology, new division of labour, and introduction of the factory system, taylorism and fordism are amongst those attempts to sustain accumulation in the face of the intrinsic pressures. If individual capitals are striving to enhance its control over labour and productivity of labour, there are two benefits. First, individual capital, which does it well, is able to reduce the production cost, so that it earns extra money. Furthermore, as a result of the competition for better labour productivity, general improvement in labour productivity in the industries that produce goods for workers’ living will reduce their living cost, therefore release collective capital from the pressure of increasing real wage. If workers need less money to survive, capital can take more. This is relative surplus value production, a way capital moves out of the pressures. In utilising all these methods, capital is moving into another space, time and aspects of our social life. It turns all the things around our life into commodities and the whole society into a commodity producing and consuming sphere, getting all of society ‘permeated through and through with the regime of the factory (Negri 1994, p.10). Movement of capital is not just movement of some amount of money from here to there, but more importantlymovement of social relation, i.e. the expansion, recomposition and restructuring of social relation. In what follows, we will be looking at the traces of the movement of capital in Korea.


[1] This social relation, as Marx explains in his exposition of the value-form, appears to be the relation between commodities containing value, the nature of which is abstract labour by producers. Having said that it is abstract labour, it means that it is not important who does that particular labouring activity. Although value is on the basis of the relation between commodity producers and owners, these relations between people are replaced by relations between things, commodities. Once money functions fully and starts mediating exchange, this fetishism gets worse, removing all the traces of the relations between human beings behind the relations between things. This is commodity and money fetishism. Capitalist social relations appear in the form of relations between things. Worse still, this social relation between things becomes the only reality that every one faces everyday. All the business, state policies and social ideas are built up on the basis of this false-but-real sociality (Rubin 1990, p. 6).
[2] This understanding of value, not as a quantitative amount but as a social relation appeared in all his major critical works. It appears most apparently in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 and The Comments on James Mill. It was developed through all his major works on the critique of political economy such as Poverty of PhilosophyWage Labour and Capitaland A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, and it was finally completed in Capital.
[3] This reading of Marx suggests that Marx’s theory of value did not aim at completing that of Ricardo and classical political economy, which ‘has indeed analysed value and its magnitude, however, incompletely, and has uncovered the content concealed within these forms’, by explaining the way in which a certain amount of individual labour is transformed into price in money (Marx 1990, pp. 173-4; Elson 1979, p. 123). Rather, for Marx, the question of value-form is about ‘why this content has assumed that particular form, that is to say, why labour is expressed in value, and why the measurement of labour by its duration is expressed in the magnitude of the value of the product’ (Marx 1990, p. 174).
[4] Social cost of exploitation includes not only direct labour cost, but also indirect cost that capital has to pay, either in terms of paying money or spending time (which is again money for capital) to reproduce its social domination over living labour. This includes health care, child care, income tax, cooperate tax, severance payment and donation to the political party that secure the interest of certain sectors of capitalist, and so on.
C. References Style
1. Simple form (book by an author)
Clarke, Simon 1988, Keynesianism, Monetarism and the Crisis of the State,Cambridge: Edward Elgar.
2. Book by two authors
Kay, Geoffrey and James Mott 1982, Political Order and The Law of Labour,London: Macmillan.
3. Book edited by one editor.
Koo, Hagen (ed.) 1993, State and Society in Contemporary Korea, New York:CornellUniversity Press.
4. Book edited by two editors.
Bonefeld, Werner and John Holloway (eds) 1996, Global Capital, NationalStateand the Politics of Money, Basingstoke: Macmillan.
(especially when you have quotation from one article in this edited volume, see No 7 and 8)
5. Book edited by three editors.
Bonefeld, Werner, Richard Gunn and Kosmas Psychopedis 1992, Open Marxism Vol 2: Theory and Practice, London: Pluto.
6. Article by an author in a book edited by one editor.
Holloway, John 1991, ‘The State and Everyday Struggle’, in S. Clarke (ed.) The State Debate, London: Macmillan.
Koo, Hagen 1993, ‘The State, Minjung, and the Working Class in South Korea’, in H. Koo (ed.) State and Society in Contemporary Korea, New York:CornellUniversity Press.
(article name in ‘’, the book name in Italic, editors’ first name replaced with initial)
7. Article by an author in a book edited by more than two editors.
Bonefeld, Werner 1996, ‘Monetarism and Crisis’, in W. Bonefeld and J. Holloway (eds) Global Capital, NationalState and the Politics of Money, London: Macmillan.
Holloway, John 1992, ‘Crisis, Fetishism, Class Composition’, in W. Bonefeld, R. Gunn and K. Psychopedis (eds) 1992, Open Marxism Vol 2: Theory and Practice,London: Pluto.
(eds) not (ed.)
8. Article by two authors in a book edited by more than two editors.
Holloway, John and Sol Picciotto 1978, ‘Introduction: Towards a Materialist Theory of the State’, in J. Hollway and S. Picciotto (eds) Capital and State, London: Edward Arnold.
9. Article in a journal.
(With Number Only)
Burnham, Peter 1997, ‘Globalisation: States, Markets and Class Relations’,Historical Materialism No. 1, pp. 150-160.
(With Volume and Number)
Clarke, Simon 1990, ‘The Marxist Theory of Overaccumulation and Crisis’, Science and Society, Vol. 54, No. 4, pp. 442-67.
Burkett, Paul and Marty Hart-Landsberg 1998, ‘East Asia and the Crisis of Developmental Theory’, Journal of Contemporary Asia, Vol. 28, No. 4, pp. 435-456.
[do not include month or season like Jan-Feb]
9. Article in a website.
Fischer, Stanley 1998, ‘The Asian Crisis: A View from the IMF’,
10. Article in a conference
Cho, Hee-yeon 1996, ‘State Autonomy and Class in the Economic Development of South Korea-Social Conditions of the South Korean Industrialisation’, paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, New York, USA, 16th – 20th August 1996.
11. Interviews
Interview with Hyundai Motors Workers, No.1, 19th June 2002.
Interview with Hyundai Motors Workers, No.2, 21st June 2002.
Interview with Kim Hye-seon, the Secretary of Seoul Women’s Trade Union, 7th February 2001.