Book Review Symposium 2

Webster and Dor - Recasting Workers' Power


  • Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo Southern Centre for Inequality Studies, University of the Witwatersrand



Professor Edward Webster, affectionately known as Eddie, breathed his last on 5 March 2024, twenty-four days before his eighty-second birthday. Eddie was healthy and had just participated in a run. The shocking untimely death has left a profound void. His impactful research work, integrating a consistent focus on work and labour, spanned decades, dating back to the early 1970s. Eddie went beyond just researching and publishing – activities in which he engaged extensively. He was an engaged intellectual, actively involved in the emancipatory working-class movement to change the world he researched. Writing with Lynford Dor, Webster defends the power resources approach which identifies the sources of workers' power and includes a focus on workers' resistance to exploitation in pursuit of their interests. Webster successfully challenges the “end of labour thesis” using evidence-based sectoral case studies from a selection of global South countries. He brought together contributions by other scholars in the edited book. The “end of labour thesis” can also be challenged from the standpoint of the labour theory of value. However, this is not part of the authors’ chosen approach, which suffices on its own merits.