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The site of industrial struggle is shifting. The West needs to look further if it wants to understand how workers' self-organisation is developing in countries it too often ignores. Across the Global South, peasant communities are forced off the land to live and work in harsh and impoverished conditions. Inevitably, new methods of combating the spread of industrial capitalism are evolving in ambitious, militant and creative ways. Southern Insurgency will lead the way in examining these organisations in the contemporary era.Immanuel Ness looks at three key countries: China, India and South Africa. In each case he considers the broader historical forces at play - the effects of imperialism, the decline of the trade union movement, the class struggle and the effects of the growing reserve army of labour. For each case study, he narrows his focus to reveal the specifics of each grassroots insurgency: the militancy of the miners in South Africa, the new labour organisations in India and export promotion and the rise of worker insurgency in China.A result of intensive, dedicated firsthand research, at the heart of Southern Insurgency is a study of the nature of the new industrial proletariat in the Global South - a terrifying, precarious existence - but also one of experimentation, solidarity and struggle.
As bureaucratic labor unions are currently under assault throughout the world, most have surrendered the achievements of the mid-20th century, when the working class was a militant force for change. As unions implode and weaken, workers are independently forming their own unions, rooted in the tradition of syndicalism and autonomism—and unions rooted in the tradition of self-directed action are auguring a new period of class struggle throughout the world. In Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe, workers are rejecting leaders and forming authentic class-struggle unions rooted in sabotage, direct action, and striking to achieve concrete gains. This is the first book to compile workers struggles on a global basis, examining the formation and expansion of radical unions in the Global South and Global North. The tangible evidence marshaled in this book serves as a handbook for understanding the formidable obstacles and concrete opportunities for workers challenging neoliberal capitalism, even as the unions of the old decline and disappear. Contributors include Au Loong-Yu, Bai Ruixue, Arup K. Sen, Shawn Hattingh, Piotr Bizyukov and Irina Olimpieva, Genese M. Sodikoff, Aviva Chomsky, Dario Bursztyn, Gabriel Kuhn, Erik Forman, Steven Manicastri, and Jack Kirkpatrick.
"We Are the Poors follows the growth of the most unexpected of these community movements, beginning in one township of Durban, linking up with community and labor struggles in other parts of the country, and coming together in massive anti-government protests at the time of the UN World Conference Against Racism in 2001. It describes from the inside how the downtrodden regain their dignity and create hope for a better future in the face of a neoliberal onslaught, and shows the human faces of the struggle against the corporate model of globalization in a Third World country."--Jacket.
News about labor unions is usually pessimistic, focusing on declining membership and failed campaigns. But there are encouraging signs that the labor movement is evolving its strategies to benefit workers in rapidly changing global economic conditions. Global Unions, Local Power tells the story of the most successful and aggressive campaign ever waged by workers across national borders. It begins in the United States in 2007 as SEIU struggled to organize private security guards at G4S, a global security services company that is the second largest employer in the world. Failing in its bid, SEIU changed course and sought allies in other countries in which G4S operated. Its efforts resulted in wage gains, benefits increases, new union formations, and an end to management reprisals in many countries throughout the Global South, though close attention is focused on developments in South Africa and India. In this book, Jamie K. McCallum looks beyond these achievements to probe the meaning of some of the less visible aspects of the campaign. Based on more than two years of fieldwork in nine countries and historical research into labor movement trends since the late 1960s, McCallum’s findings reveal several paradoxes. Although global unionism is typically concerned with creating parity and universal standards across borders, local context can both undermine and empower the intentions of global actors, creating varied and uneven results. At the same time, despite being generally regarded as weaker than their European counterparts, U.S. unions are in the process of remaking the global labor movement in their own image. McCallum suggests that changes in political economy have encouraged unions to develop new ways to organize workers. He calls these “governance struggles,” strategies that seek not to win worker rights but to make new rules of engagement with capital in order to establish a different terrain on which to organize.
How do individuals and organizations move beyond the boundaries of constitutional or legal constructs to challenge neoliberalism and capitalism? As major urban areas have become the principal sites of poor and working-class social upheaval in the early twenty-first century, the chapters in this book explore key cities in the Global South. Through detailed cases studies, Urban Revolt unravels the potential and limitations of urban social movements on an international level.
An epic account of how working-class America hit the rocks in the political and economic upheavals of the '70s, Stayin' Alive is a wide-ranging cultural and political history that presents the decade in a whole new light. Jefferson Cowie's edgy and incisive book - part political intrigue, part labor history, with large doses of American music, film, and TV lore - makes new sense of the '70s as a crucial and poorly understood transition from the optimism of New Deal America to the widening economic inequalities and dampened expectations of the present. Stayin' Alive takes us from the factory floors of Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Detroit to the Washington of Nixon, Ford, and Carter. Cowie connects politics to culture, showing how the big screen and the jukebox can help us understand how America turned away from the radicalism of the '60s and toward the patriotic promise of Ronald Reagan. He also makes unexpected connections between the secrets of the Nixon White House and the failings of the George McGovern campaign, between radicalism and the blue-collar backlash, and between the earthy twang of Merle Haggard's country music and the falsetto highs of Saturday Night Fever. Cowie captures nothing less than the defining characteristics of a new era. Stayin' Alive is a book that will forever define a misunderstood decade.
A new generation of activists working for economic and environmental justice, and against war and poverty, confronts critical questions. Why is the world so unjust and crisis-prone? What kind of world should we fight for? How can we win? In this panoramic yet accessible book, Umair Muhammad engages with these and other urgent debates. He argues that individual solutions like “buying green” are dead ends and that hope for the future lies in a radical expansion of democracy and the transformation of the economy from one based on profit to one that can meet human needs

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