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International Summer School – stimulating reading

We’re setting the scene for our forthcoming International Summer School (9-13 July) with some interesting short articles related to the summer school discussions. Although not essential reading, they will help provide some useful background. Please note that the views of the authors do not necessarily reflect the views of GLI, but we think they help fuel necessary debate.  The articles include:

Organizing: Means & Ends, by Dan Gallin, looks at the broad sweep of trade union history, and argues that the international labour movement needs reform as a movement for democratic social transformation and a common political vision.

Winning Politically, by Ron Oswald, in an extended extract from his 2012 IUF Congress address, calls for a new model for politics in the international trade union movement.

Financialization: New routes to profit, new challenges for trade unions, by Peter Rossman and Gerard Greenfield, argues that to understand the fundamental power-shifts that are subjecting workers to continuous restructuring and constant employment instability, we must address the question of financialization.

The Future of Global Unions: Is Solidarity Still Forever? by Alan Howard, argues that organized labor does not have, but needs,  a coherent strategy for international organizing.

A New Insurgency Can Only Arise Outside the Progressive and Labor Establishment, by Stephen Lerner, argues that despite the effort of thousands of activists, unions are just connected enough to the political and economic power structure to be constrained from leading the kinds of activities that are needed in the current crises.

Liberate China’s Workers, by Han Dongfan, argues that it is in the long-term interest of the Chinese economy and state to restore the rights to strike and to collective bargaining.

European Labour: The Ideological Legacy of the Social Pact, by Asbjørn Wahl, argues that the strongest trade union movements in the capitalist world in the post W.W.II period are today openly confused, and lack a clear vision in social and political orientation. The ideological legacy of social partnership policies is now leading the trade union movement astray.

The euro crisis and the European trade union movement, by Vasco Pedrina, explains that European trade unionism is at a crossroads, and “Social Europe” is under pressure. The time has come to re-examine our strategy if we do not want to look on helplessly as the European trade union movement slides into irremediable decline.

The Challenge of the Informal Economy, by Christine Bonner and Dave Spooner, offers a brief view of what an international labour movement might look like if it were to be fully inclusive of workers in the informal economy.

Earth to Labor: Economic Growth is no Salvation, by Sean Sweeney,  asks how can unions, even in theory, be against economic growth? But the labour movement has much to gain by addressing, rather than avoiding, the ecological crisis and its causes.

Trade Union Education and the Organising Agenda, by Dave Spooner, looks at the tension between the democratic and participatory traditions of the workers’ education movement, and the training needs of trade unions for strategic organising, and sees new demands for political education.

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