JOURNAL [+ PDF]: Devan Pillay and Lucien van der Walt, 2012, “Assessing the Politics of Organized Labour in Asia, Africa and Latin America at the Start of the 21st Century”
January 17, 2014 Leave a comment
Devan Pillay and Lucien van der Walt, 2012, “Assessing the Politics of Organized Labour in Asia, Africa and Latin America at the Start of the 21st Century,” Labour, Capital and Society, volume 44, number 2, pp. 2-25 . PDF online here. On the basis of studies of workers’ struggles in Bangladesh, Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Indonesia and South Africa, we argue for the on-going importance of unions, despite their contradictions, as an irreplaceable force for progressive social change for the popular classes, not least in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The world today is not in a “post-industrial”, “information” phase, or “post-work,” or in a post-neo-liberal era; it is instead essentially classic capitalism, with an ever-growing working class majority. Post-colonial ruling classes have been active authors of the neoliberal agenda, at the expense of their working classes. The current context affirms the centrality of unions, and of organized workers more generally, and it demonstrates that union struggles – and alliances with other sectors of the popular classes – make key reforms like the so-called Standard Employment Relationship possible in the first place. The more that the fracturing of the popular classes is challenged by linking unions to other popular class forces, the more successful such struggles become. The more that unions build solidarity within and across borders, the more space is opened for real social and economic change.