New Protest Movements and the Revival of Labour Politics – A Critical Examination
This article considers the extent to which the anti-globalisation movement might contribute to a revival of labour politics. The starting point is an awareness that the trade unions and the anti-globalists do not necessarily see eye to eye so that any assumption that they can readily join forces becomes problematical. Four fault lines are identified in relation to key areas of concern: i) political alternatives; ii) participatory democracy; iii) organic cohesion and inclusion; and iv) the renewal of activism. The article focuses on the case of France - regarded as something of an archetype of social movement unionism - and on its interface with the ETUC in the process of European integration. It is pointed out that while - in the view of the author - the anti-globalisation movement does indeed offer a potential source and impetus for a revitalisation of labour politics, this is no tame option but one requiring a carefully thought out strategy on the part of the trade unions and the social movements. The article concludes, accordingly, on a note of scepticism about the way in which the international trade union bodies have so far approached these issues, stressing the risk that the trade unions could find themselves between a rock and a hard place.
Transfer - European Review of Labour and Research