The failing strategy of international trade unionism

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This thesis outlines the current activities of the largest transnational trade union organization, and offers an explanation as to why it is not succeeding in its efforts to curtail the power of global capital. The paper employs Gramsci's notion of a historic bloc and van der Pijl's understanding of fractions of capital to examine the dilemma faced by Global Unions in seeking to extend to the global level the industrial relations regimes secured in the postwar period throughout the advanced capitalist countries. It is argued that the historical conditions that allowed for a strong role in postwar capitalist hegemony have disappeared, and the current structure of global capitalist hegemony offers no similar opportunities for trade unions. By comparing the conditions that facilitated the creation of postwar industrial relations regimes to the current situation, the thesis hopes to illustrate the historical limitations of trade unionism as an effective form of resistance.

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Department of Sociology and Anthropology - Simon Fraser University
Thesis type: 
Thesis (M.A.)