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Working-Class Militancy in the Global South


Immanuel Ness reports on the trade union world we in the west forget. The development of forms of unionisation and social movements in the “global south” covers many people in many occupations

In the 1980s, the economies that had dominated the world in the postwar era entered a period of far-reaching transition away from state participation to private sector dominance. The conversion process was not uniform: in some cases the shift to market control occurred gradually through the withdrawal of state subsidies for social welfare, and in other instances a radical shift away from public welfare was imposed all at once, in what came to be known as shock therapy.

In the Global South, where most states had limited social welfare nets, economic liberalization converged on privatization of state production and market integration into the global capitalist economy. While twentieth-century industrialization in the capitalist and socialist economies of the North typically took place in the context of social welfare states, in the South, massive industrialization was carried out without provision for healthcare, adequate food, child care, housing, education, unemployment insurance, and old age pensions for workers and their families.

Working-Class Militancy in the Global South

The central issue confronting the development of a militant workers’ movement today is to identify and surmount the inequities arising out of the hierarchical system of international value transfer that inflects the global capitalist order, which relies on the super-exploitation of the working class in the Global South.


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