‘Nothing to lose but your chains’ – Rethinking Global Labour: After Neoliberalism via Linda Clark


RONALDO MUNCK, in conversation with Rebecca Gumbrell-McCormick.

Friday 2nd November, 6pm, Room 101, 30 Russell Square, Birkbeck, University of London.


Post-financial crisis, many have bemoaned the demise of labour as a political force given relentless globalization and the increased insecurity and precarious nature of employment for many workers. In his new book, Ronaldo Munck challenges this view and heralds a new era in which a new global working class and their organizations can resist capitalism’s onslaught. Join us for a discussion of the challenges and opportunities for workers in the UK and worldwide. Contributions from the floor are encouraged and there will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.

RONALDO MUNCK is Head of Civic Engagement at Dublin City University and a Visiting Professor of International Development at the University of Liverpool and St. Mary’s University, Nova Scotia. He has authored or edited more than 30 books on topics related to globalization, international development and social movements, including Contemporary Latin America, Marx 2020: After the Crisis and ‘Rethinking Global Labour’ (Agenda Publishing, 2018)

REBECCA GUMBRELL-MCCORMICK is Senior Lecturer in Management, Birkbeck, University of London. She is the author, with Richard Hyman, of ‘Trade Unions in Western Europe: Hard Times, Hard Choices.’


Rethinking Global Labour was published in September 2018. It is part of the ‘Building Progressive Alternatives’ series from Agenda Publishing.

‘A much needed book … should be read by everyone interested in understanding and building a truly international labour movement.’ – Melanie Simms, University of Glasgow

‘A remarkable book. It is a powerful call for labour to return to its social movement origins and fulfil its historic role in a post-globalized world.’ – Edward Webster, University of Witwatersrand

‘A wide-ranging, multidimensional and thoughtful discussion of the future for the workers of the world.– Goran Therborn, University of Cambridge

From the Introduction:

‘Traditionally, both industrial relations theory and the somewhat pessimistic tradition of Western Marxism have a tendency to view workers as passive and trade unions as purely reactive organizations. Yet all the factors that have led to a decline in labour’s power in developing countries – such as offshoring, restructuring and lean production – have also led to a recomposition of labour on an international scale and the creation of new forms of organization that challenge and resist the worst of capitalism’s onslaught.

Today – as workers, – be they settled or migrants, rural or urban – face an economic order that has had no clear strategy since the 2007-2009 crisis, they are forced increasingly to seek alliances across geographical regions and gender, age, race and ethnic divides. By joining together, not only do they stand to lose their chains but they can also be part of constructing another more humane world.’

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