Networked Labour University Information Bulletin No. 1 | 1-7 May 2015 [ENGLISH] | Networked Labour

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1. Culture and knowledge for classless societies is networked in process! 

Networked Labour University is designed as an educational module to be integrated with a broader network composed of Global Networked Labour Union, Networked Labour Research unit, and networked labour coop GNLU. Tied to a greater ecology of universal, free and open access community projects, such as Faircoop, the Earth Cooperative, all our projects aim mutual empowerment at the bottom level. Unconditional empowerment of the dis-empowered, excluded, and oppressed with direct solidarity is the reason why we exist for. Our platform is designed to liberate knowledge from alienation and domination of any kind at the point of production and distribution. In order to enable money-free access to most essential cultural resources we rely on free/libre, open source software, but the platform also aims to facilitate broader solidarity economy by encouraging and enabling open-cooperative exchanges between participants.

Our invitation is an wide open one, anyone can join and contribute by offering and taking courses, moderating circles or skill shares, helping out with web design, platform development, promotion, or any other way!

2. Networked Labour University Opening Meeting

Date: 7 May 2015
Time: 14.00 – 17.00 (ECT / UCT+1)

Check-ins (14:00 – 14:15)

Opening and presentation of the system (14:15 – 15:00)
Networked Labour University and Worker to Worker Study Circles

Discussion (15:15 – 16:45)
How to use cross-border communication and which digital tools to build commons knowledge, culture, politics, and economy for the classless society and from the oppressed point of view?

Closing and Check-outs (16:45 – 17:00)

Access: Participation is on-line, open and free. What you need to do to is to open an account on the website below and to selfenrol for the event before. Working languages are English/Turkish

Website: networkedlabour.networg.nl/moodle
Email: networg@networg.nl

Click here to register as a user 

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Unionizing solidarity with Palestine: Support grows for BDS among grassroots labor movement

Block the Boat march in Oakland. (Photo: Bob Ristelhueber)“We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel.” This call for solidarity was issued in July 2005 by hundreds of Palestinian organizations, including all major trade unions. Systematic land confiscation, mass incarceration, house demolition, and routine attacks that leave hundreds of civilians dead have become part and parcel of daily life in Israel-occupied Palestine. The US-sponsored “peace talks” merely readjusted Israel’s occupation strategy: instead of deploying its army inside Palestinian cities and towns, Israel now surrounds them with checkpoints and walls; hinders Palestinians’ ability to work, study, and travel; and ensures that Palestine remains economically dependent on Israel. Recognizing that Israel has used negotiations to normalize and sustain the occupation, Palestinian civil society adopted the non-violent strategy of Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) against its oppressor.

Compared to its international counterparts, the U.S. labor movement has been slow to embrace BDS. Michael Letwin, co-founder of the solidarity group Labor for Palestine, suggests this is the product of the American labor movement’s historical and continuing institutional support for Israel. The major US trade unions, Letwin says, have hundreds of millions of dollars in pension funds that are invested in Israel. Senior union leaders, in fear of alienating the Democratic Party and other political allies, frequently denounce BDS and criticize their counterparts around the world who support it.

via Unionizing solidarity with Palestine: Support grows for BDS among grassroots labor movement.

Agora 99 » 24-26 Ekim 2014 İstanbul, Üçüncü Agora99 için Önhazırlık Toplantısı

agora99_officineZ_03112013Mücadelelerden mücadelelere bir çağrı: barınma ve kent hakkı için müşterekler için; güvencesiz emeğe ve neoliberal kentleşmeye, savaş ve devlet militarizmine karşı ve yurttaşlık hakkı ve sığınmacılık özgürlüğü için yerel ve küresel mücadeleleri bağlayabilecek örgüt pratiklerini geliştirelim.

“Üçüncüsü yapılacak Agora99’u 2015’te İstanbul’da düzenleyelim!”

25 Ekim’de İstanbul’da düzenlenecek ön buluşma için forumlara ve ağlara çağrımızdır.

Dünya, 2011 yılından itibaren, gerçek anlamda ulusları aşan ve küresel ölçeğe erişen bir taban ayaklanmaları dalgasına tanıklık etmiştir. Tunus, Mısır, İzlanda, Yunanistan, İspanya, İsrail, Şili, İngiltere, ABD, Türkiye, Brezilya ve diğer birçok yerde insanlar adaletsizlik ve eşitsizliği protesto etmek ve demokrasi uğruna sokaklara dökülmüştür. Yıllardır süregelen mücadeleler yeni bir görünürlük kazanmış ve yeni hareketler ve mücadeleler vücut bulmuştur.

Yerel ölçekteki çeşitli meselelerin tetiklediği bu ayaklanmalar ilk bakışta birbirinden kopuk ve eşzamanlı olmayan bir niteliğe sahipmiş gibi görünebilir. Ancak, öz-örgütlenme, bağlantı ve yataylık bu ayaklanmaların ortak özelliği olmuştur: hepsi de demokratik karar almanın yeni biçimlerini uyguluyor ve lidersizlik niteliği taşıyor. Hepsi, meclisler, çalışma grupları ve yakınlaşma alanları aracılığıyla örgütleniyor ve sosyal medya zemininde ve çevrimiçi buluşmalarla kitlesel katılıma olanak sağlıyorlar.

Aynı zamanda, yerelliğin ve ulusların ötesine geçerek grupları, hareketleri ve bireyleri bölgesel, ulusal ve enternasyonal düzeyde birbirine yaklaştıran bağlar, ayaklanmaların yayılmasına ve devam etmesine ve dünyanın birçok yerinde, insanlık değerlerine dayalı ağların kurulmasına olanak sağlamıştır. Büyük meclisler öz-düşünme ve fikir teatisi imkânlarını ortaya çıkarmıştır.

Bunlardan biri de Agora99 olmuştur.

via Agora 99 » 24-26 Ekim 2014 İstanbul, Üçüncü Agora99 için Önhazırlık Toplantısı.

Kobanê refugee girl: “ISIS destroyed my dreams” | ROAR Magazine

Post image for Kobanê refugee girl: “ISIS destroyed my dreams”

Kurdish refugees from Kobanê are in want of solidarity and support while the Turkish army is accused of sharing intelligence with ISIS forces in Syria.

ROAR editor Iskender Doğu is in North Kurdistan on the Turkish-Syrian border to report on the battle for Kobanê and the Kurdish struggle for democratic autonomy. Photo by Murat Bay for Sendika.org.

“ISIS destroyed all my dreams,” the 20-year old Medya tells me at the ‘Rojava’ refugee camp in Suruç, where several thousand refugees have found shelter in hundreds of tents and inside an abandoned factory. Together with her family she arrived here ten days ago, as part of the major exodus of Kobanê’s population, which saw tens of thousands of people leaving their homes behind and crossing the border into Turkey.

“Two men came to our village on a motorbike, they were covered in blood and shouted that ISIS had overrun their village and killed everyone,” one of the locals in the camp recounts. Panic broke out, and everyone left in a hurry, bringing with them only what they could carry with their own hands. “Later, we realized that this was a tactic of ISIS, and that the two men who came by motorbike where part of the gang.” Apparently ISIS pulled the same trick in most of the villages surrounding Kobanê, scaring thousands out of their houses in a move that can be considered a form of psychological warfare.

via Kobanê refugee girl: “ISIS destroyed my dreams” | ROAR Magazine.

The P2P Prince?: The form and the program of the transnational REvolutionary subjectivity

Below text is an excpert from unpublished and unedited 2012 article Another World, Now! Coming of the Transnational REvolutions and the P2P Prince.

The  modern  prince,  the  myth-prince,  cannot  be  a  real  person,  a  concrete individual. It can only be an organism, a complex element of society in which a collective will, which has  already been recognised and has to some  extent asserted itself in action, begins to take concrete form. (A. Gramsci)

 

Italian political activist and theorist Antonio Gramsci’s core concepts like hegemony, organic crisis, historic bloc, war of position and war of manoeuvre are central to our understanding of today’s complex global capitalist system as well as the catastrophic changes that are currently taking place in it. Referring to the original concept developed by Gramsci, global political economy theorist Stephen Gill describes the 2008 global financial turmoil as the manifestation of an organic crisis at the global level. [1] We can also read the outcomes of the global organic crisis following another neo-Gramscian theorist Robert Cox as a mixture of three scenarios he describes.[2] First one is a global (military) Keynesian recovery being pushed by the West. Regional wars moving from the periphery to the centre involving massive destruction of lives, cities and the nature, as we witness it happening since the 9/11. The second scenario is the rise of global fascism in tandem with the regional wars. This has also been happening, especially increasingly in the centre, since 2007; highlighting the race to the bottom caused by the strengthening of totalitarian forms of capitalism at the main contenders like China, Russia and India. Finally and the last scenario is accompanying transnational revolutions, like the uprisings in the northern Africa, Americas and Europe also happening.[3]

What brought humanity to this point is not a secret and also made clear by many thinkers, intellectuals, and activists. The above mentioned article by Gill is only one of the public records. It is very clear however where we have to drive history as the humanity, the third option: Transnational revolutions. Again, following Gramsci and Gill, we can think of the realisation of the transnational revolutions in relation to the ‘Prince’. For his time Gramsci thought of it as the collective subjectivity which will give the moral leadership to a wider counter-hegemonic historic bloc, and shape the form and content of the communist revolution in a national context. And it was the communist part of the working class. Gill referred to the anti- and alter-globalisation movement. Continue reading

Everyday and transformational co-operation | Seeds beneath

Everyday co-operation is the idea that life is underpinned by instinctive and generally unacknowledged co-operation between individuals: from tacit agreements about letting one another past on pavements or the unconscious decision not to hoard the spoons at work to the reciprocity that allows people to trust one another, lend books to one another, and so on.

Everyday co-operation is an essential part of everyday life. Many of those people studying the ‘science of co-operation’ – an area of study now encompassing evolutionary biology, game theory, economics, sociology, political science and much else besides – tell us that the reason for everyday co-operation is because people are rational and self-interested, and therefore will pursue the strategy that best realises their interests.

Short-term it might be most beneficial to hoard spoons, not return a book your friend lent you or renege on an informal agreement with a colleague. But long-term these strategies will backfire, so it makes sense to co-operate. It’s what also called reciprocal altruism and I’ve referred to as economic co-operation.*

This idea – that it’s in the long-term best interests of people to co-operate and work together – is not only an important part of the functioning of society, arguably awareness of it is also behind some recent business thinking: the increasing interest in employee ownership as a way of engaging and increasing the productivity of workers, for example, Michael Porter’s concept of businesses delivering ‘shared value’ to suppliers, customers and staff, Unilever’s ‘enlightened capitalism’ or innovations that involve customers or users in ‘co-producing’ a good or service.

Everyday co-operation is everywhere and pretty much non-controversial. It’s a good thing. It makes things run smoothly. And it makes our lives better than a world where short-term self-interest ruled all (which would probably be “nasty, brutish and short” as Thomas Hobbes put it in 1651). Few people would disagree that the world needs everyday co-operation.

via Everyday and transformational co-operation | Seeds beneath.

Towards a first stateless commons transition plan: a partnership of P2P-F with the Catalan Integral Cooperative

CIC montage

The General Assembly of the Catalan Integral Cooperative has confirmed a proposed partnership with the P2P Foundation.

This is an important development for several reasons.

First, the Catalan Integral Cooperative is the first new type of cooperative that is entirely in line with the idea for a new type of coops engaged in the co-production of the commons, and, after themselves already embodying these ideas before we formulated them in our recent appeal, they are committed to continue and pioneer the path of open cooperativism.

Second, the CIC fully endorses the Commons Transition Plan that was formulated in connection with the floksociety.org project in Ecuador. The FLOK experience was important in that it was a historical first for such ideas to be endorsed at a nation-state level, but also because that cooperation with a government brings its own type of challenges. How to transition towards partner state practices with a state that is not a partner state itself ?

The experience in Catalonia promises to be very different. While the CIC endorses the Commons Transition Plan as its own development plan and roadmap, of course to be adapted and concretized to their own needs, it wants to apply the proposals for the commonification of public services and the partner state, not at the state level, but at the civic level. So the aim here is to directly create civic institutions which can, within or outside of the CIC, carry out the same support functions and enable the further expansion of the commons economy, in particular to stimulate p2p-based production and manufacturing, which the CIC itself is already pioneering. If successful, we may well have a adaptable/changeable but also largely replicable model that could be used in other regions of the world as well, because it will have been the experience where different pieces of successful DNA have come together in a working model.

Here is the announcement of the CIC, translated from Catalan and Spanish:

via P2P Foundation » Blog Archive » Towards a first stateless commons transition plan: a partnership of P2P-F with the Catalan Integral Cooperative.

Enric Duran on shared and disobedient crowdfunding platform networks | P2P-Foundation

We’ve recently featured Coopfunding, an Open-Sourced crowdfunding platform designed to “…promote the financing of projects with a social, self managed and cooperative nature.”  Today we present a guest article by Enric Duran, one of the developers behind Coopfunding and its parent-project, the Catalan Integral Cooperative, explaining the reasons that led to the creation of Coopfunding. This article was originally published in Radi.MS


The expansion of crowdfunding in the last few years has been quite vertiginous.

Hundreds of projects have been able to get off the ground around the world coming from very different backgrounds but united in the aim of creating a link between donors and the projects they sponsor.

Crowdfunding, for its practicality and usefulness, has expanded without any ideological limitation and while it served to finance many social projects it has also supported more conventional initiatives based on consumerism and business as meant in the capitalist system.

In this way, more traditional fund raising events like benefit gigs and have been overlooked, and we should take in to account that with the crowdfunding model we are at risk of leaving the financing of social initiative in the hands of unscrupulous business which, through the management of crowdfunding platforms, are making the same profit that any middle man would make in an ordinary business transaction, through the charge of commissions which range between 5% and 10% of the donations received. Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indygogo have already made profits in the millions region.

we are at risk of leaving the financing of social initiative in the hands of third party business

Also, there are several projects which are managed by cooperatives which nevertheless still charge a 5% fee on donations in order to support themselves, like Goteo.org, managed on mainland Spain by a foundation dedicated to the expansion of common good, funditaly.it, a recent cooperative project and also a foundation in Veezuela called www.causasolidaria.com.

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The Tragedy of The Private, The Potential of The Public

From South Africa to Brazil, from Italy to the US, in Uruguay, Greece, Norway, the UK and in many other countries, municipal councils are taking services back under public control. Public Service workers and their fellow community members are not only defending public services but are also struggling to make them democratic and responsive to the people’s needs and desires.

This report co-published by Public Services international and the Transnational Institute surveys anti-privatisation campaigns by PSI affiliates around the world. From South Africa to Brazil, from Italy to the US, in Uruguay, Greece, Norway, the UK and in many other countries, municipal councils are taking services back under public control.

Over the past 30 years, since Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan gained office, it is clear that the problems the welfare state was designed to alleviate – hunger, disease, unemployment, poor living conditions – have thrived once again, as these dogmatically pro-market politicians drove the destruction of the model. In the case of too much of the Global South, their ideology contributed to blocking attempts to build public services where they are most needed.

It is now clear that public service managers and local politicians, those taking decisions on the front line of public services, are in practice rejecting the claims of private business and their political champions. They are asserting pragmatically an understanding of ‘efficiency’ that is based on a different logic from that of private commercial accounting. Instead it is grounded in an understanding of the distant concept of ‘public value’ – the meeting of social needs – as the central criteria for efficiency in the management of public services. This turning point is drawn from their everyday experience of the failure of services delivered by private business.

How can we strengthen this pragmatic – and still modest – turn away from privatisation, to challenge the national and international institutions that continue to drive outsourciing and impose it on an increasingly disaffected public? And how can this pragmatic rejection of the private market in the sphere of public goods become a source of energy and creativity, sparking a process of improving and expanding public services to meet the new needs and desires that have emerged in recent decades? These are the questions which this booklet seeks to answer.

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“New Forms of Worker Organization: The Syndicalist and Autonomist Restoration of Class Struggle Unionism”

About the Book

Bureaucratic labor unions are under assault throughout the world. The decline of labor unions has exposed workers throughout the world to capitalist absolutism, where trade unions are unable to defend workers’ interests under capitalism. As financial capital controls investment decisions on a global scale over the past 30 years, most unions have surrendered the achievements of the mid-20th century, when the working class was a militant force for change throughout the world. As unions implode and weaken, workers are independently forming their own unions, rooted in the tradition of syndicalism and autonomism—and unions rooted in the tradition of self-directed action are auguring a new period of class struggle throughout the world. In Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe, workers are rejecting leaders and forming authentic class-struggle unions rooted in sabotage, direct action, and striking to achieve concrete gains.

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Confronting the most difficult challenges facing the international labour movement

by  – 15th May 2014, 17.00 BST

In the next couple of days, more than 1,500 trade union leaders from 161 countries will meet in Berlin for the Third World Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).  The ITUC unites national trade union centres, including Britain’s TUC, all over the world.

The ITUC event will be followed on Friday in the same city by a slightly smaller one: the LabourStart Global Solidarity Conference. Almost 700 people, from 75 countries, have registered to attend.

To a casual observer, these sound like very similar events. And there’ll certainly be some overlap. For example, the leader of Australia’s trade unions, Dave Oliver, will open the LabourStart event, though he’s also attending the ITUC Congress.

Here’s the difference: the ITUC Congress is a bit like a TUC Congress in the UK. Elected leaders attend, discuss issues, pass resolutions, elect a leadership and so on. Although, unlike TUC, ordinary rank-and-file workers, shop stewards, branch union officials and others won’t be there.  It is where the senior leadership of the international trade union movement meets.

And it’s a direct continuation of global trade union meetings that started 150 years ago in London, where Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels led the foundation of the International Workingmen’s Association, known as the “First International”.

The LabourStart event, on the other hand, is something new, something that probably couldn’t have been imagined before there was an internet.

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Online Preparatory Meeting for the ‘Organizing Digital Labour and Digital Labour Organizing Workshop’ at Global Solidarity Conference

When: 10:00, 14 May 2014

Where: BigBlueButton

Preparatory and test call for planning the ‘Organizing digital labour & digital labour organizing’ workshop. The actual workshop is being planned to take place in Berlin between 23-25 May 2014, during  Labour Start‘s 5. Global Solidarity Conference.

Original Post

To open up the preparation process for the workshop as wide as possible and to allow those interested online participants to test and practice with the online system we will be using, we will be making several test conference calls in coming days. The first call will take place on Wednesday 14 May, between 10.00 am and 15.00 pm [UK time], so wider global participation will be possible during the day.

The draft description of the workshop, which we be taken as the starting point, can be found at ‘Union Upgrading’ Group Wiki created on Organizing Network -which we will be testing and using to document the workshop and the preperation, and to take the minutes. If you like to participate the preparatory call, and the workshop itself please add your name, affiliation, contact information, and any ideas or suggestion of yours on the wiki and click on ‘Save’. In order to be able to use all the functions of the Organizing Network, for instance the wiki, you will need to register first. Please read the user guide for the ON here.

The test call is open to all unionists, labour organizers, social justice activists, free information and knowledge [h]activists, researchers who are interested in and experienced on the topic. The call is especially set up for those who wish to actively collaborate in the preparation of the content of the workshop, and who needs to practice with the digital tools we will be using.

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Social Justice Unionism Seeks Can Build Labor And Student Movements

Labor Notes

by Roshan Bliss, SUNDAY, 20 APRIL 2014 14:59

Earlier this month at the Labor Notes Conference, rank and file labor leaders announced for the first time the creation of the Network for Social Justice Unionism (NSJU), a new infrastructure that unionists concerned with advancing social justice beyond the workplace hope to use to organize for a shift in the way the labor movement operates.

The NSJU seeks to encourage the creation of social justice caucuses in union locals across the nation and to establish working relationships between those caucuses to be able to support each other’s struggles. Together, these caucuses hope to create an movement inside of organized labor that pushes union leaders across the country to do more to see that union power benefits not just workers themselves, but also the communities that unions are embedded in and rely upon.

Plans for the NSJU have been in the works for over a year, and NSJU members are optimistic that their work will not only be enthusiastically received by workers and social justice activists, but that it could eventually transform and revitalize an aging labor movement. The NSJU effort has its roots in recent struggles for change led by teachers, but seeks to encourage workers of all kinds to commit to lending their knowledge, resources, and influence to other ongoing struggles for justice beyond their workplaces.

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#MayFirst #MetaStrike: Take part in six moth long global and systemic hackaton to take down the Prism, fascism, capitalism, imperialism, racism, sexism and war

Considering the total enclosure of the Internet, the enslavement of mass free labor on it, and the rise of meta-data Orweillian society, what should one make of celebration of the rise of the Internet of Everything (IoE) or Industrial Internet and calling for the demise of capitalism by people like Jeremy Rifkin! What would be Rifkin’s advise to his ruling class clients, but more importantly why the neoconservatives and Chinese state class elite pay him high compensations?

The ruling elite way of dealing with the problem of ‘near zero marginal costs’ has been massive exploitation of zero labor cost (free labor). Now they like to capture free labor in the physical world by connecting devices and people “putting them at work on the move” -as Cisco and GE founders of the Industrial Internet Consortium publicly declare. While the translation of this ideal is the objectification of entire living labor and commons (should be read as human) to a global production process, why Rifkin celebrates this! If the plan is clearly to giving IP addresses to 50 billion devices in coming 10 years to form the IoE infrastructure, making it is possible a global scale surveillance an most logical outcome would be the total exploitation of artificially constructed happy playbouring produsers who would be living in sterile smart cities. As for the masses, there shall not be need for an hegemonic governance like bourgeois parliamentarian model what so ever in this new digital world. It has become clear by now that this ambitious capitalist project has the potential to replace the ancient industrial capitalism. It is certain by now that the fall of capitalism as we know it won’t be quite and painless. The attempt towards realizing this transition has brought about imperialist peripheral wars. If one look to the fierce clashes between Russian, Westerns and Chinese rulers in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Georgia, Chechnya, Ukraine and other frontiers of the Empires, the naked truth would appears in clear vision. The fact that crack between two giant tectonic plates is about to break up to a truly global corrective war between ruling classes. Titans are getting ready to clash, and planning for the aftermath of the great cleansing, of billions of un-exploitable and expensive to feed human.

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AAWL Public Meeting – Organising garment workers internationally

The garment and apparel manufacturing sector is mainly concentrated in a few countries in the south and south east of Asia. It is an industry with a vicious ‘Race to the Bottom’ drive that kills thousands of workers. Workers are fighting back in many countries, but their struggles are often isolated. How do we better link together, how to we organise better together, how do we campaign together for common demands? On Wednesday the 2nd of April, AAWL is organising an international co-ordinated meeting with a number of garment workers representatives to discuss these issues.

6pm Wednesday 2 April 2014 at AMWU

Level 1, 251 Queensberry St

Carlton South

All Welcome

Click here for leaflet

Connecting Western and Chinese Workers | Union Solidarity International

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China is the workshop of the world. And – if you’re a worker in the West – its the threat your boss uses to keep your wages down. We are constantly told how our wage demands are “uncompetitive”, and how companies will ship their production to China to save costs.

But what about the workers of China? We hear very little about them – about their terms and conditions, about their organisations, about their lives and their struggles. And yet their struggles are vitally important to the labour movement everywhere: if Chinese workers win better conditions for themselves, it makes the bosses’ threat less convincing. It gives us an opportunity to support each other in a climb to the top, instead of competing on a race to the bottom: to build a world of fairness and dignity at work, with wages that allow workers to live secure and fulfilling lives.

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Unite the Union’s USI mediates the established union world entering into the networked organising (networganizing) era

The below are Google Hangout videos taken from the USI’s website:

i. Hack the Union from US interviews with Andrew of Union Solidarity International: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4U4FNAkZtSc

ii.  A small step for unions, but a giant step for global labour
emancipation?: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=k6BmWC5lr8Y

This following link is to a nice article by Walton Patland introducing the ON platform:
http://www.scoop.it/t/networked-labour/p/4017080234/2014/03/05/karl-marx-on-facebook-what-is-the-ideology-of-your-social-network?hash=fd4c16ef-09d3-468d-a043-3b8de2a28135

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Labour and transnational action in times of crisis!

Original post

With the repercussions of the economic crisis still reverberating through the global system, what are the possibilities of labour movements to form relationships of transnational solidarity in resistance to the exploitative and destructive dynamics of global capitalism? This question was at the heart of the two-day international workshop Labour and transnational action in times of crisis: from case studies to theory, organised by the Transnational Labour project in Oslo on 27 and 28 February 2014. In this post, I will discuss some of the key themes, which emerged from the various presentations and debates.

Importantly, as Tamara Kay made clear, just because there is economic restructuring at the international level as in the case of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), this does not automatically lead to transnational solidarity between different national labour movements. Hence, some discussions at the workshop revolved around the obstacles to transnational solidarity.

Obstacles to transnational solidarity

Economic restructuring, rather than facilitating transnational solidarity, may actually be an obstacle in itself. Capitalism is subject to periodic crises. In order to overcome crises, there is a constant tendency towards outward expansion to integrate or re-integrate in novel forms peripheral spaces into capitalist development. This development, however, occurs along uneven and combined lines. It is combined in that peripheral development is driven by dynamics in the core and it is uneven in that the difference in development between core and periphery constantly increases. As a result, different national labour movements find themselves in rather different locations in the global economy leading to potentially different interests.

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