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Worker Resistance and Media

Challenging Global Corporate Power in the 21st Century


Lina Dencik and Peter Wilkin

With developments in media technologies creating new opportunities and challenges for social movements to emerge and mobilize, this book is a timely and necessary examination of how organized labour and workers movements are engaging with this shifting environment. Based on extensive empirical research into emerging migrant and low-wage workers movements and their media practices, this book takes a critical look at the nature of worker resistance to ever-growing global corporate power in a digital age. Situating trade unionism in historical context, the book considers other forms of worker organizations and unionism, including global unionism, social movement unionism, community unionism, and syndicalist unionism, all of which have become increasingly relevant in a digitized world-system. At a time when the labour movement is said to be in crisis, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the state of the labour movement, the future of unions, and the possibilities for challenging corporate exploitation of workers today.


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List of Acronyms ix Series Editor’s Preface xi Acknowledgements xv Introduction. Labour, Media and Globalisation 1 Situating the Labour Movement in the Modern World-System 6 The Labour Movement and the Media 11 The Media as Fourth Estate 13 The Structure of the Book 15 Chapter 1. Trade Unions, the Labour Movement and the First Wave of Globalisation 19 The Meaning and History of Trade Unions 20 Trade Unions and the First Wave of Globalisation 1870–1914 27 The First International: The Libertarian and Authoritarian Divide 34 The Great Transformation: War, Nationalism and Revolution in the Period of De-Globalisation 41 The Consciousness Industries and Crises in the World-System 46 vi worker resistance and media The Golden Age of Capitalism? The Cold War and the Geo-Politics of Trade Unionism 48 Chapter 2. Labour and the Second Wave of Globalisation— Digitising the World-System 53 Resurgent Capitalism and the Ideology of the Corporation 56 Neoliberalism and the Corporate Counter-Revolution 59 Corporate Propaganda and the Colonisation of the Public Realm 65 Post-Fordism, Financial Globalisation and the Modern World-System 67 The Neoliberal State: ‘No Banker Left Behind’ 71 Trade Unions and Globalisation from Below— The Death of the Labour Movement? 73 Global Unions 76 Community Unionism 77 Social Movement Unionism/Social Justice Unionism 78 Syndicalist/Autonomist Union Movements 79 Chapter 3. Social Media, Digital Activism and Labour Movements— Worker Resistance in the New Protest Environment 81 The Internet and Unions—The Makings of a Global Labournet? 83 Digital Media as Alternative Media: From Indymedia to Labor Notes 86...

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