Challenging Global Corporate Power in the 21st Century
Chapter 2. Labour and the Second Wave of Globalisation—Digitising the World-System
· 2 · labour and the second wave of globalisation—digitising the world-system The global revolutions of 1968 mark an important turning point in the mod- ern world-system. They signify a point of rebellion against many of the forms of social hierarchy and oppression that had underpinned the world-system both ideologically and materially: movements challenging racism, sexism, ho- mophobia, imperialism and militarism all emerged around the world alongside a growing peace movement, human rights and environmental movements (Arrighi, Hopkins & Wallerstein, 1989). The consequences of this explosion of ideas and social movements were felt across the political divide as politi- cal parties and established organisations such as trade unions had to rapidly come to terms with them. Unions were subject to an array of criticisms for their bureaucratic, hierarchical, conservative and exclusive practices, includ- ing sexism, homophobia and racism (Wrench, 1986; Briskin & McDermott, 1993; Munro, 2001; Wallerstein, 1989). For radicals the unions were also ac- cused of having, in reality, served merely the sectional interests of those they represented rather than working to improve the conditions of the working classes generally (Hyman, 1999). This was a revival of the criticism originally made by the IWW in its founding days, which said that the existing union movement divided rather than united the working classes and that what was 54 worker resistance and media needed was One Big Union for all workers (Thompson & Bekken, 2006; Ren- shaw, 1999; Dubofsky, 1987). At the same time the 1968 revolutions presented major challenges to the state and capital...
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