We are living in times of crisis. Contrary to past events of that type which have mostly been of a conjunctural nature, this time, the crisis is a systemic one and embraces all major dimensions of social order. In situations like this, political allegiances tend to get dissolved thus eventually re-assemble around organisations and groups that escape any clear-cut image of traditional political organisations.
This book is an attempt at describing and analysing that process by looking at the left of the political spectrum. Its authors focus on two social and political groups that have so far been looked at as incompatible with each other, both with respect to their strategies and to their organisational structures – social movements and trade unions.
In the introduction and in the first section of the book, most contributors adopt an interest-based perspective, thus asking after the likelihood of a merger or an approximation of (immaterial) passions and (material) interests. The focus is on alliance-building and on processes of mutual learning across the established boundaries of more and less well-organised types of collective actors.
The second section consists of an encompassing empirical tour de force through Southern European countries where the crisis has had its most severe consequences in social, economic, and political terms – Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Italy. Partial inconsistencies notwithstanding, the authors conclude that there is much scope for the emergence of an anticapitalistic and truly democratic countermovement in the twilight of the present neoliberal order.
1 Passions, interests and the need to survive.
Jürgen R. Grote and Claudius Wagemann
2 Social movement theory and trade union organising.
Andy Mathers, Martin Upchurch and Graham Taylor
3 Unions as social movements or unions in social movements?
4 Interests and types of solidarity in union-community alliances.
5 Social movements and trade unions in cross-movement countermobilization. A Polanyian view on social movement and trade union cooperation.
6 Social movement unionism: a toolkit of tactics or a strategic orientation? A critical assessment in the field of migrant workers campaigns.
Maite Tapia and Gabriella Alberti
7 Social movement unionism in Spain?
Holm-Detlev Köhler and José Pablo Calleja Jiménez
8 Trade unions and social movements at the crossroads: a Portuguese view.
Hermes Augusto Costa and Elísio Estanque
9 Conflict, competition and collaboration in the realm of labour. Trade unions and precarious workers in Italy.
10 Trade unions in Greece: protest and social movements in the context of austerity politics.
11 Countermovement formation in times of radical change.
Claudius Wagemann and Jürgen R. Grote