In a speech given at the Global Labour Institute summer school in Manchester earlier this year, life-long trade unionist Dan Gallin stated:
The need of the hour is a serious challenge to global transnational capital and to the world order it has fashioned, but such a challenge cannot be mounted unless the movement recovers a common identity based on an alternative vision of society. (1)
Our movement is in a deep crisis, a two-fold crisis: a crisis of the trade union movement and a crisis of socialism, and we should be aware that these are related, so much so that it is impossible to deal with them separately.
Here I think Gallin is spot-on! The reason organised labour cannot mount a serious challenge to global capitalism is due to a crisis of socialism which has had an inevitable weakening impact on the international trade union movement. It therefore follows that in order to overcome the crisis in the trade union movement we first need to address the crisis of socialism.
Drawing on the work of Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel I will briefly explain why I think socialism is in crisis. I will also propose an alternative economic vision to that of socialism (informed by ‘participatory economics’ theory) as a means of overcoming this crisis. Finally I will describe how this new economic vision could be used to inform global unionism – presented here as an alternative to the current international trade union movement – as a means of organising the desperately needed challenge to the current insane system of capitalist destruction and greed. (more…)