Continental Crucible
135 pages

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The crucible of North American neoliberal transformation is heating up, but its outcome is far from clear. Continental Crucible examines the clash between the corporate offensive and the forces of resistance from both a pan-continental and a class struggle perspective. This book also illustrates the ways in which the capitalist classes in Canada, Mexico, and the United States used free trade agreements to consolidate their agendas and organize themselves continentally.

The failure of traditional labor responses to stop the continental offensive being waged by big business has led workers and unions to explore new strategies of struggle and organization, pointing to the beginnings of a continental labor movement across North America. The battle for the future of North America has begun.



Publié par
Date de parution 15 mai 2015
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781629631363
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0025€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Praise for Continental Crucible
“This insightful, revealing, and passionate book is a must-read for workers and union activists all over the world in their efforts to develop strategies to overcome neoliberalism. The creation of a single North American and global labor market by NAFTA and neoliberal globalization has created both the bases and the necessity for workers and unions to move beyond nationalism and chauvinism.”
—Alejandro Álvarez, professor at the Faculty of Economics-Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UMAM), member of the Trinational Coalition for the Defense of Public Education and of the ’68 Pro-Democratic Liberties Committee
“The analysis presented by the authors and the conclusions they come to are fundamentally sound. The call for going beyond basic cooperation between unions to a profound transformation of unions into organizations fighting for the needs and aspirations of working people in all three countries is powerful and exciting. This very readable text may well prove crucial for those wanting to move beyond a national framework and encompass one that is continental and global.” —Chris Schenk, Global Labour Journal
“All of those interested in understanding the nature of the problems we face in taking on the capitalist class and building a new continental labor movement will find this book essential.” —Dan La Botz, New Politics
“The product of decades of close collaboration between two participant/observers of the Mexican labor movement,Continental Crucibleis a significant contribution to the literature on NAFTA and labor that merits the study and consideration of labor educators.” —Labor Studies Journal
“Roman and Velasco have made a valuable contribution to understanding the convergence of North American political economy under free trade and neoliberalism, and a timely intervention in their call for a transnational labor movement with transformative ambitions.”
—Working USA
“This tremendously insightful book not only offers a rare analysis of the intertwining political economies of all three countries that make up North America, but does so in a manner that tellingly reveals the specific nature of the American empire, and how it is affected by class struggles within each state. No other study has shown so clearly that, far from the neoliberal integration of the continent being imposed from the outside by the United States, it was the Canadian and Mexican states which took the crucial initiatives, above all as a means of shifting the domestic balance of class forces in favour of their own capitalist classes and against their working classes. A must-read for critical thinkers and activists in all three countries.”
—Leo Panitch, Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy and Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science, York University, and co-author (with Sam Gindin) of The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire
To our parents, immigrants to the Americas, who believed that another world was possible.
Copyright © 2015 Richard Roman and Edur Velasco Arregui This edition copyright © 2015 PM Press
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be transmitted by any means without permission in writing from the publisher.
Editing: Curran Faris Interior design: Brenda Conroy Cover design: John van der Woude Printed in the USA by the Employee Owners of Thomson-Shore in Dexter, Michigan.
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Published in Canada by Fernwood Publishing 32 Oceanvista Lane, Black Point, Nova Scotia, B0J 1B0 and 748 Broadway Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3G 0X3 Published in the rest of the world by PM Press PO Box 23912, Oakland, CA 94623
Fernwood Publishing Company Limited gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, the Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage and Tourism under the Manitoba Publishers Marketing Assistance Program and the Province of Manitoba, through the Book Publishing Tax Credit, for our publishing program.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2015930881 PM Press ISBN: 9781629630953
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Roman, Richard, author Continental crucible : big business, workers and unions in the transformation of North America / Richard Roman and Edur Velasco Arregui. -- Second edition.
Includes index. ISBN 978-1-55266-736-1 (pbk.)
1. Labor unions--North America. 2. Corporate power--North America. 3. Labor movement--North America. 4. Working class--North America--Social conditions--21st century. 5. Free trade--Economic aspects--North America. 6. North America--Commerce. I. Velasco Arregui, Edur, author II. Title.
HF1746.R64 2015 331.88097 C2015-900666-X
Acronyms and Abbreviations
Preface by Mel Watkins
Foreword by Steve Early
Introduction: The Crucible of North American Transformation
Part I: The Big Business Offensive: Continental Integration and the Class Offensive from Above
1 The North American Corporate Offensive: The United States Construction Woes: Capitalist Neo-Liberalism Takes Shape The BRT Emerges
2 The North American Corporate Offensive: Canada A Double Threat: Labour Militancy and Interventionist Nationalism Labour Militancy Interventionist Nationalism Big Business Fights Back
3 The North American Corporate Offensive: Mexico The Post-Revolutionary Regime and Big Business The Transition: The Struggle for Hegemony e Neo-Liberal Regime: Bourgeois Domination Without the Consolidation of a Hegemonic Historic Bloc
4 The North American Corporate Offensive: NAFTA The Binational Evolution of NAFTA Mexico’s Shift and NAFTA Selling NAFTA in the United States Business Gets Directly Involved: Trade Advisory Groups Bills of Rights for Capital
Part II: The Two Binationalisms: Immigrants, Workers and Unions
5 Mexican Immigration and the U.S. Labour Market The Continental Corporate Offensive and Immigration The Continental Corporate Offensive, the Race to the Bottom and Immigration From Third World to First World: Poverty, Crisis, More Poverty Mass Immigration: Safety Valve for Mexican Capitalism, Subsidy for U.S. Capitalism
6 Continental Integration from Below: The History of Transnational Labour Markets and Labour Movements in North America Pre-NAFTA Labour Markets Pre-NAFTA Labour Movements
Part III: Workers and Unions: Responses and Continental Integration from Below
7 Fighting Back: Workers, Unions and Continental Solidarity
Solidarity or Competition in the Context of Uneven Development The Limits of Presently Existing Unionism The Limits of Presently Existing Solidarity Transforming Unionism, Transforming Solidarity, Transforming Society
8 Fighting Back: The Mexican Spark?
9 Fighting Back: The Seeds of Worker Continentalism
Epilogue: Rising from the Ashes of NAFTA The Big Business Offensive Continues From Passivity to Resistance: Two Periods of the Big Business Offensive Playing with Fire: The Neoliberal Assault Intensifies in Mexico From Resistance to Transformation
Acronyms and Abbreviations
American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations American Federation of Labor American Federation of Labor — Congress of Industrial Organizations American Smelting and Refining Company Business Council on National Issues Building and Construction Trades Department British Columbia Teachers Federation Bilateral Framework Agreement on Trade and Investment Border Industrialization Program Bureau of Labor Statistics Business Roundtable Canadian Alliance for Trade and Job Opportunities Canadian Association of University Teachers Canadian Auto Workers Canadian Chamber of Commerce Canadian Council of Chief Executives Consejo Coordinador Empresarial (Business Coordinating Council) Canada Development Corporation Consejo Empresarial Mexicano para Asuntos Internacionales (Mexican Business Council for International Affairs) Congress of Industrial Organizations Canadian Labour Congress Canadian Manufacturers’ Association Camara Mexicana de Hombres de Negocios (Mexican Businessmen’s Council) Coordinadora de Organismos Empresariales de Comercio Exterior (Coordinator for Foreign Trade Business Organizations) Casa del Obrero Mundial (House of the World Workers) Consejo Nacional de Evaluación de la Política de Desarrollo Social (National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy) Canada Pension Plan Conseil du Patronat du Québec (Quebec Council of Employers) Centrale des Syndicats du Québec (Confederation of Trade Unions of Quebec) Congreso del Trabajo (Labour Congress) Canadian Teachers’ Federation Confederación de Trabajadores de México (Confederation of Mexican Workers) Construction Users Anti-Inflation Roundtable Canada — U.S. Free Trade Agreement Employee Retirement Income Security Act Frente Auténtico del Trabajo (Authentic Workers’ Front) Frente Democrático Nacional (National Democratic Front) Foreign Investment Review Agency Front de libération du Québec (Quebec Liberation Front) Fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec gross domestic product Ingenieros Civiles Asociados (Civil Engineers Associates) International Monetary Fund
Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (Mexican Social Security Institute) Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía (National Institute of Statistics and Geography) import substitution industrialization Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado (Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers) Industrial Workers of the World (Wobblies) Laborers’ International Union of North America Labor Law Study Group Mexico — U.S. Business Committee Manitoba Teachers’ Society North American Agreement on Labor Cooperation North American Free Trade Agreement National Association of Manufacturers New Democratic Party National Energy Program National Federation of Independent Businesses National Governors Association National Small Businesses Association One Big Union Occupational Safety and Health Act Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation Occupy Wall Street Political Action Committees Partido Acción Nacional (National Action Party) Partido de la Revolución Democrática (Party of the Democratic Revolution) Partido Revolucionario Institucional (Institutional Revolutionary Party) Small Business Legislative Council Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Mineros, Metalúrgicos, Siderúrgicos y Similares de la República Mexicana (National Union of Mine and Metal Workers of the Mexican Republic, Los Mineros, Mexican Miners Union) trade advisory groups Trinational Solidarity Alliance Trans-Pacific Partnership United Auto Workers United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America United Steel Workers World Economic Forum
his book grew out of a project conceived almost twenty years ago when we met at a conference T o n NAFTA in Toronto. Our plan was to write a quick, little book on the peculiarities of Mexican unions that would serve as a guide to Canadian and U.S. labour activists in their relations with Mexican workers in the new world of NAFTA. e project grew and grew in scope. is book, which focuses on continental aspects of class struggle in North America, is one of the outcomes of the project. e other aspect of the pro ject, the historical analysis of the formation of the Mexican working class and Mexican unions, is soon to be completed, though aspects of it have been published as articles. e original project not only grew in scope but was interrupted many times by political, union and personal events. We are deeply indebted to our parents who brought the revolutionary democratic traditions of the sailors’ councils of the Spanish Civil War and those of the Jewish Labour Bund of Lithuania, Poland and Russia with them to the Americas. We thank them for passing on their belief in the immense potential of ordinary working people to cre ate a new world of justice, equality and genuine democracy. We have dedicated this book to them — Federico Velasco Koba (1914–74), Begoña Arregui Azkarate (1923 — ), Julius Roman (né Romatsky, 1884–1957) and Sarah Roman (née Borkofsky, 1904–76). Dick would like to thank his wife, Jo Anne Maikawa, and his sons, Z ev and Nathaniel, for their support and faith in the project, not only of the book, but of the struggle of working people to make another world possible. ere are so many people to thank for encouragement and enlightenment along all these years but only room to mention a handful. Harvey Freedman and Ed Silva for being great coaches, Art Lipow for his enthusiastic suppo rt since the beginning of the project, Stephan Dobson for intellectual assistance, Peter Saunders for thoughtful advice, and Paul Fraschetti for numerous computer rescue missions. Edur would like to thank his family as well as his friends, colleagues andcompañeros, too numerous to mention, for their support and encouragement. We have learned much from discussions with Rafael M ayoral and Gabriel Mendoza. We owe a special thanks to Alejandro Álvarez and Mel Watkins, two of the most insightful analysts of North American integration, for their generous intellectual support over many years. We also thank Wayne Antony of Fernwood Publishing and the two anonymous reviewers for their incisive critiques of the original manuscript. We thank Wayne and also Ramsey Kanaan of PM Press for their enthusiastic support of a second edition, Steve Early for his insightful foreword, and the staff at Fernwood and PM for their help in g uiding the book through its various stages of production — Curran Faris, Beverley Rach, Brenda Co nroy, Nancy Malek, John van der Woude and Gregory Nipper. e rst edition of this book was published with the help of a grant from the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, through the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program, using funds provided by the Social Science s and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
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