Trade unions: rebuild, renew, resist
A relic of a bygone era – or a billion-strong social movement fighting for workers’ rights everywhere?
The reality of trade unionism today falls somewhere in between. In the Western world, union-busting laws, globalization and internal conflicts have left many trade unions reeling. In some countries of the Global South, trade unionists face discrimination, danger and even death. Meanwhile, workers’ rights are being sacrificed on the altar of corporate greed gone mad: zero-contract hours, sub-contracting, privatization, outsourcing and special economic zones are all part of a ‘race to the bottom’ being run by transnationals concerned only about their profits.
Yet all is not lost. From Colombia to China, Bangladesh to Barcelona, workers are still fighting for their rights – and, sometimes, winning. This issue, New Internationalist
looks at the state of the unions, how they need to adapt to the new reality for workers in the 21st century, and why they are more important than ever.
For Facebook, Amazon and Google, we have traded our privacy for something we find useful and put on hold our support for ethical shopping in exchange for the ease of low (or no) price and almost-instant gratification. This month's magazine looks at just how far down the line we are and asks how deeply exploitative and anti-democratic is this new ‘surveillance capitalism’ under which we now live. This month’s contributors include security expert Bruce Schneier, psychologist Robert Epstein and engineer and software activist Prabir Purkayastha.