chapter  5
Exploring the Grassroots’ Perspective on Labour Internationalisms
ByRebecca Ryland
Pages 14

The emergence of neoliberalism produced a renaissance in academic debate providing reflections on labour internationalism most often vigorously advising the global working class movement to advance on an international footing: to recreate the former internationalist calls of the past, when international trade unionism flourished and multinational capitalism was in its infancy (Lee 1997). The previous cries for internationalism arose from European workers during the latter half of the nineteenth century on recognizing their commonalities through a hegemonic class consciousness, resulting in networks of solidarity aimed at countering the weakened position of their trade unions as a consequence of a dramatic increase in world trade (Munck 2002). Soon after, internationalism was seen to stagnate, relying on initiatives merely ‘international in rhetoric and occasionally in practice’ (Ghigliani 2005: 360) before retreating to a national, statist, protectionist stance in part as a consequence of post-1945 ideological divisions often associated with Cold War politics.