Paper prepared for the 2001 Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, Chicago, 21-24 February
Globalization has become today the key word for understanding the recent developments in capitalist world economy. While it is a highly contested concept the conventional accounts of globalization, developed since the early 1980’s, have constituted a kind of “globalization orthodoxy”(Harman, 1996), based on arguments that are widely accepted both in popular and academic milieux. Such an orthodoxy echoes also in the left-oriented thought. The conventional accounts of globalization generally projected the working class as passive vis-ŕ-vis the challenges engendered by the alleged process of globalization. The working class’ incapacity to develop internationally organized forms of resistance against a “globally organized capital” moving freely in the world has been the main argument for explaining the incapacity of the working class to become a “subject ‘of’ globalization rather than ‘in’ globalization” (Kayatekin and Ruccio, 1998: 80).
The approaches which take globalization orthodoxy’s argument that globalization undermines the importance of the national site in favor of the global level, end up with the idea that as capital is global so must be resistance to it. Expressions such as “besides the globalization of capital new strategies at the scale of international capital are needed” (Tilly, 1995: 21); “if business and capital go global, then government and labor should follow suit” (Breitenfellner, 1997); “if production and ownership are global, workers’ organization must be as well” (Levenson-Estrada and Frundt, 1995) have become more and more familiar in the works concerned with the impact of globalization on labor and unionism. Though in several cases it has been hard to deny any role for the national site the tendency has been to shift the emphasis from the national to the global.
On the other hand, the idea that the working class must develop forms of organization and struggle at the global level is generally accompanied by an abstract internationalism based on concepts such as international civil society and global citizenship. According to such arguments, new social movements are influential to bear in global civil society and the globalization of civil society involves resistance from disadvantaged strata. In the face of the declining power of organized labor and revolutionary groups and with the globalization of social conflict, the argument goes, new social movements which are themselves global phenomena offer worldwide alternative strategies of social struggle (Mittelman, 1996: 10; see especially Waterman, 1998). For instance Held (1995), after having announced the collapse of the nation-state argues that, since new global order is beyond the control of national power, democracy has become a transnational affair and that international civil society and its peculiar organizations have gained primordial importance in all democratic struggle.
Behind this emphasis on the global site at the expense of the national site lies indeed a conventional understanding of globalization according to which three main factors have been crucial in challenging the labor unions: the globalization of production and of productive capital; the formation of a transnational capitalist class no longer tied to territoriality; and the declining importance of nation-states that opens the way to the formation of a transnational state apparatus responsible of the governance of world economy.
First, the globalization argument extends the thesis on the mobility of capital beyond money capital, which can really be transferred from one place to another in the world, in such a way that includes productive capital too. As Gordon (1988: 26-30) has stated, the new (or changing) international division of labor and the globalization of production perspectives have been influential in the understanding of the recent changes as globalization. According to new international division of labor theories, the new capitalist world economy is essentially defined by the massive flow of capital from the advanced countries to the Third World where labor costs are low. On the other hand, the globalization of production theories emphasize the centralization and concentration of capital through the spreading decentralized production sites and through the increasingly centralized control by transnational corporations of these decentralized production units, and argue that the leverage of transnational corporation over national governments and domestic unions is enhanced. This worldwide spatial reorganization of production refers to the movement of productive capital from the advanced economies to low-wage economies. This leads to the exportation of labor-intensive production processes to the regions/countries where the wages are very low. As a result of this move, they argue, while the core de-industrializes in terms of the average percentage of the industrial labor force and of manufacturing in gross domestic product, in the global periphery a corresponding “industrialization" takes place.
Secondly, according to the globalization orthodoxy, globally mobile capital leads to the interpenetrating of industries across borders and multinational corporations appear as the main actors, or the bearers of this process. They appear as footloose companies that move without any restriction all around the world. In this view, power is located in the hands of global capital organized in the form of multinational corporations. In other words, power is ultimately belonging to an all-encompassing capital that transgresses and transcends national and regional barriers. Robinson and Harris (2000) argue that even the process of class formation is now realized within transnational space, which is no longer tied to nation-states. According to the authors, the globalization of production and supranational integration of national productive structures provide the basis for the transnationalization of classes and the rise of a transnational capitalist class. The spread of transnational corporations, the expansion of foreign direct investment (FDI), cross-national mergers, world-wide subcontracting and outsourcing and the extension of free enterprise zones have been given as the empirical evidences of the rise of this transnational class. This transnational capitalist class is, according to the authors, a global ruling class by virtue of its capacity to control an emergent transnational state apparatus and global decision making. In such an understanding, not only the class formation but also the class relations and struggles are transnationalized. Hence, the argument goes, in the face of a transnationally organized capitalist class, the working class too has to organize itself within the supranational space.
The last ring in the chain corresponds to the demise of the national state. The globalization orthodoxy has strongly defended the idea that the state is no longer the locus of power and it is no longer possible to locate power within a single national unit. According to the conventional globalization argument, in addition to the constraints put on government economic policies by financial globalization, global capital in the form of multinational corporations, to a large extent, have become independent of state power. These two factors undermine state capacity and state power and are complemented by the development of supranational organizations, which means the shift of sovereignty from nation-state to supranational institutions. For instance, as a theorist of extreme globalization, Ohmae argues that only two forces matter in the world economy: global market forces and transnational companies. Ohmae argues that stateless corporations are the prime actors in the world economy and that macroeconomic policy intervention by national governments can only distort the rational process of resource allocation on a global scale (cited in Hirst and Thompson, 1996: 59, 185).
Hobsbawm (1996: 281) wrote, in Age of Extremes, that “the most convenient world for multinational corporations is one populated by dwarf states or by no states at all”. In the most extremist versions, especially when the globalization argument goes hand in hand with the idea of a passage to information society, the power is totally diffused. For example, according to Castells (1996: 359), “power is no longer concentrated in institutions (the state), organizations (capitalist firms) or symbolic controllers (corporate media, churches). It is diffused in global networks of wealth, power, information, and images. The new power lies in the codes of information and in the images of representation around which societies organize these institutions. The sites of this power are people’s minds”. However this extremist version does not readily represent the globalization orthodoxy as a whole.
Another argument in favor of the demise of nation-state capacities has been the shift from government to governance, from nation-state to supra-national institutions. It has been argued that a global mode of regulation became the most central aspect of the global accumulation regime, which gives rise to a transnational state apparatus (Robinson and Harris, 2000). The merging supranational state would “deregulate the conditions of accumulation on a worldwide basis by removing the national regulation of accumulation” (Yaghmaian, 1998: 254). The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the European Union have been cited as the main institutions of this emerging supra-national state.
Jessop (1999a; 1999c) who developed a midway position with his concept of “the relativization of the scale” argued that the national scale has lost the taken-for-granted primacy even in powerful states, but no other scale of economic and political organization has acquired a similar primacy. He defined three trends as the cause of the loss of primacy of the national site: denationalization of the state (the growth of supranational regimes, the resurgence of regional and local governance, an emerging trend towards trans-local linkages such as the one between world cities); de-statization of politics (a move away from the central government towards more decentralized forms of governance such as forms of partnership between official, para-statal, and non-governmental organizations in managing economic and social relations); and the internationalization of policy regimes. These three trends, according to Jessop, form a “mix of interscalar strategies” and “a growing unstructured complexity”. Indeed Jessop has still left an important space for the national scale. Against the above trends, he argues, the national state develops new counter trends in order to gain importance “in managing the relationship between different levels and scales, in managing the forms of governance and intervening in the case of governance failure, in the struggle by states to shape emerging international regimes”. The scope for the national state to mediate between the supra- and sub-national state is still primordial in dealing with social conflicts and redistributive policies; and unless supranational political organization acquires some measure of democratic legitimacy and accountability national state will remain a key political actor. Most important, for Jessop, is the fact that the general function of securing social cohesion in a divided society still remains in the hands of the national state. Although these last statements might lead to interpret the national scale still as primordial, Jessop himself emphasizes the shift away from the primacy of national site.
The globalization orthodoxy centered on these points (globalization of production and of capital, the disembeddedness of the transnational capitalist class, and the myth of the powerless state) and argues that these developments have been at the source of labor passivity in the face of globalization. In other words, by arguing that power is located in the global site, in globally organized capital and supranational organizations, the globalization orthodoxy undermined the importance of the national site, state and internal class struggles as the loci of both power and resistance.
Within the narrative of conventional globalization accounts, the line demarcating myth and reality gets blurred and globalization becomes a “teleology” (Amoore et al., 1997). Such a teleological approach to globalization reveals the ideological aspects of this orthodoxy wherein globalization is used as a powerful political strategy. Hence the necessity of seeing globalization as a contested concept and challenging the ideological aspect of globalization discourses appear as an important task.
In the first part I will deal with the globalization orthodoxy’s thesis and question the extent to which globalization is a reality. I will deal with the arguments of the globalization discourse arguments about the decreasing importance of the national site and the state in the face of globally mobile capital. Contrary to the globalization orthodoxy, I will argue that the national site and the state are still important both as the site of power and of resistance, and that the idea of globally mobile capital is not a dominant reality but rather an ideological tool against labor. My argument will be that an alternative type of unionism organized in the national site is more important than searching for global unionism. Then I will inquire into this possibility by looking into a new type of unionism emerging in some countries, namely social movement unionism. I will conclude with the argument that sound labor internationalism can only be found on the basis of sound labor organization in the national site.
There is no doubt that in the last decades there have been important changes in the world capitalist economy. Interconnectedness through trade has increased since, from 1960 to 1990, the ratio of exports to GDP in OECD countries rose from 9.5 per cent to 20.5 per cent and world trade grew at an average of one and a half times the rate of growth of world GDP. Foreign direct investment grew three times faster than trade flows and four times faster than output. Multinational corporations became so important that most large industrial and financial corporations are now multinationals (Wade, 1996: 62-63). In the early 1990’s there were 37000 MNCs, of which 24000 (approximately 70 percent) were home based in the fourteen OECD countries. The largest 100 MNCs accounted for a third of the total FDI stock (Hirst and Thompson, 1996: 53). Intra-firm trade grew to such an important extent that U.S.-based multinationals’ intra-firm trade accounted for 30 percent of U.S. exports. Global FDI outflows increased from US$ 76.8 billion in the period 1983-1987 to US$ 644 billion in 1998 (Robinson and Harris, 2000: 33). No doubt the globalization has been deepest in the finance sector. The stock of international bank lending rose between 1980 and 1990 from 4 per cent to 44 per cent of OECD GDP (Wade, 1996: 64).
Though at first sight such evidences can uphold a trend towards globalization, a closer look at the data on trade, foreign direct investment and multinational corporations contradicts the interpretation of strong globalization, which is no more than the absolutization of a trend. Although the “epistemology of globalization leads to the idea of globalization as a new epoch” (Amoore at al., 1997: 180) around which a consensus is formed, there are strong evidences for assessing that the international character of capitalism is not new. Hence the question of how much globalization is new appears important for a critical understanding of globalization. As world-system theorists have generally argued, capitalism has always been global, at least in vocation, if not in geographic extent (Cox, 1996:21). In other words, “globalization is not a new epoch but a long-term process, not a new kind of capitalism but the logic of capitalism as it has been from the start” (Wood, 1998a: 6).
According to the data on trade and foreign direct investment, the level of interconnectedness, which is interpreted as globalization, is not something new. In addition, the level of interconnectedness reached today can be defined as strong internationalization rather than strong globalization. The percentage of international trade in GDP, a figure used as a principal argument by the globalization orthodoxy, does not indicate that the process is without precedent. The economy of the period between 1870-1914 was so internationalized that we are only getting closer to those levels of openness today. The U.K.’s trade was 44.7 percent of its GDP in 1913 and was still at 40.5 in 1993. Apart from the U.S. whose economy is increasingly open in both exports and imports since 1970s, economies of advanced industrial countries are not more open to trade than they were before 1914 ( Hirst and Thompson, 1999: 37-38). The mere growth of trade during the last decades cannot be an evidence of a wholly globalized economy because the share of trade in GDP is still very small, accounting for 12 percent or less for the U.S., Japan and European Union and less than 10 per cent for the Asian and Latin American countries. Another argument against the globalization thesis is the highly concentrated nature of trade. World trade is massively concentrated among the most developed countries: these latter’s share was more than 80 per cent in 1989. Although the export of manufactures from the South has grown to an important extent by 1989, it accounted for only 16 per cent of world manufactured exports (Wade, 1996: 66-68). On the other hand, both Gordon (1988: 45) and Hirst and Thompson (1999: 39) have emphasized that within a long-term historical perspective the periods of considerable openness and growth have always been replaced by closure and decline in the history of capitalism.
The growth in the values of foreign direct investment is also misleading unless it is not interpreted with reference to domestic businesses. In the case of FDI, the level reached in 1990s are not extraordinary when one considers the history of capitalism. FDI in 1913 was 9 percent of world output, a percentage that was still not surpassed in early 1990s. Outgoing and incoming FDI’s share in the net domestic business investment is still very small, being between 5 and 15 percent and between one-half of 1 percent (Japan) and 14 percent (U.S.) respectively. FDI, like trade, is highly concentrated in the advanced countries. In 1992 the Triad represented 60 per cent of world trade, and when the inter-EU trade is added to this figure, it rose to 70 per cent. As to the FDI flows, between 1981 and 1991 North America, Western Europe and Japan represented 75 per cent of the total (Wade, 1996: 70; Hirst and Thompson, 1999: 38, 41).
The FDI flows into the developing world is also highly concentrated. The net FDI flows to developing countries are received massively by Asia (overwhelmingly by China) and by Latin America. Between 1990-93, out of US$ 34.2 billion, 19.8 billion went to Asia and 11 billion to Latin America. The shares of Middle East and developing Europe and Africa were 1.6 billion and 1.4 billion respectively. In addition, the FDI to developing world amounts to only a little portion of the capital stock of the developed world: since 1990 the reduction in advanced countries’ capital stock was only 0.5 percent (Hirst and Thompson, 1996: 67).
The above data on FDI and the data on multinational corporations contradict the thesis about a footloose capital freely moving around the world. Rather than moving to the peripheral areas, the assets of multinational corporations are mainly concentrated at home. The proponents of the globalization thesis emphasize only the growth of investment flows abroad or inward. However when the importance of these flows relative to the whole activity of the multinational companies is taken into account the results uphold the national embeddedness of the multinationals.
According to the 1992-93 data set, multinationals’ manufacturing sales, service sales, manufacturing assets and service assets in the home countries are respectively 64, 75, 70, 74% for the USA; 75, 77, 97, 92% for Japan; 48, 65 for Germany; 45, 69, 54, 50% for France and 36, 61, 39, 61% for the UK. Hence we can say that the multinational corporations still rely upon their home base as the center of all their economic activities, despite all the speculation about globalization, since between 70 and 75 per cent of the value added was produced on the home territory (Hirst and Thompson, 1996: 91-95). At the firm level, for instance, General Motors in 1989 had about 70 per cent of its employees and over 70 per cent of its assets in the U.S. while Honda, the most internationalized of Japanese auto makers, had 63 per cent of both assets and workers at home (Wade, 1996: 79). The supposed massive flight of capital from the advanced nations to newly industrializing countries totaled over $100 billion which represents only 3 percent of investment in the rich triad countries and 0.2 percent of their capital stock (Hirst and Thompson, 1999: 40). On the other hand, the share in world output of the production by MNC outside their home countries was only about 7 percent in 1990. For example, Honda, Nissan and Toyota produce 70 to 90 per cent of worldwide output at home. Hence in terms of Hoogvelt (1997) we can say that “an implosion rather than expansion” has been realized.
Besides the above data, Wade (1996: 79) cites three other factors against the argument of footloose global capital. First of all, in most multinational corporations, a large majority of shares are held by individuals and legal entities in the home nation. Secondly, top management and governance are still in home country hands. In 1991 only 2 per cent of the board of members of big American companies were foreigners. And lastly, the research and development activities of the multinationals are done to a large extent in the home country. The percentages for U.S. and Japan in 1980s were over 90 per cent and 98 per cent respectively. In other words, both strategic decision making and technological innovation remain concentrated in the home nations of multinationals.
There is often confusion between different sorts of capital when analyzing the mobility of capital. Internationally trading firms can easily move money internationally, which is very different from the move of productive capital. The latter’s ability to move is not without restrictions. In other words, the globalization arguments about the globalization of production and the high mobility of productive capital is to a large extent exaggerated.
It is true that because of the falling rate of profits there has been a restructuring of industry in ways that cut across national boundaries after the recessions of the mid-1970s. But this does not mean that all, or even most, multinationals have established integrated production processes right across the world (global assembly lines). This is simply one particular response, and not the most common (Harman, 1996: 5) as the above data clearly suggests. Meanwhile the more widespread response to the crisis has been the attempts to increase the rate of surplus-value extraction by introducing new technology.
As labor costs typically represent no more than about 20 per cent of the cost of the final product the pursuit of cheap labor cannot determine the whole strategy of firms. Low wages can only be decisive in the most labor-intensive products or phases of production such as garment and textile. In their strategic decisions, MNCs are mainly led by the search for natural resources, markets, good infrastructure, and an educated workforce. In other words, cheaper labor is not the major factor in most cases (Hirst and Thompson, 1996: 118; Wade, 1996: 72). According to Gordon (1988: 56, 58) multinational corporations have sought stable and insulated political and institutional protection against the increasingly turbulent world economy rather than low wages. The commonly accepted idea that unemployment in advanced countries are caused by the move of capital is not valid because job losses and unemployment in the advanced countries are too substantial to be explained by the move of capital only. In other words it is “rationalization” that is mainly destroying jobs rather than the movement of capital to low wage economies since the pattern of investment by the multinationals contradicts this as we have shown above. On the other hand, the impact of imports from low-wage countries on unemployment must not be exaggerated although it is a more controversial issue. Harman (1996: 8) argues that since overall imports to advanced OECD countries from non-OECD countries grew from about 1% to 2% of GDP between 1982 and 1992 and unemployment in the last two decades has not just hit jobs in industries subject to competition from imports, the argument based on the imports from low wage countries is not too valid. Similarly Gordon (1988: 40) relates only one-fifth of the reduction of employment in the U.S. to import competition. He emphasizes the role of the slower growth of final demand rather than the intensification of price competition from abroad or an increase in import shares of domestic final consumption. However Wade (1996: 76) offers a more cautious explanation on the impact of imports in the rising rate of unemployment. He rightly emphasizes that the flows can have a bigger impact than their value share suggest since the manufactured exports from the South being labor-intensive, it has more effect on labor demand in the North. According to Wade, the share of manufacturing in total employment in OECD countries declined from 28 per cent in 1969 to 21 per cent in 1989; and out of the total fall of 7 percentage points a fall of approximately 4 percentage points was caused by the imports from the South.
There are other factors that restrain productive capital’s mobility since large scale and long-term capital investments are hard to abandon. As productive capital is made up of factories and machinery, mines, docks, offices etc. these take years to build up and cannot be simply picked up and moved away. In addition, productive processes depend on inputs from outside and links to distribution networks and production does not take place in individual firms but in “industrial complexes”(Harman, 1996: 7). “Initial start-up costs, the costs of learning over time about a particular environment, the costs of building reputation, gaining acceptance among government, employees, and other firms regarding their liability as producers, employers, and suppliers in each market” (Wade, 1996: 80) can also be added as barriers to exit. When shifting of the locations of plants takes place, firms prefer doing it gradually, if they can do it at all. Meanwhile they do not usually move plants but they build or buy new facilities and close old ones or more frequently, departments or sections of it (Moody, 1997a: 79). Since exit is not a costless option, if a multinational corporation moves, it may move within the country or region it was established in.
In the main developed countries, approximately 90 per cent of production is still for the domestic market and 90 per cent of consumption is produced at home. In addition, about 80 per cent of investment is done by domestic investors (Wade, 1996: 86, 61). Hence we can argue that the multinational corporations cannot ignore their home markets since it is there that the biggest percentage of their sales takes place, and they are not beyond the scope of national regulation. Besides the local embeddedness of productive capital, there are other factors that prove the ongoing importance of the national site. For example, analysis of key financial indicators such as interest rates, securities trading, and savings and investment illustrates that most economic variables are still firmly national (Hirst and Thompson, 1996, ch.2). On the other hand, the determinants of growth are still national: growth is determined by investment and contrary to the globally flowing capital argument, which would require weak correlation between rates of national savings and national investment this correlation is still very strong. For example, in 1990, 98%, 96% and 83% of private domestic savings remained respectively in Japan, the USA and the UK (Moran, 1998: 60).
To sum up, we can say that we live, with the partial exception of money markets, in a more internationalized rather than globalized world. It is a “patterned internationalization” (Moran, 1998: 75), i.e. a highly internationalized economy which is still a patchwork of national economies. Every global process is carried out only in and through specific and concrete places. The system is international, as it always has been. Firms seek out the most profitable sites internationally for production but this does not mean they are footloose, they are both subject to national laws and they are locally embedded. Capital is neither infinitely mobile nor absolutely immobile. Meanwhile the globalization of capital and its high mobility are exaggerated by the globalization thesis. The capitalist class and especially its international fraction have used “globalization” as a weapon in the domestic class conflict in both developed and newly industrializing countries in order to discipline the working class. In the former countries the threat to move capital and jobs to the peripheral areas and in the latter the necessity to attract capital for industrialization which would create jobs are the main weapons used by the dominant classes.
Maybe the best evidence for the myth of globalization and for the embeddedness of capital in the national site can be found in the following lines from The Economist, a champion of the extreme globalization thesis: “To the extent that ‘global’ companies have a home country, governments will treat them as such, placing them at political disadvantage. A relationship-enterprise ... a multinational alliance of independently owned firms... with home bases in all the main markets ... is one way for firms to side-step these constraints” (cited in Wade, 1996: 80).
So far I have demonstrated through some macro economic indicators that, contrary to the globalization thesis, the national site still preserves its central place in the organization of the international world economy, which does not in any sense deny the increasing internationalization of the world capitalist economy, of the production processes and of the capitalist classes. Meanwhile as international capital maintains substantial ties to its home base “it seeks favorable national class relations. National spaces of class conflict are still important dynamic factor in the operations of multinational capital” (Moran, 1998: 66). In other words, capital still needs both its domestic spaces and its domestic state. As our concern is mostly with relations and struggles among social classes and social forces, especially those of the working class, we need something more than evidences based on macro economic indicators. What we need is an alternative theoretical framework that will conceptualize the state in relation with social classes. This will also show that class relations and the contradictions of a highly internationalized world economy can still be understood within the national site and with specific reference to the state.
State and Classes: The Ongoing Importance of the National Site
In general terms, the globalization orthodoxy’s argument is that the scope of state autonomy is reduced because of economic globalization and that the state no longer initiates action but rather reacts to worldwide economic forces. A critique of this “myth of the powerless state” comes from a state-centered approach in which the state is considered separately from the relationship among social classes and forces. For instance Weiss (1997) argues that what we are experiencing is weak globalization strong internationalization and that the new constraints on the national state are relative rather than absolute. She emphasizes the adaptability of states, their differential capacity, the enhanced importance of state power in the new international environment. According to Weiss, even though the macro economic adjustment strategies which focus on fiscal and monetary policies are in question, industrial and technology policies as in the case of East Asia are the tools of this adaptability.
The globalists’ argument that the capital is no longer controllable by the nation-state is misleading not only in the sense that it downplays the strong states’ role as “facilitator of globalization rather than being its victim”, but also in the sense that it overestimates the nation-states’ capability to control capital in the earlier era. This idea of the globalization orthodoxy and the exclusive focus of the state-centered approaches on the internal structure of the states reflect “a continuing theoretical misconception that the state and capital must be seen as two independent spheres rather than as parts of totality” (Panitch, 1996: 84-85). Though the state-centered approaches have been insightful in many respects, especially in understanding some changing roles and policies of the developmental states, their political orientations have been limited to a narrow strategy of “progressive competitivity”. Based on the neglect of the structural character of the crisis of the Keynesian welfare state, “this critique of neo-liberalism has much in common with the cynical idealism of the Third Way and the World Bank’s current project of building a ‘post-Washington Consensus’ – globalization with a social democratic face (Panitch, 2000: 7). This strategy does not challenge the structure of the capitalist state or to the logic of international capitalism.
Against this state-centered approach a theoretical understanding based on the embeddedness of the so-called global capitalist class in the internal class relations of a specific social formation, on the place of the international fraction of the capitalist class in these internal struggles, and on the impact of the internal class struggles on political power seems to be more explanatory. At this point the legacy of Poulantzas is still valid. Writing about the relationship between internationalization of capitalist relations and the nation-state, Poulantzas’ main concern was to understand the dominant role of U.S. capital in Europe. He treated the question of internationalization in terms of imperialism. The main questions posed by Poulantzas were: “Is it still possible today to speak of a national state in the imperialist metropolises? What connections are there between these states and the internationalization of capital or the multinational firms?” (Poulantzas, 1979: 38)
The first relevance of Poulantzas is his challenge against the globalization orthodoxy’s argument that class formations and class relations now occur within a transnational space disembedded from the national site. Poulantzas argued
that the so-called global capitalist class is indeed represented in each social formation by a specific fraction of the interior bourgeoisie. In Poulantzas’ words, “the imperialist states take charge not only of the interests of their domestic bourgeoisies, but also of the interests of the dominant imperialist capitals. However these ‘foreign’ capitals do not directly participate in the power blocs. Instead they are represented by certain fractions of the interior bourgeoisies and by the induced reproduction of the dominant imperialist capital in the imperialist metropolises (Poulantzas, 1979: 75-76).
After having conceptualized “global” capital as a fraction within the internal/national class structure, he emphasized the ongoing significance of the national site with respect to class struggles: “It is still the national form that prevails in these struggles, however international they are in their essence. This is due to uneven development and the concrete specificity of each social formation; these features are of the very essence of capitalism contrary to the belief upheld by various ideologies of globalization”, wrote Poulantzas (1979: 78). The insight of Poulantzas into the primacy of the class struggles within national state is also helpful in understanding neo-liberal restructuring and internationalization processes. Although the conventional accounts of globalization treat these processes as if they take place in a lacuna the role of class conflict within the national site is important not only in understanding the timing and course of these processes but also in developing more radical ways of dealing with them. In fact this lack of class analysis is also another reflection of the general theoretical trend which can be defined as “retreat from class”.
Moran (1998) has analyzed the British, Swedish and Australian cases in order to show how different class configurations and national class politics have been influential in the processes of internationalization. In Australia internationalization was carried out by the Australian Labor Party, which remained in power between 1983-1996. The deregulation of financial and labor markets has been implemented by Labor governments, which were backed by the Australian Congress of Trade Unions. The organized working class has been incorporated and neutralized in an internationalization process realized through the strategy of progressive competitiveness. As to Sweden, globalization was a response of the big capital to the growing threat of state policies, backed by a strong organized labor movement. The conflict between the big capitol and working class was around the socialization of investment. In 1976 the wage-earner funds proposal aimed to compel firms with over 500 employees to issue shares annually to wage earner funds to the amount of 20% of their profits. The ideological assault of Swedish Employers Federation started around this date, and by 1991 Employers Federation withdrew from the Swedish system of corporatist representation and intensified the neoliberal ideology. Swedish MNC’s have employed globalization as a weapon in the domestic class conflict in order to restructure the relations between labor and capital. The threat to move abroad was mainly ideological since their foreign operations were mainly through acquisitions and the move abroad was not en masse. No doubt the most interesting case was that of United Kingdom. According to Panitch (2000: 10-12) after the collapse of Breton Woods there have appeared two poles: on the one hand, radical anti-capitalists schemes for democratizing the economy, and on the other hand, international finance with its growing power. In this conjuncture Britain provided the first test of the confrontation between these two poles. The deregulation of finance, the massive privatization of the public sector could not be achieved without the dismantling of employment law and state employment and retirement insurance. It was evident that the unions’ power had to be neutralized. The period between late 1970’s and early 1980’s was marked by the class conflict in which the working class was gradually defeated: steelworkers in 1980, rail unions in 1982, print unions in 1983, and finally the miners in 1984-85. What these examples show is that the national class politics, with its particularities in each social formation, have been influential in the process of neo-liberal internationalization, and are still primordial in both the preservation of the new order and the ongoing challenges to it.
The second relevance of Poulantzas is his challenge against the globalization ideology with his insistence on the nation-state as still primordial in the extended reproduction of capitalist social relations. According to Poulantzas, the internationalization of capital neither surpasses nor bypasses the nation-states. In other words, neither a peaceful integration of capitals ‘above’ the state level, since every process of internationalization takes place under the dominance of the capital of a definite country; nor the extinction of the nation-states by the American super-state, as if American capital purely and simply directed the other imperialist bourgeoisies can replace the nation-states. While he accepts that the internationalization affects the politics and institutional forms of these states, he still insists that the international reproduction of capital under the domination of American capital is supported by the various national states in their own way (Poulantzas, 1979: 73). The internationalized fractions of the capitalist class of each social formation need their respective states in their competition among themselves. Hence the modern nation state remains still the site of extended reproduction of the bourgeoisie. For Poulantzas, “the inability of national states to control world markets would have far less to do with any alleged inherent ‘ungovernability’ of footloose capital than with real class contradictions within national power blocs” (Jessop, 1999b: 11).
Contrary to the thesis of declining state power because of economic globalization, I argue that what is changing is not the role of the state but the nature of the state intervention. Meanwhile the state’s role cannot be limited only to the sphere of industrial and technological policies as claimed by state-centered approaches, since the state is adopting an increasingly active role in restructuring the economy despite its contemporary retreat from its ameliorative roles. There is no doubt that there has been a structural shift from the Keynesian welfare state, which means that without challenging the new accumulation regime it is impossible to regain the old welfare rights through a class compromise. Meanwhile the relative autonomy of the capitalist state is still limited by the capital accumulation, at the most abstract level; and by the mode of accumulation and the related configuration of social classes, at the more concrete level. The national state is still the primordial site wherein accumulation strategies and hegemonic projects are developed and implemented. The state has not lost its powers in the regulation of the capitalist economy but the nature of its intervention has changed. The state has been the main actor in deregulation, which is the preliminary condition of economic globalization. Deregulation policies, according to Panitch (2000: 6), increased the scope for intervention by central banks and finance ministries. Alongside the change in the accumulation regime, there has been a shift of power within the state apparatus rather than a loss of power.
In Political Power and Social Classes Poulantzas (1973: 44-56, 189) has drawn a differentiation between the state’s global function and particular state functions. The global function of the state is to secure the social cohesion of a society divided into classes. On the other hand, there are three particular functions. Technico-economic functions, which are at the economic level, include the organization of the labor process and setting of the rules to organize capitalist exchanges. Strictly political functions at the political level are related to the maintenance of the state’s core military, police, and administrative activities. And lastly the ideological function at the ideological level corresponds to its role in education. To these Poulantzas adds also another function of the capitalist state, which is “to disorganize the dominated classes politically, and at the same time to organize the dominant classes politically”. Although Jessop argues that (1999b: 18) “the national site remains the primary site only concerning the global function of the state” and that other activities are transferred to other levels with the exception of some technico-economic functions, all these functions are still realized by the national state. Indeed most of the technico-economic functions are still implemented by the national state. “Direct subsidies, rescue operations at taxpayers’ expense, to discipline labor and to preserve social order and to enhance the mobility of capital while blocking the mobility of labor” (Wood, 1998a: 12), fiscal incentives to enterprises, the redistribution of the wealth between classes and regions are among the most salient functions of the national states that capital needs.
On the other hand, the economic functions of the state, as Poulantzas remarks, are not neutral technical functions, but rather they are expressions of its overall political role in exploitation and class domination and cannot be detached from its repressive and ideological roles in the field of class struggles. In other words one can find, at most, a conditional delegation of such functions to improve coordination among different states (Poulantzas, 1979: 81). Hence the so-called supranational organizations such as IMF, World Bank, WTO, NAFTA, GATT are either inter-governmental organizations or inter-state treaties. For instance IMF or World Bank represent specific national capitals. The hegemony of the USA in these supra-national organizations cannot be neglected. These organizations derive their powers of enforcement from nation-states. The representational structure also is on governmental basis. Hence the fact that some governance functions are relocated in the international organizations does not undermine the primordial place of the nation-state and the national site since these international organizations are dependent on the nation-states, especially on the strong states, and among them on the USA as the hegemonic power.
What I argue is neither a totally passive state vis-ŕ-vis an all-encompassing global capital nor a state totally independent of capitalist class relations that can unrestrictedly control capitalist classes. Instead I argue that the autonomy of state is essentially limited by the accumulation conditions and that the state is dependent upon internal intra- and inter-class relations, i.e. between fractions of capital and between labor and capital. Hence the national regulation of accumulation conditions are still more important than a global regulation regime. In other words “capitalist globalization takes place in, through, and under the aegis of states; it is encoded by them and in important respects even authored by them” (Panitch, 1996: 86).
However those who argue for globally organized working class and an international civil society fail to see that capitalism has not escaped the state, on the contrary, the state has been a fundamental actor in the internationalization of capitalism. Since the establishment of international neo-liberalism has taken place through the agency of states, any alternative prospect in the struggle with domestic and global fractions of capitalist class must focus on the radical transformation of the state. A strategy against globalization must be focused on the radical democratization of the state through reforms that are not reformist such as shortening the working hours. Hence a campaign for a shortening of working hours for an equitable distribution of work with an income coupled from the quantity of labor performed (a guaranteed social income) will serve both to the liberation from work to diminish unemployment to an important extent. Hence a struggle over these terms will also be an unificatory factor for the working class.
If power is still located in national site and in the state and if global capital and its allied dominant forces are locally embedded in the national site rather than being footloose, the national continues to be the main site for the struggles of labor movements. Any labor movement that focuses exclusively on international or local (sub-national) levels is short of challenging the real power. Both local and international levels of struggle are strongly embedded in the national level since this latter is still the locus of power. As Moody, himself an unionist, remarks, the national plane is still “where workers live, work and fight... Engaging in battles with capital and the state at the national level has a transformative power [since] it is in these kinds of struggle that people and their consciouness change, whether it is a mass demonstartion or a more limited fight around workplace issues” (Moody, 1997b: 57). The real challenge to the working class organization does nor stem from the necessity to develop international organizations. Fragmentation of the labor force because of the casualization of work, the emergence of new forms of work, the corporatist unionism embedded in the Keynesian welfare state regulation are more real challenges to unions than developing a global unionism. If so, the crucial question becomes what type of unionism we need, rather than whether the unions are able to organize themselves at the global level. The next part attempts to answer this question.
Globalization has been a contradictory process that opened new possibilities of struggle. Both the social conditions of working class and the increasing internal contradictions of capitalism because of competition among capitalists offer possibilities for forging a class-based anti-capitalist struggle, which does not necessarily mean denying the important obstacles to such a project. Hence rather than being a passive actor, the working class has developed new forms of struggle as a response to the challenges created by globalization and the restructuring of capitalism.
The recent crisis of unionism has not been the crisis of the labor movement in itself but rather a crisis of “a specific, narrowly based type of trade unionism” (Munck, 1999:12). A different kind of unionism, conceptualized as social movement unionism, has been one of the most influential responses of the working class to the current crisis of unionism. Now an analysis of the main traits of this type of unionism will help us to determine whether social movement unionism can be an appropriate type of unionism in an age where the power is still located in national site and state still forms an important target for opposition movements.
The concept, “social movement unionism”, has been drawn from new trade union experiences in several countries and is used by several authors. South Africa (Waterman, 1993), Philippines, (Scipes, 1992), Brazil, recently Canada (Gindin, 1998) and U.S.A (Moody, 1997a; Johnston, 1994) have been the countries for whose trade unions the concept is used. Workers in these diverse countries have created dynamic and powerful labor movements that can form an alternative approach to unionism. Meanwhile labor movements in the three third world countries have been presented as the most evident examples of social movement unionism. The first is the COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions) in South Africa, the largest of six union federations, which was founded in 1985 and became the largest union federation. In 1998 more than 2 million members were organized in 33 industrial unions. It appeared as the de facto leader of the internal democratic opposition (COSATU, 1998). The second is the CUT (Unified Workers Confederation) in Brazil which was founded in 1983. The workers who had realized effective strikes in 1979 founded PT (Worker’s Party) in 1980. And the third is KMU Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement) in Philippines, and it is only one of the five different labor formations. The KMU was founded on May 1 1980 during the Marcos dictatorship when there was a clear need for a worker's organization that would organize against the domination of foreign capital and the internationalized fraction of capital.
Social movement unionism recognizes that the struggles for control over workers' daily work life, pay and conditions are intimately connected and cannot be separated from the national socio-political-economic situation and from struggle against the state. It does not negate the role of party politics but rather relates it to political unionism in a non-instrumental manner. It engages in national campaigns of resistance against the state through the “people strikes” type resistance in the case of KMU and the "political strikes or stay-aways" (389 in 1985, 948 in 1990) in the case of the COSATU. Social movement unionism struggles not simply for better wages and conditions but for increased worker and union control over the labor process, investments, relocation, subcontracting, training and education policies.
The KMU in the Philippines has developed a tactic called the "people's strike" that is even more powerful than the "general strike" in industrialized countries. People' strike includes more than a general workers' strike: all public transportation stops, all shops and stores are closed. The first took place in 1984 in response to increased military operations and brutality on the island of Mindanao, it paralyzed most significant economic activities. Two more island-wide people's strikes were launched during 1985, again protesting the "militarization" of the island. Another significant people's strike took place against the Westinghouse-built Bataan Nuclear Power Plant in 1985. All banks, shops, schools, public transport, private businesses and government offices shut down during the three-day province-wide strike. The first nation-wide strike was launched in 1987 in response to an oil price hike by the government (Scipes, 1992, 91-92). The successful strike against Westinghouse by the KMU has been an example of dealing with multinational corporations in the national site. Indeed the struggle against the global agenda has been one of the main concerns of social movement unionism in each country (See for example Madisha, 2000; and Vavi, 1999)
The COSATU President , Willie Madisha (2000: 2), emphasized the importance of local struggles and defined the state as a target by criticizing the myth of the powerless state. It is worth quoting him at length in order to relate the outlook of social movement unionism with our discussion on globalization.
“Local struggles are as important as international struggles. In fact they are a precondition to international battles because we cannot win on the international terrain what we failed to achieve at a national level”.
And he continued:
“Another important dimension in the understanding of globalization is the myth of the powerless state. The reality is that the importance of state action in enabling the capitalist system of industrialized world to function is increased, not reduced as that system spreads internationally. If states do not control the movement of capital or of goods, it is not because they cannot but because they will not – it is an abdication of state power, not a lack of that power. In fact, globalization is driven by a powerful coalition of strong states, transnational companies and international financial institutions. Moreover, what we are seeing is a relentless campaign by capital, both international and domestic to force its agenda on the state”.
A more creative challenge to the global agenda of neo-liberalism came from the COSATU, which reformulated its own disinvestment policy in respect to “workers’ disinvestment rights”. “They demanded that departing companies have a moral obligation to return profits accumulated under apartheid so that the property of South Africa remains the property of the people of South Africa for the benefit of all”. The union, alligned with other social groups such as neighborhood organizations, launched campaigns for responsible disinvestment and successfully resisted the MNC’s unilateral decision-making. Two examples of such a strategy are the resistance of metalworkers’ union to General Motors’ in 1986 and to Goodyear in 1989, two companies which have a long-standing presence in South Africa (since 1926 and 1946 respectively) (Adler, 1996: 131-132 ).
In South Africa for a long time the labor movement was committed to militant abstentionism from the colloboration in state and management structures, then in the late 1980’s it shifted to a policy of conditional participation. The labor claimed the right to participate in the process of restructuring the economy in order to resist neoliberal regulations. The COSATU has been the primary force behind the creation of the National Economic Forum. The COSATU addressed the issues of raising productivity, creating employment, reviving investment and improving trade performance. The labor movement obliged the Council to pass a new labor law, which granted the same rights of organization to all workers including farm laborers, domestic servants, and civil servants. They also participated in negotiating forums related to education, housing, and local government policy on the basis of an independent and disciplined power base resting on factory structures (Adler, 1996: 134-135; COSATU: 1998)
Although the observers insist that the strategy of radical reform through the participation in such institutions did lead to the legitimization of the union rather than its co-optation, and that the COSATU has retained its social movement character at the beginning (Maller, 1994: 242-243). Ultimately the COSATU lost its hegemonic role, which put the union under increasing pressure to sacrifice its interests to the goals of national development. On the other hand the participation of some union leaders in electoral politics and their adoption of a more conservative and corporatist outlook widened the gap between leadership and the base (Adler and Webster, 139, 144).
But the tradition of direct participatory democracy among rank and file has showed its effect in COSATU’s announcement that if the government fails to realize industrial democracy they will resort to ongoing mass action and unions have not lost their capacity to act independently. In 1996 and 1997 the COSATU again staged successful general strikes. (Moody, 1997a: 211-212) However, this does not eliminate the great risk of corporatism, which is still a strong threat to social movement unionism in South Africa and elsewhere.
The more salient aspect of social movement unionism is its emphasis on being a social movement. The social movement aspect of unionism is emphasized against unions that became, in a corporatist structure, an organ of the state apparatus through the wage-based, economist, consensus-based (i.e. corporatist compromise) approach. Thus social movement unionism, unlike corporatist unionism imprisoned in a narrow corporatist structure, aims to establish links with society and to develop a more conflict-based approach. The importance of these new labor movements goes beyond the mere organizing of workers: these labor movements, along with a range of allied social movements, are the major actors in the struggle for democracy, human rights and social justice in their countries. In Brazil the CUT against the military regime, in the Philippines the KMU against the dictatorship of Marcos and in South Africa the COSATU have been central actors of democratization, and human rights campaigns.
Social movement unionism challenges the classical definition of work, based essentially upon factory worker in the formal, industrial sector, since it also includes housewives, the unemployed etc. in its definition of worker. Another positive aspect of this new model is that it does not restrain itself to the narrower economic problems of workers but problematicizes all the spheres of life with which the workers are concerned.
Social movement unionism carries out the struggles in dialogue and common action with affected communities and interests (e.g. with environmentalists, women etc.); the other democratic movements such as women's, ecological, human-rights and peace movements; and with political forces (parties, fronts) who recognize the autonomy of social forces (Waterman, 1993: 267). For example in South Africa, the COSATU has been an important actor in the anti-apartheid movement through forging alliances with other human rights movements. COSATU struggled against the racist industrial relations that were the cause of discrimination against black workers with respect to wages and working conditions. Through their self-organization, black workers created new forms of worker organizations on non-racial class basis, stressing democratic grassroots practices and merging shop-floor and broader political commitments (Adler, 1996: 126; Adler and Webster, 1996: 137).
Another point is that the links developed with other organizations in civil society and other social movements highlighted different forms of work associated with community life, i.e. aspects of social reproduction that have been left aside by the factory-oriented perspective (Ramalho, 1999: 172). Both in Brazil and South Africa, the establishment of strong relations with neighborhood groups and the role played by working class women in the development of broader working-class movement through the organization of neighborhood organizations of many kind (Moody, 1997a: 208-209) have demonstrated the success of social movement unionism in establishing alliances with other social movements. In South Africa domestic service has been successfully organized. This could be realized through “the growth and strength of community organizations, access to and support from the union” (Chhachi and Pittin, 1999: 74). Thanks to the coalescing of strategies, divisions such as between factory and household, wage work and domestic labor, the private and the public have been overcome. These experiences have provided fertile ground for links between a gender-specific consciousness and social/class consciousness.
Again an example of the relationship between feminist strategy and union practice has been a number of struggles and achievements concerning women workers’ conditions in South Africa. As Seidman’s comparative study of Brazilian and South African labor movements shows, both developed a solid class outlook. Instead of seeing the new neighborhood or women’s organizations as non-class new social movements, the CUT and the COSATU saw them as part of a broader, class-based movement. For these new movements of factory and neighborhood were rooted in the same process of industrialization, urbanization, and class formation particular to several Third World countries in the past two or three decades (cited by Moody, 1997a: 210).
Social movement unionism forged alliances not only with other social movements but also with other classes, working class fractions such as “the movements of other non-unionized or nonunionizable working classes or categories such as petty-commodity sector, home workers, peasants, housewives etc.” (Waterman, 1993: 267)
Social movement unionism, in a very strategic orientation, uses “the strongest of society’s oppressed and exploited, generally organized workers, to mobilize those who are less able to sustain self-mobilization: the poor, the unemployed, the casualized workers, the neighborhood organizations”. (Moody, 1997b: 59)
For example the KMU established relations with other social classes and occupations such as peasants, fisher folk and the urban poor. It has joined with different sectoral organizations to fight for demands that would benefit the entire working people of the Philippines. Hence it has extended the scope of trade unionism beyond mere relations in the workplace and has also included struggles over the political economy of the nation and its internal social relations.
Social movement unionism uses democratization as a unifying theme. According to this approach “the goal of politics is to democratize the economy; politicization is the democratic process of developing the capacity to challenge those with power” (Gindin, 1998: 199). In addition to the central role played by new social unionism in the general democratization of the country, the goal of democracy is first realized within the union. Against hierarchical, authoritarian and technocratic working methods and relations social movement unionism favors democracy and encourages direct horizontal relations in every realm of life. Union democracy is more than a formal democracy for social movement unionism corresponds to maximize the forums of discussion through which direct participation can be realized. The KMU uses the term “genuine trade unionism” by which it is meant that the KMU is run by its members. The members are given all information and determine the policies that run the organization (Scipes, 1992: 88). On the other hand, the development of a cadre of shop stewards integrally linked into the constitution and decision-making structure of the unions has been at the core of the development of a strong democratic political culture in the COSATU. Shop stewards were directly elected by shop floor workers through a secret ballot. They were subject to recall. There were, in 1994, 25.000 shop stewards in the COSATU. By 1998 there were only two full time officials, the general secretary and deputy general secretary. The shop stewards are subject to regular elections, work side by side with workers in their constituency. Furthermore the involvement of shop stewards in issues beyond the shop-floor distinguishes it from their European counterparts. (Adler and Webster, 1999: 137; Maller, 1994; COSATU, 1998)
Far from being a totally passive actor lacking any force, the labor movement has developed alternative types of organization in the era of “global capitalism”. Social movement unionism has been such an attempt in order to overcome the crisis of a certain kind of unionism. Though it is not a fully developed model and there are only a small number of cases, social movement unionism bears the seeds for a new theoretical approach to labor movements. The main features of social movement unionism are its capacity to forge alliances with other social movements, to organize the non-organizable fraction of a fragmented workforce through enlarging its definition of worker and its sites of resistance beyond the factory; its propensity to establish democratic, non-hierarchic internal structures based on direct participation; its rejection of the separation between the economic and the political; its use of the national site as the locus of resistance through the mobilization popular struggles; its taking the state as a primordial target in its struggle.
As Harvey remarks, “one of the principal tasks of the capitalist state [and capitalist ideology] is to locate power in the spaces which the bourgeoisie controls, and disempower those spaces which the oppositional movements have the greatest potential to command” (Harvey, 1989: 237). In other words the defining of the site of power and resistance is itself subject to power relations. Capitalist classes use globalization as an ideological tool in their struggle with the working class.
We have analyzed to what extent globalization is a myth and to what extent it is a reality, and what challenges it makes to working class movements. Contrary to the globalization orthodoxy, which announces the demise of the nation state, the actors of globalization are not as footloose as it is argued. According to the data on trade, foreign direct investment and multinational corporations, the national economies are still important and the ‘global’ capital is still embedded in the national site. “There is no ‘global economy’ abstracted from the particular local, national, and regional economies that constitute it, or from the relations among them” (Wood: 1999: 2). A “highly internationalized world economy” rather than a globalized one seems to be a more appropriate term to define the current state of world capitalist economy. Class relations and struggles continue to be embedded in the internal/national site and the so called ‘global capital’ is nothing but the more internationalized fraction of capital in each social formation. By virtue of its embeddedness in national class relations, even the internationalized fraction of capital still needs the national state in the regulation of the accumulation regime and in the formation of hegemonic projects. Class power is still condensed within the state, and the state and the national site are still the locus of power, hence of resistance. What we have challenged was primarily the theoretical and practical implications of globalization orthodoxy, which are proper to an ideological use. With respect to the working class movements, we have argued that despite globalization argument’s insistence on the necessity of global movement, the national site is still more feasible and state and class power concentrated in state are still the main targets of class politics. Social movement unionism can be the working class organization needed in the national site. This type of unionism is based on internal democracy, shop floor activism, coalitions with the other social movements, and the organization the non-organizable workers. Social movement unionism defines the national site as its domain of organization and the national state as the main target of its struggle.
Social movement unionism, instead of totally denying the international and local levels, accepts that the international and local levels are embedded in the national site and that insofar as they are not emphasized at the expense of the national site there can be cases where international site can appear as feasible for resistance. An internationalism in the sense of solidarity among national working class movements seems to be more appropriate. This type of cross-border international acts of solidarity can be useful especially when dealing with multinational corporations or in cases where the production process at stake is organized through global commodity chains. However as the production is not, to a large extent, globalized in the way that would require a global unionism organization and struggle in the national site remain primordial. International labor bodies are useful vehicles for exchanging information and analysis and mobilizing modest acts of solidarity and support. The particular working class organizations and movements in different national sites can give information and inspiration to each other. Meanwhile strategic international coordination is dependent on the strength of national movements. Hence the key to international solidarity is not international institutions but internationalizing the struggle, carrying on the fight (for example, over work time) in each country (Gindin, 1998: 202). An effective internationalism can only be based on solid worker organizations in the national site.
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 Here my intention is not to give a critical overview of an immense literature on globalization with all its particularities, but rather to provide some examples for the main themes accepted in many of the accounts of globalism. And by the term “globalization orthodoxy”, I do refer to these generally accepted themes and not to the specific theoretical currents.
 For the arguments stemming from the new international division of labor and its modified version, changing international division of labor see, Southall (1988). For the most elaborated work on the globalization of production see Gereffi (1995). He offers a new framework called global commodity chain and distinguishes between producer-driven and buyer-driven commodity chains and highlights the central roles played by industrial and commercial capital respectively. Producer-driven commodity chains refer to those industries in which transnational corporations or other large integrated industrial enterprises play the central role. This is most characteristic of capital- and technology-intensive industries like automobiles, computers, aircraft and heavy machinery. The geographic spread of these industries is transnational, and international subcontracting of components is common, especially for the most labor-intensive production processes. Buyer-driven commodity chains are found in those countries where large retailers, branded marketers and trading companies play the pivotal role in setting up decentralized production networks. This pattern has become common in labor-intensive consumer goods and production is generally carried out by locally owned third world factories that make finished goods for foreign buyers. The distinction between producer-driven and buyer-driven commodity chains overlaps with the difference between mass production and flexible specialization forms of industrial organization respectively.
 I use the term national state instead of nation-state drawing upon Jessops’s differentiation between national state and nation-state. According to Jessop nationhood can be based on ethnicity (Volksnation), on a civic understanding (Staatsnation) or on culture and civilization (Kulturnation). Regardless of the nature of their corresponding form of nationhood, the modern states can all be described as national states in the sense of formally sovereign territorial states presiding over ‘national’ territories (Jessop, 1999a: 4)
 One difference of Yaghmaian from Robinson and Harris is that despite his insistence on the making of a supra-national state he leaves scope for the ongoing importance of national state policies for the legitimation of capitalist relations of production on national sites.
 I needed to emphasize “in part” because the authors neglect the importance of “in part” and use an absolutely discourse-theoretical approach, as a result of which they do not need any account of social-structural analysis of globalization. My approach is different since I think that the role of discourse (or better, the alternative reading of the socio-historical phenomenon) is limited by the social structure.
 However as Wade (1996) warns us, in the case of intra-firm trade the United States is misleading since it has the highest share and this share did not show any significant difference between 1977 and 1989.
 Concerning outgoing FDI, the United Kingdom is an exception with 65 percent. On the peculiarities of U.K. see Hirst and Thompson (2000). They argue that the U.K. represents an “over-internationalized economy in an under-globalized world”.
 The low percentages for European countries can be explained by the fact that many have begun investing in neighboring European countries, and if the European Union is treated as a home region, similar concentration degrees can be found, with the exception of British multinationals whose over 20% of assets are in the USA. For instance, manufacturing sales increases from 45 to 76 per cent for France and from 48 to 75 per cent for Germany. This can only be an evidence of regionalization rather than globalization.
 The development of this share is as follows: in 1970 4.5%, in 1982 5.7%, in 1988 6.6%, and in 1990 6.8%. (Hirst and Thompson, 1999: 45)
 The long-run tendency for the rate of profit is, according to Marx, "the contradiction inherent in the capitalist mode of production, whereby as the ratio of capital invested to wages in the net product rises it becomes less possible for capitalists as a whole to maintain the rate of surplus-value extraction that sustains the level of profit. Capitalists will therefore attempt to increase the rate of surplus-value extraction either by introducing new technology or reducing the cost of labour." (Southall, 1988: 6)
 Another evidence on this point is that the import from low wage countries is only a small part of the market for manufactured goods in advanced countries: 4.3 percent in the USA, approximately 3 percent in the major EU countries and 2.6 percent in Japan. (Hirst and Thompson, 1999: 41)
 Weiss (1997) and Wade (1990) can be cited among others as the more insightful examples of this approach. It is noteworthy that even the World Bank, in its 1997 report, The State in a Changing World, argued for a larger governmental role in protecting and correcting markets.
 For a critique of this strategy see Panitch (1996: 103-108)
 Most recently Panitch (1996; 2000) and Jessop (1999b) are two scholars who have discussed the relationship between globalization and the nation-state by drawing on the legacy of Poulantzas. Panitch endorsed Poulantzas’ emphasis on the ongoing significance of the national site and developed the theory of imperialism posed by Poulantzas. Jessop adopted Poulantzas in a more critical way, especially rejecting his emphasis on the primordiality of the national site as we have already seen.
 This trend is best epitomized the post-marxist current of thought. For a critical delineation of the retreat from class see Wood (1998b).
 According to Jessop (1999a, 1999b) this shift is from the Keynesian Welfare National State to a Schumpetarian Workfare Regime which is less state-centered and more post-national oriented. Although I agree with Jessop on the structural shift from the Keynesian Welfare state, I disagree with his downplaying of the primordial role of the state and of the national site in the regulation of the capitalist world economy.
 On the relative autonomy of the state see Gülalp (1987), and Jessop (1990). I adopt Jesop’s conceptualization of “accumulation strategies” and “hegemonic projects”. Accordingly, “an accumulation strategy defines a specific economic growth model complete with its various extra-economic preconditions and also outlines a general strategy appropriate to its realization. To succeed it has to unify different fractions of capital under the hegemony of one fraction” (Jessop, 1990: 198-199)
On the other hand “hegemony involves the interpellation and organization of different class-relevant (but not necessarily class-conscious) forces under the political, intellectual and moral leadership through the development of a hegemonic national-popular project which specifies a set of policies as being in the national interest but which indeed serves the long-term interests of capital while at the same time advancing certain short-term, narrow economic and social interests of dominated groups. It also involves the neutralization of counter-hegemonic forces, even by using force if necessary. (Jessop, 1990: 181, 207-208)
 The European Union among these organizations is the closest one to a supra-national organizations, although the inter-governmental structure is still important in the EU too.
 Panitch (2000) drawing upon Poulantzas’ theory of imperialism speaks of a new type of non-territorial imperialism thrpugh the induced reproduction of the form of the dominant imperialist power within each national formation and its state. The new type of non-territorial imperialism is based on the idea of trhe ongoing US hegemony. So most of the international organizations such as IMF, World Bank, WTO are the international mediators of US hegemony.
 Gorz’s (1999) defense of liberation of time from work is a way of turning the weapon of flexibility to capital. He argues that thanks to technological developments in production processes “to work less to live better” has gained an objective ground on which it can be defended.
 Our analysis of social movement unionism aims to delineate its general traits but lacks the necessary socio-historical framework of each particular social formation from within which these movements emerged. Although this lack poses a great problem for understanding these movements even the general characteristics of the social movement unionism can offer some important insights for our problematic here.
 See for example Cheru (1996) as a study exclusively focused on new social movements while completely neglecting the role labor movement in democratization process. While the role of the informal sector, the church, the peasant resistance, ecology and human rights movements are cited, there is no reference to working class movements although the latter was one of the principal actors in the democratization process.
 Thus, in one enterprise, if both husband and wife are employed, either can take parental leave for a newborn child. In other cases parents have won the right to use their own sick leave to look after a sick child. There have been struggles around equal pay for work of equal value, on promotion possibilities for women etc. There has been some organization of women outside the union too. It concerned essentially "residential community related to the recognition of the fact that most working class women are non waged wives largely confined to the home and its surrounding area”. (Waterman, 1993)