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date: 28 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter focuses on trade unionism, particularly over the last three decades. It begins the analysis with the observation that unions face challenges, relating to organization, capacity, and purpose. In the context of change in capitalist economies, some unions are beginning to renew themselves. However, this process is uneven. Unions face difficulties when the class composition and the politics associated with it changes, occasionally in dangerous and forbidding ways. The chapter discusses the prospects for a progressive and active form of unionism, characterized as social movement unionism. Nonetheless, the tensions between material concerns and alternatives about the ways in which society could be organized and may change remain in the forefront of union concern and purpose.

Keywords: unions, renewal, social movements, capitalism, class, political economy

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