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Lea Bou Khater

This chapter examines labour relations from 1992 – the year billed as the start of the reconstruction period – until the last wage rise in 2012. This salary increase poignantly exemplifies the total co-optation and breakdown of the labour movement. The reconstruction period witnessed an active movement between 1992 and 1997, followed by fragmentation and total deactivation from the early 2000s. How and why did the labour movement fall apart, and what were the implications for Lebanon’s sectarian-liberal model

in The labour movement in Lebanon
Anna Clark

5 Domestic servants and the labour movement, 1870s–1914 Anna Clark Introduction In connection with a proposal to form a Domestic Servants’ Union at West Hartlepool, a novel demonstration took place in that town on Monday 4 April 1892. A large number of young women attired in neat servants’ costumes walked in procession through the streets carrying clothes props, flatirons, slop-pails, dustpans, brooms, scrubbing brushes, and so on. The procession created much amusement and was accompanied by large numbers of people. The demands of the young women were for

in Labour united and divided from the 1830s to the present
Power on hold
Author: Lea Bou Khater

The labour movement in Lebanon narrates the history of the Lebanese labour movement from the early twentieth century to today. Trade unionism has largely been a failure, because of state interference, tactical co-optation and the strategic use of sectarianism by an oligarchic elite, together with the structural weakness of a service-based laissez-faire economy. The Lebanese case study holds wider significance for the Arab world and for comparative studies of labour. Bou Khater’s conclusions are significant not only for trade unionism, but also for new forms of workers’ organisations and social movements. The failure of trade unions reveals a great deal about Lebanon’s current political moment and how it got there, but also how events are set to affect future movements. The book challenges the perceived wisdom on the rise of the labour movement in the 1950s and 1960s and its subsequent fall during the post-war period from the 1990s onwards. What is perceived as a fall after the end of the civil war was merely the intensification of liberal economic policies and escalating political intervention, which had already been in place since independence in 1943. Hiding under the guise of preserving sectarian balances, the post-war elite incorporated the labour movement into the state to guarantee their command of the hollowed-out state. Beyond controlling the labour movement to avoid a challenge to the system, the post-war period was characterised by political forces, using the General Confederation of Workers in Lebanon (GCWL) as an instrument in their disputes over power, rents and benefits.

Francisco Arqueros-Fernández

10 Lessons from the era of Social ­Partnership for the Irish labour movement Francisco Arqueros-Fernández Introduction A recent briefing paper by Oxfam warns that if Europe does not turn away from austerity measures an additional 15 to 25 million Europeans will be living in poverty by 2025. The paper compares current austerity measures to the structural adjustment policies imposed on Africa and Latin America in the 1980s and 1990s: ‘These policies were a failure’ and ‘have dismantled the mechanisms that reduce inequality and enable equitable growth’.1 Several

in Ireland under austerity

The troubles inside the Labour Party, which followed Jeremy Corbyn's election and the Brexit referendum, have rekindled the interest of both academics and practitioners in organisational matters. This book shows that the present disunities are nothing new and are far from capturing every source of disagreement within the British labour movement. The first section covers the long nineteenth century, an era spanning from the Industrial Revolution to the First World War. It discusses Robert Owen's Grand National Consolidated Trades' Union (GNCTU), the first working-class association ever in Britain to try to unite all trades in the country to secure workers' control of their labour, and the biggest one so far. It examines the British branch of the American Knights of Labor, internal tensions during the Edwardian years, the Great Labour Unrest, and attempts made by domestic servants to form trade unions. The second looks at unity and disunity in the wider left. It focuses on the Co-operative movement, the concept of Resale Price Maintenance, and inter-organisational divisions. The divergences, in the 1944-1947 period, between the Labour Party and the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) as well as the Trotskyist Revolutionary Communist Party are discussed. The third section zooms in on the Labour Party, with particular focus on the post-New Labour years. It provides a sweeping account of the Parliamentary Labour Party's (PLP) post-war division, crisis of party management, Scottish Labour Party, and the deep transformation that the Labour Party is currently undergoing.

Labour NGOs and the struggle for migrant workers’ rights

In twenty-first-century Chinese cities there are hundreds of millions of rural migrants who are living temporary lives, suspended between urban and rural China. They are the unsung heroes of the country’s ‘economic miracle’, yet are regarded as second-class citizens in both a cultural, material and legal sense. China’s citizenship challenge tells the story of how civic organisations set up by some of these rural migrants challenge this citizenship marginalisation. The book argues that in order to effectively address the problems faced by migrant workers, these NGOs must undertake ‘citizenship challenge’: the transformation of migrant workers’ social and political participation in public life, the broadening of their access to labour and other rights, and the reinvention of their relationship to the city. By framing the NGOs’ activism in terms of citizenship rather than class struggle, this book offers a valuable contribution to the field of labour movement studies in China. The monograph also proves exceptionally timely in the context of the state’s repression of these organisations in recent years, which, as the book explores, was largely driven by their citizenship-altering activism.

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Mary Bridges Adams and the fight for knowledge and power, 1855–1939
Author: Jane Martin

This book revisits the history of British socialism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the light of the life and work of Mary Bridges Adams. Mary's activities within the Labour movement, and as a campaigner for improvements in working-class education, challenged established elites in ways that are important for understanding of this watershed period. The book first contains an overview of Mary's life with a focus on her route into the socialist movement. Then, the book presents micro-histories and uses prosopography to show that socialism is both lifestyle and a form of organised political activism. It puts these elements together to provide a bridge between the social, political and education history. The discussion of the issue of parental choice, considered in relation to her son's education biography, acts as mediator between the personal and the political, to examine the importance of education to the pioneering generation of British socialists. The book also contains a discussion of different aspects of Mary's political practice, in an attempt to formulate a new interpretation of the making of the British welfare state. It injects a gendered dimension into the analysis of the independent working-class education movement and examines Mary's social action and milieu in the First World War.

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The British far left from 1956
Editors: Evan Smith and Matthew Worley

This book explores the role of the far left in British history from the mid-1950s until the present. It highlights the impact made by the far left on British politics and society. The book first looks at particular strands of the far left in Britain since the 1950s. It then looks at various issues and social movements such as Trotskyism, anti-revisionism and anarchism, that the left engaged (or did not engage) with, such as women's liberation, gay liberation, anti-colonialism, anti-racism and anti-fascism. The book focuses on how the wider British left, in the Labour Party and amongst the intelligentsia, encountered Trotskyism between the 1930s and 1960s. The Socialist Party (SP) and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) traditions have proven to be the most durable and high profile of all of Britain's competing Trotskyist tendencies. Their opponents in the International Marxist Group and the Socialist Labour League/Workers' Revolutionary Party (SLL/WRP) each met limited success and influence in the labour movement and wider social movements. The SWP and Militant/SP outlived the 'official' Communist Party of Great Britain and from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the present day have continued to influence labour movement and wider politics, albeit episodically. The book is concerned with providing an overview of their development, dating from the end of the Second World War to the onset of the 2009 economic crisis.

Lea Bou Khater

The book explores the break-up of labour power in a small open economy coated with a thick layer of sectarianism. All told, the trials and tribulations of the labour movement in Lebanon reveal how the struggle of labour against capital deepens when taking place in a state governed by a sectarian power-sharing system. Labour organising is perceived as a potential vehicle for rebellion against the sectarian-liberal system of rule, which put the regime at odds with any ambitious attempts of labour organising with the

in The labour movement in Lebanon
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Where are the workers
Lea Bou Khater

Tyre in the south, and Baalbek in the west. In unprecedented events, people poured into the streets, shouting in anger and chanting profane slogans targeting the entire ruling class. This book seeks to explain how workers’ participation in the social turmoil preceding the outbreak of unruly protests in October 2019 and the impact of the demise of trade union power on the unfolding of the October Revolution are far more important than most observers have acknowledged. The absence of a labour movement has determined the

in The labour movement in Lebanon