1945–72 — External Change: Incorporation and Statist Internationalism

  • George Myconos
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


While organized labour engaged with the state on both national and global planes, by far the most important of these was the national. This realm represented the hub of trade union politics throughout the postwar years. This meant that even though the organizational form of the cross-border network of labour organizations was global in scope, its roots remained firmly planted within the national realm. For labour leaders this realm was the principal focus of attention for two main reasons. The first was the emergence of corporatist, Keynesian, and social-democratic forms of governance. The second, closely related, reason was the imperative to defend the interests of the state, whether this meant committing to nation-building agendas, or to government policies aimed at securing geostrategic advantage within a context of interstate relations. These factors were alluded to earlier, but are worthy of greater attention here.


Trade Union International Labour Organization Labour Organization Labour Movement Trade Secretariat 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 62.
    Craig R. Littler and Gill Palmer, ‘Communist and capitalist trade unionism: comparisons and contrasts’, in Trade Unions in Communist States, edited by Alex Pravda and Blair A. Ruble (London, 1986), pp. 261–2.Google Scholar
  2. 63.
    Eliassen quoted in Rainer Deppe, Richard Herding, and Dietrich Hoss, ‘The relationship between trade union action and political parties’, in The Resurgence of Class Conflict in Western Europe Since 1968, edited by Colin Crouch and Alessandro Pizzorno (London, 1978), p. 180.Google Scholar
  3. 64.
    Enrique de la Garza, Javier Melgoza, and Marcia Campillo, ‘Unions, Corporatism and the Industrial Relations System in Mexico’, in The State and Globalization: Comparative Studies of Labour and Capital in National Economies, edited by Martin Upchurch (London, 1999), pp. 248–9.Google Scholar
  4. for more on this episode of Mexican labour history, see Altha J. Cravey, ‘Cowboys and dinosaurs: Mexican labor unionism and the state’, in Organizing the Landscape: Geographical Perspectives on Labor Unionism, edited by Andrew Herod (Minneapolis, 1998).Google Scholar
  5. 66.
    See Peter Weiler, British Labour and the Cold War (Stanford, 1988), pp. 1–23.Google Scholar
  6. 68.
    See Pierre Dubois, ‘New forms of industrial conflict: 1960–1974’, in The Resurgence of Class Conflict in Western Europe Since 1968, edited by Colin Crouch and Alessandro Pizzorno (London, 1978),Google Scholar
  7. Frank Koscielski, Divided Loyalties: American Unions and the Vietnam War (New York, 1999),Google Scholar
  8. and Giovanni Arrighi, Terence K. Hopkins, and Immanuel Wallerstein, Antisystemic Movements (London, 1989), pp. 97–119.Google Scholar
  9. 70.
    Andrew J. Taylor, Trade Unions and Politics (London, 1989), pp. 15–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 71.
    Alex Pravda, ‘Trade unions in East European communist systems: toward corporatism?’, International Political Science Review 4 (1983): 6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 72.
    Werner Reutter, ‘Trade unions and politics in Eastern and Central Europe: tripartism without corporatism’, in The Lost Perspective? Trade Unions Between Ideology and Social Action in the New Europe, edited by Patrick Pasture, Johan Verberckmoes, and Hans De Witte (Brookfield, 1996), p. 139.Google Scholar
  12. 73.
    See Littler and Palmer, ‘Communist and Capitalist Trade Unionism’, and Jeanne L. Wilson, ‘The People’s Republic of China’, in Trade Unions in Communist States, edited by Alex Pravda and Blair A. Ruble (London, 1986).Google Scholar
  13. 74.
    Chris Osakwe, The Participation of the Soviet Union in Universal International Organizations (Leiden, 1972), p. 56.Google Scholar
  14. 76.
    See Hobart A. Spalding, ‘The two Latin american foreign policies of the U.S. Labor Movement: the AFL-CIO top brass vs. rank-and-file’, Science and Society 56 (1992–93): 421.Google Scholar
  15. See also Beth Sims, Workers of the World Undermined: American Labor’s Role in U.S. Foreign Policy (Boston, 1992), pp. 22–30.Google Scholar
  16. 77.
    For more damning accounts of the activities of American labour see Hobart A. Spalding, ‘Solidarity forever?: Latin American unions and the international labor network’, Latin American Research Review XXIV (1989).Google Scholar
  17. 78.
    See Robert W. Cox, ‘Labor and hegemony (first published in 1977)’, in Approaches to World Order, edited by Robert W. Cox (Cambridge, 1995), pp. 431–2, and Busch, The Political Role of International Trade Unions, pp. 146–8, 171–7 respectively.Google Scholar
  18. 83.
    For more on this episode of British labour’s involvement in foreign affairs see the following Heinz Richter, British Intervention in Greece: From Varkiza to Civil War (London, 1986),Google Scholar
  19. C.M. Woodhouse, The Struggle for Greece, 1941–1949 (London, 1976).Google Scholar
  20. 90.
    Werner J. Feld, Robert S. Jordan, and Leon Hurwitz, International Organizations: A Comparative Approach, 3rd edn (London, 1994), p. 17.Google Scholar
  21. 91.
    See also J.H Oldenbroek, ‘Communism and the ILO’s work: statement by J.H. Oldenbroek, ICFTU General Secretary, at the 38th International Labour Conference’, Free Labour World 62 (1955).Google Scholar
  22. 95.
    Houshang Ameri, Politics and Process in the Specialized Agencies of the United Nations (Aldershot, 1982), p. 65.Google Scholar
  23. 98.
    ITS, ‘Extraordinary General Conference of the International Trade Secretariats: Resolution on ILO Problems’, Free Labour World 106 (1959): 180.Google Scholar
  24. 99.
    Martin Peterson, International Interest Organization and the Transformation of Postwar Society (Stockholm, 1980), quoted in Murphy, International Organization and Industrial Change.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© George Myconos 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Myconos

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations