Sunday, June 17, 2007

Tarpinian on CtW's trip to China

The Question Isn't Why We Went to China -- It's Why Wouldn't We?

There’s no question as to why the modern labor movement would need to pay attention to China. Every major U.S. and foreign transnational corporation has growing operations there, meaning Chinese workers are one of the main hammers that global capital uses to drive down wages and conditions for workers in advanced capitalist countries like the United States.

That’s why a leadership delegation from Change to Win went to China to see if we could expand the front in our mission to Restore the American Dream, to follow the jobs and to find out for ourselves whether we there is a realistic prospect of uniting with Chinese workers that face the same challenges, working for the same global corporations that employ workers in the U.S.

I’m going to be discussing what we learned and observed in other posts, but let me start with why we went, because all the buzz in both the Chinese and American press was not that Change to Win went overseas. Rather, our visit was historic for two interrelated reasons: First, it marked the first time that a U.S. labor federation met with the Chinese labor federation on equal footing. Second, it generated new thinking on how to tackle the challenges of globalization and the downward pressure on wages and living conditions in the United States.


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