Internationalism is generally considered to be a major feature of the labour movement, and to hold a far more powerful appeal for workers' organizations than national identity. However, this revisionist book argues that, in fact, it is the national dimension which is of utmost importance to workers' organizations, and that national questions have often compelled workers to engage in struggles on different levels. Through detailed case studies of trade union involvement in Northern Ireland, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Austria and Europe generally, contributors tackle subjects long neglected by labour historians and overturn the accepted wisdom that nationalism and the labour movement are irreconcilably opposed. This analysis of how international agendas are influenced by nationalist politics is unique, and the case-studies offer a dynamic description of the different ways in which nationalist values meet with trade union ideas and practices.The high standard of scholarship and the combination of historical and contemporary material make this book essential reading for students and researchers of labour history, politics, political theory and area studies.
Patrick Pasture Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Johan Verberckmoes Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Working class internationalism and the appeal of national identity - historical dilemmas and current debates in Western Europe, Patrick Pasture and Johan Verberckmoes; social solidarity and national identity in the Basque country - the case of the nationalist trade union ELA/STV, Ludger Mees; trade unionism in Catalonia - have unions joined nationalism? Klaus-Jurgen Nagel and Jacint Jordana; the temptations of nationalism - regionalist orientations in the Belgian Christian labour movement, Patrick Pasture; trade unions in a divided society - the case of Northern Ireland, Christopher Norton; shifting loyalties - working class organizations in Ulster between religious, nationalist and socialist strategies, Andreas Helle; regionalism threatening trade unions in Northern Italy, Michael Braun; joining the EU - the reactions of Austrian trade unions, Elisabeth Beer and Jorg Flecker; learning to play - the Europeanization of trade unions, Jelle Visser.