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Globalization is Good


Rohit Azad

WORKERS, UNION AND GLOBAL CAPITALISM: LESSONS FROM INDIA
By Rohini Hensman
Tulika Books, New Delhi, 2011, pp.415, 825.00

VOLUME XXXVI NUMBER 2 February 2012

This is a provocative and refreshing book on the condition of the working class under globalization with special reference to India. If there is one thing that comes to mind after reading this book it is the last few words of the Communist Manifesto: 'Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains'. This book is a good example of 'theory bursting into praxis' thanks to the author who is not only a scholar on labour issues but also an active participant in the labour movement. It analyses the process of globalization, its potential benefits to the working class and the role that global labour can play in shaping this process. The book is divided into ten chapters with the first four primarily focussing on a theoretical analysis of globalization and the rest an attempt at preparing a blueprint for the labour movement to shape it to its advantage. Rohini Hensman argues that though globalization in its present neoliberal form is detrimental to the interests of the working class, the process of globalization per se opens a space hitherto unavailable for the advance-ment of these interests. The rider, however, is that for this to happen the working class has to work in unison and become more inclusivist in its worldview unlike what we have witnessed so far, a nationally, or sometimes even more locally, segmented working class movement. Given this approach, this book can be read as two parallel lines of argument: one, how globalization creates objective conditions for the way forward; two, the subjective role of the working class to push the frontiers of human emancipation. Before I discuss the two lines of argument, let me outline Hensman's position. She iden-tifies three positions vis-a-vis globalization: one, which is in favour of it; two, which is opposed to it and third, which she identifies herself with, that globalization has opened up opportunities, a process which needs to be engaged with, for advancement of the inter-national working class movement. Coming to the first line of argument, how globalization creates objective conditions for the advancement of the working class move-ment can be broadly placed as follows. First, the author argues that the tendency of the falling rate of profit forces productive capital to move out of the confines of the First World (capitalist core) and get diffused in the Second and Third World nations (periphery). This makes her ...


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