International labour communication by computer: the fifth international?

Peter Waterman

Research output: Working paperAcademic


The old internationalism, both provoked by and modelled on the capitalism of iron, steam and rail, is dead. An informatised and globalised capitalism provides both the provocation and the means for a more-advanced type. The old international labour and socialist movements did not understand communication or the media, seeing them primarily as a means to an organisational and institutional end. The new social movements are creating a new kind of internationalism, or 'global solidarity', this being in large part a 'communication internationalism'. Communication is increasingly understood here as both means and end. The development of international labour communication by computer results in large part from 1) an initiative by the 'alternative' international labour organisations and 2) a response from the traditional international union organisations. As these two distinct forces interact and converge, they reveal problems facing the project as a whole. The two have been able to collaborate by avoiding discussion on the major political, communications and computer issues. It will become increasingly necessary to research, theorise and strategise if the development is not to reproduce dominant international relations and communications practices-or traditional international labour ones for that matter.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDen Haag
PublisherInternational Institute of Social Studies (ISS)
Number of pages90
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1992

Publication series

SeriesISS working papers. General series


  • ISS Working Paper-General Series


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