Skip to main content

Maximum Working Class Unity? Challenges to Local Social Movement Unionism in Cape Town

Buy Article:

$43.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Joint political mobilisation between trade unions and community groups, often referred to as ‘social movement unionism’, has been upheld as a way forward for organised labour in a neoliberal world economy. Analysing the interaction between unions and communities is critical for understanding the potential and actual roles played by trade unions in voicing the concerns of marginalized workers and poor communities. This article examines the efforts of organised municipal workers and urban social movements trying to unite their forces in post-apartheid South Africa, by looking at the politics of the Cape Town Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF). While the participants of the APF have in common their opposition to commercialisation and privatisation of service delivery, their political unity is fragile. By contrasting the ‘ideal-type’ social movement unionism depicted in the contemporary literature on labour and globalisation with the findings of this particular case, we uncover some main dimensions along which this organisational cooperation is challenged. In contrast to the political unity experienced during the anti-apartheid struggle, the APF initiative operates in a restructuring post-apartheid economy where bridging internal organisational differences and confronting the hegemonic position of the African National Congress (ANC) in civil society have proved particularly challenging.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Data/Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Geography, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK;, Email: [email protected] 2: Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway;, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 2006-09-01

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more