About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

03 May 2013

Noam Chomsky on Worker's Rights

Dave's Worker's Day post had a link to a very interesting (but dated) video of Noam Chomsky speaking about worker's rights, specifically related to the contribution of trade union movement to human rights - and the suppression of trade unions in the US; and its impact on human rights. You need to skip about 30 minutes for the Noam Chomsky part of the presentation (which is actually the only bit I watched).

The part that stood out for me was the discussion on trade unions contribution to human rights - specifically in the context of keeping the government honest, and businesses focused on things other than profit.

In the South African context, the contribution of the trade union movement in challenging apartheid is well known, and acknowledged. But post-1994, apart from Vavi, the trade union movement - specifically COSATU  - has often faded into the background. In fact, as demonstrated last year at Marikana, it seems that COSATU has specifically shirked its responsibility regarding human rights. Vavi actually stands out like a sore thumb - continually asking questions about corruption, and whether you like his economic positions - he has held principled stance.

Even if you don't agree with Noam Chomsky's positions on worker rights - the discussion itself is enlightening; especially with regards to the "non business world" view. That alone is a reason to watch it - and it certainly makes one think - should worker's movements (like COSATU) even consider joining political movements in the first place?

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