Kenneth S. Zinn


[Excerpt] Globalization of capital is not a new problem, but it is a persistent and growing one. Capital's ability to search the world over for the cheapest labor enables corporations to maintain oppressive working conditions and leads to downward pressures on living and working standards throughout the world. U.S. coal miners and their union, the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), realized many years ago that waging struggles in this country was not enough to successfully deal with the reality of job and capital flight to repressive, low-wage countries.

Just using the old methods won't work anymore. We must also join forces across industry lines and national boundaries if we want to be successful. And we must come up with new and creative means to confront corporate power. But it often takes years of developing relationships and working together to develop the close bonds and trust that are necessary for effective solidarity. The UMWA has been forging these bonds with the Colombian mine workers' union, Sindicato de los Trabajadores del Intercor (SlNTERCOR), since 1988.

Forging alliances is only half the work of effective international solidarity. Unions also need comprehensive strategies that attack corporations from every possible angle. Only by employing an arsenal of different approaches can we ever hope to confront a multinational corporation as huge and powerful as Exxon.