[Excerpt] In the crisis of declining union influence, the United States has played a vanguard role. The weakness of labour in the U.S. has opened the door to the neoliberal policies developed here and then imposed on the global economy. More recent efforts to revitalise the labour movement aim, among other things, to reverse such policies. In suffering union decline and grappling for new strategies, we have what Alexander Gerschenkron once called the ‘advantages of backwardness’. Ironically, European unions and social democrats can perhaps derive lessons not only from our failures but also from our efforts to turn the tide.