Trade Union and 'Progressive' Strategies
The responsible investment, capital stewardship,
and 'pension fund activism' movements
It is noteworthy that as finance has been on the 'rise,' some activists
began to formalize anti-corporate and targeted activist campaign strategies
through pension and personal investment funds. In Canada and the U.S.,
several faith organizations began to argue that anti-social corporate
behaviour should be, in some sense, sanctioned by individual investors and
ultimate owners, on the basis of social principle or humanitarian values.
These initiatives then crystallized and drew broader support with the rise
of the sanctions and divestment movement directed against corporate and
government support for apartheid South Africa in the 1980s.
Such initiatives have seen their labels evolving from "ethical investment,"
to "socially responsible investment" (SRI), to the most recent simplified
term of "responsible investment." While many trade unions, NGOs, and
activists have embraced these efforts, others have not, and a substantial
differentiation on the political left has emerged. Most recently, Queen's
political economist Susanne Soederberg has produced a sharply critical
analysis of these investor-activist efforts from a Marxist political
economy framework. This critique follows previous analyses by CAW
economists Sam Gindin and Jim Stanford, both of whom have raised serious
questions about these strategies as projections of trade union or working
class power. Other unions and labour organizations have embraced these
strategies with enthusiasm, as is notable in the establishment of a
"Committee on Workers Capital" at the international level.
LeftStreamed - Recorded in Toronto -- 11 October 2013:
Moderated by Greg Albo. Convenor: Kevin Skerrett
* Susanne Soederberg (Queen's University) - Corporate Power and Ownership
in Contemporary Capitalism.
* Jim Stanford (UNIFOR) - Paper Boom.
Click here to view presentation:
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