2011-11-09-03.04.01-amEditors' Note:

At a time when policymakers, multinational corporations, and non- governmental organizations dominate debates on the future of the world economy, the voice of one group is conspicuously quiet: labor. As economies globalize, politics remains local—and in this issue of the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, we learn that labor has yet to find a way to advance its political interests amidst these two conflicting contexts.

Neither communist governments nor massive street protests have empowered the workers of today's world. In China, labor is the engine of enviable economic growth, but Jehangir Pocha finds that it gives without receiving benefits or protection. Timothy Smith argues that France's labor unions have achieved a range of protections at the expense of the unemployed.

As the foundations of power in the twenty-first century continue to shift, former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski discusses the continued importance of democratic ideals and institutions. While advocating reforms, he has hope that the UN can step up to new chal- lenges and emerge as a powerful actor in the future.

The Journal continues to publish articles that strive to make sense of a world in constant change. Even as we go to press, the forces shaping these issues are in flux. We like it that way, and we hope you will too.

– Candace L. Faber & Samantha J. Yale


Since the end of communism and the rise of globalization, labor movements have faced formidable challenges to their viability as a political voice for workers. Organized labor the world over has largely stagnated or been silenced in the face of state and international pressures. This Forum examines the state of workers and their politics and parties in four regions today to assess the challenges facing them and the effects felt in their country's polices at home and abroad.

  • One Sun in the Sky: Labor Unions in the People's Republic of China by Jehangir S. Pocha Read  
  • Stuck on the Streets: French Labor by Timothy B. Smith | Read  
  • Venezuelan Labor Struggles to Find Autonomy by Charles S. Shapiro | Read  
  • From Eastern Bloc to EU: Organized Labor's Struggle for Relevance by Tamas Reti | Read  

Business & Economics

  • South-South Partnership: An African Recipe for Growth by Steve Booysen | Read  

Africa must use a consumption-based model and Chinese capital to overcome poverty. 

  • Home-Grown Foreign Aid: Workers' Remittances as a Form of Development Finance by Ramkishen E. Rajan | Read  

Workers' remittances are overtaking development aid as a source of external finance.

Conflict & Security

  • Gaz Promises: Russian Energy's Challenge for the West by Keith C. Smith | Read  

The West needs to rethink its engagement with Russia regarding energy. 

  • Six-Party Talks: Time for Change by Paul F. Chamberlin | Read  

Engagement with North Korea is the best way for the United States to meet its national security objectives. 

Europe's battle with national terrorist organizations can give us insights on al-Qaeda's financing. 

Culture & Society

  • Rehearsing Revolution in Peru by Jill LaneRead  

The performing arts have enabled Peruvians to actively mobilize against Fujimori's authoritarian regime. 

Postmodernism provides a cultural critique of nascent civil society in Russia. 

Law & Ethics

Women and girls with disabilities are often overlooked in the international arena, but the 2006 UN Disability Convention looks to reverse this trend.

When development causes human displacement, legal solutions are needed.

Politics & Diplomacy

Public diplomacy must be improved in order to combat historically low foreign public opinion of the United States, which threatens U.S. security. 

Presidential third terms are symptoms of democratic transition in African states, and domestic and international actors should view them as indicators of the need for further reform. 


A review of Can Might Make Rights? Building the Rule of Law after Military Interventions by Jane Stromseth, David Wippman, and Rosa Brooks. 

View from the Ground

  • The Other Casualties by Wa'el Alzayat | Read  

The recent war between Israel and Hezbollah has damaged the standing of moderate Arab governments, the UN, and the United States in the Middle East. 

A Look Back

The former President of Poland discusses democracy and the future of the European Union. 

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