"Using the case of the anti-Nike sweatshop labour campaign, discuss the basis, the process and the problems faced by new transnational social movement coalitions." In an increasingly globalized world Transnational Corporations (TNCs) have acquired unprecedented levels of power and auto nym. Spurred on by neo-liberal economic ideology, deregulation of markets and increasing international flows of capital, TNCs are relocating manufacturing to countries where labour costs are cheapest as a means of maximizing profits at the expense of social welfare. Whilst globalization has enabled TNCs to operate more freely in the international arena, it has also facilitated social interaction and social organization amongst actors by creating new channels of political participation and new identity discourses. Greater global interdependence and advancing communication and transportation technology has augmented relations between people across vast geographical divides leading to a growing awareness regarding the unequal relationship between the workers who produce goods and those that consume them.

Resultant concerns amongst participants in international civil society about the lack of effective regulations controlling the activities of TNCs and the associated negative societal and environmental ramifications are finding expression in forms of globalized resistance against the hegemonic forces of neo-liberal capitalism. Consequently, increasing numbers of cross-boarder coalitions consisting of workers, activists and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are stepping into the void left by the retrenchment of nation-stare power. The international campaign mounted against Nike Inc. , the worlds leading athletic shoe and sports-apparel company, to protest its involvement in sweatshop labour practices provides a useful example of the foundations, processes and difficulties that transnational social movement coalitions face when advocating for workers rights and greater corporate social responsibility. By using the case of anti-Nike campaign and applying theories relating to new transnational social movement coalitions (TSMC) this essay will attempt to provide an analysis of the organizational forms and manifold practices that activists and workers engaged in within the context of increasing globalization.

Globalization and Transnational Social Movements The concept of 'globalization' is subject to multiple interpretations and as such lacks a single universally accepted definition. Broadly speaking however, it encompasses a multiplicity of interlocking and contradictory dynamics unfolding on a global scale, with powerful processes promoting homogenization and similitude existing paradoxically with forces which encourage heterogenization and diversity. The contemporary era is characterized by an intensification of processes associated with globalization, manifesting in uneven and unpredictable ways across economic, political, and social landscapes, and affecting the most local to global of levels. One of its most profound expressions has been the integration of national economies into a single, interdependent global market economy. Motivated by corporate-driven neo-liberal capitalism which privileges market-orientated approaches to economic advancement, these developments are accompanied by the relaxation of government regulations controlling transnational flows of capital and goods, and the relocation of economic and political power from local and national locales to the arena dominated by international financial organizations such as The World Bank, the WTO, and the IMF (Giddens, 1991; Dicken, 1998, Brecher, et. al.

, 2002, cited by Carty, 2003). Meanwhile, Transnational Corporations (TNCs) are also gaining an increasingly dominant position in the new economic order. Their escalating utilization of international subcontracting in developing countries and propensity to relocate where labour costs are lowest has fuelled competition between countries, which in the interests of economic competitiveness and growth, have been deregulating, decentralizing and liberalizing their economies in hope of attracting financial capital. The corollary has been an erosion of nation-states' power to pursue national policies promoting local economic and social redistribution, and to regulate the activities of global corporate actors (Dickens, 1998, cited by Carty, 2003).

Over the past twenty-five years such developments have generated widespread concerns regarding the corrasion of national autonomy and loss of representative power, accountability and agency (Baxter, 2003). A growing diversity of global citizens are expressing apprehensions about the anti-democratic nature of neo-liberal geopolitics and the ramifications of rapid globalization as evidenced by mounting insecurity, ecological imbalance, and the dismantling of public services (Polet, 2004). Conversely, the processes of globalization have also triggered a nascent consciousness regarding new opportunities for representation and solidarity, and this burgeoning sense of universal interconnectivity is leading to an increasing awareness amongst civil society participants that a new global era necessitate global responses. Parallel to this has been the growth of transnational relations among nongovernmental networks, social movements and intergovernmental organisations, and it is these actors that are creating the basis for democratic global governance (Sklair, 2001, cited by Smith and Bandy, 2005). Emerging out of this intercontinental public sphere has been a proliferation of new transnational social movement coalitions (TSMCs), which are formed by sets of actors who are linked across country boundaries, bound together by shared values and issue focus, a common discourse, and dense exchanges of services and information (Keck and Sikkink, 1998; Khagram et. al.

, 2002). Describing them as transnational advocacy networks, Keck and Sikkink summarize the common threads running through this multitude of diverse groupings as: "the centrality of values or principled ideas, the belief that individuals can make a difference, the creative use of information, and the employment by nongovernmental actors of sophisticated political strategies in targeting their campaigns" (1998: 2). TSMCs are formed by an array of community-based organizations including NGOs and labour, human rights, student, ecclesiastical, and environmental groups. For Falk (1998) and Brecher, et. al. (2002, cited by Carty, 2003) these new TSMCs represent a systematic counter-balance to the neo-liberal forces associated with "globalization from above." Acting in a countervailing manner, TSMCs embodying "globalization from below" believe that existing rules of global governance are slanted in favour of wealthy nations and TNCs, and access to global institutions needs to be improved for those whose interests are not being adequately represented.

Despite diverse agendas, their overarching goal is to make equality, sustainability and dignity as important as profitability and capital accumulation. Calls are made for human rights to be safeguarded, the environment to be protected, and for TNCs to exhibit greater social responsibility (Carty, 2001). Identity politics is viewed as the most effective way of contesting inequalities within the global system (Sklair, 1998, cited by Carty, 2001), and the "framing" of issues in order to make them comprehensible and attractive to target audiences is viewed as crucially important (Keck and Sikkink, 1998). What is novel about these networks is "the ability of non-traditional international actors to mobilize information strategically to help create new issues and categories and to persuade, pressure, and gain leverage over much more powerful organizations and governments" (Keck and Sikkink, 1998: 2).

Key to this is the forging of links between actors in civil society, international organizations, and states, which in turn multiplies the paths of access to global governance. Unlike older movements with revolutionary ambitions to seize direct control of state power these new social movements pursue reform via existing political structures outside the realms of the state, described by Cohen and Arato as "self-limiting radicalism" (1992). Whereas the nation-state was the main focus and arena of political activism for older social movements, new TSMCs recognise that transnational organisations now rival nation-states in terms of power and therefore counter-hegemonic collective action needs to occur within the emergent global public sphere. With this in mind many TSMCs are incorporating a global perspective and relating local concerns with international issues (Marshall, 1994, cited by Lindenberg and Sverrisson, 1997). For Evans, this linking of the micro- and macro-level is crucial because it provides local actors with new prospects for success thus aiding local mobilization, which is a vital component of "globalization from below" (2000, cited by Carty, 2001). Advancements in electronic communication networks and the proliferation of affordable international travel have played an essential part in enabling TSMC's to bridge the micro / macro divide.

Communication technology has facilitated the strengthening of organizational strategies among many TSMCs by providing the environment and resources for cohesive resistance. Actors who were formerly isolated are increasingly able to communicate, collaborate and organise with each other transnationally (Castells, 1996; Sklair, 1998, cited by Carty, 2001; Giddens, 1991). Furthermore, the cost of participation in transnational networks is falling so now even small local groups have the potential to partake in global protest campaigns (della Porta and Tarrow, 2005), although poverty, gender inequality, and restrictions on travel and trade still exclude many from genuine involvement in global civil society (Lindenberg and Sverrisson, 1997). The Transnational Anti-Nike Sweatshop Campaign The international campaign mounted by a cross-border coalition of workers and labour activists united in condemnation of sportswear giant Nike Inc.'s unsatisfactory labour practices provides a vibrant example of how a transnational social movement coalition can successfully effectuate "globalization from below." There are a number of reasons why Nike, as opposed to the numerous other multinational companies profiting from sweatshop labour, became the principal focus for the anti-sweatshop movement.

For a start, Nike provides a microcosm of the broader economic changes effecting manufacturing under globalization thus making it a good exemplar for illustrating the negative effects of neo-liberal economic policy. Founded in 1964, the US-based company experienced tremendous growth from the 1970's onwards, eventually becoming the global leader in its field. Crucial to this success was Nike's pioneering business strategy of squeezing wage expenditure by relocating manufacturing from the First World to countries with substandard and unregulated labour practices, including but not only, China, Indonesia and Vietnam. Nike was also the first athletic footwear company to fully subcontract its production facilities, thus enabling it to avoid legal responsibility for working conditions and wages because factory workers were not direct employees of Nike. Whilst slashing production costs Nike was spending huge sums of money on high-profile branding campaigns, and it was this aggressive marketing strategy as well as the corporation's poor labour practices that made it such a ripe target for activists (Shaw, 1999; Bullert, 2000; Klein, 2000; Locke, 2003; Bennett, 2004). Throughout the 1990's discontented Nike-factory workers in various countries, including China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Mexico, took to the streets in protest over poor work conditions and low wages.

For the most part strikes were put down, often brutally, and activists sacked and blacklisted (Carty, 2001, 2003; Clean Clothes Campaign, 1998). This lack of success epitomized the experiences that workers in developing countries often have in combating corporate exploitation. This is because their ability to engage in protest is severely impeded by various obstructions including a lack of information regarding workers rights; fear of job loss; widespread military interference in labour negotiations; and risks to personal wellbeing including harassment, arrest, imprisonment, torture, and even murder (Herbert, 1996, cited by Carty, 2001). A major turning point in the struggle came in 1989 when the Asian-American Free Labor Institute gave Jeff Ballinger, an American labour rights advocate and lawyer, funding to conduct a survey on working conditions in Indonesian factories. Ballinger and his team uncovered systematic violations of employees rights, including numerous instances of health and safety violations; verbal, physical, and sexual abuse; forced overtime; use of child labour; and the obstruction of workers efforts to bargain collectively and join independent trade unions.

Furthermore, over half of the employees surveyed during 1989 were being paid under Indonesia's daily minimum wage of $1. 00, meaning that the labour costs for producing one pair of Nike trainers retailing at $80 worked out at a mere 12 cents (Bullert, 2000; Carty, 2001; Locke, 2003; Spar and La Mure, 2003). Until the mid-1990's the campaign against Nike had gotten little mainstream media coverage. This changed after Ballinger teamed up with Global Exchange, an NGO dedicated to promoting socially responsible business practices. The goal was to gain publicity for Ballinger's research in order to raise public awareness about Nike's poor business practices. Employing media-savvy PR techniques, Global Exchange coordinated publicity, arranged high-profile media events and gave the campaign a media framing and focus it previously lacked (Bullert, 2000; Locke, 2003).

Corporations are increasingly reliant on branding to sell products in a global marketplace, labour activists like Global Exchange have recognized this and are mounting evermore sophisticated media campaigns aimed at negatively affecting the profits of TNCs by publicizing bad behaviour. The desired effect is to embarrass organizations into altering their activity, referred to as a "mobilization of shame" (Khagram el. Al. , 2002), and to persuade socially conscious consumers to purchase socially responsible products. The anti-Nike campaign was extremely successful at framing sweatshop issues in terms of individual consumer choice as a reflection of personal identity politics. The clever parodying of Nike's own projected corporate image, built around notions of style, hipness, and personal transformation, captured the mainstream media and general public's attention.

Referred to as "culture jamming" (Klein, 2000), Nike's brand image was hijacked and reflected back in a distorted likeness that gave a counter-message starkly at odds with the original. Nike's famous slogan of "Just Do It" was refashioned as "Do It Justly", their swoosh logo recast as the 'swooshitika' (Shaw, 1999; Bullert, 2000; Klein, 2000; Carty, 2001). For Bennett (2004) the anti-Nike campaign illustrates how branding of political messages can be a powerful networking instrument because it aids positive mass media access and helps attract more sympathetic coverage than when messages are presented in a traditional ideological terms. Furthermore by making political protest fun it becomes more appealing to consumers (Bullert, 2000). The high-profile media campaign against Nike helped attract a diversity of transnationally situated groups to the movement, with Western activists identifying with sweatshop workers across a range of identity-based affinities. The resulting anti-Nike coalition took on what Carty describes as a form of "globalized identity politics" (2001), expressed through the creation of a rainbow coalition made up of smaller groups and campaigns, which appealed to assorted actors for different reasons (Shaw, 1999).

Whilst female activists could relate to the difficulties facing the predominantly female factory workforce, trade unionists empathized with problems stemming from constraints on collective bargaining, and non-white groups identified with the racist nature of the global division of labour. Faith-based and human rights activists sympathise d on ethical grounds, whilst young people felt solidarity with workers of a similar age (Carty, 2001). This emphasis on identity can be interpreted as an expression of new social movement politics, which is theorized as involving a shift away from older concern relating to class inequalities towards new issues pertaining to the construction of cultural and personal identities around categories such as gender, ethnicity, and sexuality (Cohen, 1998). For Ingle hart the involvement of youth activists in anti-sweatshop campaigns can be interpreted as an expression of "post-materialist values" (1997, cited by Bullert, 2000). Economic development in post-modern societies provides a relative level of affluence and security so young people focus increasingly on the meaning and purpose of life, self-expression, and subjective well-being. Issues are being championed on the basis of personal identity politics rather than on broader political party affiliations or fixed alliances.

The direct challenging of elites is a style of political activity that fits well with a post-materialist generation suspicious of electoral politics. As such, the outlook of youth activists can vary greatly from older activists in the anti-sweatshop movement, many of whom are involved with traditional forms of political participation such as trade unionism and political parties. It also contrasts with activist workers from producing countries who are motivated by a pertinent need to improve their material and social conditions. Despite the diversity of actors and their varied motivations, the collective action of anti-Nike sweatshop campaigners qualifies as what Khagram, Riker, and Sikkink define as a transnational social movement, namely "sets of actors with common purposes and solidarities linked across country boundaries that have the capacity to generate coordinated and sustained social mobilization in more than one country to publicly influence social change" (2002: 8).

Movements differ from networks and coalitions because of the extent to which they mobilize their transnationally located activists into collective action. Not only must participating actors share a truly transnational collective identity, but joint and sustained mobilization must occur in at least three countries. This makes movements more effective at instigating societal change than networks or coalitions, but also rarer and more difficult to create (Ms Adams, 1982, Tarrow, 1998, cited by (Khagram, Riker, and Sikkink, 2002). Nike's initial response to criticism was to either ignore it or deflect responsibility by arguing that as production was subcontracted to independently-owned factories the corporation had neither control over alleged labour violations nor any responsibility to workers who were not Nike employees. In 1992 the company formulated a Code of Conduct for suppliers, but this did little to stave of critics who argued the code was limited and not adequately enforced. It took another six years of sustained international pressure, bad press and a subsequent downturn in profits, for Nike to announce changes to its overseas business practices, namely improvements to health and safety, and an increase in the minimum age of new workers.

However no mention was made of increasing wages or reducing working hours (Klein, 2000; Bullert, 2000; Locke, 2003). Nike's partial improvement provoked a split response from the anti-Nike coalition, with some praising the company for its progress whilst others criticizing it for not going far enough. As is common with transnational advocacy campaigns, the anti-Nike coalition incorporated diverse groups with varying and sometimes contradictory strategies and goals. The multi faced agenda that was subsequently adopted to reflect these diverse actors and interests meant that when the movement was faced with a major strategic dilemma regarding what constituted victory it exposed serious divisions in the coalition, the outcome of which was that some groups opted to move onto other targets whilst others stayed focused on Nike (Bullert, 2000; Bandy and Smith, 2005). Globalization From Below - The Case of Kukdong The strategies and actions of a coalition of transnationally located workers and activists who teamed up with a group of striking workers from the Kukdong factory in Mexico, provides a useful example of what can be achieved through international solidarity in combating sweatshop conditions.

In January 2001, approximately 850 workers went on strike at Kukdong International, a Korean-owned factory manufacturing Nike products. The protest was in response to the managements exploitative work practices, which included: failure to pay minimum wage; physical and verbal abuse; use of underage labour; and the illegal firing of workers who were attempting to establish an independent trade union. Additionally, Kukdong employees were being forced by their terms of employment to join a 'mafia' union which was closely affiliated to government and management officials, and had not only failed to support workers grievances but had violently repressed their dissent. After three days of strike action police were called in, protesters were beaten, leading labour activists were subsequently fired, and those retuning to work faced bullying from management (Featherstone, 2002; Carty, 2001, 2003).

In response to strike repression Kukdong factory workers called out to activists in the burgeoning global anti-sweatshop movement to lend support and raise awareness about their plight. In response, a diverse network of Northern and Southern activists embarked on a highly effective campaign built upon 'a multi-level, multi-task strategy targeting the local, national and international level' (Carty, 2003: 7). For Keck and Sikkink (1998) such transnational collective action adds weight to challenges mounted by domestic groups against the state. When governments abuse, are ineffective, or refuse to protect citizen's rights, individuals and groups with minimal recourse in domestic political or judicial arenas may look to form relationships with international actors. Rather than appealing to local governments directly, non-state channels of information are used to petition the international community. In a process Keck and Sikkink term "the boomerang pattern", articulated concerns become amplified in the international arena and are then echoed back to governments.

For Keck and Sikkink, activists from both sides benefit, "for the less powerful third world actors, networks provide access, leverage, and information (and often money) they could not expect to have on their own; for northerner groups, they make credible the assertion that they are struggling with, and not only for their southern partners" (1998: 12-13). NGOs and students groups played a pivotal role in the Kukdong protest by disseminating information, building campaign momentum, and organising the diverse network of activists. Key to this was the effective utilization of the Internet. Websites, list-servs and emails provided a highly efficient means of communicating, mobilizing, and organizing activists, NGOs, and workers. Transnationally situated actors were able to network across vast distances almost instantaneously and for minimal cost, which is particularly advantageous for NGOs and activists restricted by minimal budgets. Daily updates were posted on website and list-serves, enabling activists to react immediately to developments and provide instant support.

Regular action alerts called on concerned citizens to send protest letters to Nike and Kukdong demanding that management comply with Mexican labour laws, Nike's code of conduct, and international standards relating to the right of workers to freely organize. Global solidarity was fostered through the provision of workers' email addresses where letters of encouragement could be sent (Bullert, 2000; Carty, 2001). Student groups were particularly active in the campaign and employed a variety of imaginative strategies to raise awareness. Speaking tours for factory workers were arranged, rallies and sit-ins were held, leaflets were handed out at universities and Nike stores, and "National Days of Action" involving multiple sites of simultaneous protest were organised.

Across the USA, student activists pressured university administrators to threaten Nike with the termination of lucrative university sportswear contracts if Nike failed to take positive steps in resolving the dispute (Featherstone, 2002; Carty, 2003). A team of student organisation representatives also visited the Kukdong factory, providing independent verification of workers complaints (Bone, Rosie, and Camillo, 2001, cited by Carty, 2001). Following intense and sustained activist pressure Nike took the unprecedented step of rather than simply cancelling factory production orders, urging factory managers and government officials to fulfil their legal obligations and respect workers rights to independent trade union representation. Eventually, after nine months of industrial action and pressure from Nike, Kukdong management capitulated, allowing strike organizers to return to work and establish an independent trade union.

This new union went onto negotiate better terms for its workers, including a marked wage increase and payment of bonuses. Furthermore, Nike's decision not to 'cut and run' was viewed as an added victory by activists who had been highly critical of the company's previous use of such tactics in labour disputes in Indonesia (Kidd, 2001, cited by Carty, 2003). It took the combined efforts of networked students, human rights, and labour groups to create the democratic space necessary for the Kukdong workers to organize and protest. However, Featherstone (2002) and Carty (2003) both make the point that whilst the pressure placed on Nike by this transnational coalition was fundamental to the workers victory, it was ultimately down to the courage and determination of the factory workers that success was achieved. It is also important to keep in mind that although the relationship between activists in the developed world and workers in the developing world is reciprocal, the balance is unequal. This is because for Northern activists' participation in a social movement is an expression of life-style politics and a way rejecting a social and economic world subjugated by corporate interests, whilst for workers it is about bread and butter issues (Bullert, 2000).

Since the Kukdong strike there has been slow but uneven improvement in Nike's approach to labour issues. One major breakthrough, which activists have been fighting years for, has been the disclosure by Nike of the names and addresses of all factories manufacturing their products. Such disclosure makes independent assessments of conditions possible, and is seen as a demonstration of the company's new willing transparency. However, this display of corporate social responsibility has not automatically translated into improved conditions for workers.

Following a survey by Nike of factories manufacturing their products, the corporation released a report in 2005 which admitted continuing widespread ill-treatment of employees, including forced overtime, restricted access to water and toilet facilities, instances of verbally and physically "abusive treatment", and wages under the legal minimum approximately 25% of factories (ETAG, 2005; Teather, 2005). Sweatshop activist Jeff Ballinger (2006) is highly critical of Nike's new found 'honesty', arguing that whist the company is now addressing sweatshop issues in the public arena there is little concrete action or meaningful change taking place on the shop floor. In conclusion, the TSMC that emerged to contest Nike's poor labour practices can be credited with playing an important role in raising the public profile of debate about transnational corporate responsibility and increasing public awareness about global interdependency. A diversity of groups each enriched the campaign in different ways, and it took the combination of Jeff Ballinger thorough research, Global Exchange savvy PR skills, the mobilizing and organizational skills of student and labour groups, and the tenacity and bravery of the workers, to bring improvements to Nike's approach to corporate social responsibility which has resulted in a limited level of betterment in factory conditions. However, it does appear that whilst Nike is now making the right noises publicly there is still considerable room for improvement on the shop floor.

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