Getting Ready (5)

by VanessaVaile

ICYMI on Joe Berry’s recent COCAL Updates headers or Helena’s blog posts, he and Helen will be teaching labor studies at Ton Duc Thong University in VietNam and blogging the experience. I plan to syndicate Helen’s blog on the PF Network and recommend reading through them. This early post is a good starting point, and here’s Joe’s note (again, ICYMI):

As noted previously, your COCAL UPDATES editor (Joe Berry) and his spouse/partner/colleague Helena Worthen, are going to teach labor studies in Viet Nam for the fall 2015 Semester. We would like to take some gifts related to the union/workers movement in the US to give to folks there. We are leaving from CA August 14. If any of you would like to have us take union or other movement hats, Tshirts or similar union gifts to VN from your organization as a gesture of solidarity for their labor movement and as a gesture of support for us, please send them to us at the address at the bottom of this COCAL UPDATES so that we receive it by August 13, 2015. Unions in Viet Nam are grappling with how to deal with the influx of foreign (capitalist) direct investment there and the need to build local unions that can effectively fight for workers in this new context. Thanks in advance for your assistance.

helenaworthen

Getting ready (5)

Still asking, what do we have to teach? What do they need us for? What do we know that they need to learn?

When Joe and I were first informed of the opportunity to do this, we asked why – what could anyone learn from us? We describe the US industrial relations system as broken, for innumerable reasons. The answer we were given was, “They know that capitalism is coming and they want to learn how to fight it.”  Well, on a day to day basis, on the level of local unions and shop floors, we know how to do that. But is that what they want?

I am returning Bill Hayton’s book, Vietnam: Rising Dragon (Yale University Press 2010) to the library today. Hayton is a BBC journalist and focuses on what would make news in the Western press, such as dissent and the rising level of inequality…

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