The “Spirit of Bandung” at Sixty

World leaders, including 22 Heads of State, marching to relive a 60-year old historical conference on human rights, sovereignty and world peace, April 2015, Bandung, Indonesia.
World leaders, including 22 Heads of State, marching to relive a 60-year old historical conference on human rights, sovereignty and world peace, April 2015, Bandung, Indonesia.

Michael R. Anderson
University of Texas at Austin

The 60th anniversary of the Asian-African Relations Conference has brought renewed global attention to the themes that animated the first major gathering of Asian and African heads of state in Bandung, Indonesia in 1955. At a recent commemorative gathering (19-24 April 2015), delegates from 109 Asian and African countries convened once again in Bandung and ruminated upon an ambitious agenda: “Strengthening South-South cooperation to Promote World Peace and Prosperity.” Delegates in 2015 renewed a commitment to the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership (launched in 2005 during the 50th anniversary commemoration of the first Bandung Conference), and they also worked to further initiatives in economic cooperation, most notably through the Asian-African Business Summit. The “spirit of Bandung” may have endured, but the historical context of such cooperative ventures has shifted dramatically over the decades. Continue reading “The “Spirit of Bandung” at Sixty”

Socialism Goes Global: Cold War Connections Between the ‘Second’ and ‘Third Worlds’ 1945-1991

Global-South-America-Brazil-and-Argentina

James Mark
History Department, University of Exeter

The University of Exeter, in collaboration with the Universities of Oxford, Columbia, Leipzig and Belgrade, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and University College London, has recently been awarded a major Arts and Humanities Research Council Grant (2014-18) to address the relationship between what were once called the ‘Second World’ (from the Soviet Union to the GDR) and the ‘Third World’ (from Latin America to Africa to Asia).

In the post-war period, as both decolonization and new forms of globalisation accelerated, new linkages opened up, and existing ties were remade, between these ‘worlds’. Contacts multiplied through, for instance, the development of political bonds; economic development and aid; health and cultural and academic projects; as well as military interventions.

Yet these important encounters, and their impacts on national, regional and global histories, have hitherto only played a marginal role in accounts of late 20th century globalization, which have mainly focused on links between the West and former colonies, or between the countries of the ‘Global South’. Continue reading “Socialism Goes Global: Cold War Connections Between the ‘Second’ and ‘Third Worlds’ 1945-1991”

Conference: Trade Unions in the Global South, From Imperial Rule to the Present Day

Gareth Curless

Where: 9am-5.30pm, Friday 13 June 2014, Congress House, London

To mark the important role that trade unions have played in popular protests in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, History & Policy’s Trade Union Forum and the Trades Union Congress will host a one day conference. The conference will reflect on the relationship between trade unions and the state in the Global South, as well as the role of labour movements in popular protests from the end of imperial rule to the present day.

This event is funded by the ESRC. It is free to attend and open to all but space is limited. Spaces will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis. To reserve your place please contact Gareth Curless (g.m.curless@exeter.ac.uk), University of Exeter.  Continue reading “Conference: Trade Unions in the Global South, From Imperial Rule to the Present Day”

Reconciling Trade Unionism with Decolonisation in the Global South

Gareth Curless

Lim Chin Siong, a leading labor leader in Singapore from the late 1950s to early 1960s.
Lim Chin Siong, a leading labour leader in Singapore from the late 1950s to early 1960s.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of ‘Operation Coldstore’, when in 1963 Singapore’s Internal Security Council authorised the arrest of over 100 leftist and labour activists. The arrests severely weakened both Barisan Sosialis, a left-wing political party, and the trade union movement, thereby consolidating the Popular Action Party’s (PAP) position as the dominant political force in Singapore. As a result of the PAP’s triumph, the role of trade unions in official histories of Singapore’s struggle for independence has largely been overlooked, with left-wing activists commonly depicted as nothing more than stooges for the Malayan Communist Party (MCP). The marginalisation of the role of trade unions in Singapore’s fight for independence is typical of many former colonial territories, where the actions of labour activists and trade unions during the period of decolonisation are overlooked in favour of broader narratives that focus on imperial decline and the triumph of nationalist elites. Yet, as was demonstrated in the 1950s and 1960s during the struggle for independence and again during the pro-democracy campaigns of the 1980s and 1990s, trade unions in the global south have and continue to play a critical role in movements for social and political change. Continue reading “Reconciling Trade Unionism with Decolonisation in the Global South”