The limits of solidarity: Labor and transnational organizing against Coca-Cola

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ABSTRACT

In this article, I explore the concept of “solidarity” through an examination of the alliances and disjunctures that shaped a transnational campaign against the Coca-Cola Company. I consider how the balance of power within cross-class coalitions influenced the framing of issues and the development of tactics, and I examine the tensions that arose among diverse groups who chose to struggle together but shared different goals and perspectives. I argue that the labor philanthropy of northern activists on behalf of Colombian workers could not substitute for the labor solidarity that Colombian workers asked of their northern allies. My study suggests that transnational activists from the North focus on tactics that push states, as well as corporations, to protect labor rights and that they pay closer attention to the analyses and objectives of the working people with whom they claim solidarity.

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