Can the anti-sweatshop movement
, in concert with other elements of the alter-mondialist/global justice movement, play on this contradiction to advance workers' collective power in free trade zones and in the United States?
The anti-sweatshop movement is a subset of actors and campaigns within the larger corporate accountability movement that aims to identify sweatshop conditions and to define and enforce labor standards within the global apparel industry.
In the first part of this essay, I describe the emergence of the anti-sweatshop movement and the restructuring of the global apparel industry in order to highlight the way in which the movement has framed its demands on the corporation.
The anti-sweatshop movement represents a form of transnational advocacy network, described by Margaret Keck and Kathryn Sikkink in their book Activists Beyond Borders.
The second case I would like to highlight briefly is the evolution of the anti-sweatshop movement, documented by Evans and Anner, Eade, Compa, Braun and Gearhart, and others.
It is a strategy with much more potential for synergies between unions and NGOs, and between workers in the global North and South, than the earlier iteration of the anti-sweatshop movement.
As a recent graduate of the University of Chicago--where, as chair of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) chapter on campus, I spent more than a little time doing sweatshop activism--I read Richard Appelbaum and Peter Dreier's recent article on sweatshop activism with some trepidation ["The Campus Anti-Sweatshop Movement
," TAP, September-October 1999].
Last year's student anti-sweatshop movement gained momentum as it swept westward, eventually encompassing more than 100 campuses across the country.
The anti-sweatshop movement is the largest wave of student activism to hit campuses since students rallied to free Nelson Mandela by calling for a halt to university investments in South Africa more than a decade ago.
Indeed, the anti-sweatshop movement has been able to mobilize wide support because it strikes several nerves among today's college students, including women's rights (most sweatshop workers are women and some factories have required women to use birth control pills as a condition of employment), immigrant rights, environmental concerns, and human rights.
More than two hundred campuses in this country have anti-sweatshop movements
These grassroots immigrant women are the very heartbeat of the labor and anti-sweatshop movements
," Louie writes.