Northern European space making in the era of neoliberal Europeanization and the emerging solidarity among Baltic Sea workers

in Focaal
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This article will explore the prospects of and obstacles to the development of a transnational workers' solidarity movement in the Baltic Sea region in order to meet the challenges posed by transnational capital. The question is examined through a situational analysis of events taking place during a few hours at the Hotel Hafen in Hamburg on 10 November 2010. The subject of the analysis, which is based on personal observation and sound recordings, is the tripartite Steering Committee meeting of the Baltic Sea Labour Network (BSLN). The meeting's primary task was to formulate a statement about transnational strategies and tactics on which the parties—politicians, representatives of the employers and workers' delegations—could agree. The analysis explores the different parties' power resources in the negotiation process, and especially the workers' delegates' ability to pursue a course based on class solidarity. At each stage, we can observe how statements are formulated in an area of tension characterized by unequal power relationships and conflicting discourses in the form of neocolonial, national, transnational (class/region), and the EU's neoliberal and consensus-governed partnership discourses.