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Queen's University

Department of Global Development Studies

          Trade Union and 'Progressive' Strategies
     The responsible investment, capital stewardship,
           and 'pension fund activism' movements

    It is noteworthy that as finance has been on the 'rise,' some activists
    began to formalize anti-corporate and targeted activist campaign strategies
    through pension and personal investment funds. In Canada and the U.S.,
    several faith organizations began to argue that anti-social corporate
    behaviour should be, in some sense, sanctioned by individual investors and
    ultimate owners, on the basis of social principle or humanitarian values.
    These initiatives then crystallized and drew broader support with the rise
    of the sanctions and divestment movement directed against corporate and
    government support for apartheid South Africa in the 1980s.

    Such initiatives have seen their labels evolving from "ethical investment,"
    to "socially responsible investment" (SRI), to the most recent simplified
    term of "responsible investment." While many trade unions, NGOs, and
    activists have embraced these efforts, others have not, and a substantial
    differentiation on the political left has emerged. Most recently, Queen's
    political economist Susanne Soederberg has produced a sharply critical
    analysis of these investor-activist efforts from a Marxist political
    economy framework. This critique follows previous analyses by CAW
    economists Sam Gindin and Jim Stanford, both of whom have raised serious
    questions about these strategies as projections of trade union or working
    class power. Other unions and labour organizations have embraced these
    strategies with enthusiasm, as is notable in the establishment of a
    "Committee on Workers Capital" at the international level.


    LeftStreamed - Recorded in Toronto -- 11 October 2013:

    Moderated by Greg Albo. Convenor: Kevin Skerrett

    Presentations by:
    * Susanne Soederberg (Queen's University) - Corporate Power and Ownership
    in Contemporary Capitalism.
    * Jim Stanford (UNIFOR) - Paper Boom.

    Click here to view presentation:

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~(((( LeftStreamed Production ))))~~~~~~~~~
    Produced by the LeftStreamed Collective. Viewers are encouraged
    to distribute widely. Comments on the video and suggestions are
    welcome - write to


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