Past

Past Research

ILRIG’s Research and Education Work

Through ILRIG’s education programmes and research we aim to bring the experiences of working and poor people in other countries to Southern African organisations, and to draw on this information to inform the search for alternative policies. ILRIG’s objective is also to assist in the development of strong bonds of international solidarity between social movements and trade unions. ILRIG conducts its research in collaboration with organisations and networks internationally. We take this information to organisations by running education courses and training programmes, and producing popular publications.

Since 2002 ILRIG has convened an annual Globalisation School – a week-long event which draws activists from all over Africa and elsewhere to an occasion combining debate and learning and cultural events.

In addition to publishing popular booklets on international issues, ILRIG also produces a quarterly newsletter called Workers World News.

The Context of ILRIG’s Work

The 21st century world economy has a number of characteristics which have impacted on developments in South Africa and the greater African region:

The global spread of neo-liberal economics, characterised by deregulation, privatisation, industrial restructuring and cuts in social spending;
The growth and increased mobility of global corporate power, including South African transnational corporations, with about forty percent of all world trade taking place within individual transnational corporations;
The liberalisation of international investment and trade relations, engineered through the World Trade Organisation and the domination of finance markets and speculation over production.
The reorganisation and flexibilisation of production and work, resulting in a small layer of permanently employed workers in contrast to a majority of unskilled and casualised or informalised workers
The generally negative impact of these developments on women in particular, and the increased incorporation of women into waged work, but in informalised, poorly paid and vulnerable working conditions.

South Africa has radically opened its economy to and championed the cause of its own transitional companies and for TNCs internationally. These neo-liberal economic policies have impacted on the lives of millions of ordinary South Africans leaving them poorer and less serviced while the wealth gap increases. This has had serious implications for working people and the poor in South Africa, and for women in particular. And as South African companies become dominant investors in Africa the neo-liberal policies of privatisation and cost recovery have been exported. Social movements, trade unions, women’s organisations and other community-based organisations in South and Southern Africa are therefore faced with important challenges. There is a critical need for capacity building in order to challenge the current neo-liberal policies and to seek alternatives which place people’s needs before profits.

Since South Africa’s reinsertion into the world economy there is a growing need for organisations to understand their experiences in a global context, to draw from the experiences of organisations world-wide in the development of strategies, and to build international worker solidarity.

ILRIG has generally focused on international labour, economic and political issues in the context of contributing to solidarity amongst workers across the globe. In its early years ILRIG became known for the publication of popular worker history materials, particularly booklet histories of workers in Botswana, Brazil, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, and Bolivia.

In more recent years ILRIG’s overall focus has shifted to the process of globalisation, with a number of projects linked to contributing to a working class critique of the free market and the exploration of alternatives to TNC dominance. ILRIG’s constituency has also changed in recent years with its orientation now jointly towards the emerging social movements and the trade unions, with a view to facilitating greater unity between these two initiatives within the working class.

Through ILRIGís education programmes and research we aim to bring the experiences of working and poor people in other countries to Southern African organisations, and to draw on this information to inform the search for alternative policies.

ILRIGís objective is also to assist in the development of strong bonds of international solidarity between social movements and trade unions. ILRIG conducts its research in collaboration with organisations and networks internationally. We take this information to organisations by running education courses and training programmes, and producing popular publications.

Since 2002 ILRIG has convened an annual Globalisation School – a week-long event which draws activists from all over Africa and elsewhere to an occasion combining debate and learning and cultural events.



In addition to publishing popular booklets on international issues, ILRIG also produces a Bi-monthly newsletter called Workers World News. We also host open public forums on the last thursday of each month.


Current Research Areas

* Globalisation and the current capitalist crisis
* South Africa’s economic and Political role in Africa
* Latin America as a site of alternatives to globalisation-Progressive state initiatives and Social movements
* The Impact of globalisation on democracy
* Experiments in broadening the scope of popular power
* Women’s activism and leadership in social movements and trade unions
* Women and public health
* Electricity governance in South Africa – What spaces for public input and accountability?
* National industrial Unions – what obstacles to organising non-permanent, irregular workers?
* Case studies for new forms of worker organisations – in south Africa and Internationally
* Impact of Globalistaion on Young people and forms of organisation for their social mobilisation
* Analysis of Agriculture sector case referrals to the CCMA
* HIV-AIDS and unpaid care work
* The 2010 World Cup – costs and claims


Education Areas

* Economic literacy for Activists
* Understanding Globalisation and the capitalist crisis
* South Africaís role in Africa and the world
* Building womenís activism and Leadership
* Feminist Education methods
* Alternative to globalisation – Including case studies in SA, Latin America and elsewhere
* New forms of trade unions and organising
* Organising youth under globalisation
* Neo-liberalism and state policies and the struggles over services- water, electricity and housing
* The changing role of the state under globalisation
* Experiments in broadening the scope of popular power