The authors take up the theme of the “general strike”, which is discussed in several of the other articles, and do so by engaging in a comparison across the North/South divide that focuses on Portugal and India. In their view, the general strike is a defensive form of struggle in the neoliberal age chosen because other means of influencing political decision-making are absent. In the Portuguese case, the strikes took place against the backdrop of the imposition of austerity through governments and the troika; in the Indian case, the background was the liberalisation of the economy and the insensitivity of governments to union demands in a situation of general economic insecurity. All in all, Costa and Dias say that unions in the north have much to learn from unions in the south in the sense that they have to reach out to marginalised and precarious sectors of the population.
General strike, North/South divide, Portugal and India, Austerity, Liberalisation of the economy, Unions