International Labour Movement

CFP: conference in Stockholm

Arbetarrörelsens Arkiv och Bibliotek
Labour Movement Archives and Library

The International Labour Movement on the Thresholds of Two Centuries
24-25 October 2002

Call for papers


The Swedish Labour Movement Archives and Library in Stockholm were founded in 1902. The field of activity of this institution is the Labour movement as a whole: the political parties, trade unions and other organisations that make up the movement. It collects and provides access to archival material, research publications and other publications from and about the movement.

The Labour Movement Archives and Library are issuing an invitation to an international workshop in conjunction with its centennial jubilee in the year 2002. The theme for the workshop is The International Labour Movement on the Thresholds of Two Centuries.

The situation facing the labour movement in the year 2000 bears many resemblances to the situation one hundred years ago. Today’s globalisation, with the problems it entails for workers in all countries, can be compared with Karl Marx’s concept of 'international capital'. It is also worth remembering that in practice the Labour Internationals suffered from regional limitations well into the early1900s. The struggle for democracy and the extension of democratic rights to all countries, population groups and spheres of life provide another theme that was just as highly topical on the threshold of the last century as it is at this moment. In 1900 the labour movement was fighting for recognition and for workers’ rights. Today the struggle throughout the world is confronted with new obstacles and difficulties. When the labour movement goes international the need emerges – as much today as a hundred years ago – to deal with conflicts between solidarity and self- interest.

One hundred years of experience of both trade union and political action do however make a difference. The circumstances of the international labour movement have been transformed during this period - through the battles fought by unions and by political means; through the possession of political power and its abuse and loss; through an experience of wars more terrible than ever before; and not least through an economic and industrial development which no-one was able to predict. Many of the labour movement's utopian images have proved to be impracticable, but they have nevertheless had an impact, changed political consciousness in a positive way and influenced political practice, working life and conditions of work. In addition the labour movement constantly faces new and unexpected challenges.

The purpose of this workshop in the year 2002 is to raise these and similar issues: the situation facing the labour movement now and a hundred years ago. We hope to bring together experts who can contribute from their knowledge of the one period or the other - or of still more factors facilitating a comparative overview of the century as a whole.

Discussion will be conducted in 'round table' form, with around thirty participants. These are expected to contribute either short presentations of their papers or comments to papers that have been submitted. We hope to be able to document the workshop in part or as a whole.

Time: the 24th and 25th of October 2002. (To facilitate the use of low price flights, participants will be invited to stay on until Sunday the 27th of October.)
Venue: Stockholm. (Details will be given later.)
Language: English.
Costs: the hosts will pay travel costs (APEX-flight and comparable arrangements), hotel costs (until 27/10) and expenses for the two days.

We would like to invite you to make your interest known if you wish to participate in this workshop with a paper of your own. We require a title and ten lines on the subject that you wish to present, and also a short CV. We look forward to your reply on the 1st of March 2001 at the latest. We shall send more information on the details of the arrangements later.

Since the number of participants will be limited to around 30, we must make a selection from among the papers submitted. Those who are invited to participate in the workshop are requested to send in their papers by the 15th of August 2002.

The workshop will be arranged by the Research Council of the Swedish Labour Movement Archives and Library and will be prepared by a committee with the following members:

  • Karin Englund: director of the Swedish Labour Movement Archives and Library
  • Gudmund Larsson: the Confederation of Swedish Trade Unions
  • Klaus Misgeld: the Swedish Labour Movement Archives and Library
  • Ulla Wikander: Professor of Economic History at the University of Stockholm
  • Klas Åmark: Professor of History at the University of Stockholm

Please send your reply to:
Klaus Misgeld
Box 1124
Tel +46 (0)8 412 39 16
Fax: +46(0)8 412 39 90

Stockholm, 14th of November 2000
Bengt Göransson
Former Minister of Education and Culture
Chairman of the Research Council

Posted: 20 November 2000