Party governments, US hegemony, & a tale of two Tillys’ Weberian state

  • Antonina Gentile


This paper notes that Charles Tilly’s “Globalization threatens labor’s rights” is distinguished by the author’s uncharacteristic pessimism concerning the continued salience of the national state and the domestic arena of contention, and the ability of ordinary people to resist large scale processes that threaten their rights. This study seeks to explain this paradox. It argues that a key commonality between “polity model Tilly,” “statist Tilly,” and the briefly appearing “globalization Tilly” is a fundamentally Weberian conception of governments, the state and the international state system which precludes the detection of key agents of capitalist regime change and world-scale ordering: party-governments and a hegemonic state. Political parties are critical agents of neo-liberal regime change, a process which involves a reformed or new party-government’s political and institutional decategorization of labor as an organized member of the polity, forcing labor to hat-switch to the category of citizen in order to survive the anti-labor order. Such a process is not new to the era of globalization: Hegemonic USA has promoted labor-decategorizing regimes of capitalism—whether the authoritarian or neo-liberal variant—since at least the end of WWII. Focussing on the historical push towards neo-liberalism in OECD, the paper argues that the hegemon’s neo-liberal, labor-decategoring projections have been limited by: a) the existence of a labor-related party in a party-government system; b) that labor-related party’s ability to capture government; and c) that same party’s maintenance of familial ties with organized labor. As such, neo-liberal regime change has not been invariant, nor has capitalist regime change been uni-directional towards the neo-liberal variety. Just as parties have been critical for labor’s decategorization, historically and today they are a key to labor’s struggle for recategorization.


Industrial Relation Labor Movement Work Council Weberian State Union Movement 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Facoltà di Scienze Politiche Dipartimento di Studi del Lavoro e del WelfareUniversità degli Studi di MilanoMilanItaly

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