ReAct Transnational (Network for Transnational Collective Action) is an NGO born in 2010 from a shared analysis: The main cause of the worsening inequalities and the climate and environmental crisis is the domination of the interests of the most powerful over those of the majority and the preservation of the planet and its ecosystems. The big multinational companies centralize, organize and finance the defense of the interests of these elites at all levels.
Following in the footsteps of several generations of activists for social and democratic progress, ReAct Transnational supports the organization of people affected by these abuses throughout the world, in order to build a social power capable of defending the rights and interests of the greatest number. It does this by incubating local democratic organizations and supporting existing ones to build broad transnational coalitions. These transnational alliances of citizens and poor workers who are able to hold the multinationals accountable are the fundamental condition for sustainable systemic change.
This means building a network of union organizers as the backbone of local citizen and worker unions and as facilitators of transnational alliances that link them in global campaigns.
Where to start
The ambition is great and the horizon seems distant: the structuring, on an international scale, of networks capable of fighting together for social justice and environmental protection. It is a question of conducting strategic campaigns targeting specific leaders and making concrete demands until effective victories are achieved. The first 10 years of experience of ReAct Transnational have shown that it is not enough to put like-minded people in touch with each other to build such a network and take action together. Organizing at every level is the key to success: from the most local to the most global, through structured coordination. ReAct Transnational therefore acts on two fronts:
Conducting global campaigns against specific multinationals through strategic research, coalition building, media outreach, and support for the organizing of local unions directly affected by the abuses of targeted multinationals.
Support the renewal of transnational trade unionism by developing the linkage of progressive unions within the Global Labour Institute and by supporting the formation of transnational trade union alliances
Conducting global campaigns
The main cause of the worsening inequalities and the climate and environmental crisis is the domination of the interests of the most powerful over those of the majority and over the preservation of the planet and its ecosystems. Large multinational corporations centralize, organize and finance the defense of the interests of these elites at all levels. In 30 years, the number of multinational companies has multiplied by 10 and in 85% of the cases, the headquarters of the parent company is located in a Northern state. France is the headquarters of 20% of the 50 largest European companies and 65% of French listed companies are subject to controversy regarding respect for human rights and the environment throughout the value chain. Land grabbing, pollution, corruption of local elites, child labor, non-respect of labor laws, criminalization of trade unionists… violations are multiplying everywhere. In the face of this, building local trade union forces is a necessary but not sufficient condition to defend our social, environmental and economic rights. To win, it is essential to put pressure on all levels and to coordinate on the globalized scale on which power is organized today.
ReAct Transnational contributes to the construction of international alliances, capable of leading global campaigns and achieving victories. These alliances have already led to the creation of the Transnational Alliance of Socfin/Bolloré residents (palm oil agro-industry), the Transnational Union of B2S employees (call centers), ST Micro (electronics) or the Transnational Federation of couriers (delivery platforms). These campaigns make it possible to mobilize economic, media, legal and political levers to bring local victories to global victories for human and environmental rights. The multiplication of pressure levers, fueled by strategic research, as well as the building of coalitions, allow the progressive rebalancing of the balance of power for fairer decisions.
Renewing transnational trade unionism
The rise of multinational companies, the breaking down of borders, the accelerated spread of new management models and the privatization of public services are all elements that encourage trade union organizations to forge links with other actors and to broaden the bases of their action. Local union action alone can no longer respond to social, climatic and political emergencies. Moreover, the relocation strategies of multinationals also encourage unions to form alliances with other unions around the world, whether between unions in the North or with those in the South. These alliances take a variety of forms, from the creation of spaces for social dialogue to the development of combative campaigns against multinationals. It is now necessary for unions to diversify their action strategies and to organize on a global scale in order to increase their power. It is in response to this challenge that ReAct Transnational is developing the GLI [Global Labour Institute], a network of several hundred trade unionists and activists, all seeking to restore the trade union movement to its original purpose: to be the engine of a radical transformation of society. The ambition of ReAct Transnational is to facilitate links between trade unions from different countries by building a network of progressive and internationalist trade unionists, by organizing regular meetings and by facilitating the launching of new transnational trade union alliances. These transnational alliances are nourished by a work of reflection led by ReAct Transnational with unions, researchers and activists, on the renewal of trade union internationalism. With our allies we open spaces of reflection and international training aiming at drawing lessons from practice concerning the tools of mobilization, the possible links with social and citizen movements, or the conditions of victorious transnational actions. It also aims to equip the whole trade union movement, particularly around community/union organizing practices, in order to contribute to the renewal of trade union practices wherever necessary.
ReAct Transnational’s organizing methods are disseminated in different countries by recruiting, training and deploying organizers who want to participate in changing the conditions of life in their country. Our experience shows that by mobilizing through non-violent actions on concrete and achievable demands, people gradually acquire the capacity for collective action and the vision necessary for profound social change.
Thus, we believe that, if carried out on a global scale and carefully coordinated, this combination of local and transnational strategies contributes to social and political transformation and to the emancipation of individuals by increasing their democratic power to act. By maintaining global pressure on multinationals in key economic sectors, we can bring about major systemic changes in a democratic and non-violent way. It is urgent to replace an unsustainable social, economic and environmental system with one that is responsible, democratic and guarantees a fair and sustainable distribution of resources.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator