The Voyage of the Neptune Jade: Transnational Labour Solidarity and the Obstacles of Domestic Law
This chapter recounts the troubled voyage of the Neptune Jade, a cargo ship caught in the midst of a dockworkers' dispute that began in Britain but attracted expressions of solidarity from dockworkers all over the world. It deploys the image of the endlessly voyaging Neptune Jade as a metaphor for the relentless search for solidarity in the midst of changing and highly unpredictable economic and political seas. Why should strikes aimed at supporting workers elsewhere not be deemed to involve basic rights? If a nation privileges political speech, why are expressions of views, voiced by withholding labour, not considered worthy of protection? The poignant absurdity to which this issue gives rise is illustrated by US laws protection of the right of unions to handbill consumers even though action is secondary, on the ground that it is protected by the First Amendment.
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