Peter Waterman on Communication Internationalism for Labor and Unions

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Cyberunions podcast interview with Peter Waterman at

  1. Part One,
  2. Part Two,


Part One

"6:50 Interview with Peter Waterman

   * Where the ideas originate?
   * Began working with unions in 1985 ICT
   * International Labor Communication by Computer: The 5th International?

11:34 Working with Communication Officers

   * Did not want to save computer data
   * Fear of the Boss
   * Actually fear competing trade unions

18:34 A further step

   * Unionbook starts up
   * Broadcasting instead of engaging
   * Labourstart is not a dialogical site

26:23 Low level of technology

   * What is the penetration of Internet Cafés
   * Can’t say trade unions were part of the Arab Spring

33:10 Labor gets outflanked

   * Communication internationalism
   * Network is the way Occupy has developed.
   * Revolutions inside capitalism

35:44 End Part One

Part Two

8:14 Part two of the Interview

   * Peter Waterman explains his background
   * Interest in Internationalism as communication

11:50 What can unions do

   * Dedicating union staff to communication
   * Let loose on the Internet
   * Incapacity of unions to communicate effectively

15:00 Another kind of world

   * Cyberspace is another kind of reality, like cinema…
   * It is real virtuality
   * New Unionism and Unionbook are attempts, but subversive to top down labor

17:40 Tension between Vertical and Horizontal

   * Trade union conference is not like Occupy
   * Need some forms of coordination instead of top down leadership
   * Move from controlling to influencing things instead

20:15 Unions need to go to school

   * Need to work with the new social movements
   * If unions need a consultant should talk to Michael Moore, He has working class background
   * Need a Labor site dedicated to dialog

23:20 Swarm Theory

   * Light and flexible formal structure, Large long time commitment
   * Occupy Movement is a swarm
   * Worker or Collective articulation connects to swarm

28:00 The 1992 paper

   * People were pissed off at me
   * “‘The 5th international?’ What kind of shit is that?” ~union boss

30:14 Wrap up