The Battle for the Right to Strike: An Intellectual History of the Networks of Employers, Trade Unions, and Social Ethicists Preparing, Defining, and Promoting Gaudium et Spes’ Teaching on Labor (1957-1968)
On December 7, 1965 the Second Vatican Council recognized the workers’ right to strike (Gaudium et Spes, § 68). This novelty in conciliar history and Catholic Social Teaching is a symbol for the hard-fought battle of networks with years of practical experience concerning the meaning of labor. This project will develop an intellectual history of three international representative networks that prepared, defined and further promoted a theoretically realistic and practically engaging view on human labor as fundamental for human dignity and workers’ rights in the context of Vatican II. These networks are respectively the employers (International Union of Catholic Employer’s Associations, UNIAPAC), the workers (International Federation of Christian Trade Unions, IFCTU), and social ethicists (International Union of Social Studies of Malines, UIES). Through literature study, archival research, and formalized social network analysis, the direct and indirect influence of these networks on Gaudium et Spes’ preparation, redaction and reception will be studied, taking into account the period 1957-1968, in order to do full justice to their pre-conciliar establishment in an era of internationalism, their decisive role in the conciliar process, and their post-conciliar treatment of ecclesial and societal reform.