Reviewed here is global research on how 13 types of Voluntary Membership Associations (MAs) have significantly or substantially had global impacts on human history, societies, and life. Such outcomes have occurred especially in the past 200+ years since the Industrial Revolution circa 1800 CE, and its accompanying Organizational Revolution. Emphasized are longer-term, historical, and societal or multinational impacts of MAs, rather than more micro-level (individual) or meso-level (organizational) outcomes. MAs are distinctively structured, with power coming from the membership, not top-down. The author has characterized MAs as the
dark matter of the nonprofit/third sector, using an astrophysical metaphor. Astrophysicists have shown that
most physical matter in the universe is dark in the sense of being unseen, not stars or planets.
This book provides an analysis of the articulation and organisation of radical international solidarity by organisations that were either connected to or had been established by the Communist International (Comintern), such as the International Red Aid, the International Workers’ Relief, the League Against Imperialism, the International of Seamen and Harbour Workers and the International Trade Union Committee of Negro Workers. The guiding light of these organisations was a radical interpretation of international solidarity, usually in combination with concepts and visions of gender, race and class as well as anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism and anti-fascism. All of these new transnational networks form a controversial part of the contemporary history of international organisations. Like the Comintern these international organisations had an ambigious character that does not fit nicely into the traditional typologies of international organisations as they were neither international governmental organisations nor international non-governmental organisations. They constituted a radical continuation of the pre-First World War Left and exemplified an attempt to implement the ideas and movements of a new type of radical international solidarity not only in Europe, but on a global scale.
Contributors are: Gleb J. Albert, Bernhard H. Bayerlein, Kasper Braskén, Fredrik Petersson, Holger Weiss.