International Aggregator Anarkismo.net
Learning from India: Political Parties, Alliances & Trade Union Organising for Counter-Power
Historically labour has always found itself at the unfortunate end of the table, denied the fruits of
its labour. Organised labour has, therefore, always tried to alter the balance of power in society.
Sometimes unions have attempting to align with state power, to try push it towards the side of
the workers. Sometimes unions have instead developed organisational strategies that look
beyond state power. In India, as elsewhere, “political unionism” – where unions support a
political party aiming at state power – has been very common.
This short article will critically discuss the history of “political unionism” in India. It will argue
the need for a change in the strategic outlook of unions, towards working outside the state,
building movements that refuse to participate in the state but aim instead to pressure it for reform
where possible, through bottom-up mobilisation.