Unit 23 trade union movement


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Unit 23 trade union movement

  1. 1. UNIT 23 TRADE UNION MOVEMENT Structure Objectives Introduction View Points of the Trade Union Tlleorists Behaviou ral Theory 23.3.1 Critics of Bel~tlviouralTlieory Anarchist Syndicalist Theory 23.4.1 Tlie Sytidic:llists Marsist Leninist Theory 23.5.1 Dillre~icc I3ct.ccn Atii~rcliis~ii Marxism and 3 . 2 Letiin on Trade IJl~io~i Movcniclit New Left Tllcories 23.6.1 I,c~ii~is Criticism ol Kc,isioliists 23.6.2 flic Nc I,cll Specifics of Tradc Union Mo~cmcntin Dc#cloping Countries Trade Union Molcnicnt in Diffcrcnt Countries 23.8.1 Trade Union Movcnicnt in U.S.A 23.8.2 Trade Unior~ Movcmcnt in U.K. 23.8.3 Trade U~iiol~ Movement in Soci;~listSt21tc 23.9 Trade Union Movenlent in India 23.10 Let Us Sum Up 23.11 Key Words 23.12 So~neUsehl Books 23.13 Answers to Check Your Progress Escrciscs 23.0 OBJECTIVES Tlle objective of tliis unit is to give !.ou a bricf account of dclclopnicnt of tradc union movcmalt. different theories of tradc union movcmcnt and the fi~~ictio~iing of trade unions in different countries. Aficr going througli this unit !.OLI .ill be able to understand: Various theories of Tradc UII~OII Movcmcnt: Differences betleen Liberal. Marsist and Allarchist Theories: Developnlent and Nature of Trade Unio~lMovc~ncntin different countries: &and Origin and D e v e l o p ~ ~ ~of~Trade Union Movenlc~ltin India c it Human Social life depends on h ~ ~ m a n work. Tlic nature of vork clla~lgcsfro111 time to time and place to place. Thcrc arc different catcgoricq of workers and plethora of relationships. In the ~iiodcnitimes. .ith tllc dc:clopmcnt of industries a category of workers is called industrial .orkcr. vhich constitl~tcsbulk of working class. Tllc scliolars harc dcvclopcd man!* theories and tlicrc arc contro~crsiesrelating to the co~lccptof class. Wliat co~istitutcs Working Class there are various tlicorics for that. Hovc,cr. vlicnc~crthe tcrlli vorking class is used, it galerally incans tllosc pcoplc .I10 car11 tlicir livclillood b. sclli~igtllcir !/ labour. This is also assumed that there arc so~ilc .Ilo bu!. their labour. Thc
  2. 2. Social h l u v c m e ~ ~ t s working class can enhance their bargaining power by joining hands witli each other. Their corning together is called trade i~nionism. A cursory look at tlie developrne~ltof trade unionism in modern times brings out tlie fact tliat, the trade uriiori movement, industrial working class arid capitalism emerged on tlie world scene simultaneously. The working class could assert itself against tlie mighty capitalist class, helped by tlie state, only when it organised itself. True, tlie capitalist class never welcomed the unionisation of tlie workers. Therefore, in the beginning unionisation of workers had to face tlie liostility of tlie capitalists. They tried to crush any sort of organisation of workers. The interest of tlie capitalist class could be served best by bargaining with an individual worker, rather than witli tlie collective organisation of workers, while workers experience taught them tliat tliey coi~ldnot withstand tlie power of tlie capitalists alone and therefore have to bargain collectively. Tlie capitalists started attacking workersorganisation from the very beginning. The state also helped them by giving them support with state apparatus - legislature, executive and judiciary. Legislations were passed to curb tlie collectivisatiori of tlie workers. "In Great Britain", writes G. D. H. Cole, "there were already, in the eighteenth century a number of statutes forbidding workers cornbinations in particular trades." He adds tliat " The principal purpose of tlie cornbination Acts of 1799 arid 1800 was to make them niore so, both by declaring uriequivocally that combinations were i~nlawful.Indeed, criminal conspiracies against the public interests arid by providing simpler ways of proceeding against offenders". But these combination of Acts of 1799 arid 1800 should not be co~istruedas an i~itroductio~i new principle banning combinations. It was, in fact, tlie of culmination of a series of Combinations, acts passed by tlie Parliament beginning right from the 1548 Bill of Conspiracies of Victuallers and Draftsmen- a general statute against sucli cornbinatio~ito raise wage or reduce working hours. Tlie trade unions were maligned and considered to be responsible for tlie disri~ptionof industry, tlie decline of economy, and undermining of social rights and privileges tliat traditionally have held togetlier tlie delicate fabric of society. Tlie ideologues, against the unionisation of workers sanctioned ths right of state to prohibit the workers to enter into any type of organisation by approaching tlie "i~niversal right of individual freedom." Tliese pliilosopliers of capitalism, in tlie name of individual freedom asserted tliat unionism is the negation of tlie sovereign right of individual freedom to enter into contract. The courts of law had accepted the plea, and had shown growing tendency to outlaw all such combinations on tlie ground tliat tlieir effect was to restrain trade by interfering with tlie natural liberty of all men to dispose of tlieir labour as tliey wished. Tlie orthodox economists (tlie spokesmen of capitalist system) opposed unionisation of tlie workers and held tliat "tlie share of wages in the product of industry was determined by inexorable laws-based on tlie laws regulation, tlie growth of population. Wages, it was said, could never rise more tlian, above subsiste~icelevel because if they did, rnore children would be born, or rnore survive so as to produce surplus labour". Thus, workers had struggled to assert tlieir right to organise themselves. They formed secret societiev in many countries to carry forward tlieir struggle to protect tlie fundaniental right of unity of the workers. "Tliese early trade unions," writes Cole, "had a hard struggle. Men who took the lead in organising them were very apt to find tliernselves discharged from their ernploy~nentand to have much difficulty in getting fresh jobs; and, over and above this many of them were imprisoned when tliey organised strikes, or even simply for the offence of
  3. 3. forming Trade Unions and presenting collective demands." The workers faced Trade Union Movementpersecution and repression. Yet against all odds they were able to win their rightto unionise. I n Great Britain the laws forbidding combination o f workers wererepealed in 1824. This concession was not sufficient as there were many pitfallsin the act. Needless to say tlie owners o f factories denied this right in one wayor the other. This became clear that tlie struggle for the riglits o f workers cannotbe isolated from the political struggles. Hence, workers fought tooth and nail forthe grant o f franchise and otlier political rights. The workers could achieve theirfundamental right to orga~iise themselves after paying a heavy price in theirsweat and blood.Check Your Progress 1Note: i) Use the space given below for your answer. . ii) Check your answer with answer given at tlie end o f the unit.I) Why was any kind o f co~iibination f workers opposed by the employers? o .................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................. ..................................................................................................................................2) How did tlie workers achieve their right to organise themselves in trade Unions? ..................................................................................................................................23.2 VIEW POINTS OF TRADE UNION THEORISTSBy and large, workers riglit o f union has been accepted in the capitalist society.But tlie politicisation o f tlie unions has been frowned upon. Some scholarspredict that in fi~ture tliey will lose the status tliey have secured so far. ProfessorGalbraitli has stated that unions in tlie future will " retreat more or lesspermanently into tlie shadows. Those who hold that labour unions are part andparcel o f the system and play a positive role in the society are not, however,enthusiastic for their close linkages with the politics. Allan Flanders views unionas "mixture o f movement and 90rpisation." He accepts*that, "one o f theprincipal purposes o f trade unions is collective bargaining a wide range o f other ,issues pertaining to their members jobs and working life. He admitsthat " theconstant underlying social purpose o f trade unions i s then participation in jobregulation, but participation i s not an elid in itself; it is the means o f enablingworkers to gain more control over their working lives," R. F. Hoxie holds that"while the trade union programme as a whole and as differentiated for each typeo f unionism i s mixed and incomplete, the economic programme has for all 3unions a single, definite outstanding viewpoint. The economic viewpoint o funioniswis pGmarily a group viewpoint and its programme a group programme. aim o f tlie union is primaiily to benefit tlie group o f workers concerned,rather than the workers as a whole or society as a whole; its theories whichattempt to explain the determination o f wages, hours, conditions o f employment,etc. are not general but primarily group theories. Jack Barbash who studiedAmerican trade unions says, "Higher wages and shorter hours are obvious but
  4. 4. genuine incentives for joining a union. Hc holds that the workers join unions tosave tl~enisclvcsfro111 favouritism. to save thcmsclvcs from hugeness andimpersonality. Fred H. Blum studying the Hormal-Packing House workersesperime~itopined that the aim of unions is to organise the work process in sucha way as to give to human values a central significance. R.C. Robertshighlighting the rolc of trade unions in free societies asserts. "trade i~nionsin frecsociety are A11 expression of the fundamental right of men and women to organlscthen~selvesin order to protect and proliiote their interests by collective action."He writes "In a free society the right to organise implies the right to exercisepocr that collective action carries vitliin the scope of liberal legal frailie work.A democratic society is by definition. one in ,liich power is not concentratedentirely or substantially in the hands of govcnimcnt: in niodern terms this liieanspover is diffused through a multiplicit~of agencies in other voluntaryorganisations. such 3s trndc unions. Aavc an i~ilportantrolc to pla).. they should.thcrcforc cnjo! the frccdo~llncccssay to cscrcisc their fi~nctionsin industn andto cscrt political prcssurc on tlic govcrnmcnt to legislate in their favour". "In afrec socictj.." B. C. Roberts comments. "it is rccogniscd that the interests ofdifferent groups ill inevitably conflict and it is of the essence of democracy thatthese conflicts sllall be settled by an interplay of social and pol~ticalforces. Itfollos fro111 the funda~iicntalass~~mptions tradc unions in a democratic thatsociety must be independent of both cmploj~ersand state."Check Your Progress 2Note: i) Use the space given below for your ansvcrs. ii) Clicck your ansvcrs it11 the model answer given at tlic end of tlie unit.1,) What is the purpose of trade union in a capitalist society?2 ) What relationship do they have vitli politics in nlodcni developed societies?23.3 BEHAVIOURAL THEORYTrade unions. in tlic beginning had to facc t11c rat11 of cstablis1~11~~1~t. but theysurvived and no arc accepted as a part and parcel of social life. Thcj, arcconsidered as prcssurc groilps. and thus. it is asserted: - from an oppositionniovc~iic~ittradc i~nio~lsliavc bcconic a rccogniscd institution deeply rooted in oureconomic and political s~stc111." The rolc of tradc unions has vastlj. changed. Earlier they yere considered to be in conflict with sjlstcnis. but now therelationship beteen tradc u~lionsand societ!.. for csamplc. has undergone aprocess of integration. Mark Vande Vall rcfi~tcsMarsist concepts of "classcs orclass conflict: and uses the tern1 used by Pete~Druckcr at tllc forty-seventha~u~ual ~iicetingof Anicrican ~uciologicalSociety. in Septeniber 1952- Tlie"
  5. 5. present society is status society and the past socict! as the class socict!,. Trade T ~ I ~ I U I I ~ ~ IA II~ I V C I I I ~ I I ~ C I Unions as pressure groups arc co~isidcrcdto be part of the political s!.stcm. The political system lias bccn conceived by bchalioi~ralistsas analogous to an electronic conip~~ter vhicli processes and thcrc b. transfoniis -inp~~ts ! into o~~tput. While adjusting nicclianisnis allov for a feedback fro111tlic outputs on the i ~ i p ~ nicchanisni. the ilip~~ts prcss~~rc all kinds vliich arc cscrciscd on ~ts arc of the system. In tlie earl! phase of capitalism tradc ~~nions .ere looked at vith suspicion. But niodeni political scientists now assume tliat they arc equal and sometimes niore powerfill in prcssurising the s!stcm. t l i ~ ~ s cstracti~igconcessions for themselves. In an advanced socicty tlic polit!, is considered as a rcad!,madc neutral niechanisni, whicli establishes equilibrium amongst various groups. "TO say that politics is the autlioritativc allocation of valucs in a community", according to Blondel, "is to say that sonic nicasurc of co~iflictcsists bctvcai values and between the holder of these valucs. Tlic govcnimcnt lias to sol.c these conflicts b vhatevcr mcnns arc at its disposal - the onl!. limitntion beingI ! , that in so doing it niust prevent tlic brcnk up of the polity. I The behnvioural political scientists t l i ~ ~ s admit that in advanced societies tlic tradc- unions have been pla!.ing an important rolc. Nc,crthclcss. the!. den!. the Marxists and Socialists vie. tliat tradc ~~nions ~cliiclcsof class war. or they arc .have an!. political rolc in the cstablishmcnt of a socialist socict!.. For them tlic trade unions arc not the organisation of oppressed .orking class. Tlicir participation in politics means: tlicir rolc in prcss~~ring political s!rstc~ii the through various channels so tliat vorkcrs ma get niasimum benefits. 23.3.1 Critics of Behavioural Theory The state. according to traditionalists, liberal and niodcni bcliaviouralists is a non -partisan. neutral and inipartial institution vliicli nicdiatcs bet~ccnthe conflicting interests without any bias. The capital and labour arc at par in rclation to tlic state: and their claims arc ad-iustcd in a mechanical lay. The!. lie) socicty as a mechanical process. and there arc 110 nidc mutations and revolutionan. changes. Working class is an ordinaq scgnicnt of this s!stcm. The various scliools of tlic socialist tliouglit do not accept statc as an ~~iipart~al and bclicvc that the bod! vorking class has to pla!. a diffcrcnt and rcolutionarl rolc i.c. the transformation of the socletjf. Tho~~gli thcrc is a idc range of differences regarding tlic rolc of state in bringing a nc soc~als!.stcm. ct the> agrcc that the statc is an instn~mcntof csploitatio~iin tlic hands of n ~ l i ~ i g class. State socialists hope that statc could be i~scdas an instn~mcnt.graduall!. in tra~isfoniiingthe socicty in a pcacefil .a!,. Tlic Marxists >antthe statc to play a transiton role as the dictatorsliip of prolctariat. The dictatorship of tlic proletariat will give way to the Co~nniunistsocial order of classless socict~rby eliminating the class distinctions. the distinctive feature of all class socictics. The anarcliists and syndicalists are suspicious of state: and want to kccp their hands off the state. For tlieni the very nature of tlie state is opprcsslvc and it can never be an instrunient of transfoniiing the socicty. The statc and Cli~~rch the arc paraplienlalia of the ruling classes atid scrvc tlicir interests. Check Your Progress 3 Note: i) Use the space given belov for !.our ansvcrs. ii) Check your ansvcrs .it11 tlic ~liodclansvcr given at the end of tlic unit. I ) What is the rolc of tradc ~lriionsill politics accordi~igto bclia~iouralists?
  6. 6. Social hlovcrnrnts 23.4 ANARCHIST SYNDICALIST THEORY Proudhon, the Anarchist lield that "property is theft" wliich is considered to be tlie fundamental riglit of Inan by the propertied classes. Thus propertied classes are thieves protected by state. The endeavour of the people sliould be to do away with all tlie i~istitutio~is these propertied classes . A true Iii~mansociety will of not only be a classless but a stateless society. The ideal anarchist is "to organise society in such a nianner that every individual man or woman sliould find, upon entering life, approxiniately equal means for the development of his or her diverse faculties and tlieir utilization in his or her work. To organise such a society tliat renders impossible the exploitation of anyones labour, will enable every individual to enjoy tlie social wealth wliich in reality is only produced by collective labour, but to enjoy it only in so far as lie contributes directly towards tlie creation of tliat wealth. For this, Bakunin ~dvocates," it is necessary to abolisli conipletely both in principle and in fact, all tliat which is called political power; for so long as political power exists, there will be ruler and ruled, Illaster and slaves, exploiter and exploited. Once abolished political power sliould be replaced by an organization of productive forces and economic service. He adds, not withstanding tlie enornious development of modern states, a develop~iientwliich in its ul:;~nte pliase is quite logically reducing tlie state to absurdity it is becoming evident tliat tlie days of state and the state principle are numbered. The contentiori of anarchists is that state protects the capitalist, system so tlie first attack should be on tlie state itself and the otlier system would crumble down automatically. They vehementliy criticize Marxist Communists, who want to capture state power to crusli tlie bourgeoisie. Bakunin says, " only the Communists. imagine that they can attain it (a classless social order) tliroi~gh development and organization of political power of working classes, and clieaply of the city proletariat, aided by bourgeoisie radicalism- whereas tlie revolutionary socialists, the enenlies of all ambitious alliances, believe on the contrary, tliat this common goal can be attained not througli tlie political but througli the social (and therefore anti-political) organization and power of the working masses of tlie cities and villages.. .." Bakunin criticises com~nunists and says tliat "the communists believe that it is necessary to organise tlie forces of the workers in order to take possession of the political ~niglitof tlie state. Tlie revolutionary socialists organise with tlie view of destroying, or, if yo11 prefer a more refined expression of liquidating the state. Tlie commu~iists partisans of tlie principle and practice of authority, while are revolutionary socialists place their faith only in freedom". According to Bakunin- " tlie source of its misfortune lies not in this or any otlier form of government but in the principle and tlie very existence of the government, whatever its nature !nay be." Bakunin exliorts, "On our banner, the social revolutionary banner- are inscribed, in fiery and bloody letters, tlie destruction of all states, tlie annihilation of bourgeoies civilisation ...." Thus, anarchists advocate, "before creating rather aiding the people to create this new organisation, it is necessary to overtlirow tliat wliich is. in order to be able to establish tliat which sliould be." 23.4.1 The Syndicalists The syndicalists share with anarchists their abhorrance of the word state . Any linkage of the working class with tlie state power would mean the defeat of the very aim. Tlie very character of state is such that it can never be used as an instrument of revolutionary change, is the firm faith of syndicalists. Therefore, an ideal soceity for synclicalists will be an organisation of working class syndicates,
  7. 7. where there is no pace of state power. The workers syndicates will attack Trade LJnion Movementcapitalist system as well as state power, wliicli needless to say, is the protector ofthe system. Sorel, tlie philosopher and spokesman of syndicalists philosophy wasan n<locate of tlie creed of violence. He admires and eillogizes violence and~ioIentmethod as the only method of overthrowing tlie present system. The~ i ~ e t l i o d ~ workers should use to terrorise the capitalist class is general strike. theorel In liis "Reflections on violence" writes "Revolutionary Syndicalism keepsalivc 111 tlie minds of niasses tlie desire to strike, arid tliat only prospers whenimportant strikes accompanied by violence take place." The strikes liave asentimental purpose. They are not only a bargaining instrument but also play aneriiotional and educative role. Sorel was a supporter of anti-rationalism. Hewrites," Syndicalists believe in spontaneity and tliat tliere is no process by whichfittitre can be predicted scientifically." Tlii~s,he advocated tliat through myth thespirit of strike slioi~ldbe included amongst the workers. He writes, "..use must bemade of a body of iriiages wliicli, by intuition alone and before any consideredarialysis is made, is capable of evoking as an undivided whole tlie mass ofsentiments wliicli corresponds to tlie different manifestations of tlie warundertaken by socialism against riiodeni society." Sorel elaborates, "Generalstrike is a niyt11 i n wliicli socialisni has coriiprised, i.e. a body of iniages capableof evoking instinctively all tlie sentiments which correspo~idto the differentmanifestations of the work undertaken against ~iiodernsociety: strikes liaveendangered in tlie proletariat tlie noblest, deepest and most moving sentimentstliat they possess, the general strike groi~pall in a coordit~atedpicture and bybringing tliem together, gives to each one of tliem its maximum of intensity,appealing to their painful n~en~ories particular conflict.. .. " thus syndicalists ofstrike has a psycliological purpose and accompanied witli violence create tlierevolutionary consciousness amongst tlie workers. The methods of syndicalists arepropagation of mytlis, violence, strike. general strike and sabotage.Check Your Progress 4Note: i) Use tlie space given below for your answers. ii) Check your answers witli the niodel answer given at tlie end of the unit.I) Discilss Anarchist and Syndicalist view of trade union moveme~it. What are the points of agreenient and disagreement between the two?23.5 MARXIST LENINIST THEORYMarx was very critical of anarclio-syndicalists. He fought bitter struggle againstPro~~dlionism Bakunism as well as Lassalleis~nin the First International. For andMarx, Proildl~oriwas the type of petty bourgeois socialist wl~osebold wars wereconfined to reactionary theories. He was a "talented publicist, a representative ofsentimental delinquent socialism," "from head to ~fnot, pliilosoplier, an aeconomist of the petty bourgeoisie", who upbraded the bourgeoisie wit11 theglaring accusatory formula ownership is theft. Proudlion considered himself as atheoretician of tlie working classes" and boldly began to come out witlitheoretical argilriierits on the philosopliy of the poverty. Marx made sharpcriticism of Proi~dhoi~ns philosophy of poverty in liis " Poverty of Pliilosopliy".Proudlion, as an anarchist, did not give any value to strikes. and economic
  8. 8. Social Movements struggle of workers. While Marx considered tliese struggles very important as part of class struggle througli which the proletariat will capture tlie state machinery. Bakunin who followed anarchists tradition and also rejected politics wanted workers to adhere exclusively to ecoliomic character. Lozovosky brings out the distinction between Bakunin arid Marx. He writes, "here we see tliat Bakunin refers to purely economic agitation." He speaks about the creation of resistance fund societies for purely economic struggle, says the workers are ignorant and, therefore, must not occupy themselves with too difficult problems, etc. The most that Bakunin permits is a federation of a resistance fund societies. This shows although Bakunin went further than Proudlion, he yet remained on one and tlie same path with him. He did not realise that trade unions are centres for organisation of tlie massess, that they are the one which prepare tlie message for tlie struggle of tlie dictatorship of proletariat. He failed to see just what Marx saw in the very steps of tlie trade unions. Marxist as against anarcho-syndicalist advocated that the workers should capture the state to establish a classless society. Thus the role of the economic struggle in general class struggk of tlie proletariat is clearly arid co~iciselydefined. Tlie trade unions must be a lever in the hands of the working class for tlie struggle against the political power of its exploiter. Tlie political liiovelnent of tlie working class naturally has as its final aim tlie conquest of political power. 23.5.1 Efference between Anarchism and Marxism Tlie dictatorsliip of the proletariat rests on tlie international unity of tlie workers. Marxs role in international working mens Association and the first International corresponded to liis belief that workers of the world have to unite to loose their chains. All working class movements, tlius be directed to the establishment of the unity of the workers. For Marx the interests of tlie working class are tlie same, and tliere is no antagonism and conflict of the workers of tlie varioils countries. The trade union philosophy of Marx is different from anarcho-syndicalist philosophy, who want to keep off political struggle from working class struggles while Marx attributes immense importance to the day to day struggles of tlie working class. " Marx writes about concrete strikes and gives dozens of examples of workers actions, describes what influence tliese had on working . hours, wages, labour legislation, etc. . Bakunin is not interested in factory laws for he does not see tlie connection between partial de~nands and tlie filial goal. He thinks that every strike may develop into a revolution. Marx is interested in the scope within which tlie trade unions can act." "It means", su~iis up Lozovosky, "the revolutionary Marxists have their own strike tactics- different radically from tlie strike tactics of the anarchists and reformists." 23.5.2 Lenin on Trade Union Movement Lenin, following Marxist tradition of proletarian internationalism, class struggle and dictatorship of tlie proletariat, developed his doctrine by focussing on tlie close relationship of tlie working class with the working class party. Lenins "What is to be done" represents tlie essence of liis trade union philosophy. Here, he elaborates the tactics to achieve Marxian goals of trade unionism. Lenin felt tliat economic struggle of the workers can serve little purpose because, "Tlie econo~nicstruggle merely impels the workers to realise the governments attitude towards the working class. Consequently, liowever lnucli we may try to lend tlie economic struggle itself a political character, we shall never be able to develop the political consciousness of the workers to the level of social- democratic political consciousness by keeping within tlie frame work of tlie economic struggle, for, that framework is too narrow." Lenin held that "Class
  9. 9. political co~~sciousness be brought to the workers only from without, that is, can Trade Union kluverne~~tonly from outside the economic struggle, f r o ~ n outside the sphere o f relationsbetween workers and employers." Lenin explains that, " The history o f allcountries shows that the working class exclusively by its own effort, is able todevelop only trade union consciousness, i.e. the conviction that i t is necessary tocombine unions, fight the employers, and strive to compel the goverument topass necessary labour legislation, etc. The theory o f socialism, however, grew outo f tlie philosophic, historical and economic theories elaborated by educatedrepresentatives o f the propertied classes, by intellectuals." Lenin thus emphasisedthat tlie political co~~sciousnessf the workers is very essential for socialist orevolution: but if i t is confined to trade union activity i t would lead only toeconomism. Working class conscious~~ess cannot be genuine politicalconsciousness unless the workers are trained to respond to all cases o f tyranny,oppression, violence, and abuse. Lenin also warned that only theoretical andbookish knowledge is not sufficient. The social democrats have to be in closecontact with tlie working class and their activities. He writes, "Tliose whoconcentrate the attention, observation, and co~~sciousnessf the worki~rg o classexclusively, or even mainly, upon itself alone are not Social Democrats; for theself knowledge o f tlie working class is indissolubily bound up, not solely with afully clear theoretical u~lderstanding rather not so much with the theoretical, as orwith the practical u~ldersta~iding the relationships between all the various ofclasses o f modern society acquired througli the experience o f political life." "Inorder to become a Social democrat," Lenin emphasised, "the worker must have aclear picture in his mind o f economic nature and the social and political featureo f the landlord and the priest, the high state official and the peasant,The studentand tlie vagabond...; lie must understand what interests are reflected by certaininstitutions and how they are reflected. But this " clear picture" cannot beobtained from any book. I t can be obtained only from living examples and fromexposures that follow close upon what is going on about us at a given moment,etc. These comprehensive political exposures are an essential and fundamentalcondition for training the masses in revolutionary activity."Leniu opposed tooth and nail the revisionists concept o f trade unionism; thatspontaneous trade union activities o f the workers w i l l lead them to politicalconsciousness, his view was that clear political understanding is necessary forleading the working class struggles and this understanding could be developedonly through direct and active association with the working class struggles.Check Your Progress 5Note: i) Use tlle space given below for your answers. ii) Check your answers with the model answer given at the end o f the unit.1) Explain Marxs views about trade unions as g@ssstruggles. a2) How did Lenin support close linkages o f workipg class struggles with working class party?
  10. 10. Social hlovements 23.6 REVISIONISM AND NEW LEFT THEORIES The revisionists claimed to revise Marxism according to the changing natuF of modern capitalism, which Marx could not foresee in his own time. The Mhrxists concept of tlie dictatorsliip of proletariat has been given up by the modern Social Democrats. They liold that orthodox Mamian had become out of date, therefore, it must be re-examined, corrected and supplemented. For them, Marxism is wanting 011 tlie followi~ig counts: I) The theory of tlie class struggle, is itself correct; however, it loses its - significance with tlie development of the trade union and the establishment of democracy; 2) Revolution is an absolute conception, it corresponds to a lower level of social development. Tlie democratic state precludes revolutions and the revolutionary struggle; 3) Democracy assyl-es the working class the peaceful passing over from capitalisni to socialism, and therefore tlie dictatorsliip of tlie proletariat is not and cannot be tlie order of the day; 4) Tlie theory of tlie impoverishment held good at one time, but now it has become obsolete; 5 ) During tlie epoch of Marx it was perhaps true that the leading role in the trade unions belonged to the party, but today only party-political neutrality can ensl~re effective development of the trade union move~iient; tlie 6) During tlie epocli of Marx, strikes had to be considered as one of the most important weapons of struggle, but native philosopliy of trade unions have outgrown this. This Marxiari alternative philosophy of trade unionism, or revisionism, has many varieties like state socialism, evolutionary socialism, collectivism, guild socialism, fabianism and democratic socialism, etc. They have minor differences on some issues but they are based 011 tlie faith that democratic institutions, shoilld be used by workers by participating in elections, forming labour, social democratic parties arid pushing measures using governmental authorities for the benefit of tlie workers. When out of power, as an opposition party it should pressurise the governmelit to give concessiolis to the workers. Thus, socialism can be brought about gradually, and capitalist state would give way to a socialist state peacefully. 23.6.1 Lenins Criticism of Revisionists Needless to say tliat Lenin had serious disagreement over the supplementing of Marxism by the revisionists. He called these revisionists as opportunists and stooges of tlie capitalists. Lenin held that the phenomenon of imperialism helped the iniperialists to obtain immense profits from the exploitation of colonial countries. The part of tlie profits, they amassed in their coffers, distributed as cri~nibsto the so called working class leaders - the labour aristocracy. The better conditions of the working class in advanced capitalist countries projected by the spokesmen of social democracy is nothing but the reflection of the opportunism of these labour leaders who are benefitted by collaborating with imperialist exploitaion of tlie colonies. 23.6.2 The New Left The New Left philosophers combat tlie Marxist-Leninist theory tliat the condition of the working class will deteriorate with the advance of capitalism. They liold /
  11. 11. that in fact in advanced capitalism, working class power has increased and they Trade llnion Movementare no more exploited, but through their united power dictate their terms toe~nployersas well as political system. They are called as "New Men o f Power".The New Left feels tliat in the advanced capitalist countries workers are no morerevolutionary and tliat they are bourgeoified and consunieris~nhas overtakenthem. This society, according to Marcuse, is based on an alliance between bigbusiness and the working class whicli has been brain washed into chasing an everespa~idi~ig o f goods and inessential gadgets tliat their relative affluence flowenables them to purchase. Marcuse holds tliat working class is no more anegation o f capitalism, but is i n c o l l u s i o ~ ~ with i t in protecting tlie presentsystem. According to lii~ii, "Tl~e very classes wliicli were once the absolutenegation o f the capitalist system are now more and more integrated into it".What role SIIOLII~ t l ~ e trade unions play in politics? N o doubt, there is wide rangeo f differences. The capitalist system has been compelled to allow trade unions toexist, but there is always an emphasis, wliicli is reflected by tlie tlieorists, whoconsider western democratic syste~n an ideal syste~nas well as inevitable, that astrade ~ ~ n i o n s only bargainers, and tlieir role in politics is confined to putting arepressure on tlie political systeni to gain benefits for the workers. On the otlierside, Marxists are emphatic that workers sl~ould politicised, and trade unions beare not only an instrument to extract concessions for the workers but also theyhave to t r a ~ ~ s f o r ~ i i capitalist systeni into a socialist system, and build a thesocialist society. The world has been thus divided in tlie capitalist world, thesocialist world and the newly independent countries w l ~ i c l have overthrow11the iforeign yoke very recently. What role workers ~ ~ n i o n s played in these liavecountries? Are they contined to tlieir econo~nicrole and limited themselves toputting pressure on tlie governliient to sliorten tlieir working hours, asking forvarious facilities and wage increase? Nevertheless, tlie s i t ~ ~ a t i o n tliese colo~iial incountries had been very different. Working class also has to undergo immenses ~ ~ f f e r ialong witli tlie other sections o f the society due to tlie ruthless ~igexploitation by the colonial rulers. Therefore, they also joined wit11 other ectionsin tlieir struggle for freedom. Trade unions also are involved along with other 1classes in tliese colonies witli the national liioveliierit as i n India; thus the mostremarkable feature o f trade ~ ~ n i o n s their linkage wit11 political movements. isCheck Your Progress 6Note: i) Use tlie space given below for your answers. ii) Check your answers witli the model answer given at the end o f the unit. aI) Exa~iiinerevisionism as an improvement on Marxist theory o f trade ~~nionism.23.7 SPECIFICS OF TRADE UNION MOVEMENT IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES .fThe contradictio~isw i t l i i ~ iiniperialis~nconipelled the imperialism to allow the industrialisation to take place i n these colonies. In India, industrialisatio~~ take did /
  12. 12. Social hlouenict~ts place despite the discouragement by tlie colonial ruler. Reluctant, tardy, illleven and limited it might be, imperialists had to start industry. Tlie railways industry was started by the British bourgeoisie to appropriate raw materials and to liave access to tlie markets. Why and how this took place had been explained by Marx. "I know tliat tlie English millocracy intend to endow India witli railways witli tlie exclusive view of extracting at diminished expenses tlie cotton and other raw materials for tlieir manufactures. But when yoit liave introduced macliinery into tlie locomotion of a country, then it becomes necessary to meet tlie immediate and current wants to railway locomotion, and out of which there must grow the application of machinery to those branches of industry not immediately connected witli the railways." Tlii~s, "All that tlie English boi~rgeoisiemay be forced to do will neither emancipate nor materially mend the social condition of the mass of tlie people, depending not only on tlie development of the production power but on tlieir appropriation by the people." Tlii~s,tlie plienomenon of imperialism, its relationship witli tlie indigenous emerging bourgeoisie, its attitude towards the working class, tlie attitude of indigenous bourgeoisie towards working class and imperialists and tlie responses of working class to indigenous bourgeoisie and i~nperialislnis very intricate and coniplex. Tlie nature of trade i~nionismin India, therefore, reflects tlie complexity of tlie socio-economic reality-of tlie erstwhile colonies. Nonetheless, political factors exert a very important ilifluence on trade union movement. The commentators on Indian trade illlion movement however, overlook the role of i~iiperialistnin complicating tlie nature of trade ilnionism. Tliey take into account tlie social backgrou~idof tlie workers, tlieir religion, caste, age, financial condition, family size, etc, but not the socio-econolnic forces as the result of complex condition "created by field of labour and social legislation", whicli in turn were obviously determined by tlie political factors. I n advanced capitalist countries, tlie non-Marxist western scliolars trace the links of trade i~nionswitli politics bnly as groilps concerned witli tlie econo~iiicpolicy of tlie government as it affects tlieir interest. In colonial countries, the fact has been admitted tliat the politician rnobilised the workers to form trade ilnions and these trade ilnions played an important role in tlie national movement. Subrata Gliosli says "In the beginning of tlie twenties, tlie trade i~nionsmovenient was stro~iglyinfluenced by ~iatio~ialists liumanists." "In fact, fro111our experience of trade i~nionsitilation and in tlie underdeveloped countries where trade ilnions are more recently born, we tilay safely consider tliat it is more possible tliat trade i~~iionisrii originates first due to the impact of direct strains up011tlie workers, wliicli tend to ci~rtailtlieir already low standard of living, rather than tlieir desire to participate in tlie nlle- making process." Gliosli refutes Kerr and Siegels view tliat trade unions are formed by tlie workers " to participate in tlie rille making process in the country." This may be true in developed countries but not in the developing countries. Scholars, wlio looked at societies as orily free societies or totali!arian societies", liave not paid attention to the vast society wliicli was very recently under tlie dominance of imperialist powers. Tliey talk of trade ilnions in a free society and assert that tliey are an expression of the fundamental right of men and wollien to organise tlieniselves in order to protect and promote tlieir interests by collective action. It cannot be assumed, however, on tlie basis of tilere existence of trade i~nions that tlie societies of botli riglit and left liave made use of trade il~iiolisto acliieve tlieir ends. - Check Your Progrcss 7 Note: i) Use tlie space give11 below for your answers. ii) Clieck yoilr answers witli tlie model answer given at tlie end of tlie unit.
  13. 13. 1) What are tlie specificities of trade union in developing countries? Trade Union Movement .................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................. .................................................................................................................................. ..................................................................................................................................23.8 TRADE UNIONISM IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES"Trade Unionism" writes G. D. H. Cole "is shaped not only by the stage ofeconomic development but also by the general structure in which it has to act"The dominant trade unionism in developed countries has different goals andstructures. They are considered as pressure groups and not part of state structure;they are considered to be apolitical. The socialist coulitries empllasise thepolitical role of trade unions. Tliey are considered to be part of state structure,atid are assigned to carry out tlie work of socialist transformation. The tradeunion movement in tlie developing countries emerged and progressed in differentcircuriistances and therefore are different in nature.23.8.1 Trade Union Movement in U.S.A.The Trade Union Movement in tlie United States of America is today anaccepted arid permanent part of Aliierican social scene. After decades of intensestruggle, organised labour is now an admitted fact in economic, political andsocial life.With the growth of industries tlie U.S. workers and factory system workers haverealised that only tliro~;~li collective action could they bargain on anything onequal terms. They began to organise. Philadelphia printers appears to be the firsttrade ~lnionwhich in 1786 went on a strike for a miriirnurn wage of $6 a week,and after six years a kind of perrnanerit formation took place among shoemakersof Quaker city. Tlie scattered unions were formed in two decades and only in1827 a labour move~nentappeared and workers in different trades came to formone central labour union - The Mechanics Union of Trade Association. After thisCentral bodies sprang up in New York, Boston and other cities.During Civil war new factories were established to supply the armies. There wasan expansion of markets froni one locality to tlie nation. The development ofnational market compelled labour to organise increasingly on a national as wellas local scale. However, they did not survive long. In 1869 another nationallabour organisation was forriied - tlie rights of labour. It became very irnportalitbut by 1894, its decline started, because of the emergence of another organisationAmerican Federation of Labour in 1886. Satnuel Go~npers was its president. In1905 apart frorii American ~edeiationof Labour some other strong trade unionsalso came LIPas Industrial workers of tlle world, wliicli espoused Frenchsyndicalisni.In 1935 Jolin L. Lewis organised industrial unions inside the A.F.L. namedCommittee on Industrial Organisation-CIO. Bitter struggles followed after thiswitli A.F.L. which resulted in the expulsion of these two leaders related to thisCotnmittee of Industrial Organisation, and shortly, thereafter, the committeechanged its name to Congress of Industrial organisatiori C.I.O. The labour sceneat national level is do~niriatedby these two front organisations A.F.L. and C.1.0.Tliey often try to come closer to each other. These trade union organisations arenot closely associated witli any specific political party of U.S.A., however at
  14. 14. Suciwl nlovcments times they are in forefront in declaring their choices for presidential candidates and express opinions in favour or against the specific policies o f tlie state, arid are affiliated to International Confederation o f Trade Unions. 28.8.2 Trade Union Movement in United Kingdom The British Trade Union Movement is the oldest in the world. With tlie emergence o f industrialisation and development o f capitalism, the workers realised the fact that they could not witlistand tlie power o f tlie employer alorie and have to bargain collectively. The employer did not like tlie workers to join hands with eacli other and form a combination. The State helped them in tliis. G.D.H. Cole writes "tliere were, already in tlie eigliteenth century a number o f statutes forbidding workers. Tlie workers faced persecution and repression. Yet against all odds they were able to win their right to unionise." Interestingly tlie early manifestation o f ~~nionisation workers expressed itself in of a fear o f modern industry. Tlie workers feared that mechanisation in the production process W O U result in the loss o f job o f the workers. Tliis led the ~ ~ workers to wreck tlie machine. This for111 o f protest was called Luddism, and was severely dealt by the state. Llltimately the workers reconciled with the fact that modern industries would stay and they have to adjust with them arid workers entered another pliase o f unionism. Apart from figliting for economic betterment in terms o f wages arid other facilities, the workers realised the importance o f share in political power. Tlie national Association for tlie protection o f labour establislied in 1830. Robert Owen founded the Grand National consolidated Trade Union in 1834. For the protection o f workers rights through political process a charter o f demands was prepared. Tliis was called Chartist movement. During tliis period industrial workers obtained the representation o f peoples Acts o f 1867, and 1884. In 1868 tlie Trade Union Congress, a central organisation o f the Englisll working class was formed. At tlie present juncture British Trade Union Congress is the apex body o f the workers o f Britian. Most unions are affiliated to it. I t separates itself from political parties o f U.K. However generally labout. party draws bulk o f its support froni trade unions. However, tliere are some unions whicli are staunch supporters o f conservative party. By and large trade unionism in Britian i s mainly economic like U.S.A. 28.8.3 The Trade Union Movement in Socialist State: Former Soviet Union Tlie role o f trade unions i s considered very different in socialist countries from a capitali51 system, where they are considered as pressure groups. Tlie purpose o f trade un?ons in socialist countries is to ensure workers participation in socialist production managenient. Therefore the workers associations were considered the most important social force in tlie vast lalid o f Soviet Union. The Trade Unions o f the U.S.S.R. enlisted the working people in coping with tasks connected with tlie further development o f production, teacli the masses socialist discipline and c o n i ~ n ~ ~ n i tattitude to work and public property, and instill in the industrial ar~d ies office workers a sense o f being masters o f their own country. A brief sketch o f history o f trade union movement brings out the fact that prior to Bolslievik revolution in Russia, Trade Unions had come LIP quite late. Capitalisni got a very late start in tlie Russian Empire arid the protective organisations o f the workers were correspondingly late in making tlieir
  15. 15. I appearance. Tlie first A l l Russian Trade Union Conferelice, composed chiefly o f lrade Union hlovement delegates from Moscow i ~ n i o n s was held in October 1905. Tliere was ruthless suppression o f their activities b y the Russian authorities. As a consequence i t was difficult to witlistand the ruthlessness o f Russian State power and b y tlie winter o f 1916-1917 the membership o f unions dwindled to 1500. After March Revolution a council o f trade i ~ n i o n s was formed in Moscow and one i n Petrogard. I n Petrogard, and Moscow and other cities i i ~ i i o workers carried out ~i final seizure o f power which followed falnoi~sOctober revolution. Tlie new role o f all Russian Congress o f trade u ~ i i o ~was discussed i n 1918 at is petrogard in its first congress. With the introduction o f N e w Economic Policy, tlie unions became ecolioinic collaborators and advisers in the management o f industry. Before October revolution tliere existed a large nu~iiber f small ilnions o that had sprung LIP lnostly after march days which were later united in a central 01-ganisation known as tlie A l l Union Central Council o f Trade Union/Central C o i ~ n c i l f Trade Union ( A C C T U or simply CCTU). o Cl~cckYour PI-ogress 8I Note: i ) Use tlie space given below for your answers. ii) Check your answers witli tlie ~nodel,a~iswer given at tlie elid o f the unit. I) What are tlie main national trade i~nionsin USA, U K and the foniier Soviet Union?II 23.9 TRADE UNION MOVEMENT IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES - INDIAN TRADE UNION MOVEMENT The Trade Union Movement in tlie developi~ig countries developed very differently from the advanced capitalist countries and socialist countries. There are some specifities i n the growth o f trade L I ion movenient i n these 11ost-colonial ~ societies. One o f the features o f trade union movement is its belatedness. In real sense trade union movement eiiierged o n national scene only after the first world war. Because o f late development o f industries, tlie workers are new to the industrial culture and dominated by rural moorings. Besides, there are strong political linkages witli tlie trade i ~ n i o n movelnent in tlie developing countries w i t l i national movement. Generally during tlie colonial period tlie trade unions were in the forefront o f freedom struggle, and therefore apart from trade union activities were deeply involved in the politics o f the country. Indian I rade Union Movement reflects tlie special nature o f the trade union moveriient o f an erstvliile colonial country. -. Before first world war the trade unionism in l ~ i d i awas very negligible. Generally there were some organisations which came up but they were very short-lived. During tlie war some efforts were made to organise workers on ~ n o d e r trade l~
  16. 16. Sucinl hlovements union lines wliicli ulti~nately culminated in an All India Trade Union Organisation called All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) in 1920, so that lndia could be represented at International Labour Organisat ion. A.I.T.U.C. had close links witli the national movement. Many o f its presidents were active in tlie national movement. Before Independence it was tlie front organisation o f tlie workers, just like Indian National Congress whicli was an umbrella for different shades o f opinions and ideologies. Silnilarly in A.I.T.U.C. also there were different approaches to trade unionis~n that merged in one trade i~nion organisation. At times there were splits also because of sharp differences in view points. Apart fro111A.I.T.U.C. Gandlii also enunciated a trade union movement based on his ideology o f Sarvodaya. Ahmedabad Textile Union or Mazdur Mahajan Sablia was a trade union organisation wliicli represented Gandhian philosophy o f industrial relations. After independence tliere has bee11break up o f Indian National Congress in lnany political parties as national movement got fragmented. Tlie trade union niovelnent also broke up in riiailv trade union organisations. A.1.T.U.C has been split in many trade union centres wliicli are strongly linked with one or the otlier political party sucli as Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) linked with tlie Endian National Congress. Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, BMS with Bhartiya Jariata Party, A l l India Trade Union Congress witli Colnlnunist Party o f India, (AITLIC). Centre for India11Trade Union ClTU with Communist Party Marxist Hilid MaL_:--r Pancliayat, (HMP) Hind Mazdoor Sablia witli socialists. Besides these, there are soriie other trade union centres which are also affiliated witli one or otlier political parties. Thus tlie most important characteristic of lndian trade union movement in developing countries i s its close political involvement. Check Your Progress 9 Note: i) Use tlie space given below for your answers. ii) Check your answers witli the model answer given at tlie end o f the unit. 1) How can tlie political nature of trade union movement in lndia be traced in Indian National Movement? 23.10 LET US SUM UP The working class organises itself in trade union organisations to protect their interests. The workers waged a prolonged struggle to achieve their right to organise themselves in an union. There are varied views regarding the goals o f trade unilons, their relationsliip with politics and class consciousness; therefore there are different theories of trade unions such asBehavioural theory, Anarchist Syndicalist theory, Marxist and Leninist theory, and New Left theories. Mostly these tlieories reflect tlie social reality o f advanced developed countries or socialist countries. Tlie trade union movement in developing countries i s different. In India trade unions emerged out o f national ~novelnent and have close links witli politics. There i s a lnultiplicity o f trade unions.
  17. 17. Trade Union Movement 23.11 KEY WORDS Bourgeois : A term used by Marxist Socialists to denote proprietors (other than agricultural), capitalists, manufacturers, merchants, persons with a business of their own and persons of liberal professions. Class Conflict : Conflict between different classes, in the present context particularly .between bourgeoisie and proletariat for protection of their interests. Anarchists : Believers in the doctrine that every form of government , is evil and tyranny. Therefore state should be abolishedI Proletariat : and instead free associati011of individuals without arms be established. The class of wage earners with little or no property of their own who depend on the sale of their labour. 23.12 SOME USEFUL BOOKS Ahmad, Mukhrar. TradeUnions and Labour Disputes in India, 1935. Cllatterjee Rakahar i . Working Class and Nationalist Movement in India. The Criticul Years, New Delhi 1984. Clarke, Tom. Trade Unionism under Capitalism, New York 1977. Cole, G. D. H. Introduction to Trade Union Movenient, London, 1962. Crouch, Harold. Trade Unions and Politics in India, Bombay, 1966. Galenson, Walter and Seymour Martin Lipset. Labour and Trade Unionism: AnI Interdisciplinary Reader, New York, 1960. Ghosh, Subrata. Trade Unionisim in Underdeveloped Countries, Calcutta, 1960. Hoxie, R.F. Trade Unionisin in United States, New York, 1966. Maximoff, G. P. New York, 1966. I1 McCarthy, W. E. (ed.), 1972.I Raman, N. Pattabhi. Political Involvement o Indias Trade Unions, New York, fiI 1967. Saxena, Kiran, National Movement and Trade Union Movement, New Delhi, 1990.1 23.13 ANSWERS TO CHECK YOUR PROGRESS EXERCISESIr Check Your Progress 1 1) Secc Section 23.1i 2) Seec Section 23.1
  18. 18. Social hlovelnents Check Your Progress 2 1) Secc Section 23.2 2) Seec Section 23.2 Check Your Progress 3 1) Secc Section 23.3 Check Your Progress 4 1) Secc Section 23.4 Check Your Progress 5 1) Secc Sub-section 23.5.1 2) Seec Sub-section 23.5.2 Check Your Progress 6 I) Secc Section 23.6 Check Your Progress 7 1) Secc Section 23.7 Check Your Progress 8 1) Secc Section 23.8 Check Your Progress 9 1) Secc Section 23.9