Tag Archives: CITU

Crisis of Working Class Politics – Challenges for Rebuilding the Left


In this year of COVID19, the organized ‘working class’ movement completes a hundred years of its history. It was on October 31 1920, that the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), the first central trade union organization, came into being. This might be a good occasion to take stock – to look back into history from what can only be described as a very troubled and difficult present – and peer forward into the future.

Workers, the long trek
Workers – the long trek, Image courtesy, The Wire

The year of COVID19 reveals, among other things, the very fragile and unstable nature of this entity called ‘the working class’ in countries like India. The monstrous situation arising out of the pandemic only provides us the window to that long and endless process by which the ‘working class’ is constantly made and remade. In a very important sense, unlike the peasantry which has a far more stable existence (till, for the requirements of Capital, it is uprooted and thrown into urban labour markets), the working class is an inherently structurally unstable social group. Given that its fate is tied to the requirements, caprices and maneouvres of Capital, the working class is not given to us readymade, once and for all. For as long-term changes in industry and technology occur or capital takes flight in the face of worker militancy, the working class too undergoes changes.

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Ambika’s Death: Madhumita Dutta & Venkatachandrika Radhakrishnan

The writers are activists based in Chennai working on issues of land, labour, industry and SEZs.

A view of Nokia's Sriperumbudur plant. Photo credit: Economic Times

S Ambika, a 22 year old woman factory-worker, died in the middle of the night in a posh hospital in Chennai on 31st Oct. She was a permanent employee of Nokia Telecom Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Sriperumbadur in Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu. Her agonising death was due to a fatal accident at a panel loading machine in the factory.

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