MR Online | April 30, 2019
Labor around the world is facing a hostile situation to the extent and intensity unprecedented in labor’s history. At the same time, labor in the Global South and Global North is theoretically, organizationally and politically unarmed. In this interview conducted in April 2019 by Farooque Chowdhury, Timir Basu focuses on labor in India, a large economy in the Global South. Basu, once a revolutionary who organized among the poor peasantry, spent years in prison, during which time he focused on organizing prison labor. He has been an editor of Frontier, the radical weekly published out of Kolkata, ever since.
Farooque Chowdhury: You were actively involved with organizing the poor peasantry along revolutionary line. That was days of organizing armed struggle, years ago. Then, after getting out of prison, you actively got involved with organizing unions. You were simultaneously writing on labor and unions/labor movement in two famous weeklies—Economic and Political Weekly and Frontier. Later, over the years, as editor of Frontier, you keenly observe the labor and labor movement in India. What’s the present condition of (a) the labor, and (b) the labor movement in this south Asian country?Read More »
Great Transition | April 2019
Once seen as the vanguard of a new social order, the contemporary labor movement has been written off by many progressive activists and scholars as a relic of the past. They should not be so hasty. Rather than spelling the beginning of the end for organized labor, globalization has brought new opportunities for reinvention, and a sea change in both trade unions and the wider labor movement. Most notably, globalization has forced unions to think and act outside the state to build transnational solidarity across countries and sectors. Emerging transnational unionism, if it perseveres, contains the seeds of a new global movement, a new international that extends beyond labor to embrace all forces working toward a Great Transition.
Peoples Dispatch | March 05, 2019
Hundreds of tea workers, hailing from the state of Assam, gathered in the national capital of India on March 4, to protest the discrimination that workers suffer at the hands of the owners on a daily basis. The protesters demanded implementation of minimum wages and entitlement to legal framework to change the working conditions.
Under the banners of Chaaybagan Sangram Samity and Chah Mukti Sangram Samiti, the tea workers, associated with the Darjeeling Hills Terai Dooars, insisted that the dwellers reopen the closed tea garden and pay the dues. While calling for an end to discrimination, in terms of contractual and temporary recruitments, the workers said that bringing changes in labor laws would only bring some improvement in the sector.Read More »