Social Scientist. v 6, no. 70 (May 1978) p. 83.


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E A RAMASWAMY, THE WORKER AND HIS UNION, A STUDY IN SOUTH INDIA, Allied Publishers Private Limited 1977, pp 204, Rs 30.

In the present day context when many working class states have come into existence and the establishment of such states has become a material reality any study on working class organisation has to take into consideration the fact that the working class as a class can play its historic role if the trade union, where it gains its initial consciousness, trains, disciplines and prepares it for its role as a class-for-itsclf.

Unfortunately most studies on trade unionism in India have neglected this aspect completely. They have either been descriptive, historical studies or limited to the question of the impact of trade unions on wages in an overall neo-classical framework of wage determination. This book is refreshingly different and unique in the sense that it makes an indepth analysis of the actual functioning of a union. It views the whole question of why and to what extent workers participate in a union with the intention of analysing why some unions elicit greater participation than others. The emphasis in the substantive part of the study is on ^the variety and intensity of the links that bind the member to his union", the purely economic link—expectation of benefits—being insufficient to elicit sustained participation from the workers. The author rightly points out that one crucial link which ties the w6rker to the union is political and, unlike conventional studies on trade unionism which deprecate the entry of politics (that is political parties) into union activity, he shows that an average worker is not indifferent to politics and may in fact have an equally vital stake in political ideology. However he fails to bring out the vital link between the immediate (or economic) and the political or final struggle. While recognising the fact that the trade union movement is much more than a purely bread and butter affair, the author lacks the revolutionary Marixst-Leninist outlook which measures the success of the working class movement by the level of revolutionary consciousness created during the course of the economic



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