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'Destroy Capitalism!': Growing Solidarity of Alleppey's Coir Workers, 1930-40

Robin Jeffrey
Economic and Political Weekly
Vol. 19, No. 29 (Jul. 21, 1984), pp. 1159-1165
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4373437
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
'Destroy Capitalism!': Growing Solidarity of Alleppey's Coir Workers, 1930-40
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Abstract

Two things stand out about the organisation of workers in the coir industry centred around Alleppey in the 1930s. First, in contradiction to one strand of conventional wisdom about labour, the coir workers' union grew in strength and militancy during a depression. Second, the union successfully sublimated the deep caste and religious antagonisms of Kerala society - similar communal fissures elsewhere in India ripped unions apart - such that by the 1940s it could fairly describe itself as a class-conscious organisation. This paper attempts to explain these two features of the labour movement in the coir industry.

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