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'Destroy Capitalism!': Growing Solidarity of Alleppey's Coir Workers, 1930-40
Economic and Political Weekly
Vol. 19, No. 29 (Jul. 21, 1984), pp. 1159-1165
Published by: Economic and Political Weekly
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4373437
Page Count: 7
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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.
Economic and Political Weekly © 1984 Economic and Political Weekly