Events in India and the Future of Organized Labor

ACADEME BLOG

In an article published by AlterNet, Vijay Prashad reports on the latest and most massive general strike that occurred in India in early September. Although the article has a Marxist slant that may make it seem more op-ed than news report, Prashad gets several things undeniably right: (1) the corporate media has largely ignored labor unrest; (2) the decline in union membership does not mean that labor issues have become anachronistic; (3) the number of exploited, low-income workers is increasing, rather than declining; (4) in many ways, the exploitation of those workers has not just been an unfortunate consequence of economic change and an unfortunate anomaly of recent economic growth, but, instead, a major factor in both; and (5) if labor unions are to have renewed purpose and renewed vitality in the post-industrial economy, they need to serve such exploited workers, even if doing so requires new structures and…

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