Trade Unionism Article

A very interesting article on the role of Trade Unionism


“Trade Unions are the schools of socialism. It is in trade unions that workers educate themselves and become socialists, because under their very eyes the every
day struggle with capital is taking place.”—Karl Marx

This pamphlet contains some excerpts from the extensive work that Lenin wrote on Trade Unions. It is hoped that they will provide a basis for discussion around the current position and issues of today’s trade union movement.Trade Unions are suffering from the fallout of Thatcherism including anti-trade union laws and the effects associated with partnership and privatisation. The social consensus of the Post World War Two period has been systematically eroded by global capital, this erosion has intensified and capitalism has gained new confidence since the dismantling of the Soviet Union. Political activists working within the trade unions are often faced with hostility, a reactionary leadership, bureaucracy, careerism and ineffectual or non-existent organisation and education strategies. A move towards servicing ‘clients’ rather than carrying out the democratic decisions of the members is seriously affecting the ability of the trade unions to organise, lead and educate the working classes. The excerpts of Lenin’s work are intended to look at why we must continue to work in this area, what we have to gain from this and also look at how the economic struggle cannot be our only focus. We need also to continue to struggle and build our influence within the social, cultural and political sphere if we are to build a base from which to raise the consciousness of the working class .