Trade Union Imperialism and a Non-transformative Approach: SEWA Rachaita

  • Timothy Kerswell
  • Surendra Pratap


The Self-Employed Women’s Association is almost universally praised for its work organizing women in India’s informal sector, but has never been examined from a critical perspective. We critically assess the SEWA movement both in terms of its big picture strategy, and the grass roots of its movement. The strategies and tactics employed by SEWA expose the Indian working class to significant imperialist intervention through donations by highly politicized groups which have given these groups significant leverage over the organization. We consider whether the activities of SEWA have improved or restricted the agency of working class women. This will be assessed both generally in terms of their overall organization, but also in a specific case of their construction workers’ cooperative movement situated in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy Kerswell
    • 1
  • Surendra Pratap
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Government and Public AdministrationUniversity of MacauTaipaMacao
  2. 2.Center for Workers EducationNew DelhiIndia

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