The Role of the Trade Unions

  • Joseph Godson


The communist view, as enunciated by Lenin and his successors, of the nature of trade unions and their relation to the state changes radically once a communist regime comes into power. Prior to a take-over, communists inside the trade union movement strive unceasingly and by all means available to generate hostility to the capitalist state. Once in power, with the state now supposedly on the side of the workers, the relationship is totally changed. This apparently signifies the trade unions’ almost total surrender of their position as independent institutions to promote and defend the workers’ interests and welfare.


Trade Union Communist Party Collective Agreement Socialist Competition Labour Legislation 
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  1. 23.
    Robert Conquest, Industrial Workers in the U.S.S.R. (London: Bodley Head, 1967).Google Scholar
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    Miklos Haraszti, A Worker in a Worker’s State (trans. M. Wright) (Penguin Books, Ltd., 1977) p. 40.Google Scholar
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    Isaac Deutscher, Soviet Trade Unions (London: Oxford University Press, 1950) p. 127.Google Scholar
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    Viktor Haynes and Olga Semyonova, Workers Against the Gulag (London, 1979) p. 13.Google Scholar
  5. 29.
    Quoted in M. Costello, Workers’ Participation in the Soviet Union (Moscow: Novosti Press Agency, 1977) p. 17.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Leonard Schapiro and Joseph Godson 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Godson

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