Vedi Hadiz Reviews Michele Ford’s “Workers and Intellectuals”

Michele Ford’s new book Workers and Intellectuals: NGO’s, Trade Unions, and the Indonesian Labor Movement (2009) is certainly next on my own reading list and Vedi Hadiz, author of Workers and The State in New Order Indonesia (1997), recently wrote of review of the book for Inside Indonesia.

The author’s underlying contention is that the majority of observers of Indonesian labour, this reviewer included, have underestimated the role of labour NGOs due to an ideological and/or intellectual inclination to emphasise trade unions as the main vehicle of labour struggles. Ford argues that the structural characteristics of Indonesia, like that of many post-colonial societies, necessitates a fundamental re-conceptualisation of what constitutes a labour movement in historical experiences as they differ so greatly from that of Europe and other advanced industrial societies. On the whole, she makes this argument very convincingly.


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