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Organization without revolution: The labour movement and the failure of democratization in Cambodia

Young, S; (2021) Organization without revolution: The labour movement and the failure of democratization in Cambodia. Contemporary Southeast Asia , 43 (2) pp. 345-369. 10.1355/cs43-2f. Green open access

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Abstract

It is postulated that collective labour movements responding to demands for political reform, rather than to workplace demands, are key actors in democratic mobilization. Contrary to this proposition, this article draws on evidence from labour movements and related social allies in Cambodia to examine why they fail to mobilize in support of democratic revolutions. This article argues that labour movements in Cambodia do not “burst onto the political scene” because they possess weak social and institutional alliances with political actors, such as opposition parties and other interest groups, to establish a democratic revolution. The capacity of labour movements to transform “democratic intent” into “democratic action” is thus hindered by the ability of authoritarian rulers and their coalitions, including business elites, to tightly control and co-opt alliances of labour movements designed to put pressure on the ruling regime. In essence, capitalist development does not strengthen the capacity of excluded labour groups but co-opts them to break down the opposition alliance and thus prevent democratization.

Type: Article
Title: Organization without revolution: The labour movement and the failure of democratization in Cambodia
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1355/cs43-2f
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1355/cs43-2f
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10141336
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