Dreaming the Impossible Dreams: Reading the Working-Class Ideals in the Hara Factory Workers Struggle (1975)
24 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2021
Date Written: November 5, 2021
The seizure and occupation of the Hara (Thailand) Factory by its own female workers in October 1975 has been recognized as a unique event in the history of labour disputes in Thailand. Scholars have viewed the factory occupation – later re-opened under the name ‘The United Labourers Factory’ – as a means to an end in order to bargain with the oppressive employer to give them better working conditions. This article studies the workers’ interviews recorded as part of the famous documentary Hara Factory Workers Struggle (1975) directed by Jon Uengphakorn et al. It treats their interviews as ‘text’ and ‘discourse’ in which their political imagination was embodied. Unlike precedent research, this essay argues that the newly established United Labourers Factory run by the workers themselves functioned as a laboratory of socialism, serving as a revolutionary model for a new mode of production. It aimed at rejecting human alienation, restoring human condition, and building labour solidarity with the wider world of the labouring poor. The United Labourers Factory was, arguably, a radical, concrete manifesto of a certain group of workers in modern Thai history.
Keywords: New Left, Socialism, labour dispute, Hara (Thailand) Factory, The United Labourers Factory
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