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Reading: Moengo on strike: The Politics of Labour in Suriname’s Bauxite Industry

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Moengo on strike: The Politics of Labour in Suriname’s Bauxite Industry

Author:

Anouk de Koning

Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam, NL
About Anouk

Anouk de Koning (PhD) <A.deKoning@uva.nl> is a researcher at the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam, where she is engaged in research on social life in Amsterdam’s public spaces. Until 2009 she was part of a research project on Suriname’s twentieth-century social history at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV). Based on previous research on young professionals in Cairo in times of economic liberalization, she published Global Dreams: Class, Gender and Public Space in Cosmopolitan Cairo (American University in Cairo Press, 2009).

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Abstract

This article examines one crucial moment of contestation in colonial Suriname, the years 1941- 42, when sustained labour unrest in bauxite town Moengo led to the founding of the first mining unions. It argues that these strikes laid the groundwork for future relations between labour, company and the state and explores the kinds of socio-political alliances that were forged between labour and nationalist politicians on the one hand, and government and transnational company on the other, thereby situating this particular contestation in a larger struggle over a colonial system that aligned itself with metropolitan economic interests.

Resumen: Moengo en huelga: Políticas Laborales en la Industria de la Bauxita en Suriname

En este artículo se aborda un momento crucial de la impugnación en el Suriname colonial entre los años 1941-42, cuando un persistente malestar entre los trabajadores del pueblo de la bauxita de Moengo condujo a la fundación de los primeros sindicatos mineros. Se sostiene que esas huelgas sentaron las bases de las futuras relaciones entre el trabajo, las compañías y el estado y se exploran los tipos de alianzas socio-políticas que se forjaron entre políticos laboristas y nacionalistas por un lado, y el gobierno y compañías transnacionales por el otro, situando por ello esta particular impugnación en una lucha de mayor alcance contra un sistema colonial que se identificaba a sí mismo con los intereses económicos metropolitanos.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/erlacs.9241
How to Cite: Koning, A. de . (2011). Moengo on strike: The Politics of Labour in Suriname’s Bauxite Industry. ERLACS, (91), 31–47. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/erlacs.9241
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Published on 15 Oct 2011.
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