Proletarians and African Capitalism: The Kenya Case, 1960-1972

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Cambridge University Press, 1975 - History - 222 pages
A study of the role of unionised workers in Kenya, this places the workers and their unions within the broad context of an evolving political economy. Similar studies, often restricted to a single trade union, have usually focused either on union-government relations or on internal union politics. This work is distinguished by its attempt to reveal the interrelation between these two facets of working-class life within a peculiar type of socio-economic environment - a predominantly peasant society governed by an elite committed to a capitalist economic strategy, closely associated with an 'external estate' of foreign interests, intertwined with local business concerns, and deeply involved in clientelist politics. Professor Sandbrook demonstrates that Frantz Fanon's sketch of the role of the unionised workers in an economically dependent former colony is largely correct in its application to Kenya. Top union leaders, drawn from the more privileged occupations, receiving relatively high rewards, and understandably apprehensive of the sanctions wielded by the ruling elite, have generally seen their role as obtaining a larger share of the economic pie for the workers within the capitalist political economy.

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