Union fight for democracy

Strong together

There is no argue that the spread of unions across the world in the last 200 years has been a necessary struggle. When people organize under leadership to reach a certain goal, the individual is at its strongest. Being a part of a union is today seen as a civil right but there are still countries where unions play a very small part, or doesn´t even exist. It is so much easier to build a union in a country with democracy. In a country with dictatorship the spread of unions is usually very narrowed down. In many countries they are even forbidden. The unions are favoured by democracy but can also be an important part of creating democracy in the country.

The fall of the Apartheid system – thanks to the unions

It was mainly the union organisation Cosatus doing that the apartheid system fell. Since ANC, African National Congress (the socialist party of South Africa) was forbidden during the Apartheid era the resistance needed to be channelled from a different angle. Cosatus, that was very well anchored in the mining industry and the metal sector, worked hard and actively against apartheid and got a big part in everything. The South African regime forbid Cosatus from working on other than pure union work. This made the dissatisfaction grow even bigger and the resistance to Apartheid grew bigger and stronger. The absolute end of Apartheid was when Nelson Mandela was chosen as the president of South Africa in 1994. He had been the leader of ANC but imprisoned for political crimes for 27 years.   

The dictatorship in Paraguay

In 35 years (1954–1989) Paraguay was a single state led by the dictator Alfredo Stroessner. The reason that he could stay in power for so many years was mainly because of the support from USA. They stood by him both economically and in military operations. The dictatorship of Paraguay didn´t get the same amount of global awareness as for example Pinochet in Chile. During the time of Stroessners rule Paraguay was a pretty isolated country fighting repression, probably the worst in all of Latin America. In every neighbourhood and at every workplace there were payed traitors telling the dictatorship and its security if there were people in opposition. For a very long time people critical to the regime disappeared, they were either imprisoned or killed.

The fall of Stroessners– thanks to unions

Some brave critics of the regime started MIT, an independent union movement, in the middle om the 80´s. They had their biggest anchors in groceries and banking. MIT soon became a forum for demands and the managed to create such an opinion on Stroessner that many of his friends and co-workers betrayed him. He realised this and fled to Brazil.

Other union work for democracy

That union organisations play a big part in creating democracy is not strange at all since they often are the biggest movements in countries. To mobilise many people making them go in one direction, the easiest way is to go through the union. Some examples where unions played a big part for democracy is Mali, South Korea, Brazil and Taiwan.