Habib Ladjevardi // Labor Unions and Autocracy in Iran

01 Jan 1985

Labor Unions and Autocracy in Iran

By Habib Ladjevardi

January 1985

Syracuse University Press

Ladjevardi follows the rise and ebb of political development in Iran from 1906 to the recent past by looking at one aspect of political growth: the emergence of labor unions. Presenting a history of the labor movement in Iran, he begins with the genesis of the movement from 1906 to 1921 and then looks at the state of labor unions under Reza Shah from 1925 to 1941. During the 1940s polarization between the unions and the government increased, as did Soviet and British influence on the unions. From 1946 to 1953 Iran saw the rise and fall of government-controlled unions and, after 1953, workers without unions.

After years of frustration and countless examples of contradiction between words and deeds, the workers and most of the politically aware populace became cynical about constitutional government, parliamentary elections, the promises of the ruling elite, and the friendship of the Western powers. Ladjevardi's account of the labor movement in Iran leaves little doubt as to why the workers turned against them all: the monarchy, "Western democracy," and the West itself.