Lewis Minkin and the party–unions link
in Interpreting the Labour Party

This chapter examines how Lewis Minkin contests the premises, underpinning the orthodox thesis of trade union 'baronial power'. It analyses the 'sociological' frame of reference he devised as an analytical tool to uncover the roots and essential properties of the party-unions connection. The chapter addresses the question of the relevance of Minkin. The task Minkin sets himself in The Contentious Alliance is twofold: on the one hand to explain why and how he reached that conclusion; and, on the other to lay bare the inner dynamics of the party-unions connection. The party-unions connection acquired many of its defining properties from a process of functional differentiation. But this notion implies the existence of a common organism, a system each of whose inter-related parts had a distinct function to discharge, but which operated for the survival and advancement of the whole.

Interpreting the Labour Party

Approaches to Labour politics and history

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