Standing as one of the oldest minority ethnic organisations in Britain, the Indian Workers’ Association (Hindustani Mazdoor Sabha) has been at the forefront of twentieth century anti-racist and working-class struggles. By providing a voice for Indians which demanded to be heard, it has demonstrated the effectiveness of black people in organising themselves to defeat many forms of oppression on a local, national and international level.
Whilst the first Indian Workers’ Association was established in Coventry in 1938 to further the cause of Indian independence, it was the arrival of Punjabi migrants during the 1950′s that caused the organisation to be reborn and to flourish. As people began to settle, the IWA branches found a new role as they began to turn their attention to the social and welfare issues affecting Indians after migrating to Britain. Branches sprang up where Punjabi populations were concentrated including Wolverhampton and Southall, and in 1958 an Indian Workers Association appeared in Birmingham. Upon advice from Indian president Nehru, the local associations were brought together in 1958 to form the Indian Workers’ Association (Great Britain.)
Meanwhile, A meeting of the representatives of Indian Communists in Britain was held in the presence of Harkishan Singh Surjeet, member of the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on 18th September 1966 in London. This meeting unanimously decided to form an organization called “Association of Indian Communists of Great Britain” consisting of those comrades who owe allegiance to the Communist Party of India (Marxist). It was clear to all that such an organization could not be a Party or it’s Branch in the full sense of the word, and hence was called Association.