Peoples power in Singapore

Singapore enjoyed a thriving labour movement and vibrant leftist politics from the 1950s-60s, which led and won the nation’s anti-colonial struggle. The people’s dream was for an independent and socialist Singapore, but they were betrayed by the People’s Action Party (PAP), led by Lee Kuan Yew, who arrested and jailed hundreds of trade unionists, socialist party leaders, journalists, students and other ordinary workers who were associated with the left. 

Leftist politics took a huge hit , but it didn’t disappear. In the decades that followed, leftist thinkers, politics and movements resurfaced in different spaces, but faced extreme repression each time, with the PAP determined to snuff it out from public life. For a while, they seemed to have succeeded, but today, a new generation of leftists are emerging in Singapore, determined to learn lessons from our history, from other movements around the world, and to rebuild people power. 

This workshop will look at this story of survival against all odds.


Elijah Tay
Elijah Tay (Singapore)
Elijah Tay is a student organiser who campaigns for an improved financial aid system at their university, and is one of the leaders of Students for Palestine, a network of students across Singapore who are pushing the government and their universities to cut ties with Israel. Elijah is also a labour rights and abolitionist activist.
Lynn (Singapore)
Lynn is an anti-death penalty and labour rights activist based in Singapore.