12 March 2011

General Strike?

Union men (and a boy) pick up their supplies of groceries for the Seattle
General Strike. During the five-day strike in February 1919, Seattle workers
walked out of all jobs (except hospital and electric-supply related work), in
the city. Washington, USA (February 1919). Image: © PEMCO - Webster
& Stevens Collection; Museum of History and Industry, Seattle/CORBIS.

Several years ago I noted an essay in Harpers extolling the possibilities a general strike; that was under the Bush administration. Desperate times seemed to call for radical measures. Well, now under a Democratic administration - one that has basically abdicated a role in leadership just as under BushCo the Democrats abdicated the role of opposition - the idea is being floated again. You can find reports here and here and here. Given that the putative progressives in the Democratic party have fallen down on the job (actually they don't think of implementing worker friendly policies as their job in the first place), something like this might get their attention. And it might well demonstrate that reactionary politics of the sort Scott Walker and other Republicans are purveying are not popular.

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Blogger Mauro Thon Giudici said...

Hi. Just a small note. The ratio between employed and non employed changed a lot from those times, now days we are always speaking of a minority.

13 March, 2011 01:31  
Blogger Public Squalor said...

One other note. General strikes are now illegal in the U.S. - which wasn't the case in 1919. In my view that a consequence of a labor movement that relies primarily on lawyers and campaign contributions rather than building power through mass organizing.

Seems like it's time to change course and risk going to jail.

- peace

17 March, 2011 12:05  

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