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Against the General Strike

“Solidarity for ever,
  For the Union makes us strong.”

The union movement has proven itself to be a powerful instrument of a defensive character and as a force that poses the possibility of a transformation  from wage labour to a free association of workers and common ownership. The labour movement has won through battles on the picket lines but has often been lost, due, to counter attacks by the representatives of the employers as a class in control of parliament, and the state in its totality. The employers, through their agents in control of parliament and the entire state apparatus, have erected a whole network of laws and regulations designed to hamstring the labour movement. Organised labour is weak in relation to the power of the ruling class. Large numbers of workers, poorly paid and helpless before the onslaughts and insecurities that are products of capitalist society, have fallen prey to the capitalist- inspired propaganda that the union movement is a narrow, a sectional po…

The Revolutionary Vote

The capitalist system fails to supply the needs of the vast majority of people and it must be overthrown before the workers can have freedom. The ruling class is never going to solve its problems through the capitalist system, therefore, the objective conditions for revolution are going to crop up over and over again. But there is considerable difference of opinions as to the means by which this can be accomplished. Some advocate the ballot, or parliamentary action; some armed insurrection, or military action; and some the general strike, or industrial action.

Armed insurrection to have any reasonable chance of success the workers would need to have as large and well equipped an army as the capitalists. Yet the working class are unarmed and most unskilled in the use of weapons. They have no military organisation. They have no means of securing arms. An untrained, undisciplined and badly equipped army of workers going forth to overthrow the system might as well be committing suicide. …

The General Strike Weapon

The possibility of a general strike keep cropping up within the trade union movement. There have been many different types of general strikes in the history of the working class internationally. A general strike is a practical tactic or a token gesture, useful or detrimental, according to the conditions under which it takes place, the method it employs and the end it proposes. When we speak of the general strike we are not concerned with the general strike of a single trade union but of all workers. The movement is no longer, a trade union movement but has become a class movement.

For the general strike to succeed, the working-class must be convinced of the importance of the aim for which it is declared. It must be demonstrated that the purpose is legitimate and victory is realisable. The general strike must not be a disguise for revolution, but simply the right to strike on a wider scale and with a more clearly marked class character. The Socialist Party dismisses the idea that the …

All Out or All for Socialism?

RMT general secretary Bob Crow, Unite leader Len McCluskey and civil servants’ union PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka have backed a general strike. TUC delegates voted last year to look into holding a general strike in 2013. POA assistant general secretary Glyn Travis, whose union pushed the motion, said he was “upbeat” about the discussions so far. It is clear though that those trade union officials are talking about a one-day token gesture,  a glorified day of protest, rather than a revolutionary challenge for power. Even if union executives were to set the wheels of a strike wave in motion, the rank and file would be woefully unprepared for it. The strike would be seen by many as simply another day’s pay lost. The government would have little to fear from a 24-hour stoppage and it would just be a matter of "business as usual" the next day.

The Chartists in Britain were the first raised the question of a general strike. They called it a National Holiday and the Holy Mo…

The 1926 May Days

“The miners occupy the front trenches of the position singled out for attack and if their wages are reduced it will be the beginning of a general wage reduction” (John Wheatley, Labour MP)

The General Strike lasted from 3rd to 12th May

Over the years a struggle had been developing between a growing militant working class and the employers and the state.The industrial working classes defined British politics in the 1920s; some 7 Million workers (one in six of the population) were employed in heavy industry or the land. Two million men worked down the mines and hundreds of thousands of others were employed in the iron and steel industry, in the railways and docks, in the building and engineering industry and in textiles and transport. The 1926 General Strike was initiated to defend the living conditions of the miners. The longer-term view of the 1926 General Strike sees it as the inevitable outcome of a struggle between classes that began during the First World War. Soldiers returning …