general strikes

Grand National Holiday, and Congress of the Productive Classes: William Benbow

Carciature of William Benbow in 1848 issue of Punch

Published in 1832 this pamphlet is possibly the earliest published advocacy for a general strike as a means for dismantling inequality and the oppression of the ruling class. Self published by William Benbow an unconventional preacher and 19th century radical, the "Sacred Month" was adopted by the Chartists in 1839 though Benbow was arrested before it started.

The Chartist Grand National Holiday: The General Strike of 1839

An article by Past Tense on the first attempted general strike called by the Chartist movement for August 1839. It also compares the ideas of the strikes main proponent, William Benbow with other theorists on Mass and General Strikes.

To escape Trump's America, we need to bring the militant labor tactics of 1946 back to the future

The last general strike in the US was in Oakland in 1946. That year there were 6 city-wide general strikes, plus nationwide strikes in steel, coal, and rail transport. More than 5 million workers struck in the biggest strike wave of US history. So what happened? Why haven't we ever gone out like that again? ... When we allowed ourselves to lose our most important weapons 70 years ago, we took the first step towards Trump's America. We're stuck in the wrong timeline - if we want to get out, we have to bring the militant labor tactics of 1946 back to the future!

The general strike of 1842

Illustration of a strike meeting

A detailed, full-length history of the UK Chartist general strike of 1842 against pay cuts and for universal male suffrage, by Mick Jenkins with an introduction by John Foster.

Riots in the Potteries in 1842

The Potteries represent the peak of the general strike of 1842. In addition to shutting down most mines mills and workshops in the area, groups of workers attacked and successfully toppled much of the local government and capital. This account though hostile in every respect contains much historical information on the events.

Ovambo migrant workers general strike for rights, Namibia: 1971-72

Ovambo miners towards the end of the strike

In the winter of 1971-72 the economy of South West Africa (Namibia) was shutdown by a general strike of contract labourers challenged the economic system emplaced by Apartheid South Africa. The strike led to the scrapping of the contract system and is seen as a watershed moment, encouraging a rapid growth of opposition movements.

21st October: a day of general strike

On 21 October, over 1.3 million workers took part in a general strike called by a number of base trade unions (USB, S.I. Cobas, Unicobas, Adl Cobas, Cub Lazio) and joined by many organisations and local groups throughout Italy.

The Iceland women’s strike, 1975

Women on strike in Reykjavik, 1975

A short history of the strike, or day off, by 90% of women in Iceland for equality with men on 24 October, 1975, written by Steven Johns.

A general strike starting from refinery workers at the caribbean island of Curacao - awaiting new masters from China

Curacao strike refinery workers 2016

The strike of a week of refinery workers, followed by the general strike on September 15 in Curacao, has aroused much interest in the Caribbean. In particular, the fact that a mysterious third party showed up paying over 1.8 million ANG [Antillean Guilder (ANG). Per 23-9-2016 1 ANG = 0,50 EUR or US$ 0,57] in back wages, has caused astonishment. F.e. Surinam media reported extensively on the workers' actions. One remembers the Curacao strikes and riots of May 30 1969, that were repressed by Dutch marines, and that led to changes in policy.

The general strike of 1842

As many as half a million workers may have been caught up in a strike wave which linked demands for the Charter and an end to pay cuts. This page tells the story and names the leaders.