The General Strike

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yozzee
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Joined: 4-07-04
Apr 13 2005 00:05
The General Strike

What's your opinion of the General Strike as a revolutionary tactic?

I think it's seriously faulted but I'd be interested to know what the followers of Marx on this site think.

LeonardfromLeom...
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Joined: 20-09-04
Apr 13 2005 08:13

Seeing as there has only been one General Strike in British history (1926) and that ended in defeat, it does not appear to be of much relevance to us does it?

Steve
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Joined: 27-06-06
Apr 13 2005 12:23

I’m not a follower of Marx but I’d thought I’d answer anyway.

You may be confusing the General Strike and the Social General Strike. A general strike can happen in many circumstances, it can be limited and for a particular purpose. It is used more on the continent than in Britain.

The theory of the general strike comes from the 1832 publication of a pamphlet entitled ‘The Grand National Holiday and Congress of the Productive Classes’. The first real general strike took place in Britain in 1842 in the north of England. That had political as well as economic aims. As the idea developed it was not just a passive act of going on strike. It would also include workers expropriating the means of production by taking over their workplaces. It would also be linked to a general insurrection as in Spain 1936.

It can’t be seen in isolation. The 1926 General Strike was a farce because it was controlled by the TUC who’s main concern was to limit the possibilities, not the overthrow of capitalism and the state.

In many revolutionary situations a general strike occurs as part of the greater upheaval. The problem is that often it is unfocused and can be used by those seeking power for themselves. The anarcho-syndicalist conception of the social general strike is for it to be a means by which workers seize control in a co-ordinated effort with the wider social movement, replacing the state structures with federated ones.

yozzee
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Joined: 4-07-04
Apr 13 2005 19:48
Steve wrote:
I’m not a follower of Marx but I’d thought I’d answer anyway.

You may be confusing the General Strike and the Social General Strike. A general strike can happen in many circumstances, it can be limited and for a particular purpose. It is used more on the continent than in Britain.

The theory of the general strike comes from the 1832 publication of a pamphlet entitled ‘The Grand National Holiday and Congress of the Productive Classes’. The first real general strike took place in Britain in 1842 in the north of England. That had political as well as economic aims. As the idea developed it was not just a passive act of going on strike. It would also include workers expropriating the means of production by taking over their workplaces. It would also be linked to a general insurrection as in Spain 1936.

It can’t be seen in isolation. The 1926 General Strike was a farce because it was controlled by the TUC who’s main concern was to limit the possibilities, not the overthrow of capitalism and the state.

In many revolutionary situations a general strike occurs as part of the greater upheaval. The problem is that often it is unfocused and can be used by those seeking power for themselves. The anarcho-syndicalist conception of the social general strike is for it to be a means by which workers seize control in a co-ordinated effort with the wider social movement, replacing the state structures with federated ones.

I think that's an important distinction to make Steve. Without an uprising, an insurrection, then a General Strike is doomed to failure because it's reformist not revolutionary and it can't be sustained for a long period of time. I mean how are people going to feed themselves once all production stops and the warehouses are empty?