Mass strike

The strike that could have beaten Thatcher

Issue section: 
Issue: 

Thirty years on from the 1984-85 miners' strike most commentators, including many on the left, claim the power of the state made defeat inevitable. But Sheila McGregor argues we could have won but for betrayal by trade union officials and Labour leaders.

They fought for a year as the police occupied their villages, blocked roads and tunnels to stop them picketing, and surrounded working pits to stop them approaching. Miners and their wives faced gratuitous violence ranging from pickets' cars being smashed up to attacks by police armed with drawn truncheons, horses and dogs. Miners faced individual arrests and mass arrests. The courts were used to give bail restrictions banning miners from going to picket pits and to sequester NUM funds so as to limit the ability of the union to function.

The Nasty, Meek and Militant: How to get the unions back in the fight

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The great potential of the 30 November strike is in danger of being frittered away after unions called off national strikes on 28 March. Martin Smith looks at why the pensions fight has hit a roadblock and how we can restart the fightback

I write this article on 28 March (M28), the day that around 70,000 teachers and lecturers belonging to the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the University and College Union (UCU) struck across London to defend their pensions.

Pressure at the top

Issue section: 
Author: 

The mass strike on 30 November struck a heavy blow against the government and its cuts agenda. But since then some union leaders have put the breaks on. Julie Sherry assesses the role of the trade union bureaucracy and looks at how workers can increase the pressure for more strikes

The fightback against the Tories' vicious attacks reached a magnificent level in November with the biggest strike in Britain since 1926.

The sheer scale of the action boosted the confidence of workers everywhere. To have close to a million workers on marches in towns and cities across the entire country, with over two million striking, was by any standard an incredible show of working class strength.

Getting nastier

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

As opposition to austerity increases Mark L Thomas looks at how the Tories are entering a new and much nastier phase and considers how the issue of European integration is forcing old divisions to the fore.

The government has entered a new and much nastier phase. Two events stand out. Firstly, George Osborne's autumn statement to parliament on 29 November promising further austerity - the day before the mass public sector strike - and 9 December, when David Cameron wielded the British veto to block proposals at a European Union summit for a new EU-wide treaty, much to the delight of his Eurosceptic backbenchers.

Towards a mass strike

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

There are times, decades even, when events drag and nothing seems to happen, and there are weeks and months when history seems to leap forward. There can be no question that the announcement, by a host of public sector unions, at September's TUC conference of plans for a one-day strike on 30 November marks a sharp escalation in the class struggle in Britain

The decision by more unions to ballot their members over the assault on pensions and coordinate a strike with the four unions that struck on 30 June means that up to 3 million workers could strike together in what is effectively a public sector general strike.

Why does a mass strike matter?

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Kevin Best looks at why socialists argue for mass strikes

Revolutionaries are arguing hard and organising to put coordinated strikes - and a general strike - at the heart of resistance to the cuts. Strikes represent the working class's most potent weapon, utilising its unique social position as the producers of wealth in society, the source of bosses' profits.

After March 26: how do we beat the Tories?

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The TUC march against the cuts can become a springboard for strikes on a scale that can begin to break the government's austerity drive. Martin Smith looks at the debates inside the trade union movement and asks, how can we move from the streets to the picket lines?


Photo: Geoff Dexter

In politics as in comedy, timing is everything. Given the choice, I suspect that David Cameron and George Osborne would not have picked 10 March 2011 as the day for ex-Labour minister Lord Hutton to publish his report on public sector pension reform. Reform is something of a misnomer for what was a full-scale assault on the pensions of

M is for mass strike

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

"...for the first time [it] awoke feeling and class-consciousness in millions upon millions as if by an electric shock... the proletarian mass... quite suddenly and sharply came to realise how intolerable was that social and economic existence which they had patiently endured for decades in the chains of capitalism. Thereupon there began a spontaneous general shaking of and tugging at these chains."

This is Rosa Luxemburg's description in The Mass Strike of the impact of the strike wave that swept the Russian Empire in January and February 1905.

More mass strikes followed in October and December, leaving the Tsar's autocratic regime battered if not yet overthrown. In all there were 23 million strike days in Russia during 1905, far outnumbering anything seen previously in Russia or the more advanced industrialised countries.

Subscribe to RSS - Mass strike