1960s >> 1961 >> no-687-november-1961

50 Years Ago: The General Strike

While we strongly sympathise with all real struggles against the employers’ attacks, we never cease to urge upon the workers the need for class-consciousness for ending this system of society altogether, by political control.


The General Strike as a means of emancipation must surely fail, for the working class are propertyless, and if they cease work even the “short commons” that “work” means, cease too. Starvation stares them in the face. All acquainted with proletarian life know the terrible privation that strikes entail; the suffering writ large on the faces of the helpless babes, the toddling children and the struggling wives. Such agonising scenes as were to be witnessed on the hillsides and in the valleys of South Wales during the year-long Cambrian Strike. The stripped homes; the crammed pawnshops; the rising mortality: these remind us that strikes strike the workers as well as the masters. This is but a sectional strike; a strike with those at work helping those who are out. But when all the workers strike even that help fails, for they are all in the same boat. . . .


True, a general strike can paralyse industry. A prolonged General Strike can destroy society. For we depend upon continual production, and cessation means death. But death snatches its first victims from the toilers: they are most vulnerable—they have no stores, no reserves. Our masters have.


[From the Socialist Standard, November 1911]