50 Years Ago: What the Strike fever points to
The anxieties and troubles of “peace” seem to be only less wearing than those of war. But a couple of decades ago the biggest strike was chiefly the concern of those directly connected with the struggle, and had little effect outside their small circle. The greatest of them — the Great London Dock Strike — bitter and prolonged as it was, hardly affected the everyday life of the mass of the people even of London — much less of the country — at all.
In this respect, however, things are changing very rapidly. A year or so ago the Railway strike threatened to plunge the country into the agony of acute industrial warfare; to-day the threatened coal strike menaces our very lives — for there can be no doubt that many workers’ lives must pay the penalty of a stoppage of mine operations of even a few days’ duration.
As the field and the extent of these ghastly, even if necessary operations, develop. and their disastrous consequences take a wide and more deadly embrace, it surely should be borne upon all workers how futile it all really is, and force them to consider their solution proffered them by the Socialists. The private ownership of the means of production threatens society in “peace” and in war. with disruption so violent as to overwhelm it in chaos.
[An unsigned Editorial in the Socialist Standard, September 1920].