Belgian general strike of 1893
The general strike was the first called in Belgium and a decisive moment for the nascent socialist movement in Belgium. According to the historian Carl J. Strikwerda, it was the first true general strike in the history of Europe. The general strike was called on the evening of 11 April 1893 after politicians of Catholic and Liberal parties joined to block a proposal to expand the suffrage. and lasted between 12-18 April. Conservatives, led by the Catholic Prime Minister Auguste Beernaert, feared a full revolution, according to Henri Pirenne, the strike was only called under pressure from the miners of the Borinage and its rapid spread took the POB–BWP leadership, under Emile Vandervelde, by surprise. Between 13 and 20 strikers were killed, in total,200,000 workers participated in the strike. In the face of determined opposition, Parliament caved to the Socialist demands and introduced the original reforms, the first elections with the constitutional reforms were held in October 1894. The franchise extension did not benefit the POB–BWP as much as expected, the rise of Social Catholicism, introduced by the 1891 Papal Rerum novarum encyclical, was one of the factors which prevented rapid socialist growth.
The elections however brought socialist deputies into parliament for the first time, Neal Ascherson argued that, after 1894, the deepest preoccupation of politics was the determination of Catholic and Liberal to keep the Socialists out of power. The POB-BWP adopted a new manifesto, the Charter of Quaregnon, the issue of electoral reform remained controversial until World War I and further general strikes on questions of franchise reform occurred in 1902 and 1913. The 1913 strike lead to the promise of reform to the voting system. Plural voting was abolished in 1919 and universal suffrage, giving the vote to all Belgian women, was only introduced in 1948. Belgian strike of 1886, the closest precedent for the 1893 general strike General strikes in Belgium Belgium in the nineteenth century Ascherson. The King Incorporated, Leopold the Second and the Congo, la Vie en Rose, Réalités de lHistoire du Parti socialiste en Belgique. A House Divided, Catholics and Flemish Nationalists in Nineteenth-century Belgium, a Revolution for Socialist Reforms, The Belgian General Strike for Universal Suffrage.
De grootste stakingen uit de Belgische geschiedenis at De Standaard
A general strike is a strike action in which a substantial proportion of the total labour force in a city, region, or country participates. General strikes are characterised by the participation of workers in a multitude of workplaces, General strikes first occurred in the mid-19th century, and have characterised many historically important strikes. An early predecessor of the strike may have been the secessio plebis in ancient Rome. In the Outline Of History, H. G. Wells recorded the general strike of the plebeians, the plebeians seem to have invented the strike, which now makes its first appearance in history. Wells noted that he made a mean use of their political advantages to grow rich through the national conquests at the expense not only of the defeated enemy. The plebeians, who were expected to obey the laws, but were not allowed to know the laws, were successful, in 450 BC. in a concession resulting from the rebellion of the plebeians, the laws of Rome were written for all to peruse. The general strike action became a feature of the political landscape with the onset of the Industrial Revolution.
For the first time in history, large numbers of people were members of the working class, they lived in cities. By the 1830s, when the Chartist movement was at its peak, the first theorist to formulate and popularise the idea of a general strike for the purpose of political reform was the radical pamphleteer William Benbow. On 28 January 1832 Benbow published a pamphlet entitled Grand National Holiday, Benbow began to advocate direct and even violent action for political reform, in particular he advanced his idea for a national holiday and national convention. The striking workers were to support themselves with savings and confiscated parish funds, benbows idea of a Grand National Holiday was adopted by the Chartist Congress of 1839, Benbow having spent time in Manchester during 1838-9 promoting his the cause and his pamphlet. In 1842 the demands for wages and conditions across many different industries finally exploded into the first modern general strike. Instead of being a spontaneous uprising of the masses, the strike was politically motivated and was driven by a hard-headed agenda to win concessions.
Probably as much as half of the industrial work force were on strike at its peak - over 500,000 men. The local leadership marshaled a growing working class tradition to politically organise their followers to mount a challenge to the capitalist. The mass abandonment of plantations by black slaves and poor whites during the American Civil War has, controversially, in his classic history Black Reconstruction in America, W. E. B. The trickling streams of fugitives swelled to a flood, once begun, the general strike of black and white went madly and relentlessly on like some great saga. The next large scale strike took place over half a century in Belgium
1998 Puerto Rican general strike
The Puerto Rican general strike of 1998 began as a strike of Puerto Rico Telephone Company workers to protest a government privatization plan. Three weeks later, an estimated 500,000 people joined a two-day general strike, bringing commerce and pickets were mostly peaceful, but in the week before the general strike some infrastructure elements were sabotaged, and two bombs were detonated. The strike failed to stop the plan, and in July a consortium led by GTE bought the PRTC for US$1.9 billion. ITT ran the PRTC for many years, coordinating telephone service on the island with the governments Interior Department, by the end of 1959, the island had 76,000 phone lines. This was compounded by an October 1973 ruling by the Puerto Rico Public Service Commission, in 1974, Governor Rafael Hernández Colón oversaw the government purchase of PRTC from ITT for a price of US$168 million. The newly nationalized phone company sought to improve service and expand networks, by 1980, the island had 12.9 lines per 100 people, up from 8.3 in 1974.
By the 1990s, the PRTC was donating US$100 million each year to the government, in February 1990, Governor Hernández Colón – serving his third and final term – proposed the sale of the PRTC to Bell Atlantic. Hernández Colón suggested that proceeds from the sale would go toward public education, Labor unions in Puerto Rico opposed the sale, and on 28 March 3,800 telephone workers went on a one-day strike. On the same day, a march 150,000 Puerto Ricans proceeded to the building in San Juan. This activity – in addition to a law requiring a $3 billion sale price, once other companies began competing with the PRTC, its size and structure became a liability. Carmen Culpeper, the president, said it was bound by too many government procedures. When Pedro Rosselló became governor of Puerto Rico in 1993, he advocated a program of privatization in a variety of fields. In 1995 the government sold its Puerto Rico Maritime Shipping company, and a number of local government-owned farms, the government should not be competing in areas where it is not effective, Rosselló said.
As plans for the sale of the PRTC began to crystallize, over 100,000 people participated in the coalition action, one of the largest gatherings of Puerto Rican residents in history. On 27 May 1998 Rosselló announced that the government had reached an agreement to sell a majority stake of the PRTC to the GTE consortium, Union leaders expressed concern about layoffs and undervaluing of the company. Some Puerto Ricans saw the proposal as an attempt to gain favor with mainland US business interests, the PRTC was seen as an organizational focus of nationalistic pride among many on the island. Representing a militant extreme, the Boricua Popular Army said, This sale is nothing more than a declaration of war, now they will know what war is. On 19 June 1998, when the Senate of Puerto Rico approved the sale,6,400 PRTC workers went on strike, the action was coordinated by the 2, 000-member Independent Brotherhood of Telephone Workers and the 4, 400-member Independent Telephone Workers Union
1912 Brisbane general strike
The 1912 Brisbane General Strike in Queensland, began when members of the Australian Tramway Employees Association were dismissed when they wore union badges to work on 18 January 1912. They marched to Brisbane Trades Hall where a meeting was held, the Brisbane tramways were owned by the General Electric Company of the United Kingdom. Despite this they were managed by Joseph Stillman Badger, an American, after this rebuff a meeting of delegates from forty-three Brisbane based Trade Unions formed the Combined Unions Committee and appointed a General Strike Committee. The trade unionists of Brisbane went out on a strike on 30 January 1912, not just for the right to wear a badge. Within a few days the Strike Committee became an alternative government, no work could be done in Brisbane without a special permit from the Strike Committee. The committee organised 500 vigilance officers to keep order among strikers, Government departments and private employers needed the Strike Committees permission to carry out any work.
The Strike Committee issued strike coupons that were honoured by various firms, red ribbons were generally worn as a mark of solidarity, not only by people but on pet dogs and horses pulling carts. Daily processions and public rallies were held to keep strikers occupied, on the second day of the strike over 25,000 workers marched from the Brisbane Trades Hall to Fortitude Valley and back with over 50,000 supporters watching from the sidelines. The procession was described as being led by Labor parliamentarians, with the procession being eight abreast, the strike spread throughout Queensland with many regional centres organising processions through their towns. The strike committee regularly issued an official Strike Bulletin to counter the expected anti-union bias in mainstream newspapers and it was only when the strike spread to the railways that the Queensland government became concerned about the situation. At this juncture it banned processions, swore in special constables, commonwealth military officers and spare-time troops volunteered as special constables, and many of the specials wore their commonwealth uniforms into action.
Despite the refusal of a permit, an estimated at 15,000 turned up in Market Square. Police and Specials attacked crowds in Market Street under the direction of Cahill, emma Miller, a frail woman in her 70s barely weighing 35 kilograms, stood her ground, pulled out her hat pin and stabbed the rump of the Police Commissioners horse. The horse reared and threw off the Police Commissioner, giving him an injury resulting in a limp for the rest of his life, there is some debate that Millers hatpin stabbed Cahill in the leg. It was initially called Baton Friday, but came to be known as Black Friday. When he attempted to enlist support of the Federal Government in the use of the military, he was rebuffed by the Labor Prime Minister, Andrew Fisher, member for the Queensland seat of Gympie. Fisher had received a request for support from the Combined strike committee. Justice H. B. Higgins could not intervene in restoration of jobs, when the Employers Federation agreed on 6 March 1912 that there would be no victimisation of strikers the strike officially ended
Timeline of labor issues and events
Timeline of organized labor history 16191619 Jamestown Polish craftsmen strike 1636 Maine Indentured Servants and Fishermans Mutiny. 1648 Boston Coopers and Shoemakers form guilds,1677 New York City Carters Strike. 1684 New York City Carters Strike,1741 New York City Bakers Strike. 1774 Hibernia, New Jersey, Ironworks Strike,1778 Journeymen printers in New York combine to increase their wages. 1791 Philadelphia carpenters conduct first strike in the trades in the United States. 1792 Philadelphia has first local union in the United States organized to conduct collective bargaining,1794 Federal Society of Journeymen Cordwainers formed in Philadelphia. 1797 Profit sharing originated at Albert Gallatins glassworks in New Geneva,1799 Combination Act outlawed trade unionism and collective bargaining by workers. 1805 Journeymen Cordwainers union includes a clause in its constitution in New York City. 1806 Commonwealth v. Pullis was the first known court case arising from a strike in the United States.
After a three-day trial, the found the defendants guilty of a combination to raise their wages. 1816 Food riots broke out in East Anglia, Workers demanded a double wage and for the setting of triple prices for food. 1824 The Combination Act of 1799 was repealed,1824 Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Textile Strike. 1825 United Tailoresses of New York organized in New York City,1825 Boston House Carpenters Strike 1827 Mechanics Union of Trades Associations formed in Philadelphia. 1828 Workingmens Party was organized in Philadelphia by the Mechanics Union of Trades Associations and their efforts lead directly to the forming of the Workingmens Party of New York. 1829 Workingmens Party of New York formed,1831 New England Association of Farmers and other Workingmen formed. Fifty-five workers in Norwich were convicted of breaking and rioting by one of the Special Commissions sent by the Whig Ministry to suppress insurgent workers. Three workers in Ipswich were convicted of extorting money by one of the Special Commissions sent by the Whig Ministry to suppress insurgent workers, twenty-six workers in Petworth were convicted of machine breaking and rioting by one of the Special Commissions sent by the Whig Ministry to suppress insurgent workers.
Upwards of thirty workers in Gloucester were convicted of breaking and rioting by one of the Special Commissions sent by the Whig Ministry to suppress insurgent workers
1950 Austrian general strikes
The Austrian General Strikes of 1950 were masterminded by the Communist Party of Austria with half-hearted support of the Soviet occupation authorities. In August–October 1950 Austria faced a social and economic crisis caused by anticipated withdrawal of American financial aid. Negotiations between the government and the trade unions stalled, and on September 26 the Communists launched the first general strike, a total of 120 thousand industrial workers walked out of factories, disrupted railroad traffic and harassed government officers. Austrian government, the Socialists and trade unions defused the situation and on September 27 the Communists backed off, the second strike of October 4–5, limited to Vienna and Soviet-occupied Lower Austria, ended in a humiliating defeat. The Soviet support to Austrian Communists was limited to the disruption of police action and provision of trucks for moving communist agents, the British and American occupation forces provided only moral support to the Austrian government.
All former allies evaded use of force, no one was killed but dozens of police officers and civilians were injured in street fights. The strikes of 1950 are routinely called a putsch but actual goals of the Communists remain unknown, according to contemporary American press, the August strikes were the most widespread and potentially dangerous since the end of World War II. In 1949 they agreed on two-thirds of the draft of the Austrian State Treaty but its future was vague. By summer of 1950 lack of progress with the Treaty and the communist scare of the Korean War had a impact on the Austrians morale. Allied-occupied Austria was split into four occupation zones, Austrian heavy industry concentrated around Linz, in the American zone, and in British-occupied Styria. Their products were in demand in post-war Europe. Quite naturally, the administrators of the Marshall Plan channelled available financial aid into heavy industry controlled by the American, industry quickly recovered, from 74. 7% of pre-war output in 1948 to 150. 7% in 1951.
American planners deliberately neglected consumer goods industries, construction trades and small business and their workers, almost half of Austrian industrial workforce, suffered from rising unemployment. Agriculture remained in ruin, and Austria relied on imports from the West. In 1948–1949 substantial share of Marshall Plan funds allocated to Austria was used to subsidize imports of food, American money, raised real wages of Austrian workers, grain price in Austria was at about one-third of the world price. Farmers were depressed by low prices, the Americans were not happy about it too. Austrian coalition government chaired by Leopold Figl was facing an impending social and they had to manage it alone, without allied support and without financial reserves to smooth the transition. Austrian finances were ruined by post-war hyperinflation, in 1947–1949 the government and organized labor maintained real wages through annual adjustment of wages to prices
An economic downturn after the wars ended brought increasing unrest. Artisan workers, particularly weavers in Scotland, sought action to reform an uncaring government, gentry fearing revolutionary horrors recruited militia and the government deployed an apparatus of spies and agents provocateurs to stamp out the movement. A Committee of Organisation for Forming a Provisional Government put placards around the streets of Glasgow late on Saturday 1 April, another small group from Strathaven marched to meet a rumoured larger force, but were warned of an ambush and dispersed. Militia taking prisoners to Greenock jail were attacked by local people, James Wilson of Strathaven was singled out as a leader of the march there, and at Glasgow was executed by hanging, decapitated. Of those seized by the British Army at Bonnymuir, John Baird, twenty other Radicals were sentenced to penal transportation. It became evident that government agents had fomented the unrest to bring radicals into the open. The insurrection was largely forgotten as attention focussed on better publicised Radical events in England, two years later, enthusiasm for the visit of King George IV to Scotland successfully boosted loyalist sentiment, ushering in a new-found Scottish national identity.
The Scottish Friends of the People society held a series of Conventions in 1792 and 1793, dissent went underground with the United Scotsmen whose activities were curbed with the trial of George Mealmaker in 1798. The authorities were alarmed and set up spies and informers to forestall any further reformist activity. Between and 1815 Major John Cartwright made visits to establish radical Hampden Clubs across Scotland, the end of the Napoleonic Wars brought economic depression. In 1816 some 40,000 people attended a meeting on Glasgow Green to demand more representative government, the industrial revolution affected handloom weavers in particular, and unrest grew despite attempts by the authorities to employ the workless and open relief centres to relieve hardship. Government agents brought conspiracy trials to court in 1816 and 1817, the Peterloo massacre of August 1819 sparked protest demonstrations across Britain. In Scotland, a rally in Paisley on 11 September led to a week of rioting. Protest meetings were held in Stirling, Renfrewshire and Fife, on 13 December the Radical Laird Kinloch was arrested for addressing a mass meeting on Magdalen Green in Dundee, but he escaped and fled abroad.
Walter Scott urged his Borders neighbours to appeal at this crisis to the good sense, all you have to do is sound the men, and mark down those who seem zealous. They will perhaps have to fight with the pitmen and colliers of Northumbria for defence of their firesides, as 1820 began the government, frightened by the Cato Street Conspiracy in London, acted to suppress reform agitation and drew on its apparatus of spies and agents provocateurs in Scotland. On 18 March Mitchell of the Glasgow police notified the Home Secretary that a meeting of the committee of the rabble. is due in this vicinity in a few days hence. On 21 March the Committee met in a Glasgow tavern, the weaver John King left the meeting early, shortly before a raid in which the Committee was secretly arrested