Striking Out

With UK strikes on the way and the media, as usual, only ready to focus on the disruption that may be caused and barely willing to focus on the reasons for it here are a few ideas, mostly in an American context but applicable to anywhere, taken from here, on the subject of striking that aren’t likely to get much play in the next few days…

[T]he strike is inherently dangerous to the rich, and to the corporations who have brought this country to her knees, because it is the only defense the ordinary citizen has.

Keith Olbermann, speech at Cornell University, March 29, 2011

In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right-to-work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining… We demand this fraud be stopped.

— Martin Luther King, Jr.

The governor can stop a strike any time. If I were the governor I would stop a strike by simply saying, “These men have a grievance and demand redress from you. Come and discuss these questions with the miners on the fair soil of America like intelligent, law-abiding citizens. If you refuse I will close up your mines. I will have the state operate mines for the benefit of the nation.” It is not right for public officials to bring scabs and gunmen into any state. I am directly opposed to it myself, but if it is a question of strike or you go into slavery, then I say strike until the last one of us drop into our graves.

Mother Jones, 1913

Never forget, people DIED for the eight hour workday.

Rebecca Gordon

The only thing workers have to bargain with is their skill or their labor. Denied the right to withhold it as a last resort, they become powerless. The strike is therefore not a breakdown of collective bargaining-it is the indispensable cornerstone of that process.

— Paul Clark, 1989

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