The National General Strike Is a Thing, Kinda

Strikers march down street in Lawrence, Massachusetts during the 1912 strike.

The National General Strike is a thing. It’s often held on October 15th, perhaps in remembrance of the October 15, 1914 Clayton Act. The legislation protected labor unions from injunctions that legally forced a strike to end. At the time, the new law was considered a big “win” for workers.

This year, OctoberStrike.com worked hard to drum up awareness about an October 15th National General Strike. If you didn’t hear about it, you can still get with the program. Tomorrow’s calls-of-action are:

  • Don’t go to work.
  • Do not participate in the economy.
National General Strike – October 15, 2021

Building People-Power Is Costly

Unless you enjoy the protection of union membership, striking tomorrow could cost you your job. So, don’t be rash.

But everyone (even retired people) can participate in tomorrow’s strike, by refusing to buy anything. Zip your wallet on Friday.

If you see any picket lines, stand with the strikers for awhile. Take pics. Share on social media. Show your friends. (Educate people.) It’s all about solidarity.

A “Striketober” Led by Unions

Meanwhile, actual unions are actually striking this October. Progressive news outlet Common Dreams reports on “Striketober.”

Yesterday, former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich wrote in The Guardian:

The media failed to report the big story, which is actually a very good one: American workers are now flexing their muscles for the first time in decades.

You might say workers have declared a national general strike until they get better pay and improved working conditions.

No one calls it a general strike. But in its own disorganized way it’s related to the organized strikes breaking out across the land – Hollywood TV and film crews, John Deere workers, Alabama coal miners, Nabisco workers, Kellogg workers, nurses in California, healthcare workers in Buffalo.

Robert Reich, The Guardian

Are U.S. workers engaged in a general strike? What is a national general strike? Does Robert Reich know about tomorrow’s October 15th National General Strike?

The True Meaning of National General Strikes

Teen Vogue provides a classic definition of general strikes. (Yes, teens are up on this.)

A general strike is a labor action in which a significant amount of workers from a number of different industries who comprise a majority of the total labor force within a particular city, region, or country come together to take collective action.

Kim Kelly, Teen Vogue

You can also describe general strikes as the people’s nonviolent weapon. General strikes are extremely effective, because workers really are essential. They just need numbers (which the people have, in abundance) that are united in solidarity.

Industrial Workers of the World places general strikes along a continuum, according to focus and impact.

  • Community general strikes
  • Industry-specific general strikes
  • National general strikes
  • THE General Strike – a revolutionary class strike!

As Reich notes, it looks like we’re presently in some kind of national general strike, whether strikers call it that or not. When is the BIG one coming?

When will our nation be shaken by a revolutionary general strike? I don’t know. But get organized. Prepare.

And do what you can to support the National General Strike tomorrow.


Published by JoAnn Chateau

Website owner and administrator of “Progressive Graffiti.”

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