strike action in which a substantial proportion of the total labour force in a city, region, or country participates
A general strike (or mass strike) is a strike action in which a substantial proportion of the total labor force in a city, region, or country participates.
- In the Bakuninst program a general strike is the lever employed by which the social revolution is started. One fine morning all the workers in all the industries of a country, or even of the whole world, stop work, thus forcing the propertied classes either humbly to submit within four weeks at the most, or to attack the workers, who would then have the right to defend themselves and use this opportunity to pull down the entire old society.
- Friedrich Engels, The Bakuninsts at Work (1873)
- Great importance was also attached to the general strike at the Geneva Congress of the Alliance held September 1, 1873, although it was universally admitted that this required a well-formed organization of the working class and plentiful funds. And there's the rub. ... The governments, especially if encouraged by political abstention, will never allow the organization or the funds of the workers to reach such a level.
- Friedrich Engels, The Bakuninsts at Work (1873)
- Here’s to the Greeks. They know what to do when corporations pillage and loot their country. They know what to do when Goldman Sachs and international bankers collude with their power elite to falsify economic data and then make billions betting that the Greek economy will collapse. They know what to do when they are told their pensions, benefits and jobs have to be cut to pay corporate banks, which screwed them in the first place. Call a general strike. Riot. Shut down the city centers. Toss the bastards out. Do not be afraid of the language of class warfare—the rich versus the poor, the oligarchs versus the citizens, the capitalists versus the proletariat. The Greeks, unlike most of us, get it.
- Chris Hedges, "The Greeks Get It," truthdig.com, May 21, 2010
- The poor were wise, who, by the rich oppressed,
- Withdrew, and sought a secret place of rest.
- The “Secret place of rest” is Mons Sacer, where the plebeians hid after seceding from the Roman Empire in 495 BC
- Leftists have sometimes romanticised the wildcat as the authentic expression of the workers’ will, an act that developed spontaneously out of the workers’ resistance to the boss. Some see it as the harbinger of the general strike that will overthrow capitalism and bring the workers to power.
- Dan La Botz, Wildcat strikes across the US as pandemic spreads, 1 April 2020, Red Flag
- "It was military might, not pacifism, that defeated Hitler". Not exactly. Examples abound, both large and small, in Denmark, Holland, Norway, France, and elsewhere, in which nonviolent resistance defied the Nazi onslaught. In those places, Gene Sharp writes in The Politics of Nonviolent Action, “patriots resisted their Nazi overlords and internal puppets by such weapons as underground newspapers, labor slowdowns, general strikes, refusal of collaboration, special boycotts of German troops and quislings, and non-cooperation with fascist controls and efforts to restructure their societies’ institutions.” The defiance tended to be hastily organized and was not widespread. If the opposite were true—if Hitler had been resisted in the late 1920s and the early 1930s, not the early 1940s, and in more places—the war’s death toll might have been much lower.
- Colman McCarthy, "Fighting Fire with Water", The Progressive, February 2011
- No social co-operation under the division of labour is possible when some people or unions of people are granted the right to prevent by violence and the threat of violence other people from working. When enforced by violence, a strike in vital branches of production or a general strike are tantamount to a revolutionary destruction of society.
- Ludwig von Mises, 1947 epilogue to Socialism
- He who advises a sick man, whose manner of life is prejudicial to health, is clearly bound first of all to change his patient’s manner of life, and if the patient is willing to obey him, he may go on to give him other advice. But if he is not willing, I shall consider one who declines to advise such a patient to be a man and a physician, and one who gives in to him to be unmanly and unprofessional. In the same way with regard to a State, whether it be under a single ruler or more than one, if, while the government is being carried on methodically and in a right course, it asks advice about any details of policy, it is the part of a wise man to advise such people. But when men are travelling altogether outside the path of right government and flatly refuse to move in the right path, and start by giving notice to their adviser that he must leave the government alone and make no change in it under penalty of death—if such men should order their counselors to pander to their wishes and desires and to advise them in what way their object may most readily and easily be once for all accomplished, I should consider as unmanly one who accepts the duty of giving such forms of advice, and one who refuses it to be a true man.
- Plato, Seventh Letter
- Similar though Marx and Thoreau may be in their accounts of the consequences of living in a society defined by money, their suggestions for how to respond to it are poles apart. Forget the Party. Forget the revolution. Forget the general strike. Forget the proletariat as an abstract class of human interest. Thoreau's revolution begins not with discovering comrades to be yoked together in solidarity but with the embrace of solitude.
- Curtis White, “The spirit of disobedience: An invitation to resistance,” Harper’s Magazine, April 2006, pp. 37-38