[Marxism] Fwd: thecurrentmoment | On the politics and economics of the present
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Feb 7 06:44:56 MST 2017
Following the massive Women’s March and the surprising partial success
of protests against Trump’s immigration ban, many feel that the logical
step is to escalate. Seize the momentum, put more pressure on the
administration, disrupt and paralyze as much as possible. I feel it
myself. There are ways in which there is more possibility in the air
than there has been in a long time, and Trump has wasted little time
going about his authoritarian business.
That, no doubt, is the reason why the idea of calling for a general
strike – a general national strike – has caught the imagination over the
past few days. After Francine Prose put the idea out in the Guardian, it
spread rapidly throughout social media, and split into multiple
proposals and counter-proposals.
Some, including Prose herself, see themselves carrying on in a venerable
tradition of mass social disruption. But, as much as these proposals
look like a natural response to the moment, they are severely
disconnected from reality. Calling for a general strike now bears no
relation to what mass strikes have meant in the past. The flight from
reality shows up in activists’ blasé attitude to history and their very
distant relationship to the working class.
The United States has the most violent labor history of any major
industrial country. General and other large-scale strikes in the US have
nearly always been met with major repression, from police, National
Guard, even federal troops. For instance, the general strike in San
Francisco of 1934, which developed out of a longshoremen’s strike, led
to running battles with the police and a number of deaths.
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