General Strike 1926

The Fourth International was proclaimed 75 years ago, after a 15-year struggle against Stalinism.

Just as the main body of the Communist International came out of the Second International, so the roots of the Fourth International are to be traced to the beginnings of the crisis in the Third.
Fifteen years have elapsed since the movement now organized under the banner of the Fourth International first took shape. It arose in the form of the Opposition in the Russian Communist Party, variously called the "Moscow" or "1923" or "Trotskyist" Opposition. Uniting the best elements of the Old Guard and of the youth of the Party, and led

Intransigence and betrayal in the General Strike

Tim Thomas continues a series of articles on the British Film Institute’s Ken Loach retrospective with a review of Days of Hope, his TV series looking at class struggle in early 20th century Britain.

Jim Allen, author of the reprehensible play Perdition, wrote the script for this 4-part TV production. Allen’s themes, intensely focused on the class struggle, are about intransigence and betrayal in real historical circumstances — here, the history of working-class organisation from the First World War to the General Strike.

General Strike, Britain 1926: The revolution that might have been

By Stan Crooke
Strikers playing football against the police. Oxbridge undergraduates and retired army officers running the trains and trams. The Australian and English cricket teams carrying on the Test matches regardless. Dames and debutantes peeling potatoes in Hyde Park. The "stake in the country" people mucking in to keep things going.

Communism, Stalinism and the British General Strike


Stan Crooke

By Stan Crooke
Taking its name from a union bureaucrat’s complaint about a “minority of troublemakers”, the National Minority Movement (NMM) was formally established in August 1924 as a rank-and-file trade union organisation.

The founding conference was attended by over 270 delegates, claiming to represent some 200,000 workers. It defined the “aims and objects” of the NMM as:

The General Strike as it was lived

Sacha Ismail reviews a play about the general strike, produced by New Factory of the Eccentric Actor.

A couple of months ago I went to see a play at the Globe Theatre about the Chartists, called Holding Fire! It was disappointing despite some interesting elements and the basic thrill of seeing one of the major dramas of British working-class history acted out on stage.

On 22 September, I got a similar thrill, but much more satisfaction and lasting enjoyment, from a play at Conway Hall about the 1926 General Strike.

The defeats we learn from

The British general strike of May 1926 was one of the great events in working-class history. Its consequences were felt far beyond Britain, in far-off Russia and by Communist Parties all over the world.

It was a great working-class defeat. It was an unnecessary defeat brought about by the treachery of the leaders of the British trade union movement.

The history of the bourgeoisie for hundreds of years past is the history of states in which they rule, deeds that some of them have successfully done, victories that they have won.

The striker’s alphabet

(From the St Pancras Bulletin, May 5-10 1926)

A is for ALL, ALL OUT and ALL WIN,

And down with the blacklegs and scabs who stay in.

B is for Baldwin, the Bosses’ Strong Man,

But he’s welcome to dig all the coal that he can

C is for Courage the workers have shown,

Class Conscious and Confident that they’ll hold their own.

D is for DOPE that the Government spread—

Dishwash for Duncos and Dubbs—“nuff sed”.

E is for Energy that will carry us through,

Everyone class-conscious, steadfast and true.

The story of the strike

By Stan Crooke

At the close of the nineteenth and opening of the twentieth centuries the international working class had added the weapon of the general strike to its arsenal in the war against capital. In the decades before the British General Strike, Belgium, Russia, Sweden and Germany had all experienced general strikes — Belgium more than once.

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