The General Strike – I.W.W. ‘Big’ Bill Haywood (1911)

1840-1945, Capitalism, Date, Defining the Enemy, Disruptive Spaces, Strike, Tactics of Disruption, The Workplace

Speech given by Bill Haywood in New York City on March 16, 1911 and subsequently published by I.W.W. in pamphlet form. Delivered on the 40th anniversary of the Paris Commune, Haywood traces the history of the general strike since 1871, its use as a disruptive tactic, and its relation with the ballot

When anything happens to disturb the profits, what do the capitalists do? They go on strike, don’t they? They withdraw their finances from that particular mill. They close it down because there are no profits to be made there. They don’t care what becomes of the working class. But the working class, on the other hand, has always been taught to take care of the capitalist’s interest in the property. You are always looking after the interest of the capitalist, while a general strike would displace his interest and would put you in possession of it.

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