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John Nichols: The Power of the General Strike

Posted on Apr 24, 2012
The Nation

One week ahead of Occupy Wall Street’s call for “A Day Without the 99%,” The Nation Institute’s John Nichols talks about the historical importance of the general strike—a powerful tool for protest that helped make possible the rights that American workers have long enjoyed. —ARK



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IMax's avatar

By IMax, April 24, 2012 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

hetero, - “Here in NYC, OWS has given up on it as being viable and has called for the ‘strikers’ to gather at 4PM”


In the spirit of humor I offer the following:

I believe you’re missing the point.  ‘Occupy’s’ attention and energies toward May 1 is Chicago and the G8.  The Union Square event of the same day, according to the SEIU, is being sponsored by the SEIU. - Allied but separate.

Point being; OWS (as a whole), based in no small measure in New York City NY., has not given up.  The focus of protest on May 1 will be on the G8 in Chicago.

If this is not yet clear, please, allow me lay this out yet another way.  OWS has high hopes that the turnout in New York runs small in favor of a 50,000 body count in CHICAGO!  And I’m hoping that just about the time you finish reading this you’ll understand this not an issue of giving up but, rather, an issue of time and space. wink


On a much more serious note:  We can expect more violence at this year’s Summit than G8 members have seen in decades.  If ‘Occupy’s’ hopes are realized May will prove ugly and violent.

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Robespierre115's avatar

By Robespierre115, April 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

The Achilles’ heel ideaologically remains the OWS’ weird, postmodern take on what to get out of a general strike (out in the rural zones of California where it looks more and more like the 1930s OWS has zero presence), for example in Greece and Latin America when they have mass general strikes they specifically demand an end to austerity measures, corporate takeover of certain lands, they demand free education as in Chile etc., here the general strike is intended to do what? Roll back what? Give back what? Nobody says anything clearly because the organizers want to please everyone.

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By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

Max—- it’s a coalition event, not a OWS exclusive…but OWS is in the coalition and
Union Square is now an OWS rally point…..and the march goes from the Square to
Wall Street.

read it and note the names of the organizing orgs.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, April 24, 2012 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment

hetero, - “when I type OWS I’m talking about NYC….”


O.K., but, the event you’re referring to is an SEIU sponsored May Day rally at Union Square.  I believe it’s quite separate from OWS NY..  And while there is a scheduled march to Wall Street, there is no call for an ‘Occupation’.

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By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

Imax—- when I type OWS I’m talking about NYC….

Wall Street is here and and ya can’t “occupy” Wall Street in some other town.

it’s not a SEIU event…. there’s a link that you can follow to May Day 2012   and
then you can follow further… OWS.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, April 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

hetero, - “OWS has given up on it as being viable and has called for the “strikers” to gather at 4PM


I think you’re witnessing the call to turn out for a planned May 1 SEIU sponsored function in New York and incorrectly attributing it to OWS.  OWS has it’s eyes set on Chicago.

‘Occupy’ is seeking to move a large body of protesters to Chicago on May 1 in hopes of sustaining the participation of 50,000 during a month of protest to coincide with the G8 Summit.

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By danny michaels, April 24, 2012 at 2:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

can someone organize a boycott on companies that pay the ceo over $25 million?

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By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 1:16 pm Link to this comment

in my e-mail today

some hope that they’ll be some turnout in NYC

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By bpawk, April 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

The US had their chance for a third party during the 70s with Ralph Nader but they didn’t take it.  I’m afraid they need to have Romney installed to really see what is happening to them - Romney’s right wing ‘help the rich, hurt the poor’ would be a wake-up call to millions of Americans - Obama is hurting the American people by a thousand cuts so you barely notice you’re suffering - Romney will show the real difference between rich and poor right away by cutting off any systems helping the average American. Its too bad you need to hit rock bottom to see what’s going on. It’s like an alcoholic or drug addict, ...

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By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 11:34 am Link to this comment

a general strike for May 1 seemed like a poor tactic a couple of months ago.

now it seems like an embarrassment…

Here in NYC, OWS has given up on it as being viable and has called for the
“strikers” to gather at 4PM…. and I hope that folks will turn out after work and
school in numbers that allow OWS to claim sort sort of victory.

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