Industrial Action

Lines of (Dis)Continuity: Forms and Methods of Labour Struggle in Croatia 1990-2014

When assessing the importance of individual cases of company occupations by the workers it is necessary to take into account both the period in which such actions took place and the historical legacy of socialist self-management. The entire decade of the 1990s was permeated with strong nationalist resentments characterized by a deep hostility towards organizations, institutions and practices perceived as part of the Yugoslav socialist project. read more »

Toni Negri: an intellectual among the workers

I deliver here an account of my lived experience of Marghera, roughly between 1960 and 1969. Is this the story of a Bildung [education]? This notion is perhaps too charged with cultural resonances; it would be better to use the English training, which allies practical education with intellectual discipline. In reality, I do not know the appropriate manner by which to name this extraordinary apprenticeship – a decade long – in class struggle.  read more »

Proletarian Power: The Turin Factory Councils 1919-1920

The Turin Factory Council movement which emerged at the height of the Bienno Rosso, the two red years which threatened to overthrow Italian capitalism, represents one of the high points of working class struggle in the history of the world labor movement. read more »

Britain: New Wave of Factory Occupations

A rash of workplace occupations is spreading across the globe as workers defy the brutal consequences of the recession. Instead of surrendering to mass redundancies and outright closures, workers are occupying their workplaces as a central method of struggling for justice. Every example that wins concessions is boosting the belief of other workforces that there is an alternative – militant class action can win at least something. VICTORY TO VESTAS

1918-1921: The Italian factory occupations and Biennio Rosso

After the First World War, Europe’s working class went on a massive radicalisation process. Union membership exploded with strikes, demonstrations and uprisings increasing with it. Italy was no exception. Its workers were angry with the fall-out from the war and were getting increasingly militant. A perfect example of this can be found in the factory occupations of 1920.

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The Italian Factory Occupations of 1920

During the month of September, 1920, a widespread occupation of Italian factories by their workforces took place, which originated in the auto factories, steel mills and machine tool plants of the metal sector but spread out into many other industries — cotton mills and hosiery firms, lignite mines, tire factories, breweries and distilleries, and steamships and warehouses in the port towns. But this was not a sit-down strike; the workers continued production with their own in-plant organization.

A Factory Occupation in May 1968

Now that everything is back to “normal,” it may not seem very interesting to recall the very different sort of normality that briefly prevailed at the end of last spring. Moreover, what happened at this particular factory (Jeumont-Schneider) was not all that different from what was happening elsewhere, which everyone is already familiar with. Nevertheless, looking into the tarnished mirror of the past may help us to better understand ourselves. read more »

Autoworkers Under the Gun: An Interview With Gregg Shotwell, UAW Activist and Author

The sit-down strike by General Motors workers in the winter of 1936-37 was one of the galvanizing events in U.S. labor history. Similarly, the efforts of the primarily African-American autoworkers of the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement and the other RUM’s sparked the resurgence of rank and file militancy in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. In more recent years, the New Directions caucus and Soldiers of Solidarity carried on the radical tradition in the United Automobile Workers. read more »

The Grunwick Strike 1976-78

The struggle at Grunwick Photo Processing in London was a sharp industrial struggle initiated by female imigrant workers. Beginning in the summer of 1976 the women workers (mostly from Asia) protested against the racist discrimination articulated in bad payment, miserable working conditions and cruel treatment by the management. read more »

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