(Ackerman 2012) The strike and its enemies

Ackerman, Seth. The strike and its enemies. Jacobin. 2012 Winter; 5:5–10. Available from: http://jacobinmag.com/winter-2012/the-strike-and-its-enemies/.

Ackerman argues that the decline of the labor movement in the USA since the 1970s has been due primarily to neglect of the classic production-halting strike. He argues that in order to be effective, strike tactics must not be limited to cessation of work by the striking workers; strikes must effectively halt production by radical tactics such as physical denial of access to the site of production (sit-down strikes, intermittent strikes, and use of force against would-be scabs), sympathy strikes by other workers in the affected industry, and refusal of transport workers to handle cargo made by strikebreakers. Ackerman documents the past endorsement of such radical tactics by mainstream, relatively conservative labor leaders, and not merely by the far Left. He also documents the systematic outlawing of even nonviolent radical tactics over the last several decades, as well as the systematic creation of legal loopholes that effectively allow workers to be fired for striking. Ackerman argues that the recent relative impotence of the Left and the labor movement has been due largely to a neglect of radical strike tactics, which must be revived if the Left is to be revitalized.



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Last revision: March 19, 2013