Today in Labour History
Seattle General Strike
The Seattle General Strike of 1919 lasted from February 6 to February 11, 1919 and started with a work stoppage of the shipyard workers. After two years of wage controls due to World War I, they now demanded higher wages for unskilled workers. Many workers were inspired by the events in Russia. A handout called 'Russia did it' explains: 'The Russians have shown you the way out. What are you going to do about it? You are doomed to wage slavery till you die unless you wake up, realize that you and the boss have nothing in common, that the employing class must be overthrown ...' The fear of Bolshevism was stirred up by the authorities. Federal troops were brought in, police forces were heightened. The General Strike Committee ended the strike under pressure of the moderate-minded unions. 39 members of the anarcho-syndicalist union Industrial Workers of the World were arrested in the aftermath of the strike.