How To Organize A General Strike

How To Organize A General Strike

A general strike is a massive workers shut-down that is designed to bring productivity to a complete standstill. General strikes can be city, county, state, or nation wide and always involve the collaboration of a large-scale labor force.  

The reasons for organizing a general strike can vary. In a traditional strike workers will stop going to work for a particular period of time until worker demands are met or other goals are achieved. But general strikes have also been organized in collaboration with armed resistances movements in order to weaken colonial governments. As a weapon against colonial power, general strikes can be very useful and if organized correctly can bring an oppressive regime to it's knees. However, the general strike also has the potential to be very dangerous for workers and their families if alternative resources are not provided during the shut-down.


Step 1: Identify the Goals of the General Strike

Start by listing possible goals for the outcome of the strike. Why strike? What will come out of striking? What will be the scope of the strike (city, state, nation-wide)? List demands if any. If there are any strategic dates or time frames in which the strike should take place also list them.      

Step 2: Form an Organizing Group for the General Strike    

Form a group of organizers from various labor sectors that will help with the general strike. Make sure that they can be trusted. Keep an eye out for infiltrators and informants. Lock down possible dates for the strike.

Step 3: Contact Labor Unions

Garnering large-scale worker participation in the strike is one of the most important things that will make the general strike successful. Local labor unions can make good collaborators and can offer useful resources. Although many may shy away from the politics of a general strike, others still might be willing to offer support. Labor unions are excellent avenues to reach workers.     

Step 4: Build Out Popular Support Through a Campaign of Escalation   

Organize a series of rallies and street protests that energize the people in preparation for the strike.  Make political posters advertising the strike. Utilize mass actions to broadcast the strike to workers.        

Step 5: Mobilize Alternative Resources

A massive worker shut-down means people will need other means to sustain themselves. A effort must be made to collect food, water, and other resources. Gather the appropriate amount of resources for how long the strike will take place. If the strike will go on indefinitely, have an action plan for retrieving resources. This might mean looting or other means.  

Step 6: The General Strike

When the strike begins it might be useful to continue with street protests to sustain popular support. If negotiations occur your bargaining power will be dependent how long the strike can be sustained. A stockpile of resources will ensure the strike can be sustained for as long as possible. If the general strike is in conjunction with an armed movement, coordinate and time the strike accordingly.