In solidarity with the 1.5 million public sector workers who are set to strike against pay freezes, pension cuts and austerity measures on Thursday 10 July, here are two videos with footage of the 1926 General Strike.
The first is silent footage – largely unedited – filmed by the Pathé news organisation. Then, as now, the media’s focus was more on expressing horror at the “chaos” caused by the strike and the efforts of the government to cope with it than on the views of the workers.
But the motionless pit head winding gear at the coal mines and the empty railway lines tell their own tale. Look out for the fantastic suggestion that those unable to travel on strikebound trains should try flying… see what you think of the aeroplane!
The second clip is from Andrew Marr’s documentary series, The Making of Modern Britain. Marr doesn’t have a lot to say about the striking workers either. He prefers to concentrate on the jolly interesting experience of the plucky middle class scabs – one or two of whom are clearly finding out what hard work is like for the first time in their lives.
This is not in any way a political analysis of the strike, but it’s worth a watch to see the measures that the panic-stricken government – fearful of the workers’ power – was forced to adopt, complete with tanks on the streets…
The strike was betrayed by the TUC leaders after nine days – they too were fearful: the strike was showing signs of getting out of their control. In fact thousands of workers continued to join the strike on the tenth day, after it had been officially called off.
Solidarity to all the #J10 strikers – council workers, teachers, civil servants, firefighters and others. There is an urgent need to press for escalation of the action in order to force the government back, but tomorrow’s strike will again give us a taste of workers’ huge potential power.