The use of the strike as an offensive and defensive weapon against Capitalism has been illustrated during the past few weeks by noteworthy revolts of workers in Leeds and London. In the former city -the men have gained what they desired; in the latter they have supplied the capitalist newspapers with some sensational news by which to catch the pence of the multitude, whilst they have practically lost their, cause and allowed a number of the most energetic among them to lose their employment. The reason of this difference of fortune which has befallen the gas workers of Leeds and the postmen and policemen of London is not far to seek. In the Yorkshire town the men were determined and united. Following up the tactics of the Irish peasants when, evicted from the tenancy of a farm, they made it quite clear to the blacklegs that it would be a very risky thing for anyone to take their Jobs away from them, and, being backed up by the public opinion of the district and by the practical help of thousands of fellow workmen, they succeeded in convincing their employers that their claims were just, compelled them to buy off the blacklegs, with whom long-term agreements had been made, and were reinstated in triumph. In London, on the other hand, the conflict was forced on by the authorities, and the men had not made up their minds that they all, ought to stick together. As regards the police, a little firm action on the part of their masters cowed them into submission, and they allowed the boldest of their number to be sacrificed. Perhaps the same thing is to some extent true about the postmen, although it would appear that the chief cause of their defeat lay in placing too much trust in their officials A comrade who spoke to a number of North London postmen at the time of the collapse of the movement, informs us that be found them very bitter against their leaders, and declaring that if they bad been efficiently led they would have scored a victory. However this may be, it should be a lesson to them not to rely upon leaders, but to act for themselves in the future. If it is necessary for them to have secretaries, treasurers, and suchlike officials, let them be kept to the clerical duties to which they are appointed, and not be looked upon as the leaders of a strike movement. For the movement to have been successful, it should have been led by men coming forward spontaneously from the ranks of the postmen themselves at the critical juncture in the various offices, and acting at once, together with their fellows, without waiting for orders from an executive, without giving time to their opponent to carry out his plans for defeating them.
Photo by Adam Engelhart,
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