VIDEO: John Nichols Explains the Value of General Strikes
The Nation's John Nichols got his start as a labor reporter, and his home state of Wisconsin became ground zero last year for labor protests in the U.S. Nichols told AlterNet earlier this year that he believes what happened in Madison was a general strike, or if it wasn't, it could have been:
What I argue is that there were key points, when to my view, the call should have been made. First off, to declare it a general strike, and to say we are either there or on the verge of it; and then secondly to say join us, let’s do it, let’s take this thing statewide, let’s see what we can do. I’ve sat with friends who are labor leaders, who said it wouldn’t have, we couldn’t have done it. I’ve sat with other people who say we absolutely could have. But I do believe that there was a point there, especially when you had 180,000 people at the capitol on March 12, I believe if the message had been, let’s not go to work on Monday, let’s not go to school, let’s not open our businesses, let’s show Governor Walker just how much we disapprove of what he’s done, I have a sense it might have worked.
As we approach May Day and discuss once again the idea of a general strike, who better than Nichols to explain? In this clip from VideoNation, he talks about the power of the strike, how it led to increased unionization, and why it matters to talk about general strikes today.