More than a century ago, founding Wobbly Lucy Parsons gave a speech advocating for a different kind of general strike. It was more like a general Occupy:

The trouble with all the strikes in the past has been this: the workingmen like the teamsters in our cities, these hard-working teamsters, strike and go out and starve. Their children starve. Their wives get discouraged. (…) That is the way with the strikes in the past. My conception of the strike of the future is not to strike and go out and starve, but to strike and remain in and take possession of the necessary property of production.

(From “The General Strike: The Strike of the Future, by Lucy Parsons”, a speech given at the founding convention of the IWW.)

A woman far ahead of her time, she asked her compatriots to set aside “differences as nationality, religion, politics,” and declared: “if there is anything that you men should do in the future it is to organize the women.”

Lucy Parsons was of Mexican American, African American, and Native American descent, and she had been born into slavery. She organized women, led picket lines, fought white supremacy, and so terrified the Chicago Police Department that they called her “more dangerous than a thousand rioters.”

For more about Lucy Parsons, visit her page on the Zinn Education Project.

 

 

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