Economic Strikes in 1912 and in 1905

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Author(s) Lenin
Written 8 June 1913


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Pravda No. 130, June 8, 1913. Signed: V. I.. Published according to the Pravda text.
Source: Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1977, Moscow, Volume 19, pages 201-202.
Collection(s): Pravda
Keywords : Economics, Russia, Strike

The statistics on economic strikes compiled by the Association of Factory Owners in the Moscow Area enable us to draw some parallels between 1912 and 1905. In doing so we shall have to limit ourselves to three groups of industries—metalworking, textile and “others”, because the factory owners’ association does not give a more detailed classification in its statistics.

Here are the parallel figures:

Number of strikers

participating in economic

strikes
190519111912
Metalworkers . . . . .230,21617,92078,195
Textile workers . . . .559,69959,95089,540
Others . . . . . . . . .230,52718,88043,860
Totals . . . . . . .1,020,44296,750211,595

The figures for 1905 include only purely economic strikes; those with mixed motives, both economic and political, have been omitted. The figures for 1911 and 1912 seem to be far from complete.

If we take the 1905 figures as the starting-point, a comparison of these figures shows us that in 1911 the strike effort of the textile workers was greater than that of the metal-workers and “others”. In 1911 more than half the total number of strikers were textile workers; their number was more than three times that of the metalworkers. In 1905 the number of textile workers on strike was only two and a half times the number of metalworkers.

As far as the “others” are concerned, the number of strikers in these branches was about the same as the number of striking metalworkers in both 1905 and 1911.

In 1912, however, the metalworkers made an astounding advance, leaving the “others” far behind and almost catching up with the textile workers.

The number of metalworkers who took part in strikes in 1912 was more than four times the number for 1911. In the same period the number of strikers among the textile workers increased by only 50 per cent (60,000 and 89,000), while that of the “others” increased by just 150 per cent.

It follows, therefore, that the metalworkers made good use of the favourable market conditions of 1912. Encouraged by the victories of 1911, they went over to a more extensive and more determined offensive.

Workers in the “other” branches of industry were also in a favourable position in 1912. Their economic struggle was still more successful than that of the metalworkers, but they did not make such good use of their favourable position as the metalworkers did.

The position of the textile workers in 1912 was worse than that of workers in any other branch of industry; their economic struggle was the least successful. In view of this the number of strikers among them increased more slowly than in other branches.

The factory owners of the Moscow area hope that the wave of strikes will be weaker in 1913. We read in their report for 1912: “The situation in the textile industry is clear enough; until the state of the new harvest is known the mills will work at a slower rate and for the workers to strike under these conditions would be very imprudent.”

We shall see to what extent this assumption is justified. In any case both the year of 1912 and the beginning of 1913 have shown that economic strikes constitute only a small part of the entire “strike wave