Working-Class Collective Agency: The General Strike and Labor Insurgency

Chris Rhomberg

in No There There

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780520236189
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520940888 | DOI:
Working-Class Collective Agency: The General Strike and Labor Insurgency

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This chapter explores the events leading up to and during the General Strike, and the political mobilization that followed. Structural and conjunctural forces were to push local actors toward a public class confrontation, leading ultimately to a citywide General Strike. The Kahn's and Hastings strike quickly developed into a public showdown between the downtown business elites and the American Federation of Labor (AFL) unions in Alameda County, and each side marshaled its allies. The struggle at Kahn's and Hastings sparked a reactive sequence of polarization, concentrating public attention on the most powerful class actors in the Oakland polity. The General Strike pushed class conflict to the center of public awareness, but the inconclusive settlement showed both the weakness of the AFL unions' traditional repertoire and the continuing closure of local political institutions to working-class concerns.

Keywords: General Strike; labor insurgency; political mobilization; Kahn; Hastings strike; American Federation of Labor unions; working-class

Chapter.  10396 words. 

Subjects: Race and Ethnicity

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