how to survive a strike

Iranian presidential candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi has called for a general strike in Iran for Tuesday June 23rd. Hopefully future general strikes will be called with lengths greater than one day in order to destabilize the government. Problems with a longer strike quickly arise where they not only hurt the government but the people themselves. History has provided examples of such situation where workers are able to take control of vital services for the people. The Seattle General Strike of 1919 is a great example of this, lasting a week where workers established distribution systems for food and drinks, trash was still taken out, the sick were cared for, and veterans formed a militia to maintain order (even though crime dramatically dropped during the strike.

A cooperative body made up of rank and file workers from all the striking locals was formed during the strike, called the General Strike Committee. It acted as a "virtual counter-government for the city" (Brecher), somewhat akin to the Paris Commune in 1871. The workers in the committee organized to provide essential services for the people of Seattle during the work stoppage. For instance, garbage that would create a health hazard was collected, and firemen remained on duty. Exemptions to the stoppage of labor had to be passed by the Strike Committee. In general, work was not halted if doing so would endanger lives.

The people of Iran could use this historical example to use the strike to their advantage yet still keep the city going for them. This will also teach them that government bureaucracy isn't required to run a city and that workers can take control into their own hands.

Posters on Twitter also suggested that people pull their money out of banks, stop paying bills, and doing other things to stop the flow of money to the government.

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