Monday, February 19, 2018

100 years after the Swiss General Strike of 1918

In the occasion of the anniversary of the event that had established workers protagonism in our national history, the Communist Party (Switzerland) decided to dedicate its 2018 member card to the General Strike which happened 100 years ago.

In November 1918 modern Switzerland, born on the Federal Constitution of 1848, has been shocked by the biggest political and social crisis of its history: the tensions which divided the bourgeois class from the working class exploded in the General Strike (Landesstreik) summoned by the «Olten Committee» - in the representation of trade unions and left-wing associations and parties - which mobilized for a week 250’000 workers.

Originally there were the sufferings the Great War also caused in Switzerland: terrible labor conditions, unsustainable work schedule, lack of democracy, and food inflation are only some of the problems that loaded the majority of the Swiss population, which is in the same time forced to observe the park of profit coming from the business world, weighted up by the war economy. In the "arm wrestling" swiss bourgeois didn’t hesitate to use violence to repress the strikers. In Grenchen three of them died by the swiss (leverage) army, which was lined up to defend the established order, and other three thousands people - in which there were the movement leaders - were subjected to the martial court judgement. 

The Swiss General Strike of 1918 reaches this year his hundredth anniversary in a Country that still struggle to recognize the importance of this event in the national history. On the side of the strong repression and communist which-hunt that caused the strike, many reform processes were born because of this event, which brang Switzerland to conquer lots of right still useful today, as a major involvement of the worker world in the decision process, a relevant reduction of the working time, the introduction of the "AVS" (retirement insurance) and "AI" (invalidity insurance), the sign of collective labor agreements and the adoption of the proportional system in the parliament elections.

The emblematic photography chosen for the Communist Party's Member Card 2018 was taken in novembre 1918 in Zurich: in the Paradeplatz (the swiss "Wall Street") the strikers faced the swiss army (composed by made up of leveraged recruits) and cavalry, which were lined up with the employers in order to defend their interests, symbolized by Swiss Bank Society building forerunner of the actual UBS.

If 2017 had been the year that permitted the communists of all the world to elaborate the fundamental role of the leninist-type Party able to accomplish a revolution, 2018 will be for us a moment to reflect on the hostile role of the swiss army to the social conflict, and also the system integration process of the social democratic forces, but above them all, on the need to renew our trade union praxis to give back the Unions to the workers and not to the corporate leaders.

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