Strikes have been frequent in all industrialized countries where labor has the right to freedom of action. In Great Britain, where the Industrial Revolution occurred first, strikes of various sorts took place during the 19th cent.; these include the antimachine riots of the Luddites, the successful work stoppage in 1889 by the London dockworkers, and the bitter and unsuccessful strikes by coal miners in 1898 and 1926, the latter leading to a general strike. The general strike, more successful in countries where labor unions are more closely linked to political parties than in the United States, has nevertheless also been attempted in cities there. Work stoppages have also occurred under authoritarian regimes (which often legally forbid strikes) as protests against both economic and political disabilities. Strikes against foreign owners of mines and oil fields have occurred at various times in Mexico, Bolivia, Chile, Venezuela, and Iran. The strike has also been used as a political weapon in the movements for independence in Asia and Africa.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.