Do Strikes Work Any More?

A demonstrator argues with a riot police officer during a general strike in Madrid last week. (AP Photo/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)

We all saw the news last week about the strikes around Europe. Pictures and videos of clashes with police in riot gear. People marching with signs. Tires burning on street corners. Buses and trains at standstill. Small mom and pop shop owners wondering whether they should close their doors for the day or stay open and deal with threats from demonstrators.

We didn’t cover the strike as it happened in Barcelona, and some of you have asked us why we didn’t write about it here. It wasn’t a conscious decision not to, and we certainly couldn’t ignore the news even if we tried.

Truth is, we’re not really sure how to cover these protests. Right, they’re news events, but we’re not focused on covering one-off events like a newspaper or TV station would. We’re more selectively filtering the news of the day and asking ourselves and others, “What impact did that news event have on youth unemployment? How did it help a young person get a job?”

Almost besides the point but worth noting, in Barcelona, we’ve seen many, many demonstrations these last few years as the crisis drags outs and austerity measures keep knocking back a once-robust social system and squeezing working-class families. Some protests have brought out hundreds of university students and professors. Others have seen tens of thousands of young people, parents with strollers and seniors citizens peacefully gather in the central plaza. And, yes, a few protests have had a definite anarchist feel with pent-up rage bubbling up and over the edge of self-control. At some point, though, these demonstrations all start looking the same – they are each impressive in their own way, but also now have become sort of routine occurrence in a country where there seems to be no end in sight for tough economic times.

Of course, we know that strikes have historically brought about important global changes in labor conditions and work-related legislation. We also recognize that people frustrated with the political response to the ongoing financial fallout need a place to raise a collective voice, and legally-called, multi-national strikes provide a platform for that outrage.

Even so, it’s hard to watch the violence of the most recent uprisings that swept through Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Belgium and other parts of Europe and a similar one in Spain on March 29 and think that these demonstrations will change anything any time soon. We don’t think people should give up the fight either; the big problems we’re all facing globally won’t go away by themselves.

But, much like the Associated Press, we can’t help but wonder — Europe Strikes: What might they accomplish?


8 Comments on “Do Strikes Work Any More?”

  1. Kirk says:

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  2. test says:

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  3. Nema says:

    thing you never fail at Sally, is getting to cmnmeot at a blog before me! I always seem to be in the shadow of your blog-writing wings! Nevertheless I’ll try to learn something from that! @ JasonA very thought-provoking and well-written post. I can resonate with too much of those failure examples, its becoming very loud over here! So what challenges am I facing with my blog?1.I want to change my theme, but want to be sure I have a backup that will mean no settings are lost for ANYTHING if I want to revert back to it (lost loads before and it took ages to get it back to what it was before). I also want my new theme to look personal rather than corporate, girlie rather than guy, but tidy and well-defined rather than unstructured.Any ideas? 2. I want to increase my traffic including from search engines etc. I’m getting traffic, but I want more and from more sources.3. I want to plan my posts a bit better, so that there is a theme, rather than jusst random thooughts (I think. But as I’m a bit random, maybe I’ll stick to being spontaneous (still not sure). Anyway gotta have a plan of sorts for my future posts.That’s about it, I guess.Over to you.Jaycee

    • Naay says:

      bhai jay news updateko lagi muri2 dhanaybad sampurna tamu samaj pariwarko tarfa bata,ho yas paliko lhoshar hami sampurna kuwait bashi dajubhai tatha didibahiniko sathma manaune paryasma lagi pareko chhau.bhai karyakram sthal auna fintas bridge ma jharnu parchha. ra road no.209 fintas tarfa jana sath pahilo daya mod bata sidha lagbhag 3 min hinde pachhi wedding hall bhetinchha.wa jo koilai sodhna sath batauchha.wa fintas block no.3 street no.5 ko masjid wa wedding hall kaha chha bhanera sodhne wa hamro samajko jo koilai pani phone marfat samparka garda hunechha.thanks

  4. Andreia says:

    Females are the weaker sex, so if fmzeniiation suggests weakness then that’s what I meant. It is weak to allow a guy like this to do whatever he wants with no consequence.Diplomacy is not the issue in regards to wikileaks. There is no need to be diplomatic with Assange. He should just be found dead with a note on his chest saying Who’s next? I’m not sure when this country was great , but its been awhile. Probably since before we had people like Jimmy Carter, Bush I, Clinton and the messiah in charge.

  5. Jessica says:

    I did write about the strike because of this frustration I felt too while there. At this point, there are strikes or marches every few weeks, but it’s hard to say what impact they are actually having. However, I agree with your point that people shouldn’t give up, and hopefully we can find a way to make change happen.

    • Wagon says:

      Some companies hire pelope as indep. contractors vs traditional employees to avoid having to give benefits like holidays and sick time. The company also does not pay into the persons social security. Unually, if you are an indep. contractor home care attendant, you can choose your clients and your hours. BTW, when it comes to filing your income taxes the indep. contractor has to pay an additional fee because of their indep. contractor status. (I don’t remember if this is fed. tax or just for state tax.) The person is, in a sense, working for him/herself.

  6. stanjourdan says:

    Basically, what’s the point with strike when most people are already unemployed?

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