The general strike of 1842, the first of its kind, involved up to half a million workers from Dundee to South Wales to Cornwall. Led by Richard Pilling and other Lancashire Chartists, the strike fused economic demands for wages with political demands for democratic rights to be extended to the new working class. The embryonic forms of workers’ democracy tested out during this strike would not be seen again until the workers’ councils of Russia, 1905. Mark Krantz explains the background and organisation of the strike, the inspiration of those who took part, and its legacy.
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