Subversive Historian – 04/14/09

The Limerick General Strike of 1919

Back in the day on April 14th, 1919, the Limerick United Trades and Labor Council declared a general strike exactly ninety years ago in the Irish city. Prior to the action, British military authorities had declared Limerick to be a “special military area” under the “Defense of the Realm Act.” On the first day of the strike, an estimated 15,000 workers adhered to the proclamation of the Trades and Labor Council that stated the action was “a protest against the decision of the British government in compelling them to procure permits in order to earn their daily bread.” A soviet – or a council of direct democracy – was established with the workers printing their own money until the strike ended thirteen days later.

Author Liam Cahill called the events of 1919 a “Forgotten Revolution” in his popular historical account saying “It was the first – and only – time that organized labor challenged Sinn Fein and the IRA for the leadership of the increasingly powerful movement for Irish independence from Britain.”

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