MARXIST INTERNET ARCHIVE |  V. I. Lenin


V. I. Lenin

STRIKES IN RUSSIA

Written in 1913
 
Published in December 1913
in the pocket calendar
Sputnik Rabochego for 1914
Priboi Publishers, St. Petersburg
Signed: V. I.

Published according to
the calendar text
 
 
 
 
 

From V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, 4th English Edition,
Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1968

First printing 1963
Second printing 1968

Vol. 19, pp. 534-38.

Translated from the Russian by George Hanna
Edited by Robert Daglish


Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, djr@marx2mao.org (December 2001)

     
    page 534


       STRIKES IN RUSSIA[151]


        In the majority of West-European countries, strike statistics were placed on a proper footing comparatively recently -- some ten or twenty years ago. In Russia there are strike statistics dating from 1895 only. The chief defect in our official statistics, apart from understatement concerning the number of participants, is that they cover only workers in enterprises subordinated to the Factory Inspectorate. Railwaymen, metallurgical workers, tramway workers, workers in trades subject to excise, etc., miners, building and rural workers are not included in the statistics.

        Here are summarised data for the entire period covered by Russian strike statistics.

    Year

    Number of strikes

    Number of strikers

    Total

     Percentage 
    of all
    enterprises

    Total

     Percentage 
    of all
    enterprises

      1895  
    1896
    1897
    1898
    1899
    1900
    1901
    1902
    1903
    1904
    1905
    1906
    1907
    1908
    1909
    1910
    1911
    1912

       68
      118
      145
      215
      164
      189
      125
      123
      550
       68
     13,995 
     6,114
     3,573
      892
      340
      222
      466
     1,918

     0.4
     0.6
     0.7
     1.1
     1.0
     0.7
     1.0
     0.7
     3.2
     0.4
    93.2
    42.2
    23.8
     5.6
     2.3
     1.4
     2.8
    ?

    31,195  
    29,527  
    59,870  
    43,150  
    57,498  
    29,389  
    32,218  
    36,671  
    86,832  
    24,904  
    2,863,173  
    1,108,406  
    740,074  
    176,101  
    64,166  
    46,623  
    105,110  
    682,361  

      2.0
      1.9
      4.0
      2.6
      3.8
      1.7
      1.9
      2.2
      5.1
      1.5
    163.8
     65.8
     41.9
      9.7
      3.5
      2.4
      5.1
     ?


     
    page 535

        The extent to which these figures are understated may be judged, for example, from the fact that such a cautious writer as Mr. Prokopovich cites another figure for 1912 -- 683,000 strikers, but "according to another estimate, 1,248,000 in factories, and in addition a further 215,000 in enterprises not under the Factory Inspectorate", i.e., 1,463,000 or almost a million and a half.

        The number of economic strikes (from 1905) is as follows:

    Year

    Number of
    strikes

    Number of
    workers

    Year

    Number of
    strikes

    Number of
    workers

    1905
    1906
    1907
    1908

    4,388
    2,545
     973
     428

    1,051,209
     457,721
     200,004
      83,407

    1909
    1910
    1911
    1912

    290
    214
    442
    702

     55,803
     42,846
     96,730
    172,052


        Thus the history of strikes in Russia may be divided into four clear-cut periods (if we omit the eighties with their famous Morozov strikes[
    152], noted even by the reactionary publicist Katkov as the emergence of the "labour question" in Russia):


    Average
    number of
    strikes per
    annum

    1st period (1895-1904),
    2nd period (1905-07),
    3rd period (1908-10),
    4th period (1911-12),
     

    pre-revolutionary .  .
    revolutionary.  .  .  .
    counter-revolutionary
    present, beginning of
      revival .  .  .  .  .

    43,000  
    1,570,000  
    96,000  
     
    394,000  

        In general, the average number of strikers a year in Russia over the eighteen years was 345,400. In Germany the average for fourteen years (1899-1912) was 229,500, and for Britain the average for twenty years (1893-1912) was 344,200. To give a clear picture of the connection between strikes in Russia and the country's political history, we cite the figures for 1905-07 in three-month periods (quarters ):

     
    page 536

     Year  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

    1905

    1906

     Quarters .  .  .  .  .  .

    I

    II

    III

    IV

    I

    II

    III

    IV

    Number of strikers
     (thousands) per
     quarter .  .  .  .  .  .
    Total  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    Economic .  .  .  .  .  .
    Political  .  .  .  .  .  .

    Beginning
    of revo-
    lution
    810
    411
    399


     
     
    481
    190
    291


     
     
    294
    143
    151

    Revolu-
    tion
     
    1,277
     275
    1,002


     
     
    269
     73
    196

     First 
    Duma
     
    479
    222
    257


     
     
    296
    125
    171


     
     
    63
    37
    26

       Year  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

      1907

       Quarters .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .

         I   

      II

        III  

        IV  

      Number of strikers (thousands)
       per quarter.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
      Total  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
      Economic .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
      Political  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .


       
      146
       52
       94

       Second 
      Duma
      322
       52
      271


       
      77
      66
      11


       
      193
       30
      163


        The extent to which workers from various parts of Russia participated in strikes may be seen from the following figures:

    Factory district

    Number of
    factory
    workers
    (thousands)
    in 1905

    Number of strikers
    (thousands)

    Total for
    ten years
    (1895-1904)


    Number
    in 1905

    St. Petersburg  .  .  .  .  .
    Moscow .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    Warsaw .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    3 Southern Regions.  .  .  .

     299
     567
     252
     543

    137
    123
     69
    102

    1,033
     540
     887
     403


       Totals .  .  .  .  .  .  .

    1,661

    431

    2,863


        This table shows the relative backwardness of Moscow, and still more of the South, and the outstanding priority of St. Petersburg and its area (including Riga), and also of Poland.

        The strikers in the main branches of industry were distributed as follows;

     
    page 537

    Groups of industries

    Total
    number of
    factory
    workers
    (thousands)
    in 1904

    Number of strikers
    (thousands)

    Total for
    ten years
    (1895-1904)


    Number
    in 1905

    Metalworking .  .  .  .  .
    Textile.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    Printing, woodworking,
     leather, chemicals .  .  .
    Ceramics, food.  .  .  .  .

    252
    708
     
    277
    454

    117
    237
     
     38
     39

     811
    1,296
     
     471
     285


       Totals .  .  .  .  .  .

    1,691

    431

    2,863


        This shows that the metalworkers are in the lead and the textile workers are backward, the remaining workers being still more backward.

        The strikes are grouped in accordance with their causes in the following way (for 14 years, 1895-1908): political, 59.9 per cent of the strikers; on wage issues, 24.3 per cent; on the issue of the working day, 10.9 per cent; labour conditions, 4.8 per cent.

        In respect of the results of the strikes we get the following division (if the number of strikers whose strikes ended in a compromise be divided equally between "won" and "lost"):

    Number participating in economic strikes (thousands)


    Total
    for 10
    years
    (1895-
    1904)


     
     
     
    %


     
     
     
    1905


     
     
     
    %


     
     
     
    1906


     
     
     
    %


     
     
     
    1907


     
     
     
    %


     
     
     
    1911


     
     
     
    %


     
     
     
    1912


     
     
     
    %

    Won .  .  .  .
    Lost .  .  .  .

    159
    265

    37.5
    62.5

    705
    734

    48.9
    51.1

    233
    225

    50.9
    49.1

     59
    141

    29.5
    70.5

    49
    47

    51
    49

    55
    77

    42
    58


    Totals .  .

    424

    100

    1,439

    100

    458

    100

    200

    100

    96

    100

    132

    100


        The figures for 1911 and 1912 are incomplete and are not fully comparable with the preceding figures.

        In conclusion we give brief data on the distribution of strikes according to the size of the enterprise and according to the location of the enterprise:

     
    page 538

    Number of strikers per 100 in each category

    Category of enterprise

    Total for
    10 years --
    1895-1904

      In 1905  

    20 workers or less .  .  .  .  .
     21 to   50 workers  .  .  .
     51 to  100   "       .  .  .
    101 to  500   "       .  .  .
    501 to 1,000   "       .  .  .
    Over   1,000   "       .  .  .

     2.7
     7.5
     9.4
    21.5
    49.9
    89.7

    47
     89.4
    108.9
    160.2
    163.8
    231.9

    Percentage of strikes


    in towns

    outside towns

    1895-1904 .  .  .
    1905 .  .  .  .  .  .

    75.1
    85 

    24.9
    15 


        The dominance of the workers of big industrial establishments in the strike movement and the relative backwardness of rural factories are quite clear from these figures.

     

page 587


NOTES

  [151] Lenin wrote this article for the pocket calendar Sputnik Rabochego (Worker's Handbook ) for 1914, issued by the Priboi Party Publishing House in December 1913. It contained essential information on labour legislation in Russia, the Russian and international working-class movement, political parties, associations and unions, the press, etc. The Worker's Handbook was sequestered but the issue was sold in one day before the police could confiscate it. When Lenin received a copy of the Handbook he wrote in a letter to Inessa Armand that 5,000 copies had already been sold. A second, amended edition was published in February 1914 with deletions and amendments made for purposes of censorship and with a list of books for self-education added. Altogether 20,000 copies of the Handbook were sold.    [p. 534]

  [152] For details of the strike at the Morozov mills see "Explanation of the Law on Fines Imposed on Factory Workers", V. I. Lenin, Collected Works, Vol. 2, pp. 29-72.    [p. 535]