Karl Marx in the New York Daily Tribune 1853

The Battle Continues


Source: Marx and Engels on the Trade Unions, Edited by Kenneth Lapides;
Written: by Marx;
First Published: in the New York Daily Tribune, August 30 1853;
Transcribed: by Andy Blunden.

The battle between labor and capital, between wages and profits, continues. There have been new strikes in London on the part of the coal-heavers, of the barbers, of the tailors, ladies’ boot and shoe makers, umbrella and parasol coverers, shirtmakers and makers of underclothing generally, and of other working people employed by slop-sellers and wholesale export-houses. Yesterday, a strike was announced from several bricklayers, and from the Thames lightermen, employed in the transit of goods between the wharfs and ships in the river. The strikes of the colliers and iron-workers in South Wales continue, and a new strike of colliers in Resolven has to be added to the list, etc., etc.

It would be tedious to go on enumerating, letter after letter, the different strikes which come to my knowledge week after week. I shall therefore merely dwell occasionally on such as offer peculiar features of interest. ...

The most important incident in this history of strikes is the declaration of the “Seamen’s United Friendly Association,” calling itself the Anglo-Saxon Sailor’s Bill of Rights. This declaration refers to the Merchant Shipping Bill, which repeals the clause of the Navigation Act, rendering it imperative on British owners to carry at least three-fourths of British subjects on board their ships; which bill now throws open the coasting trade to foreign seamen even where foreign ships are excluded. The men declare this bill to be, not a Seamen’s bill but an Owners’ bill.