Obviously there should be no strike which is not justifiable on merits. No unjust strike should succeed. All public sympathy must be withheld from such strikes.
The public has no means of judging the merits of a strike, unless it
is backed by impartial persons enjoying public confidence.
Interested men cannot judge the merits of their own case. Hence,
there must be an arbitration accepted by the parties or a judicial
adjudication. As a rule, the matter does not come before the public
when there is accepted arbitration or adjudication. Cases have,
however, happened when haughty employers have ignored awards, or
misguided employees, conscious of their power to assert themselves,
have done likewise and have decided upon forcible extortion.
Strikes for economic betterment should never have a political end as
an ulterior motive. Such a mixture never advances the political end
and generally brings trouble upon strikers, even when they do not
dislocate public life, as in the case of public utility services,
such as the postal strike. The Government may suffer some
inconvenience, but will not come to a standstill. Rich persons will
put up expensive postal services but the vast mass of the poor
people will be deprived during such a strike of a convenience of
primary importance to which they have become used for generations.
Such strikes can only take place when every other legitimate means
has been adopted and failed.
Sympathetic strikes must be taboo until it is conclusively proved
that the affected men have exhausted all the legitimate means at
One hears of strikes all over the country to paralyse the
Government. This paralysis is an extreme political step, open only
to a body like the Congress, not even to unions, however powerful
they may be. If the Congress is the people's arm par excellence
for the purpose of winning independence, paralysing action should be
retained solely in the hands of the Congress.
It follows from the foregoing that political strikes must be treated
on their own merits and must never be mixed with or related to
economic strikes. Political strikes have a definite place in
non-violent action. They are never taken up haphazard. They must be
open, never led by goondaism. They are calculated never to lead to