In recent years the struggle against gender oppression and sexual orientation-based discrimination has developed into mass movements in many countries. We have seen large-scale protests expressing anger and rebellion – that had been building up for years and decades – against an exasperating interference of a system that not only forces you to struggle daily to make ends meet, but also claims the right to decide what you can or cannot do in your private lives, who you can have a relationship with, sexual or otherwise, whether you can raise a child, etc., and subjects anyone who departs from the norms of the so-called “traditional family” to a social and legal ghetto.

The Australian general strike of 1917 began 100 years ago on 2nd August. It was not strictly ‘general’, as it was mainly confined to New South Wales. Nevertheless, there are numerous lessons that can be drawn from it. It showed that in times of crisis, the capitalist class will use all tools available to them to defend their privileges. Most importantly, the strike clearly exposed the limitations of the reformist trade union leaders, who acted as the biggest brake on the success of the strike.

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