1893 Belgian General Strike
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|1893 General Strike|
|Date||13–18 April 1893|
|Goals||Adoption of Universal suffrage|
|Parties to the civil conflict|
The General strike of 1893 was a general strike in Belgium ordered by the General Board of the Belgian Labour Party (POB-BWP) on 12 April 1893 after the Belgian Parliament had rejected a bill proposing the introduction of universal male suffrage the day before.
This general strike forced the "terrified" bourgeoisie, who feared a full-scale revolution, into making concessions to the Socialists. But according to Henri Pirenne, "the leaders of the Belgian Labour Party were also terrified in the face of events that were no longer under their control".
Although universal suffrage was not adopted, a compromise system of plural voting was adopted. Under the system, all male citizens were entitled to vote, but those with education or property were entitled to several votes while poor, uneducated men were entitled to just one. Universal suffrage was only adopted in 1913.
Chronology according to the Otago Witness
The trouble with the strikers at Borinage has led to the calling out of the civic guard.
The strike ordered by the Belgian Labour party is of an extensive character, but it is not general. (...)
The general strike in Belgium is extending. (...) Much blood has been spilt, and many persons seriously wounded.
Brussels, April 17
The Belgian strikers now number 50,000. Many have been killed in conflicts with the police and military. (...) There is increased ferment throughout Belgium, and desperate fighting has taken place at Mons and Antwerp. A number of the Civic Guard were wounded, and several strikers killed and many wounded.
The strikers at Mons are maddened by the death of their comrades, and have sworn to avenge them.
Violent conflicts have taken place between the civic guard and rioters in Mons. The troops charged the mob, many of whom were wounded. The strikers retaliated with bricks, and the guard then fired, killing five and wounded many more. A large number were arrested, and the crowd then fled, taking the dead with them. (...)
The Belgian Government advocate manhood suffrage combined with plural voting. If the proposal is rejected the King must intervene...
The riots of Mons were also accurately described by the Otago Witness. We read almost the same version in a Walloon book. There were finally seven strikers killed by the civic guard of Mons.
|Depictions of the 1893 Strike|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1893 General Strike (Belgium).|
- General strike
- Walloon jacquerie of 1886
- General strike against Leopold III of Belgium
- 1960-1961 Winter General Strike
- History of Wallonia
- "Les grèves générales dans l’histoire sociale de la Belgique". Workers' Party of Belgium. Retrieved 28 December 2013.
- Henri Pirenne, Histoire de Belgique, Tome VII, Maurice Lambertin, Bruxelles, 1948, p. 319. Histoire de Belgique Tome VII
- Henri Pirenne, Histoire de Belgique, p.319. French: Les chefs du parti ouvrier s'épouvantent de la tournure des événements qu'ils ne peuvent plus maîtriser. Histoire de Belgique Tome VII
- Els Witte,Jan Craeybeckx,Alain Meynen Political History of Belgium: From 1830 Onwards, Academic and Scientific Publishers, Brussels, 2009, p. 278. ISBN 978-90-5487-517-8
- Otago Witness, 20 April 1893, p. 17
- Léon Fourmanoit, Des luttes, des hommes et du Borinage, Mons 1983 D/1983/3323/001 : La garde opère un simulacre de charge. Mouvement de recul de la foule mais au même moment des pierres sont lancées (...) Sans sommation aucune, un coup de feu part suivi d'une fusillade générale de quelques dizaines de secondes...