Industrial vigilantism, strikebreaking and patterns of anti-labour violence, 1890s-1930s. A comparative and transnational perspective
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Europe, North America and large areas of the globe experienced labour unrest and multiple strike waves, some of which developed a quasi-revolutionary momentum. Although considerable research has been done on the formation of labour movements and on the social, economic and institutional realities of labour conflicts, rather less attention has been paid to the repressive policies and practices of employers, and of local and national state authorities. In response to the steady growth of socialism and a renewed burst of revolutionary fears, exacerbated by the long drawn-out effects of economic competition, industrial firms and corporations increasingly resorted to the employment of paramilitary units, special police, vigilantes, professional strikebreakers and private detective agencies against organized labour and in the protection of their assets and investments. These groups typically operated on the frontiers between the legal and the extra-legal, drawing their strength from the language of the law, but often stepping outside it to carry out acts of violence, intimidation, and subversion.
The ERC-funded research project PREWarAs hosted by the University of Padua, the University of Oxford Faculty of History and the Oxford Centre for European History (OCEH) invite scholars, at any stage of their academic career, to submit their abstract for a conference devoted to a comparative and transnational examination of industrial vigilantism, strikebreaking and labour violence in the period from the 1890s to the 1930s to be held in Oxford, United Kingdom, on the 23rd and 24th of October, 2018. By putting scholars working on Europe and other world regions in conversation, the conference will provide a unique opportunity to gain knowledge on the rise of a market for anti-labour violence across regional, national and international boundaries and within the…. read more