The first general strike will be on Friday. Here's what it's trying to accomplish.


Amidst the hundreds of protests occurring spontaneously across a broad coalition, word of a protest of a whole different kind has been sweeping the country: calls for a "general strike," a work stoppage that goes beyond putting bodies in the streets.

Put together by individual organizers across the country in response to a call for a strike by author Francine Prose in a column for the Guardian, the first of such strikes will come on Friday.

But it's difficult to say exactly how wide-spread this first strike will be. There will be rallies in major cities like New York City, San Francisco and Philadelphia. But whether or not the single day strike can unify around a single message and make their point clear to the Trump administration remains to be seen.

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So what's a general strike? A general strike is a work stoppage, not just in one company or industry, but across a wide coalition, area, city or even country that causes enough of a disruption to advance the stated goals of the strike.

Already, smaller strikes have hit the country in solidarity with Muslims and immigrants hit by President Donald Trump's travel ban. During the height of the protests against the ban, taxi drivers stopped serving JFK airport in New York. A few days later Yemeni bodega owners shut their doors and gathered  mass prayer in Brooklyn.

For the strike on Friday, there are a few goals, depending on which Facebook event you've been following. Initially, the strike was organized around five goals:

1. No Ban, No Wall. The Muslim ban is immoral, the wall is expensive and ineffectual. We will build bridges, not walls.

While these stated goals were advertised across many Facebook pages, some have changed their messaging slightly — the national page for the strike now has a much longer list on individual interests.

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There are more, possible larger general strikes coming. The organizers behind Women's March on Washington has announced their own general strike on March 8, International Women's Day. 

The strike will be a "day without women," asking women to step away from their roles in the home and the workplace in order to make the impact of their various kinds of labor felt in a bold stance for gender equality. Given the Women's March's enormous reach — they've already held what may have been the biggest single-day protest in United States history — it's safe to say the strike will be far-reaching.

And then on May Day, a global holiday for workers rights socialist organizations are preparing for a massive workers strike.

On Friday, we'll see whether or not Friday's general strike, without a clear central organization or broad coalitions of workers in collaboration with each other, will be the disruptive work stoppage some hope.