Occupy Movement Not Ready for General Strike, Says Duke Labor Historian

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With people in the Occupy Oakland group calling for a general strike on Wednesday, Nov 2., Duke labor historian Robert Korstad said his study of social movements leads him to believe a strike would not succeed now.

"It's a tremendous way of showing solidarity among groups of people, or across different groups of people," Korstad said during a live "Office Hours" webcast interview Thursday, October 27. However, "historically, general strikes take quite a bit of organizing if they are going to be successful."

"It seems to me to be, at least from a historical perspective, to be premature at this point," said Korstad, who has been a supporter of students involved in the Occupy Duke effort on campus. "I think it would be hard to imagine that being successful."

"As this goes months and months down the line, I can see some national protests or some larger national gatherings being something that could really happen," said Korstad, a professor of history and public policy at Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy and co-director of the Duke Program on History, Public Policy and Social Change. "It's real still in its infancy as a social movement. We need to see where it's going."