Industrial vigilantism, strikebreaking and patterns of anti-labour violence, 1890s-1930s. A comparative and transnational perspective

23-24 October 2018, Oxford, United Kingdom
Deadline for submissions: 30 June 2018
Organizers: the ERC- StG project, “The Dark Side of Belle Époque. Political violence and Armed Associations in Europe before the First World War,” in association with the Department of Historical and Geographic Sciences and the Ancient World of the University of Padua, the University of Oxford Faculty of History and the Oxford Centre for European History (OCEH).


This is a free event but spaces are limited. To register, please contact 




23 October 2018 

17.30 – 18.00 - Opening Remarks

Matteo Millan (ERC-PREWArAs Principal Investigator, University of Padova)


18.00 – 19.30 - Keynote Address

Geoff Eley (University of Michigan), Normalizing and fracturing civility, 1860-1930: What were the tracks and boundaries of violence?


Reception/Dinner (speakers)


24 October 2018 

9.00 – 11.00 - First Panel 

Panel Chair:  Tom Buchanan (Oxford)  

George Gilbert (Southampton), Strike breaking in the late Russian Empire: reaction and revolution.

Volodymyr Kulikov (CEU Budapest), Repression of Labor Movement in the Company Towns of Russia.

Claire Morelon (Padova), For the protection of willing workers: Violence and Strikebreaking in Late Habsburg Austria.

Amerigo Caruso (Padova), Anti-labor violence and the rise of strikebreakers’ gangs in late Imperial Germany, 1905-1914.


11.00 – 11.30 - Coffee Break


11.30 – 13.30 - Second Panel

Panel Chair:  Patricia Clavin (Oxford)

Alessandro Saluppo (Padova), Strikebreaking and Maritime Labor in Britain, 1890-1914.

Erik Bengtsson (Lund), Sweden: the labour market regime without repression? An overview with a specific look at the 1899 anti-strike Åkarp Law.

Charles Fawell (Chicago), Labour in the In-Between Spaces of Empires: Militancy and Repression Along the Maritime Highways of the French Empire, c. 1880-1930.

Romain Bonnet (Padova), The Making of a Counter-Internationalism? Strikebreaking, political violence and the Fédération Nationale des Jaunes de France in Europe Belle Époque.


13.30 – 14.30 - Lunch


14.30 – 16.00 - Third Panel

Panel Chair:  Giulia Albanese (Padova)

Bruno Settis (SNS Pisa, CHSP), Security and surveillance services in mass production industries: the case of Fiat.

Thanasis Betas (Thessaly), Cairo, Athens, Salonica. Strikebreaking and anti-labour employers’ and state’s practices in the cigarette industry in the earlier twentieth century

Arturo Zoffmann Rodriguez (EUI), An honest worker against the red tyrants: the dirty war between libres and cenetistas in Spain, 1919-23


16.00 – 17.30 - Fourth Panel

Panel Chair:  Marc Mulholland (Oxford)

Vilja Hulden & Chad Pearson (UCB & Collin College), The Wild West of Employer Anti-Unionism: Individualism, Vigilantism, and the Glorification of Organized Anti-Union Leagues in the Early-Twentieth Century United States.

Prerna Agarwal (LSE), Countermanding the Red-Flag in the Name of Allah and ‘Constitutionalism’: the Murky World of Labour Politics in Calcutta Docks, 1930s.

Pierre Eichenberger (Zurich), ‘Employers of the world, unite!’  The International Organization of Industrial Employers, 1900-1939.


17.30 – 17.45 - Coffee Break


17.45 – 18.30 - Final Remarks and discussion

Martin Conway (University of Oxford)


20.00 - Reception/Dinner (speakers)