Prior to the 1893 Belgian general strike, some miners and other workers had gone on strike sporadically, first in 1890 and most notably in 1891 in Liege, Charleroi and Borinage. Most of these labor skirmishes lacked the strength and the impact to really challenge the Belgian parliamentary system. In 1890, leaders of the Belgian Worker’s Party did issue a call to spread the strike and then quickly called it off when the parliament agreed to consider a proposal to constitutionally enact suffrage reform.
Throughout the 1800’s in Belgium, political repression and the prioritization of the interests of wealthy citizens led to a government that didn’t reflect the political views of its people. Despite their popularity among the citizenry, Socialists were almost fully excluded from the Parliament. Thus, during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, workers leveraged their populist power by conducting approximately twenty general strikes across the country, with goals of accurate representation and fair working condition.
The general strike of 1913 was organized by the Socialist Party of Belgium as the last desperate measure to make the Government create a system of universal manhood suffrage rather than the system of plural voting which was practiced at the time.
The exasperation of the Liberal and Socialist Opposition had increased significantly after the elections of June 2