The trigger for the non-union strike at Ford in Cologne in 1973 was that over 300 Turkish workers had extended their four-week annual leave on their own and were subsequently fired. However, this was only the straw that broke the camel’s back – filled with exploitative working conditions, very poor pay as well as racist discrimination of foreign workers against German colleagues. The company managed to divide the struggles and, with the help of the German ‘willing to work’ workers and the state power in the form of the police, to arrest and, literally, bludgeon the majority Turkish strikers. The 1973 Ford strike is a particular moment in the history and present of resistance in Germany, both in terms of migrant self-empowerment and labor struggles in general.

Serhat Karakayali wrote in the article “

Six to eight communists disguised in mechanics’ coats

“Serhat Karakayali described and commented on the strike on the site of Kanak Attak and wrote a book contribution: Serhat Karakayali 2005: Lotta Continua in Frankfurt, Turkish terror in Cologne. Migrant Struggles in the History of the Federal Republic. In: Bernd Hüttner / Gottfried Oy / Norbert Schepers (eds.): Forward and Much Forgotten. Contributions to the history and historiography of new social movements. Neu-Ulm: AG SPAK Books, 121-134.

There is also a review of Jörg Huwer’s book “Guest workers on strike. The work stoppage at Ford Cologne in August 1973“by Ceren Türkmen on is in itself a highly recommendable site on which reviews of books and brochures are published, which are intended to stimulate political and critical discussions. Another review of the same book was written by Bernd Hüttner.

The documentary film “Diese spontane Arbeitsniederlegung war nicht geplant” (BRD 1982, 45 min., directors: Thomas Giefer, Klaus Baumgarten) is very moving and extremely worth seeing.

The blog 40 years of the Ford strike in Cologne. Ford grevi – kırk yıl sonra was created to accompany an exhibition commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the strike. There you can find further links and texts as well as an audio contribution to the exhibition.

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