I admit it: I don’t spend much time on the picket line. I’m mostly one of those “rooting for 100% unemployment” types, politically. But I recognize that while I may be looking for the abolition of alienated labor, there are people who got families to feed. And they shouldn’t be treated like crap. And what’s more, we should help them represent themselves as a unified work force. Syndicalists do this fairly well.
The SAC is a syndicalist union in Sweden that’s been around for 100 years, which is awesome. And they’re remarkable in a lot of ways that really deserve more words than I’m going to give them now (but they represent a lot of immigrants, fight for precarious labor, and aren’t just a bunch of bureaucrats. And they call their pickets blockades, cause they blockade!).
I was in town for part of their 100th anniversary get-together and it really, really warmed my heart. I got to meet syndicalists from Spain, Siberia, Italy, and the UK (and Sweden). And I went out to the picket line one night to photograph and participate. The picketers were made up of the SAC and then a student group that was some sort of… i dunno, liberals or marxists or something, but they were cool too. Everyone wore almost the same reflective jackets as the police.
The place they were blockading, Berns, is a super-fancy hotel and club that treats their workers like absolute dirt, makes them work ungodly long shifts, fires them for organizing, etc. etc.
The police were trying to claim that the picketers are mafia, in essence. It’s disgusting.