Monday, February 09, 2009


Strikers and braziers for the 21st century

Classic 70s - when unions were unions and governments were nervous

What is it about strikes and braziers? You never normally see people standing around an old oil drum with various burning logs in it, but as soon as they go on strike these things magically appear. Where do they come from? I never see old, lidless oil drums hanging around, but they always seem to be wherever the industrial action is. Does some entrepreneur cleverly monitor union website chat rooms, ready to load up his transit van with blackened and holed drums and get on the scene at the mere mention of the word "wildcat"?

And is it just a British thing or do the workers of the world stand around braziers as they confront the bourgeoisie and owners of the means of production?

I perhaps worry about such matters too much.

1 comment:

Your neighbour said...

Campfire camaraderie, pure and simple. All part of building solidarity.

I once had a job as night watchman in the town hall of a London borough during a social workers' strike. The social workers picketed the building day and night, and I made a point of boiling a kettle for them when I did my rounds every hour.

Obviously there was no point in specifically picketing the building between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., as nobody worked there at this time (the evening and night unit of social services was not based at the town hall). The purpose of the all-night picket was to generate a sprit of solidarity and to project a certain image. It also provided an opportunity for the left-leaning media to get front-line updates for the morning edition on slow news days.