Bread and Roses.

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I’ve just finished watching Bread and Roses – a cracking Ken Loach film based on the Justice for Janitors campaign in Los Angeles. The exploited cleaners – many of them women, most of them immigrants, all of them trying to survive on poverty wages – get themselves organised into a trade union. After some effective attention-grabbing protests they manage to secure important concessions from their bastard bosses.

Interested in the realities behind the story, I found myself reading up on the union that the janitors joined; the Service Employees International Union. The SEIU today is a major force in the US. It has nearly two million members, was at the forefront of campaigning in support of health care reform, and its solidly leftie president Andy Stern is apparently the most frequent visitor to the White House since Obama’s inauguration.

All good stuff. I especially like the fact that Ken Loach used working cleaners and union activists who had been through the real-life struggle as characters in the film. The documentary about the making of Bread and Roses that comes with the DVD features one of these cleaners saying that she couldn’t believe anyone as thin as Loach could possibly have the energy to be a film director. She also criticises him for scratching his arse too much on set.

All in all: two Jako thumbs up.

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2 Responses to “Bread and Roses.”

  1. Durbinite Says:

    Pity about the shit Clapham pub named after it

  2. captainjako Says:

    At least there is still room in the market for a decent left-wing pub to be set-up one day

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