We are those lions
December 28, 2010 3:33 PM   Subscribe

Jayaben Desai passes away. Ms. Desai came to national prominence in the UK for her leading role in the 1976-78 strike at Grunwick Processing's photo processing labs in North London, a dispute that shattered stereotypes about south Asian women workers in Britain, in the face of police violence, the antics of the McWhirter brothers and ambiguous support from the official trade union movement.

(The strike also inspired this dub number from Dennis Bovell).
posted by Abiezer (5 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I read her obit this morning in the Guardian and found myself very encouraged by such a courageous woman.
posted by msjen at 4:38 PM on December 28, 2010

Wow, she sounds amazing.

I'm long out of union involvement, but I remember occasionally I'd come across someone in the movement with the most breathtaking combination of arrogance and defiance in pursuit of worker's rights, and it was always those people I admired the most.

Don't know so much about the UK union movement. The early labor movements in Australia were very racist (as opposed to today when they're just kind of racist). It was factions of the Labor Party that supported a nascent version of the White Australia Policy. Migrant workers are terribly vulnerable to exploitation, so it's good to read about Desai's example.
posted by Ritchie at 5:06 PM on December 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by runincircles at 11:41 PM on December 28, 2010

Early unions in the U.S. also were racist. Eventually that changed. I always admired strong trade unionists.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:31 PM on January 7, 2011

Sepia Mutiny on her death.
posted by chunking express at 3:25 PM on January 8, 2011

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