SWAG - Student Worker Action Group

For without organization we can but beg.

Welcome to the homepage of the Student Worker Action Group! SWAG is a working group supported by the Alberta Public Interest Research Group AP!RG that organizes around issues that affect students and workers alike.


What is SWAG?

SWAG seeks to foster a culture and practice of student-worker solidarity on the University of Alberta campus. We organize students as workers, not as students. After all, even those students that don't work to put themselves through school are still workers in training. Students have much more in common with most workers, especially those that work at the UofA, than most may like to think.

Organizing students is a particularly tough job. The student population is unique in its diverse and constantly shifting population; not only is it often difficult to find common ground, but successes, when achieved, can be fleeting as students graduate and priorities shift.

So, we organize around issues that affect us as working class students, which includes a focus on raising awareness about issues in the labour movement, organizing strike support, educating students about their rights as workers, as well as teaching students how to enforce their rights and to organize unions.

SWAG is a group of people who believe that really hardline front-page manifestos are not going to change anything, but have one anyways. We also do not have a cohesive "we," of this we can at least agree on. There are many different types of folks in SWAG, with many different ideas, backgrounds, identities.

One thing that we can agree on is the importance of bottom-up democratic organization, and broadly speaking, that it is important to "Organize, Agitate, Educate." We also think that union made beer tastes better than other types of beer, especially scabby beer.

We don't believe in a vanguard, because we think that people are smart enough to achieve things on their own, given the right tool kit. As the old adage goes, "direct action brings satisfaction." Or "direct action gets the goods." Either way, organizing and acting against undue socio-economic coercion can bring about positive results. Whether it is for the worker on the campus fast-food joint who refuses to screw in a light bulb in the middle of a puddle (exercising the right to refuse unsafe work) or a drive to get the U of A janitorial staff a fair wage; it is important to do something other than acquiesce to the diktats of capital.

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