Cobra Kai at Work

a defense of wildcat strikes, legality be damned

Apparently the CEO of CDProjekt Red, the white-collar sweatshop responsible for the Witcher video games and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, has abandoned their “no crunch” policy and decided that their staff must put in mandatory six-day workweeks until they’ve managed to squeeze their latest AAA bullshit job simulator out of their assholes.

And the developers, like the spineless excuses for human beings they are, are just taking it instead of learning and applying the fundamental lesson of Cobra Kai:


Of course, these are Polish workers, not French. Maybe French developers would have the balls to down tools and go on strike the second management announced mandatory overtime — as long as they aren’t Vichy French. Not that American devs have the spine to do so much as a slowdown or work-to-rule, let alone an honest-to-Baal strike. Then again, Polish workers eventually overthrew Soviet-style Communism, so maybe they can get their shit together and overthrow American-style Capitalism™.

The Verge’s headline says it all, but elides an important point that nobody seems to be making. Short of using violence or the threat of destitution, nobody can force workers to do anything. We have all the real power, if only we had the knowledge and the nerve to actually wield it. It’s not like the people we allow to rule us are capable of doing anything on their own.

Seriously, though, developers need to stop jerking off to Ayn Rand and imagining that they’re Howard Roark or Hank Rearden or Dagny fucking Taggart. They aren’t romantic heroes. They aren’t geniuses. They’re the 21st century equivalent of carpenters, electricians, bricklayers, roofers, HVAC techs, plumbers, truck drivers, etc. They aren’t engineers. They aren’t working in a profession. They’re working a skilled fucking trade.

Are trade still unions the answer? I have no idea. I will say that when management fucks over workers, the appropriate answer is the Cobra Kai way.

Every worker has the moral right to refuse to work. No worker needs a reason to withhold labor if they think they aren’t getting paid enough or if they find their working conditions unnecessarily onerous, or if they think they are furthering an immoral cause. The right to stage a wildcat strike is a fundamental human right. This is not subject to debate or negotiation.

Therefore, a message to all tech workers across the world:

You are not a resource.
You are a human being.
You have human rights.
Your life is yours alone; rise up and live it.

Does the law forbid wildcat strikes? Well, then, fuck the law. If the law binds us but does not protect us, then the law is nothing but rank tyranny and it is our right and duty alike to defy it.

about the author

photo of a pale, blue-eyed man in a black coat with long brown hair outdoors in the winter

writes science fantasy inspired by heavy metal and has a day job as a software developer. He is currently writing a new novel called Spiral Architect. He'll use your pronouns, but doesn't care which ones you use with him. You can reach him at