feminism, organisation and class struggle

a day of mutual learning and exchange hosted by The Commune, 20th February, London

We believe that most of the left has a pretty poor record on gender. Even if overt sexism is less common than in the past, informal hierarchies and alienated, gendered relations run rampant. But this practice can –  and must – change if we are ever going to revolutionise society.

As against swallowing the old left traditions, we believe it is important that the left critically reappraise our theory, practice and organisation in the light of socialist feminist politics, as well as the experience of working women’s struggles more broadly.

This is not a day for The Commune to lay down any ‘party line’, but rather to create a space for discussion of the insights of anti-capitalist feminism and the inter-relation between class and gender struggles. We hope to exchange ideas in a participatory, un-dogmatic and inclusive manner. We have planned three workshops.  Continue reading “feminism, organisation and class struggle”

why are we still protesting this crap?

Bahar Mustafa writes on debates among feminists in Oxford over a lap dancing club

Oxford Brookes University sells itself as a modern, business-orientated institution which boasts a hefty contribution of £1 million every single day of the year to the UK economy.

As impressive as that may be to many people, some friends and I thought it odd that such a reputable institution, with its myriad of student organised societies, should be fiercely lacking in a space where gender inequality is highlighted and challenged. So earlier this year, an enthusiastic group of us of varying backgrounds, genders and sexualities, founded the first Feminist Society at Brookes; aka: OMFG! Organised Multicultural Feminist Group. Continue reading “why are we still protesting this crap?”

a strike made in hollywood

‘Feel-good’ hit movie Made in Dagenham didn’t make Sheila Cohen feel very good…

A film about a strike that really happened, a strike that brought a huge multinational to a standstill, a strike that was waged and led by women… What’s not to like? Only that Made In Dagenham fails to tell the true, and far more significant, story of the 1968 Ford sewing machinists’ strike – a story of class rebellion against exploitation rather than of softly gender-focused togetherness.

For its first half hour, Made In Dagenham looks good. Apart from the stripping-off scenes in the sweaty factory, unanimously repudiated by strike survivors, the film more or less tells it like it was – i.e. that the sewing machinists were involved in a grading dispute. The emphasis is necessary, because, along with almost every account of the dispute over the last 40-odd years, the next two-thirds of the film stubbornly present it as a “strike for equal pay”. Continue reading “a strike made in hollywood”

women at the cutting edge… 30th october

A day of discussions hosted by Feminist Fightback. 11am – 5pm, Saturday 30 October at The Arbour, 100 Shandy Street, London E1 4ST (nearest tube Stepney Green)

On 20 October the ConDem government’s “Spending Review” will detail enormous cuts in public services. We are already feeling the impact of earlier cuts many effected by Labour; nurseries and libraries are closing, jobs are being lost. As the government “austerity drive” steps up, the reality is that cuts will hit the lives of all but the wealthiest. In many cases women will be hit the hardest with recent reports estimating  that women will suffer 72% of the tax and benefit cuts. Continue reading “women at the cutting edge… 30th october”

a miserable case of british ‘justice’

Sarah Taylor reflects on the case of a French migrant worker in a battle with her employer and the courts

In late August I attended a court case of a female factory worker who was suing her employers for negligence. How I came to be there in the first place is not important, but what I observed and saw that day made me want to share the experience. I have attended a few court cases as an observer in the public gallery.

The case involved a French migrant worker who was suing her employers for negligence in a personal injury case.  She had been told to lift a container off a factory conveyor belt and in the process had badly injured her wrist. She testified that she was instructed to do so by an aggressive line manager whose bullying and aggressive behavior had made her working life miserable. After the injury had occurred she had decided to seek compensation since it had rendered her unable to work for some time. Continue reading “a miserable case of british ‘justice’”

women at the cutting edge…

An event hosted by Feminist Fightback. Saturday 30 October 11am – 5pm, QMW Mile End Road, London E1  (provisionally – please check feministfightback.org.uk for confirmation).

Open to people of all genders. Free creche available: please send an email to feminist.fightback@gmail.com to confirm a place.

On 20 October the ConDem government’s “Spending Review” will detail enormous cuts in public services. We are already feeling the impact of earlier cuts, many effected by Labour: nurseries and libraries are closing, jobs are being lost. As the government “austerity drive” steps up, the reality is that cuts will hit the lives of all but the wealthiest. In many cases women will be hit the hardest with recent reports estimating that women will suffer 72% of the tax and benefit cuts. Continue reading “women at the cutting edge…”

the ‘social wage’ and the hackney nurseries campaign

Camille Barbagallo and Nic Beuret look at the role of public services and how the cuts axe is falling

Childcare services in the UK are under attack. Childcare services across the country are being defunded, abolished and downgraded. In this article we start with the specific cuts in Hackney to nursery places and analyse these cuts in the context of the gendered nature of the ConDem’s austerity budget. We explore both what enables these cuts to happen now and what their effects will be and conclude with some reflections on possible paths of resistance within the current crisis of care.

Let’s be honest – the public services that are being cut include things that we need, but we hate how they are given to us: like unemployment benefits. They also involve jobs that we rely on but resent having to do. But what is also true is that they are part of a ‘social wage’ fought for and won by pervious generations. Continue reading “the ‘social wage’ and the hackney nurseries campaign”