the struggle for women’s emancipation today

Liz Leicester, chair of Camden UNISON, spoke to our 9th March London forum on the meaning of International Women’s Day:

First of all, as a socialist I would always say that the struggles of women and the self-activity of women is very much a part of the struggle for the self-emancipation of the whole working class, and I’ve always seen it in that context. That’s where we have to place the issues that are called ‘women’s issues’.

A small quote I think is good, which I think The Commune has published on its website, by Francois Chesnais is “Inequalities and oppression do not exist separately from each other. They translate into concrete realities the way in which this mode of production, capitalism, functions.” For me that’s at the centre of this discussion about women’s issues.

There are some very real and concrete things. There is an estimate, for instance, that women internationally do twice as much unpaid work in the home than they do paid work. That is not unimportant. But women in paid work are still dominated by a patriarchal system as well as class domination, even in countries where some progress has been made, such as this one, in reducing women’s dependence on men. Continue reading “the struggle for women’s emancipation today”

videos of ‘uncaptive minds’ forum on women in the class struggle today

On 9th March The Commune hosted a London forum on the subject of “women in the class struggle today”. The speakers were Liz Leicester (chair, Camden Unison); Sheila Cohen (author, Ramparts of Resistance), Mary Partington (Left Women’s Network) and Clara Osagiede (RMT cleaners’ grade rep). 21 people attended.

Seven videos of the introductory speeches are below. The end of the speeches and the ensuing discussion will appear shortly, and we aim to make such video recordings of our meetings a more regular feature of this website.

Continue reading “videos of ‘uncaptive minds’ forum on women in the class struggle today”

forum monday 9th march: women in the class struggle today

The next of The Commune’s ‘uncaptive minds‘ forums takes place in London the day after International Women’s Day, and is on the subject of women in the class struggle today.

Women workers have been struck particularly hard by the economic crisis, and are also a significant majority of the low-paid and casual workforce. So what are the ties between gender and class oppression? How can we fight back? What are the lessons of the movements of the past? All are welcome to join the debate.

Speakers include:

Clara Osagiede (RMT cleaners’ grade rep)

Liz Leicester (chair, Camden UNISON)

Sheila Cohen (author, Ramparts of Resistance)

Mary Partington (Left Women’s Network)

The meeting takes place from 6:30pm on Monday 9th March at the Old Red Lion theatre, near Angel tube station (click for map).

last week’s forum on the grunwick strike

Last Monday (24th November) we held an “uncaptive minds” forum on the 1976-77 Grunwick strike, where the film processing labs’ – largely Asian and female – workforce staged an arduous battle for union recognition, finding support from other workers, most notably postal workers who refused to deliver Grunwick’s mail and miners who amassed at the picket lines.

Pete Firmin from Brent Trades Council gave a talk and showed a film before a discussion on the lessons for today.

For a copy of the DVD shown – running time 1 hour 4 minutes, director Chris Thomas, produced by Brent Trades Union Council  – write to Brent TUC, 375 High Road, Willesden, London NW10 2JR. £10.00 including p&p.