Selma James is an anti-sexist, anti-racist, anti-capitalist campaigner and author. Raised in a movement household, she joined CLR James’s Johnson-Forest Tendency at age 15, and from 1958 to 1962 she worked with him in the movement for Caribbean federation and independence. In 1972, she founded the International Wages for Housework Campaign, and in 2000 she helped launch the Global Women’s Strike which she coordinates. She coined the word “unwaged” to describe most of the caring work women do, and it has since entered the English language to describe all the work without wages of women, children and men, in the home, on the land, in the community . . . In 1975 she became the first spokeswoman of the English Collective of Prostitutes. She is a founding member of the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (2008). She has addressed the power relations within the working class movement, and organizing across sectors despite divisions of sex, race, age, etc., South and North. She spoke to packed audiences at Occupy in London, England, as well as Los Angeles, Oakland, Philadelphia, and San Francisco.
Sex, Race, and Class
There has been enough confusion generated when sex, race and class have confronted each other as separate and even conflicting entities. That they are separate entities is self-evident. That they have proven themselves to be not separate, inseparable, is harder to discern. Yet if sex and race are pulled away from class, virtually all that remains is the truncated, provincial, sectarian politics of the white male metropolitan Left. I hope to show in barest outline, first, that the working class movement is something other than that Left have ever envisioned it to be. Second, locked within the contradiction between the discrete entity of sex or race and the totality of class is the greatest deterrent to working class power and at the same time the creative energy to achieve that power.
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- “A Life in Writing: Selma James” by Becky Gardiner. The Guardian. 8 June 2012.
- “Housework as Work: Selma James on Unwaged Labor and Decades-Long Struggle to Pay Housewives,” Interview by Amy Goodman. Democracy Now! 16 April 2012.
- “Selma James: Sex, Race and Class – the Perspective of Winning,” Interview by Sonali Kolhatkar. Uprising: Subverting the Airwaves. 2 April 2012.
- “Care Work and the Power of Women: An Interview with Selma James” by Julie McIntyre. Viewpoint Magazine. 19 March 2012.
- “My Placard Read ‘Pensioner Slut’ and I Was Proud of It.” The Guardian. 19 June 2011.
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