Jack Saturday

Thursday, March 08, 2007

International Women's Day, 2007

When the women at the Chesebrough Pond's factory in London began to organise themselves, the union man stated his case and ours: 'The union only represents people who want to work.'

The young woman from Ireland who jabbed the woman next to her in the ribs and said, 'He must be joking,' had other ideas about why she was spending her precious time away from work going to meetings. She had another perspective. That's to say, her only interest in giving up a part of the time when her life did not belong absolutely to capital was to get more time back, was to get her life back, from capital. And when she looked around to find the power to do that, standing opposed to her was the union, ready to defend her, but only if she was ready to continue to accept exploitation as her natural destiny. The unions, unfortunately, are not joking.

Equality is a profoundly conservative aim; it gets you nowhere; it just continues the status quo. It actually co-opts rebellious women into the status quo and convinces them that they are privileged somehow -- the fact that they are allowed to work -- big deal. You know they're allowed to work twice as much for half as much money. Thanks guys, thanks a lot.

What sorts of social organizations would we fashion if we were not stifled day in and day out by drudgery? For example, what would a woman's day look like if we abolished the wage system and replaced it with free and voluntary activity? Bob Black argues that "by abolishing wage-labor and achieving full unemployment we undermine the sexual division of labor," which is the linchpin of modern sexism. What would a world look like that encouraged people to be creative and self-directed, that celebrated enjoyment and fulfillment? What would be the consequences of living in a world where, if you met someone new and were asked what you did, you could joyfully reply "this, that and the other thing" instead of "nothing?" Such is the world we deserve.
L. Susan Brown


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