Sex, Race & Class - a new book by Selma James
Sex, Race and Class – The Perspective of Winning. A Selection of Writings 1952-2011. £12
By Selma James, founder of the International Wages for Housework Campaign. Published by Merlin Press in UK 27 April 2012. Foreword by: Marcus Rediker. Introduction by: Nina López. ISBN: 978-60486-454-0
See Reviews here.
IN 1972 SELMA JAMES SET OUT A NEW POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE
Her starting point was the millions of unwaged women who, working in the home and on the land, were not seen as “workers” and whose struggles were viewed as outside of capitalism. For James, the class struggle presents itself as the conflict between the reproduction and survival of the human race, and the dictatorship of the market with its exploitation, wars, and ecological devastation. She sums up her strategy for change as “Invest in Caring Not Killing.”
This selection, spanning six decades, traces the development of this perspective in the course of building an international campaigning network. It incorporates Jean Rhys and Virginia Woolf, sex worker activism, Marx and feminism, breastfeeding, unions and workers, the UN Decade for Women, anti-Zionism, jailhouse lawyers, refuseniks, Haiti’s Black Jacobins, Tanzania’s ujamaa, the Venezuelan revolution, SlutWalk, and a reappraisal of CLR James. The writing is lucid and without jargon. The ideas, never abstract, spring from trying to make sense of successes and setbacks, and the need to find a way forward.
♀ “Intellectually ambitious attempt to synthesize Marxism, feminism, and post-colonialism, not with the usual sellotaped hyphenations.” Jenny Turner, London Review of Books
♀ "It's time to acknowledge James’s path-breaking analysis: from 1972 she re-interpreted the capitalist economy to show that it rests on the usually invisible unwaged caring work of women." Dr. Peggy Antrobus, feminist, author
♀ “The final essay ‘Striving for Clarity and Influence’ is a fierce defence of CLR James’s political legacy against those who would see his achievements in purely literary terms. Fascinating.” Becky Gardiner, The Guardian
♀ “Clarity and commitment to Haiti’s revolutionary legacy ... A sister after my own heart.” Danny Glover, actor & activist
♀ “Shines with radical clarity on the economy, humanity, and society.” Seth Sandronsky, Z Magazine ♀ “Pioneering analysis of ‘race-class-gender’. . . One of the key political thinkers and activists of our times.” Marcus Rediker, from the preface
♀ ”... reflects the history of the new society struggling to be born ... embodies the spirit of the revolutionary tradition at its most relevant.” Prof. Robert A. Hill, CLR James literary executor
♀ “We have been enlightened and energised by [her] care and passion and commitment.” Lord Anthony Gifford, QC
♀ “Strong stuff . . . James has clearly walked the talk during six decades of activism.” Angela Cobbinah, Camden New Journal
♀ “An intellectual tour de force . . . Practical how to feminism from one of the outstanding thinkers of our times.” Cary Gee, Tribune
♀ “A feminism that truly matters.” Dr. Alissa Trotz, Women, Caribbean Studies, Toronto U.
♀ “Inspiring because of James' ability to write plainly, incisively, and accessibly about complex ideas and complicated political moments.” Paul Kivel, paulkivel.com
Other publications include A Woman’s Place (1952), Women, the Unions and Work, or what is not to be done (1972), Sex, Race and Class (1974), Wageless of the World (1974),The Rapist Who Pays the Rent (1982 co-author), The Ladies and the Mammies—Jane Austen and Jean Rhys (1983), Marx and Feminism (1983), Hookers in the House of the Lord (1983), Strangers & Sisters: Women, Race and Immigration (1985 ed. & Introduction), The Global Kitchen: The Case for Counting Unwaged work (1985 and 1995),The Milk of Human Kindness: Defending Breastfeeding from the AIDS Industry and the Global Market (co-author, 2002).
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