For over sixty years, Selma James has been organizing from the perspective of unwaged women who, with their biological and caring work, reproduce the whole human race—along with whatever other labor they are performing. This work goes on almost unnoticed everywhere on the planet and in every culture. When this work is not economically prioritized, politically protected, or socially supported there are dire consequences for the whole of humanity, beginning with women and children.
This much-anticipated follow-up to her first anthology, Sex, Race, and Class, compiles several decades of James’s work with a focus on her more recent writings, including a groundbreaking analysis of C.L.R. James’s two masterpieces, The Black Jacobins and Beyond a Boundary, and an account of her formative partnership with him over three decades. Her experience with the Caribbean movement for independence and federation is reflected in her introduction to Ujamaa, the extraordinary work of Tanzanians to bypass capitalism, and much more.
Steeped in the tradition of Marx urging the need for a “practical movement,” James recounts the unusual history of how autonomous organizations formed within the International Wages for Housework Campaign and reshaped it. Women of color, queer women, sex workers, women with disabilities … each independent but mutually accountable (including to the men’s network with whom they work) as they confront sexism, racism, deportation, rape, and other violence.
James makes the powerful argument that the climate justice movement can draw on all the movements’ people have formed to refuse their particular exploitation, to end the capitalist hierarchy that is destroying the world. Our time is now.
“Selma James is a force of nature in the flesh and on the page. She fearlessly grapples with complex ideas, but her writing remains crystal clear and compelling. Stop what you are doing and read her now!”
—Maya Oppenheim, women’s correspondent, the Independent, UK
“One of the most important figures in the new way of thinking in the 1970s and 1980s was Selma James. James’s Marx and Feminism deserves to be considered one of the great feminist contributions to Marxist thought.”
“… An intellectually ambitious attempt to synthesize Marxism, feminism, and post-colonialism, not with the usual sellotaped hyphenations.”
—Jenny Turner, London Review of Books
“In an era where women are encouraged to ‘lean in’ to capitalism and power, Sex, Race and Class provides a much-needed reminder that house work and care work are work—and deserve to be recognized and compensated as such. James not only details women’s campaigns that might otherwise be forgotten, but provides a valuable blueprint for organizing towards a truly liberated society.”
—Victoria Law, author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women
“When Selma James speaks, I listen. When she writes, I read. She has been a crucial part of my reeducation for decades. She is one of the few public intellectuals that engages with issues and people all over the world yet still remains connected to the grassroots. The writings and ideas of Selma James are as relevant now as they have ever been. Her solidarity knows no borders, her compassion excludes no sufferer.”
—Benjamin Zephaniah, poet, writer, lyricist, musician, and naughty boy
About the Contributors:
Selma James is an antisexist, antiracist campaigner. In 1972 she put forward Wages for Housework (WFH) as a demand and a political perspective that redefined the working class. The International WFH Campaign she founded coordinates the Global Women’s Strike. She coined the word “unwaged,” which incorporates all workers without wages. She coauthored the classic The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community and is the author of other pathbreaking writing.
Margaret Prescod, author of Black Women Bringing It All Back Home, is coordinator of Women of Color in the Global Women’s Strike and an award-winning, nationally syndicated journalist on Pacifica Radio. She is the founder of the Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders and cofounder of Every Mother Is a Working Mother Network. She is originally from Barbados.
Nina López is the joint coordinator of the Global Women’s Strike. Her writings and edited volumes include: Prostitute Women and AIDS: Resisting the Virus of Repression; Some Mother’s Daughter: The Hidden Movement of Prostitute Women against Violence; The Milk of Human Kindness; and Creating a Caring Economy: Nora Castañeda and the Women’s Development Bank of Venezuela.
Author: Selma James •Introduction by Margaret Prescod • Editor: Nina Lopez
Series: PM Press
Subjects: Feminism / Economics