Come to this meeting if you’re a woman and / or an LGBTQ ally on the left and want to contribute to our publication, whether that’s writing, editing, photography, graphic design, I.T. and so on.
At the meeting, we are discussing:
- A new name for our publication (please feel free to provide suggestions in advance of the meeting – the more discussion about this the better)
- Election of the editorial board
- The date for our first print publication
- The draft mission statement (posted in full below)
- Commisions for the blog and the proposed first print publication
- Update on what’s been written and published on the blog since our last meeting in Cardiff last month
TIME: 12.00p.m. – 4.00p.m.
DATE: Saturday 18th April
VENUE: The Cock Tavern,23 Phoenix Rd, NW11HB London, United Kingdom
Here is also a link to the ISN (International Socialist Network) ‘We Want a Women’s Mag site launch and call for contribution’ statement from April 2014:
Below is the latest draft of the mission statement we are going to discuss at the next editorial meeting.
DRAFT Mission Statement
What is our magazine for?
Our magazine is for working class women and our LGBTQ allies and it has many purposes. It is a space to explore feminist, socialist, marxist and other left wing and progressive ideas; articulate our lived experiences by telling our stories; organise and connect as activists and critically analyse, review and report on our struggles and campaigns internationally and the theoretical ‘tools’ available to use and develop so that we can try and better understand the world in order to change it. Our struggles and campaigns include, but are not limited to, opposing sexism, transphobia and gendered violence, racism, austerity and cuts, imperialism and war, environmental destruction and not least, supporting workers’ rights – to name just some of the issues we face! Many of us are convinced that our struggles can all be tied to and indeed are produced, perpetuated and reinforced by the economic system under which we labour and bleed – international capitalism. This returns us to the subject of the theoretical tools we frequently employ in this magazine – the tools of socialism, feminism and marxism, amongst other relevant and useful resources available to us.
Therefore, many of us involved in this project describe ourselves as somewhere on the internationalist / socialist / marxist / feminist spectrum; however, we also welcome the contributions of newly politicised women who do not necessarily share all of our far reaching conclusions about the economic structure of society, but share our desire to learn from each other and discuss and debate. We want to listen to each other with respect, thoughtfulness and consideration. We are all participating in this magazine to learn from each other and offer each other solidarity and support, whilst maintaining the right to criticise and disagree with each other when necessary. We do not have a ‘party or editorial line’ (we are both independent activists and members of various socialist and left wing organisations), but there are clear left wing parameters we work within. We are firmly opposed to racism, homophobia, transphobia and any sexist and misogynistic abuse and discrimination, wherever these divisive social evils manifest themselves – including within our movement – whether that’s community campaigns, trade unions, feminist groups or socialist organisations, to give a few examples of what we mean by ‘our movement’.
We live in a capitalist society and capitalism is inherently exploitative. Karl Marx explained that capitalism is the private ownership of the means of production (factories, machinery and tools / infrastructure, such as transport and education / natural resources and raw material essential for production, such as water and coal) for the purpose of producing profit for the capitalists, and not production for social and environmental needs. The profit motive is the raison d’etre from the capitalist class’ point of view. Austerity is just the latest capitalist economic policy currently favoured by the majority of the world’s capitalist powers, a policy designed to try and protect the profits of the 1% at the expense of the world’s human and animal population and environment. Although middle class people also suffer from capitalism and imperialism’s many and ever increasing crimes against humanity, it is the working class, the overwhelming majority of the world’s population, that in reality produce society’s wealth and the capitalists’ profits – but profit is expropriated or stolen from us by the capitalist ruling class. These class exploiters are willing to use all possible methods of state orchestrated and sponsored violence, terror and fear (as well as deception, distraction and trickery) at their disposal to get that profit and deny us the fruit of our labours. Slavery, invasion and colonialisation are all just some of the ‘tools’ these murderous criminals use to this day to get their precious profit, no matter the consequences for us.
What’s all this talk of the working class got to do with me, you might ask? My identities are many, you might reply, not without justification. Yet the common factor that unites us, despite our diverse lived experiences (which are still very important to acknowledge and address) is that you are working class if you have to sell your labour, or in Marx’s terms ‘your labour power’ or ability to work, in order to survive e.g. pay rent / the mortgage, feed yourself and your family / dependents, cover the rest of your bills and so on. And this is important because the working class, as a class, has the potential power to organise to overthrow capitalism and build a new, post-capitalist society – what some of us involved in this magazine term as an genuinely socialist society – to start to eradicate unemployment, hunger, homelessness, deprivation, division and inequality.
The working class are the source of society’s real wealth which we create from our labour, yet in real terms, we have none of it, nor do we have any meaningful democratic control over how society is run. Instead, the capitalists expropriate that wealth from us as a class to enrich themselves at society’s – indeed, the whole planet’s – expense.
And what does this have to do with the position of women? Well, women not only make up a significant proportion of the world’s working class, we are the poorest and hardest working part of the exploited class. According to the U.N.;
Women are 50% of the world’s population
Women work two thirds of the world’s working hours
Women receive 10% of the world’s income
Women own less than 1 % of the world’s property
The relationship between the structure of global capitalism and women’s oppression and exploitation is a topic which we hope to continue to examine and explore in our magazine, for this topic is a truly hugely one for investigation and critical analysis, and yes, debate too.
We are also informed, inspired and influenced by the many insights and truths of intersectional feminism. Intersectionalist writers and activists have contributed massively to allowing the voices of the most oppressed sections of the working class speak and have raised our collective understanding of how different forms of oppression (racism, sexism, class, homophobia and so on) intersect with each other. This is significant because much of traditional marxism (although this is changing) has either ignored or not paid enough attention to the impact of these systems of oppression within the working class, whilst being a school of thought which is too often dominated by white males. Indeed, our whole movement is male dominated, and within feminism globally, white women’s voices are heard the most. This has to change. Intersectionalist writers such as Kimberlé Crenshaw (a woman of colour who coined the term but is often not credited in discussions of intersectionality) and bell hooks have worked hard to give the most oppressed a voice and have analysed how racism, slavery, sexism and capitalism have specifically impacted black women in the U.S, for example (the key capitalist economy, after all). As a result, these intersectionalist activists have given confidence to women everywhere that our lived experiences not only matter, they are of crucial importance to our struggle.
Therefore, although it is important to examine the role of class, the nature of capitalist economy and the revolutionary implications of working class unity, it’s not enough to rely on marxism as it currently is as a tool to guide us, if we want to get more women, particularly the most under-represented women, involved in the struggle.
What we’ve written so far
We have already written about topics as far ranging as transphobia (‘Leelah was Murdered’), generalised violence against women (‘Turkey: “We aren’t mourning, we’re rebelling!”’, ‘Confronting Violence Against Women: A Necessity for Working Class Unity’ and ‘Fuck Christian’s Desires’), the impact of migration on women (‘Migration: Is a Borderless World possible?’), the misogynist abuse faced by left wing feminist writer / activists like Penny Red (‘Laurie Penny trolled over new book’), the failure of mainstream parties to adequately address women’s issues (‘I’m Not Man Enough to Vote Green’), abortion (‘Abortion: We need to talk about it differently‘) the history of International Women’s Day (‘Stop Violence Against Women! The history of International Women’s Day and some suggested lessons for us today’), reports of protests and much more – indeed, we are actively seeking new content and particularly welcome contributions written by black, minority and ethnic women, too often under-represented, misrepresented and effectively silenced by much of feminism.
Write for us
If you have something to say, whether its commentary, a review, a report, an interview or a rant – please contact us. We can’t pretend to speak for even all left wing women activists, let alone the majority of the world’s working class women (an impossible task, to say the least!) and we really do have so much to learn, so if you have something to teach us, get writing and contact us – we are waiting to hear from you.