What follows is an email that a comrade wrote to members of a political listserv that he is a part of. We offer it here due to the timely nature of the intervention around the way that we talk about Thatcher and her death.
Witch Side Are You On?
I dont intend to attack anyone for their word choice, but would like to raise a little bit of consciousness on this word choice of calling Thatcher a “witch” as a form of insult.
Margaret thatcher was the opposite of a witch. By referring to thatcher as a witch, one denigrates the real witches of the late middle ages (and other women whose independence was slandered by patriarchy as witchcraft) whose genocide (witch hunts) was intimately bound up with the subjugation of the new proletariat and colonizing missions.
The witch hunts culminated in a triumph for the bourgeoisie, in the form of a division of labor at the heart of which was a stark divide between productive labor and reproductive (domestic) labor. Workers outside of the home (predominantly men, but women too) were waged slaves whose productivity was under-valued through the fetishism of commodities (money hiding the unequal exchange of equivalents). Workers inside the home (exclusively women) were not paid at all, the most extreme fetish (illusion) this new capitalist order would produce. At the heart of this illusion that women’s domestic/reproductive work did not merit a wage, was the false belief that women are genetically prone to do this work for free as loving mothers and loyal wives. Male wage earners were given a position, imposed on them and enforced by law, of domestic overseer with all the tools of coercion they might need, from the right to rape to the right to beat “their” wives who regarded as dependents on the man. Thus the male proletariat was coopted by the bourgeoisie in a scheme to keep the total wage bill of that class half of what it should have been. In this sense, all of us male proletarians have a duty to honor our sisters as pillars of the class at every available opportunity. Part of that is learning the history of women as workers inside and outside the home. That history includes the heroic chapter of witches’ resistance to capitalism at the very dawn of its existence. [the book Caliban and the Witch is a good place to start – click here here here here and here for links to that courtesy of some good people in Seattle.]
Margaret thatcher was a traitor to her gender. Witches were the most loyal members not only of their gender but also of a far reaching pan-european anti-capitalist/anti-patriarchy movement from the 1300s-1700s, that is, during the period of capitalism’s maturation as a world system.
Death to Thatcherism!
Long live women’s liberation and proletarian revolution!
By Comrade Read
As college sports fans gear up for the culmination of the annual march madness NCAA division 1 men’s basketball tournament, this year to be decided at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, we offer two articles by Dave Zirin on the hyper-exploitation of top flight college athletes. The article paints the NCAA as a good ol’ boys network with corporate sponsorship, making millions, if not billions, off the labor of student athletes.
Last week, Kevin Ware of the Louisville Cardinals, suffered one the most horrific injuries I’ve ever seen on a basketball court. It was so shocking that CBS executives ordered the network to stop replaying the footage as Kevin received emergency care. How much will Mr. Ware receive for this game where he fractured his tibia in half to the point it was left dangling off the end of his knee? Nothing, not one penny, unless you’re like the good ol’ boys who feel that the scholarship he receives is “enough”. With no income and very little time to find a part time job, these unpaid student workers often resort to taking money and benefits from boosters and fans of the school they play for.
Click this link for more context on the injury of Kevin Ware.
Terelle Pryor, formerly of Ohio State, now a quarterback for the Oakland Raiders – exchanged some sports equipment and jerseys, his own property unless you ask the NCAA, for some tatoo work. And because this happened while he was still working for Ohio State, he was kicked off the team and forced to give up his scholarship. For Terelle, who was planning on entering the NFL draft, this wasn’t overly devastating, but for the Ohio State football team he left behind, they were forced to deal with NCAA sanctions which put them out of contention for a national championship for a specified length of time.
That is the nature of the cartel formerly known as the NCAA. It is high time for these student workers/athletes to have an organization that represents their interest as students who work and generate profits for their University and this cartel (NCAA). Just like Graduate School Assistants (GSA) in the University of California recently organized under the United Auto Workers Union (UAW), student athletes need to unionize in order to demand proper compensation and benefits for their labor. Until this a reality, its safe to say the plantation will definitely be returning to Atlanta this weekend and every sports weekend of major NCAA sports. Tune in, and check out the link to the article below for more context on this “wicked” (Desmond Howard quote) and hyper-exploitative system.
The video copied below shows goods from a closed down shop being thrown into a dumpster, while a crowd of people get pushed back from a line of cops as they try to pick up the goods in order to use them.
A lot of our well-intentioned friends and comrades think that individuals can be convinced to “do the right thing.” The idea that politicians, bosses, and cops are neutral agents that can be talked into supporting workers, unemployed people, and communities of color in our struggles to live is prevalent among many well meaning comrades.
But the reality that radicals understand – those who see the root of society as the problem – is that society is not just composed of many individuals. It’s composed of individuals who are tied together in webs of social relationships.
The two overarching forms of social organization that dominate our lives are those of the capitalist system and the state apparatus.
In basic terms, the capitalist system thrives on the commodification of everything – by assigning everything an exchange value that takes precedence over any given item’s usefulness. It doesn’t matter if the food, clothing and other useful items laying in front of you could help your family out; what matters is that they’re private property, items to be exchanged or dealt with through the market, and not available for just “anyone” to use. As the police in this video state, if people were to take what they needed from the pile of goods that were set to be thrown in the dumpster, it might “cause a riot.”
This is where the state comes in. The repressive side of the state is composed of the courts, prisons and police. Their main function in a capitalist system is to enforce capitalist laws – laws that protect private property and enforce the exchange of commodities on the market. Whether or not an individual cop is a “good person,” the police force as an institution compels all individuals in its ranks to enforce capitalist order or be driven out. Their job, as evidenced in this video, includes forcing people to keep the capitalist system running by keeping us in order – forcing us to work, day in and day out – and not allowing us access to the means of life if we don’t have money to exchange for what we need.
This video is just one example of the logic of capital and the state playing out in ways that continue degrading the lives of working class people.