WE DEMAND THE RIGHT TO WORK LESS
WE DEMAND A GUARANTEED INCOME FOR WOMEN AND FOR MEN WORKING OR NOT WORKING, MARRIED OR NOT
WE DEMAND CONTROL OF OUR BODIES
WE DEMAND THE RIGHT TO HAVE OR NOT HAVE CHILDREN
WE DEMAND EQUAL PAY FOR ALL
WE DEMAND AN END TO PRICE RISES
WE DEMAND FREE COMMUNITY CONTROLLED NURSERIES AND CHILD CARE
In the Guardian's comment is free blog, Nina Power takes this "clearly" to mean that James was concerned with the "moral value" that capitalist employers of women derived from their "expectations" regarding working women:
what is the moral value in expecting them [women working outside the home] to toil away at the cost of their health and happiness?
This imputation to James of primary concern with the moral state of those whose point of view Power represents (capitalists, propertied professionals) is very far from a legitimate inference from James' and her comrades' statements and activism. Rather it is so gross and unaccountable a misreading of a perfectly straightforward and unambiguous assertion of demands that one is forced to wonder if it is not that Power is semi-literate (though her writing suggests this) but that she is engaged in an effort to mislead to support her previous dismissal of feminism as a "moral discourse" (always unfavourably contrasted - as feminised and therefore degraded - to virile "political" discourses, so James' rather obviously political demands are misconstrued as moralising) accompanying her insinuations about women and immigrants driving down white male wages and negatively impacting the standard of living of the working class as a whole. The result - incoherent, equivocating, insinuating, sense-destroying - is an excellent example of Zizzlocation and Zizzlocution.
Couched in a lot of childish ultra-radical posturing about the need for propertied professionals to achieve personal "fulfillment" by dreaming of "unfathomable" alternative universes, the usual reactionary talking points are paraded by Power as givens and hackneyed patriarchal myths put forward as established facts. Further, Power engages in increasingly popular techniques of debate-infantilisation, assigning idiotic postures to her sock-puppet adversaries as set-ups for her vague, sentimental, applause-cuing outbursts. She presents the absurd binary alternatives of her own childish imagination as if they could serve as a reflection of other people's actual social and political possibilities and their limits. Power asks her readers to choose, for example, between 1. "clinging on to employment at any cost", [a suggestion she attributes to working class militants opposing austerity] and 2. "reconsidering what it means to work at all".
We're all salaried by Universities, after all, and have no responsibilities; we all have nobody depending on us and healthy parents who own a big house outright where we can live and be fed, read and watch television. We're all legal in the country we live in, enjoying healthcare for free, and none of us have criminal records, and everyone we know enjoys the same security and equivalent resources. What better time than when you're out of work to reconsider what it means to work at all? Why try to cling on to employment no matter the cost when you don't even have any to cling on to? What the real radicals who write in the Guardian understand is that unemployment is an opportunity, not a hardship. What's wrong with being unemployed? Okay, okay, but money isn't everything! Why does everyone have to be a "job seeker" with a mortgage, a vibrator, your same sex domestic partner and a solar panel on your roof? That's not emancipation! If you don't have a job you're in an even better position to resist the temptations to consume luxury items, just as if you don't have a vibrator you're going to be less tempted to while your days away "researching" vintage porn and Girls Gone Wild. Closer to subjective destitution, you are closer to your true liberation. Instead of working, you could travel or re-read Kant. The shocking controversial non-conformist possibilities are endless! You could cook your way through Julia Child but with all vegetarian substitutes. There are lots of new tofu-based products. You could start a bondage and domination kibbutz, or go to graduate school for a qualification to think a radically different future with no work for all, not just no work for you. After all it's not all about you, Right to Work Grrrl, it's not all about your job, your debts, your kids, your needs; you could stop being such a selfish bitch.
Of course Power genders the issue of the right to work in the expected fashion; it is not professional men's jobs (sacred, meriting partisans at the barricades when threatened) but working class women's "right to work" that is presented as problematic and indeed damaging to all. Given her allegiance to a macho misogynist backlash that once again advances the image of a monolithic Woman as "a vapid dude-obsessed, pink-clad, consumerist cog" it is not that surprising to see that, having scavenged the reference to James' feminist programme from a criticism of her own propagandistic, irrational and anti-rational anti-feminism in a blog debate and transformed it by misreading for her own reactionary uses, she tacks on at the end a kind of symbolic beating of Selma James by evoking as her heroes and role models those autonomist men who descended on James and her comrades when they marched for women's reproductive rights in Rome in 1975, called them fascists and physically assaulted them. That she begins her piece evoking and simultaneously insulting Selma James, whose analysis she appropriates and Zizzifies Golovinski-style, and ends it with a call to admire hypermasculine ultra-leftists who accomplished little more than to accidentally smother one of their trustifarian number and serve as convenient bogey and cover for P2 and Gladio terrorism and who attacked James' comrades in the street and yanked them around by the hair for their refusal to be subordinated to men, pretty much says it all about Nina Power's self-proclaimed "Marxist-feminism".
It may be a tiny bit surprising that Leninino greets this buffoonery with delight, happy to be assigned a "worthy, classical" "model of work" to go along with a purportedly "rather British" attitude favouring slave labour as character building - that work ethic, also Slovenian of course - and the conviction that "it is enough [for women] to have a job, regardless of what it is". The height of effrontery is Leninino calling this risible performance, with all its Zizekian hanging concessions, prevaricating convolutions, garden path feints and semantic mirages, "the scalpel of socialist feminist critique", when it is rather the iron(ic) mace of post-post-modern digi-interactive-age propaganda. But the pleasure in all this breathtaking nonsense would be less perplexing if you were to suppose the aim was for the Marxist left to make its public image as ridiculous and repugnant - as sexist, racist, ignorant, infantile, and foolish - as possible, appropriate followers of the world's most influential Marxist.