First published in HuffPost HERE.
So the Conservatives are now The Party of the Workers, eh? Erm, no, George. You are the Party of Capitalism. One that sees value only in money (let’s create wealth at the top) and people as workers (workers who, for that matter, are to be exploited at work and hung out to dry in an increasingly restricted welfare state).
It is a very different thing.
I don’t speak simply as a former NUJ Trade Union Rep, or as a daughter of two Union workers – I am trying not to guffaw in disbelief at the notion of this Cabinet of Millionaires who couldn’t tell their Matchgirls from their Tolpuddle Martyrs fist-pumping the idea of workers’ rights, organised workplaces and all the rest.
Nowhere is the truth that the Conservative Party has mistaken ‘Workers‘ for ‘Capitalism‘ more visible than the view taken by Osborne and Nicky Morgan and others that full female employment – regardless of the desire of many mothers to take time out of the workforce when they have young children – will transform women into productive workers* (*read low paid, working in insecure jobs and in traditionally female, domestic and caring ‘industries’ commodified in neoliberal Britain). Because, you know, producing children – the future workers under Capitalism – and doing the care is not work. It is not valuable or recognised. We need to get out and do better things. Apparently. When ‘better’ is that viewed under Capitalist, Neoliberal, Biased-Economic, Misogynist and Blinkered politics.
Carework: Social, community and family, work, is relied upon by our society. It is intrinsically human, worthwhile and necessary for us all to flourish. Yet such unwaged work, predominantly by women, is truly the lowest of the low in the new Age of the Worker.
This is why it is increasingly important for the mainstream political parties, the newWomen’s Equality Party (of which I am founding member) and feminists to begin to address female unwaged work. This is why I am very excited about Feminism in London Conference hosting a panel chaired by Mothers at Home Matter on which I will be speaking, which will address these issues. Esther Parry of All Mothers Workwill also be speaking, and it will be a treat, I tell you. It is becoming a radical thing, to recognise the value of women when they mother. It challenges the notion of Capitalism being the overlord, king, master of intrinsic nobility. Even liberal-feminism has to self-inspect to see just how far boardrooms have overtaken grassroots-priorities, how waged work and equality in the workplace have dominated politics and feminist debate.
At their Conferences, the main parties held events on ‘Politics of Motherhood’. The organisers were sent copies of my political pamphlet the Politics of Mothering which challenges policymakers to start listening to mothers at home or those who want to be. Despite this, at those events, once again, the very notion of the existence of a mother actually wanting to be at home with her young children would have failed to register; the words ‘love’ and ‘care’ were most likely absent, and the priority would have been economic. It is the political script of the day. It is sexism, it is Capitalism, and it is fundamentally misogynistic.
So where are we, in 2015, the mothers of young children who want to demand greater recognition and support for themselves and their sisters who are pushed into employment against their wishes? Reduced to nothing but a whisper in the nursery. And the very neglect of those womanly voices? One of the most fundamental, and the most neglected, feminist issue we face. We are looking forward to Feminism in London, and will be rocking that platform, on the tree top.
And what an important issue it is.
Because in modern Britain, women are to be workers, and workers only. Care and family work, the women and men who do it, and any importance placed on their work, are to be crushed by the New Party of the Workers – because a ‘Worker’ is all you are allowed to be.
Come the Revolution…