'James was a founder of the Wages for Housework movement, and probably the one person whose thoughts on work, care, and power has influenced my work the most. She’ll change your life'
—Sarah Jaffe, author of Work Won't Love You Back
'It’s time to acknowledge James’s path-breaking analysis: from 1972 she reinterpreted the capitalist economy to show that it rests on the usually invisible unwaged caring work of women'
—Peggy Antrobus, author of The Global Women’s Movement
In 1972 Selma James set out a new political perspective. Her starting point was the millions of unwaged women who, working in the home and on the land, were not seen as workers and whose struggles were viewed as outside of capitalism. For James, the class struggle presents itself as the conflict between the reproduction and survival of the human race, and the dictatorship of the market with its exploitation, wars, and ecological devastation. She sums up her strategy for change as Invest in Caring Not Killing. It includes excerpts from the classic The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community which launched the domestic labor debate, Hookers in the House of the Lord which describes a church occupation by sex workers, an incisive review of the C.L.R. James masterpiece The Black Jacobins, a reappraisal of the novels of Jean Rhys and of the leadership of Julius Nyerere, the groundbreaking Marx and Feminism and more. The writing is lucid and without jargon. The ideas, never abstract, spring from trying to make sense of successes and setbacks, and the need to find a way forward.
Selma James is a women’s rights and anti-racist campaigner and author. From 1958 to 1962 she worked with CLR James in the movement for West Indian federation and independence. In 1972 she founded the International Wages for Housework Campaign, and in 2000 helped launch the Global Women’s Strike. She coined the word 'unwaged' which has since entered the English language.