The Jones/Brand Smokescreen, Voter-Shaming & How Much I Hate Labour

Really confused as to how/why people are playing into Owen Jones/Russell Brand voter-shaming tactics.

You do realise that they are no different than other Oxbridge types and/or millionaires who continue to uphold the imbalance of power and wealth in this country in their favour?

This is clever on their part, because they’re making you feel like the problem instead of them. Then you think you can change things by participating in a system that continues to serve them. Then the cycle can continue for another five years – at least.

Virtually every part of our current sociopolitical system serves the wealthy – even welfare and benefits. Housing benefit, for example, keeps those in poverty barely surviving month-to-month while simultaneously lining the pockets of property owners. Practically none of that money actually goes toward improving the financial situations of those in poverty. It actually just pays the mortgages of people who already own property.

This voter-shaming is absolutely nothing different than other forms of victim-blaming. By shaming people who don’t want to lower their standards by voting Labour or don’t want to vote at all, you are blaming oppressed/exploited/marginalised people for their own oppression/exploitation/marginalisation instead of the people who are oppressing/exploiting/marginalising.

This is the exact same thing as telling someone that they’re asking for and/or attracting violence by wearing certain kinds of clothing instead of blaming the people that commit acts of violence.

Exactly the same.

But who am I kidding? This kind of shit still happens all the time.

As I said in my post on Suffragettes, you cannot tell oppressed/exploited/marginalised people how to respond to this harm and/or police their responses. This makes you part of the problem. Not wanting to participate (or spoiling your ballot) in an extremely flawed representative democratic system that has historically and contemporarily harmed people in your social position(s) is a valid response.

It’s also crucial to remember that people aren’t born with inherent oppression/exploitation/marginalisation/vulnerability. Society, and the people acting within it, are the ones who make people oppressed/exploited/marginalised/vulnerable. The majority tend to think otherwise, which is why they continue to point the finger of blame at them – like people want this kind of life or something? Gross.

I understand people don’t like the Tories. I also can’t stand the Tories, but this is your daily election-week reminder that Labour is not any better.

Russell Brand said, ‘Labour will listen’.

No they won’t. 

They will pretend/appear to be [kind of] listening until Thursday while they spout tonnes of bullshit rhetoric like…

‘We support the Living Wage’

Labour backs a minimum wage rise to £8 by 2020 and this is not a Living Wage.

‘We want to end exploitative zero hour contracts’

Zero hour contracts are a symptom of a wider social system that exploits workers. Workers will continue to be exploited in different ways even if zero hour contracts are phased out, because they’re not tackling the root of the problem – a.k.a the system they seek to maintain.

Also: Congratulations, you have acknowledged worker exploitation! Now you are even more shit for not doing anything about it.

‘We will tax Banker’s Bonuses’

Why are they supporting Banker’s Bonuses at all? Just cos’ you tax them doesn’t make you the people’s championThis is a faux redistribution of wealth. 

These are all actions that are presented to us as radical change, but aren’t.

Did you forget that Labour invaded Iraq? Did they listen then? No, they killed thousands of people.

Did you forget that Labour implemented WCA and hired ATOS? Did they listen then? No, they killed thousands of people.

These are just two of many Labour-backed policy decisions that have killed thousands of people.

So yeah, perhaps, marginally fewer people will die under a Labour government.

But this is not a revolutionary choice.

This choice upholds the status quo.

What kind of world do we live in that will readily support power-hungry murderers just because they murder less people than other, marginally worse power-hungry murderers?

They don’t deserve an award.

They don’t deserve your vote.

They deserve nothing less than the bin. 


The Jones/Brand Smokescreen, Voter-Shaming & How Much I Hate Labour

IWD & Mothers

Happy International Worker’s Day to all of the amazing mums out there!

Mothers are workers. Our society is held together by their emotional and physical labour. Without them, everything would fall apart. They are underrepresented, undervalued and underpaid. The idea that women who mother don’t actually work contributes to the harmful narrative that childbearing women are a burden on society rather than its foundation.

All mothers are working mothers. This includes those who aren’t formally employed outside of the home. The mothers that don’t have the sufficient, stable capital and/or a reliable support network don’t get to choose between working outside or inside of the home. They must do both for them and their families to survive. They work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and never retire. Mothers are not valued or supported by a capitalist system. They are taken advantage of by it.

Mothers shouldn’t have to settle for being remunerated in the positive experiences of motherhood while the capitalist system downplays their challenges, minimises their crucial position and excludes them from fair pay, support and social liberation.

If you think about all the things that mothers do and how much it would cost to hire someone else to do that work (even in a society without a living wage) — their labour exploitation is both clear and appalling.

If you think about the sacrifices they make (and how they are expected to make these sacrifices with little pay and support), how they place family before themselves, other relationships, alone time, a shower, hobbies, self-care, leisure, education and careers — their exploitation is both clear and appalling.

IWD is an opportunity for us to reflect on how backward it is that those who labour the hardest and the longest in our society’s most crucial roles are the least valued, the least respected, the most underpaid, the most underrepresented and continually exploited.

If you’re voting next week, I urge you to look carefully at the various party policies on and/or surrounding: welfare, gender, wages & income inequality, disability, poverty, mental health, health & the NHS, criminal justice, immigration, education, equality & human rights, sex work, maternity pay and childcare before casting your vote. All of these issues are women’s issues as most of them disproportionally affect women, especially mothers, in our society.



IWD & Mothers

Votes for Women?

It’s pretty irritating how a lot of people are appropriating and selectively-remembering Suffragette resistance to support shaming people who don’t want to vote.

[See #Suffragettes on Twitter for numerous examples if you haven’t seen it on your own social media feed(s) already.]

Not voting is a totally acceptable response to what a total failure representative democracy is.

Just because women fought for women to vote doesn’t mean that women have to vote in order to be worthy of that right. By this logic, every pro-choice woman must have an abortion.

Rights are about being able to have your autonomy recognised so you can make choices for yourself instead of being told that you can’t because of who you are.

While we’re on the subject of UK Suffragettes and people ‘fighting’ for women’s votes…

Fighting literally happened. 

When the letter-writing, petition-signing, peaceful protesting, leafletting and general campaigning pleasantries didn’t cut it they split in two groups.

One of them militarised. 

Led by the Pankhursts, the Women’s Social and Political Union burned down churches and empty properties of wealthy elite, smashed shopped windows, defaced all-male spaces like golf courses/cricket clubs/horse racing tracks, went on hunger strike, assaulted police officers, bombed public buildings including Westminster Abbey and destroyed the contents of letterboxes with fire and corrosive acids.

Would you support Suffragettes today?

This part of history is continually, purposefully pushed aside to aid the shaming and silencing of angry, vocal women who take direct action. Support for or any cooperation with the Pankhursts is erased. Davison’s death is viewed as a singular, failed militant act. The rest are remembered liked Mrs. Banks out of Mary-fucking-Poppins. Some of them may have been, but a lot of them weren’t.

Angry voices are important to remember and respect. Violent responses are important to remember and respect. They are intrinsic to any liberation struggle. All responses are worthy and justified. There is no ‘right’ way to respond to your oppression. It is your choice and it is not okay to police the responses of others.

We would not be where we are today without aggressive, hostile activists.
We cannot move forward without them. 

Game-changing militant activists are erased and/or condemned. Prominent activists who have engaged in both peaceful and more aggressive forms of activism are only be remembered in history if their militarism erased.

When Suffragette history is taught and/or discussed, the Pankhursts are criticised for ‘setting the women’s movement back’.

Please, stop.

Even today, in places like Baltimore and Ferguson, when a liberation struggle takes matters into their own hands they’re continually told they are setting their movements back. That this isn’t the correct way to respond. That they shouldn’t result to violence.

Is there any other choice? Why do we care about property more than black people unjustly killed by white, police murderers who get slapped on the wrist and sent home on paid administrative leave?

Do you think people and governments would respond like this if they were actually setting the black rights movement back? No, cos’ people are responding like white supremacy is being challenged. They aren’t responding like the status quo is being maintained.

This is really paternalistic. Oppressed people are not naughty children. They’re human beings demanding the power, autonomy, privilege and social liberation that other people are born into. You can only get so far by engaging with the system.

Women born after the Suffragettes are encouraged to believe that it was not at all to do with those efforts but only the well-behaved, easy-to-swallow ones that made all of the progress all on their own. By following the rules! By keeping the system intact!

I see you, women’s activists, ignoring Baltimore… and I’m side-eying you for it.

This selective history teaches women activists that they’re supposed to be palatable to make progress. That they should exclude angry, radical people and their voices from their spaces.

But instead we should go *all guns blazing* against the Sanitary Product Tax? 
We are still fighting to for the world to recognise and support full reproductive autonomy for women.

But instead we should focus on campaigns like Emma Watson’s UN-backed HeForShe campaign?
Cos’ really, it’s men’s marginalisation in a movement that really isn’t for them that’s important. Not the black women, queer women, trans women, sex working women, working class women and disabled women still purposefully excluded from the women’s movement.

The point of a liberation movement is not to be palatable to your oppressor.

It is to challenge them.
It is to make them uncomfortable.
It is to take their power away for yourself.

Most importantly, it is crucial not to act like your oppressors or aspire to gain the same exploitative, oppressive status of your oppressors within the current system. 

If people like you, you’re doing liberation activism wrong.

So, go ahead…

Remember the Suffragettes, but remember them correctly and don’t think for a second that they’d support vote-shaming tactics.

That is setting the women’s movement back.


Votes for Women?