Faithful Warrior-ing

20, Chohta. Studying Linguistics, Arabic, and Russian. I'm gonna travel the world, fall in love with it. I'm going to make sure that when I'm dead, my ashes are happy ashes.

“You say you want to be king -
so when I burn your kingdom down, I’ll make sure
you’re still chained to the throne.”

Most of the world’s exploited labor comes from women. Women work in the sweatshops and the giant factories. Women sow and tend and harvest the world’s crops. Women carry and birth and raise children. Women wash and clean and shop and cook. Women care for the sick and the elderly. All of this—layer upon layer of labor—is what makes human society possible. Ripping it off is what makes capitalism possible.

The primacy of women’s labor is normally edited out of political discourse, but it’s a fact beyond dispute. More than half of the world’s women have formal jobs. (In some countries in Asia and Latin America, the percentage is well over 60%.) On top of this, women predominate in millions of illegal and semi-legal “off the books” jobs, where they are normally heavily exploited. Meanwhile, some 70% of women’s labor, worth tens of trillions of dollars a year, is unpaid altogether. Most of the world’s women average 31-42 hours per week on family housework alone. Women “do two-thirds of the world’s work, receive 10% of the world’s income and own 1% of the means of production.”

Throughout history, groups and classes of men have fought over the precious resource of women’s labor. All women, but especially working-class women, who constitute the world’s most valuable source of wealth. Hundreds of millions of these women, the core and majority of the working class, lack any private property or social privilege. They have no ownership, claim or control over the means of production. This sets them apart from the upper stratum of wage workers—labor aristocrats and privileged sectors subsidized from capitalist profits.

Instead, they belong to the “lower and deeper” layers of the working class, compelled to offer their labor up for exploitation within capitalism for sheer survival. This part of the working class stands as capitalism’s main labor force and, historically, its direct antagonist.

Many of these working-class women are paid wages; many are not. Few are paid for all their labor. Most are destitute or economically vulnerable. They labor under extreme duress—facing not only the threat of hunger, but also dependency, slavery and male violence backed up by tradition, family structure and law. Their labor and life experience—and their class position—is often substantially different from that of even the men in their own families.

The multi-sided struggle to own, control and exploit this fantastically profitable labor force is expressed on many levels and in many forms: migrations, wars, genocide, cultural movements, populist rebellions, changes in family structure, colonialism, shifting geopolitical alliances, the rise and fall of governments.

Today, the women at the center of the world working class are experiencing dramatic and fundamental changes in their work lives and their social lives. Capitalism, entering a new phase of development, is remaking the working class. This is where a new revolutionary politics must start.

“My mistrust [of men] is not, as one might expect, primarily a result of the violent acts done on my body, nor the vicious humiliations done to my dignity. It is, instead, born of the multitude of mundane betrayals that mark my every relationship with a man—the casual rape joke, the use of a female slur, the careless demonization of the feminine in everyday conversation, the accusations of overreaction, the eye rolling and exasperated sighs in response to polite requests to please not use misogynist epithets in my presence.”