These are words I would not have thought of writing only yesterday. There’s some good stuff in the Guardian today……Tanya Gold on the jubilee, Ian Jack on the Hoo peninsula and Nicholas Lezard highlighting the re-issue of Victor Serge’s ‘memoirs of a revolutionary’. Then I came across a two page interview with SELMA JAMES………and I read it and……yes the headline is right. I’m so stupid……….I never realised Selma was married to CLR James or that darcus howe was his nephew. I say fairplay to anyone who was a founder membr of the JOHNSON FORREST TENDENCY and is still at it today. Selma has some great lines…………’ every time we build a movement a few people get jobs and those who get the jobs claim this was the objective of the movement’. Her class analysis is consistently stubborn…’all that talk about liberation through work  the women walk in and run out’…….’my friend Earla a west indian nurse was introduced by me to juliet mitchell on a womens liberation march…….she said afterwards ‘Julit’s shoes cost £15 thats what I get in a week’…..’Selma what are you doing with these people’?

And yes I’m not forgetting what an irritant wages for housework  themselves were to many working class women…….including those who first formed class war. But hey………….Selma’s still at it and not grumpy but happy………I cant wait to read her essay on the ECP occupation of the kINGS CROSS church in 1983………..doubtless the cw one from the girls issue – who were there – will disagree and rage  with it…….. but that’s the beauty of building a movement aint it just.




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11 responses to “IN PRAISE OF……………….SELMA JAMES!!!!!

  1. Dora Kaplan

    I reckon the Global Women’s Strike and English Collective of Prostitutes actually do useful work, which is unusual. Most explicitly ‘feminist’ organiastions are happy to take the Queen’s shilling and find a lucrative niche in the quangocracy market. The Global Women’s strike have taken the opposite trajectory to self styled leaders like Linda Bellos, who now earns a fortune advising the British Army on equal opportunities imperialism (I’m all in favour of any ban on women/LGBT in the military, I think it’s a good principle that should be extended to men).


    “every time we build a movement a few people get jobs and those who get the jobs claim this was the objective of the movement”.

    You don’t know just how appropriate this phrase is to the workers of anarchist whitechapel

  3. “every time we build a movement a few people get jobs and those who get the jobs claim this was the objective of the movement” Okay, this might be the view of a cynical, bitter outsider but…from where I am out in Thurrock I’ve come to the conclusion that too many movements end up existing for the sake of themselves and the ‘scene’ that surrounds them and do fuck all to reach out to working class people and actually get their hands dirty in meaningful activity. Mind you, to say there’s a ‘movement’ in London is stretching the definition of the term to the limit – from what I can make out it’s a ‘scene’ that exists to perpetuate itself and doesn’t put any real graft in…

    As for the jobs bit, only too true although I doubt anyone could surpass the dubious achievement of the RCP / Spiked axis is using a ‘movement’ to move themselves into some pretty plum jobs!

    • gitanex

      The beautiful tautology of class politics. Do we accept an organisation that is formed to attract and lead the working class towards a revolutionary conclusion or do we inform the working class to construct their own revolutionary organisation?
      To follow or lead ?
      No wonder all political power fears and condemns the mob.
      Like new clear became nuclear the mob becomes mobster.
      Class War flies the jolly roger, Argentinian housewives bash saucepans with wooden spoons, sans culottes waved baguettes to the rhythm of the guillotine, the italian mob had the mana nera.
      Symbols are the words of the mob. The symbols of organisation are jobs for leaders.
      Selma James is right.

  4. Ben

    This isn’t greatly relevant to Selma James apart from the class/women’s liberation link, but I thought it is worth publicising; a new twitter account I just spotted:!/MisogynyOxford

  5. b

    Dave Wise on the Revolt Against Plenty website, in an article about King Mob, reminisced about a working class woman who fumed about feminists such as Lynne Segal who would frequently use the phrase “we the poor”, whereas “The only working class women they regularly talk to are their paid cleaners who come round to clean up all their shit up which they just drop out of their hands – you know they must have had servants and the like when they were kids.

  6. SubliminalKid

    Reminds me of the anti-cuts demo a little while back, my k knows about shoes and boots and all that, seeing some scruffy dreadlocked hippies that looked like they found there clothes in a bin then took some sizors and paint to them just for a laugh and my partner pointing out that her boots cost about 180 quid, I constantly ask the question on these actions and the question wouldn’t leave my damn head when i was squatting, What the fuck am i doing with these people?


    I enjoyed listening to Selma James at the last bookfair in London, how she said ‘caring was a revolutionary act’- very cool.

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