A Women’s Strike Reading List

Writing on the Women’s Strike, reproductive labor, feminist futures, and more.

What to read on International Women’s Day—and beyond.

From the “Wages Due Song,” by Boo Watson and Lorna Boschman.

From n+1

While the Iron Is Hot by Dayna Tortorici

It’s reasonable to ask whether now is a good time for a women’s strike. This is a revanchist administration that doesn’t appear to respond to demands. And there are arguably more urgent needs to attend to—the safety and support of Muslims, immigrants, and trans people who are under attack. But millions of Muslims, immigrants, and trans people are women, and we strike as them and for them. It is never a bad time to demand what you need. Our bleak political situation has freed us from the constraints of being “reasonable,” of imagining solutions that play by the enemy’s rulebook. There is a new audience for new arguments—a ready population of people willing to think more deeply about the larger forces structuring their lives.

The Woman’s Party by Namara Smith (from Issue 26)

Feminism and social protection  have a common history, and their most visible point of intersection and conflict is welfare. Debates over welfare cut to the quick of divergent feminist politics in America, between “equality” and “difference” feminists, and welfare, more than anything else, is the issue defining Hillary Clinton’s primary campaign. Even before she championed the welfare-reform bill her husband signed in 1996, Clinton took a side in the debate simply by being who she was and pursuing the path she did. Her shortcomings as a feminist candidate trace back to this debate, which has yet to be resolved.

More Smiles? More Money by Dayna Tortorici (from Issue 17)

In the 1970s, Western women who were radicalized by feminism were women doing housework. They knew firsthand what that work was like: how strained and boring it was, what social obligations it involved, how it shored up their position in relation to men. Self-knowledge was fundamentally what made consciousness-raising — talking in a room to other women — such a powerful tool: it confirmed that your personal experience of sexism didn’t belong to you alone. It offered solidarity as well as a theoretical framework, a picture of social reality, on a scale that made the personal, as they say, political. The early work of people like Martha Rosler and Silvia Federici — and Flo Kennedy, Ti-Grace Atkinson, Shulamith Firestone, Ellen Willis, Kate Millett, Valerie Solanas, and many others — allowed women, suddenly, to see their lives anew. It was like changing the lights in a room: all the furniture was the same, but, seen in a new cast, never quite the same again.

Sex Class Action by Dayna Tortorici (from Issue 14)

It is true that not all women employed at Wal-Mart since 1998 faced the same degree of discrimination. It’s also true that by including a request for damages the plaintiffs may have compromised their shot at injunctive and declaratory relief. But these were arguments that had little to do with the phrasing of the original rule, and Antonin Scalia’s revision of what constituted “commonality” raised more questions than it answered. What, after all, was “glue”? What was “some glue,” and what was glue enough? To those who cared, it seemed all too coincidental that a group of people who have historically been denied recognition as an oppressed, exploited class—women—were being denied that recognition yet again under our major civil rights law, this time on a technicality—articulated by something so vague as “glue.” Wasn’t the answer to the question, Why was I disfavored obvious enough?—Because I am a woman?


The 2017 Women’s Strike

Striking on International Women’s Day Is Not a Privilege by Magally A. Miranda Alcazar and Kate D. Griffiths

The Impossibility of the International Women’s Strike is Exactly Why It’s So Necessary by Camille Barbagallo

When Did Solidarity Among Working Women Become a ‘Privilege’? by Tithi Bhattacharya and Cinzia Arruzza

Argentina’s Life-or-Death Women’s Movement by Veronica Gago and Agustina Santomaso

Women’s Right to Refuse by Melissa Gira Grant

A Feminism for the 99 Percent by Sarah Jaffe & Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

A Feminism for the Masses by Stephanie McFeeters

Why Women Are Going on Strike in Ireland Tomorrow by Lia McGarrigle

For Domestic and Low-Wage Workers, the Stakes are Higher than Ever by Ai-jen Poo

Why Women Should Strike by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

The Women’s Strike and the Messy Space of Change by Jia Tolentino

While the Iron Is Hot by Dayna Tortorici


On Strikes

A Strike Against the New Jim Crow by Janaé Bonsu

The Strike That Didn’t Change New York by Megan Erickson

The Only Way to Know If Striking Works Is to Do It by Dayna Evans

A Day Without Care by Sarah Jaffe

The Role of the Mass Strike in the Revolution by Rosa Luxemburg


On Reproductive Labor: Care Work, House Work, and Emotional Labor

Having a Child will Bankrupt You by Bryce Covert

The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community by Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Selma James

Approaching the Obsolescence of Housework by Angela Y. Davis

Women and Capitalism: Dialectics of Oppression and Liberation by Angela Y. Davis

Wages Against Housework by Silvia Federici

Grin and Abhor It: The Truth Behind Service With a Smile by Sarah Jaffe

Adventures in Feministory: Johnnie Tillmon and the Welfare Rights Movement by Kjerstin Johnson

Love’s Labor Earned by J.C. Pan

The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty by Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward

More Smiles? More Money by Dayna Tortorici

Sex Class Action by Dayna Tortorici

Viewpoint Issue 5: Social Reproduction by Viewpoint


On Organizing Women’s Work

The Problem with (Sex) Work by Peter Frase

Happy Hookers by Melissa Gira Grant

Organized Labor’s Newest Heroes: Strippers by Melissa Gira Grant

Let Call Sex Work What It Is: Work by Melissa Gira Grant

The Negro Woman Domestic Worker in Relation to Trade Unionism (1940) by Esther Cooper Jackson

Walmart’s women can’t save money or live better with wages or hours like this by Sarah Jaffe

A Life in Writing: Selma James with Selma James

Domestic Workers’ Rights, the Politics of Social Reproduction, and New Models of Labor Organizing by Premilla Nadasen

Unite and Fight by Kate Redburn


On Hillary Clinton, Liberal Feminism, and “Trickle-Down” Feminism

The Atlantic, Trickle-Down Feminism, and My Twitter Mentions, God Help Us All by Tressie McMillan Cottom

Trickle-Down Feminism, Revisited by Tressie McMillan Cottom

Sheryl Sandberg’s ‘Lean In’ campaign holds little for most women by Melissa Gira Grant

Trickle-Down Feminism by Sarah Jaffe

Opting for Free Time by Sarah Jaffe

Housekeepers Versus Harvard: Feminism for the Age of Trump by Sarah Leonard

Feminism’s Tipping Point: Who Wins from Leaning In? by Kate Losse

Kicking Back, Not Leaning In by Madeleine Schwartz

The Woman’s Party by Namara Smith


On Feminist Futures

On the “dispute” between radical feminism and trans people by Juliet Jacques

The Kids Are Alright: A Legendary Feminist on Feminism’s Future by Sarah Leonard and Ann Snitow

As Many Shoes As She Likes: On Feminism by Jenny Turner


Books and Further Reading

Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza by Gloria Anzaldúa

Part of the Family? Nannies, Housekeepers, and the Battle for Domestic Workers’ Rights by Sheila Bapat

Undoing the Demos by Wendy Brown

The Other Women’s Movement by Dorothy Sue Cobble

Dishing It Out by Dorothy Sue Cobble

Black Feminist Thought by Patricia Hill Collins

Women, Race and Class by Angela Y. Davis

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

Global Woman by Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild

Class War: The Privatization of Childhood by Megan Erickson

Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Worker’s Rights at Walmart by Liza Featherstone

Revolution at Point Zero by Silvia Federici

Scales of Justice by Nancy Fraser

Fortunes of Feminism by Nancy Fraser

The Lost Promise of Civil Rights by Risa Goluboff

Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work by Melissa Gira Grant

The Managed Heart by Arlie Russell Hochschild

The Second Shift by Arlie Russell Hochschild

The Time Bind by Arlie Russell Hochschild

Feminist Theory from Margin to Center by bell hooks

To ‘Joy My Freedom by Tera Hunter

Sex, Race and Class: The Perspective of Winning by Selma James

Direct Action: Protest and the Reinvention of American Radicalism by L. A. Kauffman

Caring for America by Eileen Boris and Jennifer Klein

Freedom is Not Enough by Nancy McClean

Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale by Maria Mies

To Serve God and Wal-Mart by Bethany Moreton

Household Workers Unite by Premilla Nadasen

One Dimensional Woman by Nina Power

Whipping Girl by Julia Serrano

From Bondage to Contract by Amy Dru Stanley

Carnal Knowledge and Imperial Power by Ann Stoler

From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor

Strike for America: Chicago Teachers Against Austerity by Micah Uetricht

The Problem With Work by Kathi Weeks

—Assembled by Red Papers, a collective of socialist feminist thinkers, organizers, and writers

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