Immigrant Women Inspire New Forms for Organizing
The United States remains a prevalent destination for 52 percent of the world’s migrants. A majority of these migrants are women from Mexico, India, China, and the Philippines and many bring with them valuable knowledge gained from popular movements in their home countries. In the United States, they soon confront a dilemma that has challenged leftist organizers doing mass-based organizing who have built membership bases within tax-exempt nonprofit corporations whose political scope is limited by law. Migrant women have been pointing toward new solutions to the challenge and laying the groundwork we need to seriously confront the global economic interests preventing us from building a society that meets all of our needs.
One such woman is domestic worker and organizer Bernadette Herrera, who is on a mission to build a grassroots, all volunteer, membership organization of Filipino domestic workers and caregivers in San Francisco.
As a feminist activist, writer, and teacher, Silvia Federici engages and inspires students of all ages to fight for the liberation of women and all beings. In 1972, Federici cofounded the International Feminist Collective, which launched the “Wages For Housework” campaign. While teaching and researching in Nigeria in the 1980s, she observed the specific impacts of globalization on women—and their similarities to the social disruption caused by the enclosure of the commons in the earliest days of capitalism. She became active in the anti-globalization movement and the U.S. anti-death-penalty movement, and cofounded the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa. From 1987 to 2005 she taught international studies, women’s studies, and political philosophy at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. Her books and essays span philosophy, feminist theory, women’s history, education, and culture, and more recently, the worldwide struggle against capitalist globalization and for a feminist reconstruction of the commons. Caliban and the Witch: Women, The Body and Primitive Accumulation, perhaps her best-known work, argues that capitalism depends on a constant supply of women’s unwaged labor. Federici sat down for this interview while she was on a tour to promote her new book, Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle (Common Notions), a collection of essays written over the last forty years. In conversation, Federici moves smoothly between history, theory, and present struggles, hardly stopping for breath, almost vibrating with concern and indignation.
On December 6, an important step was taken in the battle to keep neighborhoods, with good transit, affordable to the low-income residents who depend on the bus and BART to get to work, school and other places they go to daily.
The Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC) Board voted on a final set of One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) Scoring Criteria. Responding to the recommendations of Urban Habitat and members of the Equitable Transit Oriented Development Coalition (see list below), the Board increased the possible points earned for affordable housing and anti-displacement to 9 (from 3). They also increased the points for projects that improve access to frequent transit to 6 (from 3).