Emily Orford is Marketing Manager at Pluto Press, an independent publisher of radical, non-fiction books. Having been active in UK radical politics from the age of 14, she is committed to bringing a range of new, original thought to the discourse of the Left. Her work in digital marketing has been shortlisted for the IPG Awards 2018.
Pluto Press is not just a publisher of radical books, we are also a group of people who take politics seriously. We are committed to radical social, political and economic transformation of the current system, and an end to all forms of exploitation and oppression. This is why, on the 8th of March, we will be shutting our office to join the ?Women’s Strike in London.
Taking place in more than 56 countries on International Women’s Day, the strike, organised in the UK by the Women’s Strike Assembly UK will see women walk out of paid work in offices and factories, as well as unpaid domestic work in homes, communities and bedrooms.
We feel that other publishers should join us – the publishing industry is not immune from sexism and abuse. The Bookseller did a recent survey of sexual harassment in the workplace, reporting that over half of respondents recounted experiences of sexual abuse.
The high-profile series of allegations made against a host of men, including Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein, and the subsequent #MeToo movement, has highlighted the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment in every aspect of women’s lives. But this is not the whole story.
Capitalism today relies on the free labour of women, however, the only work that is valued both economically and socially is work that contributes to the market economy, through the production of goods and services.
Domestic labour, caring for children, the disabled and the elderly, as well as the management of families is all largely unpaid, and commonly falls on the shoulders of women. If it was waged, Capitalism would crumble. Partly because of this extra burden, when there is injustice against women, whether that be violence, unequal pay, transphobia, incarceration and the destruction of immigrant families – women do not have the resources, strength and networks available to them to fight. They have been side-lined, de-valued and atomised, their power diminished.
This is why the Women’s Strike is so important – the removal of women’s paid and unpaid labour instantaneously reveals how heavy our burden is, and how society cannot exist without it.
As well as joining the London march, we have also interviewed Camille Barbagallo and Tithi Bhattacharya, two of the organisers of the International Women’s Strike, for our Radicals in Conversation podcast. We also donated 10% of sales through our website to the Women’s Strike Fund on orders placed between the 8th and 16th February.
As a radical publisher, we feel it is important not just to publish books for and by radical feminists, but also to support campaigns where theory can be put into practice.
Join us in London on the 8th March, 1pm, Russell Square!
If you want to read more on the theory of ‘Social Reproduction’, which lies behind this strike action, do take a look at a new book by Tithi Bhattacharya – Social Reproduction Theory: Remapping Class, Recentering Oppression.