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

Sex, Race and Class:
The Perspective of Winning,
A Selection of Writings 1952-2011

Selma James, 2012
£12, Published by PM Press
Foreword by Marcus Rediker. Introduction by Nina López
ISBN: 978-1-60486-454-0

Includes A Woman’s Place; Women, the Unions and Work, or what is not to be done; Sex, Race and Class; Wageless of the World; an excerpt from The Ladies and the Mammies — Jane Austen and Jean Rhys; Marx and Feminism; Hookers in the House of the Lord, with excerpts from Strangers & Sisters: Women, Race and Immigration, The Global Kitchen — the Case for Counting Unwaged Work, and The Milk of Human Kindness.

Selma James is the founder of the International Wages for Housework Campaign and co-ordinator of the Global Women’s Strike. In 1972, she set out a new political perspective. Her starting point was the millions of unwaged women who, working in the home and on the land, were not seen as “workers”. Based on her political training with her late husband C.L.R. James, on movement experience South and North, and on a respectful reading of Marx, she redefined the working class to include sectors previously dismissed as “marginal.”

For James, we face a conflict between the reproduction and survival of the human race, and the domination of the market with its exploitation, wars, and ecological devastation. She sums up her strategy for change as “Invest in Caring not Killing.”

This selection, spanning almost six decades, traces the development of this perspective in the course of building an international campaigning network. It includes the classic The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community which launched the “domestic labor debate,” the groundbreaking Sex, Race and Class and Marx and Feminism, the exciting Hookers in the House of the Lord about a church occupation by sex workers, an evaluation of the UN Decade for Women, a reappraisal of the novels of Jean Rhys and of Julius Nyerere’s Tanzania. Her account of CLR James’s organisation the Johnson-Forest Tendency—published here for the first time, together with some of the Woman’s Place columns she wrote at the time—reveals a different CLR from the intellectual popular among academics: an imaginative anti-capitalist organiser. Her writings and speeches are steeped in the grassroots movement and the class split in feminism—from Haiti, Venezuela, Egypt and Palestine to SlutWalk and Global Occupy.

The writing is lucid and without jargon. The ideas, never abstract, spring from the experience of organising, from trying to make sense of the successes and the setbacks, and from the need to find a way forward.

Other publications by Selma James: A Woman’s Place (1952), Women, the Unions and Work, or what is not to be done (1972), Sex, Race and Class (1974), Wageless of the World (1974),The Rapist Who Pays the Rent (1982 co-author), The Ladies and the Mammies—Jane Austen and Jean Rhys (1983), Marx and Feminism (1983), Hookers in the House of the Lord (1983), Strangers & Sisters: Women, Race and Immigration (1985  ed. & Introduction), The Global Kitchen: The Case for Counting Unwaged work (1985 and 1995),The Milk of Human Kindness: Defending Breastfeeding from the AIDS Industry and the Global Market (co-author, 2002).

Ms James toured the US with her new book to great acclaim. She was interviewed at length on Democracy Now, KPFK and KPFA.

For interviews or to review her book: Tel: 0207 482 2496

Selma James



Introduction by Selma James
ISBN 978-0-9568140-1-2

A glimpse of a caring future from the past.
How in 1960s Tanzania 17 self-governing villages bypassed capitalism, working the land communally and organizing production, distribution, housing, education, childcare, healthcare. This ujamaa or African socialism overcame poverty and women’s subordination. But ambitious politicians, threatened by the autonomy and success of villagers, destroyed ujamaa. An astonishing story of grassroots power and creativity told by a man who lived it. The principles of ujamaa can be applied anywhere.

If ordering the book from Tanzania, please contact: Soma Book Café, 53 Mlingotini Close
Regent Street, Mikocheni A, Dar es Salaam
Phone: +255 (0) 22 277 2759

The great 20th century movements for national independence were to end the scourge of Western occupation with its theft of human labour and natural resources. The disastrous regimes that followed wiped from view all that these movements achieved.

In UJAMAA, Ralph Ibbott tells two hidden stories:

How in 1960s Tanzania the Ruvuma Development Association (RDA) was created – 17 self-governing villages working the land communally. Men, women and children together organized production, distribution, housing, education, childcare, healthcare, without recourse to foreign loans. The extraordinary President Nyerere had proposed ujamaa or African socialism – economic development on the traditional principle that all worked and all benefitted – but updated to overcome poverty and women’s subordination. Ujamaa became a reality in Ruvuma. People came from near and far to see this developing caring society that built on independence to bypass capitalism.

How the politicians, threatened by the autonomy and success of villagers, banned the RDA, defeating Nyerere, and reopening the door to party control and ultimately to a new colonialism.

Ralph and Noreen Ibbott and their four young children lived in Litowa, RDA’s lead village, from 1963 to its destruction in 1969. They worked with the villagers but took no part in formal decision-making. This is the account of the RDA’s rise and fall as they lived it.

An astonishing story of grassroots power
and creativity, and of the principles of ujamaa –
which can be applied anywhere.
We can all learn from ujamaa and from
Ralph Ibbott’s clarity and commitment.
SELMA JAMES, Introduction

Postage: UK
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For trade terms please email

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For orders of 4 books or more, or for trade terms, please email

Outside Europe: 1 book £7.50
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The Ladies and the Mammies –
Jane Austen and Jean Rhys


Selma James, 1983
Connects two great women writers whose context was colonial slavery and resistance in the Great Houses of England.




The Milk of Human Kindness: Defending breastfeeding from the global market & the AIDS industry


2002 Solveig Francis, Selma James, Phoebe Jones Schellenberg & Nina Lopez
Mothers life-and-death struggle with the milk formula industry.

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