Democrats Are Silent Again

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 17/01/2018 - 12:00pm in

I do not understand the silence of the Democrats when it comes to dealing with the issues of this country such as student debt, the attacks by Trump and Republicans on the ACA, the Republican and Trump tax reform plan giving $billions to the 1% of the taxpayers making greater than $500,000 annually, the more […]

Oprah Winfrey: The Corporate Democrat’s Choice to be the Next Presidential Candidate

The corporatist, Clintonite wing of the Democrats has looked at the success of Donald Trump, and drawn precisely the wrong lesson from it. They concluded that after a millionaire reality TV star won the Republican nomination and then the presidency, what they had to do was field their own millionaire TV star as a candidate. And in this instance, they’ve decided that this candidate might be Oprah Winfrey. The idea’s gone over well too in the press on this side of the Atlantic. The ‘Opinion Matrix’ column in the ‘I’ newspaper quoted two newspapers raving about what a wonderful idea this would be.

In this clip from The Jimmy Dore Show, Dore and his co-host, Ron Placone, talk about why Oprah would be a terrible candidate. There’s a lot in there, but essentially the argument is very simple.

They quote a long article from the Guardian, one of the few newspapers, which doesn’t think it’s a good idea to choose Oprah. This points out that the problems afflicting ordinary working Americans come from the very nature of free market capitalism. People are becoming poorer and more insecure because of the destruction of what remained of the American welfare net, outsourcing, privatisation, low wages and job insecurity. All of these need to be tackled.

But this is precisely what Oprah will not do. She’s another neoliberal, who believes that it’s not the system that needs to be changed, but you. If you look inside yourself, you can improve your place in society, and rise up to be anything you want. It’s a reassuring message for some people, as it tells them that America is still the land of opportunity. Even though it isn’t, and hasn’t been for a very long time. Way back in the 1990s there was little difference between social mobility in the UK and the US. An article commenting on this in the Financial Times made this point, and argued that what gave American society its attractive power was the myth that it was, that ordinary people could still move up to be president, or a company director, or whatever. This is now no longer true, and in fact there’s greater social mobility in Europe.

This explains why Oprah’s so attractive to the corporate elites. She’s a black woman, so if she got the presidency, it would be a symbolically liberal gesture. Just like Killary and her team were arguing that the election of Clinton would be a victory for all women. Even though Clinton has done and would do nothing for America’s working people, and especially not women, who do the lowest paid work. It was all identity politics, with Killary claiming to be the outsider because she was a woman. Even though she’s in the pocket of Wall Street and other corporations, and as thoroughly corporate and corrupt as any of them. But if you didn’t back her, and instead chose Bernie, who actually stood for policies that will benefit America’s working people, you were automatically smeared as a ‘misogynist’. This included women voters, who, La Clinton declared, were only doing what their husbands and boyfriends told them.

The same’s going to be the case with Oprah Winfrey. It’s more identity politics, even though identity politics didn’t work with Clinton, and they probably won’t work with Oprah. Winfrey offers ordinary working Americans nothing, which is presumably why the corporate press in Britain was raving about what a good candidate she is. All the billionaires now owning papers, who don’t pay tax in this country, are presumably salivating at the thought of another president, who’ll do just what business leaders tell them.

As for what effect her presidency will have on Black Americans, you only have to look at Barack Obama to see that this prospects aren’t good. Despite all the racist screaming from the Republicans that Obama was an anti-White racist, who was planning to exterminate White Americans, Obama in many ways was a completely unremarkable, corporate politico. And he did precious little to solve the various problems facing Black communities in America. Oprah will be exactly the same, only the poverty will be worse. Economists have looked at the decline in the household wealth of working Americans. This has declined drastically. But the decline in White household wealth is nowhere as severe as that experienced by Black families. It’s been estimated that in a few years, their average household wealth will be $8.

Oprah has nothing to say to that. Absolutely nothing. Except that people should look inside themselves, believe in themselves, work hard and then magically their dreams will come true.

Except we live in a harsh, cruel neoliberal corporate hell, rather than the dream reality held out by corporate shills like Killary.

And domestic poverty isn’t the only reason why Oprah would be an awful president. She’s another hawk in foreign policy. In this clip from the Sam Seder’s Majority Report, they comment on a piece in her show where she promotes the invasion of Iraq, repeating the lie that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.

Hussein didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction. There was no connection between him and Osama bin Laden. It was a Likudnik and Neocon lie to invade Iraq, steal their oil and plunder their state industries. The result has been chaos and mass death, carried out not just by Sunni insurgents, but also by the mercenaries under General McChristal, who was running death squads against the Shi’a.

If Oprah gets in, there’ll be more wars in the Middle East and elsewhere, as the American military machine keeps demanding more conflict and more funding.

Now I’ve nothing against Oprah Winfrey personally. She’s glamorous, intelligent and a genial TV host. But that’s all she is. In terms of policies, she offers absolutely nothing to ordinary Americans, except more corporatism, bigger profits for the rich, and more poverty and exploitation for the poor, including and especially Black Americans. And as far as foreign policy goes, she’s a danger to world peace. The Iraq invasion destroyed one of the most successful secular states in the Middle East, where women were safe to hold jobs outside the home, into a sectarian bloodbath. All for the profit of multinational corporations.

But I don’t doubt that if ordinary Americans don’t vote for her, the Democrat propaganda machine will vilify them, just as they smeared everyone who voted for Bernie against Killary. If you don’t vote Oprah, they’ll scream, you’ll be a racist and a misogynist. And no doubt Blacks will be told that they’re all ‘Uncle Toms’ and ‘housen****ers doing what Massah tells them. All while the Black, female candidate doesn’t care a jot about doing anything practical to help working Americans with their real problems, but just promotes the neoliberal myth of American social mobility. While seeing that the corporate rich get even richer, of course.

Cartoon: Worse than Idiocracy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 16/01/2018 - 11:50pm in



I realize I'm hardly the first person to make an analogy between the Trump administration and Idiocracy (one of my favorite movies of all time, it must be said). While doing some Googling, I found that Cracked made the case for Idiocracy being superior to our current state of affairs. But given Trump's recent comments and porn star revelations, it seemed a direct comparison with Camacho was in order, one that went beyond merely pointing out their similar lack of qualifications and flamboyance. And the verdict is: I'll take Camacho, thanks!

Follow Jen on Twitter at @JenSorensen

Cartoon of the day

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 16/01/2018 - 11:00pm in

53_205130 (1)

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SYNDICATED COLUMN: So What if President Trump is an Asshole? All the Presidents Have Been Assholes.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 16/01/2018 - 4:03am in

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President Trump is under fire and we’re all shocked shocked SHOCKED that his shithole mouth called the (predominantly black) nations of Africa “shitholes,” helpfully comparing them to (predominantly blonde) Norway to make sure nobody missed the point. To drive home just how pissed off people are about this (and rightly so), Trump’s shithole comment overshadowed news that the government accidentally told the citizens of Hawaii they were about to get nuked. As George W. Bush would say, that’s some weird shit.

This is a big deal unless you’re reading this more than a few days after this writing, at which point Trump will have raised more hell with some new idiotic utterance that makes us forget about this one.

Speaking of hell-raising: I managed to raise a few social-media hackles recently when I posted the following: “I honestly don’t understand why people are so depressed about Trump. Policy-wise, he isn’t much different than Obama. Trump is truth in advertising: he is an asshole, our country acts like an asshole. No need for phony smiles, PC rhetoric.”

This led to a discussion comparing Trump not just to Obama, but other American presidents. There were lots of great comments. Still, I was struck by something that few people seem to be aware of — America’s rich history of presidential assholery. Given how wicked smart my readers are, I was surprised to hear some of them refer favorably to Trump’s predecessors.

Trump is a thieving, lying turd. In that respect, he is as presidential as it gets. Going back to Day One, the United States has been led by white males behaving badly.

Trump gets attacked for using the presidency to line his pockets, and rightfully so. Yet The Donald has nothing on the Father of Our Country.

George Washington was worth more than half a billion in today’s dollars — riches he accumulated in large part by exploiting his political influence to loot federal coffers. He joined the Masons, married well, scored a few lucky inheritances and invested the loot in real estate along what was then the Colonies’ western frontier in Indian territory that he came across as a young land surveyor.

GW’s acreage was on the wrong side of the Appalachian mountains — but not for long. Talk about conflict of interest: as commander of the revolutionary army and president, he promoted settlement of the west by whites that pumped up the value of his early investments. The fact that those whites were engaged in genocide bothered Washington not one whit.

Even on the Left, some Americans point to Lincoln as a pillar of moral rectitude. But Honest Abe suspended the ancient writ of habeas corpus; in 2006, a militaristic asshole named George W. Bush relied on Lincoln’s 1863 precedent to abolish it altogether.

Since nothing in the Constitution bans secession, Southern states enjoyed the legal right to leave the Union. Defying the Constitution, Lincoln went to war — illegally — to bring them back. Not only was the Civil War a bloodbath, it left us with a nation that remains politically and culturally fractured to this day. Blacks were 13% of the population of the Confederacy. Had Lincoln chosen peace, a slave uprising might have brought down the Old South — and killed a lot of racists.

Lincoln cheated in the 1864 election by playing both sides of the secession. To justify the war, he claimed the breakaway states were still part of the Union, yet didn’t count Southern electoral votes because they would have cost him reelection.

You name the president, I’ll name at least one unforgiveable sin.

FDR? The New Deal was a grand achievement. But if trying to stack the Supreme Court isn’t impeachable, what is? When World War II broke out, Roosevelt played footsie with Vichy France while snubbing the Resistance. He turned away Jewish refugees and refused to bomb the Nazi infrastructure used to murder Jews. He dragged his feet taking on Hitler so that the Soviet Union would take the brunt of Nazi savagery.

Folks are already saying: “Barack Obama will be inducted into the league of Great Presidents.” Obama, most Democrats have already forgotten, broke his promise to try for a “public option” in the Affordable Care Act. He went on languid vacations while the global economy was collapsing, handed trillions to bankers no strings attached and did nothing to help the unemployed and people whose homes were stolen by the banks. And he slaughtered thousands of innocent civilians with drones — people who represented zero threat to anyone — just for fun.

If that’s a great president, give me a shitty one.

(Ted Rall (Twitter: @tedrall) is co-author, with Harmon Leon, of “Meet the Deplorables: Infiltrating Trump America,” an inside look at the American far right, out now. You can support Ted’s hard-hitting political cartoons and columns and see his work first by sponsoring his work on Patreon.)

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Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 16/01/2018 - 12:00am in


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The gang crisis our leaders help create

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 14/01/2018 - 12:31pm in


column, Crime, Racism

What is it about the African gang crisis that's so disturbingly familiar?

In case you haven't been paying attention, Melbourne is supposedly in the grip of a crime wave. Not on the basis of statistics, which show arson, property damage, burglary and theft down (sexual offences and robbery are up), but on the basis of a series of front page articles over summer in the Herald Sun and also The Australian about African gangs, most of them South Sudanese.

Victoria's opposition wants to recall Parliament.

Federal minister Greg Hunt, whose day job is Health Minister and who last year had to apologise to the Supreme Court for calling it soft, says African gang crime is "out of control". Prime Minister Turnbull says he is alarmed by "growing gang violence". And Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says people are scared to go out to restaurants "because they are followed home by these gangs".

It's feeding on itself. A nationalist group says it's planning a rally on Sunday in order to "take a stand on the streets". African Australians are being harassed and worse by vigilantes who are suddenly emboldened. Police say a Daily Mail photographer helped create the latest "flare-up" by taking close-up photos of a group of Africans socialising.

"The teenagers had been doing nothing of public interest prior to the photographer's decision to move in," a memo reported by The Guardian says. The Mail labelled the scuffle that it helped create "the latest gang flare-up" and boasted that its pictures were "exclusive".

It is familiar because it happened in Sydney with Lebanese Muslim youths (remember the Cronulla riots?) and before that with "Asian gangs" in Cabramatta. In Adelaide a decade ago it was the "Gang of 49". There never was a Gang of 49, but The Advertiser coined the term to describe 49 mainly Aboriginal youths the police said they were looking for.

The catchphrase had incredibly unfortunate consequences. Former police say it created gangs. Dispossessed, often homeless, youths started saying they were part of Gang of 49 and stealing cars and doing ram-raids to prove it.

"It hypes them up, they think they are famous, it's them against the police," a grandmother of one of the self-described members told the ABC. Very young Aboriginals, too young to be part of a gang, started romanticising the idea and looking forward to the day when they could.

It happened after Melbourne's Moomba riots in March 2016, which the media were quick to attribute to the "Apex Gang". More a grab bag than a gang, it grew swiftly as all sorts of petty criminals started scrawling the word "Apex" wherever they had been. The more it was talked about, the bigger it became.

That's why on Wednesday Police Commissioner Graham Ashton rubbished the idea of a gang and referred instead to low-level crime. It was "complete and utter garbage" to suggest, as our leaders have, that Victorians aren't safe.

"The sort of concept that somehow it's unsafe to go out to dinner, how long since you've been out to dinner?" he asked.

Big cities have had aggravated burglaries and home invasions for years, less so in Melbourne in the past two quarters. The perpetrators are overwhelmingly Australian-born. Although Sudanese youths are over-represented in minor crime statistics (as might be expected given high socio-economic disadvantage) and are involved in many more armed robberies than before (98 in 2016-17, up from 20 in 2014-15) the perpetrators of serious assaults are 25 times more likely to be born in Australia or New Zealand than in Sudan or Kenya.

Talk about gangs has probably always created gangs, at least as far back as the Mods and Rockers in the UK in the 1960s. But it's worse now. Would-be gang members can find each other on social media. Words can do even more damage, all the more so when they are used carelessly by newspapers and "leaders" to fill space and score points.

In The Age and Sydney Morning Herald Peter Martin is economics correspondent for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.

He blogs at petermartin.com.au and tweets at @1petermartin.

Conservative Lady Claims Labour and Momentum Supporters Responsible for Misogynist Abuse – But Is This Real?

There was a bit in the I today, reporting a speech made in the House of Lords by a female Tory peer, in which she broke the taboo against saying the ‘C’ word. She said it as an example of the misogynist abuse, which she claimed was coming from Labour and Momentum supporters. Mike’s already covered this issue over on his blog, pointing out that it’s been condemned by Jeremy Corbyn. Mike’s fully behind the condemnation, saying that death threats and other abuse have no place in civilised politics, and we shouldn’t lower ourselves to the Tories’ level. Which is absolutely correct, though looking at the incident, I wonder how much of the abuse, and the good lady’s outrage over it, is actually genuine.

Remember, one of the accusations that the Blairites tried to use against Corbyn and Momentum was that they were all terribly misogynist, and subjecting to poor, middle class corporatist Blairite women to vile abuse. This was taken over wholesale from Killary in the US, and her attempt to demonise Bernie Sanders’ supporters. In fact, the ‘Bernie Bros’ she claimed were responsible for all this abuse didn’t exist, and on examination neither did the misogynist abuse the Blairites were claiming came from Corbyn’s supporters. But clearly the tactic has made an impression, and it’s become part of the right-wing narrative that Corbyn’s supporters are all terrible misogynists, as well as anti-Semites. None of which is true.

It also seems to me something of a diversionary tactic. This is the week that Toby Young came under fire as May’s appointment for the universities’ regulatory board, because of the highly offensive nature of comments he’d made and written. These really were sexist and misogynist. There were Tweet after Tweet in which Young commented on the size of women’s breasts, including those of Claudia Winkleman, whom he told to ‘put on weight’. As for a photograph that seemed to show him touching a female celebrity, he also Tweeted that he had his ‘d**k up her a**e’. Labour’s women and equalities minister, Dawn Butler, rightly condemned Young’s comments as vile and misogynistic, and demanded Young’s removal from the post.

Which makes the Honourable Lady’s comments about misogyny from the Labour left, and how it was turning women off politics, seem somewhat contrived. It looks as if she was trying to take attention away from how terrible Young, and those like him in the Tory party are, by making a similar claim against Corbyn and the Labour party.

Now I share Mike’s and Corbyn’s views on such abuse. It’s clearly not acceptable. But I can understand the rage behind it. If people are sending hate messages to the Tories in May’s cabinet reshuffle, including Esther McVile, some of the anger is because they feel powerless. This government has done everything it can to humiliate and degrade working people, and particularly the sick, the disabled and the unemployed. Thanks to Tory wage restraint, jobs don’t pay. There is rising poverty, and move people are being forced to use food banks. At the same time the Tories are engineering a crisis in the NHS so they can eventually privatise it and force people into a private insurance-based system, like America. Where 40,000 people die each year because they don’t have medical coverage. The unions, with one or two exceptions, have been decimated, so that working people are left defenceless before predatory and exploitative bosses. And the benefits system has been so reformed, so that claimants can be thrown off it for even the most trivial of reasons. All so that May and her cronies can give their corporate backers even bigger tax cuts, and a cowed, beaten, compliant workforce.

In this situation, I think people have every reason to be angry. Especially when it comes to Esther McVie. When she was in charge of the disabled at the DWP, she was directly responsible for policies that threw thousands of seriously ill people off benefits, on the spurious grounds that they had been judged ‘fit for work’ by Atos and then Maximus. As a result, people have died, thanks to her policies. Personal abuse is unacceptable, but people have every right to express otherwise how loathsome she is, and how she is manifestly unsuited to have any responsible post dealing with the vulnerable.

If people are angry, and they can’t find any other way to express their anger, then it will turn into abuse. I don’t know how much of the abuse the Tory lady claimed is real, but if it does exist, it’s because the Tories have left people feeling powerless, and feeling that they have no other means of expressing their anger and fear.

And I also find it highly hypocritical that this woman, who is rich and entitled, should accuse those below her of abuse. Quite apart from the fact that I’ve no doubt that you can find similar comments expressed by the Tories on their websites, Tweets and blogs, various Tory grandees have in the past made their contempt for working people very clear. Such as the infamous comment by one of them – was it Matthew Freud? – that the homeless were the people you step over when coming out of the opera. The Tories are very well aware how controversial the appointment of these new cabinet ministers are, especially Esther McVile, the minister in charge of culling the disabled, as she’s been described by Mike and others. It looks to me very much like part of the purpose of this accusation was to silence genuine criticism of the grotesques, bigots and corporatist horrors with which May has decided once again to fill her cabinet.

I therefore have strong doubts that there was misogynist abuse directed at Tory women, or if there was, whether there was any more than usual, or the same amount of abuse directed at female Labour MPs. If you want an example of really vile abuse, take a look at some of the comments the Tories have made about Diane Abbott, which manages to be both misogynist and racist. It all looks very much like a ploy to stop people noticing the vile abuse coming from Toby Young and the Tories, by repeating the lies spewed by the Blairites in an attempt to silence justifiable criticism of May’s murderous new cabinet appointments.

“For Madams Only”: Facebook groups and the politics of migrant domestic work in Egypt

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 09/01/2018 - 9:40pm in

Despite endless talk of its ‘democratising’ potential, Facebook does not automatically give “Maids” and “Madams” an equal voice.

Mops getting ready for insurrection. Picture by: paolobarzman / Flickr.com Some rights reserved. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)In
July last year, the Facebook user “Princess Doo Woo” copied and
pasted a list of  “OUR SIX DEMANDS” under every post in the
public group Maids
and Nannies in Egypt.
demands, written by a coalition of middle/upper class housewives,
include a limit on migrant domestic workers salaries, the freedom to
set any tasks and working hours within that salary, and zero
tolerance for “disobedience.” Borrowing from the radical language
of social justice movements, these “Madams” outlined their noble
battle (which is their “duty as Egyptians”) against the evil
“mafia” who continue to exploit them: the Maids.

then, the campaign has taken off and a group was established called
Dollars For You!!!
only accepts “Madams” as members. It’s hard to take seriously
any movement run by someone who calls herself “Princess Doo Woo”
and blaming migrant domestic workers for Egypt’s dollar crash is
evidently absurd. But scapegoating minorities at times of instability
is all too common, and these social media discourses about domestic
work reveal a complex intersection of class, race and gender politics
in Egypt.

And by "Maid", they mean women who are working class or foreign

we commented on one of the posts sharing these demands, we were
immediately challenged to “prove” (how is unclear) whether we
were “Madams or Maids.” Maids’ opinions do not matter. And by "Maid", they mean women who are working class or foreign. In one post,
Nina, an Indonesian domestic worker, suggested that the demands were
unreasonable and dehumanised Asian migrants. The Madams were
horrified. “Do you realise what you are saying?” demanded one,
“Do you know you are speaking to a Madam and not to your friend?”
 Another seemed particularly upset: “what the hell is this…
I wouldn’t pay these helpers 10 Egyptian pounds a year… no Madam
should accept such behaviour.”

one of the Madams proudly states that she does “NOT practice
slavery” because she is a “good Egyptian”, an alarming number
of posters seem to believe that domestic workers should be grateful
just to have been “taken off the streets” and given food and
somewhere to sleep. A mother from Alexandria called “Chez Lala”
writes that it is “really very funny that this woman is putting
rules for me and talking about rights when she has no certificates or
legal status.”

unusual status as a hybrid public/private space is really crucial to
understanding these interactions and campaigns. The opportunity for
“Maids” and “Madams” to speak outside traditional one-on-one
employment relations is unprecedented and provides a platform for
domestic workers to voice their dissent. But despite the endless talk
of its ‘democratising’ potential, Facebook does not, in fact,
automatically give everyone an equal voice.

of the most popular groups putting employers and employees in contact
are all “Madams” who have the power to remove members and delete
posts or comments. One of these groups has recently clamped down on
racist slurs by the Madams, writing that “you are all human beings
so why not treat each other in this way?!” But the expectation is
that admins
for these groups will only delete inappropriate comments by Maids
perceived to be speaking about their status. When Princess Doo Woo
and her best friend, Chez Lala, were removed from Maids
in Egypt 2
they immediately called on other Madams to boycott the group for
bullying and claimed that it was run by foreigners.

The timeworn mantra of bigots – “just go back to your country” – lurks in endless ugly corners and sub-comments

groups like No
Dollars For You!!!
able to screen potential members who request to join. They identify
arbitrary markers of class or race in the profile pictures or public
information of those who request to join and in this way classify
them as either Madams or Maids. There has also been no censorship of
attempts to publicly shame or blacklist maids by posting their photos
on these groups with captions such as “very lazy do not trust!”

is clearly at the heart of these views. The timeworn mantra of bigots
– “just go back to your country” – lurks in endless ugly
corners and sub-comments. But despite this, and despite the fact that
they are more expensive, there is still more of a demand for foreign
domestic workers than for Egyptians. Feminist scholar Karen Hansen
argues that this is a way by which employers establish clearer
boundaries between themselves and the woman working in the intimate
space of their house. The “threatening closeness” of paid
domestic labour is “more easily resolved when employers and workers
differ from each other.” But as Mavis Jakpattaa, an Ethiopian
domestic worker on one of the groups observes, no one is born a Maid
or a Madam: “in our home we are also Madam or Mrs. We Africans
travel to countries like Egypt for many reasons. Some of us are
studying at university here as well as maid work in order to travel
to Europe.”

advantage of employing a migrant worker is that many lack citizenship
rights and can therefore be exploited with no ramifications. In 2012,
the first union for domestic workers was established in Egypt but
migrant workers are not allowed to join. The union claims that
migrants are protected by their brokers or embassies. However,
embassies have rarely been known to intervene and another new demand
by almost all the Madams searching for Maids is for “no brokers
please.” As Mavis points out, if their contract has not been
overseen by a third party broker, domestic workers have literally no
one to go to if their payment is withheld or they experience abuse.

of the problem on these groups is not just how low the suggested
salaries are but that they are divided by nationality: 3000-4000 LE
for Africans, 5000-6000 LE for Asians. As one member commented, “it
is like you are referring to different breeds of cattle.” But this
ethnic stratification has always been a feature of the domestic
worker market in Egypt and in other industries globally. One recent
post, littered with cutesy heart-eyed and thumbs-up emojis, asks
other madams to vote on whether they prefer Kenyans or Ghanaians as
Maids by responding with a “like” or a “love.” Another post
addressing itself “only for employers” asks whether anyone has
had a Kenyan helper who stayed for more than a year.

This is also an issue of deep-seated attitudes towards female labour

stereotypes emerge: Kenyans are lazy, Ghanaians rude and dishonest,
Indonesians likely to run away. But even ostensibly complimentary
stereotypes play into toxic, neo-colonial discourses. For example,
Filipinos are ideologically framed as docile, hardworking and
obedient. Readymade workers for subordinate positions rather than
management or more highly skilled roles, they are born to obey

this is also an issue of deep-seated attitudes towards female labour
that apply as much to Madams as to Maids. As Lina Dencik and others have argued, the development of a
(primarily male) transnational capitalist class working longer, more
flexible hours has been entirely dependent on the invisible work done
by maids or female family members. But the contribution to GDP made
by both “Madams” and “Maids” within the private sphere of the
home is consistently erased. By undervaluing the tasks performed by
their employees, Madams are playing into the same sexist logic that
inevitably makes their own lives a lot harder when economic crises
put a strain on the entire family.

has been made of the potential for Facebook to amplify the voices of
marginalised groups such as domestic workers. But as this example
shows, the internet does not naturally favour the oppressed over the
oppressor. Deep socioeconomic divides still exist in the production
of online content and activities such as surveillance and
blacklisting provide new mechanisms for employers to exercise power
over informal workers. Public and private groups where membership and
activity is governed by internal guidelines or rules arbitrarily
established by admins also serve to legitimise constructed
hierarchies and categories based on class, race and gender.

For serious workers protections, these women must first be recognised as workers

as with a lot of online call-out cultures, challenging offensive
posts by Princess Doo Woo and Chez Lala detracts from our collective
responsibility to radically adjust the way we talk about domestic
work. ‘Good’ Madams on these groups frequently parade their
superior treatment of Maids by describing how they are “a part of
the family” or praising their commitment to “helping out” in
various capacities. But this kind of language obscures the terms of a
professional employment contract. The relations between domestic
workers and their employers shouldn’t be based on fear and
intimidation but neither are they about generosity or familial duty. For serious workers protections, these women must first be
recognised as workers.

Related stories: 

How women migrant workers defy ‘social control’ with everyday resistance

The quiet resistance of domestic workers in Lebanon

The difference self-organising makes: the creative resistance of domestic workers

Claiming rights under the kafala system

Precarious migrant motherhood in Lebanon

Country or region: 



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Cartoon of the day

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 01/01/2018 - 11:00pm in


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Tagged: 2017, cartoon, democracy, immigrants, poor, racism