Women Against Capitalism is grassroots activism at its very best. A grassroots working class collective based in Castlemilk, Glasgow, they outline exclusively for Conter what their vision is as they seek to empower women struggling under an oppressive, profit driven and patriarchal system…
Women Against Capitalism formed, as community groups often do, through a feeling of powerlessness. The best way to understand power is to feel its absence. We wanted to change our relationship to power. Initially it was a reaching out to other women in our community to see if they felt the same. The response we received was overwhelming: we all felt angry, ignored and silenced by a system that brutalises us.
We started to meet weekly and talk about the personal and political context of our lives, and it felt good. We decided to organise. Our organising meetings are open, friendly and comfortable: they mostly take place in the home, around the table. Our membership is varied, including women and men of all ages. Most live in Castlemilk, but we have a few members living outwith the area. Our events reflect our own concerns about our lives: precarity of housing and work, food poverty, the much neglected area of women’s health, gendered violence, cuts to public services, universal credit.
We know these issues effect women disproportionately because we live them everyday. We recently hosted a discussion on ‘period poverty’. We wanted to open the discussion up and examine the systemic failings and the cultural roots of the issue. While access to free period products can alleviate the need, it doesn’t address the cause. All of our events directly or indirectly informs the next; our agenda is flexible, our aims fluid. The starting point is consciousness raising in ourselves first.
We’ve identified and named that anxiety and that alienation we feel as capitalism. Part of that naming is a reclaiming of our power. The power to say we’re good enough, we’re strong enough, we’re women enough. We’ve created a platform for ourselves upon which we will speak for ourselves. There’s so much despair and alienation in places like Castlemilk. We’re neither unique in our deprivation nor in our strength. So we’ve decided to take back power for ourselves one day, one event at a time. We make the road by walking.
WAC’s upcoming events include a food solidarity event ‘Pud For Thought’ on Saturday 15th December. We want to bring some cheer to the decimated Braes Shopping Centre and ask: why Castlemilk doesn’t have a supermarket? We’ll be serving hot food, singing carols, holding an art workshop around our relationship to cooking and eating, handing out homemade remedies, and talking about food sovereignty in general.
We’re also planning a conference on women’s reproductive health on 26th of January to be held at the Castlemilk Youth Complex. The 4 topics we will be focusing on are; gendered violence, reproductive health, menopause and sex. The day will be a mixture of talks and workshops and we’re hoping to include a feminist art exhibit. We hope folk will come along and join us. Want to see more for yourself? Check out the video we made at the top of the piece.
Photo: PSI Creative Commons