This site was born as an attempt by students in the East Bay in California to understand our role in the fight to prevent the closure of a community college childcare center and the layoffs of eight childcare workers. So far, we are successful: after months of action and organizing, the Board of Trustees reversed the administration’s decision and ordered the center to remain open indefinitely (precariously).
In the process, we found it necessary to relearn past lessons as we retraced the steps of militant feminists who won free and affordable childcare for themselves and future generations of working class women.
We’ve encountered some areas to study and to remember:
- the origins and evolution of childcare from the home to a socialized program and for-profit day care industry
- the evolution of “women’s work” and domestic life in the U.S.
- debates around the centrality of affective and caring waged labor in the (post)modern service economy
- how “housework” and the imposition of wage labor and the commodity form – exploitation – have been imposed differently at different times and places according to race, ethnicity, income, sex.
- the use of compulsory schooling as a means of social control and deskilling domesticity
The hope is that by assembling these texts – most of which aren’t otherwise available online – and placing them next to each other, they might interact in useful ways. And ultimately, the point is to understand the conditions in which we live and “put a weapon in the hands of workers.”