The Future Of Work
How do we understand work? Our beliefs around what constitutes work and what kinds of work are valued are ever changing: whether it be the ways care and sexual labour are regarded, the role of exploitation and criminalisation, or imagining what a post-work terrain could look like. Broader social and labour struggles, as well as unionising movements, have brought us here, but where do we go next?
To view a pdf of the transcript for ‘The Future Of Work’ please click here.
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Katie Cruz, Selma James, Layla-Roxanne Hill, Chloe (SWARM), Molly Smith, Will Stronge (Autonomy)
work, labour rights, class, sex work, decriminalisation, care, women, Marxism
Katie Cruz (KC);
Selma James (SJ);
Layla-Roxanne Hill (LRH) – NUJ, Scottish TUC, Scottish Artists Union;
Chloe (C) – SWARM;
Molly Smith (MS);
Will Stronge (WS) – AUTONOMY.
00:00:00 KC Okay, so we’re going to start. Good morning everyone, thank you for coming. So this panel is entitled ‘The Future of Work’, and we have our five panellists who I’m going to introduce in just a moment. So, I can see from Twitter, the Twitter feed yesterday, that you’ve already been having discussions about the future of sex work beyond decriminalisation. And on this panel we’re going to be discussing what activism, organising and debates about the future of work, from a kind of anti-capitalist perspectives, can tell us about the, you know, kind of feed into debates within sex work or rights activism about the future of sex work. So I’ll introduce this really truly awesome panel, which I’m delighted to be joining, and I’m going to invite each speaker to speak for about five to ten minutes. I’ll then say a few words if there’s time, during, together the discussion, and then open up to you for a broader debate discussion. So there’s just a couple of other things that I wanted to say before, which is that there are some lunch tickets available, if you want to go to reception to pick one of those up. There’s also a safer spaces policy which we’d encourage you to please read and refer to, and to be mindful of any sexist, racist, or transphobic language. You can find the safer spaces policy in reception or on the website. So, I will now introduce our speakers, and, okay. So we have to my right, Selma James, which is you’ll no doubt know, she is a feminist activist and has been essentially involved in the emergence and coordination of a number of important campaigns and movements, including the Crossroads Women’s Centre, International Wages for Housework, and Global Women’s Strike. She’s also an author of many books and pamphlets including Sex, Race and Class: A Perspective of Winning. And next we have Layla-Roxanne Hille who’s a writer, curator, and artist-activist interested in decolonialism and intersectional feminism. She advocates for transformative social change, is also active within the trade union movement, holding positions within the National Union of Journalists, and is chair of the Scottish TUC Black Workers Committee. Next we have Chloe, who is a member of SWARM, and also Molly Smith who’s also a member of SWARM. She’s a sex worker and sex worker rights organiser based in Scotland. She’s a co-author along with Juno Mac of the excellent book, Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights, and we also have Will Stronge. Will is a co-director of AUTONOMY, which is an independent think tank focusing on the future of work. He lectures and researches in political theory and philosophy, and is co-author of the forthcoming book, March 2020, Post-Work, What It Is, Why It Matters, and How We Get There. And I guess I should have said, my name’s Katie, I’m a lecturer in law at the University of Bristol, and was involved with the Crosstalk Campaign and Feminist Fightback for a number of years, and now spend my time organising within the UCU 00:03:27. Okay, so we will first begin with SWARM.
00:03:34 C Okay. So, yeah, I’m Chloe from SWARM, and obviously I’ve been thinking a lot about work and how work has changed, and what we currently think of work at the minute, and I was thinking how that would relate to this generation of sex workers, and how work has changed today. Obviously global capitalism has completely changed, in that everything that we consume now compared to fifty years ago kind of global supply chain of labour. And I think the implication hat has on sex workers is that we can’t really only have of sex work anymore, it has to be a kind of transnational solidarity. So we have to sort of continue to think of considerations of borders and power and national identity, neo-colonialism. So we’re sort of centring that uneven distribution into our analysis. And—just, I’ve been thinking about this a lot up to the conference, and one of the things that really like jumped out to me was I was watching a documentary made by Cambodian sex workers, or they heavily participated in making it, and they were saying about how when they’re arrested, they’re offered jail sentences or they’re offered a free internship at a garment factory, unpaid. And I was looking at my work clothes, and obviously in the UK we have this idea of a ‘whorearchy, which means that, you know, the most privileged hookers at the top, and you have poorer hookers at the bottom where we’re sort of buying our clothes from and our work gear, and obviously places like Primark come up a lot, to buy cheap laundry. And as I picked up my laundry, the tag said, ‘Made in Cambodia.’ And I suddenly had this like, hyper-realisation that the clothes that I wear for work are made by imprisoned sex workers and our south Asian counterparts. So I really feel that we have to have this acknowledgement of this global solidarity of the proletariat of sort of sex workers, which basically, obviously we know that Cambodia was bombed the shit out of in the Vietnam war, which means that, you know, they haven’t recovered, and the only export they really have is their [inaudible 00:06:33]. And eighty percent of that goes to Western garments. So it’s hugely sort of neo-colonised, and the only sort of alternative labour for a lot of Cambodian women is the sex industry. Which makes me think, you know, I’ve heard the word decriminalised so much at conference, but I haven’t yet heard the word decolonised. And I really think that we can’t say decriminalise without saying decolonise too. So yeah, when I’m thinking of work, I’m thinking we need to expand our understandings of local hookers, and really take it in on a global scale. So hopefully I can touch a bit more on that later on. [Audience applauds]
00:07:20 KC [off mic] Thank you very much. Shall we pass to Molly?
00:07:25 WS Whoops! Nice. [laughs]
00:07:30 MS Hi. So, I’ll just let that be slightly untangled, thank you. Obviously our society has kind of really contradictory ideas about work, and I think sex workers are really like caught in the crosshairs in loads of different ways. So on the one hand we have to struggle against the idea that, you know, our kind of lives and bodies are too abject for what we do to be considered work. So in mine and Juno’s book, we had this quote from a Swedish policymaker where she says something like, “Ugh, don’t call it sex work, it’s not work, it’s far too awful to be work.” Which is like this, obviously amazing assumption about work not being awful, and therefore if you can just say sex work is awful, then it can’t be work. Yeah. And because of that kind of positioning of sex workers as kind of abject and disgusting and like not workers as a result of that, I think sometimes sex workers have kind of pushed back on that by producing this figure that me and Juno term the ‘erotic professional’, who asserts her legitimacy as a worker and as a claimer of rights by positioning herself as a kind of aspirational worker, by tapping into these ideas of being a kind of girl boss, by positioning her work in terms of work that our society is more willing to see as legitimate or having social value. So for example, by focusing on the very specialist aspects of BDSM, or talking about how she is almost like a therapist, or you know, kind of talking about her work with disabled clients, for example. All of which is fine as advertising, but it’s not really fine as politics [laughs]. And I think, yeah, sex workers and sex worker rights movements has been increasingly better at pushing back against that idea that we should try and legitimise ourselves as workers by saying, you know, “Work is good and sex work is good work.” Because I don’t think we need to say either of those things to have rights. Work mostly is bad, and sex work mostly is bad, and that should be the basis for meaningful solidarity between sex workers and other kinds of workers. [Audience applauds]
00:10:37 KC Okay, who would like to go next, Layla? Yeah, great, thank you.
00:10:42 LH Do I have a choice? [laughs]. Hi, thanks for having me. I think just to, quite a lot of the stuff that I’ve been thinking about and the work that I do as an activist, both within the trade union movement and outside is the idea of invisibility, and what you need to do to attract visibility, and what the confines are within the trade union movement, which is entirely like based on capitalist conditions and how can you try and push back against capitalistic conditions when that’s what the trade union was formed to push back against. So I think recently there’s been quite a, within my own trade union, I’m involved in the National Union of Journalists, which is a contradiction in itself. I try and encourage our journalists and people who consume our media to question what the purpose of our media is, and try to produce something that’s much more, or much less harmful, if that makes sense. And some of the things that have happened, particularly in Scotland, there are small changes I’m seeing that might suggest like, how trade unions would be able to exist in ways that don’t reproduce the same kind of capitalistic codes, is recognised in like the activist movement needs. And this year there was a big event which looked at the purpose of creativity like within the trade unions, tried to highlight the work that especially women were doing; that they weren’t just workers, that they had this other identity to them as artists, as speakers, as writers, as thinkers. There was also, in Scotland and in Glasgow, GMB have founded or formed the Adult Entertainment Branch, which is incredible, and that’s for the first time in Scotland, strippers, burlesque dancers, will have trade union representation. And what’s quite unique, I think anyway, from trade union history, is that from the offset there are Black and transgender representatives, as opposed to just being an afterthought. And if we can look at like trade union—if this is how trade unions can maybe start thinking about how they can represent people and learn from that. But yeah, it’s just we remain silent in our complicity to capitalism. It’s a universal phenomenon [in] trade unionism, and the collective act of protecting and improving living standards, by people who sell their labour power against people who buy it, the trade unions were devised to only protect their members from the demands of capitalism, and it belongs in capitalism, because they grew out of the conditions that capitalism created. And I think I struggle within that movement, because we’re only responding to the forces, such as rising and falling prices, and unemployment and government action, but we do very little to control or change or destroy those. As we know, society is still primarily based on private ownership and control of industry motivated by profit. And even though trade unions have a long history of taking action to support people beyond the workplace; we know there’s been huge campaigns, things like the South Africa, for the rights and freedoms of LGBTQI+ people from across the world. We’re turning a blind eye to what is happening globally. On the first of January, women in the Indian state of Kerala formed the Women’s Wall; it was seldom reported in the press, and that was a protest against the religious ban that prevented women from entering one of the sacred Hindu temples. And nearly one week later, between the eighth and ninth of January, the largest general strike in world labour history took place, where it’s estimated that a hundred and fifty million workers, maybe, nearly as many as two hundred million workers went on strike in India, and this crossed over kind of class, or traditional class lines, and traditional identity lines. So I think it’s just, we need to look at what’s happening more globally and what we can do like within our movements here, the small aspects that are taking place. At the STUC in April there was somebody for the first time that referred to themselves by their pronouns, and you know, that’s a first. So I’ve been thinking a lot about visibility, what it means to be an activist, and what trade unions can do like now. That was a big rumble, I was thrown off there, I thought I had a wee couple more minutes. [Audience applauds]
00:15:46 KC Thank you. Okay, so I’m going to pass over to Will now, thank you.
00:15:50 WS Thanks. Hi, thank you. Thanks for having me, SWARM. This seems like a really interesting conference and I’m looking forward to engaging in the discussion on this panel. I work for AUTONOMY, it’s a think tank all about the future of work. Within that, it’s a huge remit; we’re talking about unemployment, we’re talking about social reproduction, we’re talking about wage labour, et cetera. But our general mission, our general principles are how to think through and develop policy which is aimed at reducing the amount of work we have to do, reducing the amount of toil, creating better rights for workers, creating a better life outside of work so that life inside of work is also improved for workers as well. So I guess that’s more or less the gist of what we do. We published, about three months ago we published a large report on the shorter working week, which was we think the largest in existence, covering a whole range of issues, trying to influence policy around reducing the working week without a loss in pay, that’s more or less our schtick. We’re also interested in post-work, and when I talk about post-work, I’m talking about the whole, the rich tradition of anti-work thought and contemporary post-work discourse; people like Kathi Weeks, people like David Frayne, Helen Hester, Nick Srnicek et cetera. And I guess, I suppose I’m here to really throw some ideas out there which might be relevant to the discussion around sex work and the future of sex work in general. Now I guess what post-work is, is on the one hand, a critical disposition; I think its main aim is to kind of denaturalise work, particularly wage labour and all of the work that goes on around that. So separating work from identity, what’s the analysis of work that we should have? Well, you know, as Marx always said, wage labour was never natural, and therefore all the work that goes on around wage labour, that supports wage labour—you know, unpaid work, lots of social reproduction—is also an imposition. Let’s not talk about It as some kind of natural, transhistorical kind of practice. And if you start adopting that way of looking at things, if you start historicising these forms of work, including sex work, including housework, et cetera, then you start to actually create a kind of critical disposition which doesn’t take for granted things like the work ethic, things which are, discussions around the dignity of work, et cetera. Rather we should think about the functions of these things themselves. But on the other hand, post-work’s also a utopian discourse. It’s not just a critical discourse. It’s also something, thinking about what the future work should be, not just the toils and troubles of work as it is today. And I think, there’s a lot of excitement politically at the moment, and a lot of utopian thought, which I think is amazing; for ab out ten years on the left we were talking about the lack of utopias, or there is no utopias anymore, but I think that’s quite passé now, I think actually there’s a lot of utopian thought going on. And a lot of—the closer some of these utopian designs come to being implemented, the more radical we need to be, in a way. And so the discussion around sex work and denaturalising and discussions of what the future of sex work should be, should and very much can be front and centre to the discussion of what kind of utopia we’re going for. I think I’ll just end really briefly talking about unemployment and the capital labour relationship, because I think, I think, when we talk about the future of work, we should really be talking about the future of unemployment. Some interesting research from the Joseph Roundtree Foundation found that since 2006, no pay, low pay cycles, i.e. going in and out of employment, has increased by sixty percent. So we’re talking here about mainly precarious workers, but anyone who dips in and out of unemployment is affected by this trend. And I think unemployment has been intentionally, over the last two hundred years, unemployed life has deliberately made to be awful, to be, to be kind of somewhat humiliating; you have to sign on to get your cash, but also just like, either you’re homeless, or a whole range of—ever since the workhouse, the poor laws, the job centre, the labour exchanges. So I think when we’re talking about shifting the balance of power between those who have to sell their labour to live and those who employ labour, we should talk about making unemployed life better. And that might be something like a basic income, wherein you don’t have to rely on a boss for your wage or for your income, or it might also be creating free services, et cetera. So when we’re talking about the future of work, we should always talk about what it’s like to not have to work, and how do we make that better, so that’s what I’ll say.
00:20:45 KC Over to Selma.
00:20:46 SJ You were going to read that quote, were you? Or you’ll read it for me?
00:20:49 KC I’ve integrated it into my notes. I’m going to say something else 00:20:51.
00:20:52 SJ Okay, okay. I don’t know if you mentioned that I was the first spokesperson for the English Collective of Prostitutes. [Audience applauds] That was in 1975, and that’s when an important part of my education began, because those were the only terms under which I would speak for them would be that they would educate me, so I knew what the hell I was supposed to be doing. And I did learn, I learnt a lot, and I learnt also from the, when we took over the church for twelve days, it was a very big experience, and some of you may know, there is an article in one of the things I’ve written about that occupation. And I look back on that as an important moment of my political education, and of my education in being a member of the human race. I’m a Marxist, unashamed, quite proud in fact, and he starts with the assumption that will be read soon, that all work for money is prostitution. There is no way that it can be otherwise; you are, and your body and your time and your skills and your aspirations, if they don’t contradict, are at the disposal of another person for money. That’s the, the name of that is prostitution, and we have all been engaged in that, or most of us, over the age of about twelve, although we’ve been involved in prostitution before that in other ways. And we distinguish ourselves as being respectable or not respectable depending on our rate of exploitation. A lot of exploitation, a lot of respectability. We don’t like that, but we live in that world. And Marx set out to change the world with millions and millions of others, precisely to end our activities at the end of other people. Our being autonomous human beings who are individual and collective and able to decide the world in which we can live. We haven’t done very well. The first thing to establish, however, is that the sex worker is a worker. And you can tell that by how much benefits affect the wages of prostitution, and the number of people who have to join that profession, because the benefits have been cut from below them. In the sense that when you confront the employer, whoever that employer is, how much your bargaining power is, is dependent on a number of things, including whether you will starve to death if you don’t take the offer he’s giving you. And a lot of women in particular in the recent period have found that benefits disappeared, or are so meagre, that sex work is the only work that will allow them to feed themselves and their children. So much so that even the MPs know about it, that’s how widespread is the knowledge that this is taking place. Now, most, as I say most of the work is prostitution, but there’s some work that is not, and that’s caring work for people we care about. We are exploited, but we are willing to do that work because we are concerned about their survival, okay. And the fact that this is not a priority of this society by, Extension—saying Rebellion, which rebellion is it?
00:25:36 KC [off mic] Extinction, extinction.
00:25:38 SJ Extinction. Extinction Rebellion, they have exactly the same view of the whole world of production of animals, of the air, of the sea, et cetera, as they have to mothers reproducing the human race; they don’t care. That’s really a hell of a thing to say about a society, that it’s governed by people who don’t care if we survive. They don’t even realise that their survival is dependent on ours; they are so blinded by their greed for power and money. And I want to make the case that it is terribly important that we take into, the caring into consideration if we want the world to survive. And there is other work we can do besides the work, also besides caring, besides the work of pollution, which is most of the jobs that they give us to do. There is other work we can do. We can change the world; we can save ourselves. We can, for example, make clear that we want to be sure that the technology which enables survival is at the disposal of third world people, so they have solar power, for example. Even the most basic things are denied most of us, and that’s the kind of work that we want to do. Now, there are a number of issues that have been debated in the women’s movement; prostitution has been one of them. And it’s closely connected to what many feminists think about housework. That is, that it’s demeaning, and that caring work should be loaded into someone else’s hands. We feel that the whole world should be carers, that we should all be carers for ourselves and each other, and that we have to make the world different, so that is the case. And there are three options that we are given, that I know about. One of them is—there’s a man called Guy Standing. He shouldn’t be standing. [Audience chuckles] He doesn’t really know a lot about women existing and caring, but when he does, he says that the basic income will be really good for us, because more people will care—that is the same people who were caring before, because the others are not about to get poor. Why should they? They have a basic income, they’ll run with it. But the carer will care. And guess what, it will save money for the government, he says, because they won’t have to pay for carers for elderly people. You know, they’ll pay less because we’ll do it for free for the basic income. So he’s for wages for housework, starvation wages for housework. Thank you, no. The second—[audience applauds] thank you, yes, applaud. Then there’s the Women’s Budget Group, which says mothers should be professionalised. We should all go to university to learn how to be mothers, and then we can have an income. So that’s a form of wages for housework, but it’s via disconnecting our caring from our loving. Well, we’d had that, you know, that’s the world in which we live, and we want something better than that. And finally, there’s Virginia Woolf. Now, I go with her. Virginia Woolf was trying to do a particular thing when she wrote Three Guineas, I don’t know if you know the book, but I’m thinking that our centre should sell it. She says that the women who she saw get suffrage, because she was writing that in the thirties and suffrage had not been long before, a lot of them were doing what they were now entering to the professions, the middle-class women were entering the professions that men had heretofore been the only ones to do. And she said that what has happened is that they have adopted the ways of men, and she called it—what is the phrase?
00:30:56 KC [off mic] Intellectual harlotry.
00:30:58 SJ Yes, thank you. Intellectual harlotry. Now, I don’t know, she probably also has read Marx and understands that prostitution is just work like any other, but what she saw was the women selling themselves intellectually, and never stopping, as the sex worker does, and she says this, never stopping to see where the end is. Because the sex worker says, okay, I’ve come here, this is my service, oh go on, give me the money, oh go on. But the intellectual harlot continues to corrupt all that she does, and all whom she speaks to. And she says, “The only solution to this is a living wage for mothers.” She says if we all had a living wage, we could choose not to be intellectual harlots; we could be intellectual without being harlots. We don’t have to sell; we can even give. But we will be in charge of our labour and of our relationships and of the products of our own minds. Now, we have been building a movement precisely for that purpose: for a living wage for mothers, so that we can decide, first of all if we want to take care of our own children and how. Second of all, if we want to do work outside the home or not. That doesn’t mean we don’t want a basic income, we just want a wage, because nobody who gets a basic income who is not a carer already is going to decide to care instead of doing whatever he, whatever he chooses to do. We want everyone to be interested in the reproduction of the human race, their race, every race, and the reproduction of the world as we would like to see it, as once it was, with the benefit of a technology which does not pollute, in a society which is not racist as well as sexist, which is not discriminatory, where we can be together on the terms that we dictate. That’s what I call good work. [Audience whoops and applauds]
00:33:58 KC Okay, it’s a hard act to follow. That was wonderful, thank you everyone for your comments. I thought maybe I could just, listening to all of you talk, maybe there’s three very broad themes that we might want to discuss together. So the first—I think it’s really interesting, people talking about separating work from identity; so separating, so what do we think of sex work if it’s not an identity? Sex worker moving away from the idea of the erotic professional, as you’ve said in your book, towards an understanding of sex work as part of a global movement of people who, in order to survive, have to strive to be exploited. So that brings me to the quote that Selma gave me to read out, which is that, “Prostitution is only a specific expression of the general prostitution of the labourer.” So if we think about sex work as work, similar to all other forms of work. So that was the first common theme. The second was, well we’ve been talking about extending labour rights to sex workers, but also thinking beyond the present and thinking beyond labour rights. And Layla, talking about the role of unions; so one thing we can think about maybe is sex work, within and against the institution of wage labour. So we might want labour rights. And one thing I’m interested in is the continuing role of decriminalisation post-decriminalisation. In a sense, we’ve always had criminal law regulation of workplaces, so I guess in the nineteenth century, there were criminal laws that forced people to enter into work, the master and slave servant laws, and now we have criminalisation and immigration laws that prevent people from entering work. So those laws would persist, things like anti-trafficking laws, what do we want to do about those post-decriminalisation of sex work. And then the third theme relates to, I think, what we’re talking about; anti-work politics, post-work politics, a basic income, a living wage for mothers. So if we’re thinking beyond the kind of present, what are we striving towards, and what’s the role of the sex worker rights movement and the future of sex work beyond work? So, over to—maybe I could take two or three questions and then put those to the panel.
00:36:29 Q1 I was really interested in what you’re saying Will, talking about that future of work, and I really liked the way you push towards this kind of visioning futures and how these moments intersect and different movements can intersect there, and it’s really pushing towards this visioning and shifting and thinking about like, changing landscape terrain. Maybe the others spoke on it before you as well, but I just came in then. So I’d really like to hear from you and from the others a little bit more about that kind of visioning, that future ideal-ing, and how it can work both as something we move to in terms of strategy, and ideas around that, but also materially, what that might look like and how we might build and create that.
00:37:11 WS Yeah I mean, I think… I mean, a lot of that stuff, a lot of the stuff was, you know. In Kathi Weeks’ book, The Problem With Work, she talks about the demand as a utopian form. And I think, sorry, slower, sorry. I think being utopian, and the reason why I brought that up was, being utopian isn’t necessarily just about the content of the utopia, but it’s also about what the function of being utopian is. And so I think discussions around the future of work shouldn’t just be about analysis of the present, shouldn’t just be about very concrete present day issues which we should all be fighting and campaigning for, but also should be somehow drawing, putting, staking claims on the future and what the future should be, and something even claiming what the future will be. This is a typical tactic of progressive movements, to kind of speak of what the future and demand, what the future is going to be. And that has a particular function. Now that’s just speaking about what the function of that was. In terms of actual content of the particular vision that I have, of what the future should be of work; we can talk about a whole range of things. We can talk about managing different technologies, labour-saving technologies; we could talk about finding ways of, maybe not commodifying, but finding ways of dealing with shadow work. I’m talking about things like commuting, basic everyday activities that we consider to be either labours of love or considered to be natural things, which actually, if we bring them into the light of day, people probably wouldn’t want to be doing necessarily. Let’s find ways of making sure that they are either socialised or taken care of, et cetera. I mean, there’s a whole range of things we can talk about. In fact, I want to hear what other people’s visions of a future of work would be. You can just go on a website to find that out.
00:39:13 SJ I hear talk about full unemployment. I don’t know any women who are unemployed, and a lot of men spend a lot of their time looking for work, which is the hardest work that you can do. Used to demoralise me entirely, I used to play the pinball machines instead, to go face the employer and say, “Please employ me, I want to be exploited,” is really hard work. But in addition to that, there’s an enormous amount of work that needs to be done, and an enormous—an even greater amount of work that doesn’t need to be done. I want to give a couple of examples. The first is, you know, I thought of the vitamin industry and the supplements; we take those because the food is no good. We could eliminate most of that, and we could eliminate most of the medication that props us up so we can continue to work even though we’re dying. You know, we don’t need any workers in the oil industry because we don’t need an oil industry. We don’t need any of the jobs that pollute our bodies and our world, and we have to stop doing them, and it is a big job to stop it. You know, the struggle, which you know about, all of you know about and have been engaged in either together or one way or another, but we all struggle to survive. That struggle takes our energy; it saps our time, and we want to do something else with it. We have to plan another world and carry it out and stop the billionaires from being in charge of all the substances that pollute. You know, there are a hundred—how much did they say—a hundred and fifty-one billionaires in London alone, and how many children are skipping meals in London alone, let alone in the north of England and Scotland, in Wales, in Ireland, in the world in general? That’s a very big job, which we must set ourselves to do as different movements; I’m not talking about running about and saying the world is falling apart. I’m serious, I take very seriously what Extinction Rebellion is saying about organising in communities and finding out what needs to be done there, and to stop the local council from making a deal to put cladding on buildings which are not flame-proof, and they know it, and their palm is crossed with silver, gold, and who knows what else, in order to put that cladding—we have to stop it. Not only take the cladding down, but we’ve got to put the people who put it there in jail where they belong; they can do some work there. [Audience applauds] You know, our society has become very corrupt. And we have to stop it, that’s a full-time job for a lot of people. You know, this is the work we must set ourselves to do. We, at a conference like this, where people have got together because they want to change things, because they want to better things, they have to think of how bettering themselves relates to how it betters everyone. We have always to think of that. Especially now that we know better. I, I do believe that everyone is entitled to an income; it’s not the basic—that’s not what bothers me about the basic income. The starvation wages bothers me, but the lack of recognition of work that is not polluting, that is protecting against all kinds of adversities which children face. You know, and taking children from their mothers, which is really very widespread in the UK at this moment in time, and giving them, often to violent fathers or to be adopted against the will of the parents, et cetera. There’s a lot of work to do. Come to our centre, you’ll see some of it. But I think you know it as well. The point is, is to settle down and to look at what we are doing and how inclusive we can be, and how much, how far we are ready to go to change our world and change our lives.
00:44:28 KC Do you want to say something?
00:44:31 C Yeah, just building on what Selma was saying, I think that collectivity is so important. One of the things that I was thinking about on the tube on the way here, again, because obviously I started off thinking about this panel by thinking about my generation and our relation to work, and how fluidity is kind of the word of our generation, and that we don’t own homes, and we don’t have permanent jobs our whole lives, and this kind of like neoliberal focus on the self as this like self preservation. And I suddenly had this thought that we’re taught self provision to self soothe, self discipline, self defence. We’re self-employed, especially sex workers, self-sufficient. Obviously, we hear self-made men praised, because they’re the kind of, of neoliberal champions who’ve made it, self-love, and self-care. And I just think, fuck the self. Like, like fuck the self, and form the collective. Because we can’t keep telling us that it’s the self, it’s the self, it’s the self. And yeah. Mitigating the harms of being self-employed and being self-sufficient with self care. No, we need community care, and we need to form a collective. So that’s what I was thinking when you were saying about collectives. [Audience applauds]
00:46:01 WS Can this go round that way? Okay.
00:46:06 MS Yeah, absolutely. And just to kind of pick up on that Chloe, and also about what Layla was saying earlier, about like, trade union movement kind of learning from sex worker organising, and how we can be both kind of within the trade union movement and also like pushing for something transformatively better, in terms of work and lives. I feel like it’s really striking to me that one of the more successful forms of sex worker trade unionising that’s happening at the moment is happening through United Voices of the World Union, which obviously is organising migrant workers, mostly women in London, often outsourced or gig economy workers, who, the kind of more traditional trade union movement has often kind of basically not really bothered to try and organise. And, I feel like there’s a really powerful collective interplay between the solidarity that sex workers and other workers in the United Voices of the World union bring to each other. And it feels like both sex workers and other kinds of workers and learning from each other. And there’s like a lot of, there’s a lot of solidarity between sex workers and other workers in the gig economy, basically. I think it’s really striking that Uber drivers, and Deliveroo cyclists and other workers in the United Voices of the World union kind of already understand this like solidarity with sex workers, and I feel like that’s because in so many ways, this kind of atomised neoliberal gig economy work is the same for sex workers and those workers already. And many kind of modes of organising that are very informal or very news, that don’t look like the kind of classic traditional like organising on the factory floor, but are much more organising through WhatsApp groups. You know, those lessons from organising amongst those different groups of workers play out in both groups. So I sort of wanted to pick up on that in terms of collective forms of care, because I think that’s like a kernel of something like potentially quite utopian.
00:48:44 KC More questions, please. Okay, so I’ll take the two at the back together please.
00:48:52 Q2 Hi, thank you everybody for everything you’ve shared so far. I am part of a group called the Anti-Raids Network, which does work around immigration raids in the UK. And obviously there’s quite aa big crossover between when we’re talking about criminalisation and decriminalisation in terms of like citizenship, and maybe going on from what you just said Molly, about how we can extend those sorts of communities of care outside the boundaries of citizenship. And ideally, if any of you have thoughts about literally practically what we can do, like what the next steps are, but if not, just like, general thoughts.
00:49:30 Q3 Hi. I came in late, so sorry if you already touched on this, but I’m kind of asking a question about sort of future utopian post-revolutionary society and sex work. Back in the day, when I first started thinking about these things, you know, and thinking about Marxism and stuff, and envisioning a post-revolutionary society, I envisioned that as the end of work. I remember saying at that time, “Oh yeah, you know, sex work won’t happen after the revolution, it won’t be a thing.” And I remember being challenged on that by someone who made some really good points about, you know, the differences between exploitation, and like, I envisaged, “Oh yeah, there will only be sex for love,” at that point but you know, my friend really challenged me on my understanding of sex work and exploitation in this society and work in this society. Because, you know, now one way I understand it is like the end of exploitation is what’s going to happen post-revolution. But I’m still quite unsure about the place of sex work post-revolution and whether there will be that or not, I’m still quite questioning that, so yeah, I’d really like to hear your reflections on that.
00:50:39 C So I can address the criminalisation versus citizenship question. Like obviously I see the role of criminalisation as a way of denying someone citizenship, and then denying people their rights; like liberty rights, voting rights, and often human rights. And often the criminalised body is one that bears a sort of direct threat to white bourgeoisie capitalist households. So obviously like the queer body, the migrant body, the sex working body. Also any woman who’s not domestically compliant. And we’ve literally seen this this week in Alabama, where a woman who is refusing to be domestically compliant and bear a child is being criminalised for not wanting to do that, and that’s a continuation of the sort of barbaric criminalisation in Northern Ireland as well, and obviously why sex workers are criminalised, because we do pose a threat to this sort of heteronormative household. I think that we, like when we’re like thinking about why people are criminalised, we need to look at the structures that are causing that criminalisation. And I think that a lot, when you’re asking about what to do, I think it’s really important that we don’t reinscribe that white bourgeoisie ide of domesticity. So I saw it all over Twitter this week, where people were like, I want an abortion so I can be a better mother. This was a fantastic campaign, but obviously like the #MakeMumSafer, that campaign, it was giving sex workers validation based on them being mothers. Which is obviously not a comment on the campaign, it’s a comment on the palatability that civilians can digest what we need to say about ourselves. But I think that, you know, we do need to move away from this idea that we can become like you if we domesticate ourselves like you, and if we reproduce the narratives that make us good people; like, I’m only doing sex work to feed my children, or I’m having an abortion so I can be a better mother in the future. That’s valid, but it’s kind of bullshit as well. Because every single time you expand the box of domestic validation, you’re always leaving people on the outskirts who don’t fit into that box. And then that’s where people remain sort of criminalised. Yeah, I did see in the news, like last year, that there was this big celebration of a lesbian marriage ceremony that happened in a Nevada brothel, and everyone was saying, “Oh, it’s so heartwarming, it’s so wonderful.” But all I could think was, like yeah, but we’re kind of mimicking civilian societies and their sort of formulation of romance, but what about the people who can’t work in that legal brothel? What about the people who are kept away from their lovers by highly militarised borders? What about the people who don’t fit the cisgender normality that this brothel owner is demanding that you have? These are all people who continue to sit outside that box. So when we’re making arguments—I know, like I know we have to take baby steps with people who just don’t get it and we have to appeal to the things that they care about, like families and babies and motherhood, but I think we do need to eventually work towards not using that frame of reference as a way of giving people citizenship and as a way of validating people as humans. So if you can do that, that would be great. [Audience applauds]
00:54:36 MS So, the question of whether or not sex work will exist in a kind of post-revolutionary or like utopian society is quite a vexed one among sex workers, so I’m not surprised that you also feel ambivalent about it, because I have seen many fights happen among sex workers about this question. And I have quite a strong view on it, but I should preface that by saying plenty of sex workers have quite a strong view that contradicts mine. So, to me, I can’t imagine that sex work will exist in a kind of post-revolutionary utopia, just, yeah, just because work won’t exist in the same way, and also because sex won’t exist in the same way. I think—I don’t have any sympathy for men who visit sex workers, I think they’re pricks, but I also think that one of the reasons that they visit sex workers is because they are, in a deeply patriarchal toxic way, enacting some kind of fucked-up search for intimacy that capitalism is also kind of stealing from them. I don't know if that comes across as too sympathetic to clients, hopefully not [laughs]. I emphasize, I think it’s really like kind of fucked up and damaging, but I also think it’s like a symptom of this world where we are always tired and rushed and we don’t have time to have the kind of emotional relationships with each other that we would want to have, and therefore the weird things that our society thinks about sex are kind of a symptom of that; where sex is like this, seen as like a shortcut to intimacy, and the question of whether you are or aren’t having sex is seen as like—you know like, if you look at incels or whatever, obviously they don’t feel like they can be fully self-actualised legitimate subjects under neoliberalism because they’re not having sex. They’ve been taught by capitalism and patriarchy to see their access to sex as kind of akin to their access to the full realisation of their humanity. And yeah, and I think men who .
00:57:08 LH You know, there’s different ways of living, there’s different ways of being, there’s different ways we can think about how to love each other, how we can relate to each other, and it’s about really nurturing those spaces before they get consumed by the same sort of spaces that want to take that, and say no, that doesn’t exist. So that has to be like at the heart of it. Citizenship’s dependent on somebody else’s idea; it’s just an abstract idea. [Audience applauds]
00:57:37 KC So I’m going to pass over to Selma to respond to these questions, but I was wondering in your response if you could say something about so, within the kind of Marxist terms of post-revolution, whether there would be sex work. You know, Marx talks about socially necessary labour that we’ll still do, and really free working, so the kind of creative activity that we would want to pursue as humans, the kind of sensuous human activity that makes us who we are, and how you see sex work fitting or not fitting within those types of labour?
00:58:22 SJ I’m not used to knowing people who know Marx that well. This is a complete shock. [Audience laughs] I wanted to say two things, can I leave that for the second? The first is that we can’t, we can’t tell people why they should be against repression. That is, if I—there was an, I’m sorry, it slipped my mind because I hardly slept last night, but there was something about you should be for, you should be against what is happening to sex workers. Oh, you should, that was it—you shouldn’t be for sex work only to feed your children. Why not?.
00:59:19 C [off mic] Well that’s women, but okay 00:59:18.
00:59:21 SJ You know, anyway, you want sex work because you like it, why not? You want it to feed your granny, why not? That is, you have every right to do sex work for whatever you need or whatever turns you on, and it is very important that we don’t, we try not to dictate to each other what the reasons for our struggle are. Because what we have found, is that if a lot of people have different reasons for the struggle, all of a sudden, we begin to understand our reasons better and that we share the reasons that they have too. If we are trying to build a movement, and that’s the only thing that we should be concentrating on, whatever our work is, and that we don’t want to do, then we have to see how other people are relating to the struggle we share, and welcome it. Feeding your children is a very good reason for going into prostitution, and for doing any work, whether the society likes it or not. Because we take it in, on ourselves to see that the children eat. Now if you’re looking at the society at this moment in time, you can see that headmistresses and teachers are feeding children when they come into school, and finding clothes for them, and finding shoes that fit them. We are trying to help each other, and why a mother or granny or auntie or sister wants to see the child eat; it may be that in the course of doing this work she discovers a number of things for herself. Good, I’m glad, it makes her work more worthwhile. But I think we really have not to prescribe or proscribe among ourselves the choices that we make of any sort, sexual and other choices. I think that’s very important. On the question that you raised about necessary work: when Marx spoke about necessary work, he was speaking about what we absolutely have to do to survive. And he said that because of the development of the technology, which he was careful to say that under capitalism destroys the two sources of wealth, the two basic sources of wealth: the soil and the worker. He says that that’s what they attack, the soil and the worker. He was an ecologist long before almost anybody else. But the fact is that we do have a technology today which need not pollute, but it can relieve us of what he called ‘necessary work,’ so our time, our precious time, is our own. That has never happened before in human history. As we have developed as human beings and understood more—we lost a lot, I know that, some things we have to relearn that people knew two thousand years ago or longer—but aside from that, as we find more things to do with our time, more music to listen to or to make, whatever, that will be our choice in a utopian society. We are not buyers and sellers in a society that we create, because we will not make it part of what we create. And I think, you know, we leap, he said, from necessity to freedom. He says we haven’t got freedom yet, but when we are no longer struggling for survival and no longer the workers of anybody except willingly given, then we make that leap and we become other people. I think that’s—I wish I had the quote with me, because there is a beautiful quote where he says, you know capitalism doesn’t want to be overthrown, that’s one reason that you make a revolution, but he said there’s another. He said only in a practical movement do we get rid of what he called the ‘muck of ages’ and become fit to found society anew. That is, we are, we create, recreate ourselves and each other in a practical movement which we are trying to build in all kinds of places everywhere in the world, and in the course of making that movement, we change. We lose what capitalism has taught us and riveted into us. We expel and become people who can welcome others and work with others and whose imagination is let loose, as it really always should be. That’s the kind of world that he was talking about, but not as a utopia, but as the practical result of our organising and our creativity. That’s the closest I can get. [Audience applauds]
01:06:08 KC That was awesome, great. And yes, yes—
01:06:11 C [off mic] Oh, I just wanted to say it was specifically sex work. [on mic] Specifically to sex work existing after the revolution; so we have this argument in sex work spaces all the time, about people who find it empowering, people who are doing it for survival, and we’re all trying to mash ourselves together and become one cohesive movement. And I always think with sex work, like if we provide everyone the basic needs to survive, like housing and food and healthcare and free education, then that one or two percent, or whatever it is percentage of us who genuinely find it empowering, they can go off and have all the weird kinky sex that they love and it’ll be great, and the rest of us can exit, and that will be great, and everyone will be happy. But first we need to provide those needs. Like I know I can come across as quite sex-negative, but that’s just from lots of trauma and my experiences in the industry. But yeah, I think that what Selma is saying, is if we have the capacity, if we provide for everyone’s needs and we have the capacity to expand and learn and grow, because not all of us go into sex work because we don’t have other options, right? I have a master’s degree and I do sex work because I want time to look at art, I want time to listen to music, I want time to love my family and my friends. It’s not always about absolute desperate survival. What a wonderful existence to have, right? And do you know what, no, I shouldn’t have to be in sex work just to be able to thrive as a human being; I should have these things provided to me and I should have time to grow and develop myself as a person. And everyone should, right? And if you find your growth and development in having incredible sex with people, that’s amazing, but let’s do it alongside the revolution and it’ll be fine [laughs]. [Audience whoops and applauds]
01:08:18 KC Okay, so I’d like to take some more questions. Sarah and then…. Okay, maybe we could take two or three. Okay, we can just use this one, yep.
01:08:33 Q4 I really liked what Selma said about, you know, changing ourselves through struggle, because that seems—you know, we are, our relationships are polluted, our work is polluted, our everything is—our air, our water. And it feels like the only way to deal with that is by getting together across our sectors. And with the mothers, you know, the #MakeMothersSafer campaign, one reason—I work with the English Collective of Prostitutes—but one reason for it is that about seventy percent of sex workers are mothers. And although we have all kinds of reasons for going into sex work, we know that in our network, for example, in Thailand, in India, women have very, very few choices and sex work is one of the ways that we escape factories, exploitation, domestic violence, bad wages. So that has to be part of our organising. We always have to—that’s why we bring it back to mothers, because that’s our reality. And our network in Thailand, EMPOWER, describe how women are, you know, women are peasant farmers, driven off the land because of corporate pollution and dictatorship, and their choices are often factory work or sex work. And so we take a lead from those women in Thailand and other countries, where, you know, people, women are up against absolute horrendous situations. So we in London, you know, where the billionaires are, where the wealth is, we have to make sure that those struggles are at the forefront and starting with mothers. I’ll just, on the question of asylum speakers, you know, a mother, a mother with one child gets seventy-two pounds a week. That’s the story of sex work and prostitution. And that’s the plan; the plan is for us to be in this absolute poverty, and that’s why women are turning to sex work all around the world. And you know, mothers are in detention, et cetera et cetera. So I just wanted to just lay out, some of the, you know, some of the struggles that women are involved in and why we’re in sex work. Just on the unions; they have a very dodgy history. Sometimes, you know, they’re helpful to us, but often for people of colour, for sex workers. So we want our own organisations where we speak in our own voices, make our own demands. So what happens is that others take up, and they only, they water down, distort and misrepresent us. So we’re determined to build our grassroots organisations. And bring the unions on side, and we want to show them our power so that they help us in the way that we want to be helped. And I’ll just finish by saying that you know, women in Nigeria, they went on strike against Shell. They did naked protests, they took on the military, they took on the corporations, and I think that’s the level of organising that, you know, we need to really, make practical in what we’re doing here. [Audience applauds]
01:11:56 Q5 I’m thinking about climate change and climate breakdown, and I was really glad that Selma brought that in. Because that’s what I’ always—lately, more and more we have to think about that. I know that for some people, you know, things have been getting very worse and worse for a long, long time, but even rich white people are noticing now that it’s not just getting better and better all the time. So when we’re talking about utopia and the future after work, yeah, you got like what’s the purpose of thinking about those utopias? But I’m also, every time we think about that, I’m thinking often there seems to be a premise behind that that things will get better. And I’m not saying that they can’t get better in some ways, because obviously we can learn to relate to each other better. I’m wondering about how, if we think twenty or thirty years ahead, when this country maybe will have a lot more food shortages than it does now, and some parts of the world may be uninhabitable, and there’ll be a lot more migration. And I wonder if the panel would like to comment how that is sort of influencing the thinking now about how work can evolve. Because I find it hard to imagine that in twenty years’ time, we won’t all be having to like basically do agriculture ninety percent of the time, just to have enough food. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I’m thinking about.
01:13:47 KC I think there was one, I think there was one more question over here. No?
01:13:56 Q6 I was just wondering if Chloe would be able to make any comments about neoliberalism and productivity, generally, based on what you said.
01:14:08 KC Okay. Okay. So maybe Selma and then Chloe could respond. Or anyone else on the panel who would like to respond.
01:14:28 WS I’ll just respond to the environmental question. I mean you’re right, that we need to be thinking about this, and that it needs to be as part, obviously, the conversation around the future of work. I should point out, there is some good research around how shortening the working week will, should reduce carbon emissions. So for example, Juliet Shaw 01:14:47 in the US, her and her team have studied twenty-nine OECD countries and found that if you reduce the working week by twenty-five percent, that’s working time, you can reduce the carbon footprint by thirty percent on average. So that’s a hugely significant amount. Now that’s the kind of argument that we’re trying to make, and trying to fit that into anything which is, you know, called a Green New Deal, it shouldn’t just be a job guarantee, it shouldn’t just be more work. We should also talk about reducing the working week as part of that new deal. Of course that also means different kinds of work, different kinds of power; so we’re talking about tidal lagoons, we’re talking about, you know, reforestation et cetera—that’s the kind of work that might be happening. I suppose we shouldn’t necessarily presume we’ll all be doing agricultural work, necessarily. I mean, we can find ways of, and we have ways of making agricultural work better and not just all of us kind of, you know, breaking our backs doing that. So I think there are innovative ways of thinking about an environmental future of work, but I think it should involve less of it. And I mean to some extent, the debates around what kinds of jobs we should be doing and speaking to what Selma was saying about loads of unnecessary jobs, there will be some necessary jobs. But I think, you know, there’s an opportunity here to make sure that when we think about those jobs being created, that that work is shared round, so we can all work less, but we can all contribute in some way perhaps to that. That’s all I’ll say about that.
01:16:17 LH Just coming into the climate change conversation. I guess we’re quite fortunate that we’re sitting in a position where we can say, “Oh, this is great. What are we going to do when our lives completely change, when there’s going to be a shortage of food?” When colonial projects made people give up their land, their lives, their ways of living, their culture, everything was relinquished. And they had to resist. And there wasn’t opportunity to sit and think, “What are we going to do about our jobs?” You know, people were just living lives, they were surviving, they were living their lifestyles. So I think it’s, instead of wondering like what the future’s going to be, it’s be thankful that we are wondering about what’s going to happen when we are relinquishing certain lifestyles, or certain lifestyle habits that we’ve adopted. In our colonial history, we haven’t thought about that. We’ve just taken, we’ve destroyed and said, “This isn’t right. The way that you’re doing motherhood, the way that you’re doing parenting, the way that you’re living your sexual lives, we’ve said that this isn’t right, and this is the way that now you should live.” So I think it’s just helpful like thinking about that when we’re thinking about climate change, and obviously the difficulties with the climate struggle movement in itself, that doesn’t acknowledge where the root of this has come from. There are good methods happening in South America, where there’s the use of technology and trying to reintegrate ways of living that existed prior to colonisation, so I think it’s just thinking about that. [Audience applauds]
01:18:00 SJ Yep. I think, I think that’s right. We have to say what’s already happened, including to ourselves. I think we’ve been, our bodies have been very much depleted and polluted. There are all kinds of diseases that we never had before; cancer is one of them. We hardly had cancer until we had, our bodies polluted by the air we breathe and the work we do and the relationships we have and the climate that is inappropriate, et cetera. I don’t think that we can think about twenty to thirty years. I really don’t. I think it’s a mistake. I think we have to say, let’s get it over in 2025 and let’s work for that, otherwise we buy into the sums that we will be given to us by people that are concerned that the oil keeps flowing, okay, and that the roundup that they use for crops and which kills people, not only people who use it but people who eat the food on which it is put. You know, we will allow them to conquer our minds on this issue, and we must fight to keep our sights on the present. What are we doing about it now? Who is doing stuff? I think we are just beginning to find out all the struggles. We knew some, that third-world women have been involved in to save their land, to save their trees. And we have to find out how we fit into that, how we relate to it, how we can expand and extend whatever we have been doing to help the climate, and how we can stop polluting by the work that we do. And the governments that we are forced to elect because we haven’t got choices. You know, this guy, Boris Johnson is, you know, it’s, these are Trump’s friends, and Trump wants to be in charge here. This is very serious, he’s not just walking around London, he’s coming to speculate his new properties and his new slaves, and that’s us. And we have to be aware of it and organise against it within our organisations or build others that we need. Part of the muck of ages that we have to get out of bodies and our consciousness is the racism that divides us from others. I don’t mean only skin colour; I mean all kinds of ways in which we are divided. If anybody is a little bit different, they are a category other than me. That’s what we, that’s the enemy, and that’s who we have to come together to deal with. 2025, no, we’re not thinking beyond that. We want 2025 to be the cut-off point for the pollution which is destroying us. [Audience applauds]
01:21:34 KC Okay, another question, yeah.
01:21:35 A? Can I just say, I’m sorry to, I know I’m up here for another reason, but just to say about the #MakeMumsSafer campaign. Just two things strike me, that there is a hierarchy among sex workers about who can be more visible and who has more power, and mothers are generally at the bottom. And one of the strengths of having a campaign that focuses on sex working mums is to make mums visible as part of that movement. For us to be able to say we as mothers want to be visible as part of that movement, we want acknowledgement, in that so that it’s not the sex workers who can be more visible that are only able to be visible. And you know, because there is a distinct difference between selling sex and working to survive if you’re just supporting yourself, compared to when another precious life depends on you for your survival, and that is an experience that I think the sex worker movement has to acknowledge. So you know, for all its, you know, you know it’s not exactly as we would have wanted it to be, but to have a campaign that focuses on mums in sex work I think was a welcome contribution to the movement, and should have been welcomed.
01:22:51 C [off mic] I agree.
01:22:52 KC Okay, maybe, I know we had one further question, but we’ve run out of time.
01:22:58 C [Inaudible].
01:22:58 KC Yeah, okay, so we’ll have a quick response and then—because I was going to say we can continue these discussions yesterday, this afternoon as well in some of the other panels.
01:23:08 C Yeah. So I think I didn’t quite explain myself properly, when I was talking about motherhood, obviously. I absolutely understand what it’s like to be a sex worker mother; as someone who lost a child last year, I know the absolute thoughts that go through your head when you’re trying to provide for someone, especially someone that’s quite sick, so I do understand the motherhood. I think it’s a flaw in our movement that we often have to reveal our trauma to justify our positions. Another thing I will say—and again, I did pick motherhood just because it was out of the air—but another way of giving us citizenship is sex worker’s relationships to productivity, and the way that we’re justified as well is that people often say that we’re students as well as mothers. So we have these different identities which give us different levels of respectability, is what I was trying to say. The idea that a woman can provide for herself just because she can provide for herself is the argument that I’m criticizing, not movements within our movements that are supporting mothers. People who say, “Oh, it’s okay, she’s just paying for university.” That’s what I’m criticizing; people who say, “It’s fine as long as she’s providing for children.” That’s the narrative that I’m criticizing. I’m saying that everyone’s labour is valid within this movement, regardless of who or who they’re not working for. Again, I think that it was—as I said earlier, I think it was a really good campaign, I think it was really important. I’m really glad that Thailand was brought up, I looked at rates of single motherhood in Thailand in my master’s dissertation and obviously argued for more social welfare in Thailand for single mothers. So yeah, I regret just using that as an example, I feel like I should have plucked more stuff out of the example bag, like oh, “I see clients with disabilities,” or, “I’m a student.” But what I’m saying is that we continue to oppose these frames of references in order to validate sex work, and we don’t need to. We really don’t need to. Like work is work is work is work, and that’s what I’m saying. And I do apologise if that wasn’t clear, but yeah [laughs]. [Audience applauds]
01:25:28 KC That’s great. Okay, so sadly we’ve come to the end of this panel but I’m hoping that we can continue these conversations in the other panels today. So just another round of applause for all of the panelists please. [Audience whoops and applauds]
[End of recording]