1980s >> 1985 >> no-974-october-1985

‘Confessions of a Dorking Housewife’

I was born and brought up in the South of England, in an area where the wealth and privilege of the minority of people are fairly easy to see. Like the majority in the area, however, my background was working-class. Unusually, my father was an avid Labour Party supporter and, as a child, I heard many of the arguments against the capitalist system. I was led to believe that the only answer to the basic injuries of capitalism lay in the hands of a Labour government.

In the years of the Wilson governments in the 1960s it became clear to me that Labour was basically no different from the Conservatives, but I had no idea where to find a real alternative to obviously bankrupt ideas. Then I went to Tower Hill one weekday lunchtime in 1967 to listen to the speakers. There, beside Lord Soper and at a greater distance from a man who swallowed fire and swung a long cane around his head at great speed, stood a speaker from the SPGB. It could hardly be called the still small voice as he was highly voluble, attacking fiercely the hecklers who shouted at him.

I found his arguments cogent and the party case was, in my view, based on sound commonsense. His words were particularly interesting to someone who had been waiting in vain for the Labour Party to tackle the multifarious problems thrown up by capitalist society: poverty, war, racism, famine, industrial relations, unemployment, drug-taking, disease — the list is endless. It is a widely held view that young people are often “left wing” but as they grow older (and by implication, more sensible) they move inevitably towards the “centre” then often on to the “right wing” of the political spectrum. However, if you understand the arguments of the SPGB you are unlikely to move anywhere else.

My experience of work and motherhood has taught me more about a woman’s place in capitalism and its intrinsic conflicts and difficulties. So as my life goes on I want to work just as urgently for a socialist world where we can all share the better life. Why don’t you join the struggle with us?

Juliet Jeffreys

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