Resolution #25: Childcare

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“Resolution #25 - Childcare” uses a socialist feminist analysis and a diversity of tactics to create an actionable, strategic approach to make space for kids and caregivers in socialist organizing, strive for universal child care, and push for labor protections for childcare workers.

Why Is Build Endorsing #25?

  • Fight Exploitation

    • We need to fight exploitation with socialist feminism.

    • This resolution uses a socialist feminist analysis of reproductive labor to create a smart, actionable strategy that fights capitalist patriarchy.

    • This both fights exploitation in society, and helps prevent us from reproducing it in our own organizing spaces.

  • Yes, AND!

    • There’s no single solution in childcare.

    • This resolution addresses care work in a holistic fashion: expanding rights through legislation and electoral work, organizing care workers, and providing mutual aid to ensure our organizing spaces are accessible.

    • This resolution foregrounds a diversity of tactics within a clear strategic approach.

  • Reproductive labor is labor.

    • Capitalism depends on the reproductive and domestic labor of people birthing and raising children to supply the future workforce.

    • We can’t talk about labor without talking about reproductive labor. That means talking about childcare and care work: a crucial sector of the formal and informal economy that is overwhelmingly feminized, often racialized, and frequently exploited.

    • We need to make sure our organizing spaces are accessible to everyone, including parents. We also need to ensure that we don’t replicate the feminization of care work, and that male comrades are part of the fight both inside and outside our organization.

    • We need to work inside our organization to put socialist principles into practice in childcare, fight outside our organization for labor rights for care workers, and fight for expanded political rights.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Concern: Parents in our chapter say that they would rather stay with their kids in a  “family area” during meetings rather than leaving their kids with volunteer childwatchers.

Answer: That’s great! This resolution seeks to give all chapters training and resources so that they can implement childwatch programming that supports the needs of caregivers and kids in the chapter, whether that comes in the form of same-room childwatch, different-room childwatch, or family areas with some engaging materials and a comrade to offer an extra pair of hands alongside parents. It does not set forth any one way to do childwatch, but can help chapters get a new childwatch program off the ground and navigate state requirements, rather than each chapter having to reinvent the wheel.

Concern: How does this strategically fit in with our approach to labor organizing? 

Answer: We think that supporting the struggles of care workers is a critical expression of our values as socialists. Domestic workers lack the labor protections found in most other sectors and are especially vulnerable to exploitation. 

Another answer: A public universal childcare program would likely be supported by teachers’ unions and create an opening for unionized public sector workers, thus expanding the organized working class. 

Another answer: Rank and file members of any sector could engage in the campaign by agitating around paid parental leave and childcare provisions in their contract negotiations, or by demanding childcare at union meetings so that more parents can participate. There’s something for every labor strategy!

Concern: Aren’t kids a distraction at meetings?

Answer: You might be surprised how smoothly meetings can run with a few kids around. Many comrades without children have commented that having childwatch makes meetings feel more welcoming and less tense. 

Another answer: Socialism cannot be won without caregivers in the fight, and those caregivers are the ones who are raising the next generation of organizers. By making it possible for caregivers to pitch in and do the work, childwatch programs make it possible for our campaigns and projects to thrive. Providing childwatch isn’t about wokeness or being a good ally, it’s about winning.