Roar writer Manon Powrie on the recent election of Charles Amos as incumbent president of the KCL Conservative Association.
In a recent society election, the KCL Conservative Association gained a new president: Charles Amos. In so doing, the KCLCA are clearly intent on winning many friends and supporters this coming academic year. The student body of KCL would naturally be attracted to the politics belonging to, as the Labour Society describes, “those who view the continuance of their suffering as a political game or ideological standpoint”; the politics of a president who has stated that “feminism must be bashed.”
Amos should be reminded that without the liberation movements of the 20th century, women would not have won the vote. This was a historic step forwards for female emancipation; I doubt any with a reasonable understanding of history would feel comfortable in supporting the statement, then, that “feminism must be bashed”. Without political struggle, the abstract ‘liberty’ that Amos admires would never have been achieved. Conservation means maintaining the gains already made, not rolling them back. In this sense, the title “Conservative Association” may be a misnomer.
From a Marxist perspective, the liberation of women goes hand in hand with the fight against capitalism; the oppression and exploitation of women arose with class society and private property. The Marxist view of history – historical materialism – reveals the loophole in Amos’ statement that “feminism must be bashed”; feminism is an inevitable product of a society in which working-class women are amongst the most oppressed in society and necessarily become more politicised. It is not something which can be “bashed” and rendered invisible in a capitalist society which fosters unstable material conditions for women. History progresses whether the Conservative Association wishes it to or not.
Turning away from these points, Amos has provided yet another shining example of modern conservativism in his recent article on the COVID-19 lockdown. We learn that “if people are going to be free to expose themselves to high risk, so too must hospitals be free to refuse treatment to such individuals”. Essential workers are hardly “free” to expose themselves but are necessarily required to do so to survive under capitalism and to keep society running. In fact, they are the workers that must be protected, as are most at risk and should necessarily have access to treatment, even if this does commit the cardinal sin of impacting the profit of the rich and powerful.
Amos’ point completely depoliticises the crisis; the reality is that under capitalism, the working class is left to face the burden of the crisis. Health services are the only way to ensure that the most vulnerable have access to treatment. If his point is that a “socialist NHS” will likely become overwhelmed, then we also have to question the reasons why – being Tory austerity. It isn’t the workers trying to go about their everyday lives under capitalism who are the problem; it is capitalists who leave the NHS underfunded with a lack of resources, such as PPE and ventilators, with which to cope with health crises. But then, if there is no profit to be made, what is the point?
I stand against any statements that encourage the suffering of the working-class. Amos’ decree that the KCL Conservative Association will, under his leadership, host more fine dining and black-tie events for its members highlights the insufferable bourgeois nature of celebrating the oppression and exploitation which occurs under capitalist society. He ought to be commended, at least, for the consistency with which he defends the most richest in society against the poorest.