Britney Spears has called for us to strike.
On Instagram, Spears shared a graphic that included the words, “We will feed each other, redistribute wealth, strike.” Her comment on the graphic “Communion goes beyond walls 🌹🌹🌹” included three roses, the symbol associated with socialist movements in the United States, United Kingdom, and beyond. That, dear reader, is the main thing we needed to tell you.
Spears is a surprising but very welcome ally in the struggle to ensure that our response to the global coronavirus pandemic is a just one. But her meming also points to the fact that this is a very rare and unusual time: a period in which draconian, repressive government measures could be introduced, but there is also an opening for people to demand a better society. Across the globe, quarantined people are increasingly reliant on low-paid workers. Governments are swiftly discovering that the actual backbone of society is the lowest paid and, in the case of the gig economy, those with few rights.
Spears’ intervention is vital: people do listen to celebrities, and people who wouldn’t normally be exposed to socialist ideology have now been told by the singer to consider a general strike. With 23.7 million followers on Instagram (equivalent to one-third the population of Britain), she has been massively helpful in this respect.
Mainstreaming socialist ideas is often difficult; famous pop-stars doing so was previously a pipe dream. But Spears clearly recognizes the scale of the problem facing the planet, and that our greatest power lies in withdrawing our labour.
Whether Spears abandons her Vegas shows in solidarity remains to be seen. But sending her a Democratic Socialists of America membership card may be the logical next step. She followed up her first post with another saying she hoped everyone in quarantine was “staying strong and lifting each other up,” again signing off with four rose emojis.
Spears has shown she’s a comrade, and will influence her fans to look into the ideas espoused. We have to hope that more celebrities will follow Comrade Spears’s lead and remind the vast majority that their power lies in the withdrawal of their labor.