Archive for 'Women workers'
So at this point in history, when feminism has been under sustained attack for the last 40 odd years with no end in sight, the last thing we should feel compelled to do is attack feminism. On the contrary, we need to defend feminism on principle, as a defense of women’s liberation and opposition to sexism. What is the definition of feminism? The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality to men.
So I would argue that today, our emphasis should be more in keeping with that of the theory and practice of the Bolsheviks, in which we do not attempt to minimize the degree of oppression faced by women–or any other oppressed group–inside the working class, but rather to make a serious effort on every front to combat it.
WHILE ALL women may suffer the effects of oppression under capitalism, though to varying extents, the working class, made up of men and women, is the only force capable of winning an end to that oppression. The working class has the power to bring capitalist production to a halt, upend the old society and build a new one with all workers’ interests at its heart.
During that process, workers shed backward ideas that divide and cripple them, like sexism. But struggle alone doesn’t guarantee women’s liberation. Struggles can ebb and flow. A totally different society has to be fought for, one where the material conditions for a world free of oppression can flourish.
This means locating the roots of women’s oppression. A key is the family, an institution that depends largely on women’s unpaid labor in order to survive, and that allows capitalism to get for free what a saner system would have to provide.
In a society based on profit, where every penny is squeezed from the working class, the nuclear family makes complete sense, even though it creates a double burden on women that includes unpaid labor in the home. But under socialism, a society in which the priority is providing for human need, the privatized family makes no sense at all.
Real discrimination and real sexism are a part of day-to-day life, and their roots lie not in any fundamental differences between men and women, but in the structure of our society. It isn’t a coincidence of biology that women are unequal to men. It’s part of the fabric of a capitalist society, where workers are pitted against one another in a multitude of ways. Gender is one of those ways, and that’s what keeps women in a subservient role.
Unions NSW could immediately ban all work and supplies to 2GB until Jones is sacked. It could ban all goods and services to all of Jones’s advertisers until they abandon 2GB. Individual unions could do the same. Workers at 2GB could walk off the job until Jones is sacked. Such actions would of course be illegal under Labor’s industrial laws. But it would be the right thing to do.
The Arab world has put revolution firmly on the agenda for the twenty-first century. And so women’s liberation is posed as a real possibility. This is a marvellous time to be a revolutionary.
Comments about Gillard’s hair or her dress sense or lack of affability can’t be divorced from the wider oppression of women in society. They reinforce stereotypes about women as having a role that must fit within the dominant power structure of capitalism – as objects of men’s desire and displaying ‘feminine’ characteristics.
However Bob Brown was being too cute by half in blaming criticism of Gillard on sexism. After all this is the do nothing Government he supports and sustains so attacks on Labor are also a criticism of him and his do nothing Greens.
You cannot hide behind sexism to divert attention away from the failure of Labor to inspire its base. That is part of the problem – Labor’s neoliberalism.
A resurgence in struggle, in fighting for equal pay now, free abortion on demand, free childcare, would challenge the very structures of capitalist oppression. Therein lies the way forward, not tired bleating about sexist reporting that ignores the systemic oppression of women under capitalism.
The women of Egypt are showing all of us we need bigger and bigger demonstrations against the inhumanity of our rulers and their armed thugs. We need a revolution to win the liberation of women and all humanity.
For public servants, negotiating with Labor is a dead end. A rank and file push for equal pay – a strike – offers the best hope for and chance of victory.
Clearly Labor is the enemy of working women. The Gillard Government’s decision to oppose the Australian Services Union test case before Fair Work Australia for equal pay in the community and social services sector on budgetary grounds gives the lie to Labor being the friend of working women. Julia Gillard’s contempt for ordinary women poses the question – [...]
Sexism affects every aspect of our lives. We can’t help but be affected by the inequalities between men and women, and the stereotypes that arise from these inequalities. It’s a common idea that all men benefit from women’s oppression. Anne Summers, for example, has argued that women’s lower wages benefit men by lowering women’s likelihood [...]