Archive for 'Women’s liberation'
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.
Women are constantly told, in many different ways, that we are not equal and that our value lies in our bodies’ ability to please heterosexual men and sell products writes Kate Jeffreys in Socialist Alternative. Working women will be liberated by fighting against capitalism, alongside our working class brothers, for a world run for human need, rather than for corporate profits.
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.
Sharon Smith from the US International Socialist Organization talks about Marxism and women’s liberation in a very interesting video from Socialism 2012 in the US.
The Reclaim the Night Sydney Road collective, which organised the October 20 rally and march, refused to engage with any policies that would give further powers to police. Instead, the march called for an end to violence against women, support for survivors, an end to victim blaming and adequate funding for crisis services. These messages fit the inherently radical nature of Reclaim the Night in that it is a direct community response to a structural problem.
These sentiments resonated throughout the crowd, many of whom were carrying placards with wording such as “I’m here to end sexism, not campaign for CCTV to film it” and “A woman’s place is everywhere”.
I do wonder what our RSP colleagues make of this badly argued blunderbuss of sectarianism. I can only hope they challenge this ludicrous, self-satisfied, smug, anti-working class, infantile nonsense for what it is.
I have made it clear in internal bulletins I have my doubts about the merger with the RSP. But one thing that might come of the fait accompli of merger is a real challenge to the gross inadequacies of our analysis of the women’s movement and our relationship to it, gross inadequacies exemplified so clearly by this article.
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 Broderick Report is an attempt to beautify the soul of ugliness. Women in the Defence Forces strengthen Australian capitalism internationally and onshore. They reinforce the very system that condemns women to second class citizenry and postpone the days of real equality. More gender equality in the capitalist defence forces? No thanks.
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.