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Feminism, Class and Anarchism

category international | gender | feature author Monday February 04, 2008 19:40author by Deirdre Hogan - RAG Report this post to the editors

"Capitalist society depends on class exploitation. It does not though depend on sexism and could in theory accommodate to a large extent a similar treatment of women and men. This is obvious if we look at what the fight for women’s liberation has achieved in many societies around the world over the last, say, 100 years, where there has been radical improvements in the situation of women and the underlying assumptions of what roles are natural and right for women. Capitalism, in the mean time, has adapted to women’s changing role and status in society. "

It is quite common these days to hear criticisms of “mainstream” or “middle-class” feminism from anarchists or others on the revolutionary, and even the not-so-revolutionary, left. In particular, anarchists are often quick to criticise any feminist analysis that lacks a class analysis. This article argues that feminism in its own right is worth fighting for and that when it comes to ending sexism an insistence on always emphasising class can end up merely distracting from the fact that as anarchists we need to be unambiguous when it comes to supporting feminism. Rather than distancing ourselves from other feminists or seeking always to qualify our support, our emphasis should shift to developing and promoting our own brand of anarchist feminism.

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Feminism, Class and Anarchism

The relationship between class society and capitalism

The defining feature of capitalist society is that it is broadly divided into two fundamental classes: the capitalist class (the bourgeoisie), made up of large business owners, and the working class (the proletariat), consisting more or less of everyone else - the vast majority of people who work for a wage. There are, of course, plenty of grey areas within this definition of class society, and the working class itself is not made up of one homogenous group of people, but includes, for example, unskilled labourers as well as most of what is commonly termed the middle-class and there can, therefore, be very real differences in income and opportunity for different sectors of this broadly defined working class

“Middle class” is a problematic term as, although frequently used, who exactly it refers to is rarely very clear. Usually “middle class” refers to workers such as independent professionals, small business owners and lower and middle management. However, these middle layers are not really an independent class, in that they are not independent of the process of exploitation and capital accumulation which is capitalism. They are generally at the fringes of one of the two main classes, capitalist and working class.[1]

The important point about looking at society as consisting of two fundamental classes is the understanding that the economic relationship between these two classes, the big business owners and the people who work for them, is based on exploitation and therefore these two classes have fundamentally opposing material interests.

Capitalism and business are, by nature, profit driven. The work an employee does in the course of their job creates wealth. Some of this wealth is given to the employee in their wage-packet, the rest is kept by the boss, adding to his or her profits (if an employee were not profitable, they would not be employed). In this way, the business owner exploits the employee and accumulates capital. It is in the interests of the business owner to maximise profits and to keep the cost of wages down; it is in the interests of the employee to maximise their pay and conditions. This conflict of interest and the exploitation of one class of people by another minority class, is inherent to capitalist society. Anarchists aim ultimately to abolish the capitalist class system and to create a classless society.

The relationship between sexism and capitalism

Sexism is a source of injustice which differs from the type of class exploitation mentioned above in a few different ways. Most women live and work with men for at least some of their lives; they have close relationships with men such as their father, son, brother, lover, partner, husband or friend. Women and men do not have inherently opposing interests; we do not want to abolish the sexes but instead to abolish the hierarchy of power that exists between the sexes and to create a society where women and men can live freely and equally together.

Capitalist society depends on class exploitation. It does not though depend on sexism and could in theory accommodate to a large extent a similar treatment of women and men. This is obvious if we look at what the fight for women’s liberation has achieved in many societies around the world over the last, say, 100 years, where there has been radical improvements in the situation of women and the underlying assumptions of what roles are natural and right for women. Capitalism, in the mean time, has adapted to women’s changing role and status in society.

An end to sexism therefore won’t necessarily lead to an end to capitalism. Likewise, sexism can continue even after capitalism and class society have been abolished. Sexism is possibly the earliest form of oppression ever to exist, it not only pre-dates capitalism; there is evidence that sexism also pre-dates earlier forms of class society [2]. As societies have developed the exact nature of women’s oppression, the particular form it takes, has changed. Under capitalism the oppression of women has its own particular character where capitalism has taken advantage of the historical oppression of women to maximise profits.

But how realistic is the end of women’s oppression under capitalism? There are many ways in which women are oppressed as a sex in today’s society – economically, ideologically, physically, and so on - and it is likely that continuing the feminist struggle will lead to further improvements in the condition of women. However, though it is possible to envisage many aspects of sexism eroded away in time with struggle, there are features of capitalism that make the full economic equality of women and men under capitalism highly unlikely. This is because capitalism is based on the need to maximise profits and in such a system women are at a natural disadvantage.

In capitalist society, the ability to give birth is a liability. Women’s biological role means that (if they have children) they will have to take at least some time off paid employment. Their biological role also makes them ultimately responsible for any child they bear. In consequence, paid maternity leave, single parent allowance, parental leave, leave to care for sick children, free crèche and childcare facilities etc. will always be especially relevant to women. For this reason women are economically more vulnerable than men under capitalism: attacks on gains such as crèche facilities, single-parent allowance and so on will always affect women disproportionately more than men. And yet without full economic equality it is hard to see an end to the unequal power relations between women and men and the associated ideology of sexism. Thus, although we can say that capitalism could accommodate women’s equality with men, the reality is that the full realisation of this equality is very unlikely to be achieved under capitalism. This is simply because there is an economic penalty linked to women’s biology which makes profit-driven capitalist society inherently biased against women.

The struggle for women’s emancipation in working class movements

One of the best examples of how struggle for change can bring about real and lasting changes in society is the great improvements in women’s status, rights and quality of life that the struggle for women’s liberation has achieved in many countries around the globe. Without this struggle (which I’ll call feminism though not all those fighting against women’s subordination would have identified as feminist), women clearly would not have made the huge gains we have made.

Historically, the struggle for women’s emancipation was evident within anarchist and other socialist movements. However, as a whole these movements have tended to have a somewhat ambiguous relationship with women’s liberation and the broader feminist struggle.

Although central to anarchism has always been an emphasis on the abolition of all hierarchies of power, anarchism has its roots in class struggle, in the struggle to overthrow capitalism, with its defining aim being the creation of a classless society. Because women’s oppression is not so intimately tied to capitalism as class struggle, women’s liberation has historically been seen, and to a large extent continues to be seen, as a secondary goal to the creation of a classless society, not as important nor as fundamental as class struggle.

But to whom is feminism unimportant? Certainly for most women in socialist movements the assumption that a profound transformation in the power relations between women and men was part of socialism was vital. However, there tended to be more men than women active in socialist circles and the men played a dominant role. Women’s demands were marginalised because of the primacy of class and also because while the issues that affected working men also affected working women in a similar way, the same was not true for the issues particular to the oppression of women as a sex. Women’s social and economic equality was sometimes seen to conflict with the material interests and comforts of men. Women’s equality required profound changes in the division of labour both in the home and at work as well as changes in the whole social system of male authority. To achieve women’s equality a re-evaluation of self-identity would also have to take place where "men's identity" could no longer depend on being seen as stronger or more capable than women.

Women tended to make the connection between personal and political emancipation, hoping that socialism would make new women and new men by democratising all aspects of human relations. However they found it very hard, for example, to convince their comrades that the unequal division of labour within the home was an important political issue. In the words of Hannah Mitchell, active as a socialist and feminist around the early 20th century in England, on her double shift working both outside and inside the home:

Even my Sunday leisure was gone for I soon found a lot of the socialist talk about freedom was only talk and these socialist young men expected Sunday dinners and huge teas with home-made cakes, potted meats and pies exactly like their reactionary fellows.”[3]

Anarchist women in Spain at the time of the social revolution in 1936 had similar complaints finding that female-male equality did not carry over well to intimate personal relationships. Martha Ackelsberg notes in her book Free Women of Spain that although equality for women and men was adopted officially by the Spanish anarchist movement as early as 1872:

Virtually all of my informants lamented that no matter how militant even the most committed anarchists were in the streets, they expected to be ‘masters’ in their homes – a complaint echoed in many articles written in movement newspapers and magazines during this period.

Sexism also occurred in the public sphere, where, for example, women militants sometimes found they were not treated seriously nor with respect by their male comrades. Women also faced problems in their struggle for equality within the trade union movement in the 19th and 20th centuries where the unequal situation of men and women in paid employment was an awkward issue. Men in the trade unions argued that women lowered the wages of organised workers and some believed the solution was to exclude women entirely from the trade and to raise the male wage so that the men could support their families. In the mid-19th century in Britain a tailor summarised the effect of female labour as follows:

When I first began working at this branch [waistcoat-making], there were but very few females employed in it. A few white waist-coats were given to them under the idea that women would make them cleaner than men …But since the increase of the puffing and sweating system, masters and sweaters have sought everywhere for such hands as would do the work below the regular ones. Hence the wife has been made to compete with the husband, and the daughter with the wife…If the man will not reduce the price of his labour to that of the female, why he must remain unemployed”.[4]

The policy of excluding women from certain trade unions was often determined by competition depressing wages rather than sexist ideology although ideology had also a role to play. In the tobacco industry in the early 20th century in Tampa in the States, for example, an anarcho-syndicalist union, La Resistencia, made up mostly of Cuban émigrés, sought to organise all workers throughout the city. Over a quarter of their membership was made up of women tobacco strippers. This syndicalist union was denounced both as unmanly and un-American by another trade union, the Cigar Makers’ Industrial Union which pursued exclusionary strategies and “very reluctantly organised women workers into a separate and secondary section of the union”.[5]

Driving force of women’s liberation has been feminism

It is generally well documented that the struggle for women’s emancipation has not always been supported and that historically women have faced sexism within class struggle organisations. The unquestionable gains in women’s freedom that have taken place are thanks to those women and men, within class struggle organisations as well as without, who challenged sexism and fought for improvements in women’s condition. It is the feminist movement in all its variety (middle-class, working-class, socialist, anarchist…) that has lead the way in women’s liberation and not movements focused on class struggle. I emphasise the point because though today the anarchist movement as a whole does support an end to the oppression of women, there remains a mistrust of feminism, with anarchists and other socialists sometimes distancing themselves from feminism because it often lacks a class analysis. Yet it is this very feminism that we have to thank for the very real gains women have made.

How relevant is class when it comes to sexism?

What are the common approaches to feminism by class-struggle anarchists today? On the extreme end of reaction against feminism is the complete class-reductionist point of view: Only class matters. This dogmatic viewpoint tends to see feminism as divisive [surely sexism is more divisive than feminism?] and a distraction from class struggle and holds that any sexism that does exist will disappear automatically with the end of capitalism and class society.

However, a more common anarchist approach to feminism is the acceptance that sexism does exist, will not automatically fade away with the end of capitalism and needs to be fought against in the here and now. Nevertheless, as previously mentioned, anarchists are often at pains to distance themselves from “mainstream” feminism because of its lack of class analysis. Instead, it is stressed that the experience of sexism is differentiated by class and that therefore women’s oppression is a class issue. It is certainly true that wealth mitigates to some extent the effect of sexism: It is less difficult, for example, to obtain an abortion if you do not have to worry about raising the money for the trip abroad; issues of who does the bulk of the housework and childcare become less important if you can afford to pay someone else to help. Also, depending on your socio-economic background you will have different priorities.

However, in constantly stressing that experience of sexism is differentiated by class, anarchists can seem to gloss over or ignore that which is also true: that experience of class is differentiated by sex. The problem, the injustice, of sexism is that there are unequal relations between women and men within the working class and indeed in the whole of society. Women are always at a disadvantage to men of their respective class.

To a greater or lesser extent sexism affects women of all classes; yet a feminist analysis that does not emphasise class is the often target of criticism. But is class relevant to all aspects of sexism? How is class relevant to sexual violence, for example? Class is certainly not always the most important point in any case. Sometimes there is an insistence on tacking on a class analysis to every feminist position as if this is needed to give feminism credibility, to validate it as a worthy struggle for class-struggle anarchists. But this stance misses the main point which is, surely, that we are against sexism, whatever its guise, whosoever it is affecting?

If a person is beaten to death in a racist attack, do we need to know the class of the victim before expressing outrage? Are we unconcerned about racism if it turns out the victim is a paid-up member of the ruling class? Similarly, if someone is discriminated against in work on the grounds of race, sex or sexuality, whether that person is a cleaner or a university professor, surely in both cases it is wrong and it is wrong for the same reasons? Clearly, women’s liberation in its own right is worth fighting for as, in general, oppression and injustice are worth fighting against, regardless of the class of the oppressed.

Women and men of the world unite against sexism?

Given that one thing women have in common across classes and cultures is their oppression, to some degree, as a sex can we then call for women (and men) of the world to unite against sexism? Or are there opposing class interests that would make such a strategy futile?

Conflicts of interest can certainly arise between working-class and wealthy middle-class or ruling-class women. For example, in France at a feminist conference in 1900 the delegates split on the issue of a minimum wage for domestic servants, which would have hurt the pockets of those who could afford servants. Today, calls for paid paternity leave or free crèche facilities will face opposition from business owners who do not want to see profits cut. Feminism is not always good for short-term profit-making. Struggles for economic equality with men in capitalist society will necessarily involve ongoing and continuous struggle for concessions – essentially a class struggle.

Thus, differing class interests can sometimes pose obstacles to feminist unity at a practical level. It is however much more important for anarchists to stress links with the broader feminist movement than to emphasise differences. After all, the ruling class are in a minority and the vast majority of women in society share a common interest in gaining economic equality with men. In addition, many feminist issues are not affected by such class-based conflicts of interest but concern all women to varying degrees. When it comes to reproductive rights, for example, anarchists in Ireland have been and continue to be involved in pro-choice groups alongside capitalist parties without compromising our politics because, when it comes to fighting the sexism that denies women control over their own bodies, this is the best tactic. Finally, it is also worth noting that often the dismissal of “middle-class feminism” comes from the same anarchists/socialists who embrace the Marxist definition of class (given at the start of this article) which would put most middle-class people firmly with the ranks of the broad working class.

Reforms, not reformism

There are two approaches we can take to feminism: we can distance ourselves from other feminists by focusing on criticising reformist feminism or we can fully support the struggle for feminist reforms while all the while saying we want more!! This is important especially if we want to make anarchism more attractive to women (a recent Irish Times poll showed that feminism is important to over 50% of Irish women). In the anarchist-communist vision of future society with its guiding principle, to each according to need, from each according to ability, there is no institutional bias against women as there is in capitalism. As well as the benefits for both women and men anarchism has a lot to offer women in particular, in terms of sexual, economic and personal freedom that goes deeper and offers more than any precarious equality that can be achieved under capitalism.

Deirdre Hogan (originally published in RAG no.2, Autumn 2007)

ps. Special thanks to Tamarack and José Antonio Gutiérrez for their feedback and suggestions.

* For information on murals by UMLEM see:


1. This description of the middle class is borrowed from Wayne Price. See Why the working class? on
2. See for example the articles in Toward an Anthropology of Women, edited by Rayna R. Reiter.
3. Hannah Mitchell quote taken from Women in Movement (page 135) by Sheila Rowbotham.
4. quote taken from Women and the Politics of Class (page 24) by Johanna Brenner.
5. ibid, page 93

Related Link:
author by javierpublication date Tue Jan 29, 2008 07:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Comrades i have never seen such a well tought-out and comprehensive article on the issue, I will send it to comrades in argentina and try to see if it can be translated.
In solidarity,

author by Nilpublication date Wed Jan 30, 2008 13:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I've been intrigued by Butch Lee's (and others) analysis that gender _is_ a form of class, in fact one of the central class lines in current global society, and increasingly so; that the global proletariat is in fact most made up of women; and that it's problematic to think that a nuclear family unit is made up of one class, that there are class-lines within the nuclear family.

See Butch Lee's _Night Vision_, _The Military Strategy of Women and Children_, or _ Jailbreak Out Of History: The Re-Biography Of Harriet Tubman_

author by Griffin - Zabalaza Bookspublication date Tue Feb 05, 2008 05:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A PDF pamphlet of this text is now available for download from the Zabalaza Books site or directly from the following link:

Salut y Anarquia,

Related Link:
author by Rev - ROAD/Tricksterspublication date Sat Feb 09, 2008 00:53author email revolution_reversal at riseup dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I also posted this here:

This feminism, seems to see equality in sameness, rather than equal consideration. Our society is so focused on the wage, this feminism seems to be advocating their equal access to class oppression.....????

The article would have benefited form the work of Silvia Federici
In her book Caliban and the Witch, she traces how sexism and the gender division of labour is a inherent component of primitive accumulation, and therefore essential to the creation of capitalism in a given area. You can trace the development of certain kinds of sexual violence and domestication of women to specific stages in the formation of capitalism.
She shows how the witch hunts in Europe and the sexualized genocide against indigenous people were fundamental in crushing womens power to create capitalism.
Her book actually presents an argument that capitalism was a counterrevolution and caused a regression in the freedom of women.

Similarly it may have also benefited from the work of Andrea Smith, in her book Conquest she further describes the nature of sexual violence and colonialism; she also describes how different and more egalitarian forms of gender relations existed in many societies before primitive accumulation was started by Europeans.

I think its obvious anarchist theory would present holes when it is a product of men predominantly.... thats not to forget those fantastically brilliant women or trans people but lets look at a list of noteriaty and its male dominated.

This article also does not seem to talk about how feminism has marginalized women of colour by being complicit or supportive of imperial attitudes, or the trend in some strands of radical feminism to have an anti-transgendered attitude. Feminism itself because it is focused or centred on a specific oppression just like the class struggle of some anarchists or Marxists has blind spots or problems. Similarly women of colour had to bring race to feminist analysis.

Moreover, I think class is an essential lens in viewing sexual violence, when you differentiate between types and do not essentialize sexualized violence. If you take street walking sex work there is an essential class component. Also if you look at illegal immigration and sexual exploitation that goes on in this context, there is a important class component along with a racial intersection that is interdependent with the gender of the victims.

I think this feminist analysis lacks necessary complexity.
There has to e a way for some women to not have to be economic equals to be valued, respected and powerful...or live with dignity. If you talk to some Indigenous women in Canada they talk about how they enjoyed their traditional roles, that happened to be different from mens, they talk of how their gender division of labour brought them political and social power in some cases..... this article does not at all make reference to this. It takes so many things for granted.

I agree with the vision in part, the desire to see the end of womens oppression; however, I'm not sure this article is rigorous enough to actually facilitate it.

author by Paddy Rua - WSMpublication date Sat Feb 09, 2008 05:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hey Rev, chill out and read the article again. I don't think for a second the author is obssessed with wage and sameness. I don't think either you can lecture the rest what to read -actually it is quite obvious that the author read an awful lot before putting her ideas together.

Also I completely disagree with your view about dismissing reforms for they mean "equal participation in exploitation". That frame of mind is actually quite elitist and dismiss the fact that if you are over-exploited it is fair enough to try to diminish that level of exploitation, particularly, when you are aware that other categories of workers don't get that exploited as you because of an arbitrary reason like gender. If you go to a group of immigrant workers and tell them they should not ask equal pay as local workers because that is to demand "equal participation in exploitation" you are quite likely to get the two fingers -and rightly so!

Seriously, I think it is often quite lacking respect to huge sections of society to have such an elitist attitude towards reforms and this attitudes is to blame in many cases for anarchism not being able to turn itself into a mass movement.

About the article, I think it is really well done and it represents a major contribution as it poses in really simple and accesible terms an issue we often deal insufficiently with. Of course we would like a lot of other issues to have been dealt with. Of course we can all pity that "you did not read this or that", but then there is more to be written that just can't be covered in a single article. No article can be considered the "definite" article on any issue -and actually I would be quite suspicious of any article that claims to be so.

This is not a book, a treaty or a thesis. It is only an article of a couple of pages dealing with the heart of the relationship between class and gender from a femminist point of view. It comes from an active femminist, in an active anarcha-femminist group, which is active in a specfic place -Ireland. That's why they dealt with their most urgent issues here (I'm aware that in the US every single article written has to deal with the strong racial divide in that society, but then it is up to them to deal with that).

The best thing o the article, in my humble opinion, is that it puts in very simple as well as rigurous terms a complex issue. And successfully ends up, free of any intellectual pretensions, by arguing a line of action for anarchists. Instead of dealing endlessly on academic issues or falling into the easy trap of over-idealizing past societies (something quite easy as they are no longer around to be criticized) we have to start putting our thoughts into what is to be done now. That's the really relevant discussion.

author by Rev - ROAD/Tricksterspublication date Sat Feb 09, 2008 11:35author email revolution_reversal at riseup dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

"It is only an article of a couple of pages dealing with the heart of the relationship between class and gender from a feminist point of view. It comes from an active feminist, in an active anarcha-feminist group, which is active in a specific place -Ireland."

This article titled itself "Feminism, Class and Anarchism" not "Feminism, Class and Anarchism in Ireland". Therefore its analysis needs to be way more broad if it doesn't want to fall into an easy critique. Patriarchy and capitalism are global systems, specify your analysis then.

Its not dealing with a heart of the relationship between gender and class from a feminist point of view. Its using one particular feminist analysis to deal with this particular intersection from a particular position.

I used activist literature to show other feminist points of view on the intersection and dynamic relationship between class and gender. Both are are equally feminist, I just think think that the author needs to perfect the analysis.

I think your charge of elitism is unfounded, and overly defensive. I think its not helpful at all, if you disagree with my critique stick to the content, not hurl that label at me. Similarly, who wrote the article is irrelevant since the article is phrased in a way as to universalize the relationship the author perceives. (btw- I'm not in the US, I'm in Canada, and its more than north america has to deal with race, most countries have race as a divide)

Neither am I against all reforms, it depends on what they are, sure feminism is able to advocate for the reform to equality, but does that mean its good to have equality to kill by allowing women to join the army or police????

Sorry, I'm not going to advocate for that equality. Similarly, I"m not sure anyone deserves really high wages? people need to pat rent and buy food....other than that I would rather advocate for less wages and consumption as a reform while we organized for take over of the means of production...think about the environment.....

Do I support the reform of access to abortion, hell yes I do. Similarly do i support social programs that specifically help women, like child care, again a big hell yes! Some reforms are hella good.

My whole point is if you just focus on gender and class you miss so much, no particular focus brings a good just talking about gender and class is well going to lead to problems.

Lastly, in no way do I over idealize past societies, my knowledge of the place of Indigenous women comes from organizing with them and hearing their stories and discussions of colonizations effects. It doesn't matter to me if its really true, these women are inspired by their created narrative history of their own cultures. Equal wages is not on their radar, neither is equality as sameness, their feminism comes from a vastly different place.

The author has a historical narrative that disrespects and makes invisible the voices of other women, similarly it didn't deal with queerness or trans people at all, thats pretty lack luster feminism.

Again you slander my position as academic, all I have done is read books and talked with people; hopefully that is the rigor everyone is forced to uphold and its not considered elitist.

I thought my critique was fairly polite and warranted, this one is a little less chilled.

author by Paddy Rua - WSMpublication date Mon Feb 11, 2008 16:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'll just reply quickly. Time is unfortunately very scarce these days. About reforms, the struggle for reforms often does have "nasty" sides that anarchists don't deal with or deal insufficiently. I'm not going to deal at lenght at this particular moment with your argument of women being allowed to become part of the police force (as it is stretching the ideas of the author and the argument of equal pay a bit too much). All I'm going to say is that, as long as there is police, women have a right to demand their participation in every sphere of society. I don't agree with voting, but if vote was denied to women: would you say"oh yes, it is grand, voting is evil, let man vote only"? If they want to vote or not, or if they want to be part of the police or not is an option women themselves have to make -I'm not going to accept a patriarchal society to make that option instead of women.

My argument is about wage society -but as long as there are wages, women and men should get the same. This may not be a issue for the women of the six nations -or to yourself- but it is an issue in most of the world (including indigenous dominated femminist movements as that of Bolivia).

Whether you come from Canada or the US is irrelevant - I knew you come from Canada by your mention of the indigenous women, I assume the six nations. The radical political culture in Canada anyway, particularly among anarchists, is being obviously quite influenced by the US. And femminist analysis excluding women of colour may be true there, but it is not universal, although racial divide is universal. To say that is to ignore all of the femminist experience of Africa and Latin America, carried by the most oppressed sectors of society -the indigenous women. Their work may not be full of quotes of Silvia Federicci but it is living experience and is there for everyone to learn from. Thanks God (if there is any), the world is wider and broader than the US and Canada!

author by Revpublication date Tue Feb 12, 2008 08:10author email revolution_reversal at riseup dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

If your article is only about wages, then say that.
I think my problem with it is the title and all thats left out, not necessarily the analysis of a specific facet of feminist struggle.

For a point of clarification, I was mostly talking about the Anishnabe women I organize with, the Indigenous feminist discourse is fairly similar for most Indigenous women I have talked to no matter the nation.

I think that equal access to police is really stupid, a feminist position needs to take a stand and be more nuanced than an equal access to relationships of oppression. I think you hold the wider feminist movement back by doing something like that. The reason I even mention it is because, feminists have been my inspiration and I expect more out of them...

Asking for access to oppressive relationships is contrary to an intersectional analysis of oppression. Equality as sameness can be dangerous! thats my whole point.

On a more positive note, your phrase "cool as a cucumber", never heard that one before, it made me chuckle.

author by Paddy Rua - WSMpublication date Wed Feb 13, 2008 01:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just to put the record straight, it is not "my" article. The author's name is on it. But on the article itself, it is quite clearly not only about wages. Actually a quick read can show that. Out of 3,131 words, the word "wages" is just mentioned 7 times! The article mainly deals with class struggle and wage is the main expression of the class-labour contradiction, although not the only one. So maybe you did not read it carefully...

Equal access to police is not the issue: the issue is, should women be discriminated against in any sphere in society, no matter how bad we may think that sphere is? Many countries now have female presidents. It does not make any difference at all for class struggle. But, what would happen if in any of those countries the female president would be deposed on her gender ground and then a law was passed stating that no woman could be a president? Something similar happened with the Dreyfuss case, and Zola, the author of J'Acusse was not at all defending the military but opposing anti-semitism. I think it is possible to oppose discrimination without endorsing the institutions which discriminate. Those are some of the real life contradictions revolutionaries have to face.

author by Revpublication date Wed Feb 13, 2008 12:53author email revolution_reversal at riseup dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'll partially agree with you on the class struggle part, but I think it needs work still.

I still think that its clear though that capitalism does require domestic labour, hence we see the use of domestic servants for the liberal careerist women. When some privileged women achieve liberal equality, we see the work transported to other women. To me gender is a fundamental dynamic of class, I'm not sure they can be separated at all. I think class is also a fundamental dynamic of gender, they are co-constitutive.

Only focusing on gender has allowed these liberal careerists to exploit class and citizenship status to escape oppression. Its not having an intersectional approach that makes solutions like this seem good.

The position of this article that these fundamental differences are not essential is weird, its like its want s to argue for "save women first"?!

However, I think you need to reevaluate your position on the equal access to killing.

I think its important for the feminist movement not to put women in positions of power, where they have the right to harm others, based on state sanction. I'm willing to forgo women's liberation in this case so no one dies. You can do more housework and not join the police department, if it saves a life, even more so the army!

If your feminism is not explicitly anti-state and anti-imperialist, its just not good enough. Send it back to the drawing board and don't let it be a mouth piece for creating more agents of the state.

My problem is that any of these ideologies privilege a certain oppression over others, class can't come first, neither can gender. It all needs to be dismantled at the same time by all of us. The second you say one can go without the other you have hit murky water.

Anarchism is supposed to be about all hierarchies and how they are bound together and how they are mutually supportive, removing them one at a time logically seems like an ineffective tactic.

Do we have any common ground?

author by Waynepublication date Thu Feb 14, 2008 05:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I do not believe that Diedre is for removing oppressions one at a time. As I read her, she is saying that the oppression of women is relatively autonomous from class, having its own causes and results, but that class exploitation and women's oppression interact and hold each other up. This implies that both need be fought.

She does state that women's oppression might continue after capitalism is overthrown. While this may be true abstractly, if it happened it would not last very long: either women's oppression would be overturned or class exploitation would be restored--they are so intertwined.

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