Socialist Feminism: A Strategy for the Women's Movement →
We have written this paper to express and share with other women ideas for a new strategy for the women’s movement. Currently there are two ideological poles, representing the prevailing tendencies within the movement. One is the direction toward new lifestyles within a women’s culture, emphasizing personal liberation and growth, and the relationship of women to women. Given our real need to break loose from the old patterns—socially, psychologically, and economically—and given the necessity for new patterns in the post revolutionary society, we understand, support and enjoy this tendency. However, when it is the sole emphasis, we see it leading more toward a kind of formless insulation rather than to a condition in which we can fight for and win power over our own lives.
The other direction is one which emphasizes a structural analysis of our society and its economic base. It focuses on the ways in which productive relations oppress us. This analysis is also correct, but its strategy, taken alone, can easily become, or appear to be, insensitive to the total lives of women.
As socialist feminists, we share both the personal and the structural analysis. We see a combination of the two as essential if we are to become a lasting mass movement. We think that it is important to define ourselves as socialist feminists, and to start conscious organizing around this strategy. This must be done now because of the current state of our movement. We have reached a crucial point in our history.
On the one hand, the strengths of our movement are obvious: it has become an important force of our time, and it has also succeeded in providing services and support for some women’s immediate needs. Thousands of women see themselves as part of the movement; a vaguely defined “women’s consciousness” has been widely diffused through rap groups, demonstrations, action projects, counter-institutional activity, and through the mass media. Women in the movement have a growing understanding of common oppression and the imperative of collective solutions. With the realization that what we saw as personal problems were in fact social ones, we have come to understand that the solutions must also be social ones. With the realization that all women lack control over their lives, we have come to understand that that control can only be gained if we act together. We have come to understand the specific needs of various groups of women and that different groups of women have different ways in which they will fight for control over their own lives.
On the other hand, the women’s movement is currently divided. In most places it is broken into small groups which are hard to find, hard to join, and hard to understand politically. At the same time, conservative but organizationally clever entrepreneurs are attaching themselves to the movement, and are beginning to determine the politics of large numbers of people. If our movement is to survive, let alone flourish, it is time to begin to organize for power. We need to turn consciousness into action, choose priorities for our struggles, and win. To do this we need a strategy.
Our movement’s strategy must grow from an understanding of the dynamics of power, with the realization that those who have power have a vested interest in preserving it and the institutional forms which maintain it. Wresting control of the institutions which now oppress us must be our central effort if women’s liberation is to achieve its goals. To reach out to most women we must address their real needs and self-interests.
At this moment we think that it is important to argue for a strategy which will achieve the following three things: 1) it must win reforms that will objectively improve women’s lives; 2) it must give women a sense of their own power, both potentially and in reality; and 3) it must alter existing relations of power. We argue here for socialist feminist organizations. We are not arguing for any one specific organization but for the successful development of organizations so that we may be able to learn from experience and bring our movement to its potential strength.
A good summary of the advantages (and limits) of Socialist Feminism.
Protesters shout slogans against Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan as they march during a demonstration against the Turkish government’s foreign policy on Syria, in central Hatay, May 12, 2013.
shout out to las madres who are caught between borders and can’t be with their children.
"I’m wary of anything that smacks of “making feminism sexy.” Sex-positivity should be a part of feminism because sexuality is important—not because feminism needs spicing up. I really don’t want to imply any “be a feminist ally and you’ll get lots of kinky sex” deals here, or any “don’t worry, we’re not man-haters, we’re into stripteases and blowjobs!” cajoling. The challenge of integrating sex-positivity into feminism is communicating “women’s sexual desire matters” without giving any ammunition to “women are for sex."
"Also, these “subtle social cues” we leave ain’t some weird code men are unable to understand. There’s been studies shown that men are perfectly capable of interpreting the wishes, needs and emotions of other people based on non-verbal cues and that, in fact, most of human communications between men, between women and between both together is made of non-verbal cues, body language, facial expressions etc.
Where men are failing is that they IGNORE women’s social cues, or treat them as unimportant, or override the cues they receive with their own assumptions and stereotypes and demands about women. They fail because they forget that we’re people."
Lorena Borjas: Why she kicks ass
- She is a Mexican trans activist, and health educator for the transgender community.
- She started the Lorena Borjas Community Fund; which is a volunteer-run project created to institutionalize the support that Lorena has provided for years. The LBCF Fund supports low-income gay, bisexual, lesbian, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and gender non-conforming immigrants avoid the collateral consequences associated with criminal convictions, jail time and court appearances.
- She works with the AIDS Center of Queens County, and with Trans Latinas, a collective of transsexual Latinas that strive to create more tolerance within the Latino community and among the authorities.
for those not in the know, night witches were russian lady bombers who bombed the shit out of german lines in WW2. Thing is though, they had the oldest, noisiest, crappest planes in the entire world. The engines used to conk out halfway through their missions, so they had to climb out on the wings mid flight to restart the props. the planes were also so noisy that to stop germans from hearing them combing and starting up their anti aircraft guns, they’d climb up to a certain height, coast down to german positions, drop their bombs, restart their engines in midair, and get the fuck out of dodge.
their leader flew over 200 missions and was never captured.
(Source: sovietico, via thedame)
In her trilogy, Pratham Pratisruti, Subarnalata, and Bakul Katha, Ashapurna Devi traces the progression of the feminist movement from colonial to post- colonial India. Anita Ghosh in Feminism In Indian Writings In English, edited by Amar Nath Prasad.
Covers of Ashapurna Devi’s books (click to see larger version). The books to the right and left are Pratham Pratisruti, (available in English translation, torrent of the 1971 movie) the book in the middle is Bakul Katha (Bakul’s Story). From right to left there is an evolution in the blouse, from the heavily Victorian influenced version on a little girl (a look complete with ribbons for the hair) to the retention of the frill in the blouse to the pared down completely Indian version familiar from the 1950s on.
Of the books themselves, chronologically Pratham Pratisruti is the earlier book, a kind of awakening of feminist conciousness whilst Bakul Katha is a critique of a detached kind of feminism in post colonial India (rough summing up).