Melbourne, 3 March 1988 Radical Women is an international socialist feminist organisation comprised of women workers, students and welfare recipients of many races, both gay and straight, older and young…. Read more »
women & feminism
This is a summary of a talk presented at a meeting of Melbourne Radical Women held on 9 March 1988. Evelyn is a socialist feminist and lesbian activist. Women’s health… Read more »
The limitations of seeking employment equality within the existing structures are clear. Equal opportunity programs only provide the option for some to get nearer to the top of an unequal system. We need to defend and extend such reforms by using them as tools to protect existing rights and gains. But reforms cannot finally redress the inequitable position of women and other oppressed groups in the labour market, let alone society as a whole.
One is that we are all lesbians or a least celibate women who prefer to socialise mainly with other women. This has become a stumbling block to the movement. Instead of clear political demands about fighting the oppression of lesbians that we expect all who support women’s liberation to take up and fight for, we’ve got a bizarre combination of lesbian political invisibility but an underlying assumption that in our lifestyles we are all dykes. We’ve got to make IWD political; we have to address the issues of the day — those that people who aren’t at IWD are concerned about or fighting around.
Revolutionary feminism is the only program and method that can truly unite the class and the Trotskyist movement, for it is a unity based on equality and mutual respect and not on a lower caste sacrificing itself for an upper caste. Women, people of colour, lesbians, youth, elders and differently abled just happen to be the most exploited sectors of the proletariat. We as Trotskyists are obliged to hoist our banner with them.
Zetkin was a pioneer who paved the way for many fighters for women’s liberation who followed. She was a great leader of working class women. One of her greatest contributions was to successfully challenge the dangerous and incorrect notion that socialism and feminism and incompatible ideologies.
This tribute to the work of Bertram Wainer, who died on 16 January, 1987, was presented to the 28 January 1987 meeting of Radical Women. It is only fitting that… Read more »