women & feminism

Andrea Dworkin, Intercourse, New York, Free Press (1988). 326 pages.

Summer/Autumn 1990

Dworkin offers no hope for women. She identifies “contextual reforms” and political programs, only to dismiss them as off-base and futile. So, she indiscriminately lumps together demands for economic equity or rape laws that work with calls for electing women to political office and athletic excellence, condemning them all for failing to “address the question of whether intercourse itself can be an expression of sexual equality.”

Defending Reproductive Freedom: An International Struggle for Women’s Rights

Summer/Autumn 1990

Abortion is about the right of women to biological and sexual self determination. It is about our right to be economically independent. Because abortion is such a fundamental issue it is one of the first targets picked out by the right wing for their agenda to shore up the institution of the nuclear family through compulsory pregnancy for able-bodied white women but forced celibacy or sterilisation or DepoProvera for Aboriginal women, disabled women and women in institutions.

First International Indigenous Women’s Conference Report Back

Summer/Autumn 1990

The conference allowed the women a platform to express their frustration and anger, but most of all, their survival. Never have I been a part of such a large group of strong, strong women. It was an absolutely inspirational event to be a part of.

‘Equal Opportunity’ in 1988 – A Balance Sheet

Summer 1988/1989

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.

International Women’s Day: Ghetto Festival or Front Line of the Struggle for Women’s Liberation?

Summer 1988/1989

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.

Women’s Emancipation and Permanent Revolution

Summer 1988/1989

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.

Clara Zetkin – Revolutionary Fighter for Women’s Liberation

Summer 1988/1989

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.