For and Against Feminism is not simply a history. It is also a present and a future. The final section of the book, Coming to Terms With Our Colonial Past, in many ways points to directions for future theoretical work.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
I like the title of this conference,“Parallels and Intersections: Racism and Other Forms of Oppression.” It hints at what I believe: that since we have many forms of oppression, there… Read more »