We Need More of This
Posted on August 24, 2008
Jess H has got a post up at Feministe entitled “Towards a Liberationist Feminism (Or, I Hope Pro-Capitalist Feminism is an Oxymoron)”, that for me is like a breath of fresh air wafting through the blogosphere.
It’s an American site, so the feminists she references as having built a legacy for us to work from may not necessarily accord with the list I would use, but apart from that it’s a faultless piece of work.
Of course there’s an argument to be made that this kind of analysis is too elitist and too ‘academic’ to appeal to many grassroots activists, as well as an argument to be made that we haven’t really got time for intellectual debates about intersectionality et al, when out in the real world women are dying and suffering violence on an unprecedented scale: a lot of the time I would probably be the one putting those arguments.
But sometimes, just sometimes, it’s nice to kick back and read something like this, especially when, if you’re anything like me, your reaction is one of: “Yes! Thank fuck someone else gets it!”
I particularly like:
“I cannot envision a liberation-oriented, social-justice feminism that does not challenge class hierarchy and economic exploitation. And I don’t believe there can be a pro-capitalist challenge to economic domination because I believe capitalism, even “regulated capitalism,” is rooted in economic hierarchy and exploitation — as well as a focus on money/the financial bottom line as some kind of ultimate determinant that will solve and resolve everything else. The planet, society, cultures, people—all are more complicated than that. Capitalism, for all its supporting myths of individuality and freedom, is a blunt system that ignores, excuses, fails to integrate way too much.”
I agree with all of this, however, where I think Jess and I may part company is in thinking that the overthrow of capitalism will automatically herald the end of hierarchies and exploitation, or as she puts it:
“I do think that resisting capitalism, globally, is integral to antiracist, progressive, social-justice feminisms — that is, the only kinds of feminism I think have a chance of liberating anyone/everyone.”
It will take more than the restructuring of societies and economic systems to bring an end to rampant misogyny, oppression and exploitation. For that to happen, men’s attitudes also need to change. I can’t help thinking that achieving that revolution is a bigger and far more difficult task than all the rest put together.