Marxism and women's liberation

The socialist roots of International Women's Day

Published on: Mon, 25/03/2019 - 10:49

Janine Booth

By the beginning of the twentieth century, the relatively-young capitalist system had thrown millions of women in industrially-developing countries into factories, domestic service and other work. Many occupations were gender segregated, and “women’s work” – such as textiles – was often in the most appalling sweatshops, with low pay, terrible safety standards, and long hours. But at least workers were together, rather than isolated in the home, so they were able to fight back. Women workers, both unionised and not, organised industrial disputes to win better conditions.

Although women had

Introducing: social reproduction theory

Published on: Mon, 25/03/2019 - 10:40

Kieran Miles

One of the key texts of early social reproduction theory was Lise Vogel’s Marxism and the Oppression of Women, published in 1983. Vogel’s aim in the book was to criticise the ‘dual systems theory’ that emerged from the 1970s, which saw (a) Marxism as an explanation for class exploitation, and (b) patriarchy as an explanation for women’s oppression: two linked but fundamentally separate systems.

Some, like Hartmann, explicitly stated that Marxism was ‘sex-blind’, which necessitated a 'specifically feminist analysis': of patriarchy. Some socialist-feminists went further and suggested how the two

A split in Iraqi socialist group

Published on: Wed, 18/07/2018 - 10:54

Nadia Mahmood & Martin Thomas

Nadia Mahmood of the Worker-communist Party of Iraq spoke to Martin Thomas about a split within her organisation.

Nadia: The resignation of our comrades Muayad Ahmed and Yanar Mohammad was announced after the central committee’s decision to take away Falah Alwan’s membership of the party.

MT: There must have been some political issues behind it, like the referendum?

Nadia: We always have different political views in our party. We always take decisions based on votes. That is basic. As regards the referendum, we had our differences but we set them out. So it wasn’t an issue. And the referendum

Capitalism, socialism, and women

Published on: Thu, 25/12/2014 - 00:00

Lynn Ferguson

First section of chapter 2 of "The Case for Socialist Feminism"

Women have been oppressed for thousands of years. Possibly they resisted the beginnings of this oppression with violence. For sure individual women have always kicked back and stood up for themselves. But the programme of women's liberation dates from capitalist society. Mary Aspell put it like this in 1706, linking women's liberation to the democratic manifesto of the bourgeois revolution: "Is it not partial in men in the last degree to contend for and practise that arbitrary dominion in their families which they abhor and

Stop the "anti-prostitute" vigilantes! (1994)

Published on: Sun, 31/08/2014 - 02:53

Sean Matgamna

LEAVE ASIDE for the moment the question of
whether or not they should do such a thing. What hap-
pens when you set a gang of men - any men - to roam the
streets as vigilantes, harassing, bullying, and intimidating
prostitute women?

They will soon be harassing, bullying, and intimidating
women who are not prostitutes - women who by their gait,
clothes, make-up, or behaviour, or where they happen to
be on a street or in a neighbourhood, look to the gang of
men "like prostitutes".

Already here we have crossed the line from facts — women
known for certain to be prostitutes — to the judgement of

Marxist ideas to turn the tide: fighting for liberation

Published on: Tue, 25/06/2013 - 17:53

The opening plenary of Ideas for Freedom 2013 explored key "Marxist ideas to turn the tide". Unite activist Elaine Jones discussed the idea of a workers' government, Unison shop steward Ed Whitby explained the meaning of "transitional demands" such as the call for the expropriation of the banks, and Greek revolutionary Theodora Polenta shared recent experiences of struggle and workers' control in Greece.

RMT Executive and TUC Disabled Workers' Committee member Janine Booth argued for class-struggle liberation politics - on race, gender, sexuality, and disability - to be at the heart of the

The Marxists on oppression

Published on: Wed, 10/04/2013 - 10:30

The fourth part of a review article looking at the themes of John Riddell’s new book of documents from the early communist movement.

The week Paul Hampton looks at how they debated women’s liberation and other issues of oppression.

The early Communist International’s focus was on working class self-liberation and this was reflected in the time spent on discussions on party building, work to transform the labour movement and on the specifics of class struggle strategy.

But the Bolsheviks had made their reputation as tribunes of the people, taking up any and every matter of injustice and

Marxism and feminism

Published on: Wed, 27/03/2013 - 16:23

Workers’ Liberty have been organising a series of meetings to discuss Marxism, feminism and the fight for women’s liberation today.

In Britain and internationally there is a revival of feminist ideas and activism. In past women’s movements Marxist ideas have played an important role but this isn’t so true today. It’s time to renew the link! And it is time for Workers’ Liberty to renew its Marxist feminist ideas.

With that in mind this series of workshops discusses issues ranging from what a Marxist analysis can offer to our understanding of women’s oppression today; to the question of whether

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