Women's Fightback 23, 8 March 2019

Transphobia and materialism

Published on: Mon, 25/03/2019 - 11:07

Natalia Cassidy

This article is written in the hope of generating some discussion around this topic, the author would strongly encourage response pieces, whether in agreement or disagreement.

Discussion around trans rights, particularly in the last few years, has largely fallen into two strands: the liberal identitarian view, and the essentialist, determinist view held by some of those who call themselves radical feminists. I hope to offer an alternative view grounded in materialism, situating transphobia within gendered oppression and broader, queer oppressions.

The material basis of gendered oppression is,

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

Women and the alt-right

Published on: Mon, 25/03/2019 - 10:47

Cathy Nugent

The image (and to large extent the reality) of US alt-right/far right activist groups is that they are overwhelmingly populated by men. Indeed, these groups draw on certain themes associated with “toxic masculinity”; for example, extremely conservative views on gender and gender-defined social roles. The anti-feminist Men’s Rights Movement has been a “gateway movement” for the alt-right.

It may come as a surprise that, according to the 2016 American National Election Survey (ANES), men are not more likely to have those core social feelings that underlie the current US far right (essentially,

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

Edith Lanchester and "free love"

Published on: Tue, 12/03/2019 - 12:36

Edith Lanchester (1871-1966) was a British socialist and feminist, who came to prominence in the late nineteenth century for making a challenge to the institution of marriage.

Lanchester came from a prosperous family in Battersea, in south London, but committed herself to the socialist movement. She joined the SDF in 1892, rising to a position on its executive in 1895.

Her socialist feminist convictions had led Lanchester to conclude that the wife's vow to obey her husband was oppressive and that she was politically opposed to the institution of marriage. Acting on her convictions, Lanchester

Women fighting Stalinism

Published on: Tue, 12/03/2019 - 11:52

Jill Mountford

How does a woman who adamantly refused to call herself a feminist and was vehemently “anti- communist”, who was a passionate Roman Catholic and held Pope John Paul II as one her heroes, and later friend, herself become an inspirational hero for socialist feminists?

For starters, she does so by being astonishingly courageous; by challenging the crushing Stalinist, anti-working class bureaucracy in her workplace over two long decades; by organising an underground workers’ group, and, in doing so, becoming the subject of constant harassment and risking imprisonment.

Anna Walentynowicz was the

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