What is the relationship between sex and class in the oppression of women? How useful is the concept of ‘patriarchy’? How do we assess developments in feminism, and what are the prospects for women in the years to come?
This pamphlet addresses these questions and many more. Beginning with a survey of different theories of the origins of women’s oppression, it goes on to examine the history of the theory and practice of the Marxist movement in relation to women. The pamhplet then assess te current dominant theories in feminism, including an analysis of the experience of feminism in local govenment.
The pamphlet argues that sex and class are thoroughly intertwined, and that the fight for women’s liberation can only succeed as part of the successful fight of the working class for power. This is not counterposed to the autonomous struggle of women now – indeed this is essential. But we argue for a new women’s movement based on the eneds and struggles of working-class women, and with a fighting orientation to the existing labour movement.
Women are over 50% of the population. Any socialist movement which ignores women is doomed to failure. As women become increasingly important as part of the workforce, so women’s needs are forced onto the political agenda. Women need a fighting women’s movement more than ever – to take on the Tories, and the sexists in our own labour movement.
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PART 1: The case for socialist feminism; the origins of women’s oppression
PART 2: Capitalism, socialism and women; what can socialism do?; classical Marxism and women; German Social Democratic women’s movement; Bolshevism and Stalinism
PART 3: Modern feminisms; original goals of the women’s movement; cultural feminism; rape, porn, peace and sexuality; the politics of experience
PART 4: Rainbow coalition politics
PART 5: Two systems, two struggles?; the unhappy marriage; the failures of the left