Category Archives: gender

Susan Faludi: “The Patriarchs are Falling. The Patriarchy is Stronger than Ever.”

“Which leads me to wonder, if we get rid of a handful of Harveys [Weinsteins] while losing essential rights and protections for millions of women, are we really winning this thing? How is this female calamity happening in the midst of the Female Revolution? An answer may lie in a schism that has haunted women’s protest for 150 years.”

Roger Lancaster: “Identity Politics can only get us so far”

“Let’s give identity politics its due but let’s also be clear about its limitations. We can learn from the past, but not from potted histories that make terms like identity into abstractions. And we deceive ourselves if we think the path forward will involve the accumulation of minorities into a majority, the mere amalgamation of pre-constructed identities into a socialist movement.  The Left must now discover how to win over the publics currently being represented by identity brokers with an inclusive and universalist socialist program.”

Salar Mohandesi: “Identity Crisis”

“Instead of taking for granted the existence of a collection of bounded, undifferentiated, organic communities, perhaps we should look to the concept of class composition, that is, tracking the correlation between the manner in which a class is materially constituted at a specific moment in history and the manner in which that class composes itself, or how it actively combines the different parts of itself to construct into a single force. Instead of making assumptions about the needs of marginalized people, perhaps it might be worth undertaking concrete inquiries and self-inquiries to discover what people really want, why they have adopted certain political positions.  Finally, instead of assuming an automatic link between one’s DNA and one’s politics, we should turn to the concept of articulation to understand the contingent ways that different subjects arrive at different politics. … By challenging deterministic thinking, articulation can better explain why people adopt seemingly alien political positions, why antagonistic social forces enter into contradictory alliances, and why those who may not immediately face a particular oppression may still be in a position to combat those oppressions.”

Lynn Clement: “The Commune’s Marianne: An Art History of La Pétroleuse”

“The near-mythical pétroleuse was one of the principal figures to emerge from the short-lived, yet radical Paris Commune (1871). The pétroleuse represented those women accused of setting devastating fires that gutted government and cultural institutions during the Semaine Sanglant (The Bloody Week). … Damaging ideologies coalesced around the pétroleuse and as such, a study of these symbols of female destruction reveals the fears and tensions that surrounded French women’s political power and agency by way of the proletariat’s civil war and revolution.”

Michael Löwy: “Libertarian Kurdistan: it matters for us, too!”

“What these revolutionaries in the northern provinces of Syria are trying to do is without precedent. By way of community self-organisation from below, they are trying to rally the Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian, and Yezidi populations in a secular confederation that breaks out of religious sectarianism and nationalist hatred. To put ecology and feminism at the heart of an anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal, and anti-statist project. To drive forward equality between men and women through the co-president of all decision-making bodies, and the creation of an armed force composed of women. To invent a form of decentralised, democratic political power, based on communal assemblies and going beyond the state: democratic confederalism. This unprecedented experience is being built amidst dramatic circumstances, in a constant confrontation with powerful and implacable regressive forces. In a region of the world torn apart by religious intolerance, the exterminatory struggles among nationalisms, blind violence, wars between clans each one more reactionary than the last, the interventions by imperialist powers, and the hegemony of capitalism in its most brutal form, libertarian Kurdistan appears as a little flame of utopia, a light of hope, a haven of democracy.  Libertarian Kurdistan has no equivalent anywhere else in the world. The only comparable initiative is that of the Zapatista communities of Chiapas — they, too, founded on direct democracy, grassroots self-organisation, the rejection of state and capitalist logics, and the fight for equality between men and women.”

Laurent Dubois: “Heroines of the Haitian Revolution”

“What is the role of an artist in the face of political repression? What is the place of culture in the midst of injustice and terror? Haitian writer Marie Vieux-Chauvet (1916–1973), author of powerful novels representing the experience of living under the Duvalier dictatorship, confronted such questions throughout her life.  One of Vieux-Chauvet’s earliest novels, Dance on the Volcano (1957), just published in a new English translation, does so by journeying back to the world of plantation slavery and of the Haitian Revolution. The novel is woven around the life of a real historical figure, Minette, a free woman of African descent who overcame the racial barriers of the time to become a star singer on the colonial stage. It focuses on Minette’s struggle to find both an artistic and a political voice, using her story as a crossroads through which to explore broader questions about art, sexuality, politics, and revolutionary change.”

Holland Cotter: “To be Black, Female and Fed up with the Mainstream”

The exhibition “We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85” at the Brooklyn Museum asks: “What did women’s liberation, primarily a white, middle-class movement, have to offer African-American women in a country where, as late as the 1960s, de facto slavery still existed; a country where racism, which the movement itself shared, was soaked into the cultural fabric? Under the circumstances, to be black, female and pursuing a career in art was a radical move.”

Katha Pollitt: “March, Huddle, Fight: Why Feminism is Back in a Big Way”

Feminism is cool because, increasingly, it is “part of a bigger grass-roots movement for racial justice, immigrant rights, prisoners’ rights, labor rights and more. The concept of intersectionality, which is the idea that people have multiple identities and that all oppressions are connected, has helped bring women together.”

Anonymous: “Revolutionary Solidarity: Rojava and the International Struggle”

On the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria, rooted in the Kurdish liberation struggle: “This new paradigm for revolution has rejuvenated the struggle for smaller groups of anarchists and anti-authoritarians in cities to indigenous resistance at risk from neoliberal or capitalist enterprises, to armed guerrilla armies around the world. The longevity of this model rests on the connection with and success of such struggles around the world.”

Cinzia Arruzza: “Feminists are currently leading the way”

Following 8 March, International Women’s Day, “what characterizes this new feminist movement is precisely that it is making women’s labor visible and addressing women not simply as women, but as workers. It was not by chance that we appropriated the term ‘strike’ for March 8. … This is also why in the United States we adopted the slogan of the feminism for the 99%: we want a class-based feminist movement, for we are perfectly aware that women, and particularly racialized women, are the most exploited sector of the working class and also the sector that works the most, at home and outside the home.”