"The women of Bikini Kill let guitarist Billy Karren be in their feminist punk band, but only if he's willing to just "do some shit." Being a feminist dude is like that. We may ask you to "do some shit" for the band, but you don't get to be Kathleen Hannah."--@heatherurehere

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Happy May Day!

If you benefit from an 8-hour workday, then you should be celebrating today!

Also, I'm glad to see that modern socialists are better at recognizing the diverse sorts of oppression that people of various genders may experience:
Marxism seeks not to separate exploitation from issues of oppression, but to show how they are connected, and how the solution to one cannot be separated from the solution to the other. It is not Marxism, but its critics, who tend to put the working class over on one side and the oppressed over on the other. But workers are men, women, gay, straight, Black, white, brown, speaking many different languages and coming from many different nationalities. If the working class is to successfully challenge capitalism, it must overcome these divisions. On this basis alone, it is essential to recognize the sources of division and inequality inside the working class if a strategy is to be devised to overcome them. Socialism is not only a theory of the liberation of the working class. It is a theory of the liberation of the working class as the foundation for the liberation of all of humanity--and not only from class exploitation, but all forms of oppression. As Lenin writes in his book What is to Be Done, “Working-class consciousness cannot be genuine political consciousness unless the workers are trained to respond to all cases of tyranny, oppression, violence, and abuse, no matter what class is affected.” The working class can only lead a popular revolution if it is capable of fighting not only around economic demands, but for the interests of all the oppressed. It would be a strange if this were not the case.

Sexism, national oppression and racism affect people of all classes in the oppressed group--but it affects them in very different ways. The wealthy experience oppression far more lightly than do the poor and working class. Rich women can get abortions even if they are illegal, whereas poor women cannot. Only poor Black men are given the death penalty. Wealthy African Americans can afford good lawyers. Moreover, Black and women capitalists actually benefit from the way racism and sexism divide the working class and keeps them down. They may chafe an the inequality they face, but they defend the system that depends on oppression in the first place, and therefore are only willing to accept limited changes that do not alter capitalist social relations.
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