Working Class Feminism, Not Ruling Class Feminism!

by Mackenzie Yoffe Morris

Over the course of the Hillary Clinton campaign, the meaning of the word “feminist” became an especially hot topic. She may have called herself a feminist, but did we really have a woman running for president on a “feminist” platform? Whatever it was, it wasn’t a platform for working and oppressed people, but rather for the ruling class. In reality, there is not one women’s rights movement, but two: on the one hand, the ruling class movement that seeks integration of rich women into the existing institutions of power; and on the other, the movement led by the working class and oppressed peoples that seeks liberation for ALL women and gender nonconforming people. We must have a real commitment to the second type, and recognize the first for what it really is—another tool of the ruling class to trick us into thinking they’re progressive, when really their movement exists only for a small number of privileged women and can never be the force for real change that we need.

It’s crucial to recognize that the oppression of women isn’t separate from capitalism – it’s a fundamental part of it, and as long as capitalism exists it’ll be necessary for the ruling class to oppress women to maintain its power. When rich mothers leave home for careers in business and politics, who’s stuck taking care of the children? Often it’s outsourced to a poor, exploited nanny, another less privileged woman. Rather than fighting for a system where children can be raised by many loving people, none of whom have to put their greater aspirations on hold, the task is commodified and the burden is just displaced onto the working class. Rich women in business spend their careers underpaying their workers, especially working women, leaving millions of people struggling to get by while a select few try to compete with men at the very top. Rich women in U.S. politics spend their careers making decisions about how to manage the state’s global imperialist system, using unnecessary military violence and extrajudicial murder against colonized peoples in order to benefit U.S. business interests in their homelands.

ultimately we must all recognize that our greatest enemy is the capitalist class

It’s also crucial that the anti-capitalist women’s movement recognize that fighting for the liberation of ALL women means fighting for women of color and the interests of colonized peoples against all forms of white supremacy. It means fighting for LGBTQ+ women and all gender nonconforming people against reactionaries who defend the oppressive structures of the traditional family. And it means fighting for disabled women and all disabled people against the ableism of the capitalist system that treats them as disposable. All these oppressions are connected, and ultimately we must all recognize that our greatest enemy is the capitalist class. It’s our duty to organize a powerful resistance devoted to the liberation of all people from class exploitation and oppressions of every type – a resistance drawn from the massive participation of working and oppressed people, under a revolutionary platform guided by revolutionary theory.

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