Home | About | Donate

Gloria Steinem Renews an Old Debate About Socialism and Feminism


#1

Gloria Steinem Renews an Old Debate About Socialism and Feminism

Peter Dreier

In 1905, Eugene V. Debs, the popular labor activist and Socialist Party leader, had a speaking engagement in Rochester, New York and went to visit the aging women’s rights pioneer Susan B. Anthony at her home there. They exchanged memories of their previous meeting; then Anthony took Debs’s hand and, with good humor, said, “Give us suffrage and we’ll give you socialism.” Debs’s good-natured reply was: “Give us socialism and we’ll give you the vote.”


#2

SO--Why are you supporting Hillary, Gloria?? She is no socialist, no "progressive" and probably not even a liberal. Her record is one of militarism and advocate of Wall Street, so why do you support her? I would think Jill Stein would be closer to your heart.


#3

A brilliant piece by Peter Dreier that all should read and enjoy!

"We can’t address issues like women’s access to abortion and health care, domestic violence, and paid family leave, as well as declining living standards, persistent poverty, and abusive corporate practices, without a coalition of Occupy Wall Street-like radicals, feminists, unionists, and racial justice activists. No matter who’s in the White House, it will be up to social movements to carry the momentum for real change."

For all the gains made we have as far and more to go. If we carry-on the momentum Occupy manifested and Bernie champions so well for us all, we will, we must, carry the day!

The Socialist and the Suffragist.”

“A lifted world lifts women up,”
The Socialist explained.
“You cannot lift the world at all
While half of it is kept so small,”
The suffragist maintained.
The world awoke, and tartly spoke:
“Your work is all the same:
Work together or work apart,
Work, each of you, with all your heart—
Just get into the game!”

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 1912


#4

How compatible is feminism and socialism? Please read the following from the Socialist Party - USA:

Women
The Socialist Party is a socialist feminist organization that recognizes that a struggle against habitual male dominance and patriarchy must go hand in hand with any struggle against capitalism. Therefore, we pledge our opposition to all forms of sexism, and demand equality in all aspects of life.

• We demand full support for every woman's right to choose when, if, and how to have children, including the right to free abortion on demand at any stage of pregnancy, without interference or coercion. Clinics providing abortion services must have the full protection of the law.

• We call for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment and all other legislation that limits access to abortion services, thus denying "the right to choose" to millions of women, particularly low-income women, women of color, and young women. We demand full reproductive freedom for all women by removing all discriminating barriers to reproductive rights and reproductive health care.

• We call for the banning of all involuntary sterilizations. We oppose the performing of any medical research or medical procedure without a woman's full knowledge and consent.

• We demand that local governments place a priority on preventing violence toward women, with coordinated programs to educate, provide shelter for women and children, and vigorously protect women from their abusers.

• We call for the decriminalization of prostitution and demand that sex workers, just like all women workers, are guaranteed a full range of health, social, and legal services; and working conditions free from harassment, violence, and exploitation.

• We call for 16 months paid leave to be shared by new parents or in its entirety by a single parent, and the expansion and full-funding of high-quality child care facilities.

• We support comprehensive educational and training opportunities, comparable worth laws, and affirmative action for women. We believe that women should be able to enter any occupation they choose, without hindrance.

• We believe that women should be free to improve their working lives through unions and other organizations, and that work at home, including child care, should be shared to enable women to fully participate in society.

• We call for organizational structure based on mutual consideration and respect, rotating leadership, gender balance, and processes that welcome and enable open and equitable participation in discussion and decision-making.

Source: http://socialistparty-usa.net/platform.html


#5

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


#6

Or, perhaps more Steinem mouth will help Bernie ?

Steinem's zealous promotion of Hillary proves that she is a de facto disciple of trickle down economics, and that may help Bernie's campaign.


#7

Good article and great comments.

I'd just like to point out that Colorado granted women the right to vote in 1893. It was the first state to do so. (Wyoming was earlier, but it was still a territory at the time.)


#8

Why did she do it? Hillary is famous and influential, like Gloria Steinem. That's the most exclusive club with the most loyal members you'll ever find. Jill Stein is not famous or influential, therefore anything she says or thinks is irrelevant.

Being famous is a prerequisite of being considered "serious". For example:

Ask yourself, would Gloria Steinem support Hillary eradicating Iran, as she once threatened to do? Wiping 45 million women and girls off the face of the Earth with the push of a bony finger? Sure! Name a famous and influential Iranian woman. Steinem can't. Hillary can't. These "powerful" pigs just want their turn at the trough.

Socialism!? Don't make Hillary or Steinem laugh! This is about making their lives better not yours. To them, Bernie is some sort of lunatic for actually giving a damn about anyone but himself.


#10

Socialists have always fought for women's equality and many leading socialists were women. The article is based on false assumptions that there was ever real friction -- except maybe among upper class feminists were were not progressive to begin with. Susan B. Anthony represented upper class sentiments, Alice Paul was a socialist.

Aside from socialists being on the front lines in the struggle for women's equality and civil rights in general, every socialist revolution has recognized women as equals, often freeing them from misogynist social oppression and every rollback or failure of socialism has resulted in losses for women.

Steinem is a former CIA agent, and an upper middle class pseudo-liberal. Her efforts on behalf of the women's struggle are to be commended but her politics are far from progressive. Identity politics is a diversion that leads us nowhere. Having a seat at a table of the corporate oligarchy is not progress. Turning over that table is.


#11

It certainly does not happen to everyone- my mother being a great example, but many people calcify when they enter their final years as Ms Steinem has clearly done. Their thinking tends to harken back to another 'world' and forgets all the intervening changes. Gloria seems to think the world is the same as it was in the 1950's when women who even made it to university dropped out when they found the 'right man'.
I do not know of many young women who would even think of doing that now. My own daughter went cross country to do her PhD. Her significant other did not follow. She shrugged her shoulders and moved on( tears were involved but not a doubt as to the fact that she would not give up her dreams for 'a man').
Gloria has clearly has stopped growing somewhere along the line. And in the process become an irrelevant fossil. How sad.


#12

About 20 years ago I had an interview at Ms. Magazine. I was working on an article that explained how the moon's link to females' menstrual cycles generated a reciprocal set of cyclic mood changes. This was a novel work and I wanted to see the premise introduced in Ms. (The reason was that I recognized how this understanding could offset what was already clear to me: far too many being encouraged to medicate these mood shifts away through Big Pharma's new legion of anti-Depressant drugs.)

The editor was so programmed by patriarchal standards that no matter how many ways I sought to convey the concept, she didn't get it. But Ms. was BIG into coverage of women's sports. There were lots of pages devoted to huge female athletes shooting balls into baskets.

It was clear to me back then that Ms. was far too stuck in measuring women's rights and women's abilities against the existing patriarchal system and its metrics.

As many know, I explain our nation's exaltation of weapons, war, gun ownership, and macho force as indicative of "Mars Rules." The angry father god to whom millions show homage in the form of fighting wars is proof positive of the powerful role played by this particular archetype. It's been the dominant one since the onset of patriarchy about 5000 years ago. However, it holds no monopoly over human behavior, identity, or true essence.

People adapt to the cultures they are born to. Families do their utmost to condition their children to abide by existing mores, rules, and presumptions.

In any society the outcast is treated with derision. It takes a VERY strong character to buck the existing currents.

Since W.W. II the U.S. has essentially morphed slowly into a Fourth Reich and that happened due to the importation of LOTS of Nazis into the U.S. State department, military, and academe. That's right, top Ivy League universities employed former Nazis in their psych. departments. (It was part of a military investment into Mind Control known as MK Ultra.)

Over time, the NSA became its own government going about the world assassinating leaders and it was this ilk (with help from Organized Crime) that took out JFK, RFK and others.

When Ike left the warning, to "beware the growing INFLUENCE of the military Industrial Complex" he knew what-of he spoke.

And for this entity to justify its own existence, particularly after the Cold War, it had to regularly invent enemies.

During times of war, National Security can trump all other laws including civil rights and civil liberties. The Nazis were expert in using this protocol. They also knew a thing or two about false flags and the Reichstag fire was the blueprint for 911.

They understood the power of propaganda, and in the U.S. due to the deregulation of media, corporations either directly affiliated with the MIC or enamored with its goals essentially morphed into a military-media complex.

That leads to the magic of lies told often and how effective they are at "manufacturing consent."

"War abroad entails tyranny at home" as Hannah Arendt related, and that led to Homeland Security, the National Defense Authorization Act, and as many of us sense... these military "laws" will be used against those who protest corporate malfeasance. It is the wish of the corporations now fused with the Homeland Security State to have NO rules to stop them from their accursed pillage and plunder of any and every ecosystem.

That's why they are pushing the TPP and TIPP.

Mars rules... in an unholy marriage with Mammon.

Translation: When the financial barons/corporatists fuse with the military, it's a time of HELL on earth. It already is for so many!

Note the pregnant women fearing babies born with broken brains?
Note the millions fleeing Syria?
Note the Afghanis traumatized by Drones overhead and their random killings?
Note the citizens of Flint raising children with long-term health problems?
Note the children of Honduras trying to flee gang violence?

The list is long.

The photo above shows what happens when women identify with MALE/patriarchal models of power and leadership. These invariably show homage to Mars Rules.

I will continue to challenge any frame that equates Feminism with martial hubris.


#13

I agree with you Giovanna....


#14

The invasion of Afghanistan was supported by leading feminists in the United States, where Hillary Clinton and other false tribunes of feminism made the Taliban's treatment of Afghan women the reason for attacking a stricken country and causing the deaths of thousands of innocent people.

That reason was bogus, as we now know.

This hijacking of progressive thought continued in the media and politics. Women were encouraged to think of themselves as liberated, at best, only in relation to men, almost never in relation to the power that rules both women and men. The angst of women seeking personal solutions and fulfillment fill newspapers and magazines.

In the Democratic party in the United States a movement known as Emily's List encouraged the positive discrimination for women in politics regardless of what politics they believed in. In the UK a similar group of women MPs in the Labour Party, known as Blair's Babes, dramatically increased female representation in parliament. Almost all of them voted for Blair's criminal invasion of Iraq. It's as if feminism has been hijacked under the noses of women and claimed by those pretending to empower women, but really containing them.

In Australia something similar has happened, as if the proud legacy of Australian feminism has been forgotten. Are young women told about the Australian women who mounted a unique campaign against conscription during the slaughter of the first world war? A poster headed 'The Blood Vote' showed a defiant woman voting against war and saying she wouldn't, "doom a man to death". On polling day all but one of Australia's political leaders urged a yes vote, but the nation followed the women and voted no.

Such was true feminism.

Thanks to Vashti Kenway and her comrades, women and men, the courageous, principled action against Max Brenner Chocolates outlets in Melbourne, the violence of the Victorian police and of the state itelf has been exposed.

That is true feminism.

Can you imagine that? Today when the anti-war movement is not allowed in politics and the media to have a positive public face, male or female, that represents perhaps a true silent majority in this country?

So what's happened to modern feminism? Why is so much of it apparently bereft of its political indeed socialist roots? It seems that any woman who achieves some form of power within an immoral system is to be admired.

Take the rise of Julia Gillard. The result of a macho, secretive, background maneuver, Gillard as prime minister is lauded by feminists like Germaine Greer, Anne Summers and others who might claim to be pioneers of the modern feminist movement.

Germaine Greer has called Gillard "a man's nightmare". She didn't mention Gillard's politics. She didn't say that Gillard is a nightmare to the aboriginal women, men and children she has belittled and blamed for their impoverishment while implementing punitive and racist measures against their communities. She didn't say Gillard is a nightmare to refugees detained behind razor wire in places where the children go mad. She didn't say how an icon like Gillard, this feminist icon as she's been described, distorts the heritage of feminism and cripples its progress.

Anne Summers praises Gillard for ending "the cultural taboos that have kept women from combat roles in the military". In other words, Gillard's feminist distinction is that she has removed gender discrimination in combat units of the Australian army. Thanks to her, women are now liberated to kill Afghans and others who offer no threat to Australia just like their male colleagues including those currently accused of killing civilians.

So yes, that's another glass ceiling smashed, the right to kill, the right to engage in perpetual war, the so-called "strategy" dreamt up by the American general David Patreus, now the director of the CIA, who personally briefed Gillard and whom she is said to admire.

The first female prime minister of Australia is one of the most militaristic leaders this country has ever had, constantly promoting the Edwardian myth that the blood of war maketh young men, and now women. It says something, I have to say, about the stupidity of much of Australian parliamentary politics that Gillard and her ALP cronies do not understand it seems that the war against terror is now a war against people within our societies. Yet regardless of her politics, many Australian women believe Gillard is, as Germaine Greer says, remarkable and feel they should be proud of her because she's a woman.

Why? I wrote about Gillard recently, the article appeared on the ABC's 'The Drum' web site. What was striking was that the comments were so defensive, with none of them honest enough to acknowledge the power game women have been drawn into, a game of consumerism and glass ceilings that has nothing to do with liberation or feminism, a game that divides gender from class.

For the truth is that what matters to those who wish to control our lives is not the gender we're born with, but the class we serve.—John Pilger


#15

Siouxrose1: again, very well said. I agree with you 100%.....You always hit the mark....but I am fearing that the end of this nation has already begun. The fact that people are supporting a candidate who has said NOTHING or next to nothing about global warming is a disgrace. I am watching a history piece about the Great Dust Bowl in the 30's....with global warming it's going to make the Dust bowl look like a picnic. Yet no one seems to care. it is the blind leading the blind. Very sad. I'm glad I never had children.


#17

Nocubed: VERY GOOD PIECE! I agree with everything in it!


#18

exactly...I went to an all girl Catholic High School....I can tell you a few things about females being every bit as abusive as males...But that is for another time.


#19

I am talking about the great feminist leader (not) Hillary Clinton regarding mentioning nothing about global warming, or next to nothing. Why? Because she will do nothing...


#20

In this race, Bernie is the better feminist --
better humanist.


#21

Has Hillary ever mention the ERA and the possibility of ratifying, or re-introducing?

Imo, Hillary has and will betray women for a nickel -- even on abortion.


#22

nocubed --

This post is being amended . . . . with apologies --

The invasion of Afghanistan was supported by leading feminists in the United States, where Hillary Clinton and other false tribunes of feminism made the Taliban's treatment of Afghan women the reason for attacking a stricken country and causing the deaths of thousands of innocent people.