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Lucy Parsons: The Anarchist and Intersectional Feminist Who Inspired May Day


Lucy Parsons: The Anarchist and Intersectional Feminist Who Inspired May Day

Laura Flanders

Workers shouldn't strike and go out and starve, but strike and remain in, and take possession, said Lucy parsons. Lifelong partner of Albert parsons, one of the American Labor Leaders, most associated with the founding of the American May Day tradition.

Lucy Parsons


Intersectional? My, aren't we up on the jargon-du-jour.


Intersectionality (or intersectional theory) is the study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. The theory suggests that—and seeks to examine how—various biological, social and cultural categories such as gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, religion, caste, age, nationality and other sectarian axes of identity interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels. The theory proposes that we should think of each element or trait of a person as
inextricably linked with all of the other elements in order to fully
understand one's identity.[1] This framework can be used to understand how systemic injustice and social inequality occur on a multidimensional basis.[2] Intersectionality holds that the classical conceptualizations of oppression within ociety—such as racism, sexism, classism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia and belief-based bigotry—do
not act independently of each other. Instead, these forms of oppression interrelate, creating a system of oppression that reflects the "intersection" of multiple forms of discrimination.[3]


Very interesting talk by Prof. Richard Wolff at Bard College earlier in April.


Bravo.....Tell it like it is!


Lucy Parsons, the Wobs, and all anarcho-sindicalists, did not and do not waste their time on electoral politics or any other kind of politics except the struggle between worker and capitalist.


Thanks for the link. Well worth a listen.
Wolff's reference to the surging interest in socialism is good news. Its Sixty odd years since the fall of Joe McCarthy, We have been indoctrinated with such a distorted, repressive understanding of the world especially since the end of WWII. That includes a vast majority of the American people.Its a wonder we can think at all.


In the context of her times, yes, Lucy Parsons had very big balls...., but in the context of our times I do wish we could find some other way to praise courage, bravery, strength in women than to use this masculine metaphor. What does it say about us that it is still the best available to evoke these qualities?


I just looked up the Wikipedia article on "intersectionality" and found, sure enough, that it was the usual postmodernist gibberish that I, and leftists much smarter than I like Noam Chomsky find to be incomprehensible nonsense.

So I think that it is safe to say that "intersectionality" is not something Ms. Parsons would have understood or agreed with, or seen any relevance to in day-to-day struggle. There is racism, there is class war, and there is sexism - each serves different bosses in different situations. What other elaboration is needed?

The damage done to the US left being associated with these "critical studies" and postmodernist academics has been severe.


Thanks, EoW, for your reply. The lack of a female equivalent seems to be simply a reflection of several millennia of cultural attitude in which the virtues implied by the word 'ballsy' were not meant to apply to women. To invoke goddesses or amazons seems a tad academic and mother bears are not quite to the point. Fact is, Everyone, but everyone understands 'ballsy' at a non-intellectual level. Now take a look at the word 'virtue' itself.......( Vir - L, man.) Gender is built into our languages, and attempts to change cultural attitudes by 'neutralising' pronouns, prefixes and suffixes may be a worthy try, but what exactly will it accomplish in the wider world of gender inequality?


As she always does, Laura Flanders focuses in on bringing quality journalism and thought to the people. I get her emails and find all content to be so.