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Towards An Abolitionist Feminism


Towards An Abolitionist Feminism

Zillah Eisenstein

As an anti-racist white feminist, I wonder if it is enough to be an “ally” in this present and “newest” moment of racist/militarist/carceral violence. Or, is there something more to do? I am thinking hard about this “newness,” which is also very old.


Paolo Freire (1968) wrote that the oppressed must choose their own mechanisms for liberation, and tell us our roles if we support their cause. Zillah won’t have a problem finding her role if she follows the lead of those whose causes she has espoused.


Super tightly-argued for such vast material being covered. Thanks Zillah Eisenstein for writing this, thanks for the lifetime of work that went into it, and thanks to Common Dreams for re-publishing it from the Feminist Wire.

i think this observation from the article is important for understanding and supporting the development of movements and solidarity going forward:

“The new resistance and organized movement(s) of Black men and women are more inclusive and radical than earlier leaderships in the 1960s and 1970s civil rights movement. This may in part be because racism itself has become more exposed in its complex forms. The leadership of Black Lives Matter, Million Hoodies, Hands Up United, Dream Defenders, etc. is staffed with people of all genders and sexual orientations.”

The emergent leadership of the “newest new” movements is more steeped in corporeal solidarity and cross- and multi-identity analysis and organizing. Everyone involved in every kind of movement right now should pay close attention and be open to being schooled by this new leadership!


One of the consequences and legacies of the male dominance/materialism model is the confusion resulting from the often intentional social conflating dogma of material scientism and technocratic power structure - as if it embodied the methodology of basic science, and when that fails buying off the science.

Rupert Sheldrake places 10 common presumptions in society constantly circulated as ‘truth’ without ever being objectively brought to task.


I want to write something here which is difficult to express. Due to lack of understanding of the true nature of the three pending trade deals, as well as lack of understanding of their irreversibility, as well as misplaced trust in certain leaders, there is now a very imminent threat to all sorts of anti-discrimination laws and hard won labor-related statutes that is creeping up on us completely unrecognized in the form of the trade in services agreement. (TISA) i cannot think of single victory of the last fourty years that is not in danger of suddenly vanishing under the TISA if services are liberalized.

Suddenly, control would depart washington and be vested in international trade bodies and the overriding instructions embedded in the TISA mandate to them is to prioritize further liberalisation, which also means a standstill on everything that is not liberalisation. its even possible that a great many laws which were put into place subsequent to the US’s accession to GATS (perhaps in 1998’s addition to GATS) may be rolled back.

the areas that need scrutiny are in the 1990s era GATS agreement and the online criticism of same. In the United States one of the best employers for nonwhite people is arguably the federal government. TISA attacks the concept of public services directly, framing them as a theft of or at best a devaluation of that market which needs to be compensated to its owners, corporations. Its likely that public employment of workers in virtually all public services would fall very substantially, likely becoming only a fraction of what it was before and some sectors like education and health care (See the discussions here and here about health care and GATS and here and here about education) might be privatized completely.

One of the goals of TISA is to increase the cross border services trade so costs can be lowered due to increased competition.

The value system which would become ascendant is the neoliberal one which values providing a service at the lowest price as the highest virtue as long as that service is delivered by a corporation. Despite the fact that public servants and public services are usually more affordable, or perhaps because of that fact, they are under attack in a very devious and sinister manner. Policies which have become the norm in the US would be likely to be challenged as obstacles to services trade by those entitled to perform it due to low bids.

there is unfortunately another side to this story, which shows how important transparency should be in trade negotiations. It appears that these concessions on Mode Four have been dangled as bait in front of developing countries for a very long time to keep them at the negotiating table.

In effect, governments in developed countries seem to have been promising payoffs from globalization to multiple groups which were and are mutually exclusive. this is what William Black calls “Control Fraud”. For example, minimum wages can be seen in multiple ways, they may be seen by services providers in poor countries in an altogether different way than they are seen by long suffering workers in developed countries.

Here are some documents which illustrate graphically what I mean, from a variety of sources. I think what is really called for is for all these groups to start communicating and coordinating internationally to prevent a catastrophe for most of the people of this world.

perhaps some kind of job sharing arrangement would be appropriate where workers could rotate say one year out of every five into education and another year living in the shoes of their counterpart elsewhere. It will only be by doing things like that that the human race will survive this difficult transition away from the kind of work we did in the past to the kinds of work we will do in the future. Educational availability is absolutely key to employment and scientific independence. TTIP and TISA are nothing less than an attack on public education. there will be no equality without widespread global access to education. So this is where they are focusing.

GATS and Public Service Systems these GATS definitions like this one are borrowed upon in the new FTAs and that really should not be allowed. I cannot over emphasize how bad an idea that is.
WTO | Technical barriers to trade - Technical Information

“I Already Bought You” | Human Rights Watch

Liberalization of the Temporary Movement of Natural Persons and the Gulf Between Unskilled and Skilled Service Suppliers; Suggestions for Further Liberalization of GATS Mode 4 by Aaron A. Ostrovsky

EAC Geneva Forum- WTO Note 17.pdf


Labor mobility / Mode 4 paper

Rising powers’ venue - shopping on international mobility

In a worst case scenario, all jobs that could not pass a number of tests would be liberalised, with certain exemptions existing for very narrow categories that might be intentionally deceptive, but almost never apply.


Another modality of “deregulation” of services / rollback of popular power, already being implemented even without TISA / ISDS systems fully in place, is the arbitration clause written into “terms of service” that consumers submit to: In case of a dispute, the matter goes before an approved arbitrator.

Can consumers in such disputes choose / veto the arbitrator? No, the arbitrator is from a panel set up for such disputes, and decisions of arbitrators tend to be corporate-friendly.

In my best-case scenario, “consumers” recognize we are far more than consumers, and we choose to not avail ourselves of products and services sold to us only if we check the box that says “i agree to the terms of service;” we insist on our own “terms of service,” we take care of each other and we fight off tyranny. (i acknowledge i’m writing on a computer for which i “agreed” to the terms-of-service.)

The concept of organic human solidarity seems impossible to grasp. But it is good to see awareness spreading about what the TPP and TTIP are.


What i was trying to say is that women who (in my opinion) deserve equal rights) are among the groups whose rights may vanish in the push to give foreign corporations equal rights to domestic corporations and not discriminate.

All human rights will be subverted to corporate ones. Additionally corporate rights to get jobs if they bid less will be elevated.
Also, they may be able to get rid of minimum wage laws in countries by appealing to the higher power, at the WTO or similar.

One needs to understand the new way of neoliberalism which will become ascendant if we dont call and get them to avoid fast track.

How can we tell a corporation from a country where there are no female engineers to hire more, we can’t. How can we tell a corporation where there are no black people to hire more, we can’t.

Black people cannot bring up their history of slavery to exclude Africans. get my point? They cannot bring up their low wages to exclude people who currently make just a few dollars a day, who have advanced degrees, when they don’t.

Under services liberalisation, people don’t get to travel freely, but corporations do.

Employment, (which is likely to be falling rapidly due to exponential growth in the rate of developments in improvements in productivity) will all devolve to education AND your corporation’s low bidding.

New forms of employment such as worker co-ops will either have to globalize or be left out of the bidding because they wont be able to perform their work anywhere in the world they are required to.

Because of a global procurement system instead of local.

Also, all carve outs have to be put into these agreements early in the process. The kinds of carve outs that basically get women and minority owned businesses more work. None of those frames will work for them in this new global marketplace.

This is why we ALL need free education through grad school for life, with no discrimination, everybody, most of the planet is SO far behind now. But in both TTIP and TISA, they are making that - giving away things which may be sold by anybody, FTA illegal too.

Many people simply wont be able to work ever again, but these deals may buy out just unions and leave everybody who is not in a union out in the cold, literally (because of the pending TTIP energy which deal will likely be selling our natural gas to the highest bider, I suspect.)