Blog of Emancipation

We also publish
The Marxist Dictionary (EN)
and the School of Marxism (ES).

Emancipation Statements


  • You may also find usefull our Navigation Map: all our articles in English ordered by section and date.

March 8th and feminism

2019-03-08 | Statements

The 8th of March, "Day of International Solidarity among the Female Proletariat," was born in 1910 in the Second International in order to promote the mobilization of proletarian women: an indissoluble and necessary part of the universal class and the emancipatory movement of the working class. It was originally a mobilization for universal suffrage through the organization of working women in the class struggle. A century and a bit later, it is now something very different.

The class perspective must have a clear position on the working class and bourgeois ideology. Today, it is evident that this date has been captured by the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie, anxious to mobilize the masses of people under their identities. In this case, the identity that arises both from the institutions and from their media is the "woman" as feminism understands her, that is to say as an interclassist political subject that includes the queen as well as the exploited strawberry day laborers, sharing common interests without contradictions.

The televisions don purple in honor of the anti-worker English suffragettes. Parties and unions call us to strike on March 8 and even the Civil Guard donned their social media in purple! Feminism has become a state ideology. Some feminists raise a supposed criticism alleging that the bourgeoisie is appropriating the feminist struggle. But this statement contradicts the historical perspective: the bourgeoisie elevates in presence and social importance an ideology that has always belonged to it.

Although the current feminist movement wants to trace its origins to the Enlightenment, it will not be until the suffragette movement that feminism will have acquired a certain social relevance. The suffragettes defended the vote for women under the same conditions as men: a census vote that excluded the working class from suffrage. In Britain, all men had the right to vote in 1918 while only the women of the bourgeois classes will get it. Proletarian women were not able to vote until 1928. In Germany, it was granted in 1919 as a "concession" to the workers in a desperate attempt to give legitimacy to the republic and to stop the Revolution that had begun with Rosa Luxemburg as a reference. That is to say, both in Germany and in Great Britain, women have only acquired the vote when capitalism had already entered its decadent phase, where the state had merged with capital and parliamentarism had become useless for workers.

The suffragette movement had been a movement composed mainly of women from the urban petty bourgeoisie. This origin was clear in its demands, demonstrations and even symbolism. The purple of virginity next to green; Joan of Arc as an exemplary icon. The discourses extolling a "better democracy" typical of English radicalism descended from Puritanism and the drift to sacrifice and immolation are an example of how the the origins of suffragism can be found in filtering Anglo-Saxon Puritanism through liberal radicalism.

It would be Sylvia Pankhurst, daughter of the great reference of suffragism, who would denounce all this in Great Britain itself, breaking with feminism through class criticism. As Rosa Luxemburg had already declared, feminism was the struggle on the part of bourgeois women demanding a place in the capitalist system together with bourgeois men, starting with the enfranchisement of the female property owners. Feminism addressed proletarian women to defend the rights of their "older sisters". Leading internationalist militants such as Rosa Luxemburg and Clara Zetkin saw clearly from the beginning what the feminist movement meant and that working women should not share this interclassist platform.

Bourgeois women's rights activists want to acquire political rights, in order to participate in political life. The proletarian woman can only follow the path of workers' struggle, which in the opposite way achieves every inch of actual power, and only in this way acquires statutory rights.

Rosa Luxemburg

So then were Rosa Luxemburg, Clara Zetkin and Kollontai "proletarian feminists"? The answer is clear: no. Just as one cannot speak of "proletarian nationalism", neither can one speak of proletarian-feminism, since both nationalism and feminism have interclass identitarianism as its starting point, therefore having no place in a classist and revolutionary conception.

There is no working woman separate from the working man, just as the worker who speaks Polish is not part of another political subject different from the worker who speaks Spanish. The universal class is the fundamental pillar for a true emancipation of humanity and the class is not a "front" of identities. Those evident discriminations that are thrown on the working class, whether based in ethnicity, nationality or sex, are a product of the yoke of the class society that has been weighing on Humanity for too many centuries. And it is on their current manifestation, capitalism, that the emancipatory struggle must be launched.

Those who propose a "better" capitalism, an "egalitarian" capitalism, actually offer us a reactionary utopia that will be daily push up against the wall of reality... leaving a bloody trail on the road. The reality of the grinder of human flesh that is the capitalism of the present state, built on a thousand discriminations and above all, on the exploitation of the world working class has no possible reform. In the purest totalitarian style, it invents its own inane "answer" on the basis of opinion campaigns. That the capitalist state itself in calls for a strike: from the unions, to the government institutions , the media and the university should make us suspect. That from the bosses, the conservative press and even the repressive forces of the State wear the color of feminism publicly on social networks should confirm our suspicions.

The reaffirmation of feminism as the ideology of the capitalist state on a world level is an undeniable reality. We are facing a new wave of petty-bourgeois egalitarianism promoted by capitalism both to divide the working class and to sell a false "better future" under the system. That is why we say clearly that we are not feminists. We are internationalists carrying the task of emancipating the proletariat. As Clara Zetkin said:

There is only a movement,an organization of communist women inside the communist party together with the communist men. The tasks and goals of communists are our tasks and goals

Clara Zetkin