[Marxism] Liberal feminism

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Thu Jun 24 10:32:44 MDT 2004

[I'm responding _only_ to the subject line, not the content of any

On another list to which I subscribe there periodically erupt threads
'criticizing' one or another aspect of THE LEFT (my caps). For example
some months ago there was a long thread about the inadequacies of left
writing and writers. Now it so happened that _none_ of the writers being
criticized were on the list -- and in any case no specific writers were
named. Posters just went on and on talking about dull writing on the
left. Several of us on the list objected sharply to this "criticism"
hanging in mid-air. What in the hell, we asked, in a number of different
ways, is the point of such shadow boxing? How will it change anything?

Now I am on another list, femecon-l, which is <dominated, with only one
or two exceptions, by "liberal feminists." On that list I occasionally
post sharp critiques of specific liberal feminist arguments, just as on
the other list I respond sharply to generic critiques of a vague "left"
not represented on the list.

Now as far as I know there is no liberal-feminist caucus on this list.
What this list lacks, and has lacked from its very beginning, are
serious attempts to analyze how sexism and male chauvinism _within_ the
working class and among leftists cripples left activity. I haven't had
much time lately, and I haven't (yet) read the many posts on this thread
since I last posted (except for one from Lou Paulsen, who seems to be
stating the revolutionary marxist-feminist perspective fairly well).
When I have time later on I'm going to gather the whole thread into a
Word file and study it for later response.

But without reading a single post I can assert with utter confidence of
its correctness, that to criticize, ON THIS LIST, "bourgeois feminism"
or "petty-bourgeois feminism" or "liberal feminism" is mere shadow
boxing, and is disgraceful.

Sexism cripples the capacity of workers (male and female, black and
white) to fight effectively, either for reforms or for revolution.


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