is capitalism’s crisis putting revolution back on the agenda?

9 12 2011

A guest post by Mark Kosman. Every attempt to go beyond capitalism has ended in failure. But are capitalism’s present problems putting anti-capitalist revolution back on the agenda? To answer this question, this article looks at past revolutions, with particular emphasis on class struggle, while rethinking aspects of the Marxist, anarchist and feminist traditions.

In the 20th century, every attempt to go beyond capitalism ended in failure. Either people looked to socialist politicians, whose reforms made capitalism even more secure, or they supported revolutions that degenerated into repression and mass killing. Consequently, today, few people have much hope that humanity could ever successfully transcend capitalism.

But are capitalism’s present problems putting anti-capitalist revolution back on the agenda? And could a future revolution liberate humanity in ways that past revolutions failed to achieve? To try to answer these questions, I am going to look at past revolutions with particular emphasis on aspects that are rarely considered in conventional left discourse. These include humanity’s origins, gender and military history and the revolutionary transcendence of work and democracy. Read the rest of this entry »





slutwalk: because we’ve had enough

16 06 2011

Bahar Mustafa reports on London SlutWalk

Picture it. A beautifully warm day in June, sunshine spilling over central London, luscious greenery surrounding the pavements en route, vibrant cheers and chants resonating from the front of the march of about 5,000 energetic, lively and colourful people; a mishmash of corsets, garters, nipples, bare bottoms, fishnets and lipstick. But more noticeable than anything was the vivacious confidence of the crowds of passionate people pissed-off at the victim-blaming culture of sexual violence and rape against women that has gone unchallenged for far too long.

SlutWalk saw its first ever march in Toronto in January 2011. Around 1,000 women and dozens of men took to the streets in protest at Constable Michael Sanguinetti’s despicable comments warning young female university students that they ought to “avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised.” The movement quickly spread to Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Mexico City, Sydney and now London. Read the rest of this entry »





sexism: from one prison to another

28 03 2011

Latife Faydali writes on how the she was scarred by the twin sexisms of repressive ‘family values’ and sexual violence

As a working class girl born and raised in North London with a Turkish Cypriot background, I was always very aware of gender and the implications that being a Turkish girl had upon my choices. This would affect what clothes I would wear, the people I mixed with, the age in which I would be allowed out with friends, the boyfriends I had (but was not allowed to have!) and of course my sexual autonomy and sexuality. Read the rest of this entry »





change of venue: feminism event 20th february

10 02 2011

a day of mutual learning and exchange hosted by The Commune, 20th February, London. This will now take place at The Arbour, 100 Shandy St, London E1 4ST.

We believe that most of the left has a pretty poor record on gender. Even if overt sexism is less common than in the past, informal hierarchies and alienated, gendered relations run rampant. But this practice can – and must – change if we are ever going to revolutionise society.

As against swallowing the old left traditions, we believe it is important that the left critically reappraise our theory, practice and organisation in the light of socialist feminist politics, as well as the experience of working women’s struggles more broadly.

This is not a day for The Commune to lay down any ‘party line’, but rather to create a space for discussion of the insights of anti-capitalist feminism and the inter-relation between class and gender struggles. We hope to exchange ideas in a participatory, un-dogmatic and inclusive manner. We have planned three workshops. Read the rest of this entry »





feminism, organisation and class struggle

20 01 2011

a day of mutual learning and exchange hosted by The Commune, 20th February, London

We believe that most of the left has a pretty poor record on gender. Even if overt sexism is less common than in the past, informal hierarchies and alienated, gendered relations run rampant. But this practice can –  and must – change if we are ever going to revolutionise society.

As against swallowing the old left traditions, we believe it is important that the left critically reappraise our theory, practice and organisation in the light of socialist feminist politics, as well as the experience of working women’s struggles more broadly.

This is not a day for The Commune to lay down any ‘party line’, but rather to create a space for discussion of the insights of anti-capitalist feminism and the inter-relation between class and gender struggles. We hope to exchange ideas in a participatory, un-dogmatic and inclusive manner. We have planned three workshops.  Read the rest of this entry »





why are we still protesting this crap?

17 11 2010

Bahar Mustafa writes on debates among feminists in Oxford over a lap dancing club

Oxford Brookes University sells itself as a modern, business-orientated institution which boasts a hefty contribution of £1 million every single day of the year to the UK economy.

As impressive as that may be to many people, some friends and I thought it odd that such a reputable institution, with its myriad of student organised societies, should be fiercely lacking in a space where gender inequality is highlighted and challenged. So earlier this year, an enthusiastic group of us of varying backgrounds, genders and sexualities, founded the first Feminist Society at Brookes; aka: OMFG! Organised Multicultural Feminist Group. Read the rest of this entry »





a strike made in hollywood

17 11 2010

‘Feel-good’ hit movie Made in Dagenham didn’t make Sheila Cohen feel very good…

A film about a strike that really happened, a strike that brought a huge multinational to a standstill, a strike that was waged and led by women… What’s not to like? Only that Made In Dagenham fails to tell the true, and far more significant, story of the 1968 Ford sewing machinists’ strike – a story of class rebellion against exploitation rather than of softly gender-focused togetherness.

For its first half hour, Made In Dagenham looks good. Apart from the stripping-off scenes in the sweaty factory, unanimously repudiated by strike survivors, the film more or less tells it like it was – i.e. that the sewing machinists were involved in a grading dispute. The emphasis is necessary, because, along with almost every account of the dispute over the last 40-odd years, the next two-thirds of the film stubbornly present it as a “strike for equal pay”. Read the rest of this entry »





women at the cutting edge… 30th october

22 10 2010

A day of discussions hosted by Feminist Fightback. 11am – 5pm, Saturday 30 October at The Arbour, 100 Shandy Street, London E1 4ST (nearest tube Stepney Green)

On 20 October the ConDem government’s “Spending Review” will detail enormous cuts in public services. We are already feeling the impact of earlier cuts many effected by Labour; nurseries and libraries are closing, jobs are being lost. As the government “austerity drive” steps up, the reality is that cuts will hit the lives of all but the wealthiest. In many cases women will be hit the hardest with recent reports estimating  that women will suffer 72% of the tax and benefit cuts. Read the rest of this entry »





big flame: doing things a different way

9 10 2010

Big Flame was a revolutionary socialist feminist organisation active in Britain between 1970 and 1984. Sophie Walker and Joe Thorne examine the group’s legacy.

Why revisit the experience of Big Flame?

Earlier this year, we read Beyond the Fragments: a 1979 collection of essays by three women active in feminist and socialist groups in the 1970s. It is three decades since the authors argued for the left to reappraise how we organise in light of insights from the women’s movement. Whilst necessarily a product of their experiences in that particular historical moment, there is much in their critical consideration of political organisation which matters today. Read the rest of this entry »





“i am not a man or a woman, i am a transexual”

9 09 2010

Transcript of a speech given at Hackney Pride 2010. Transman and anarchist communist Jamrat Mason discusses gender, sexuality and sexism and the wider relevance of transgender issues in society. One paragraph that was omitted from the actual speech for reasons of length is included below in italics.


My name is Jamrat Mason and I have a vagina. I’m involved in East London Community Activism but today I’m here to speak “as a trans person” about transgender issues. The term “transgender” is a broad term that refers to to a massive spectrum of people who in some way veer away from the gender written on their birth certificate. So, I cannot, in any way whatsoever, be representative of transgendered people. I can only talk about the world as I see it, from where I’m standing, as a transexual. Read the rest of this entry »





women at the cutting edge…

9 09 2010

An event hosted by Feminist Fightback. Saturday 30 October 11am – 5pm, QMW Mile End Road, London E1  (provisionally – please check feministfightback.org.uk for confirmation).

Open to people of all genders. Free creche available: please send an email to feminist.fightback@gmail.com to confirm a place.

On 20 October the ConDem government’s “Spending Review” will detail enormous cuts in public services. We are already feeling the impact of earlier cuts, many effected by Labour: nurseries and libraries are closing, jobs are being lost. As the government “austerity drive” steps up, the reality is that cuts will hit the lives of all but the wealthiest. In many cases women will be hit the hardest with recent reports estimating that women will suffer 72% of the tax and benefit cuts. Read the rest of this entry »





an olive branch to the taliban?

17 07 2010

As UK troops pulled out from the Sangin area of Helmand in early July, commanders hailed the successes of their mission in Afghanistan.

Yet at the same time the US-backed president Hamid Karzai has sought reconciliation with the Taliban, demonstrating the sham of ‘democracy’ brought by imperialist troops. The  Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan reports.

"democratic" imperialism can even accept reconciliation with the Taliban

By inviting the Taliban, the leaders of the Islamic Party and other “Jihadi leaders” to be part of a “Consultative Peace Jirga,” Hamid Karzai is committing yet another crime against the Afghan people.

He has installed former Soviet puppets and Northern Alliance warlords in key posts of his government. He even went as far as assigning the two most notorious warlords, Karim Khalili and Qasim Fahim, as his vice presidents. Read the rest of this entry »





‘dreamers of a new day’

16 07 2010

David Broder reviews Sheila Rowbotham’s new book about turn-of-the-century feminism

I first heard about this book when I saw a review of it in The Observer. The reviewer began her first paragraph by referring to the under-representation of women in David Cameron’s Cabinet.

Of course, establishment politics and politicians are sexist. But the ideas typical of the reviewer’s focus—not enough women ministers, not enough women in board-rooms—is greatly at odds with both the themes of the book, and the intentions of the many great working-class women whose activism Rowbotham describes. Their struggles were to liberate the whole of society, not just to pave the way for a handful of  women to ‘make it big’. Read the rest of this entry »





mujeres creando: rebellion, it’s your fault i’ll be happy

10 07 2010

Translation of an article by Helen Álvarez Virreira about the Bolivian anarchist feminists, Mujeres Creando

To walk the streets of La Paz is also to walk through the story of Mujeres Creando (Women Creating) an anarchist and feminist movement which has used graffiti and creativity as its forms of struggle and has made the streets its canvas. “Women who get organised don’t have to iron shirts any more”,  “I don’t want to be the woman of your dreams, I want to be the woman of my dreams” and “Because Evo Morales doesn’t know how to be a father (he tried to disown his daughter), he doesn’t know what it means to be a mother” are among its graffiti.

They do not consider themselves artists but rather “agitators in the streets”. The group is a reference point for Bolivian society, a reference point of rebellion and challenging the patriarchal system and violence in all its forms for more than 15 years. Read the rest of this entry »








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