TRIGGER WARNING: the following article contains a frank discussion of rape. We feel this issue is of great importance, but it may cause some readers distress. For as long as they have served in the united $tates military, women recruits have been subjected to waves of brutal sexual assault, abuse and harassment. Nowadays, however, the […]

[Originally written in 1971, The Tyranny of Structurelessness was primarily intended to serve as a constructive criticism for the radicals in the women’s liberation movement which had largely fallen into disarray and was moving increasingly toward irrelevance. The process was already underway which, motivated by an ascendant postmodernism and poststructuralism, had begun to destroy the […]

TRIGGER WARNING: the following article contains a frank discussion of rape. We feel this issue is of great importance, but it may cause some readers distress. By Freya B. The concept of “consent,” as it applies to sexual relations, is solidified in the laws of some countries and has increasingly come to dominate liberal feminist […]

By Zak Brown Introduction Unlike the stiff and boring Marxism which exist primarily on campus and the internet, feminism is actually becoming cool again. Now, feminism itself invokes all sorts of imagery from every conceivable position on the Left and all manner of terrible outcry from the Right. However, when I say Feminism I am […]

Nowadays, many celebrations born out of political struggle have been made sterile by the existing cultural hegemony. The capitalist class is able to appropriate radical ideas, concepts and history, and co-opt them by changing their meaning. International Women’s Day is no exception. What’s the history of International Women’s Day? Stuttgart, 18-24 August 1907. 884 delegates […]

Bourgeois ideology has long presented us with a vulgar conception of gender which reduces the essence of what it “means” to be a man or woman to a rigid set of biological characteristics. Over the past few decades, a great deal of progress has been made in exposing this idea for what it is: a […]

Like clockwork, another ‘mass’ movement of ‘progressive’ First World political activism has sprung up. This time it is FEMEN, the latest in a series of media spectacles and fad movements which justify and support further First World attacks against Third World peoples.  Despite its English-language messaging, FEMEN claims to represent ‘Arab Women against Islam’ and encourages women […]

Given the recent track record in Libya and Egypt, women in Syria are increasingly aware of what is at stake in the struggle against imperialist-backed Islamists. Rather than submit to the dual oppression of imperialist-enforced patriarchy, these women are fighting back.

This is chapter three from the book ‘Patriarchy and Capital Accumulation on a World Scale’ by Maria Mies. The following text will be part of the curriculum of the upcoming second semester of People’s Liberation Universit The Dialectics of ‘Progress and Retrogression’ On the basis of the foregoing analysis, it is possible to formulate a tentative thesis […]

Bell hooks was a leading figure in establishing ‘third-wave feminism’: a philosophical and practical branch of feminism centered around the history, experience, and interests of ‘women of color.’ Her writings are directly critical of previous feminist movements which favored white middle-class women, and she is generally critical of the standard feminist framework while finding cause in altering the scope of its discourse. Her central thesis in Feminist Theory, from Margin to Center is that the objective of feminism is not simply for equality between sexes but for an end to sexist oppression and the broader “ideology of domination” which supports it. In the process, she gets many things right in regards to the struggle against oppression while bringing a lot of detail and nuance into the discussion. In some regards, her critiques of feminism are applicable to nominally left-wing movements in the US today. Yet her explicit understandings of larger economic questions are lacking. Though she raises many salient points, these ideas are best understood as part of a broader yet more incisive critique of general social practice and relations between classes and groups.

Betty Friedan is often credited with founding second wave feminism, what is today sometimes mockingly referred to as ‘white, middle-class feminism’ or ‘bourgeois feminism.’ Beyond whatever rhetorical value can be found in such phrases, what do they mean? What is the implication of Friedan’s work in relation to other outstanding social relations besides gender? More […]

Wages and class struggle

Karl Marx’s opening line in the first chapter of Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 states that, “wages are determined by antagonistic struggle between capitalist and worker.” (p. 19)

This opening line is often cited by nominal leftists as explanation for exorbitantly high wages of many workers in the United States and throughout the First World. The explanation they reach is that First World workers receive such high wages because they have secured them as historic concessions over the course of past class struggle. But this view is narrow and has quite specific limitations.

In terms of scope, this explanatory view negates the workings of capitalism internationally. Wages of all workers have hardly risen, just those within certain spatial and social limitations (i.e., those within the First World and often part of oppressor nations). The notable idea ignored by the First Worldist viewpoint is that while class struggle certainly may have played a role in elevating the status and material fulfillment of First World workers, this class struggle may not have occurred on their part alone. Instead, the raising of wages for a limited number of worker, i.e. those mainly in the First World, was a measure to counteract not merely their own class struggle but that of the international proletariat. During the 20th century, the international proletariat advanced in their struggle in many regards. They were able to establish nominally socialist states which for a time acted as economic and political bulwarks against capitalist-imperialism. As well, the proletariat of the Third World waged several wars of liberation against direct imperialist occupation and neo-colonial puppets. It was no doubt such heightened class struggle which played a large role in determining the wages of First World countries, so as the secure their passivity and tacit support of the system at the moment it was facing its greatest challenges from the international proletariat movement. Continue reading