Wednesday, March 12, 2014

My feminism will be Minchin or it will be bullshit

The song, Confessions:

The intro to the song, which I recommend playing after the song:

Now, you could also say my feminism is Clara Zetkin's or Emma Goldman's. Here's Zetkin on the difference between socialist and bourgeois feminism:
...the liberation struggle of the proletarian woman cannot be, as it is for the bourgeois woman, a struggle against the men of their own class. She does not need to struggle, as against the men of her own class, to tear down the barriers erected to limit her free competition ... The end goal of her struggle is not free competition with men, but bringing about the political rule of the proletariat. Hand in hand with the men of her own class, the proletarian woman fights against capitalist society.
That's quoted in Tony Cliff: Clara Zetkin and the German Socialist Feminist Movement (Summer 1981), which does a nice job of pointing out that many male socialists have failed to live up to the goals implied in Engels' Origin of the Family.

Okay, I didn't mean to make this post at all serious. I just wanted to say I believe in politics that can laugh at itself, and never forgets that we're human animals before we're political animals, and human animals are hilarious.

Since I'm on feminism, I'll end with an Emma Goldman quote:
At the dances I was one of the most untiring and gayest. One evening a cousin of Sasha, a young boy, took me aside. With a grave face, as if he were about to announce the death of a dear comrade, he whispered to me that it did not behoove an agitator to dance. Certainly not with such reckless abandon, anyway. It was undignified for one who was on the way to become a force in the anarchist movement. My frivolity would only hurt the Cause. 
I grew furious at the impudent interference of the boy. I told him to mind his own business. I was tired of having the Cause constantly thrown into my face. I did not believe that a Cause which stood for a beautiful ideal, for anarchism, for release and freedom from convention and prejudice, should demand the denial of life and joy. I insisted that our Cause could not expect me to become a nun and that the movement would not be turned into a cloister. If it meant that, I did not want it. "I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody's right to beautiful, radiant things." Anarchism meant that to me, and I would live it in spite of the whole world — prisons, persecution, everything. Yes, even in spite of the condemnation of my own closest comrades I would live my beautiful ideal.
No, I'll end with an odd bit of tribute to Goldman: