Are we witnessing a moment or a movement?

Susan Pashkoff on the possibility of a new movement arising from the mass protests that took place across the world yesterday

womenmarch3

Having participated in yesterday’s Women’s March in London and looking at all the pictures from the various sister marches in the US and around the world, this is a question we need to ask ourselves. For a long time, women on the left have been wondering whether we are seeing a new wave of feminism and, if so, what shape will it take?

I have thought for a while that we were seeing a new wave of feminism. Yesterday’s demonstrations confirmed this for me. The response which was international in scope indicates the massive potential for a new women’s movement.

Women in the US face an immediate crisis due to the election of Donald Trump and the right-wing led Republican Congress in which they are facing the elimination of the guarantees to women’s health care by the repeal of the ACA (e.g., affordable contraceptives, pre-natal and maternity care, expansions and protections of Medicaid and Medicare coverage), the probable federal de-funding of Planned Parenthood, and the inevitable attacks on abortion rights all of which will affect working class women and women of colour deeply. The issues of social, political and economic injustice in the US and the strengthening of the forces that have historically oppressed women (e.g., religion, so-called “family values”, racism, and misogyny) are a serious danger that cannot be dismissed as business as usual.

The Guiding Vision and Definition of Principles (https://static1.squarespace.com/static/584086c7be6594762f5ec56e/t/5877e24a29687f9613e546ff/1484251725855/WMW+Guiding+Vision+%26+Definition+of+Principles.pdf) of the Washington DC march were far broader than those of liberal feminism and addressed the demands and struggles of women of colour and working class women.  The fact that so many (estimates of 2 million plus) women and male allies came out to demonstrate has the potential of being the crystallisation of a new movement and not only one for women. Yes, there will be contradictions, yes, there will be analysis formed by liberals rather than from a radical perspective; but this potential is important and it must be nourished if the seed will grow into a tree and then hopefully into a forest.

If we don’t want it to be only a moment or a movement dominated by white liberal feminists, we (the socialist left) need to be there participating rather than criticising from the side lines. If we leave the organisation of this movement in the hands of liberal feminists, it is the error of socialist feminists and the left. If we do not stand with and in solidarity with women of colour, disabled women, working class women and put forward a different perspective then there is a strong possibility that this will collapse into support of the Democratic Party (which will destroy its potential to actually fight the right-wing shift) in the US or only into fulfilling the needs and demands of wealthy white women.

If you expect this nascent movement to understand the fact that it is at the intersections of race, class and gender that women’s oppression is felt the hardest, then we need to be there ensuring that the voices of women of colour, working class women, LGBTQ people, and disabled women are heard and their demands are taken on board. It is a nascent movement, if you expect that they will not make errors or put out wrong slogans, you are asking far too much.

Left Unity was the only socialist grouping that endorsed the Women’s March in London. We endorsed this march because we stand in solidarity against women’s oppression and we understand the dangers of this shift to the hard right in the advanced capitalist world. We handed out placards, our literature and posters; we raised the linkages between Brexit and Trump. We were there, we engaged with people, we listened to their concerns; certainly there were people that did not accept what we were saying. It was a march of women across class, across race, across generations and across political lines; if everyone agreed with us, we would be in a revolutionary moment. We are not, but we are at the beginning of the start of a response to the shift to the right. What we didn’t need to explain was the importance of international solidarity, that was one thing that everyone that was at the Women’s March in London understood. In itself, that is the foundation of a global movement and that is something that should never be wasted or derided.

It is essential that socialist feminists and the left participate in this movement and not just criticise from the outside. We need to be there shifting the boundaries further to the left, to support the demands of working class women, women of colour, LGBTQ comrades and disabled women.  We need to make certain that this potential movement is not seized by those that would subvert its aims to further the needs of mainstream political parties and the liberal feminist movement.

 

 


To submit an article for the 'Discussion & Debate' section of our website please email it to info@leftunity.org

3 comments

3 responses to “Are we witnessing a moment or a movement?”

  1. ann bennett says:

    thank you for the common sense comments .I was involved in the S.W. miners strike where it saw the mobilization of hundreds of active women and a valuable opportunity was lost to win women over into a formidable force for socialism, I hope we do not waste anger . thanks again

  2. Clive says:

    According to a Left Unity article, by Neil Faulker, entitled ‘A New
    Movement Rising?’, about the London Women’s March
    (http://leftunity.org/a-new-movement-rising/ );- “The political
    parties that officially sponsored the demonstration – and turned up
    with national banners – were the Greens, the Women’s Equality
    Party, and Left Unity”.

    The ‘Women’s Equality Party’ were created by “Incumbent Governor of
    New York Andrew Cuomo…..in July 2014 under New York’s electoral
    fusion laws, which allow votes on any ballot line to count toward a
    ticket’s overall vote count. The party’s name came from the Women’s
    Equality Act, a bill that Cuomo was attempting to push through the
    New York State Legislature” (
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women's_Equality_Party_%28New_York%29
    ).

    Andrew Cuomo is;- 1) Not a woman, and 2) A ‘Democrat’ – “In 1993,
    Cuomo joined the [Bill] Clinton Administration, when he was
    appointed Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and
    Development in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
    (HUD). From 1997 to 2001, he was U.S. Secretary of Housing and
    Urban Development”. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Cuomo )

    It seems very likely to me that the ‘Women’s Equality Party’ are
    just another ‘Democratic Party’ front. And that they were the
    conduit, through which, Soros loot was injected into the London
    march.

    It was MoveOn.org who first called for the protests against Trump
    and promoted them, through their petition websites.
    (http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/2184374-moveon-calls-for-protests-
    over-trump-victory/ ) .

    MoveOn are a ‘Democratic Party’ website, who promote petitions in
    support of the Clintons’ political agenda. MoveOn were first formed
    to defend Bill Clinton against threatened impeachment, after he
    regularly had sex in the Oval Office with Monica Lewinsky. Monica
    Lewinsky has, since, written a book about it. This seems rather
    apt, to me, since one of the main (unproven and unlikely)
    charges against Trump is that he, allegedly, had ‘golden showers’
    in a Moscow hotel room.

    The global anti-Trump demonstrations (Women’s Marches) were funded
    through a $10 Million grant from George Soros’, ‘Open Society
    Foundation’, on November 16th, 2016. (
    https://katehon.com/article/soros-raising-10-million-anti-trump-
    revolt ).

    More Soros Foundation money was also granted to;- Planned
    Parenthood; EMILY’s List, a political action committee of the
    ‘Democratic Party’, dedicated to getting ‘Pro-choice Democratic
    women’ elected to office; NARAL Pro-Choice, a leading pro-abortion lobby; Human Rights Campaign, and MoveOn.org. for the
    organising of the Women’s Marches
    (https://www.womensmarch.com/sponsors).

    George Soros is a financial speculator, who has financed ‘color
    revolutions’ in countries where the US oligarchy and the CIA want
    to promote ‘regime-change’.

    You cannot oppose the ‘Democratic Party’, or the oligarchy, or the
    ‘regime-change’ wars, if you take money, or free advertising and
    promotion, from George Soros, or from ‘Democratic Party’
    organizations, such as MoveOn.org (or Avaaz.org).

    I think the Soros-funded ‘new movement’ will just fade away, in proportion to the degree to which George Soros’ ill-gotten gains will fade away, partly because of infiltrated governments, around the world, wiseing up to their spooky, ‘color revolution’ game. Also because of The Clinton Foundation losing funding donations from foreign despots, because they cannot deliver on their inter-governmental protection racket promises, because Hillary didn’t become president. This will also, hopefully, hasten the Hillarytariat’s demise. That will leave the rest of us to pick up
    the pieces, again.

  3. Clive says:

    What we are witnessing will be only a moment (not a movement), unless we stop working to the US, ‘Democratic Party/Neocon/George Soros agenda, and timetable, which is financing anti-Trump demonstrations, flash-mobs, and ‘color revolutions’ , in conjunction with a compliant media, and CIA ‘dirty tricks and smear campaigns against Trump, around the world. Using them as a cover, in pursuit of their own corrupt, warmongering ,agenda – Which, if not stopped, (or, at present, unless Trump prevents it, because we can’t seem to do it. I’ve been trying to work for peace for many years It has been very lonely trying to oppose the wars of the ‘Peace-Prize’ Obama era!) it will lead us to world war 3 and nuclear holocaust. It remains to be seen whether Trump will prevent wider war, but he has ordered the CIA to stop pursuing ‘regime change’ and start gathering intelligence (whether the CIA will take any notice of this is another matter, the CIA are more likely to be going for ‘regime-change’ in the US, instead). Trump has also promised better relations with Russia. That is why the neocons are so desperate to undermine him, but we would surely have had a nuclear war if Hillary had been elected.

    US Foreign policy threatens the whole world. US domestic policy is a matter for US ‘democracy’ (such as it is). The people voted for Trump do have some genuine grievances against previous republocrat governments. These are mostly related to poverty and economic insecurity in the US. After Trump’s trillion dollar ‘trickle-down’ delusion fails to deliver the goods, (as it will). We should be campaigning for a better economic alternative to solve our own ‘rust-belt’ problems, here, in Britain (Especially since the EU will be quite likely to implode, any time now, with Italian bank collapses, and other problems, taking it down)

    If we really want to contribute to a genuine grass-roots, forward-looking, lasting, socialist movement (as I do), we will have to set our own agenda, from our own grass-roots, upwards, and not blindly follow the neocon agenda, whenever they decide to organize global ‘protest’, just because they are backed by a billionaire financial speculator, who has a lot of money to throw into publicity, petition websites, and ‘Democratic-Party’- backed NGOs, to promote someone else’s establishment agenda.


Left Unity is active in movements and campaigns across the left, working to create an alternative to the main political parties.

About Left Unity   Read our manifesto

ACTIVIST CALENDAR

Events and protests from around the movement, and local Left Unity meetings.

Saturday 23 September
Social Housing not social cleansing: Demonstrate!

Stop HDV: 12.00 noon. Assemble Tottenham Green, (nearest tube Seven Sisters).

Sunday 1 October
Tories Out Demonstration

12 noon to 4pm, Castlefield Bowl, Manchester

Organised by the People’s Assembly

Friday 10th to Saturday 11th November
Marseille Forum, France

A European-wide gathering of progressive forces in Marseille – trade unions, campaigns, parties, social movements – discussing the crisis we face and how to build a different Europe. Contact info@leftunity.org

More events »

GET UPDATES

Sign up to the Left Unity email newsletter.

CAMPAIGNING MATERIALS

Get the latest Left Unity resources.

Transform journal

Placard and broadsheet: NHS Emergency

Badges: Stop Trump

More resources »