Monthly Archives: July 2011
One important component in the radical Left’s impulse for solidarity with oppressed people across the whole world is a condemnation of Israel’s relationship with Palestine, which is considered racist, colonial, fascist – a settler state par excellence. In our critique of Israel, we forget that nations are composed of antagonistic classes, and that the dialectic of class struggle in Israel-Palestine is not exclusively an anti-colonial one. The duty of a conscious Israeli to the world proletarian struggle for liberation does not lie in a self-sacrificing or suicidal “traitor-ism” wherein good Jews give themselves over to the Palestinian cause as a servant to it.
Many women of a feminist and marxist perspective are gathering this weekend to educate each other and build solidarity/community amongst each other. We give a shout out to them all and must say that we are inspired by this crucial work. Power to the Women and Therefore the Class!
Determining a program for women’s liberation that can actually be into practice is no easy task. AS has been trying to figure it out throughout our short history as a collective. One thing has injected a fair amount of insight, a concrete manifestation of many of the theoretical conclusions we had started to come to grips with. That is the internationalist socialist women’s organization, Pan y Rosas.
A comrade of ours visited Argentina a while ago and ever since her return has been agitating AS around the politics of Pan y Rosas (Bread and Roses). So far, we are very impressed, and even though their strategy leans more toward the electoral than we think is merited, we have profound respect for their application of theory to practice which focuses on the women sector of the working class without embracing a “sectoralist” perspective that divides this work from that of the male sector.
PyR is an all-women’s socialist group connected to a Trotskyist party, the Partido de Trabajadores Socialistas (Socialist Workers Party). In extremely patriarchal countries like Argentina and Mexico where reproductive rights are nearly non-existent and femicide is a huge and growing problem, PyR has implanted itself within factories and other workplaces to build women’s agency as workers and as women. They resist the boss and the state, in the process defying established gender norms and building women’s solidarity rooted in Third World reality.
Women are the majority of the paid proletariat, and most of the time, they are unpaid workers in the home (“the proletariat of the proletariat”). PyR sees women’s oppression in its totality, fighting patriarchy in all its manifestations without falling down that slippery slope of stage-ism wherein the primary task of feminism is perceived to be settling the score with men of their class, as a precondition to fighting the enemy shared by all genders: capital. Let’s hope that their male comrades are not abstaining from the struggle for women’s liberation under the false notion that according to the principle of “self-determination” only those directly effected by a particular form of oppression have a right or duty to fight against it.
PTS, the multi-gender trotskyist party, has its own video/news network called TV PTS set up and has covered much of Pan y Rosas’ activism. In this video, a media mogul, Ricardo Fort, meets the resistance of his mostly woman workforce. He is also the owner of a factory where most of the workers are women who face terrible conditions and sexual harrassment. This patriarchal capitalist going down!!
more PyR in action:
And finally, here is a response to the Pan y Rosas program by our comrade Sasha Yanga. Translation of program and this reflection to come in dedicated post, we just couldn’t wait to big up Pan y Rosas and put it out there that AS is engaging feminism from a proletarian perspective:
THE URBAN MINER, AN EXO-INDUSTRIAL PROLETARIAN
“The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society.”
Urban Miner Mr Joseph Kemp, 84, Los Angeles, CA
Three o’clock in the morning and the protesting squeal of unsteady metal wheels overcoming friction, gravity and a thousand miles of heavy usage grows louder and then slows to a stop. This is followed by the squish of plastic bags being lifted, poked, probed and opened. There is the clank of metal and the clash of glass. After a pause…the by-now familiar sound of the bags as they are returned to their former environs. Then the plaintive rattle of the wheels again picks up its solitary refrain and fades on into the night. It is Tuesday. Trash pick-up day. Asleep before the chickens and now awaking the rooster up, an Urban Miner is at work.
“The proletariat created by the breaking up of the bands of feudal retainers and by the forcible expropriation of the people from the soil…were turned en masse into beggars, robbers, vagabonds…The fathers of the present working class were chastised for their enforced transformation into vagabonds and paupers.”
He punches no clock but is obedient to the timepiece of necessity. His stem is wound tight by the dicta of the pitiable piece-work wage he is paid. He goes off to no factory, no shop, no store. Neither does he work at home. His ‘office’ is the not-so-great-outdoors which if he is ‘successful’, that is if he is to continue to scratch out a living, he will navigate with both the wary skill of a frontier scout and the fears and dread of a gold-rush prospector who is down to his last biscuit, his last can of beans and winter acoming on.