To mark the launch of Cinzia Arruzza’s book Dangerous Liaisons: The Marriages and Divorces of Marxism and Feminism Socialist Resistance hosted a meeting on 28 January in London with speakers including Terry Conway, Sara Farris and Cinzia Arruzza.
Terry speaks (click here to watch the video) about her experiences of joining the International Marxist Group (IMG), then the British section of the Fourth International (FI), as a young, 17 year old woman. Contrary to the socialist parties of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who set up their own women’s organisations, as transmission belts into the party, the IMG and other FI groups supported the autonomous women’s liberation movement, In 1979 the FI passed a resolution on women’s liberation, a major gain for the politics of the FI.
Sara Farris (click here to watch the video) welcomes the renewed interest in feminism and appreciates Cinzia’s book in that it combines a chronology and a theoretical journey of the relations between feminism and Marxism. She (Sara) makes a critique of Engels’ book on the origins of women’s oppression and in particular of its use of anthropological evidence (from his contemporary, Morgan) that she argues was both Eurocentric and even racist. This leads to problems still evident today, for example in the debate amongst the left on the use of the veil in France.
Cinzia speaks (click here to watch the video) of the problems of the relation between class based and gender based movements, not just because of the conflicts this relation throws up, but also because of the need to unify movements of the exploited and oppressed, including those oppressed by racism, disability, etc. We should not make a fetish of ‘unity’ in today’s world. In opposition to the idea that autonomy is a threat to the unity of the class and that there is a hierarchy of oppressions she argues that conflicts will always be there and that all aspects of capitalism need to be analysed, including domination, power, exploitation and alienation.
You can see all these videos, as well as the speakers’ responses to the discussion and videos from other events we’ve hosted here.