is capitalism’s crisis putting revolution back on the agenda?

A guest post by Mark Kosman. Every attempt to go beyond capitalism has ended in failure. But are capitalism’s present problems putting anti-capitalist revolution back on the agenda? To answer this question, this article looks at past revolutions, with particular emphasis on class struggle, while rethinking aspects of the Marxist, anarchist and feminist traditions.

In the 20th century, every attempt to go beyond capitalism ended in failure. Either people looked to socialist politicians, whose reforms made capitalism even more secure, or they supported revolutions that degenerated into repression and mass killing. Consequently, today, few people have much hope that humanity could ever successfully transcend capitalism.

But are capitalism’s present problems putting anti-capitalist revolution back on the agenda? And could a future revolution liberate humanity in ways that past revolutions failed to achieve? To try to answer these questions, I am going to look at past revolutions with particular emphasis on aspects that are rarely considered in conventional left discourse. These include humanity’s origins, gender and military history and the revolutionary transcendence of work and democracy. Continue reading “is capitalism’s crisis putting revolution back on the agenda?”

slutwalk: because we’ve had enough

Bahar Mustafa reports on London SlutWalk

Picture it. A beautifully warm day in June, sunshine spilling over central London, luscious greenery surrounding the pavements en route, vibrant cheers and chants resonating from the front of the march of about 5,000 energetic, lively and colourful people; a mishmash of corsets, garters, nipples, bare bottoms, fishnets and lipstick. But more noticeable than anything was the vivacious confidence of the crowds of passionate people pissed-off at the victim-blaming culture of sexual violence and rape against women that has gone unchallenged for far too long.

SlutWalk saw its first ever march in Toronto in January 2011. Around 1,000 women and dozens of men took to the streets in protest at Constable Michael Sanguinetti’s despicable comments warning young female university students that they ought to “avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised.” The movement quickly spread to Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Mexico City, Sydney and now London. Continue reading “slutwalk: because we’ve had enough”

sexism: from one prison to another

Latife Faydali writes on how the she was scarred by the twin sexisms of repressive ‘family values’ and sexual violence

As a working class girl born and raised in North London with a Turkish Cypriot background, I was always very aware of gender and the implications that being a Turkish girl had upon my choices. This would affect what clothes I would wear, the people I mixed with, the age in which I would be allowed out with friends, the boyfriends I had (but was not allowed to have!) and of course my sexual autonomy and sexuality. Continue reading “sexism: from one prison to another”

change of venue: feminism event 20th february

a day of mutual learning and exchange hosted by The Commune, 20th February, London. This will now take place at The Arbour, 100 Shandy St, London E1 4ST.

We believe that most of the left has a pretty poor record on gender. Even if overt sexism is less common than in the past, informal hierarchies and alienated, gendered relations run rampant. But this practice can – and must – change if we are ever going to revolutionise society.

As against swallowing the old left traditions, we believe it is important that the left critically reappraise our theory, practice and organisation in the light of socialist feminist politics, as well as the experience of working women’s struggles more broadly.

This is not a day for The Commune to lay down any ‘party line’, but rather to create a space for discussion of the insights of anti-capitalist feminism and the inter-relation between class and gender struggles. We hope to exchange ideas in a participatory, un-dogmatic and inclusive manner. We have planned three workshops. Continue reading “change of venue: feminism event 20th february”

feminism, organisation and class struggle

a day of mutual learning and exchange hosted by The Commune, 20th February, London

We believe that most of the left has a pretty poor record on gender. Even if overt sexism is less common than in the past, informal hierarchies and alienated, gendered relations run rampant. But this practice can –  and must – change if we are ever going to revolutionise society.

As against swallowing the old left traditions, we believe it is important that the left critically reappraise our theory, practice and organisation in the light of socialist feminist politics, as well as the experience of working women’s struggles more broadly.

This is not a day for The Commune to lay down any ‘party line’, but rather to create a space for discussion of the insights of anti-capitalist feminism and the inter-relation between class and gender struggles. We hope to exchange ideas in a participatory, un-dogmatic and inclusive manner. We have planned three workshops.  Continue reading “feminism, organisation and class struggle”

why are we still protesting this crap?

Bahar Mustafa writes on debates among feminists in Oxford over a lap dancing club

Oxford Brookes University sells itself as a modern, business-orientated institution which boasts a hefty contribution of £1 million every single day of the year to the UK economy.

As impressive as that may be to many people, some friends and I thought it odd that such a reputable institution, with its myriad of student organised societies, should be fiercely lacking in a space where gender inequality is highlighted and challenged. So earlier this year, an enthusiastic group of us of varying backgrounds, genders and sexualities, founded the first Feminist Society at Brookes; aka: OMFG! Organised Multicultural Feminist Group. Continue reading “why are we still protesting this crap?”

a strike made in hollywood

‘Feel-good’ hit movie Made in Dagenham didn’t make Sheila Cohen feel very good…

A film about a strike that really happened, a strike that brought a huge multinational to a standstill, a strike that was waged and led by women… What’s not to like? Only that Made In Dagenham fails to tell the true, and far more significant, story of the 1968 Ford sewing machinists’ strike – a story of class rebellion against exploitation rather than of softly gender-focused togetherness.

For its first half hour, Made In Dagenham looks good. Apart from the stripping-off scenes in the sweaty factory, unanimously repudiated by strike survivors, the film more or less tells it like it was – i.e. that the sewing machinists were involved in a grading dispute. The emphasis is necessary, because, along with almost every account of the dispute over the last 40-odd years, the next two-thirds of the film stubbornly present it as a “strike for equal pay”. Continue reading “a strike made in hollywood”