I’ve been reading Angela Davies Woman, Race and class and its unsuprising but still depressing how racist and classist the beginings of feminism were

Susan B Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and their colleagues..they never really accepted the principle of trade unionism. As they had been previously unwilling to concede that black liberation might claim momentary priority over their own interests as white women, they did not fully embrace the fundamentals of unity and class solidarity, without which the labor movement would remain powerless….Although Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton persuaded several female labor leaders to protest the disenfranchisement of women, the masses of working women were far too concerned about their immediate problems -wages, hours, working conditions – to fight for a cause that seemed terribly abstract

we can say that they have the excuse of history,of not knowing any better but white middle class feminists are still not taking into account that women who are not them often have different often more pressing needs and fronts to fight on, women who are not white, middle class, able bodied, heterosexual are often denied the right to speak, made so uncomfortable that they don’t want to speak or ignored and belittled when they do speak

Anthony’s staunchly feminist position was also a staunch reflection of bourgeois Ideology. And it probably was because of the ideology’s blinding powers that she failed to realise that working class women and Black women alike were fundamentally linked to their men by the class exploitation and racist oppression which did not discriminate between the sexes

white middle class women often don’t unpack the institutions of individualism and consumerism that are such important parts of being white and middle class and the way that the white middle class need to be an individualist and a consumer is so bad for everybody else and I really believes this damages relationships and connections between white middle class feminists and other feminists

Feminism is important and the basis of feminism is and always should be fighting for women’s liberation/rights but there needs to be an understanding that women who are oppressed often find common cause with men who are oppressed in the same way, an understanding that white middle class feminists do not know best, are not, to borrow a phrase from the SWP, the “vanguard of the revolution”

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