There are many issues with contemporary Western feminism but one of the biggest flaws it has today is the abandonment of the dialectical method of understanding historical materialism and how capital ties itself with identity and difference. So, many western feminists (liberal white, black, brown, etc) will turn oppression into issues of discourse and ideology and representation while completely ignoring the fact that the means of production form the basis of oppression for the majority of women around the world. Take the example of the United States of America where 63% of the 18+ demographic is poor and female and usually non-white. A socialist feminist will propose a revolutionary demand that this gap be eliminated and that the question of class should be raised once and for all to destroy a social production like class. This is for one simple reason: The most dangerous life one can live is as a poor woman; her body becomes a marketplace. This is why you will not find socialist feminists congratulating young female students for taking up prostitution and pornography to pay their bills. What cultural or post-Marxist feminists or postmodern intellectuals will tell you is that the issue here is not the accumulation of profit/surplus value through the unrewarded labor of this young woman but more likely an issue of representation. Which is why liberal feminists fail; they focus on the cosmetic and cultural level of misogyny and forget class analysis. While cultural analysis of patriarchy is indeed important, class analysis will point out the root of a woman’s precarity in society. Representation will allow you a moment of respite in terms of lending you temporary political visibility and legitimacy but when it comes to social mobility and economic empowerment, representation will get you nowhere because representation simply makes an appeal to the state that created the difference to begin with. State will not bend over to give you more than representation. For the state, capital is more important which is why you will see that when a person from a marginalized community (racial or sexual or combination of several factors) is represented in culture industry, not much changes for the people on ground-level. There is a reason for that. This is why socialist feminists do not care if we as non-white women are represented in a capitalist entertainment industry. It does not mean better wages for us and it does not mean decreased violence from the state against our communities and it does not address our core problems. Back to Western feminists. Western feminists have abandoned what we call praxis and have turned feminism into middle-class academia integrated banter. This is why you see students angry with how inaccessible the language of feminism has become; it’s because it is now simply an issue of an academic panel to sit down and talk about it for 30 minutes and not do anything outside for the public. The dominant discourse of Western feminism is cultural feminism and that is the most dangerous thing you can do when it comes to the liberation of women: constricting yourself to an analysis of patriarchy that omits the reality of class and only focuses on culture. By reducing social life to representation, Western feminists ignore the fact that social life as a totality has a lot more to do with class *especially* for poor women. It ignores the racialized division of labor and assumes that black and brown women will be empowered if there is some celebrity representing them on the TV screen. It forgets the material basis of women’s oppression. The most ignorant step that cultural feminists take is forgetting that underpaid and/or unpaid labor is necessary for the accumulation of capital and the majority of it comes from women.
When you take class out of the analysis, you do a huge disservice to feminism and become, what is now a pejorative among socialist feminists, a rabid postmodernist.
Starting on Monday, thousands of university students in Hong Kong have been gathering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Tamar Park (outside the government offices) to protest the National People Congress (NPC) of China’s decision to restrict the right to vote for Chief Executive, the city’s highest political leader in 2017.
Article 45 of the Basic Law (Hong Kong’s own mini-constitution implemented after the handover from Britain to China in 1997) states that the Chief Executive should be chosen by universal suffrage as an eventual goal. Time and time again the Communist Party of China have dodged/shut down any democratic progress. Last month the NPC announced that they would continue using the 1200-member committee, consisting of members loyal to the Communist Party, to vote for our CE. THIS IS ILLEGAL. THIS IS SHAM DEMOCRACY AND SHOULD NOT BE TOLERATED.
The sit-in of university students belongs to a movement called ‘Occupy Central with Love and Peace’ and is led by The Hong Kong Federation of Students (schedule and declaration of the strike included). This act of civil disobedience consists of absolute non-violence. It consists of free public lectures offered by university professors and writers on topics like Orwell’s ‘1984’, history of Hong Kong’s struggle for democracy, Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s fight to end injustice etc etc. I was one of the students sitting in Tamar Park on Tuesday and Thursday and it was one of the most rewarding, educational and, I must emphasise, peaceful political activities I have ever witnessed.
On Friday, high school students led by the student group Scholarism joined in the protest. They marched to Civic Square, pleading for our current CE to come out of his offices and listen to their requests, just like he promised during his ‘campaign’ in 2012. More and more citizens joined in the protest after work.
The police started cutting off access to Civic Square, which is a publicly owned area. They used shields to form a blockade against the protestors and started pushing them back. When people resisted with umbrellas, they started using clubs and pepper spray on the protestors, who started putting both of their hands up to show they are unarmed. Many students who managed to rush in Civic Square are arrested, including the leading of Scholarism. Many of them have visible injuries caused by police brutality and some of them still haven’t been released from police custody.
THE FIGHT IS STIL GOING ON. PEOPLE ARE STILL CROWDING OUTSIDE CIVIC SQUARE AND TAMAR. Resources are running thin and the police are still threatening violence. Some of my friends are at the protest and they are continuing the struggle despite the risks. It is predicted that the police will escalate their brutality with tear gas, more pepper spray and water cannons against innocent, peaceful protestors, many of them teenagers.
You can watch Occupy Central live here: x (Apple Daily livestream)
I know tumblr is a US-centric place but PLEASE PLEASE SPARE A SECOND TO REBLOG THIS POST. Hong Kong is a tiny city. We are anything but a formidable force in international politics. The only thing we can do is raise awareness among the world and force our corrupt government to answer to our protests.
PLEASE HELP US.
i’m extremely glad the new meme is ‘get her look’ for viral pictures and pictures of cool dogs and things. that’s an excellent meme and i love it. maybe finally we can move away from the text post on screencap meme