This book makes the case for an inclusive form of socialist feminism that will
benefit both individuals and societies, and that puts multiply disadvantaged
women at its heart. It argues that developing a feminist vocabulary is a key
part of feminist politics, and it demystifies some key terms, including
patriarchy and intersectionality. The book’s longest chapter engages with fierce
disputes between some feminists and some trans women, and suggests possible
compromises and ways forward. It argues throughout that the analysis of gender
cannot be isolated from that of class or race, that patriarchy is inexorably
entangled with capitalism, and that the needs of most women will not be met in
an economy based on the pursuit of profit. In making these arguments, it
explains why capitalism is not meeting human needs and it highlights the flaws
in the ideologies that sustain it; it also shows how the assumptions of
neoliberalism are incompatible with anything other than a narrow, elitist form
of feminism that has little relevance for most women. Throughout, the book
asserts the social, economic and human importance of the unpaid caring and
domestic work that has been traditionally done by women, and the need to
redistribute this and value it properly. It concludes that the combination of
some policy trends, the increased presence of feminists in positions of
influence and a rise in all kinds of grassroots activism give grounds for
optimism about a future that could be both more feminist and more socialist.
This book provides a series of rich reflections on the interaction between the radical ideas and political action in Ireland. It aims to provide insights into how selected mobilising classics have framed or have the potential to frame Irish social movement discourses and oppositional activity. The book provides an account of the contributor's personal encounters with the classic text, some by word of mouth from their parents, others through copies passed around in activists' groups, and others still through serendipitous reading. The classic text were published over a period that spans three centuries. Thomas Paine's The Rights of Man, published in 1791, is the oldest text considered, whereas Our Common Future, published in 1987 by the UN-established World Commission on Environment and Development, is the most recent. In Hilary Tovey's commentary on Our Common Future, the work of a committee, she reveals tensions within the classic text and argues that its key concept 'sustainable development' is an inspirational but confused one. Orla McDonnell's essay on The Myth of Mental Illness by Thomas Szasz considers his ideas about the huge social costs of the medicalisation of 'the problems of living'. In contrast, Orla O'Donovan's reflections on Ivan Illich's Tools for Conviviality, consider how his ideas can springboard our thinking beyond the prisons of visionlessness or circumscribed political imaginations. Eileen O'Carroll's essay on William Thompson's Practical Education for the South of Ireland traces early Irish articulations of socialist feminism.
can be identified:
liberal feminism; socialistfeminism; conservative feminism; radical feminism.
Liberal feminism dominated the
‘first wave’ of feminism during the nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries, with intellectuals such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Harriet
Taylor and J. S. Mill all making contributions. Liberal feminism focuses on
the full extension of civil and legal rights to women
English radicalism has been a deep-rooted but minority tradition in the political culture since at least the seventeenth century. The central aim of this book is to examine, in historical and political context, a range of key events and individuals that exemplify English radicalism in the twentieth century. This analysis is preceded by defining precisely what has constituted this tradition; and by the main outline of the development of the tradition from the Civil War to the end of the nineteenth century. Three of the main currents of English radicalism in the twentieth century have been the labour movement, the women’s movement and the peace movement. These are discussed in some detail, as a framework for the detailed consideration of ten key representative figures of the tradition in the twentieth century: Bertrand Russell, Sylvia Pankhurst, Ellen Wilkinson, George Orwell, E.P. Thompson, Michael Foot, Joan Maynard, Stuart Hall, Tony Benn and Nicolas Walter. The question of ‘agency’ – of how to bring about radical change in a predominantly conservative society and culture – has been a fundamental issue for English radicals. It is argued that, in the twentieth century, many of the important achievements in progressive politics have taken place in and through extra-parliamentary movements, as well as through formal political parties and organisations – the Labour Party and other socialist organisations – and on occasion, through libertarian and anarchist politics. The final chapter considers the continuing relevance of this political tradition in the early twenty-first century, and reviews its challenges and prospects.
The United Kingdom
American model of fatherhood. Overall, British welfare regime loyalties to marriage and male-breadwinning crowded out shifts in policy towards shared-care
and gender equality.
On the other hand, the chapter illustrated a British sea-change in feminist
thinking about the Nordic welfare regimes. Previously, English-speaking feminism did not share ‘Scandinavian women’s optimism about the role of state’ (Lewis,
1992:171). More recently, British feminism and socialistfeminism re-assessed the
Nordic welfare regimes as a source of influence and
, these sales figures proved ‘that there is
a need for such a publication’.33 Clearly, there was a network of women’s
liberation groups within Scotland and Britain, which was discussing,
debating and swapping ideas through newsletters and conference discussions. Indeed, debating feminist ideas and theories was at the very heart
of the movement.
Radical and socialistfeminism
One of the most hotly contested debates which filled the pages of various
newsletters and dominated many conference discussions was the validity
of radical feminism as opposed to socialistfeminism
account of persons and ideals’. The text was not only a history of the suffragette
movement but also an account of the Pankhurst family, all told through the lens
of socialistfeminism and through the various tensions that were only too apparent
between Emmeline Pankhurst and her middle daughter, and between the daughters themselves.
Christabel Pankhurst: a Conservative suffragette? 31
In the preface to her book, Sylvia states that her book is largely made up of memories. Certainly memories of her disagreements with her mother and Christabel
are evident throughout the
, Eileen O’Carroll’s
essay on William Thompson’s Practical Education for the South of Ireland
traces early Irish articulations of socialistfeminism. It also shows how in the
early nineteenth century curriculum reforms were championed that strongly
resemble those still advocated by critics of conventional schooling who
oppose rote learning in favour of ‘useful’ experiential learning. The importance of social movements ‘dis-covering’ their history, to use Mary Daly’s
(1991) words, is emphasised by Tina O’Toole in her essay on Adrienne
Rich’s essay ‘On Compulsory
reformists such as Neil Kinnock who held to ‘a very traditional agenda
for power in which the state rather than political will disposes of our desire … All
of this bodes ill for the future of socialistfeminism. It is not that our fortunes are
entirely bound up with the Labour Party … but our ability to intervene in various
political ways has recently focused and drawn hope from the party’s changing complexion. This is now moving into decline.’ Kinnock’s focus on unifying the party and
‘prevent[ing] criticism of any kind’ should compel feminists ‘to question the nature
Labour Britain, London, 1995, pp. 163–180. Mystified
that the 1944 act be seen as bold and egalitarian, Kenneth O. Morgan, The
People’s Peace: British History Since 1945, Oxford, 1999, p. 19.
26 Henry Pelling, The Labour Governments: 1945–51, Basingstoke, 1985.
27 Brian Harrison, ‘Wilkinson, Ellen Cicely (1891–1947)’, Oxford Dictionary
of National Biography, 2004, http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/36902.
‘Red Ellen’ Wilkinson
28 Maroula Joannou, ‘Reclaiming the Romance: Ellen Wilkinson’s Clash
and the Cultural Legacy of SocialistFeminism’, in David Margolies