Marxism and Women

I decided to look at the status of women in a socialist society. I was inspired by an article written by the late Max Edwards on the same subject. I think he did a great job comparing the Marxist and feminist ideologies and how they go hand by hand and although I do agree with him, I decided to give me own input on the topic.

Many women identified as communist such as Simon De Beauvoir and to some extent contributed to it as is the case with Rosa Luxemburg. Beauvoir published her feminist masterpiece The Second Sex which was one of the books started second-wave feminism. She also joined other feminist Marxists in founding the journal Questions féministes in France. Luxemburg was a member of many socialist parties and co-founded the newspaper Die Rote Fahne (“The Red Flag”), one of the most influential leftists newspapers at the time.

In 1919, Vladimir Lenin wrote a short essay titled Soviet Power and the Status of Women. It was the second anniversary of the Soviet Union and he decided to take a look at the achievements of the Union in many fields, including democracy and gender equality. He firsts starts by differentiating between a socialist democracy (benefiting the workers) and bourgeois democracy (benefiting the rich) by comparing their stances on the status of women.

Although bourgeois democracy promised equality and liberty. At the time, no such republic granted women full equality. Not even 125 years after the French revolution. Bourgeois democracy is an ideology full with false promises and hopes exploiting the workers and deluding them into believing that they are truly equal.

A socialist democracy challenges the lies and illusions of the bourgeois and according to Lenin, “declares war on the hypocrisy of the ‘democrats'”. There cannot be true equality and true democracy without gender equality in which half of the population is treated as fully human. Gender inequality is unfair privilege and unfair privilege contradicts the ideals of a truly socialist, democratic society.

We say to the workers and peasants: Tear the masks from the faces of these liars, open the eyes of these blind ones. Ask them:

“Equality between what sex and what other sex?

“Between what nation and what other nation?

“Between what class and what other class?

“Freedom from what yoke, or from the yoke of what class? Freedom for what class?”

Feminism and Marxism are both left-of-center doctrines and go hand by hand. In our struggle against class inequality and the unfair privilege of the rich, we must also rebel against gender inequality and the unfair privilege of men. Both workers and females are being oppressed by the same system as they are regarded as property by the higher class. A specter is haunting the world, a specter of feminism.

Rosa Luxemburg was a Marxist theorist, philosopher, economist and revolutionary socialist of Polish-Jewish descent.
Rosa Luxemburg was a Marxist theorist, philosopher, economist and revolutionary socialist of Polish-Jewish descent.

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