This is an archive of the former website of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which was run by the now defunct Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika. The MIM now consists of many independent cells, many of which have their own indendendent organs both online and off. MIM(Prisons) serves these documents as a service to and reference for the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.

Revolutionary feminism

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Applying the gender aristocracy thesis:

Bush's warmongers know the weaknesses of pseudo-feminism

  • See NOW's International Wimmin's Day statement
  • See the extended transcript of Bush singling out Iran, northern Korea and Burma on International Wimmin's Day
  • Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice makes IWD comments official and public March 9: "We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran"--one of three Rice remarks highlighted on her web page as of March 27 2006

    NOW member and famous writer Phyllis Chesler refers positively to a writer speaking of "abuse" in quotation marks in reference to Abu Ghraib.(1) It goes to show that the Bush propagandists know who their real enemies are. NOW has mentioned Abu Ghraib but not its implications for feminism, only the Bush presidency. In contrast, MIM and Chesler have both taken a stand on Abu Ghraib's implications for Euro-Amerikan feminism.

    In winning over Kate Millett to her position, Chesler said the following:

    I reminded Kate that the jihadists are an even bigger problem than what's happening at Guantanamo. . . I understood that she was psychologically as well as politically threatened and outraged by the Abu Ghraib photographed realities. Gently, I said: 'Israeli civilians have been living in smaller and smaller boxes. . . "(2)
    In other words, Chesler changes the subject to nationalism but still calls herself feminist.

    What is really destroying Chesler's politics is the truth about Abu Ghraib, and most pointedly, the role of Amerikan females there. That is the reason that Chesler knows she must work on downgrading the severity of what is happening in U.$. prisons.

    It's easy to convince white nationalists that their own country is better than others', but it's not the same thing to prove that the Marines or Army can improve things in other countries. Love of the united $tates does not translate to progressive change in other countries.

    In 241 pages of war-mongering in The Death of Feminism, Chesler never shows once any success in implementing great feminist change by the hands of her favorite revolutionary vehicle, the U.$. military. Yet the whole world knows that the U.$. military has had great success killing prisoners, raping boys and spreading commercial pornography--including in places in Iraq where there was none.

    The failure of the united $tates to bring progressive gender change to the world shows what MIM has said for a long time, that u.$. imperialism is decadent, not progressive. Some wimmin may admit that the united $tates is decadent and exploitive and still wonder if u.$. soldiers can bring positive gender change. For these doubters, we point to the gender aristocracy. Lynndie England is the final nail in the coffin for any fantasy about U.$.-led feminist revolution. Lynndie England is a man. Sending Amerikkkan men to destroy patriarchy somewhere has yet to work. That's just how nation, class and gender are tied together at the moment.

    Some decadent pseudo-feminists may dream of a change carried out by others, because pseudo-feminists themselves never study scientifically the social forces that bring about progressive gender change. Of course, focussing obsessively on just u.$. gender conditions will have that effect.

    Pseudo-feminists have been busy avoiding the truth about how change comes about internationally. As Chesler herself pointed out, white 1960s men copied Black Power and white 1960s wimmin copied white men. The copy of the copy is white nationalist and pseudo-feminism is a by-product of revolutionary upsurge.

    In the 1960s, anti-Amerikkkanism in the air was the international glue advancing wimmin and workers. Many Euro-Amerikan wimmin could not accept that, so they took up a project of refining intra-Euro-Amerikan relations. Most of pseudo-feminism is about refining white nationalism. It's only Phyllis Chesler who has had the direct courage to admit what MIM has said about pseudo-feminism all along.

    It is wrong to refer to Chesler's politics as bourgeois feminism. Chesler's politics are straight-up bourgeois nationalism, which makes her feminism just pseudo-feminism, in the oppressor nation context. There is no reason to humor Chesler beyond her bourgeois nationalism, as if she were feminist. She offers no improvement or pretended improvement for the wimmin of Iraq or Afghanistan. All she can say is that she wishes the wimmin in those countries had the u.$. lifestyle--an oafish comment oblivious to history, exploitation and economic development. Her line is one extended version of the joke about Ethiopians starving in the desert: "what, don't they know about credit cards?"

    Chesler favors the most powerful enemies of the world's wimmin, because she supports divide-and-conquer of wimmin. She's quite willing to divide or unite bourgeois wimmin from proletarian wimmin on the basis of nationality, so bourgeois feminism is not the correct charge. When we look at the U.$. female role in the military, we can find no evidence that there is a social force that brings about gender transformation. There is no place in the world where Amerikan females play a progressive role for transformation of patriarchies.

    Those who apply Lenin's theory of imperialist decadence may arrive at thoughts similar to MIM's on gender. Meanwhile, those who apply Trotsky's theory of imperialism are likely to agree with Chesler, because Trotsky believed that even in his day colonialism played a progressive role, not a decadent one.

    MIM has gone beyond the term "bourgeois feminism" for a variety of reasons. On the theoretical plane, we see discussion of "bourgeois feminism" as mostly reductionist. It risks not answering questions that people occasionally ask about gender. The term "bourgeois feminism" does not really cover what Lynndie England was doing in Abu Ghraib.

    Another reason we do not say "bourgeois feminism" much is that as with Chesler, that can be confusing. Chesler claims to be a feminist, but she is really a bourgeois nationalist. A bourgeois feminist could at least address the issues of concern to all bourgeois wimmin, but Chesler does not even do that. Her position is that she likes her own country and does not like others, so send the Marines to the others.

    To exert an influence on the feminism question, we need MIM's "gender aristocracy" thesis. When we focus in on what the gender aristocracy is doing, we see that the project of the imperialist nationalists is futile. While Chesler snipes at NOW with imperialist nationalism, revolutionary feminists should snipe from the other side with MIM line. The gender aristocracy is going to vacillate between the MIM pole and Chesler's pole. At the moment, Chesler is losing on Iraq, but she may yet stir up passions for war with Afghanistan and Iran. Tony Blair has found support for sending English troops to Afghanistan. We have to be done with namby-pamby responses to pseudo-feminism and enter the struggle as it actually exists.

    1.Phyllis Chesler, The Death of Feminism (NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), p. 13.
    2. Ibid., p. 198.