ADDITIONS THAT SUBTRACT – ITAIA

On the 8th of March 2018, three women from the aca­de­mia with gro­wing fame published a poli­ti­cal mani­fes­to: Femi­nism for the %99: A Mani­fes­to which spread their poli­ti­cal cam­paign through the world. Nancy Fra­ser, Cin­zia Arruz­za and Tithi Bhat­ta­char­ya, ins­pi­red by the “Occupy Wall Street” move­ment deve­lo­ped in 2011, had the inten­tion to ques­tion libe­ral femi­nism by coun­te­rac­ting it with “anti-capi­ta­list” femi­nism, which they wished to strengthen in the gene­ral poli­ti­cal sphe­re. Their aim was to unco­ver the eman­ci­pa­tory pos­si­bi­li­ties that hide behind current femi­nist posi­tions, and pro­ve that they are wor­ka­ble.

In the authors’ words, nowa­days, with the cre­di­bi­lity of the poli­ti­cal eli­te having been worn down, we find our­sel­ves surroun­ded by the appro­pria­te con­di­tions neces­sary to begin to think about “anti-capi­ta­list” femi­nism. Accor­ding to the three aca­de­mics, with the defeat of Hillary Clin­ton in 2016, libe­ral femi­nism suf­fe­red a down­fall, sta­ting that the reason for it was the gap per­so­ni­fied by Clin­ton bet­ween women that reached high posi­tions and the bene­fit of the majo­rity of the popu­la­tion. They explain that this ope­ned up pos­si­bi­li­ties for the affair to be taken upon by the left (Arruz­za et al., 2019).

Yet sur­pri­singly, sin­ce Hillary Clinton’s defeat, her party has orga­ni­zed two World Mar­ches of Women, one Women’s Stri­ke, and has sup­por­ted the MeToo move­ment, phe­no­me­na that the authors clas­sify as anti-capi­ta­list femi­nism. To unders­tand this it is essen­tial to under­li­ne that, sin­ce the ’80s, with aca­de­mic theory having dis­car­ded the con­cept of class, the Demo­cra­tic Party has shif­ted the focus of its elec­to­ral pro­po­sals to other iden­ti­ties, by finan­cing (and that way assu­ming) various collec­ti­ves by means of a foun­da­tio­nal net­work (Baraho­na, 2018). In this con­text, it is logi­cal to have orga­ni­zed a mas­si­ve anti-Trump mobi­li­za­tion (the Women’s March that took pla­ce in Washing­ton) after having lost to him in the elec­tions. Accor­ding to Baraho­na (2018), this event had the help of many dif­fe­rent means sin­ce the begin­ning, such as the Move On[1] plat­form, which is tied to the Open Society Foun­da­tion[2] . This has been a plat­form that has thrown itself into for­ming and pro­mo­ting the Demo­cra­tic elec­to­ra­te. Given its suc­cess, the pro­mo­ters of the mobi­li­sa­tion did not wait much and befo­re long had already sket­ched the Inter­na­tio­nal Women’s Stri­ke for the 8th of March.

In January 2018, the second World March of Women was openly pre­sen­ted under the mot­to “Power to the Polls”. This had a noti­cea­ble effect on Novem­ber of that same year, when a diver­sity never seen befo­re in the sena­to­rial elec­tions of the Uni­ted Sta­tes illu­mi­na­ted us (260 elec­tor women). Some des­cri­bed it as being a “pro­gres­si­ve wave of women”, and Fra­ser her­self even explai­ned that the­se women had the initia­ti­ve to try to struc­tu­rally chan­ge their country’s fun­ctio­ning, the­re­fo­re naming them “anti-esta­blish­ment”. For that reason, it seems to be qui­te con­tra­dic­tory that the fai­lu­re of Clinton’s libe­ral femi­nism, that was sup­po­sed to bring the neces­sary con­di­tions for the upri­sing of anti-capi­ta­list femi­nism, was to be the prin­ci­pal exam­ple of anti-capi­ta­list femi­nism itself.

Any­ways, back to the main sub­ject: we could say that this spe­ci­fic poli­ti­cal con­text in the USA and the offen­si­ve the wor­king class is suf­fe­ring due to the world­wi­de cri­sis situa­tion, has given the ade­qua­te con­di­tions for a con­cept such as “femi­nism for the 99%” to be put on the table. Accor­ding to the authors, femi­nism for the 99% has the goal of uni­ting actual and futu­re move­ments with a broad array of prin­ci­ples on one big world­wi­de rebe­llion. Towards this cau­se, they say it’s espe­cially essen­tial to make allian­ces with the anti-capi­ta­list left within the move­ments that defend the 99%.

The­se aca­de­mic women think that the con­cept of “stri­king” that has been deve­lo­ped in the last few years has had an impact on new ways of doing poli­tics, and even more, our unders­tan­ding of “work” has deve­lo­ped and spread and, con­se­quently, the “wor­king class” itself has been rede­fi­ned. We agree, the lef­tist move­ments that have cir­cu­la­ted an eco­no­mis­tic inter­pre­ta­tion of the wor­king class have fallen into the ditch.

On the other hand, we also agree with the struc­tu­ral unders­tan­ding of the wor­king class, and pla­ce it in the midd­le of the capital’s glo­bal cour­se of action, which means that all tho­se that need a salary to sur­vi­ve belong in this cate­gory. This reveals the con­tra­dic­tion bet­ween capi­tal and labour, the anta­go­nis­tic inter­ests of the two clas­ses. We’re led to think that the three authors have the same analy­sis when they speak about how the divi­sion bet­ween the need to pro­du­ce pro­fit and also pro­du­ce humans has bred deep ten­sions in the heart of the capi­ta­list society.

Even so, to jump from that analy­sis of class to the theory about the 99%, the authors (2019) obser­ved the con­tra­dic­tions born in the deve­lop­ment of the objec­ti­ve con­di­tions which stem from this sta­te of cri­sis, which has had a deci­si­ve impact when it came to iden­tif­ying the sub­ject of this poli­ti­cal pro­po­sal. This is made appa­rent when they express in their mani­fes­to how, nowa­days, the­se con­tra­dic­tions have star­ted to reach a boi­ling point in the belly of capi­ta­lism. In prac­ti­ce, the authors say, no one except the 1% has been able to esca­pe from the suf­fo­ca­ting grasp of eco­no­mic pre­ca­rious­ness, the exhaust of social repro­duc­tion and poli­ti­cal free-for-all.

Once having reached this point it is evi­dent that this stra­ta­gem, that lacks a clea­rer or more spe­ci­fic expla­na­tion, already res­ponds to many inac­cu­ra­cies. On one hand, to unders­tand that the con­cept of class goes beyond waged labour musn’t make us form abs­tract or vague iden­ti­ties of class: the 99%, in this case. To pin­point the root of the pro­blem on the 1% demons­tra­tes a clearly unrea­lis­tic study of reality. It’s worthy to men­tion the capi­ta­list mode of pro­duc­tion, that, even though it rests upon a spe­ci­fic com­po­si­tion of class ‑which Marx defi­ned as “rela­tions of capi­tal”: a com­po­si­tion made up by the oppo­si­tion bet­ween the waged labou­rer and the capi­ta­list- (Yeni­koy, 2019), sin­ce the second half of the XXth cen­tury, when the rise of wel­fa­re sta­tes in dif­fe­rent coun­tries of the West, gave way to the crea­tion of labour aris­to­cracy. Even though this last ele­ment belongs insi­de the his­to­ri­cal cate­gory of the wor­king class, when com­pa­red with the pro­le­ta­riat, it is the stra­tum most capa­ble of accu­mu­la­ting money: due to the public invest­ment the­se types of sta­tes recei­ved, they began to be able to save up money from their sala­ries. The­re­fo­re, as men­tio­ned befo­re, even though an objec­ti­ve defi­ni­tion can make refe­ren­ce to whe­re in the fabric of the sphe­re of pro­duc­tion the sub­ject is posi­tio­ned socially, this goes beyond the analy­sis of two anta­go­nis­tic clas­ses.

On the other hand, to deve­lop a poli­ti­cal analy­sis, it’s essen­tial to be awa­re of the poli­ti­cal defi­ni­tion of class, seeing that the tech­ni­cal defi­ni­tion by itself doesn’t de fac­to spe­cify its poli­ti­cal posi­tion. The­re­fo­re, this sub­jec­ti­ve desig­na­tion would res­pond to each social class acting as a poli­ti­cal sub­ject. In this case, the labour aris­to­cracy takes cen­ter ground as a mat­ter of opi­nion, due to the living con­di­tions this social sec­tor has piled up throughout the years having crea­ted a cer­tain stan­dard of needs and demands, sin­ce it has ope­ned the door to the phe­no­me­non of the “midd­le class”. That is to say that, when the labour aris­to­cracy has had the chan­ce to level with the inter­ests of the petit bour­geo­is, it has crea­ted the pos­si­bi­lity to form a poli­ti­cal body bet­ween the two, that way promp­ting this first group to take on reac­tio­nary posi­tions when revo­lu­tio­nary attem­pts mani­fes­ted. Addi­tio­nally, with the inten­tion of ensu­ring the­se social posi­tions, apart from the fact that the labour aris­to­cracy has nego­tia­ted with the capi­ta­lists the quan­tity of mer­chan­di­se they’re able to recei­ve, it’s res­pon­si­ble for making the poli­ti­cal direc­ti­ve of this high layer of the wor­king class beco­me the rear­guard of the capi­tal (Yeni­koy, 2019).

In this regard, we could say that simply expe­rien­cing the con­se­quen­ces of the inner con­tra­dic­tions of capi­ta­lism doesn’t inhe­rently make the per­son revo­lu­tio­nary. We have men­tio­ned mul­ti­ple times that, in this day and age, even though the oppres­sion of wor­king class women still res­ponds to a mate­rial basis, its cul­tu­ral and juri­di­cal mani­fes­ta­tions have an effect on all women. This doesn’t mean that we can ever con­si­der the women of the pro­perty-owning class to be allies: it is requi­red for them to accept the con­se­quen­ces of the oppres­sion they repro­du­ce so they can hold on dearly to their posi­tions. As a result, to defi­ne the sub­ject of a poli­ti­cal stra­tegy that is sup­po­sed to deve­lop class cons­cious­ness as the 99% is vague and inac­cu­ra­te.

Once having defi­ned the sub­ject in this man­ner, the ori­gi­na­tors of the mani­fest express that their the­sis about the 99% con­fronts the two options the capi­tal offers.They reject not only reac­tio­nary popu­lism but also its pro­gres­si­ve neo­li­be­ral oppo­nents. They intend to win over wor­king-class frac­tions in both of tho­se poli­ti­cal bodies, to then form a anti-capi­ta­list block strong and power­ful enough to trans­form society.

Yet still, the only thing that con­tra­dicts neo­li­be­ral forms of poli­tics isn’t reac­tio­nary popu­lism. Even more, we can’t lea­ve behind the fact that the­re are many poli­ti­cal forms that are sup­por­ters of the capi­ta­list demo­cracy: social demo­cracy and lef­tist popu­lism being the most nota­ble. The­se poli­ti­cal bran­ches are usually a reflec­tion of the phe­no­me­non of the midd­le class; attem­pts of the labour aris­to­cracy to recu­pe­ra­te the wel­fa­re sta­te in the name of main­tai­ning its sta­tus quo. It’s incre­di­ble how the authors fai­led to men­tion this, con­si­de­ring that Ber­nie San­ders [3]him­self (the repre­sen­ta­ti­ve of social demo­cracy in the USA), a per­fect exam­ple, has been publicly sup­por­ted by Fra­ser. Isn’t this becau­se of the authors them­sel­ves are an exam­ple of this type of poli­tics? In fact, the mani­fes­to itself is a sly accla­ma­tion of the midd­le class, that over­looks the daily con­tra­dic­tions of the class strug­gle that the pro­le­ta­riat suf­fers and crea­tes an abs­tract class iden­tity: the peo­ple vs the oli­garchy, or the 99% vs the %1 (Alda­lur, 2019).  

We’ve already learnt the les­son that a poli­ti­cal pro­ject that wishes to deve­lop a class stra­tegy can’t simply reach out to the mul­ti­tu­de of move­ments that ari­se from under­neath (Arruz­za et al., 2019). This idea res­ponds to the theory of inter­sec­tio­na­lity, seeing that it doesn’t gua­ran­tee that neither the prin­ci­ples or their tac­tics and stra­tegy res­ponds in any way to the inter­ests of the wor­king class. In con­clu­sion, in order to orga­ni­ze social power accor­ding to the inter­ests of the wor­king class, the poli­ti­cal move­ment in ques­tion must pay spe­cial atten­tion to how the class enemy struc­tu­rally exer­ci­ses its domi­ni­on in each his­to­ri­cal era and moment (Yeni­koy, 2019). This means that, besi­des focu­sing the object of the revo­lu­tion on the class-enemy, we also have to iden­tify how it mani­fests, even uncons­ciously, in tho­se who have assi­mi­la­ted and defend its inter­ests, becau­se the­se often beco­me the big­gest kind of obs­ta­cle and incon­ve­nien­ce of the revo­lu­tio­nary pro­cess. In this regard, we could con­si­der that, in the last six deca­des, the labour aris­to­cracy has hege­mo­ni­zed in dif­fe­rent wor­ker stra­tums in Wes­tern wel­fa­re sta­tes, and gene­rally in the wor­king class, the bour­geo­is poli­ti­cal agen­da (Yeni­koy, 2019).

Today’s cri­sis con­text, with the begin­ning of a new cycle of world­wi­de accu­mu­la­tion and, sub­se­quently, a new poli­ti­cal cycle, requi­res a pre­ci­se analy­sis. The objec­ti­ve con­di­tions are gra­dually ripe­ning, whilst also sprea­ding the system’s inter­nal con­tra­dic­tions, as the authors explain. As a per­fect exam­ple, even though the­re have been many advan­ces made towards the legal equa­lity of men and women, men’s vio­len­ce against women has risen in the most pro­le­ta­rian sec­tors of society. Howe­ver, we can’t think that the deve­lop­ment of eco­no­mic con­di­tions mecha­ni­cally and para­llely deve­lop sub­jec­ti­ve con­di­tions. It’s evi­dent that some­ti­mes the object impli­ca­tes the sub­ject that expres­ses itself accor­ding to its his­to­ri­cal duty (Sama­nie­go, 2019). But, due to the con­di­tion of being exploi­ted, for this sub­ject to free its poten­tial, we ought to be pre­ci­se when orga­ni­zing a correct social divi­sion of work; effec­ti­ve orga­ni­za­tion, that is. For this reason, orga­ni­za­tio­nal inde­pen­den­ce regar­ding the capi­ta­list class is more impor­tant than ever: if we are trying to reach bour­geo­is power dyna­mics, we must neces­sa­rily fight all the facets and fac­tions of its power, them being either struc­tu­ral or poli­ti­cal.

Hen­ce, femi­nism that intends to end capi­ta­lism must be pre­ci­se when it comes to spe­cif­ying its goals and the right tac­tic to get the­re step by step. This means that a poli­ti­cal pro­gram must be deve­lo­ped enti­rely in the inter­ests of wor­king class women, and face every form of oppres­sion by unif­ying the wor­king class. In this feat, for the correct mode of orga­ni­za­tion, dri­ving the wor­king woman to beco­me an acti­ve mili­tant is a cha­llen­ge we must prio­ri­ti­ze.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

– Alda­lur, B. (2019÷06÷05). Des­mo­bi­li­za­zioa eta iden­ti­ta­te poli­ti­kak. Recu­pe­ra­do de: https://​gedar​.eus/​k​o​i​u​n​t​u​r​a​/​b​e​n​a​t​a​l​d​a​l​u​r​/​d​e​s​m​o​b​i​l​i​z​a​z​i​o​a​-​e​t​a​-​i​d​e​n​t​i​t​a​t​e​-​p​o​l​i​t​i​kak

– Alda­lur, B. (2019÷09÷11). G7a Bia­rritzen, kla­se ana­li­si­ra­ko ekar­pen labu­rra. Recu­pe­ra­do de: https://​gedar​.eus/​k​o​i​u​n​t​u​r​a​/​b​e​n​a​t​a​l​d​a​l​u​r​/​g​7​a​-​b​i​a​r​r​i​t​z​e​n​-​k​l​a​s​e​-​a​n​a​l​i​s​i​r​a​k​o​-​e​k​a​r​p​e​n​-​l​a​b​u​rra

– Alda­lur, B. (2019÷11÷05). Kla­se iden­ti­ta­teak eta pro­ze­su sozia­lis­ta: gau­za bera ote dira? Recu­pe­ra­do de: https://​gedar​.eus/​k​o​i​u​n​t​u​r​a​/​b​e​n​a​t​a​l​d​a​l​u​r​/​k​l​a​s​e​-​i​d​e​n​t​i​t​a​t​e​a​k​-​e​t​a​-​p​r​o​z​e​s​u​-​s​o​z​i​a​l​i​s​t​a​-​g​a​u​z​a​-​b​e​r​a​-​o​t​e​-​d​ira

– Arruz­za, C., Bhat­ta­char­ya T. & Fra­ser N. (2019). Femi­nism for the 99%: A Mani­fes­to. Bar­ce­lo­na: Her­der.

– Andra­de, A. & De Sus, E. (2019÷04÷03). “Nece­si­ta­mos una defi­ni­ción total­men­te dife­ren­te del con­cep­to de cla­se tra­ba­ja­do­ra” Nancy Fra­ser. Reupe­ra­do de: https://​ctxt​.es/​e​s​/​2​0​1​9​0​4​0​3​/​P​o​l​i​t​i​c​a​/​2​5​3​7​4​/​n​a​n​c​y​-​f​r​a​s​e​r​-​f​e​m​i​n​s​i​m​o​-​t​r​u​m​p​-​a​d​r​i​a​n​a​-​m​-​a​n​d​r​a​d​e​-​e​l​e​n​a​-​d​e​-​s​u​s​.​htm

– Baraho­na, T. (2018÷01÷30). La mar­cha inter­na­cio­nal de las muje­res o la arte­ra ins­tru­men­ta­li­za­ción del femi­nis­mo. Recu­pe­ra­do de: https://​www​.lahai​ne​.org/​m​m​_​s​s​_​m​u​n​d​o​.​p​h​p​/​l​a​-​m​a​r​c​h​a​-​i​n​t​e​r​n​a​c​i​o​n​a​l​-​d​e​-​las

– D’atri, A. & Muri­llo, C. (2019÷07÷28). Femi­nis­mo para el 99%: estra­te­gias en deba­te. Recu­pe­ra­do de: http://​www​.izquier​da​dia​rio​.es/​F​e​m​i​n​i​s​m​o​-​p​a​r​a​-​e​l​-​9​9​-​e​s​t​r​a​t​e​g​i​a​s​-​e​n​-​d​e​b​ate

– Sama­nie­go, M. (2019÷06÷26). Sor­ta­su­nez­ko komu­nis­moa eta ziklo poli­ti­ko edo ziklo eko­no­mi­ko berria. Recu­pe­ra­do de: https://​gedar​.eus/​k​o​i​u​n​t​u​r​a​/​m​a​r​k​e​l​s​a​m​a​n​i​e​g​o​/​s​o​r​t​a​s​u​n​e​z​k​o​-​k​o​m​u​n​i​s​m​o​a​-​e​t​a​-​z​i​k​l​o​-​p​o​l​i​t​i​k​o​-​e​d​o​-​m​e​t​a​k​e​t​a​-​z​i​k​l​o​-​b​e​r​ria

– Yeni­koy (2019). Kapi­ta­la­ren des­po­tis­moa eta pro­le­ta­riotza. Recu­pe­ra­do de: https://​gedar​.eus/​p​d​f​/​l​z​/​2​0​1​9​1​1​1​9​_​K​a​p​i​t​a​l​a​r​e​n​_​d​e​s​p​o​t​i​s​m​o​a​_​e​t​a​_​p​r​o​l​e​t​a​r​i​o​t​z​a​.​pdf

[1] This plat­form takes care of the orga­ni­za­tion and mana­ge­ment of the movi­li­za­tions men­tio­ned. They are very trans­pa­rent about their ties with the Demo­cra­tic Party, It’s clear when obser­ved who their can­di­da­te for 2020 is: “In the 2020 elec­tion cycle, MoveOn is com­mit­ted to making sure that a pro­gres­si­ve, ins­pi­ring, and com­pe­ti­ti­ve Demo­cra­tic nomi­nee who is accoun­ta­ble to the broa­der move­ment emer­ges from the pre­si­den­tial pri­ma­ries to defeat Donald Trump.” To learn more: https://​front​.moveon​.org/​a​b​o​u​t​/​?​u​t​m​_​s​o​u​r​c​e​=​f​r​o​n​t​&​u​t​m​_​c​o​n​t​e​n​t​=​nav

[2] Open Society Foun­da­tion is an inter­na­tio­nal net­work crea­ted by the tycoon Geor­ge Soros. Its pur­po­se is to finan­ce dif­fe­rent groups in the civil society. To learn more: https://​www​.open​so​ciety​foun​da​tions​.org/

[3] He ran with the Demo­cra­tic party in 2015 – 2016. Yet still, he is the lon­gest ser­ving inde­pen­dent repre­sen­ta­ti­ve in the Con­gres­sio­nal his­tory of the USA. To learn more:

http://​cana​rias​-sema​nal​.org/​a​r​t​/​2​5​0​6​5​/​f​e​m​i​n​i​s​m​o​-​d​e​l​-​9​9​-​l​a​-​u​l​t​i​m​a​-​e​s​t​r​a​t​e​g​i​a​-​p​a​r​a​-​d​e​s​p​i​s​t​a​r​-​a​-​l​a​s​-​t​r​a​b​a​j​a​d​o​ras edo http://​cana​rias​-sema​nal​.org/​a​r​t​/​2​5​7​0​5​/​e​n​-​l​o​s​-​e​s​t​a​d​o​s​-​u​n​i​d​o​s​-​e​l​-​s​o​c​i​a​l​i​s​m​o​-​t​e​-​l​o​-​t​r​a​e​-​e​l​-​d​e​p​a​r​t​a​m​e​n​t​o​-​d​e​-​e​s​t​ado

Jato­rria /​Ori­gen

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