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Socialist feminism is a branch of feminism that focuses upon both the public and private spheres of a woman's life and argues that liberation can only be achieved by working to end both the economic and cultural sources of women's oppression.[1] Socialist feminism is a dualist theory that broadens Marxist feminism's argument for the role of capitalism in the oppression of women and radical feminism's theory of the role of gender and the patriarchy.

Some contributors to this perspective have critiqued traditional Marxism for failing to find an inherent connection between patriarchy and classism. Marx and Engels were largely silent on gender oppression except to subsume it underneath broader class oppression.

Marx felt that when class oppression was overcome, gender oppression would vanish as well. According to socialist feminists, this view of gender oppression as a sub-class of class oppression is naive and much of the work of socialist feminists has gone towards separating gender phenomena from class phenomena.

Other socialist feminists, notably two long-lived American organizations Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party, point to the classic Marxist writings of Frederick Engels (The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State) and August Bebel (Woman and Socialism) as a powerful explanation of the link between gender oppression and class exploitation.

On the other hand, the Socialist Party USA is an example of a socialist feminist party which is not explicitly Marxist (although some members identify as Marxists). The party's statement of principles says, "Socialist feminism confronts the common root of sexism, racism and classism: the determination of a life of oppression or privilege based on accidents of birth or circumstances. Socialist feminism is an inclusive way of creating social change. We value synthesis and cooperation rather than conflict and competition."

See also

References

  1. ^ What is Socialist Feminism?, retrieved on May 28th 2007.

External links








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