GUELPH: Revolutionary School: Proletarian Feminism

By: Luc M.

On Feb. 12th supporters of the PCR-RCP hosted their first Revolutionary School on Proletarian Feminism, this presentation was done in collaboration with the Vancouver RSM Cell. The presentation focused on the different feminist tendencies and the development of each through their history of struggle. The presentation concludes with Proletarian Feminism (ProlFem) being the most viable and correct theory for women’s liberation, because of its materialist understanding of gender and class struggle.

The event was successful as it marked the initiation of the Organizing Committee for International Women’s Day. The class also raised $150 for the Unis’tot’en legal fund for the brave Land Defenders currently fighting against the Canadian colonial state.

The summary below does not specifically mention trans women, but in this analysis we inherently include trans women as these issues are common to all proletarian women, whether trans or cis. We understand that there are of course differences between cis and trans women like for example, access to healthcare, different modes of discrimination, etc. But for the purpose of this summary we are only including the general and key points of the presentation.

Unlike other ‘feminisms’, ProlFem adheres to a Marxist, historical materialist, and dialectical materialist framework of analysis, proving that patriarchy and the struggle to overthrow it is integral to the class struggle, patriarchal oppression is class oppression. This means then that only communism can destroy patriarchy.

ProlFem rejects biological determinism, a toxic and unscientific trend that many ‘feminists’ uphold. ProlFem rejects the notion that sex, assigned at birth, based on genitalia is determinant in ones gender. We do not reject that there are biological differences between people, that would be absurd. We reject the notion that gender or sex is related to a biological essence. There is no female and male brain, but there is indeed a female and male social existence into which people fall – either forced into it, or because of identity.

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The scientific viewpoint allows us to analyze the nuclear family as an economic unit. Unlike other ‘feminisms’ which may idealistically say we must abolish the family because of its inherent oppressiveness, we seek to transform its internal role and its wider role in society. This is because the family is not the primary patriarchal mode of oppression but rather society itself, specifically capitalism-imperialism-colonialism. If we were to abolish the nuclear family today but still lived in a class society, patriarchy would still exist.

Prolfem rejects the notion that men and women have an antagonistic contradiction together. It rather says that proletarian men and proletarian women can struggle together to defeat capitalism-imperialism-colonialism. In fact they need to unite if we want to overthrow the bourgeoisie, a woman’s place is in the revolution! This notion then also clarifies what other ‘feminisms’ have glossed over, ‘woman’ is not a monolithic category. Not all women are revolutionary, many women are capitalists, many are reactionary and they are enemies of the proletariat.

Prolfem as a truly revolutionary theory is grounded in anti-imperialism and a global focus on patriarchy, rather than only focusing on Euro-American women. This includes analyzing the effects of sex tourism and pornography for non-white people, especially in colonized Nations. It also rejects support for oppressed gender minorities in imperialist armies by advocating for equality in these forces. We only fight in the People’s Army.

The scientific understanding for the need for a Revolutionary vanguard Party to lead the masses in the People’s War against capitalism-imperialism-colonialism. ProlFem rejects affinity-based orgs or small-scale spontaneous radical actions, it calls for a socialist revolution to completely transform society. This can only be done if led by a Revolutionary Party. This Party will be led by people of all genders with women and non-men being central members in leadership positions in the Party and the People’s Army.

On March 4th at 7:00PM there will be a public meeting to plan for International Women’s Day. This will be at the downtown public library second floor in the boardroom.

March 8th at 1:00PM there will be an International Working Women’s Day rally at St. George Square

Guelph is the occupied territory of Mississaugas of the Credit Nation and Anishinabek Nation

Further reading

  1. What is proletarian feminism? https://maosoleum.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/what-is-proletarian-feminism/#more-1050
  2. How Can Socialism Ensure the Full Liberation of Women http://www.bannedthought.net/China/MaoEra/Women-Family/HowCanSocialismEnsureTheFullLiberationOfWomen-JoanHinton-1997.pdf
  3. The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1884/origin-family/
  4. Why Women had Better Sex under Socialism? https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/12/opinion/why-women-had-better-sex-under-socialism.html