The belief in education, cultural action, or even cultural revolution as agents of change is a typical belief of the urban middle class. With regard to the women’s question, it is based on the assumption that woman’s oppression has nothing to do with basic material production relations. This assumption is found more among Western, particularly American, feminists who usually do not talk of capitalism. For many western feminists women’s oppression is rooted in the culture of patriarchal civilization. For them, therefore, feminism is largely a cultural movement, a new ideology, or a new consciousness.
Life is going to present to you a series of transformations. And the point of education should be to transform you. To teach you how to be transformed so you can ride the waves as they come. But today, the point of education is not education. It’s accreditation. The more accreditation you have, the more money you make. That’s the instrumental logic of neoliberalism. And this instrumental logic comes wrapped in an envelope of fear. And my Ivy League, my MIT students are the same. All I feel coming off of my students is fear. That if you slip up in school, if you get one bad grade, if you make one fucking mistake, the great train of wealth will leave you behind. And that’s the logic of accreditation. If you’re at Yale, you’re in the smartest 1% in the world. […] And the brightest students in the world are learning in fear. I feel it rolling off of you in waves. But you can’t learn when you’re afraid. You cannot be transformed when you are afraid.
The majority of the women of the world have nothing to lose but their chains – the chains of capital and the chains of patriarchy. Whilst petty bourgeois feminism struggles for the accomodation of women in the capitalist-imperialist system, proletarian feminism struggles for the end of the system and the establishment of a classless society.
Under capitalism-imperialism, women form the majority of part-time workers, the majority of single parents, and the majority of workers earning minimum wage. In imperialist wars of aggression, they are 80% of refugees and displaced people, and 80% of the victims of hand-held weapons. Women make up 83% of domestic workers, facing deplorable working conditions. Even in our daily lives, women have to endure physical as well as psychological violence. These are problems inherent in the capitalist system, and the struggle for women’s liberation is inseparable from the struggle against capitalism.
Proletarian feminism is the understanding that without the support, participation, and leadership of women, the success of communist revolution against capitalism is impossible. Only by fusing the struggle of the proletariat with the struggle of women and other oppressed groups can imperialism be defeated and the struggle for communism carried forward.