Rosa Luxemburg for Our Time

Holmstrom, Nancy
http://www.solidarity-us.org/site/node/4585

Publisher:  Against the Current
Date Written:  01/03/2016
Year Published:  2016  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX19037

Does Rosa Luxemburg leave feminists a theoretical and political legacy? That is, does she give us any theoretical guidance as to how to understand women's oppression? If so, what is it?

Abstract: 
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Excerpt:

All socialist-feminists see class as central to women’s lives, yet at the same time none would reduce sex or race oppression to economic exploitation. And all of us see these aspects of our lives as inseparably and systematically related; in other words, class is always gendered and raced.

The term “intersectionality” has come to be used for this position. Luxemburg certainly held to this kind of perspective, in that she recognized some kinds of oppression as common to all women and others varying by class and by nation.

While the special needs of working women were Luxemburg’s priority, she also supported positions some might see as merely “bourgeois demands,” the end to all laws that discriminated against women and women’s suffrage, which she advocated both as a matter of principle and for pragmatic political reasons.

Bringing women into politics would help combat what she called “the suffocating air of the philistine family” that affected even socialist men, and would also build the ranks of the social democratic forces. These positions were actually in advance of the bourgeois women’s organizations of the time.

On one occasion, she criticized social democrats willing to compromise on women’s suffrage to make an electoral alliance with liberals. The most radical of socialists were often also the best feminists.

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