Thinking About Suffragette
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/03/2016
Year Published: 2016
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21365
Alison Baldree responds to the 2015 flim Suffragette.
Although it portrays a moving and historical moment, Suffragette simply ends with a rolling list of dates when women won the right to vote in various nations. Granted, it's not a documentary, but somehow the failure to deal with power relations left me dissatisfied. After all, democracy under capitalism is subject to its varied tools: racism, classism, sexism, homophobia and other forms of oppression.
Yes women - through collective action, perseverance and solidarity - won the right to vote. But changing the relationships of power and class is a much larger battle. We can see this reflected in the political response to the Black Lives Matter movement, policies restricting who can vote through voter ID laws and in our everyday experience.
For me, the most significant lesson from Suffragette is the importance of building solidarity and the power of mass movement. It's only when we work together in a collaborative way against all forms of oppression that we can abolish the fundamental system, capitalism, that oppresses us all. Suffragette helped me meditate on the many, many tasks left undone.