Intersectionality and Today’s Challenges
Updated: Jul 22, 2020
“We are socialists because we believe that work must be organized for the collective benefit of those who do the work and create the products, and not for the profit of the bosses…We are not convinced, however, that a socialist revolution that is not also a feminist and anti-racist revolution will guarantee our liberation.”
– Combahee River Collective
The Combahee River Collective Statement, crafted by Black feminists in 1977, is a seminal work that explores themes pertaining to intersectionality, a word which was itself coined by a Black feminist lawyer and civil rights advocate, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, in 1989.
Democratic socialism (or even it’s more “accessible” cousin - social democracy) would not, in and of itself, eradicate racism or misogyny in the United States overnight. That said, it is the belief of the present author that all such struggles are inter-related. In short, if more people were able to live within a polity which embraced the tenets of political and economic democracy and where they experienced greater practical liberties, it would be easier to root out these societal plagues. There would be far fewer “malefactors of great wealth” (TR quote) engaging in class warfare against the poor, working, and middle classes…and using race and/or gender or other elements of identity as both a wedge and cudgel.
Of course, socialism need not be a prerequisite of a feminist or anti-racist state, those advancements could come first or all could be brought about simultaneously.
These are hardly radical notions. One need look no further than President Franklin Roosevelt’s expression of the Four Freedoms (freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear) in conjunction with his proposal for an “economic bill of rights” (also known as the Second Bill of Rights) which offered guarantees pertaining to employment, housing, medical care, education, and other rights. The logical conclusion of these freedoms and these rights would result in a society based more on human need than lining the pockets of the uber-wealthy and their willing minions. In other words, if i may wax idealistic for a moment, these principles brought into being would help usher in the creation of a society with a genuine comradeship of the people (if I may be permitted to update the appropriate John Lennon’s lyric from Imagine).
I strongly encourage you to read the Combahee River Collective Statement .