The following article was originally presented as a reading for the Geelong Feminist Discussion Group. It introduces a basic history of the intersections of various tendencies of socialism and feminism.
Until recent history we do not find much specific writing dealing with the status of women in relation to men. But with the rise of capitalism, inequality between the genders reached new heights. However capitalism also brought with it the beginnings of liberal ideas. Writers like Mary Wollstonecraft and John Stuart Mill began to address the treatment of women in texts like A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) and The Subjection of Women (1869) respectively.
But the ideals of liberalism about individual rights and the flourishing of the human spirit did not match capitalist reality. For workers, the poor, women, slaves and the colonised peoples, capitalism and liberalism didn’t live up to the promise of freedom. Instead it usually meant exploitation, starvation and oppression.
The following text is a reworked article originally published by Collective Action (Melbourne) in 2017. As such, the statistics and reports referred to will be somewhat dated. Sadly, things remain virtually the same. The author is now a member of Geelong Anarchist Communists.
The National Australia Day Council describes Australia Day as “a day to reflect on what we have achieved and what we can be proud of in our great nation,” and a “day for us to re-commit to making Australia an even better place for the generations to come”.
But for many January 26 is no date to celebrate, and to fully understand why, we must recognise the price of this “great nation’s” achievements over the past 234 years.
It is no secret that the COVID pandemic has been a disaster for people everywhere. Omicron has only exacerbated the crisis, though largely as a result of the State removing previous measures taken to contain the virus. The extent of the failure of both the Federal and State Governments to contain and manage the outbreak is obvious in a way not witnessed previously. The collapse of living standards continues to drive home the neo-liberal offensive begun in the 80s, as working class Australians become increasingly worried about financial and lifestyle security.