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Women have participated in and been key players in a host of radical struggles throughout history. But for Laurie, the story of women’s liberation has been forcibly decoupled from stories of general liberation and parked in the past, as something over-and-done with. That’s why we usually only hear about the Suffragettes.
Just as Selma James argued in 1972 that feminism is about money, power and economics, Laurie Penny insists that feminists embrace socialism. She is dismayed at what she sees as the recent triumph of ‘right wing feminism’.
This ‘Sex in the City Feminism’ accepts that as long as some of us get to do what we want then it’s okay that the majority of women still suffer under an oppressive economic system.
Today we could be close to a tipping point in the movement for change, Laurie observed. We’ve seen explosions of anger in Slutwalks, Occupy, Pussy Riot, protests in India and more. But unfortunately the left is ‘tearing itself apart’ by failing to deal with issues of sexism, she said.
For instance, earlier last year, Laurie noticed cracks in the Occupy movement forming when a row broke out over a video of ‘hot Occupy chicks’.
As for how the left should organise to deal with sexism, Laurie touched on this but admitted she doesn’t have all the answers.
She did suggest that as a key environment for organising, ‘the internet is the most violently misogynist public space we have right now. So like Reclaim the Night, we need to Reclaim the Net.’
She also stated that since feminsm is against ‘biology as destiny’, the left must address trans issues and can’t sidestep the issue.
Laurie’s talk was delivered in exasperation but with a good sense of humour. She noticed the lack of strong voices defending free contraception in the USA and laughed ‘Women want the pill because we want to fuck!’
The talk was part of the LSE’s Ralph Miliband Programme and a podcast should be available soon.
The real story behind the fire in Grande Synthe’s Linière refugee camp, Dunkirk. From 'Bordered Lives – How Europe fails refugees and migrants' by Hsiao-Hung Pai
Javier Pérez De La Cruz writes about the working class Berlin neighbourhood wrung dry by gentrifiers.
Across the world, thousands of protesters are taking on the planet’s biggest fossil fuel companies. We should support them – and if we can, we should join them. By Kara Moses
Students are suffering the effects of financial instability, stress, and slashed mental health services. Mark Crawford reports.
They're not defending free speech - they're just seeking to shore up their own power, writes Ilyas Nagdee
How can the heavily-armed Israeli state claim to be victimised by one teenage activist? By Richard Seymour.
Governments are manufacturing a new 'enemy within', write Yasser Louati and Malia Bouattia
The online currency started as an alternative to the failed financial system – but as a huge bubble inflates and bankers board the bandwagon, Tom Walker argues bitcoin has drowned in greed
Oliver Lemon explores what a 'robot tax' could look like, and whether it's an idea whose time has come.
Nic Beuret, Anja Kanngieser, and Leon Sealey-Huggins explore the effects of the COP23 negotiations on the global south.
Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.
Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week
A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns
Labour Party laws are being used to quash dissent
Richard Kuper writes that Labour's authorities are more concerned with suppressing pro-Palestine activism than with actually tackling antisemitism