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.
Even worse than failing to win office would be winning it while unprepared for the realities of government. Christine Berry considers what Labour needs to do to avoid the fate of Syriza in Greece
The Conservative Party is in a process of ideological decline or even disintegration, argue James Butler and Richard Seymour.
Landry Ninteretse and Ian Rivera share perspectives from Kenya and the Philippines and call for universal energy systems that are clean and renewable, public and decentralised
Red Pepper’s picks of The World Transformed festival, in Brighton from 21-24 September
Winning elections is not enough. To transform society we need to involve the people in policy making, argue Kerem Dikerdem and Annie Quick
Chloe Tomlinson lays out the battle lines for a more egalitarian, democratic and holistic education system. Essential reading ahead of The World Transformed education sessions
As a US-friendly no-deal Brexit inches closer, Bonnie Castillo of National Nurses United explains why US nurses have joined the fight against NHS privatisation. Recommended reading ahead of The World Transformed health sessions