Marxist feminism

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  • Publicado : 7 de febrero de 2011
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Marxist feminism in Poland

This short paper is dedicated to the topic of Marxist feminism and its’ presence in Poland, or to say in other words the debate about relation and influence to the women underprivileged situation in the context of class and work in capitalist society.
I start with short description of the origin and concept of Marxist feminism, afterwards I give some examples ofhow women issue was present in the socialism in the polish history and I conclude with reflection on how and if – taking into account the most recent polish history and consequently particular place of “left”- the issue of the topic of this paper is present in the main discourse in Poland.
In Marxist feminism, the class is recognized as a fundamental form of patriarchal oppression. Based of thetheory of Marx, social feminism criticizes and develops it. In theory of Marx, history is conceptualized as a series of modes of production governed by specific forms of class relations. It is the class – the foremost category – that determine if an individual has access to control of the means of production. Crucial opera for Marxist feminist is the Engels analysis of gender oppression in “TheOrigins of the Family, Private Property and State”, in which he outlines that women’s subordination is a result of social relations, more specifically the class relations. When talking about theory of Marx, it should be underlined that in his critique of capitalism the main role is attributed to the term significantly forgotten in the contemporary left - the alienation. The evil of capitalism is notgenerated by partial removal of profit one generate, but the fact of generate the alienation. Alienation of work, of social institution, of power and possibility of subjectivity and recognizability of individual in the products of its own work, forcing him/her to work fot others’ aims and others’ values. In this way, the essence of human being is denied, as it can exist in the world only by creativereproduction of reality and development of objectivization of own consciousness in products of its own work. Marxist feminism- in very oversimplified description - sought to develop the potential of Marxist theory to understand the capitalist sources of the oppression of women.
While asking for the presence of feminist thought in contemporary Poland that could be related to Marxism feminism, itis worth to ask a question: how and if the issue of women in the Marxist theory was present at its beginning?.
In the XIX century the main opera that analyzed the relation between socialist movement and women emancipation was “Women and socialism”, published in 1879 by August Bebel. It shows Marxist analysis of the oppression of women during centuries. Women were present in the polish (on theterritory that formed the polish state) workers movement from its beginnings. Women and her relation with socialism were the topic of one of the most known leftist activist and historian of that time: Adam Próchnik, who wrote the opera: “Women in polish socialist movement”. At the beginning of his book, he writes: „fighting against different privileges, socialism fights against the privilege ofsex as well” concluding that “socialism brings to women double liberation – as for workers and as for women”[1]. After the Second World War and the installation of People’s Republic of Poland and real socialism regime, the official policy towards women was that of total equality with men, symbolized with the image of female tractor driver. Of course, the equality remained mainly as part of statepropaganda. During “communist” regime, there was no such thing like feminist organization or movement. Like E.Krakowska writes: “We were more or less familiar with almost every aspect of the Western counterculture revolution, from leftist anarchist to peace-loving hippies except the women liber ation movement”[2]. Not disturbed by “imperialist” concept of feminism, polish women finally lived to...
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