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Women, Class, and Identity Politics

Reflections on Feminism and Its Future

What Is Intersectional Feminism?

Source: Emma Holmes, "What Is Intersectional Feminism?," Naked Truths, January 31, 2019.

Martha E. Gimenez is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is the author of Marx, Women and Capitalist Social Reproduction (Leiden: Brill, 2018).*

It is always necessary to distinguish between the material conditions of production [and, I add, reproduction]…and the ideological forms in which men become conscious of this conflict and fight it out.

Karl Marx1

I

In her rightfully celebrated 1969 article, “The Political Economy of Women’s Liberation,” Margaret Benston articulated several of the enduring themes and theoretical insights of feminist theories, especially those developed by socialist and Marxist feminists. For example, she located the material basis of women’s secondary status in their responsibility for the production of use values for home consumption and their ensuing economic dependence upon male breadwinners; the effects of domestic responsibilities on women’s opportunities; and the material conditions for women’s liberation, that is, equal access to employment and an end to the privatized nature of housework and child rearing.2

As a graduate student in the late 1960s, I struggled to make sense of the notion that women were oppressed as women and that men or patriarchy were the source of their oppression—an idea that, at the time, seemed strange to me.3 In contrast, Benston’s perspective that the causes of the secondary status of women were structural, rooted in the capitalist economy, and resulted in women’s responsibility for child care and the production of use values for family consumption, made sense to me. It showed how the functioning of the capitalist economy, given that the organization of social and biological reproduction remained still in a “premarket stage,” placed working-class men and women in different structural positions. This, I inferred, gave some men power over women. Working-class men had to earn wages to survive economically, whereas working-class women, whether married or unmarried, could theoretically either work for wages or work at home, unpaid and dependent on the wages of the male head of the household.4 Abstractly, under capitalism, being an unpaid domestic worker is for working-class women a functional alternative to earning wages.5 In retrospect, having read her article again, I can say that my account of the oppression of women and conceptualization of what, in the early 1970s, I called the mode of reproduction, owes much to Benston’s views about the “structural definition of women” and the household as a place of production and reproduction.6

II

During the fifty years that passed since the publication of this important work, feminist thought evolved in a variety of directions, prompted by challenges from within its ranks as well as changes in the historical conditions within which feminist struggles and ideas emerged. From the mid–1960s through the ’70s, inspired by the women’s movement, feminist theories and programmatic statements offering different explanations of the oppression of women flourished in the United States and elsewhere, including theories of patriarchy (radical feminism); the interaction between patriarchy and capitalism (socialist feminism); and capitalism, viewed as a system of exploitative relations of production and oppressive relations of reproduction (Marxist feminism). These early theories were and continue to be valuable in regard to research and policy implications, and in their broader ideological effects, raising people’s consciousness about the many dimensions of the oppression of women and inspiring them to organize and struggle for change.

Thanks to the success of liberal struggles, women’s opportunities have expanded; there are today many more women in business, politics, higher education, and other professions and careers that used to be reserved for men. Socialist and Marxist feminism shed light on women’s oppression at home and in the workplace. Awareness around the oppressive dimensions of sex-segregated labor markets and the double shift, a concept that captures the persistent conflict between women’s employment and their primary responsibility for household labor and child rearing, entered popular culture. Affordable day care has become a legitimate political objective. Sexual harassment in the workplace has finally been recognized as a form of gender discrimination. And as the Me Too movement shows, women are fighting back. However, albeit narrower, the gap between men’s and women’s earnings and occupational mobility persists. Women’s enormous contribution to the capitalist economy through unpaid domestic labor remains unrecognized, while the struggle for reproductive rights continues unabated, as politicians persist in proposing and often passing laws overtly intended to restrict women’s access to contraception and abortion while stealthily aiming to control their sexuality.7

III

The question of the oppression of women, the critique of which constituted feminism as an academic and political pursuit, has been feminism’s enduring source of strength and appeal, yielding numerous critical theories and perspectives.8 This has produced continual conceptual shifts defining an evolving feminism, such as the shift from women to gender and from inequality to difference. It has also involved shifts from theorizing the general conditions of women’s experience—oppressed at home and in the workplace, while juggling the conflicting demands of both—to theorizing the implications of the claim that, while gender may be the main source of oppression for white, heterosexual, middle-class women, women with different characteristics and experiences are affected by other forms of oppression as well.9

The most consequential of those critiques was put forth by black feminists and other women of color, resulting in the race, gender, and class analytical framework, which eventually crystallized into intersectionality. Equally significant is the perspective of social reproduction, which, though grounded in Marxist feminism, expanded its subject beyond the original focus on women’s oppression.

My purpose in this essay is to offer some considerations about the relationship between these perspectives and Marxist feminism. Do these perspectives strengthen Marxist feminism’s theoretical distinctiveness and political relevance? Or do they, instead, place it onto a different theoretical terrain? I believe the latter is the case, given that intersectionality blurs into social stratification, and social reproduction can refer to a variety of macro-level phenomena (reproduction of the labor force, class structure, oppressive relations, relations of production, and so on) beyond biological reproduction and the reproduction of labor power. I will argue that a possible way for Marxist feminism to remain a distinctive theoretical and politically relevant perspective might be to return to class, in the Marxist sense, theoretically reexamining the relationship between class and oppression, particularly the oppression of working-class women, within capitalist social formations. This would entail a structural analysis of oppression, in Benston’s sense—that is, one that seeks in the development and functioning of capitalism the historically specific material basis of all forms of oppression.

IV

The women’s liberation movement was part of the panoply of social movements active in the 1960s and ’70s, when people organized on the basis of gender (women’s liberation), age (Grey Panthers), sexuality (gay liberation), ethnicity (Mexican Americans, Chicanos, Asian Americans), and race (black feminists, Black Panthers). The forms of consciousness, intellectual production, and politics of those identity-based social movements were grounded in the material experiences of the activists and scholars participating in those movements. They were influenced by the political, ideological, and social context of the United States, a social formation where, particularly in the media, census and social science data about social phenomena was usually presented and discussed excluding class, thus fostering a tendency to conflate and perceive the effects of class with the effects of gender, race, ethnicity, and other oppressed statuses.10 Unfortunately, class is absent today from the vocabulary of most people and the dominant political discourse, labor has no political organization and representation, and idealist readings of Karl Marx predominate in many sectors of the left.11

Women of color, keenly aware of the differences between their experiences of oppression and those of white feminists, offered critiques that foreshadowed the development of the aforementioned analytical frameworks, writing about the simultaneity of “racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression” in the context of “interlocking systems of oppression,” which later became known as intersectionality.12 This and other critical observations did more than identify the oppressive and interrelated forces affecting the lives of women of color; they called attention to the relationship between social stratification and oppression as evinced in its effects on everyone’s lives and identities.13

Given that intersectionality is viewed as an important feminist theory, the oppression of women should be at its center. However, its broad scope—”interlocking systems of oppression” resulting in “complex identities”—introduces some ambiguity in its subject because it applies, with variable effects, to everyone: man and woman, white and nonwhite, citizen and noncitizen, immigrant and native, and so on. In Marx, Women and Capitalist Social Reproduction, I argue that, if narrowly understood, intersectionality’s subject is the oppression of women with complex identities, although, besides “marginalized women,” it also applies to “occasionally marginalized men.”14 The term marginalized implies poverty and near poverty, and being at the bottom of the chain of systems of oppression—thus excluding women occupying middle and privileged locations in those systems. Could intersectionality, then, claim to be a feminist theory while excluding a large proportion of the female population? At the same time, however, if intersectionality applies to everyone—for everyone is situated in the social stratification system and the relations of oppression, and a substantial proportion of the male population is located at the bottom—it makes sense to view it as an approach to the study of stratification and its oppressive effects, rather than as a feminist theory.15

The subject of social reproduction theory is also ambiguous. Like intersectionality, social reproduction is also viewed as a feminist theory, but, in its current versions, its scope reaches beyond the oppression of women and the reproduction of labor power to encompass the reproduction of the natural and social conditions for the reproduction of capitalism.

V

Early Marxist feminists theorized the outcome of women’s domestic labor and production of use values—the reproduction of labor power—and debated the nature of the relationship between domestic labor, the level of men’s wages, and the production of surplus value.16 This is why, if compared to current thinking about social reproduction, early Marxist feminist theories could be categorized as social reproduction theories stricto sensu. Social reproduction’s scope today entails far more than biological reproduction, the reproduction of labor power, and the network of social institutions beyond the household that contribute to the reproduction of labor power (such as the educational and health care systems). It includes, for example, the reproduction of the population, social classes, relations of production, labor force, and different layers and relations of oppression (gender, age, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, and so on) of the social stratification system among which the population of all social formations is distributed.17 Given that the reproduction of labor power and social stratification systems reflect and presuppose changing economic, political, legal, and ideological macro-level conditions, social reproduction is also about the reproduction of social formations as a whole.

Social reproduction feminists stress the integration of the production of things and the production of life, thus arguing that surplus production and capital accumulation necessitate the reproduction of labor power and that, consequently, “social reproduction is at the heart of the class struggle.”18 In principle, I agree. However, following Marx’s distinction between transhistorical and historical elements of social organization, I argue that social reproduction is best theorized in its historical context: “If production be capitalistic in form, so, too will be reproduction.”19 This is why I call my perspective on reproduction capitalist social reproduction, arguing that “in the social formations where capitalism is the dominant mode of production, the structures, processes and contradictions of the mode of production determine the social organization (i.e., establishes historical limits for its variability) and the material basis of the mode of reproduction feasible for the social classes and strata within classes.”20

The relationship between production and reproduction under capitalism is inherently contradictory, for the reproduction of the working classes is subject to the power, interests, and reproduction of the capitalist class.21 Capitalist contradictions constantly change access to the conditions of reproduction for different sectors of the working class through a variety of mechanisms intended to increase profits and reduce labor costs. This is why I prefer to say that the working classes’ economic and social survival is at the heart of the class struggle. Indeed, a key contribution of social reproduction theory is pointing out that class struggles are workers’ struggles for access to the material and social conditions necessary for economic and social survival and advancement, and that the working class encompasses a population larger than the currently employed sector of the labor force.22 As Immanuel Wallerstein observed, because “the constructed ‘peoples’—the races, the nations, the ethnic groups—correlate so heavily, albeit imperfectly, with ‘objective class’…a very high proportion of class-based political activity in the modern world has taken the form of people-based [women, minority groups, immigrants, etc.] political activity.”23

VI

The overlap between early Marxist feminist theory and a narrow formulation of social reproduction theory is clear, but it becomes less so as the scope of social reproduction theory broadens. From the standpoint of much current thinking about social reproduction, however, early Marxist feminist theories were flawed because they unfolded within a limited framework that privileged the categories of class and gender, investigating them “in isolation from race, sexuality, colonialism, and other constitutive relations” while overlooking the “multi-faceted complexity of real world relations and political struggles…[where] racial oppression intersects with gendered forms of domination and class exploitation.”24

I strongly disagree with this assessment. Marxist feminists were explicitly theorizing the relationship between capitalist class relations and the structural basis of the oppression of women. Their work illuminated the effects of capitalism on women’s economic and social placement and the significance of domestic labor, and did not preclude that other oppressive relations could be taken into account in the context of empirical research in the “real world,” that is, in capitalist social formations, in which colonial-imperial and racial oppressions were inscribed.

In defense of Marxist feminist theory, where critics see weakness, I see strength. Early Marxist feminists examined the relationship between the functioning of the capitalist mode of production and the capitalist organization of biological and social reproduction, identifying in its effects the material conditions that define the status of women in capitalist social formations, meaning in societies where the capitalist mode of production prevails.25 The perception that Marxist feminism “privileged” gender to the exclusion of other forms of oppression does not take into account the importance of differentiating between levels of analysis. At the level of analysis of capitalist social formations (such as the United States, France, Uruguay, and so on), women’s experiences of oppression differ greatly—this is the level of analysis where Marxist social scientists research the effects of class relations, social stratification, and oppressive social relations, or what advocates of intersectionality identify as “axes of oppression” and “complex identities.” The capitalist mode of production, in contrast, is the level of analysis where early Marxist feminists developed their theories of the capitalist structural material conditions underlying the subordinate status of women, regardless of differences in their individual identities and locations in the class structure and social stratification system.

While Marxist feminism has also been criticized for “privileging” class, I argue that it did not “privilege” it enough. Marxist feminist theories capture the essence of the material conditions affecting most working-class women, though this is not always explicitly stated, hence the perception that they overgeneralize. Benston’s statement that “except for the very rich, who can hire someone to do it, there is for most women an irreducible minimum of necessary labor involved in caring for home, husband, and children,” points out, at the level of analysis of the articulation between capitalism and reproduction, the fate of most propertyless women under capitalism.26 Within capitalist social formations, however, women are divided not only by class location (owners and non-owners of the means of production) but also by their location in the social stratification system.

Indirect references to class, such as differentiating between the very rich and most everyone else, or the top 1 percent and the 99 percent, obfuscate the nature of class differences and the existence of socioeconomic differences within classes, unwittingly contributing to the reigning confusion about class in the United States.

VII

There is a strong connection between the intensification of economic inequality, globally and within capitalist social formations, and changes in social science and feminist thought that seek to acknowledge the limitations of theorizing about one or simultaneous oppressions in relative isolation from class. Theoretically, it is difficult to conceptualize the relationship between class and oppression in a context where avoidance of “class reductionism” often results in confusing class with income or with socioeconomic status, reducing it to an ideology or “classism,” or conflating class and oppressions, such as positing that class is “gendered” or “raced.” More importantly, it is seldom recognized that class and oppressions belong to two different levels of analysis: class is one of the enduring structures of the capitalist mode of production whose causal effects are felt in all capitalist social formations, whereas oppressive identities and relations of oppression are more historically variable, ideologically and politically constructed to suit changing economic and political needs.27

Politically, the problem is how to foster class unity and class consciousness in a working class fragmented and weakened by the effects of economic and technological change, and by identity politics and cultural wars. A possible solution might lie, firstly, in “privileging” class, exploring the theoretical and political implications of the fact that all the population aggregates identifiable on the basis of status—that is, categories of oppression such as gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship status, age, and sexuality—are divided by class.28 Secondly, it must be kept in mind that the working classes are fragmented not only in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, and so on, but also in terms of education, occupation, income, place of residence, religion, political affiliation, and so forth, meaning, in terms of social and economic stratification.

At the level of analysis of the mode of production, most people, whatever their gender, race, ethnicity, and other individual characteristics may be, are working class, whether they are aware of this fact or not. They do not own the means of production, they depend on the sale of their labor power to survive, and their economic survival is always tenuous and subject to changes in the national and global capitalist economy, which, in turn, reflects the profit-seeking decisions of the capitalist classes.

At the level of analysis of social formations, common class location and objective commonality of interest are obscured and dampened by the effects of racial, ethnic, socioeconomic status, and other divisions.

Because of class and socioeconomic status divisions, membership in oppressed groups does not entail commonality of political and economic interests. Though the proportion of women and members of racial and ethnic minorities in the capitalist class and the upper layers of the social, economic, and political system is very small, class contradictions and conflicts of interest do not disappear under the mantle of common identities. For example, successful struggles for civil rights for all members of an oppressed group do not erase class contradictions and socioeconomic inequality within the group. At best, they foster the upward mobility of some individuals while leaving capitalism and all forms of economic and social inequality unchanged.

It is necessary, consequently, to transcend the reification of the concepts of class and working class as things separate from the relations of oppression in general and from women’s struggles and other identity-based struggles in particular. Marxist feminist theory has illuminated the material conditions for the oppression of working-class women and needs to say so forcefully, overcoming the ideological control underlying the usual qualms about economic determinism and class reductionism that contributed to the retreat from class and rise of identity politics. In this context, to “privilege” class means to make explicit that oppression is always experienced within the political and social spaces of class and social stratification, which, in turn, can ameliorate or intensify its effects. The outcomes of class relations and class conflicts fall differentially upon women depending on their class location, socioeconomic status, and placement in the structures of oppression, regardless of their self-identification with one or several oppressed identities.

The ever-present material reality of class, however, is seldom acknowledged by the average person. But whether acknowledged or not (that is, independent of the degree of class consciousness), the effect of class location is real, even though its “hidden injuries” may be experienced and understood through the lens of identity. For example, if considered from an exclusively feminist standpoint, current Republican efforts to undermine women’s legal and necessary access to contraception and abortion have been called the Republican “war on women.” Such an interpretation overlooks important class and socioeconomic status differences in the impact of restrictive policies about biological reproduction. Regardless of race, ethnicity, and other differences, capitalist women and women in the upper layers of the social stratification system are not affected by such policies, because they can afford to pay for contraception and abortion if their health insurance does not cover them or if they are banned or unavailable in their place of residence.29 Because most women live with children, husbands, partners, or other family members, their reproductive decisions affect not only their own well-being but that of others as well. In the context of insufficient wages, uncertain employment, inadequate housing, lack of health insurance, and other ills affecting working-class people, reactionary family policies can be best understood as a war on the working class.30

VIII

As wealth and income inequality intensify, the material reality of and effects on people’s lives become increasingly difficult to ignore. The time has come to acknowledge the limits of identity-based theorizing and politics. The economic, social, and political successes of many individual women have not altered the fate of the majority. Perhaps this is one of the sources of the renewed interest in Marxism and feminism we see today, particularly in Europe, where three international conferences have recently taken place.31

In order to become more than an academic exercise, Marxist feminism needs to return to its historical-materialist roots and to class, as the key material basis of the problems facing working-class women, whether employed or not. In the current economic and political environment, it is important to articulate a feminism that acknowledges that the majority of women are located in the working class and that the oppression and problems working women (whatever their identity or identities may be) face within social formations are significantly affected by their class position. Working women are not only responsible for the reproduction of labor power, the economic survival of their families, and the working class: they are part of the working class. In fact, they are more than half of the world’s working classes, given that “their common location in the relations of production and reproduction is a universal, yet historical, material base, for their potential mobilization and political organization not as women and not as workers but as working women.”32

Therefore, it is time, when writing and speaking about issues that matter to women, to specify their class location, socioeconomic status, and any other relevant characteristics, such as whether they are working-class Latina women, capitalist white women, working-class Central-American immigrant women, middle-class women (in terms of socioeconomic status), African-American women, and so on. This is not intended to describe complex identities, but to call attention to the ubiquitous nature of class as the social, economic, and political space where everyone’s lives unavoidably unfold, regardless of people’s awareness of their class position.

Today, as economic inequality grows, the economic prospects of working-class men, particularly those poorly educated, have been declining, as they have been for decades. Productivity grows as wages stagnate. Working-class family formation is increasingly difficult and unstable, especially as capital turns to women’s labor to reduce labor costs. As women continue to increase their participation in the labor force, their responsibility for the work of social reproduction has also intensified.33 These macro-level changes in the demand for labor and women’s labor force participation exacerbate the divisions within the working class, particularly the antagonisms between working men and women, fostered by the identity politics favored by the capitalist class.

As long as women’s oppression and other oppressions occupy the center of feminist theory and politics, while class remains at the margins, feminism will unwittingly contribute to keeping class outside the collective consciousness and the boundaries of acceptable political discourse. To become a unifying, rather than a divisive, political and ideological force, twenty-first-century Marxist feminism needs to become an overtly working-class women’s feminism, in solidarity with the working class as a whole, supporting the struggles of all workers, women and men, and gender-variant people of all races, national origins, citizenship statuses, and so on, thus spearheading the process toward working-class organization and the badly needed return to class in U.S. politics.

Footnotes

  1. * I thank Paul Cammack and Lise Vogel for their useful comments and suggestions.

Notes

  1. Karl Marx, preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy (1859; repr., New York: International, 1970), 21.
  2. Margaret Benston, “The Political Economy of Women’s Liberation,” Monthly Review 21, no. 4 (September 1969): 13–27. In my book, Marx, Women and Capitalist Social Reproduction (Leiden: Brill, 2018), I explore these issues of women, class, and identity in depth.
  3. In 1957, the year I entered law school at the University of Córdoba in Argentina, to pursue becoming a lawyer was not an unusual choice. I grew up encouraged to believe there were no limits to what I could accomplish, in an environment where I took for granted the presence of women in professions that in the United States at the time were still considered the prerogative of males (such as medicine, dentistry, biochemistry, and law).
  4. Of course, in capitalist social formations, many working-class women did both, particularly women belonging to racial or ethnic minorities or to some immigrant populations. The historically specific characteristics of social formations produce empirical variations in the survival strategies working-class men and women of different racial, ethnic, and national origins develop within capitalist constraints.
  5. The proportion of full-time domestic workers or “stay-at-home mothers” fluctuates with social and economic changes. In the United States, it decreased from 49 percent in 1967 to 23 percent in 1999, rising to 29 percent in 2012. See Jacob Galley, “Stay-at-Home Mothers Through the Years,” Monthly Labor Review, Bureau of Labor Statistics, September 2014.
  6. Martha E. Gimenez, “Population Structure and Processes in the Capitalist Mode of Production” (PhD dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 1973).
  7. For recent efforts to restrict abortion, see Marisa Lati and Deanna Paul, “Everything You Need to Know About the Abortion Ban News,” Washington Post, May 17, 2019. See also Martha E. Gimenez, “Reactionary Family Policies in the 21st Century: The Republican War on the Working Class in the United States,” Cultural Logic 23 (2019).
  8. For a comprehensive list and discussion see, for example, Judith Lorber, Gender Inequality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
  9. A lot of feminist theorizing, particularly in the United States, arose from a misplaced critique of early Marxist feminism. It was not understood that the focus of Marxist feminism, like Benston’s, was the structural place of women under capitalism. Instead, as a basis for critique, theorists pointed to the empirical differences (racial, ethnic, national origin, and so on) among women in different societies. While these facts are true, feminist theorizing failed to grapple with the difference between historically specific factors affecting the status of women within capitalist social formations, and the capitalist structures and constraints affecting women that are common to all social formations.
  10. For example, politicians and the media emphasize the disproportionate poverty of women, children, and racial and ethnic minorities, as if male and white poverty were insignificant, the poor were classless, and poverty were unrelated to the normal functioning of capitalism and class relations. In 2017, seventeen million white people were 43.8 percent of the poor population. See the current U.S. Poverty Statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau, available at http://federalsafetynet.com.
  11. I grew up in a middle-class family in Argentina, at a time (the 1950s and ’60s) when—in my milieu—being female was a fact of private, but not social or political, significance, as, for example, class or nationality. This influenced my work. I gained an intuitive awareness of the historicity of the personal and sociopolitical identities and categories of analysis dominant in all social formations.
  12. Combahee River Collective, “A Black Feminist Statement,” Monthly Review 70, no. 8 (January 2019), 29.
  13. The concept refers to the ranking and distribution of a society’s population into aggregates of different social and economic standing based on characteristics such as, for example, gender, race, ethnicity, age, national origin, income, education, occupation, and place of residence.
  14. Gimenez, Marx, Women and Capitalist Social Reproduction, 101–2; see also Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, “The Structural and Political Dimensions of Intersectional Oppression,” in Intersectionality: A Foundations and Frontiers Reader, ed. Patrick R. Grzanka (Boulder, CO: Westview, 2014), 18.
  15. See, for example, Nira Yuval-Davis, “Beyond the Recognition and Re-Distribution Dichotomy,” in Framing Intersectionality, ed. Helma Lutz, Maria Teresa Herrera-Vivar, and Linda Supik (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2011), 156, 159.
  16. See, for example, Lise Vogel, Marxism and the Oppression of Women: Toward a Unitary Theory (1983; repr., Chicago: Haymarket, 2013), 177.
  17. See, for example, Meg Luxton, “Reclaiming Marxist Feminism,” Studies in Political Economy 95 (2015): 166.
  18. Meg Luxton, “The Production of Life Itself: Gender, Social Reproduction and IPE,” in Handbook on the International Political Economy of Gender, ed. Juanita Elias and Adrienne Roberts (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2017), 39.
  19. Karl Marx, Capital, vol. 1 (New York: International, 1974), 566.
  20. Gimenez, Marx, Women and Capitalist Social Reproduction, 353–57; see also chap. 13.
  21. Gimenez, Marx, Women and Capitalist Social Reproduction, 299.
  22. See, for example, Tithi Bhattacharya, “How Not to Skip Class: Social Reproduction of Labor and the Global Working Class,” Viewpoint, October 31, 2015.
  23. Immanuel Wallerstein, “The Construction of Peoplehood,” in Race, Nation, Class, ed. Etienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein (London: Verso, 1991), 84.
  24. Susan Ferguson, Genevieve LeBaron, Angela Dimitrakaki, and Sara R. Farris, “Introduction,” Historical Materialism 24, no. 2 (2016): 28, 30.
  25. See, for example, Benston, “The Political Economy of Women’s Liberation”; Martha E. Gimenez, “The Oppression of Women,” in Structural Sociology, ed. Ino Rossi (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982); Vogel, Marxism and the Oppression of Women.
  26. Benston, “The Political Economy of Women’s Liberation,” 24.
  27. Non-European immigrants are automatically racialized or ethnicized in the United States and incorporated into the already existing oppressed minority groups. See, for example, Martha E. Gimenez, “Minorities and the World-System,” in Racism, Sexism and the World-System, ed. Joan Smith et al. (New York: Greenwood, 1988), 39–56. See also Immanuel Wallerstein, “The Construction of Peoplehood,” Sociological Forum 2 (1987): 373–88; Barbara Fields, “Slavery, Race and Ideology in the United States of America,” New Left Review 181 (1989): 95–118.
  28. In terms of Weberian sociology, the categories of oppression are status categories that entail “a specific, positive or negative, social estimation of honor…connected with any quality shared by a plurality.” See Max Weber, From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, ed. C. W. Mills and H. Gerth (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), 181.
  29. Capitalist women are women who own capital in their own right, whether inherited and/or earned, or are married to a capitalist and enjoy the privileges of wealth. It is important to note that there are six states in the United States with only one abortion clinic. Planned Parenthood might be forced to cease providing abortions in Missouri and if this happens it will become the first state without a single abortion clinic. See, “A Dark Milestone for Women’s Rights,” New York Times, May 28, 2019.
  30. Gimenez, “Reactionary Family Policies in the 21st Century.”
  31. The Strength of Critique: Trajectories of Marxist-Feminism, First International Marxist-Feminist Conference, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Berlin, March 20–22, 2015; Building Bridges—Shifting and Strengthening Visions—Exploring Alternatives, Second International Marxist-Feminist Conference, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, October 7–9, 2016; and Transforming Ourselves, Transforming the World, Third International Marxist-Feminist Conference, Lund University, Lund, Sweden, October 5–7, 2018.
  32. Gimenez, Marx, Women and Capitalist Social Reproduction, 342.
  33. See Andrew J. Cherlin, Labor’s Love Lost (New York: Russell Sage, 2014).
2019, Volume 71, Issue 04 (September 2019)
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