The world is burning, flooding, and politically exploding, to the point where it’s become abundantly clear that neoliberal feminism—the kind that aims to elect The First Woman President—will never be enough. In her vibrant, politically personal essay, Zillah Eisenstein asks us to consider what it would mean to thread “socialism” to feminism; then, what it would mean to thread “abolitionism” to socialist feminism. Finally, she asks all of us, especially white women, to consider what it would mean to risk everything to abolish white supremacy, to uproot the structural knot of sex, race, gender, and class growing from that imperial whiteness. If we are to create a revolution that is totally liberatory, we need to pool together in a new working class, building a radical movement made of movements.
Eisenstein’s manifesto is built on almost half a century of her antiracist socialist feminist work, in its many iterations. But now, she writes with a new urgency and imaginativeness. Eisenstein asks us not to be limited by reforms, but to radicalize each other on differing fronts. Our task is to build bridges, to connect progressive candidates with environmental activists; striking teachers from West Virginia to Los Angeles with Black Lives Matter and the Black Youth Project 100; gun control advocates with incarcerated people involved in prison strikes; disabled people demonstrating in D.C. with transgender rights people reconfiguring the sexual binary; the #MeToo movement with Standing Rock Water Protectors… The genius force demanding that we abolish white supremacy can also create a new “we” for all of us—a humanity universally accepting of our complexities and differences. We are in uncharted waters, but that is exactly where we need to be.
This book is stunning in its questions and tone, open and learning, personal and theoretical. It is a gift to us all, one that helps so much in these critical, difficult times.
For decades Zillah Eisenstein has been a leading thinker in feminist criticism. She has consistently illustrated for us how addressing economic exploitation and racial domination as well as imperialism are essential to feminist futures. In this book, with stunning clarity, intellectual sharpness, and deep love, she makes the task of freedom-fighting both clear and absolutely compelling. Her prose is pointed and accessible and her argument is sophisticated and nuanced. Through example and analysis, she guides readers through the current morass toward refreshed freedom dreams, deeper solidarity, and both global and local liberation struggles. This is a book for readers across the spectrum of age, identity, and political experience, who sustain hope despite our current despair.
Abolitionist Socialist Feminism is a sharp, dauntless, and timely text that is both a mandate and a teaching tool. After reading Eisenstein’s astute take on radical movement building, no longer can the socialist deny the power of feminist politics. No longer can the feminist refuse the call to ground their politics in an intersectional class analysis. No longer can the abolitionist imagine and build a world free of that which harms us without an appeal to socialist feminism. Eisenstein’s bold call for an abolitionist socialist feminism is thunderous. And it is one that we will do well to heed.
A deftly crafted, impressively informative, clarion call to the kind of political action that is fundamentally necessary if political patriarchy is to be overcome and eventually abolished, Abolitionist Socialist Feminism: Radicalizing the Next Revolution is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Contemporary Political Science collections in general, and Feminist Issues supplemental studies reading lists in particular.