They have resonated through every socialist movement in the twentieth century without exception … From China to Nicaragua, this nineteenth-century model has been consciously adopted, even when its appropriateness was, at the least, open to question. While other aspects of the Marxist-Leninist program … have been adapted to national conditions, this element has remained remarkably unchanged, whether the country deploying the theory was Asian, Southeast Asian, African, European, or Latin American. In an era when level of skill and control over production served to define male workers' identity, and in turn profoundly affected the ideology and language of class, women were assumed to have no work-derived identity.
Class ascription also reflected a gendered double standard. This practice did not go unnoticed. Studies of the class backgrounds of socialist women and of nonsocialist feminists drawn from British, Bulgarian, Dutch, German, Spanish, and Swedish history of the early twentieth century suggest further confusion. Many British feminists came from working-class origins, but typically worked in service occupations, especially as teachers.
In the British suffrage movement, those who held dual commitments to labor movements and to feminism tended to be undercounted. In the Netherlands, few feminists were wealthy women. In any case, Marxist class definitions and categories offer little insight. R hetoric masked the reality that party allegiance did not parallel class differences among women. Nor was there as absolute a class divide between women's groups as socialist leaders and some of their historians asserted.
This allegation allowed a strategic shift in socialist perspectives on the woman question to take place, from the more collaborative views of August Bebel and others to Clara Zetkin and her followers, who portrayed feminism as if it were the complaint of a special interest group. The concept spread around the globe, and it persisted for a century as a means to discredit nonsocialist women activists. Feminism fell into a double bind. The dichotomizing concept also owes its long life to the scholars, myself included, who employed the term, and failed to challenge its validity.
Today, however, received ideas and inherited dichotomies elicit criticism. Historiography has also exaggerated the rift between the two wings of the women's movement for political reasons. Feminism is one of the most misunderstood movements of modern times, and historians have contributed to the misjudgment.
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The history of the European Left's relationships with women and feminism is an important part of political history that needs reassessment. Historians today might begin by opening previously closed categories and replacing organizational approaches with thematic, women-centered frameworks. This revision would recognize the importance of feminism's history to the history of the left and to modern history as a whole, with new appreciation for how categorical class thinking and political commitments affected both its history and historians.
Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Sign In or Create an Account. Sign In. Advanced Search. Article Navigation. Close mobile search navigation Article Navigation. Volume Article Contents. Oxford Academic. Google Scholar. Cite Citation. Permissions Icon Permissions. For a portion of Zetkin's speech, translated by Susan G. Offen, eds. Stanford, Calif. Philip S. Foner New York, , 45— September Berlin, , —, quotation on For other examples of the persistence of this idea, see Francisca de Haan, Krassimira Daskalova, and Anna Loufti, eds.
John R. For new approaches to labor history particularly salient to understanding women and class, see Lenard R. Berlanstein, ed.
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Frader and Sonya O. Becker, Jos. Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling ; repr. Kugelmann New York, , Florence Kelley Wischnewetsky ; repr. August Bebel, Woman under Socialism , trans.
Joris de Bres ; repr. See also the citation by Alfred G. Alfred G. Meyer Bloomington, Ind.
Important Figures of Analytical Chemistry from Germany in Brief Biographies
Boxer and Jean H. Quataert, eds. For Pelletier, see Richard J. Joeres and Mary Jo Maynes, eds. On bourgeois women's values, see Bonnie G. Dick Howard New York, , —, quotation on Zetkin's adamant refusal to entertain collaboration with nonsocialist women and the rivalry for leadership are major themes of a study of feminism and German socialism that predates the resurgence of women's history. For Zetkin's rivalry with Braun, see Jean H.
Thus the split was less strong in Britain than in Germany. I thank Professor Eley for sharing this paper with me. For the controversy within German socialism over contraception, including strong statements against it by Clara Zetkin and Rosa Luxemburg, see R. For a detailed description of the congress, see Linda Harriet Edmondson, Feminism in Russia, — London, , 86— Boston, , Alix Holt New York, , For the full text of the appeal and repeat notices, see Marilyn J. Charles Sowerwine, Sisters or Citizens? Mischa F. Hoyick and Robert E. Chesal Durham, N. Patricia Hilden and Christine Bard offer some insight into the situation in the north of France and the southeast, respectively.
Richard J. For an illustrative case of the means through which the German party influenced others in the Second International, see Georges Haupt, L'historien et le mouvement social Paris, , — See, e. Leila J. On suffrage as a divisive issue among internationalists, see ibid. On shifting views over collaboration, see also Evans, The Feminists , —; on the U. Young, eds. Lenin, Joseph Stalin New York, , Lenin New York, , For early women's studies syllabi, see Sheila Tobias, ed.
Judith Hole and Ellen Levine trace the influence of the left, old and new, through the beginnings of women's liberation in the United States in Rebirth of Feminism New York, , — For England, Sheila Rowbotham has provided a close analysis of the rebirth of feminism among women active in the New Left.
See esp. For aggressive ridicule, see Elaine Marks and Isabelle de Courtivron, eds. For a survey that mentions socialist influence on second wave feminism in other European countries, including Greece, the Netherlands, and Spain, see Gisela Kaplan, Contemporary Western European Feminism New York, A strike by factory women helped spur organization by leftist women; see Rowbotham, Threads through Time , 80— On the influence of Mitchell and Rowbotham, see, e.
Rowbotham reflects on the links between radical history in Britain and the U. Women and Culture in the Labour Movement London, , 12, 68; emphasis in original. Dorothy E. See also Lydia Sargent, ed. Radical feminism grew up in opposition to the socialist movement in much the same way as black cultural nationalism emerged in reaction to the politics and social relations of the white left. For a summary of socialist-feminist activism in the U.
The literature is huge. Eisenstein, ed. At San Diego State University, where the first integrated program in women's studies was launched in , the first chair offered the job was the Marxist Marlene Dixon, who declined but personally solicited another socialist feminist, Roberta Salper, who accepted. As feminist theorist Donna J. For one notable activist's memory of this concern, see the interview with Jane Fonda by Robin Morgan in Ms. Among the exceptions are G. Felicia Pheasant ; repr. See also the interview with Perrot about resistance to women's history by gauchistes in Radical History Review 37 : 27— Bezucha, ed.
For Ph. Ann J.
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Carroll, ed. It is worth noting that Lane, in her essay dating from , criticizes the absence of women workers in E. Thompson's revisionist work. Draper and Lipow trace the split back to a struggle for primacy within the German workers' movement between Lassalleans and Marxists; ibid. See Sowerwine, Sisters or Citizens? Boston, , —, esp.
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On factionalism among French feminists, see Wynona H. Sowerwine, Sisters or Citizens? It contains complete versions of all of the texts available in both printed and manuscript form and presents them in their historical contexts. The edition is divided into three sections, "Works," "Letters," and "Addenda. See details. Buy It Now. Add to cart. Be the first to write a review About this product. About this product Product Identifiers Publisher. Additional Product Features Grade to. Show More Show Less. No ratings or reviews yet. Be the first to write a review.
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