By Carin Duney
Earlier this year, Students for Democratic Socialism (S4), co-sponsored and marched with the Feminism for the 99% Contingent in the Women’s March in Portland. This contingent is made up of organizations and individuals who understand that feminist demands such as the ending wage gap and securing abortion rights will not be won by the “Lean In” strategy popularized by Sheryl Sandberg. The “Lean In” strategy claims that in order to make this a fair and just world for women, all we have to do is to get more women elected into office. The belief is that unlike their male counterparts, women will implement policies that will protect and empower women of all economic, political and
Feminism for the 99% rejects the idea that women are morally superior to men and that women are incorruptible. We also see the “Lean In” strategy as faulty because it is not a realistic approach for poor and working-class women. Yes, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is awesome! However, she is an exception. All other national candidates who ran on a Bernie Sanders-inspired message lost their elections.
Instead, Feminism for the 99% knows that if we want to see real change in the lives of women, and our male and trans allies, the energy is going to have to come from below, not from elected officials. We take our inspiration from the women-led strike waves that have occurred this past year. The nationwide Marriott hotel workers’ strike, the teachers’ strikes from West Virginia to Los Angeles and the #metoo strikes led by McDonalds workers all lead to real change in working conditions, pay and benefits for working-class people and their families.
In a show of solidarity, the International Women’s Strike called for the formation of Feminism for the 99% Contingents at this year’s Women’s Marches around the world. Along with the S4, our Portland, Maine, Contingent was co-sponsored by the International Socialist Organization (Portland Branch), the Southern Maine Democratic Socialists of America, the Socialist Party of Southern Maine, the Industrial Workers of the World (Portland Branch), the Cumberland County Greens, the Maine People’s Alliance and Mainers for Accountable Leadership.
What is Feminism for the 99%?
By Carin Duney