This event is dedicated to reflecting on the growing Marxist-feminist project, its possibilities and practices, as well as on its future working methods, activities and priorities.
Ten years ago, Argument Verlag published the book Letters from Afar. In it, the editor concluded that "all politics today involves the social dimension. Virtually anything has global consequences. Feminist intervention is underway.” With the desire to map ways in which feminist politics can intervene, Frigga Haug addressed women from different parts of the world to great effect: Forty-nine feminists from thirteen countries and six continents responded to her call.
As a result of the collective process initiated in this way, Haug, at the First Marx-Fem-Conference in Berlin in 2015, presented theses on the contradictory relationship between Marxism and feminism which have guided our work ever since. We think that such a project of feminist political intervention can only succeed if it is built on a common foundation. It is a basis which though in continuous development, examined and adapted again and again, is at the same time strong and durable enough to sustain individual women, keeping them from dissipating their capacities and being exhaustedly deployed in all directions in reaction to any major storm or series of shocking incidents, of which there are more than enough in our capitalist world.
We must raise our voices! The strengths, the capacities, the knowledge, the experiences of the many women everywhere in the world, whose consolidation and transmission is part of the Marxist-feminist project, will lend continuity to our voices.
In the context of our efforts two further books have been published, compiling and analysing the findings of Marx-Fem-Conferences up to now, the first published in German also by Argument entitled Wege des Marxismus-Feminismus, the second published in English by Zedbooks entitled Marxist-Feminist Theories and Struggles Today: Essential Writings on Intersectionality, Labour and Ecofeminism.
After the conferences in Vienna (2016) and in Lund (2018), the Fourth Marx-Fem-Conference was scheduled for Bilbao in 2020 – a plan which could not be realised due to the coronavirus. Nevertheless, the protest potential and anger of women are still at work.
Temporarily, we have been reduced in our activities, but thanks to the rapid development of the productive forces we can make use of the potential of globally available communication. Without entertaining the hope that virtual connectedness could ever replace physical meetings, we are holding feminars.
Our first feminar entitled The Horizon of Black Lives Matter took up the protest of the currently most important social movement with the aim of connecting it to Marxism-Feminism in a global perspective. The feminar took place on 25 October, the date originally set for the Fourth Conference.
The upcoming feminar on 2 December is dedicated to reflecting on the growing project. We want to discuss our possibilities, our tasks, our hopes, our practices, and our internal contradictions.
Frigga Haug, Heidi Ambrosch, Nora Räthzel
English, with translations into Spanish and German
For further reading:
Frigga Haug is Professor Emerita in Sociology and Social Psychology, University for Economics and Politics, Hamburg. A founder of memory-work research, her early leadership in the field is reflected in the groundbreaking Female Sexualization: A Collective Work of Memory. Haug is a member of numerous editorial boards including Das Argument; she is editor of the Historisch-Kritisches Wörterbuch des Marxismus (Historical-Critical Dictionary on Marxism). Her research has ranged from automation and the culture of work to social science methodology and learning, as well as further areas of women's studies. Among her most recent books are: Der im Gehen erkundete Weg. Marxismus-Feminismus (The Road is Made by Walking. Marxism-Feminism, 2015); Selbstveränderung und die Veränderung der Umstände (Selfchange and Changing the Conditions of Life, 2018); Die Unruhe des Lernens (The restlessness of Learning, 2020).
Heidi Ambrosch works at the transform! coordination office in Vienna. She is the womens' representative of the Communist Party of Austria (KPOe), board member of the Austrian Frauenring , and co-founder of the network platform 20000frauen.
Jule Goikoetxea is a Member of the Critical Theory Group Bilbo-Barcelona. She received her doctorates from the University of Cambridge and the University of the Basque Country. She was the academic director of the Master in Governance and Political Studies programme at the University of the Basque Country. Goikoetxea is currently a member of the International Gender Studies Centre at Oxford University. She was an associate editor of the University of Cambridge Political Journal and is currently senior editor of the Lisipe book collection. Her recent research has appeared in volumes published by Routledge, Springer, Francis and Taylor, and Peter Lang Oxford.
Diana Mulinari is a professor at the Department of Gender Studies, Lund University, Sweden. Her work aims to bridge the tradition of Marxist feminism with the contribution of Black, Chicano, and postcolonial feminist scholarship. Her latest publications are 'Pain is Hard to Put on Paper’. Exploring the silences of migrant scholars (with Despina Tzimoula), in Pluralistic Struggles in Gender, Sexuality and Coloniality: Challenging Swedish Exceptionalism; Hegemonic Feminism Revisited: On the Promises of Intersectionality in Times of the Precarisation of Life (with Paulina de los Reyes), in NORA: Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research.
Nora Räthzel is Senior Professor at the University of Umeå, Sweden. Her main research areas are environmental labour studies, transnational corporations, and gender and ethnic relations in everyday life. Latest publications include The future of work defines the future of humanity and all living species, International Journal of Labour Research, Marxist-Feminist Theories and Struggles Today (with Khayaat Fakier and Diana Mulinari) in Transnational Corporations from the Standpoint of Workers (edited with With Diana Mulinari and Aina Tollefsen); and Trade unions in the Green Economy. Working for the Environment (edited withh David Uzzell).