E18: How do socialist feminists take rhetorical action?

If you follow the news, you might have noticed a word coming up more and more frequently: “socialism.” Not only was it name-dropped by the president in his 2019 State of the Union address, but politicians aligning themselves with Democratic Socialism have been winning elections and making headlines, and grassroots socialist organizing has been experiencing a renaissance all over the country. As with many concepts that circulate in news discourse, socialism isn’t something that the media is great at defining in a concrete or unified way - conservative sources often use it as as a term roughly synonymous with pure evil, while more centrist or liberal-leaning outlets tend to portray its policies and purveyors as impractical and idealistic.

In this episode, Sophie Wodzak - re:verb co-producer and and co-chair of the Pittsburgh Democratic Socialists of America’s Socialist Feminism Committee - sits down with her DSA SocFem co-chair Crystal Grabowski to demystify the concept of socialism and link it to the battles for intersectional social and economic justice that encompass Socialist Feminism. Sophie and Crystal begin by breaking down the distinctions between Socialist Feminism and Liberal Feminism, before launching into conversation about the rhetorical know-how they draw upon when engaging other people in political dialogues about topics ranging from reproductive justice to economic and gender equality. Some of these efforts include the ongoing local campaign to #ExposeFakeClinics (https://www.exposefakeclinicspgh.com/) that work to obfuscate women’s healthcare options, as well as building a broad social movement through solidarity with women’s movements across the country and around the world during the International Women’s Strike (see links below).

Works & Concepts Cited in this Episode

Dishman, L. (2015, Dec. 10). What Marissa Mayer’s maternity leave decision means for working parents at Yahoo. Fast Company. Retrieved from: https://www.fastcompany.com/3054512/what-marissa-mayers-maternity-leave-decision-means-for-working-parents-at-yahoo

Guynn, J. (2013, Feb. 26). Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer causes uproar with telecommuting ban. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/feb/26/business/la-fi-yahoo-telecommuting-20130226

Pierson, C. (2018, May 26). Ireland votes to repeal the 8th amendment in historic abortion referendum - and marks a huge cultural shift. The Conversation. Retrieved from: https://theconversation.com/ireland-votes-to-repeal-the-8th-amendment-in-historic-abortion-referendum-and-marks-a-huge-cultural-shift-97297

Roberts, D. (2015). Reproductive justice, not just rights. Dissent. Retrieved from: https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/reproductive-justice-not-just-rights

Smith, A. (2005). Beyond pro-choice versus pro-life: Women of color and reproductive justice. NWSA Journal, 17(1), pp. 119-140. [Available at: https://www.law.berkeley.edu/php-programs/centers/crrj/zotero/loadfile.php?entity_key=RD3G3I35]

Whalen, A. (2019, Feb. 5). Medicare For All costs too much, Pelosi adviser assures health insurance executives. Newsweek. Retrieved from: https://www.newsweek.com/nancy-pelosi-medicare-all-single-payer-health-insurance-affordable-care-act-1318788

Bibliography of Useful Socialist Feminist Theory & Scholarship

Arruzza, C., Bhattacharya, T., & Fraser, N. (2019). Feminism for the 99%. Verso.

Bhattacharya, T. (Ed.). (2017). Social reproduction theory: Remapping class, recentering oppression. Pluto Press.

Combahee River Collective (1983). The Combahee river collective statement. Home girls: A Black feminist anthology, 264-74. [Available at: http://circuitous.org/scraps/combahee.html]

Davis, A.Y. (2011). Women, race, & class. Vintage.

Federici, S. (2012). Revolution at point zero: Housework, reproduction, and feminist struggle. PM Press.

Fraser, N. (2013). Fortunes of feminism: From state-managed capitalism to neoliberal crisis. Verso Books.

Garland-Thomson, R. (2002). Integrating disability, transforming feminist theory. NWSA journal, 1-32.

Hennessy, R. (2012). Materialist Feminism and the Politics of Discourse. Routledge.

Hennessy, R. (2017). Profit and pleasure: Sexual identities in late capitalism. Routledge.

Malachi, L.W. (2016). Police violence is a reproductive justice issue. Cosmopolitan. Retrieved from: https://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/news/a61507/police-violence-reproductive-justice/

Taylor, K.Y. (Ed.). (2017). How we get free: Black feminism and the Combahee River Collective. Haymarket Books.

Weeks, K. (2011). The problem with work: Feminism, Marxism, antiwork politics, and postwork imaginaries. Duke University Press.

Links & Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Sister Song Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective

ROSA (Reproductive rights, against Oppression, Sexism, & Austerity)

Expose Fake Clinics PGH

Expose Fake Clinics Resource from Lady Parts Justice League

National Network of Abortion Funds (NNAF) Abortion Access Bowl-A-Thon

International Women’s Strike (Pittsburgh)

International Women’s Strike (USA)

Alex Helberg