Gender, Class and Capitalism

A half-century ago a capitalist coup was launched in the U.S. to shift power from labor and the liberation movements of the 1960s to the lords of capital. The political trajectory since then has gone in only one direction— to the right. The populace— starting with those most likely to develop revolutionary tendencies according to official logic, has been mass incarcerated as the police have been militarized. A simulacrum of democracy was created through oppositional political parties that serve a single master— capital.

How ‘we,’ the citizens of the West, got from there to here is a great mystery by design. Terms put forward as descriptive, like populism and economic anxiety, are cover for more brutal realities. The language and social dimensions of liberation were coopted as weapons of class warfare. Liberation movements, conceived in opposition to capitalism, were moved within its confines. Once within, these movements served to direct attention elsewhere as oligarchs made off with the greatest concentration of wealth in human history.

Following from the women’s liberation movements of the 1960s, gender pay equity was separated from class struggle to be made a ‘women’s issue.’ Women workers in the U.S. have long been paid less than men for equivalent work. Since they began re-entering the (paid) labor force in large numbers in the 1970s, liberal efforts have centered on closing this gender pay gap. Left out of liberal framing is whether doing so would…

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