Michelle's Reviews > Feminism for the 99%: A Manifesto

Feminism for the 99% by Cinzia Arruzza
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it was amazing
bookshelves: owned-books, sex-and-gender

In "Feminism for the 99%", three leading Marxist-Feminist thinkers and activists—Arruzza, Bhattacharya and Fraser—lay out a politics to serve the current international wave of mass women's protest that includes a direct critique of capitalism. The book is exceedingly accessible, lively, and dynamically engaged in a major social movement. They effectively introduce for all audiences many emerging and significant currents of Marxist-Feminist thought today: social reproduction theory that integrates waged and unwaged household labor as part of a common logic of capitalism, the idea we are living through a care crisis motiving a gendered class rebellion, and the value of putting anti-capitalism at the center of multi-issue feminism. This is a crucial movement and a crucial book, and well worth the read.

As a partisan of the movement and a comrade of the authors, I have various critiques, but none of them are lethal. I don't think we are living in a care crisis. Unlike the mid-1800s, for example, working class people in most of the world are not dying at such rates that they cannot generationally replace themselves. I would lean towards calling this a "care squeeze," but unlike crisis that suggests resistance and rebellion are not inevitable, but still have to be explained. This has important implications for how we imagine the care squeeze may effect capitalist accumulation—I suspect it will have little effect without major political struggle.

I'm suspicious that social reproduction theory may not sufficiently account for the political struggles of those excluded from chains of reproduction of labor power, such as those in communities where both mothers and their children are unlikely to ever find much work, an increasing reality for racialized "surplus populations" that are an important part of Marx's original predictions for capitalist development.

Most importantly, I think the title is poorly chosen and dated from a now lost moment of Occupy. We have since seen the growth of mass fascist misogyny among sections of small property owners, constituting a not insignificant part of the population, capable of electing fascists in political office. We have to actually understand, explain and make sense of the class structure we are facing and "99%" just confuses that.

But compared to the brilliance, value and helpfulness of this book, these are minor critiques. It's an excellent read.
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Reading Progress

March 18, 2019 – Started Reading
March 18, 2019 – Shelved
March 18, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
March 18, 2019 – Shelved as: sex-and-gender
March 18, 2019 – Shelved as: owned-books
March 18, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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message 1: by Kevin (new) - added it

Kevin You raised some very insightful points.

RE: "care squeeze" - I am curious how profit-seeking (and resistance to it) will evolve during mass automation + environmental destruction, especially how value is determined.

RE: "99%" - I think this is useful to traumatize global inequality and thus this is still a useful big picture perspective to start from (although I agree with your concerns). The reason I support socialism is in its attempt to bring out the better in people, as many social structures have proven quite capable of bringing out apathy and bigotry.


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