Alexandra Kollontai: when it comes to women’s rights, class matters

What is the aim of the feminists? Their aim is to achieve the same power, the same rights within capitalist society as those possessed now by their husbands, fathers and brothers. What is the aim of the women workers? Their aim is to abolish all privileges deriving from birth or wealth. For the women worker it is a matter of indifference who is the ‘master’ a man or woman. Together with the whole of her class, she can ease her position as a worker.

Feminists demand equal rights always and everywhere. Women workers reply: we demand rights for every citizen, man and woman but we are not prepared to forget that we are not only workers and citizens, but also mothers! And as mothers, as women who give birth to the future, we demand special concern for ourselves and our children, special protection from the state and society.

The feminists are striving to acquire political rights. However, here too our paths separate. For bourgeois women political rights are simply a means allowing them to make their way more conveniently and more securely in a world founded on the exploitation of the working people. For women workers, political rights are a step along the rocky and difficult path that leads to the desired kingdom of labour.

The paths pursued by women workers and bourgeois suffragettes have long since separated. There is too great a difference between the objectives that life has put before them. There is too great a contradiction between the interests of the women worker and the lady proprietress, between the servant and her mistress. There are not and cannot be any points of contact, conciliation or convergence between them.
— Alexandra Kollontai: Women’s Day published in Pravda one week before the first ever celebration in Russia of the Day of International Solidarity among the Female Proletariat on 23 February (8 March), 1913.

Published by

Simon H

Writer, socialist, bit part player in the end of the world drama

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s