a modern female proletarian, the woman becomes a human
being for the first time, since the [proletarian]
struggle is the first to prepare human beings to make
a contribution to culture, to history of humanity.
Luxemburg, “The Proletarian Woman” (1914)
her day, Marxist theoretician and activist, Rosa Luxemburg,
was criticized for not defining herself as a “feminist”
and advocating exclusively women’s suffrage. She attempted
to explain her refusal to be identified solely as
a feminist by arguing that, as a committed Marxist
thinker and activist, she wanted to see the end of
oppression for all people, women and men like - universal
freedom, beyond the electoral process, full human
rights for all. “Every day enlarges the hosts of women
exploited by capitalism,” Luxemburg writes, (“Women’s
Suffrage and Class Struggle”. (The
Rosa Luxemburg Reader
, 2004). Until women recognize that following
the path of the worker’s struggle, rather than joining
bourgeois women’s movements, inequality and injustice
will remain and capitalism and its facilitators (bourgeois
women included) will profit from “exploitation and
enslavement” of the masses of women and their children.
“Bourgeois advocates of women’s rights want
to secure political rights in order hen to assume
a role in political life.”
I am reading Anne-Marie Slaughter’s “Why Women Still
Can’t Have It All,” in the cover story of The
Atlantic, July/August, issue, I am asking myself,
what world does this woman live in? But then I know.
am well aware that the majority of American women
face problems far greater than any discussed in this
article. I am writing for my demographic - highly
educated, well-off women who are privileged enough
to have choices in the first place.”
is writing for the women who seek leadership positions,
who pursue and maintain “their place on the highest
rungs of their profession,” preferably the political
profession, and who assumed, unlike their mothers,
that they, women born in the 1950s, would be able
to “have it all.”
Have all of what?
Bourgeois women are nothing if not “co-consumers
of the surplus value their men extort from the proletariat”
me back up and list Slaughter’s complaint. Certain
ambiguous women, highly educated and privileged, born
in the 1950s, are, like Slaughter, having to give
up their dream jobs in high, prominent positions alongside
their male counterparts because, some, like Slaughter,
have at least one or more teenage at home already
exhibiting a “pattern of skipping homework, disrupting
classes,” while failing math, and tuning out any adult”
who tries to reach him or her. Apparently the nannies
cannot do it all either. The husband, in this case
Slaughter’s, spends more time with the children, but
it is not enough.
“foreign-policy dream job” of leadership and power,
“a rise up the ladder” job, and job in which she struggled
to balance family and work as the “first woman director
of policy planning at the State Department under Secretary
of State Hilary Clinton had to come to an end after
just two years.
only the “system,” “the American economy and society,”
would allow these women to have it all, they would
be able to help out those poor sisters working at
Walmart! Really! Not as equals but as leaders, of
course,--we could “create a better society...for all
women” if we could just “put a woman in the White
House” so we are able to “change the conditions of
the woman working at Walmart.” Yeah, wow!
One less woman in a “leadership” position,
so the rest of us are in deep shit with one less leader,
particularly those of you women working at Walmart!
still believes, “strongly believes,” that women can
“have it all,” but the “system,” the “American economy,”
“society” needs to reform its ways!
I return to what it is we women, or only those highly
educated and privileged women, want, let us briefly
consider the “genuine superwomen,” according to Slaughter,
in “leadership” positions.
of course, there is Hilary Clinton, wife of Bill,
mother of Chelsea, lawyer, former First Lady, former
candidate for president of the U.S., and now
Secretary of State in the Obama, drones-dropping-on-women-and-their-children
administration. Who can forget Condoleeza Rice. But,
as Slaughter tells us, Rice’s success comes with a
cost. She was the only “national security adviser
since 1950s not to have a family.”
Well, Condi Rice still managed to overlook a certain
memo about a possible attack on the U.S.
just prior to September 2001, and she went on as Secretary
of State to help plan and enforce Bush II’s foreign
policy, which included that little business of “shock
and awe” drama in Iraq.
Some people call it a war!
marginalizes by omission the history of the masses
of women and their struggle against the “leadership”
of capitalist and corporate rulers
there is Ambassador Susan Rice, good ole’ Susan at
the UN who, in March attended an AIPAC conference
to echo the commitment of her boss to Israel’s “safety”:
“Not a day goes by -- not one -- when my colleagues
and I do not work hard to defend Israel's security
and legitimacy at the United Nations” (Huffington Post, March 6, 2012). Along
with Susan Rice, we have other “genuine superwomen”
such as Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Michelle Gavin,
Nancy-Ann Min DeParle,” all Rhodes Scholars. And then
there is Samantha Power (of Rwanda and other political
intrigues) who “won a Pulitzer Prize at age 32” -
how are younger highly educated, privileged women
with choices to measure up to the standards of “these
very talented professional women,” Slaughter asks.
“Such a standard sets up most women for a sense of
mind that these women nod and agree with and represent
the U.S. Empire in exploiting and enslaving workers,
women, and children, and whole populations of sovereign
nations. Slaughter does not mention Janet Napolitano,
Secretary of Homeland Security, great at her job of
following policy and deporting mothers, fathers, children.
As of this month, however, Obama’s regime, visionaries,
recognize the need for the Latino vote this coming
November, not to mention future engineers, techies,
drone operators, and plain old ordinary combat soldiers.
with more women “leaders” finding the exit door and
returning home to families and less demanding jobs,
these would-be superwomen are confronted by the “genuine
superwomen” and the leader men who blame them for
not working harder!
briefly examine the stories we tell ourselves, the
clichés that I and many other women typically fall
back on when younger women ask us how we have managed
to ‘have it all.’ They are not necessarily lies, but
at best partial truths,” writes Slaughter.
It is possible if you are just committed
But we are, writes Slaughter. But there are these
“trade-offs and sacrifices; these children, particularly
teenagers who need us; these planes to catch, conferences,
and meetings. “Dry cleaning,” “hair appointments,”
“Christmas shopping,” along with “children’s sporting
events, music lessons, family meals” have to be done
on the weekends, for heaven’s sake!
you are too old at 40 to jump aboard the Empire’s
train and you are at ripe age in your 30s
It’s possible if you marry the right
Slaughter did and it still does not matter because
having a “high-powered” career means she misses the
experience of caring for children. It is not the same
for men like the former diplomat Richard Holbrooke
whose “absence” from his family “was the price of
saving people around the world - a price worth paying.”
Yes! There are omissions in Slaughter’s narrative
that have to gloss over the reality that Democrats
are equally warmongers, committed to sacrificing truth
on behalf of the Empire’s interests.
case you do not remember Holbrooke, because Slaughter
will not tell you, she has an agenda and she assumes
she is writing for that highly educated and privileged
crowd and maybe some young college would-be women
“leaders,” this is the same Holbrooke of Vietnam,
Afghanistan, and Pakistan, U.S. foreign policy of
bringing democracy and saving the “little people”
of the world; the same Holbrooke journalist Robert
Scheer wrote of in his article, “Speaking Ill of the
Best and the Brightest,” Truthdig,
December 22, 2010, shortly after Holbrooke died.
of ‘the best and the brightest’ died last week,
and in Richard Holbrooke we had a perfect example
of the dark mischief to which David Halberstam referred
when he authored that ironic label. Holbrooke’s
life marks the propensity of our elite institutions
to turn out alpha leaders with simplistic world-ordering
ambitions unrestrained by moral conscience or intellectual
was “successful,” in Vietnam
with the pacification program that, as Scheer writes,
“herded peasants off their land into barbed-wire encampments”
while the U.S. Empire bombed surrounding areas. He
was “successful,” indeed, “infamous” as an operator
with the CIA Phoenix program, also in Vietnam
before the Obama regime sent him off to do his thing
in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Once he was near death he
muttered to physicians that the U.S.
needs to end the war in Afghanistan.
Holbrooke, for Slaughter, saved lives, period! But
she has a problem with this “ethical framework” -
not Holbrooke’s so-called “leadership.” Slaughter
asks: “Why should we want leaders who fall short on
personal responsibilities?” Yeah!
material reality of a capitalist economic regime must
not enter this narrative
who put their careers first are typically rewarded;
workers who choose their families are overlooked,
disbelieved, or accused of unprofessionalism.” Would
it have something to do with giving the U.S. Empire
110% in the task of saving lives, bring democracy
and freedom to the world by way of the IMF, UN troops,
Monsanto, Exxon Oil, and an assortment of high-tech
weapons and air craft? Let us not go there; Slaughter does not, cannot.
The material reality of a capitalist economic regime
must not enter this narrative!
on: It’s possible
if you sequence it right! That is, have the marriage
and babies when you should, when you can devote all your time to the business of Empire
as did “Madeleine Albright, Hilary Clinton, Ruth Bader
Ginsburg, Sandra Day O’Connor, Patricia Wald, Nannerl
Keohane” who got those babies born and in the hands
of nannies while Empire’s women “leaders” were still
in their 20s and early 30s.. With babies all grown
and on their way, these women were able to take advantage
of the “freedoms and opportunities” that came their
way. Today, you are too old at 40 to jump aboard the
Empire’s train and you are at ripe age in your 30s,
but now you have these little ones at home. How are
your weekdays, starting at “4:20am on Monday” and
ending “late on Friday,” weekdays “crammed with meetings”
and “a never-ending stream of memos, reports, and
comments on other people’s drafts,” to include children?
Woe to us trying to be women leaders!
would hope to see commencement speeches that finger
America’s social and business policies,
rather than women’s level of ambition, in explaining
the dearth of women at the top,” writes Slaughter.
And what is up there in these high-powered positions?
Power! There is an entire structuring of social relations
based on this power. Hierarchal, to be sure! Every
rung on the ladder consist of people to conquer, conflicts
and wars to promote for the good of “democracy,” of
course. Slaughter implies what an Alter
Net article seems to spell out - that the Democrats
are good, saving-lives-people unlike those Republicans,
conservatives, right-wingers, who, for example, employ
the highly educated, privileged law graduates “to
expand on their scholarship as private consultants,”
(see the June 18, 2012, Alter Net), which suggests that only Republicans,
conservatives, right-wingers “develop pro-corporate
strategies in papers and are far better paid than
their liberal counterparts.” Obama, the constitutional
lawyer has done his share of contributing to the development
of banking institutions and corporations, has he not?
Slaughter’s immediate boss, Clinton, and their Commander-In-Chief,
Obama, expanded the drone program. Under his regime,
there has been more suffering in this country and
around the world, yet Slaughter wants to see more
women at the top, more women, preferably Democratic
women, at the top, wielding power - just tweak whatever
might be “America’s social
and business policies.”
responses heard from my peers and associates prompted
me to write this article. Women of my generation
have clung to the feminist credo we are raised with,
even as our ranks have been steadily thinned by
irresolvable tensions between family and career,
because we are determined not to drop the flag for
the next generation.
does not want to “drop the flag.” The
race to the top is not over! Slaughter feels guilty
for lecturing young women, not all women - just those
ambitious young women - that “if they cannot manage
to rise up the ladder as fast as men,” and have families
and “be thin and beautiful to boot,” then they are
to blame! (“Why Women”).
a “high-powered” career means she misses the experience
of caring for children
we question what might motivate the highly educated
and privileged women to “leadership” positions in
government, academia, corporate, banking, and other
spheres in which they wield the power
of the Empire rather than the power of the people,
we would have to concluded, given Slaughter’s account,
that these women mean to begin in partnership with
the Patriarchy of Empire, an equal lion’s share of
positions of authority and an equal distribution of
wealth. If these women are not successful at reforming
the system from within, then begin the movement to
bring about the domination of women, predominately
white women, bourgeois women, to power.
drive to be included in the Patriarchal structuring
of humanity, to join rather than challenge the injustice
experienced in Black, Chicano and Indigenous communities,
forced Black, Chicano, and Indigenous people to break
from “feminism” in the late 60s and early 70s to develop
feminist theories that spoke to their particularly
heritage, social, political, and cultural issues.
Still valid, these theories have, since the 1990s,
been marginalized, if not silenced by what Slaughter
offers as the best hope for “women”: “to close the
leadership gap: to elect a woman president and 50
women senators.” Women must be “equally represented in the ranks of corporate executives
and judicial leaders.”
when women wield power in sufficient numbers will
we create a society that genuinely works for all women.
“That will be a society that works for everyone.”
women nod and agree with and represent the U.S. Empire
in exploiting and enslaving workers, women, and children
familiar? This is Slaughter’s trickle
down “freedoms and opportunities” theory, I suppose.
Wait on these highly educated, privileged women, predominantly white women,
running the race to the top for us women, for all
of society! They will save us just as Richard Holbrooke
did! For Slaughter and her cohorts in “leadership,”
working class Black, Chicano, Asian, Indigenous, Arab
women ALL agree with this insane logic - even if we
were not asked - and dismissed as subjects (sisters)
within Slaughter’s article.
have plenty of this dehumanization and marginalization
from Patriarchal Empire as it is now, and the leadership
we seek calls for striking down the power of Empire to benefit from the destruction
of our lives and the lives of our children. Instead,
Slaughter and her cohorts of women “leaders,” in marginalizing
the true nature of their work within, on behalf of
the Empire and the work of the Empire itself, marginalizes
by omission the history of the masses of women and
their struggle against the “leadership” of capitalist
and corporate rulers.
have yet to experience a feminist movement, thanks
to these betrayers of feminism!
are younger highly educated, privileged women with
choices to measure up to the standards of “these very
talented professional women”
article does not purport to prepare for the rise of
human beings who contribute to culture, or to history;
unfortunately, it urges the indoctrination of a new
generation of women, a few good women, highly educated
at corporatized colleges and universities, (preferably
at the top Corporate Leadership Cloning Factories,
the Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and University of Chicago),
privileged, predominantly white American women and
colored imitators, to lord over the working class
Black, Brown, Yellow, Indigenous, Arab young women
who do not fit the bill and wait to be saved from
Follow those who KNOW!
women are nothing if not “co-consumers of the surplus
value their men extort from the proletariat,” writes
Luxemburg (“Women’s Suffrage and Class Struggle”).
“As long as capitalism and the wage system rule, only
that kind of work is considered productive which produces
surplus-value, which creates capitalist profit” -
do not expect an anti-capitalist, anti-corporate,
anti-war campaign from these ambitious women who are
more in “love” with Patriarchal power than they are
their own children.
Have all of what?
More of the inhumane and
insane! Slaughter is not speaking of “freedom and
opportunities” for all, but more patriarchal women
engaged in the exploitation and the enslavement of
the working class!
Board member and Columnist, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD,
has a Doctorate in Modern American Literature/Cultural