The struggle for women’s liberation lies in revolution, not the idealism of feminism

Editor’s Note: Je Amaechi is a socialist revolutionary studied in the works of Karl Marx and African theoreticians such those named in the essay. Although not directly stated, the conclusion reached here is a conclusion reached by the African People’s Socialist Party through the development of African Internationalism. As African women, our freedom lies in the total dismantling of the system that holds us hostage—colonial parasitic capitalism.

In the struggle for women’s liberation, we must dissect the prevailing narratives that mislead or dilute the potency of genuine liberation movements. 

The truth is that feminism’s entanglement with idealism and parasitic capitalism demonstrates how it is part of the problem rather than the solution. 

I admit that, as a young undergrad, I too was ensnared by the allure of idealism—a path that promises swift transformation through shifts in consciousness alone. 

Yet, this approach fails by assuming that ideas are the primary architects of societal change. 

Idealism’s flaw lies in its blatant disregard for the tangible forces that shape human existence and societal structures. 

This philosophy, while appealing in its simplicity, dangerously overlooks the economic realities that are the true engines of historical and social evolution. 

No, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion will not liberate women

Feminism is fundamentally a bourgeois idealist worldview that prioritizes surface-level concerns over the dismantling of systemic structures that perpetuate women’s oppression. 

As a bourgeois ideology, feminism champions changing perceptions and cultural norms as the pathway to women’s liberation. 

This approach does not address the underlying material structures that enforce gendered oppression. 

By advocating for representational changes and symbolic victories within the existing capitalist frameworks, feminism does not challenge the very systems that perpetuate oppression. 

By aiming to adjust societal views on gender without transforming the foundational economic conditions, feminism simply lacks the depth to challenge systemic inequities. Ultimately, it promotes a vision of “equality” that means equal participation in exploitation rather than the dismantling of the systems of exploitation themselves. 

History tells us that real change stems from material struggles, especially those between differing social classes vying for control over production. As materialists, we understand that transforming these concrete conditions is what truly allows for revolutionary change. 

Marx wisely posits that historical developments are not mere reflections of evolving ideas but are born from the material struggles between social classes. By focusing solely on ideas, idealism neglects the economic and material conflicts that fundamentally drive historical change, thus offering an incomplete and ineffective analysis. 

It’s high time we cast off these comforting but deceptive narratives and embrace the challenging yet transformative path of socialist women’s liberation.While the discourse around intersectionality has occasionally been useful in highlighting the nuanced interactions of race, gender and class, it stops short of addressing the systemic roots of these oppressions. 

The concept of intersectionality does not go far enough in linking these intersecting oppressions to their capitalist roots. In contrast, the framework of “Triple Oppression,” developed by Black communist women like Claudia Jones, directly connects racial, gender and class oppression to capitalist exploitation. 

This approach provides not only a deeper analysis but also a more actionable strategy for dismantling the oppressive systems themselves. Identity politics, focusing on individual identities and grievances, often sidetracks the larger struggle for liberation by fragmenting collective action and diverting attention from systemic challenges. 

It can lead to a piecemeal battle that, while raising awareness about specific issues, fails to address the broader capitalist structures that underpin various forms of oppression. This approach fails to unite these struggles against the overarching capitalist structures that perpetuate inequality across all fronts.

Feminism, a form of counterinsurgency

With all this in mind, it’s easy to see how feminism sprang up as a form of counterinsurgency expressly designed to undermine radical liberation movements. 

By integrating into the colonial capitalist framework, it successfully diverted the women’s liberation movement away from challenging the very systems that oppress women globally, eliminating the potential for revolutionary changes. The ideology of feminism has been a useful and effective tool for reinforcing the status quo, by advocating for “equality” within a fundamentally unequal system.

While feminism masquerades as a force for global women’s rights, it upholds international policies that undermine these very rights. 

The rhetoric of gender equality and women’s rights is often used as a veil for aggressive foreign policies that, under the pretext of liberating women, justifying military interventions, toppling governments and exploiting resources in sovereign nations. 

At the end of the day, imperial feminism serves the interests of global hegemony. 

It is not just complicit but actively participates in colonial campaigns that have devastating effects on the people it claims to help. The pattern is stark: military intervention under the banner of human rights, followed by economic policies that enforce neocolonial reforms. 

These reforms typically prioritize repayment of international debts and open up economies to exploitation by multinational corporations, significantly impacting the lives of women, who bear the brunt of economic and social upheaval. 

Figures like Hillary Clinton and Victoria Nuland exemplify imperial feminism by using the language of women’s rights to support military and economic policies that destabilize regions. 

After destabilization and devastation, in swoops the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank to offer financial assistance, which, rather than aiding recovery, plunges countries into deeper economic dependence and facilitates foreign control over local resources. 

Feminism’s Hypocrisy

The hypocrisy of feminism can be vividly seen in figures like Lawrence Summers. 

Summers praised Sheryl Sandberg’s film “Screams Before Silence,” which purportedly aims to shed light on sexual violence committed on October 7, 2023 by Al Qassam (often incorrectly referred to as Hamas, but that’s a whole ‘nother essay). His call to “not look away” from this hasbara propaganda film based on the New York Times’s heavily debunked article of the same name, paints him as a supposed champion of women’s rights. 

Yet anyone following this story and the subsequent United Nations investigation could tell you that there is absolutely no proof that any of the incidents in the film occurred. 

The “evidence” consists of images never shown on screen, followed by Sandberg’s insincere gasps of horror. 

It’s obviously an attempt to use common Islamophobic tropes to paint Palestinian men as barbarians in order to drum up support for the ongoing genocide. 

If Summers or Sandberg were so passionate about women’s rights, why do they have nothing to say about the tens of thousands of women and children shredded by Israeli and U.S. bombs? (Keep in mind this number is a clear underestimation as the count stopped months ago due to the decimation of the Palestinian healthcare system.) 

They have nothing to say about the widespread and well-documented cases of sexual abuse experienced by women and children while in the custody of Israeli Occupation Forces. 

This public advocacy of Summers stands in stark contrast to his personal associations, most notably with convicted child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. 

Summers maintained his relationship with Epstein even after his convictions, revealing a disturbing tolerance for exploitative behavior towards women and girls. 

Yet we’re supposed to believe he has suddenly become some sort of advocate against sexual violence? Ha!

This contradiction is not merely personal hypocrisy but reflective of a broader trend in feminist rhetoric, which serves to mask deeper systemic complicity in women’s oppression. 

How can one genuinely fight against sexual violence while associating with and arguably enabling individuals known for their abusive practices? 

Feminists have a fundamental flaw in advocacy—it isolates issues of gendered violence from their broader systemic contexts, reducing them to issues of individual morality rather than structural enablement.

Sankara’s Burkina Faso made fundamental strides toward eradicating gender inequality

Thomas Sankara’s leadership in Burkina Faso offers a stark contrast to imperial feminism. 

His policies were rooted in a Marxist and Pan-African ideology, focusing on African self-sufficiency, anti-imperialism and genuine social progress. 

Under his governance, Burkina Faso saw remarkable achievements without succumbing to foreign aid or intervention, making significant strides in women’s rights by enhancing their social, economic and health conditions through progressive reforms. 

Sankara showed the world that real women’s liberation is achieved through systemic changes, not through the extractive measures promoted by imperial feminism. 

His legacy reminds us that women’s liberation is not merely about creating space for women within existing power structures but upending the structures themselves for the sake of liberation.

There are two paths before us: one represents an extension of colonial domination under the guise of feminism, while the other offers genuine liberation and autonomy through socialist principles. 

As we reflect on these contrasting paths, it’s clear that the fight for women’s rights must be extricated from imperialist agendas to truly empower women globally. 

The path to women’s liberation lies not in the superficial adoption of feminism by the powers of the imperial core, but in radical, structural changes that dismantle colonial entities from the ground up. 

We must re-envision global solidarity so that freedom is not imposed but collectively achieved through the dismantling of oppressive systems that span beyond borders. 



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